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The Daily Wildcat

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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Spice up your CD cabinet

    If you still have the cliché triumvirate of words “”anything but country”” somewhere on your Facebook profile, you might want to reconsider the implications of that statement. This school-year saw musical ravages of human decency in every genre, but also a few visionaries that usurped the claims of their peers. Here are our picks of the year, by subculture and style:


    Best comeback from a band that was cool to like in high school but then got lame for a while: Portishead, Third

    Portishead; Did they do that “”Six Underground”” song? For the last few years, the band has fixed itself in the hazy annals of memories for every music aficionado. But they’re finally back with a raw and powerful collection of moving music. From the folksy wandering of “”Deep Water”” to the haunting industrialism of “”Machine Gun,”” the band’s third effort in almost 15 years was well worth its wait.


    Best pretentious rapper who needs a punch in the shaft but is actually kind of decent: Jay-Z, American Gangster

    Kanye West almost got the award for this year, until his concert upped tuition by a Dillard’s shopping spree per person. But Jay-Z is a good competitor as well, because he married Beyonce and the songs on his Myspace page all have an announcer saying, “”Jay-Z American Gangster in stores now,”” over the music so you’re forced to buy the album. But it’s probably worth it, because these tunes are the best mainstream rap since the nineties. “”Fallin””, featuring Brooklyn R&B singer Bilal, mixes the new with old school and even Curtis Mayfield twinklets. It’s the new face of annoying rap.


    Easiest choice for every best-of album list, but one that distinctly makes you feel guilty about it: Radiohead, In Rainbows

    In Rainbows hasn’t claimed king of the best-of lists this year, partly because most critics feel like cogs by giving it the top spot every time Radiohead spits out an album. But the truth is, Radiohead consistently creates magnificent soundscapes of unfettered emotion and experimentation. In Rainbows is no exception, and treads a more personal ground than previous efforts, not forgetting to stash in some syncopated jerkers ala Idioteque along the way. (“”15 Step.””) An album for everyone.


    Best Indie crossover/sellout/MTV hitmaker: Vampire Weekend, Vampire Weekend

    Smashed in between episodes of “”Parental Control”” and “”The Hills,”” you may catch a glimpse of Indie’s latest phenomenon strumming guitars and crooning about the inefficiencies of Cape Cod. Its easygoing goof sensibilities, dark masculine sexuality and simple but clean pop songs are earning it accolades at Coachella as well as spring break destinations like Palm Beach. But it’s not hard to see why, because these guys write rhythms that stick in your head as instantly as the first time around.


    Best pseudo Christian hipster electronica from France: Justice, Cross

    Whether the mere thought of hearing another Ed Banger remix makes auditory cysts instantly appear inside of you, or you’re a poser that’s just heard “”D.A.N.C.E.”” for the first time and decided it’s catchy, you have to admit that this Parisian duo was pretty good this year. In addition to carrying Daft Punk’s torch, its new album broke boundaries of its own by establishing new ways to maximize dynamics and keep an electronic song interesting for more than three minutes. Plus they brought us Uffie, who someday might even make an album of her own.

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