Better late than never … albums to follow soon.
I had a feeling about England in May, and in the seven months since, nothing changed my mind.
Before even trying to decipher the lyrics â€“ which appears to many, including myself, to be mostly a futile task â€“ the song’s triumphant swell of music had already won me over. England actually surfaced in early-ish 2009, a live version with different lyrics that are about as unintelligible as the final version. … Pffft. Words. Who needs ’em anyway?
The lush instrumentation is the star here, from the opening piano line to the gorgeous layers that build into a climax that’s more subdued than, say, Mr. November, but no less satisfying.
I said in May: “England takes you to the edge, but never jumps, and just the suggestion of a frenetic culmination is sometimes sexier than actually realizing it.” As much as I enjoy the cathartic nature of Mr. November, it has about all the finesse of a hammer on concrete. But the slow simmer of England is breathless in a subtler less screaming way, inspiring a finish that leaves you wanting more.
I also really liked these songs (in no particular order):
Arcade Fire: City With No Children and Rococo
The Morning Benders: Cold War (Nice Clean Fight), Excuses and Stitches
5 O’Clock Shadowboxers: No Resolution 2 (feat. Has-Lo, Elucid and Nico the Beast) and Bottomfeeders (Small Pro Remix)
Band of Horses: NW Apt. and Laredo
The Walkmen: Victory
Beach House: Walk in the Park
Open Mike Eagle: Art Rap Party, Unapologetic (feat. Nocando) and Go Home (feat. Swim Team)
Miniature Tigers: Rock n’ Roll Mountain Troll
Frightened Rabbit: The Loneliness and the Scream and Living in Colour
Phantogram: Mouthful of Diamonds
Aloe Blacc: I Need a Dollar, Loving You is Killing Me and Hey Brother
The Soft Pack: C’mon, Answer to Yourself and Pull Out
Freddie Gibbs: Crushin’ Feelin’s
Isaiah Toothtaker: T.T.T. (prod. by Eric Steuer of Meanest Man Contest)
Big Boi: Tangerine (feat. T.I. and Khujo Goodie) and Shutterbugg (feat. Cutty)
The New Pornographers: Crash Years, Moves and Silver Jenny Dollar
Nocando: Hurry Up and Wait, I’m On (feat. VerBS) and Exploits and Glitches
Retribution Gospel Choir: Workin’ Hard
Kanye West: Monster (feat. Jay-Z, Rick Ross, Nicki Minaj and Bon Iver), So Appalled (feat. Jay-Z, Pusha T, CyHi the Prince, Swizz Beatz and The RZA), Blame Game (feat. John Legend) and Hell of a Life
The Roots: Radio Daze (feat. Blu, P.O.R.N. and Dice Raw), How I Got Over (feat. Dice Raw), The Day (feat. Blu, Phonte and Patty Crash) and Doin’ It Again
Spoon: The Mystery Zone and Trouble Comes Running
The Besnard Lakes: And This is What We Call Progress and Like The Ocean, Like The Innocent Pt. 2: The Innocent
RJD2: A Spaceship for Now
LCD Soundsystem: I Can Change
Menomena: TAOS, Dirty Cartoons and Five Little Rooms