40 Songs I Liked in 2018

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I’ve gone over my favourite albums of 2018, and now it’s time to discuss my favourite individual songs. In order to ensure variety, I’ve limited myself to one song per artist. Don’t think of this as my top 40; think of this as a snapshot of my musical tastes in 2018. More

My Favourite Albums of 2018

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In many ways, 2018 was a year of surprises. Previously reliable artists like Beach House and Kanye West released bafflingly mediocre albums, and previously mediocre artists like Joyce Manor and The 1975 released career-best work. These patterns are reflected in my top 20 list of albums released in 2018. It’s not as diverse a list as in years past – there’s more of an emphasis on rock music than usual – but it’s one of the most satisfying lists I’ve had in a while. Without further ado, let’s dive in. More

My Favourite Albums of 2013

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The end of the year is approaching, which means it’s list-making time! Huzzah!

2013 was a great year for music. I listened to a lot albums, and while I didn’t hear any stone-cold classics, I heard a lot of great ones. So many, in fact, that instead of doing a top 5, which I did last year, I’m doing a top 20. More

Releasing Songs Before an Album Drops

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It’s time for my irregularly scheduled weekly blog post. I don’t know when I became a guy who blogged only weekly (not counting What I’ve Been Reading), but this schedule – if you want to call it that – is what fits into my life at the moment. Ideally, I’d let the ideas I’m writing about in this entry stew for a little while longer in my brain, but I wanted to post something this week, and I’m not confident that further cogitation would allow me to synthesize these ideas into a coherent thesis.

Earlier this week, pop-punk band The Wonder Years released a song, “Passing Through a Screen Door,” from their upcoming album, The Greatest Generation. It’s a catchy, fun song, dealing with topics that have come to be known as the band’s bread and butter: existential angst and the pains of growing up. It wouldn’t have sounded out of place on the band’s previous effort, Suburbia I’ve Given You All and Now I’m Nothing, which I named one of my favourite albums of 2011. In fact, it sounded like it could have been a Suburbia outtake. It seemed odd to me that The Wonder Years would choose to preview their album with a song that could have easily been mistaken for a lost b-side. Perhaps the band doesn’t want to scare off its fans with anything too out there, but don’t they want to signal that they’re moving forward even a little bit?

That got me thinking: album previews can have a significant influence on listeners’ pre-release impressions of upcoming albums. Artists and record company execs aren’t stupid. I think they recognize this influence. With that in mind, I can identify some of the ways in which they used the tracks they chose to release to promote then-upcoming records in order to influence the pre-release conversation. More

Album Review: Coheed and Cambria – The Afterman: Descension

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Coming off the heels of the stellar Ascension, The Afterman: Descension has a lot to live up to. Ascension was a comeback album of sorts after the somewhat-maligned Year of the Black Rainbow and the departure of two band members. For a lot of people who had written off Coheed and Cambria, there were no expectations that the album would be any good. Yet, the first half of the prog-rock quartet’s double-album turned out great, leaving big shoes to fill for the second half. Can Descension live up to those expectations? Well…sort of. More

Things I’m Looking Forward to in 2013

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2012 is now well behind us (and the world didn’t end, yay!) so it’s time to look forward to remainder of 2013 and the various entertainments it will bring. There’s a lot to look forward to this year, from new music from well-loved bands to video games with spectacular trailers. (Whether those video games will manage to live up to their trailers is another matter entirely.) Here are the 10 things I’m looking forward to most in 2013:
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Music I Liked in 2012

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2012 was an odd year for me. The music I liked in 2012 wasn’t necessarily music that was released in 2012. This past year, I dug back into a few artist’s back catalogues and discovered albums that I had missed. So I’m going to divide this entry into two sections: albums from previous years and albums from 2012. More

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