Twangy spitfire Neko Case’s Middle Cyclone was selected by Amazon.com’s editors as the best of 2009, while U2’s No Line On The Horizon was the online retailer’s best-selling album this year. That’s according to a just-released year-end package that jumps the “happy new year” gun by quite a few days. Sure, boosting these albums now will probably be great for the holiday sales, but it’s too bad that publishing the list now means that the likes of R. Kelly’s Untitled and Shakira’s She Wolf didn’t get their critical due. Oh wait, there are no pop-as-pop albums on the editors’ list anyway. Silly me! Top 25s for both lists after the jump.
THE GOOD: It sure is fascinating to see the sales demographics of Amazon out themselves via the Bestsellers list—U2, Susan Boyle, Diana Krall, Bruce Springsteen, and Bob Dylan make up the top five, while younger-skewing top-selling 2009 releases like the Hannah Montana soundtrack, Eminem’s Relapse, and the Black Eyed Peas’ The E.N.D. land at Nos. 16, 24, and 25, respectively. At least all generations can agree on Green Day (No. 6)! And it’s nice to see Case’s editorially beloved album performing well on the sales side, too (No. 11).
THE BAD: In addition to Boyle’s pre-order mania landing her at No. 2; two albums on the bestsellers list have been released in the past few weeks: Michael Bublé’s Crazy Love (release date 10/9, No. 9) and the Trans-Siberian Orchestra’s Night Castle (release date 10/26, No. 12). That sort of implies a low bar for high sales, methinks.
THE WHAAAA? This might be a wild and crazy question to pose, but is Steve Martin’s banjo album really the best of its breed to come out this year? More »
As a New York Times weekend subscriber who happens to think that there’s more to music out there than those artists who reside at the intersection of “tasteful” and “indie,” I’ve often been disgruntled with the Sunday Magazine’s choices for music-related features, which for the most part seem to crib their ideas from Pitchfork’s Best New Music listings. (Daniel Radosh’s insanely in-depth piece on The Beatles: Rock Band was well worth the read, but the feature well has also seen articles on Andrew Bird, Stuart Murdoch, and Neko Case this year—all fine artists, but definitely pitched to a similar target demo, or, hell, a single side of a mixtape.) Well, a Q & A session on the Times site with Magazine editor Gerald Marzorati went partway toward solving the mystery of why—and surprise, surprise: It has something to do with Marzorati’s own, sordid music-writing past! More »
I was skimming through this year’s Bonnaroo lineup as part of my usual round of cyber-stalking Neko Case, and I came upon an interesting discovery—this festival kicks ass! Although one of my friends described the layout as a desert of dust and piss, and the jam-centric lineup means stupid Phish is going to play for approximately 76 hours straight, I can pretty much get behind anything that brings together High On Fire and Janelle Monae (that isn’t made by the Hood Internet). Something this good could never happen on indie rock’s watch! Here are five reasons why the mud-caked hippies who will attend Bonnaroo are better than your sweater-clad ass!
Our look at the closing lines of the week’s biggest new-music reviews continues with a roundup of reactions to Middle Cyclone, the new album by Neko Case:
A friend asked me this morning, “Hey, do you know… More »
As 2008 recedes in our collective rearview mirror, the headlines trumpeting bad news are still there: record sales are lousier than ever, the economy sucks, record executives are still trying to flog the Pussycat Dolls. But there are still reasons to be excited by what’s to come in the probably contracting, definitely shapeshifting world of pop music. Nine things to look forward to today and in the 364 days that follow after the jump!