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Best Album of 2009 - UNWEIGHTED Results
Ok folks.  Here is part 1.  The UNWEIGHTED results.  The following is what the results would have looked like in previous years.  Comparatively speaking, BORING AS ALL GET OUT.  Soooooo many ties due to short lists combined with long lists... just not interesting at all.  But I thought you'd all get a kick out of it, seeing as how, before, I felt like the following style of tallying was truly a representation of our music tastes back then when all it was was a big list of how many people voted and a big list of albums with only 1 vote.  Blegh.  No more, I say.  Here it is anyways (In no particular order within the ties):

(5 votes):
1/ John Mayer - Battle Studies
1/ Animal Collective - Merriweather Post Pavilion
1/ Eminem - Relapse
1/ The Flaming Lips - Embryonic
1/ Andrew Bird - Noble Beast
1/ The Avett Brothers - I And Love And You
(4 votes):
2/ Muse - The Resistance
2/ Pearl Jam - Backspacer
2/ Jay-Z - The Blueprint III
2/ Yeah Yeah Yeahs - It's Blitz!
(3 votes):
3/ Fun. - Aim And Ignite
3/ Kasabian - West Ryder Pauper Lunatic Asylum
3/ Green Day - 21st Century Breakdown
3/ Kelly Clarkson - All I Ever Wanted
3/ The Antlers - Hospice
3/ Mastodon - Crack The Skye
3/ Phoenix - Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix
3/ Them Crooked Vultures - Them Crooked Vultures
3/ The Dead Weather - Horehound
3/ Mew - No More Stories...
(2 votes):
4/ Bombadil - Tarpits And Canyonlands
4/ Jet - Shaka Rock
4/ Rodrigo y Gabriela - 11:11
4/ Imogen Heap - Ellipse
4/ Regina Spektor - Far
4/ Asher Roth - Asleep In The Bread Aisle
4/ Todd Snider - The Excitement Plan
4/ Fever Ray - Fever Ray
4/ Fuck Buttons - Tarot Sport
4/ The Mars Volta - Octahedron
4/ Raekwon - Only Built 4 Cuban Linx Pt. II
4/ Dethklok - Dethalbum II
4/ Grizzly Bear - Veckatimest
4/ The Decemberists - Hazards Of Love
4/ Dinosaur Jr. - Farm
4/ Dan Deacon - Bromst
4/ Mos Def - The Ecstatic
4/ Arctic Monkeys - Humbug
4/ David Bazan - Curse Your Branches
4/ As Tall As Lions - You Can't Take It With You
4/ U2 - No Line On The Horizon
4/ Wilco - Wilco (the album)
4/ MuteMath - Armistice
4/ The xx - XX

(1 vote):
Over 100 albums received 1 vote and tied for 5th place, based on unweighted results but I am way too lazy to list out each.

That's right.  174 different albums were voted for.  And based on amount of votes alone, 174 albums were tied 5 ways.  What kind of list is that?  Not much of one.  So, I've divided a secret amount of points (hint: it's NOT based on how many albums I had, like I said it would) by the total amount of albums on your list.  After some simple math, it looks like this basically (using 10 albums as an example, where T is the total, A is the total amount of albums on your list, and N is the dividend):
Album #10: T/A = N
Album #9: N x 2
Album #8: N x 3
Album #2: N x 9
Album #1: N x 10 = T
After calculating this for an exhausting amount of time (but very fun!), the list order has changed DRAMATICALLY.  The list much more fully represents each one of our favorites but in a combined set of results that you can see.  If Grand Funk Railroad's newest release was your favorite album but someone else's least favorite, the results will show that there was a divided opinion on it.

In summation... I still don't know the actual results.  I only have to calculate all the numbers I have into the results total and then order them out.

I will be posting the results in increments of 25 until I get to the Top 100.  Then, from there, increments of 20 until the Top 20.  At the Top 20, I will keep the suspension going and post 1 album at a time until the #1 of 2009.

Look forward to hearing your reactions!!!  Thank you for your patience, guys.  It's really, truly been a fun experience for me and I've discovered even MORE music because of it.  Please.  Check out each and every one of these albums.  Each one is special to at least one person here and I'm sure you will discover a new favorite out of the ONE HUNDRED AND SEVENTY FOUR TO CHOOSE FROM.

The results will OFFICIALLY begin counting down TOMORROW after I get off of work.

As far as best friends go
As far as best friends go some of my fondest memories with Melanie would probably

That time we were feeling all crippled and laid in bed watching tv ontop of our own seperate heating pads. The only thing missing was our reading glasses and the bed pans...

