Disclaimer No. 1: “How can it be bullshit to state a personal preference?” – Rob Gordon, High Fidelity.
Disclaimer No. 2: I am mostly sticking to last year’s idea that year-end lists are too hard to quantify. I said, and I quote: “The difference between, say, my 13th and sixth favorite albums is probably negligible.” And, yes, I just quoted myself (what a dick). However, I did put together a top 10 list of albums for a booklet that Stinkweeds, a local indie record store, puts out at the end of the year. I’ll share that here in the next week or so.
OK, enough with the fine print.
In theory, this shouldn’t make much sense. I have no special attachment or nostalgic connection to New York, the city about which Dan Bejar sings with equal parts fascination and disdain. I’ve been there just twice, though the second time was this past September, a fact that might have heightened my reaction to the song, silly as that seems.
Though I think Myriad Harbour could represent the disconnect between a visitor and any foreign city, New York has a way of intensely magnifying that unnerving feeling of not belonging. For a desert rat like myself, it was easy to feel lost and out of place. Bejar sums up that emotion in the final verse: “Stranded at Bleeker and Broadway / Looking for something to do / Someone somewhere asked me is there anything in particular I can help you with? / All I ever want to help with was you.”
Bejar’s not the first, and he certainly won’t be the last, to write about New York. But he does it in a conversational tone that engenders a certain sympathy in the listener, as if you can really relate to him. I’ve convinced myself that I would never make it in New York, that (cliche as it sounds) I prefer the laid-back style of the West, where dressing up means jeans and a collared shirt. But the allure – people in constant motion, the sights, the sounds – is hard to resist. And here at least Bejar has humanized those fears instead of bowing down to the great city.
The New Pornographers | Myriad Harbour The New Pornographers | Myriad Harbour (live on KCRW)(previous post)
I also really liked these songs (in no particular order):
The National, Apartment Story and Blank Slate (iTunes bonus).
Band of Horses, No One’s Gonna Love You.
Travis, My Eyes.
The New Pornographers, The Spirit of Giving.
Andrew Bird, Plasticities.
The Besnard Lakes, Devastation.
Busdriver, Less Yes’s, More No’s.
Kanye West, Can’t Tell Me Nothing.
Low, Murderer and Violent Past.
Kings of Leon, Fans.
Pharoahe Monch, Push.
Spoon, You Got Yr. Cherry Bomb.
Silverchair, Straight Lines.
Aqueduct, Keep it Together.
Wilco, You Are My Face.
Ryan Adams, Two and Halloweenhead.
The Broken West, Shiftee and Brass Ring.