In light of the mediocre popularity of my top 5 albums of the year. I have decided to make my top 3 albums for the first half of the year. There has been an awful lot of great music that has been put in front of me over the past six months. It’s been difficult for me to narrow it down to just three, but my job is a tough one as an underpaid writer that feels the need to contribute to society in his own useless way.
3 – Father John Misty – I Love You Honeybear
There is something about this album that is difficult to put your finger on. This isn’t your usual singer with an acoustic guitar. His lyrics are not vague. He is able to make light of situations that drive people crazy. All of this with an all so soothing voice. The album is dynamite from the first beat. Father John has an intoxicating way to get inside of the deep layer of your emotional being. This is not an easy listening record even though it should be. It forces you to pay attention to each song from start to finish. Some records are great background music, this is not one of them. You will lose the crowd with his constant melody, and distinct lyrics. Misty is able to hit certain notes that you do not expect him to hit. There are also a couple of heavier areas of the record. Two of the songs have a bit of an unexpected guitar solo. I am very excited to see what he is going to do next. Singles to download: Strange Encounter, The Ideal Husband, and True Affection
2 – Sufjan Stevens – Carrie and Lowell
I am not afraid to say this. I didn’t like Age of Adz. It was well reviewed, I just couldn’t get into it. Maybe it’s my high expectations of Sufjan. Knowing how good Illinoise was. Just wanting him to go back to the well for more pure gold. Well, here it is. An absolute masterpiece. From top to bottom this record shines. The mood is set right from the first track on. Every single sound that is on this record has been thought out. It flows beautifully in and out of a dream land that only Sufjan can navigate. You can envision Sufjan making this album. Marking down points of each song when a certain types of sound are required. Carrie and Lowell might be his best work yet. Illinoise had a few songs that were sent in as filler. This album has nothing of the sort from top to bottom it is perfect. It seems like one of those albums that I will continually come back to. One thing that Sufjan has gone away from is circus noises in this album. Sticking to simplicity. Quiet sounds and the ability to adjust his own voice to the tone of the song. Beautiful album that may actually make it to the top of my list by the end of the year. Singles to download: Death With Dignity, Should Have Known Better, and All of me Wants All of You. Sorry no live performance that is good quality.
1 – Jose Gonzalez – Vestiges and Claws
Envision sitting by a camp fire. Sipping on a beverage. Watching and listening to what you believe might be the most comforting, and angelic music that you have ever heard. Being lifted off by a giant Jose Gonzalez cloud to a glorious place that must have been created by Neil Young or Cat Stevens or maybe a combination of both. There are points of Vestiges and Claws that I think to myself “How did this man think of these graceful noises.” It is pure genius. To think of notes that had never been created before. But make them sound like you could never live without them again. Gonzalez has a way to distribute his voice. It’s a very soothing and unassuming voice, but creates a sense of urgency. His effortless guitar work and his delicate voice work in unison impeccably. This album is perfect. It takes absolutely no work to get into. You can put this on in front of any crowd, and you will have zero complaints. It’s the album of the year as of today, and I would be shocked if any single human being would be able to take Jose Gonzalez off of the mantle for album of the year of 2015. Singles to download: With the Ink of the Ghost, Leaf Off – The Cave, What Will, Every Age