Hey gang! Almost time for that special day when we can talk openly about spreading VD cheer with all smiles and very little social ramification. In honor of Cupid's Last Laugh, and as a nod to this week of music we'll never be able un-hear (thanks Nicki Minaj & Grammy's), I'm going to be sharing some music and other fun love-related things.
After all, what's more connected to love than music? Well, besides chocolate, and crushing loss, and sex, and stilted expectations, and--anyway, music HAS to be up there, right? Right. If you're like me, you'd be hard-pressed to recall any significant relationship in your life without attaching some kind of soundtrack to it.
Be it a single enduring tune that plays in the background of all you do, or an entire decade of music your love life has marched to, music is the constant companion of the emotion for most of us.
So, without further delay, I'm going to kick off the week with a list of the top five albums from the previous year that didn't get any love during last nights Grammy Awards. Not because it's way too hip or esoteric, but simply because it wasn't included due to omission or restrictions. (#1 on my list is an example of the latter, the album will most certainly be recognized at next year's show. I hope.)
This isn't an all-incompassing list by any means, just stuff I give my stamp of approval to (and things you should definitely check out if you haven't already). In no particular order...
1. Florence + the Machine: Ceremonials
Love your ears? I do, and so does Florence Welch. The lead mistress of Florence + the Machine will caress, claw and beg your eardrums to follow her along on what can only be described as a journey through a sonic masterpiece. A masterpiece filled with 80s-esque choir-backed anthems, brooding blues riffs on love, and a visceral pounding intensity more akin to tribal music than pop. But it's pop too. And alternative. And--well, just get it.
2. Christina Perri: Lovestrong
When Christina released her single, Jar of Hearts, I thought it was a beautiful song. Sadly, I wrote her off at that, figuring, "Just another pop princess who's going to release an auto-tuned club junk album." Then she released another single that I loved. Then another, all leading up to her album's release in the spring of 2011. A release I snatched up. In most respects, it's a pop album, but Christina's vocals and the strength of the song writing carry it so much further. No, one listen through and I think you'll agree that you've heard something sneaky, yet profound. In her odes to love, loss and happiness Perri doesn't miss a beat.
3. Locksley: Locksley
Do you like your tunes more on the fun side? Locksley delivers an entire album full of infectious, guitar-laden, sunshine bathed joy. This album screams early summer day cruising with the top down. They'll remind you of the Clash, the Beach Boys, Weezer and lots of things in between. You'll have to tie your leg down to keep your foot from tapping a hole in the floorboard with this one for sure.
4. AWOLnation: Megalithic Symphony
Powerful. That's the only way to describe this album. Heavy drums. Heavy guitars. Heavy strings. Scorching vocals. Sure, it's EMO of sorts, but in the best way possible. Megalithic Symphony makes you feel like a brooding badass, but you'll also nod your head and sing along like a goofy teenage you. It's rock. It's punk. It's a concept/story album, and the story is marvelous.
5. Sarah Jarosz: Follow Me Down
If you like your music more on the understated country and bluegrass side, this album is surely one of the best 2011 had to offer. (Alison Krauss' excellent Paper Airplanes notwithstanding.) Ms. Jarosz has been an up and coming superstar in the folk and bluegrass scene for a while--and she's only 20! Already a world-class mandolin player (she was nominated for a Grammy in 2010 for instrumental performance on her first album, and started playing the instrument at 10), her voice and song writing aren't far behind. She's skilled on multiple instruments, still in college and will almost certainly be one of the biggest names in the business in the next few years.
Did I leave out your favorites? Check back tomorrow to hear a few songs that (I think) perfectly capture what an enduring love can be.
Poll results coming later this week or early next, BTW. Lots of votes so far, so it should be interesting!
Don't forget to do something sweet for your sweet! (Even if you are your sweet.)