Going to breakfast and belittling each other as personal entertainment and shocking everyone else.

The late nights talking and just sharing stuff.

Being the two people that people want to specifically hang out with because we are just soooo hilarious apparently.

The time she was drunk and I was cooking  salmon and I was leaning against the sink and she was spitting in the sink but was spitting on me. I looked at her and said "what the hell are you spitting on me for?" and gave me this sly and devilish look and smacked my leg but being drunk she was trying to be playful and stuff and laugh but didn't realize she almost smacked my crotch. I couldn't help but laugh because she thought she was so smooth. NOT!

Knowing that we can call each other almost any hour at night and still up to hang out. Bunch of times I got a message that the door was open and to just come in and wine was in the fridge. Company's nice.
Her telling me all about Chelsea Handler and her switching to Belvedere. So this was a few days after Christmas so I bought her one of the books from her and I went to the liqour store and purchased the biggest bottle of Belvedere. We posed with them.

Me being trashed at her place hen we were hanging out with Lightbulb (an infectious name we gave our friend Cara for reasons). I wanted to leave but they cornered me and made me stay there and Mel threw a blanket over me and took my shoes off. She won. I slept.

With Jessica

The time I had to help her carry a giant ass table from the basement to play beerpong with everyone on. Banged my head on the ceiling and hit her foot. Got her dunk before the party started. She pulled me downstairs to be alone and told me that she wanted me to get really really drunk. The reason being was that it was her party and she feels bad being the only drunk one. Mistake on her part. It was over. Not over but more of a "Let's laugh at Karl" haha.

Driving to Syracuse from Rochester and going to the Original Barbeque place to celebrate her release from Lent, she gave up meat. We had to drop off a library book too (over 58 miles away? couldn't choose a library at home I guess). The guy thought we were a couple. So when dessert came I ordered a cheese cake because she made me order something and she got a lemon something? Well it came to about 12 or 14 for both of the slices and the guy didn't charge us for it. We left him a nice tip because of that. Guess he wanted us to have a good time. On the way back we felt like shit because we ate so much.  That was over a half hour or so of uncomfortableness. We switched driving so we put it in drive and jumped out of the car and switched places as fast as we could running around the car.

Taking the 5 hour course together. Birthday present from her mom to me.

Being the one as far as it goes if everyone has to leave. I am the only one that can stay the night.

Going to the movies and drinking in the theater. Either way we end up at her places playing scrabble and I get demolished. But in my defense I only play when i am with her.

I remember going to her house and walking into her room. Ontop of the dresser there was this long  letter that I wrote her when she was in California. I guess she saved that one.

...there may be more....
I had this friend who we used to talk on the phone for hours. We would ironically have to pee at the same time. so her and i went together because it was easy and not as creepy together. But she may be kind of a creep.

And I was thinking last night. 5 or 7 months ago in the summer maybe. I don't know. I got this call from a girl. It was late. Like 8 or 9 at night. Lived a few towns over. Took about 20 minutes to get there. She told me that her mom was gone for a day or two. Wanted me to come over for the night and stay with her. 7 months later I just realized I was a booty call. I never went. Told her I couldn't. I don't think I would have though. Had I known what the nature of that call was.

61 Albums - #1
1/ Radiohead - Kid A - 2000

And so we come to the conclusion of this far too long list that I decided to begin posting.  I've relived a ton of fantastic memories with this list but it all comes to that #1 album.  That album that just blows you away every single time you listen to it.

This is that album.

It took me 2 years to realize it.  At the time, I was more interested in the other album that I bought along with this one: Fatboy Slim's You've Come A Long Way, Baby.  But I did listen to this album first in the car on the way back from the music store.  The moment I heard the descending notes of the opening chord of "Everything in its Right Place," I knew that I was about to listen to something so completely different, so completely unique that I wouldn't be sure if I would like it.  Sure enough, I had nitpicked about 3 songs from the album (at the time they came to be #1, #4, and #8 instead of song names) that I could listen to and enjoy.  But after a couple of weeks, I put it down in favor of music more supplemental to my teenage hormones.

Two full years later, I bought Hail To The Thief while at an FYE in a mall in Hilton Head Island, SC, a family vacation spot.  I listened to that thing day in and day out while we were vacationing.  It was my new favorite album for sure.  When I got home I knew that I had another Radiohead album and I dug it out of a box in my closet.  I put in Kid A for the first time in 2 years and immediately listened to my 3 favorites.  #1, then #4, then #8.  But then I started listening to the others... I noticed that there were styles and things within the music that I had heard in other albums that I enjoyed.  I loved the horns in "The National Anthem."  I loved the rock guitars in "Optimistic."  I enjoyed the Disney movie harp in "Motion Picture Soundtrack."  Listen after listen, I gathered more and more that I enjoyed.  I heard new thing after new thing.  And then it hit me: Radiohead was now my favorite band.  They were my first favorite band that I enjoyed not only because of how their music made me feel but also because of the complexity and differentiating qualities of it.

