Janelle Monae

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Top 21? But weren’t there 25 last year? Well yes. And it was only 15 the year before that. In case you haven’t noticed, we’re not that rigid around here – all we really care about is letting you know what we’re loving right now and that’s about it. If we only fall for one record next year then you can probably expect “WiAC’s Top 1 Album of 2011”. It’ll be a good one, though. We promise.

That said, this year was a great year for music. But it was great in a different way than the last couple years. In 2008 and 2009 we fell hard for debut records by new bands (Grand Archives and Harlem Shakes, respectively), but this year our top 5 went to nearly all familiar faces. In fact, I think when we look back on 2010 what we’ll remember most was how artist after artist that released an anticipated album just seemed to deliver – and not just by making good records, but often by making the record of their career. In a year where we listened to more music than ever, we just couldn’t deny that these were the albums we enjoyed the most. Period.

Finally, remember that this list represents our favorite albums of the year, and not necessarily the best albums of the year. If we had to pick what we thought were the very best albums critically, this list would probably look a little different. But we’re not critics, so we’re going to skip all the posturing and taste-making mumbo-jumbo. These are simply our very favorite albums of the year – the ones that made us laugh, cry, dance, smile, press repeat, wet our pants, etc. Basically, this is what we’ll remember when we look back on 2010…

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Sometimes my reading lists can be a bit on the heavy side. I’ve spent the last three months with my nose in books about nuclear missiles, submarines, shaky foreign relations, one-sided arms agreements, and things that could eventually result in the end of the world.

And what with the recent events in Korea and the “missile” sighting here in California, I figured a playlist is in order. Something to burn and place in your bomb shelter alongside canned goods and water.

mp3: Janelle Monae – Cold War

mp3: Andrew Bird – MX Missile

mp3: Morrissey – Everyday Is Like Sunday

mp3: Billy Joel – Leningrad

mp3: The Morning Benders – Cold War (Nice Clean Fight)

mp3: Andrew Bird – Scythian Empires

mp3: Bob Dylan – A Hard Rain’s A-Gonna Fall

mp3: R.E.M. – Its the End of the World As We Know It (And I Feel Fine)

And finally one more that has nothing to do with the Cold War, but was nonetheless the soundtrack of a video shared in class showing the accuracy of a Minuteman III missile.

mp3: Talk Talk – Its My Life

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Ok, I swear after this I’ll lay off the Janelle Monae thing for a little while! But this remix of The ArchAndroid’s standout track featuring B.o.B. and Lupe Fiasco is too good not to post:

I love that Monae throws down a brand new verse herself after her two guest bits – and it outshone both of them! (even Lupe’s, who I always love!) So good.

Happy 4th ya’ll. Have a good weekend.

mp3: Janelle Monae – Tightrope (Wondamix) feat. B.o.B. & Lupe Fiasco

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We’ve been a little quiet around here, and I’m not going to make any excuses. Both Logan and I are out of school for a bit,  but our time has been pretty stuffed with family and watching the World Cup. So not a lot of writing from us. But we’ve also been going to several very good shows, which means we have some things to report on. So here goes.

Last Tuesday, we saw Janelle Monae and Erykah Badu in San Diego as part of Humphrey’s Concerts By The Bay. First of all, the “venue” was simply chairs set up on the lawn between the Humphrey’s restaurant and the bay, so the show was literally right on the water and was just about as intimate an experience as you could hope for. But we didn’t come for the scenery – and even the sun going down over San Diego Bay couldn’t overshadow the incredible artists we saw that night.

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Ok I’m apologizing in advance. Even though I’ve got SO MUCH I want to write about, my posts are going to be few and far between for the next two weeks or so. (Finals. Ugh.) But even with everything I should be doing right now, I couldn’t NOT post this video. Because I think Janelle Monae might just be my new favorite person.

I’ve heard great things about her record (it’s apparently a concept album about a messianic android in some dystopian future – awesome), but I can’t vouch for it myself yet. What I can vouch for is what she did on Letterman last week. Because wow.

Am I right?! The official music video for the song is kind of great too:

Video: Janelle Monae – Tightrope (featuring Big Boi)

Now this is exactly the kind of pump-up jam I need to get me through these next two weeks! So good!

mp3: Janelle Monae – Tightrope (featuring Big Boi)
from the album The ArchAndroid (buy it here)