Michaelangelo Matos

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80 ’08 (and Heartbreak): Announcing Idolator’s Year-End Extravaganza

What were the 80 most important musical recordings, artists, trends, events, and performances of 2008? What were the eight things this year that broke our hearts—or, at least, our ears? We’re happy to announce 80 ’08 (and Heartbreak), Idolator’s year-end overview. The list is below the jump. …

Michaelangelo Matos | December 31, 2008 - 12:45 pm

No. 2: Lil Wayne Is All Things To All People

What didn’t Lil Wayne do this year? Well, he didn’t run for president, but that’s about all. He played guitar (badly). He launched a champagne brand, because when we think of Lil Wayne imbibing something, it’s champagne. (Additionally, many Americans listen to Wayne’s music while they drink champagne, too.) OK, he had some E as

Michaelangelo Matos | December 31, 2008 - 12:00 pm

No. 1: Ne-Yo, “Year Of The Gentleman”

The title piqued my interest. Well, I figured, he’s going ahead and making it explicit: “grown and sexy,” that restrained-allure masterwork of recent phrasemaking, and the title of the 2005 album by Babyface (to whom we’ll return), would be the outright theme of Ne-Yo’s third album. I figured I’d like it. He’d been a great…

Michaelangelo Matos | December 31, 2008 - 1:00 am

No. 11: The Year Of The Remix

Remixes have been a constant since the late ’70s. Artists have been holding remix contests since at least 1983, when Tommy Boy advertised for a prize to the chancer(s) who best recast G.L.O.B.E. & Whiz Kid’s “Play That Beat, Mr. DJ” and inadvertently birthed unto the world Double Dee & Steinski, the latter of whose…

Michaelangelo Matos | December 30, 2008 - 12:00 pm

Heartbreak No. 6: Everyone In The Music Business Losing Their Freakin’ Jobs

The never-ending slough both the people who deal with music directly (making it, releasing it, booking it) and those of us who cover it for a living have been dealing with is made even worse by the simple fact no one likes admitting: we’ve seen this coming. For years. And those of us who are…

Michaelangelo Matos | December 30, 2008 - 11:00 am

No. 8: The Ron Clark Academy, “You Can Vote However You Like”

In the final weeks of one of the most high-intensity elections in the history of American democracy, both left and right were able to put their differences aside for three minutes and 56 seconds, thanks to a group of students at the Ron Clark Academy taking over YouTube, Good Morning America, and even the most…

Michaelangelo Matos | December 30, 2008 - 3:00 am

No. 13: M.I.A., “Paper Planes”

I left Slumdog Millionaire during the mansion scene—I couldn’t watch someone be that stupid anymore, sorry. Flimsy framing device, too. But even I had to admit that when “Paper Planes” came on it matched the images perfectly—even if I also think playing the entire song in the middle of the movie was, well, kind of…

Michaelangelo Matos | December 29, 2008 - 5:00 am

No. 16: Global Reissues Bonanza

Originally I was going to put “African,” not “Global,” in the title of this post. (I haven’t thought of anything better than MABEL or ANABEL yet either.) You could well imagine that between three Nigeria Specials from Soundway, one Nigeria 70 from Strut, not to mention two double-CD Franco overviews—one messy and fun, one chronological…

Michaelangelo Matos | December 29, 2008 - 2:00 am

No. 20: James Sullivan, “The Hardest Working Man: How James Brown Saved The Soul Of America”

You want a Great Pop Moment? James Brown playing Boston Garden right after MLK’s assassination, having it broadcast live on TV, and having the city respond by largely staying home and not destroying the city—that’s one for the ages. Which makes it kind of odd that no one thought to write a book about it…

Michaelangelo Matos | December 24, 2008 - 2:00 am

No. 29: Fred Schneider On “The Daily Show With Jon Stewart”

Portishead, GNR, MBV, yadda yadda—the comeback no one much talks about from this year was actually one of the better ones: The B-52’s Funplex, which adapted the group’s classic sound to modern ends with very little strain. My favorite track, “Eyes Wide Open,” even resembled high-end DFA, no small thing. But the album’s relatively quiet…

Michaelangelo Matos | December 23, 2008 - 10:00 am

No. 25: John Darnielle’s “Master of Reality” And Carl Wilson’s “Let’s Talk About Love: A Journey To The End Of Taste”

Back when Continuum first announced its 33 1/3 series of short books about classic rock albums, I imagined a veritable explosion of styles and critical approaches that might emerge. Well, not exactly: though the series has included some fiction and some formal experiments, many of the books follow the same basic paths of close-reading, autobiography,…

Michaelangelo Matos | December 23, 2008 - 4:00 am

No. 31: The Old-Skool Rave Revival Asks: Where Were You In ’92?