Shortly after this I bought the rest of the discography for cheap through a music club.  I grew fond of OK Computer immediately but continued to stick with Kid A.  Just something about it made me know that it was my most favorite album.  It was an album I could always come back to and always find something new.  I'm still finding new things within the album.  It wasn't until 4 years after I bought the album that I finally heard the 3rd harmony part on "Idioteque."  It is just incredible how layered this album is.  You think you've found everything and then some generous person comes along and isolates the left and right channels from the center and gives you a completely different experience and you find EVEN MORE.

Not only is the album incredible but the album's artwork blows me away.  Desolate icy tundras created with pixelated lines and fiery skies run rampant across the paper sheet.  But when you hear a song like "Treefingers" and look at this album you just know... The connection between Stanley Donwood (who has created the artwork for every album since OK Computer I believe) and the band is one that's brought upon by an understanding of the most natural emotions that show up while listening to their albums.  And to have such a dramatic change as "Treefingers" into "Optimistic" and yet have the artwork fit both sounds is just breathtaking.

I still haven't put my finger on it yet.  Whether it's Thom Yorke's naturally morose style of singing or just the sound of the band as whole, I'm not sure, but somehow this band brings as many styles as possible to the table and then they make them fit together.  How anyone else could make electric-jazz ("The National Anthem") flow flawlessly into an epic orchestral ballad ("How to Disappear Completely") is anyone's guess but Radiohead did it.

But I won't keep this to just how incredibly complex and musically-incredible this album is.  This album makes me happier than any other while I'm listening to it.  This is my "desert island" album.  In the end, I think that's what people look for.  Music that makes them happy.  I'm glad that I can still hold onto music that makes me happy while I continue to grow in my knowledge of music as a whole.  I'm glad that I can continue to listen to albums like Take Off Your Pants And Jacket and still enjoy it and not feel like I've compromised my musical IQ.  But when I combine these two things (my knowledge of music and what makes me happy regardless of complexity), Kid A wins out in the end.  When I began to decide upon my top 10 for this list, the combination of these two things was a huge factor.  This album is just the perfect combination of happiness and complexity.  It came at exactly the right time in my life and helped open my world to more music.  This album is the reason I have the band Animal Collective (and quite a few others) to call a favorite.  I can't find any flaw in the album.  Even the instrumental track is perfectly crafted.  Listening to one song from the album doesn't feel right.  I have to listen to all of the songs as they were put together.

I leave you all with this one last thought... I might have 4 beers in me but I think it's an important thought nonetheless....

Music completes life.  If there's anyone that says they don't listen to music... well... they aren't human.  Music is what nourishes us.  It's something that can perk us up on a sad day.  Something that can supplement a perfect day.  Something that can drive another action.  It's the perfect, harmonious thing with almost anything in the world.  Get drunk with it.  Get high with it.  Have sex with it.  Get in fights with it.  Fall in love with it.  Are you in a relationship?  Make a song "your song."  There's something out there made by some band that fits any mood.  It's the most subjective thing out there because it's completely driven by human nature.  For the religious, it's inspired by God.  It's inspired by anything.

I hope that this list inspired some of you in some way.  I don't know if it inspired anybody at all but I don't really care.  I want to share it with anybody that will read it because it's important to me.  It feels good to say "Hey guys, this is what my life is all about."  I don't care if anybody thinks that I spent too much time doing something like this.  Music is probably the closest thing I keep to my heart apart from my family and friends.  The one thing I hold most dear to me in all my life is that my late mother and I shared the same band as our favorite.  I shared so much music with my Mom since she was diagnosed with Stage 4 colorectal cancer.  Radiohead was our favorite band.  We both saw our first Radiohead concert together.  A few nights after she died I had a SPIRITUALLY-CONFIRMING EXPERIENCE connected with Radiohead and my fondest memories of her.

Music is life and music can change things.

So I leave you with this.  I have decided that maybe my time is up here on MindSay.  I'll continue to check back and visit my friends' sites and check up on them but I think I've had a good enough run here.  I've made somewhat of a name for myself.  I've been a little bit of everything here.  I've been a flirt, a tease, a trickster, a joker, a laugh, a serious person, a conversationalist, a thinker, a believer, an encourager, and, I hope, an inspirer.  Please comment all you want on this.  Vote this.  MindSay has changed and, IN MY OPINION, for the worse.  No more attention is payed here.  I've realized this through talking with unnamed members.  But I wish you all the best.

