Fall Spotify Playlist: Autumn Sweater

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Yesterday was the official beginning of Fall, which means it’s time to break out the pumpkin spice latte (or Oktoberfest), sit out on your porch and read a book, or finally take that road trip you’ve been meaning to do before it gets too cold outside. No matter what you end up doing this Fall, these songs will fit the many moods of the changing leaves.

Happy Fall!

Brady is the founder of Headphone Nation. He’s responsible for all this mess. Sorry about that. He’s also on Twitter @BradyWGerber

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One Sentence Reviews Of Headphone Nation’s 40 Favorite Albums Of The Decade (So Far): 2010 – 2014

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Congratulations – you made it halfway through the decade. How does it feel? Did you come up with a good nickname for this decade yet? Is it as catchy as “The Noughties”? What were the highlights?

It’s easy to get caught up looking back at a particular year (or years) and try to pick out the few highlights that defined the year out of all the countless events. For any pop culture publication, it’s a cheap, bias way to get more hits, and it usually doesn’t do the year justice to what it was actually like.

But hey, we all love to make these lists, and we all love to read these lists.

One of the ways to define a decade is by the most popular (i.e. the easiest to define) musical trends of the time: the 60s were the age of Psychedelia, the 70s saw the height of Big Hair Music (heavy rock and disco), the 80s were the dawn of Indie and MTV, the 90s the mass takeover of Pop music (Grunge-Pop, Britpop, Rap-Pop, Noise-Pop, Trip-Pop, Boy Band-Pop, Riot Grrrl-Pop, it goes on), and the last decade saw the boom of the streaming revolution that we’re still in the middle of. Obviously there were more to these decades than those broad themes, but it gets the job done.

So what is the trend that will define this decade? Is this the age of Doomsday Disco (EDM, Reflektor), Mumblecore (what much of “Indie Rock” has become), or Black Stadium Rock (Kanye West and the realization of his Thriller-sized ego)? Or will we just clump together all this music, much of it angry and noisy, and call it “Great Recession Music”?

It’s too early to tell – we’re only halfway through this decade. There’s no telling to what we’ll be listening to within the next five years and what albums will come to define this decade. So to try and find any sort of pattern in the beginning of 2015 is challenging and probably not necessary.

But like I said, we all love these lists – so let’s have a little fun.

Below is a list of my 40 favorite albums released between 2010 and 2014 and the albums that have defined this decade for me so far. I tried to make things more interesting by describing each album using only one sentence. Of course you cannot properly sum up an entire album in one sentence – but it’s fun to try to anyways!

Please note – this is NOT a list of the GREATEST albums of the decade. This is just a list of my personal favorites, and I hope I introduce you to some great albums that you might have missed in this decade. If this were a GREATEST list, then there would be some albums that I wouldn’t have omitted and some that I would have taken off. For example, Kendrick Lamar’s 2012 good kid, m.A.A.d city is without a doubt one of the best quality albums of the decade, but I have no personal attachment to it – I just like it because it’s good.

There are also lots of albums that I’ve heard are great but I’ve never sat down with and listened to all the way through (Frank Ocean, Grimes, Tame Impala, etc). When I do my inevitable End-Of-Decade list at the end of 2019, some of those albums might appear after I listen to them more.

Also, some of these albums on this list aren’t necessarily “good”, but there’s something about them that I absolutely love or can relate to. Maybe it’s because it’s from a favorite artist, or maybe I have a strong association with that album and where I first heard it or who/what it reminds me of. No matter the reason, these are the albums that I loved the most in this decade so far.

And yes, there’s a good chance that I left out one of your favorite albums. Please forgive me.

This list is in alphabetical order, and click on each album cover for a link to a song from the album.

 

Alright, let’s begin.

Brady is the founder of Headphone Nation. He’s responsible for all this mess. Sorry about that. He’s also on Twitter @BradyWGerber

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My 31 Favorite Albums of 2013

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In alphabetical order.

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Arcade Fire – Reflektor

 

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Arctic Monkeys – AM

 

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Bill Callahan – Dream River

Stream the record here.

 

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Chance The Rapper – Acid Rap

Download here.

 

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Charles Bradley – Victim of Love

 

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CHVRCHES – The Bones of What You Believe

 

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Daft Punk – Random Access Memories

 

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David Bowie – The Next Day

 

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Dawes – Stories Don’t End

 

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Deafheaven – Sunbather

 

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DJ Koze – Amygdala

 

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Foxygen – We Are The 21st Century Ambassadors Of Peace & Magic

 

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Jason Isbell – Southeastern

 

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John Mayer – Paradise Valley

 

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Justin Timberlake – The 20/20 Experience

 

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Kacey Musgraves – Same Trailer Different Park

 

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Kanye West – Yeezus

 

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Kings Of Leon – Mechanical Bull

 

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Kurt Vile – Wakin on a Pretty Daze

 

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Laura Marling – Once I Was An Eagle

 

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Mikal Cronin – MCII

 

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My Bloody Valentine – m b v

Stream the album here.