I admit it: I’ve been waiting for this one. Early-’90s rave, the goony stuff with the air-raid sirens, dithering bass drops, beats that alternately stomped or skittered with what then seemed like too much hurry, and today sounds almost quaint—this was some of the first music I ever felt a sense of ownership over, like…

Michaelangelo Matos | December 22, 2008 - 3:00 am

No. 37: Alec Foege’s “Right of the Dial” and Taylor Clark’s “Starbucked”

It doesn’t much matter that Alec Foege’s Right of the Dial: the Rise of Clear Channel and the Fall of Commercial Radio (Faber and Faber) concerns a right-leaning Dallas-based company that thrived via surreptitiousness and guile, and that Taylor Clarke’s Starbucked: A Double Tall Tale of Caffeine, Commerce, and Culture (Little, Brown and Company) regards…

Michaelangelo Matos | December 19, 2008 - 11:00 am

No. 38: “Poplife Presents Poplife Sucks”

Horrible cover art: dead-eyed woman passively mouthing barber pole in the manner of Patrick Nagel, ’80s Playboy magazine icon. But to my ear this is the compilation of the year. Not a mix: these 19 tracks, selected by the Glimmers and Olivier Tjon of the Belgian club night Poplife (the CD is an anniversary celebration),…

Michaelangelo Matos | December 19, 2008 - 10:00 am

Heartbreak No. 4: Britney Spears On MTV’s 2008 Video Music Awards

It’s nearly impossible to forget Britney’s disastrous 2007 Video Music Award-opening performance of “Gimme More,” which coincided with one of our most overpublicized celebrity breakdowns. Soon after, Britney’s people took charge, kicking out the strays (Osama Lufti, anybody?), getting her medication straight, and attempting to get her weave back on point. The plan, calculated by…

Michaelangelo Matos | December 19, 2008 - 4:00 am

No. 42: Dennis Wilson, “Pacific Ocean Blue (Legacy Edition)”

Let’s leave Pet Sounds alone for a while. Can we? Please? It’s been a good 20 years since Brian Wilson’s orchestral-pop opus of vanishing innocence became a de rigueur name drop for every self-identifying “music connoisseur.” Let’s move on to Pacific Ocean Blue, the 1977 solo album from Dennis Wilson, the only Beach Boy who…

Michaelangelo Matos | December 18, 2008 - 11:00 am

No. 58: ’90s Alt-Rock Memoirs

There was a whole lot of ’90s nostalgia this year (no, this is not the last time 80 ’08 (and Heartbreak) will be addressing it), and it’s fair to say that the recent spate of one-hit ’90s alt-rockers penning memoirs of their times in the major-label alternative trenches (almost called this one “Indie-Rock Memoirs” until…

Michaelangelo Matos | December 15, 2008 - 10:00 am

No. 55: DJ Koze Goes Beyond “Minimal”

German techno’s a dime a dozen, right? Even partisans were saying so this year. But nobody told Stefan Kozalla, International Pony member and solo artist as Adolf Noise and (especially) DJ Koze, who went ahead, as usual, and made some of the slinkiest, least predictable, most ear-grabbing records of anyone in any category in 2008.

Michaelangelo Matos | December 15, 2008 - 3:00 am

No. 70: French Kicks, “Swimming”

Remember all those shitty shows that you and your friends would hit up on the weekends as teenagers, usually held at a rec center or YMCA, where you’d pay three dollars to watch eleven local bands play horrible sets—except for one band? Sure, you knew the other bands and bought their merch of the tables…

Michaelangelo Matos | December 10, 2008 - 11:00 am

No. 76: TV On The Radio, “Golden Age”

Return to Cookie Mountain, the TV on the Radio album released before this year’s Dear Science, had jams of such epic proportions that most of the newer tracks didn’t really have a fighting chance. However, the standout “Golden Age” (Of Montreal mixed into George Michael with a sprig of Prince—am I wrong?) most accurately distills…

Michaelangelo Matos | December 9, 2008 - 10:00 am

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