Just one thing before I go:

No, I'm not black.

61 Albums - #2
I've decided that, since I'm getting burned out writing so much (and, consequentially, writing less about some of the later albums on the list), I will continue the list by posting one album at a time.

So here goes: Think of 25 albums that had such a profound effect on you they changed your life.  Ones that dug into your soul.  Music that brought you to life when you heard it.  Royally affected you, kicked you in the wazoo, literally socked you in the gut, is what I mean.  Then, when you finish, tag 15 others.  Make sure you copy and paste this part so they know the drill.

Ok, I know a lot of you are just gonna post your favorite albums of all time or the albums you think are the best of the best and then rank them but I took this pretty seriously.  I've ranked the 60 albums, out of my personal collection, that most affected me after listening.  They range from 1963 to 2009.  Some of these albums I don't really listen to much anymore (but the funny thing is that now I'm re-listening to a lot of these and finding that they're just brilliant [Blink-182 - Enema Of The State, for example]) but they helped shape me, musically and personally, into who I am now.  This isn't merely a "this album is better than the previous" list.  I did factor that in with some of these (mostly the newer albums that really hooked me in but haven't had a profound effect on my life, yet) but most all of these are ranked above others because of their substantial impact on my personality.  This took me a pretty long time to put together so, without further ado, here they are:

2/ Animal Collective - Merriweather Post Pavilion - 2009

Copied from MindSay Music Reviews:
"I grew up around music.  I was constantly involved with the sounds coming from my father's turntable soundsystem.  Frank Zappa, The Beatles, The Beach Boys, Lou Reed, a ton of blues, and everything in between.  I loved everything my Dad played.  I was ecstatic when I received my CD copies of We're Only In It For The Money and Lumpy Gravy.  I went out and bought Sgt. Peppers at a school club sale because I "knew their name."  And now I've grown up.  I've developed my own tastes and I find new music almost every day.

But one big thing that I've noticed is that there are no more "big hits."  We're in a digital age where you can get a single song for a dollar and be on your way.  No longer is there a strong focus on albums as a cohesive whole.  Most everything that's mainstream popular is popular for a reason.  It gives those that don't care about music something to listen to.  As soon as they get bored of the song, the next big single from "X Band" is out on iTunes.  There's no waiting.  It's all constant.  And mostly garbage.  But I've always wanted something to hold onto.  Any band I tried to grasp onto when I was into Top 40 material dissipated before any substance was created.  And then I hit a revelation.  An album that my cousin gave me as a birthday gift began seeping into my head.  It flowed nicely and had a good pace.  I then began to compare albums to it and before long I was searching for an album to top it.  I kept finding them.  Each time I'd find a new album better than the last top album.  And then finally, I discovered two albums.  OK Computer and Kid A (for the second time).  I began listening to these albums so much that they instantly jumped to the top of my all-time list.

And so it stayed until this past Christmas day.

In early October, one of my other favorite bands, Animal Collective, had announced their next album.  I've loved Animal Collective from the second I heard their song "Grass."  This is probably one of the only bands to rival Radiohead for that top spot of mine.  So I've kept an eye out for that special album again.  This time I've got very high standards.

Animal Collective's Merriweather Post Pavilion is due out on vinyl January 6th and on CD and digital January 12th.  Since early October, I've been following the news of this album.  And, finally, it leaked on the internet on Christmas day.

Animal Collective's albums all have a very different sound from each other.  Their first release, Spirit They're Gone, Spirit They've Vanished, is a pop album buried deep beneath 3 feet of electronic noise.  Danse Manatee got a bit more experimental with the original sound.  Here Comes The Indian is like if an early-human tribe got a hold of the equipment used to create Animal Collective's signature electronic sound. Take away the electronic noises, leave the tribal tendencies, and add a little more vocal experimentation and you have Sung Tongs.  But then Feels came along a year later and turned back to electronics.  But this time it was different.  There were layers and layers of sound and melodies and harmonies.  Strawberry Jam turned you on your ear yet again.  Where Feels was a warm experience, Strawberry Jam is disjointed in a way.  It was a new spin on pop music.

Animal Collective see pop in a new light.  The music on this album is comparable in nature to Sgt. Peppers.  It's experimental and yet the structures and melodies of each song are catchy and are extremely singable.  Merriweather Post Pavilion may be my new #1 album.