 

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The National – Trouble Will Find Me

 

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Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds – Push The Sky Away

 

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Of Montreal – Lousy With Sylvianbriar

 

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Rhye – Woman

 

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Savages – Silence Yourself

 

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Sky Ferreira – Night Time, My Time

 

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Speedy Ortiz – Major Arcana

 

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The Strokes – Comedown Machine

 

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Vampire Weekend – Modern Vampires of the 

Brady is the founder of Headphone Nation. He’s responsible for all this mess. Sorry about that. He’s also on Twitter @BradyWGerber

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Mid-Year Review Part 1: My Favorite Albums of 2012 (So Far)

Well it’s halfway through 2012 and there have been some great releases this year so far. All the albums we thought were going to be great (Lana Del Rey, The Shins) fizzled out. So it was up to the underdogs to step up and make 2012 a surprisingly great year for music.

Here are my favorite albums of 2012 so far.

Cloud Nothings – Attack On Memory

The 90s guitar revival is still alive and well (at least in the indie world). Cloud Nothings’s breakthrough hit is so far the best guitar rock album of 2012.

 

The Men – Open Your Heart

The Foo Fighters ain’t gonna last forever, and when they go The Men will take their place as the kings of hard rock…well, I mean as long as they make great albums like Open Your Heart.

 

Jack White – Blunderbuss

Mr. White’s debut solo album is already considered a classic, and I would have to agree. The album blends all of White’s favorite styles into an organic mix of what we can now call that signature Jack White sound.

 

Bruce Springsteen – Wrecking Ball

The Boss literally does not have to make any more music for the rest of his life, and yet he and the E Street Band are still chugging along. Wrecking Ball is a genuinely great album that actually may catch you off guard with how folky it sounds. With songs addressing the Occupy Wall Street movement, this is an album for a specific era of American history.

 

Sharon Van Etten – Tramp

How I stumbled across this album I’ll never remember, but I’m so glad I found it. Etten’s voice can scare the hell out of you and also break your heart, all at the same time. She’s even better live.

 

John Mayer – Born and Raised

I was surprised with how little buzz John Mayer’s fifth album got, but it doesn’t really matter – the music will stand the test of time. Mayer’s country-rock influences come across naturally and combines well with his pop smarts. Be prepared for this being his last album that he’ll ever sing on due to issues with his throat.

 

River City Extension – Don’t Let The Sun Go Down On Your Anger

This album is still very fresh in my memory, but I can tell you now this album will be one of my favorites by this year’s end. A beautiful mix of alt-country and noise rock with lyrics as good as the harmonies. If you’re feeling a little adventurous, this is the album for you.

 

The Henry Clay People – Twenty-Five For The Rest Of Our Lives

This album clocks in just under 28 minutes, but you’ll be too busy banging your head to notice. This album is fast and furious, yet it’s melodic and sweet. Imagine if Big Star were more of a punk band.

 

Frank Ocean – Channel Ocean

The story of the year goes along with the album which I assume will top every music publication’s list as the best album of 2012. This isn’t so much a rap record as it is a soulful and beautiful portrait of an artist as a young man. There were times I thought I was listening to Stevie Wonder, and that’s a huge complement.

Brady is the founder of Headphone Nation. He’s responsible for all this mess. Sorry about that. He’s also on Twitter @BradyWGerber

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Playlist: 15 songs For May 2012 (Via Spotify)

Well I’m not too happy with not being able to post as much as I usually do, but nothing can stop me from giving ya’ll my 15 songs for May.

Here’s a little question for you. One of these 15 songs was voted the number one song of the 90s according to NME. Can you guess which one it is?

Here are my 15 songs for May 2012.

Brady is the founder of Headphone Nation. He’s responsible for all this mess. Sorry about that. He’s also on Twitter @BradyWGerber

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Music Journal: Warehouse (Whoa!)

Well people I have begun a warehouse job for the summer and it is a busy schedule. For the rest of the summer my time is greatly limited so I will not be posting as much as I usually do. I will still try my best to post often and still bring you the best of my music world to you.

Here’s to Dave Matthews, who seems to be the only person who appreciates the work of the warehouse man.

 

Oh and PS, the new John Mayer album comes out today, so you should go out and buy it (at your local record store of course!).

Brady is the founder of Headphone Nation. He’s responsible for all this mess. Sorry about that. He’s also on Twitter @BradyWGerber

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Music Journal: Things You Should Do This Weekend While I’m In Chicago

Well folks I’m off to Chi town for the weekend, so no posting until Monday. However, there’s plenty of things you should do this weekend while I’m gone.

Listen to the new John Mayer album on iTunes for free!

I don’t know how long it’ll be until iTunes stops streaming the album, but you should take advantage of this. Mayer has a new approach on this new record which I personally think sounds great. Check out the record and see for yourself.

 

Check out the new Beach House album.

Bloom is awesome. Trust me.

 

Cry over the fact that Bill Ward isn’t playing with Black Sabbath anymore.

I’m sure plenty of people are sad that Ward decided not to join the famed metal band on their upcoming THREE shows. Heartbreaking.

 

Go out and buy a Josh Ritter album.

Specifically Golden Age of Radio. I just picked up that record earlier this week and I feel like everyone should have a copy.

 

Alright people you have stuff to do this weekend, now get going!

Brady is the founder of Headphone Nation. He’s responsible for all this mess. Sorry about that. He’s also on Twitter @BradyWGerber

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Top Lists: Albums With Especially Great Lyrics

An album with a handful of songs with great lyrics is one thing, but a whole album’s worth of great lyrics is truly a treat.  Here are some albums that stand out to me for being lyrically consistently excellent.  I didn’t include any rap albums because there would be too many to put on this list, but I do give my respect to excellent rappers.

Joni Mitchell – Blue

I’m just going to go ahead and dub Joni Mitchell the queen of the early singer-songwriter movement.  If you’re going to argue against me, good luck trying to find an album as consistently great as Blue.  Mitchell’s way of storytelling is so vivid and true, she says the perfect thing when we least expect it and it catching us off guard – which is exactly what great lyrics are supposed to do.

 

Bob Dylan – Highway 61 Revisited

When you get down to it, Bob Dylan was always a poet.  Stealing song structures from Woody Guthrie, Dylan turned tradition on its head with quirky storytelling that is at times vivid, laugh-out-loud funny, provocative, and demeaning.  Though all his albums have excellent lyrics, Highway 61 Revisited stands out to me for being his most visually satisfying album.  I can see Miss lonely’s diplomat with a siamese cat on his shoulders in “Like A Rolling Stone”.  I feel pity for Mr. Jones who clearly cannot make sense of what he sees in “Ballad Of A Thin Man”.  And of course I know all about what happens down at Desolation Row.

 

Bruce Springsteen – Born To Run

I’m more of a Darkness On The Edge Of Town kind of guy, but I have to give credit to Born To Run for having the better lyrics.   The whole album feels like a mini movie, with Springsteen as the hero trying to break out of his dismal life to find his promised land, and he’s getting there on a hot ride with his gal at his side.  Springsteen has such power and passion in his words, you can’t help but get inspired.  It also doesn’t hurt that its opening track might possibly have the greatest lyrics of rock & roll.

 

Ryan Adams – Heartbreaker

I’m 100% bias towards anything Ryan Adams does, so of course I put Heartbreaker on here.  Bias aside, this album is called Heartbreaker for a reason.  Adams tattoos his heart on his sleeve with devastating accounts of bad love and loneliness.  “To Be The One” could be the lyrical highlight of the album, “The sun it tries to warn me, Boy those wings are made of wax / While the things I do that kill me, They just tell me to relax.”

 

The Avett Brothers – I And Love And You

These brothers sure know how to tell it like it is.  Very few albums are as direct in their story telling as I And Love And You, and very few are as good.  The music is simple so the stories have more weight, and they sure do pack a punch.  Many people compare the Avett Brothers to Mumford & Sons, and while the London sons have the emotion, these American brothers have the storytelling.

 

Teitur – Poetry & Aeroplanes

It’s unfortunate that more people have never heard of Teitur.  The closest he ever got to potentially become big was with his excellent debut Poetry & Aeroplanes.  The title track has one of my favorite lines on love (“Love is somewhere in-between, what you believe and what you dream.”) and I love how the whole album makes you feel like the lovable romantic who is behind all the music.

 

John Mayer – Continuum

John Mayer has always had better-than-average lyrics for his radio-friendly pop songs, but on Continuum his songs have more bite.  True, most songs on the album are about his poor life (I’m rich and good looking, but I STILL can’t find love??), but he says it so nicely.  I was caught off guard when I first heard “Stop This Train”.  This is a song depicting what it’s like to grow up that gets your attention from the very first line (“No I’m not colorblind, I know the world is black and white”).

 

Death Cab For Cutie – Transatlanticism

Only Ben Gibbard could sing a whole song about his car’s glove department and make it sound heartbreaking.  Gibbard is one of indie rock’s more clever lyricist, and Transatlanticism is one of Death Cab’s highest achievements both musically and lyrically.  The music demands your attention, but the lyrics make you stay.

 

The Beach Boys – Pet Sounds

For all his surfer charm, Brian Wilson can be quite the cynic, especially with the ladies.  Hidden underneath all the gorgeous harmonies and brilliant arrangements of Pet Sounds are tales about losing the ones you love, religion, and worries about the future – nothing you can really sing-a-long to at the beach.  “Here Today” could be one of the greatest anti-love songs I’ve ever heard.

 

Were there any songs that I missed?  Comment below or hit me up on Twitter @HeadfoneNation and let me know what albums are full of great lyrics.

Brady is the founder of Headphone Nation. He’s responsible for all this mess. Sorry about that. He’s also on Twitter @BradyWGerber

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