MPP starts with "In the Flowers" (Preview it here). It begins with sounds and noises similar to what you can imagine a dream sounding like.  And then an arpeggioed chord rings out and Avey Tare begins to sing.  He sounds like he's singing underwater.  There isn't a beat... it just flows.  But then Avey sings "If I could just leave my body for the night."  CRASH!  The song literally explodes with energy and sound and drums and bass.  It continues for a while until it dies out and the song returns to its original flowing sound.  The song comes to a slow stop.  Welcome to what this album is like.  It's rampant with tension and release.  It's a lesson in cohesiveness.

The second song in the album proves that this band is not what some people believed them to be.  I've met many a person who said "Animal Collective?  Just a noise-ridden, melody-lacking, druggie band."  Druggie band?  Maybe.  Noise-ridden?  Perhaps on some songs.  Melody-lacking?  Listen to "My Girls" (Preview it here). This is one of the best pop songs I've ever heard.  It's got all the elements of a basic song.  2 verses, 2 bridges, and 2 choruses.  It's also got some particularly catchy melodies.  I dare you to listen to this song and not start singing along.  The song starts with a swirling noise and a very quick electronic arpeggio.  Noah Lennox's voice rings out.  "Isn't much that I feel I need.  A solid soul and the blood I bleed.  With a little girl and by my spouse, I only want a proper house."  David Portner's backing vocals come through with spectacular effect on the repeat.  At the end of the 2nd time through, a shaker provides you with a solid tempo, much faster than the original.  Suddenly they repeat the vocals, this time with an added beat and woody-drum part.  And then the bridge!  This is where the Beach Boys comparisons are justified.  Handclaps are now in place and before you get used to the bridge there's a small part between the bridge and chorus.  "And my father's grace" repeated over and over and then a wash of beautiful melody and harmony greet you.  The song repeats this structure one more time before slowly dying down with the 3-part harmony at the end.  The song is about only wanting the most basic things for your wife and children.  It's got incredible words, even in their simplistic nature.  And the rest of the album never lets you down as far as lyrics go.  Onto the next song: "Also Frightened."

Faded in, we hear a sample of tribal drums and a yell before a mad rush of beats, synthesizers, and harmonized words.  This is definitely one of the more wordy songs on the entire album but it's got an incredible message.  While the name of the album leads to no understanding of the message of it as a whole, the words of the songs certainly do.  Over the 11 songs, there is an overwhelming sense of future possibilities for family and friends.  It's an extremely personal album about what's in store for those closest to you and what you want for them.  This particular song, "Also Frightened" (Preview it here), perfectly sums of the exact message I'm trying to explain.  The words are very abstract but once you stop scrutinizing them up close and step back a little, you can understand what the song is about.  It's about seeing your children playing and living their life in the present but, when talking to your spouse, you realize that you're very unsure about their future.  Will they be like you?  Will they be completely different?  Should you try and mold them to be who you want them to be?  No one should call you a dreamer for wishing the best for your child but are you also frightened?

I have to apologize to you all for this very verbose review but this is probably the most exciting album I've found in the last 8 years.  I'm also under the influence of hydrocodone so I can't help but feel more happy than usual about all of this.

So we move on.  After the beauty and grandeur of "Also Frightened," we arrive at "Summertime Clothes" (Preview it here). This is another PERFECT example of a wonderful pop song.  But this time we have a balanced mix of pop arrangement and Animal Collective experimentalism.  Heavily-distorted noise set to a four-to-the-floor beat leads into triplet notes that are... some sort of electronic instrument put through several effects.  It's an incredible sound done by many other bands but rarely done successfully.  It's immediately catchy and a quick reaction is that this could easily be on the radio.  But what's fantastic about it is that it's not cliche like so many other Top 40 Radio songs.  It's all about wanting to just be with your lover and just walk with them when you're lonely... but it tells that story almost like a country song.  It starts at the beginning.  You're hot, sweaty, and bored on a summer night.  You call your girl and she picks up.  So you slide down to the hot street and you go walking together.  It doesn't matter where you go, you just go.  It describes all the sensations related and if you've ever had a similar experience, you immediately understand and connect with this song.  The song breaks to an incredibly cheery bridge that literally sounds sunny.  "When the sun goes down we'll go out again..."  Makes sense :).  There's another verse before the song ends in the chorus of "I want to walk around with you!  Just you, just you, just you!"

I really hope you're all still reading because this is where the album gets even more interesting.  The next song is called "Daily Routine" (Preview it here) and is exactly about that.  A daily routine.  But this song is anything but routine.  It starts out with the sounds of someone slamming a pedal and a weird synthesized chirp noise.  But it gets faster.  And faster.  And even more faster until the one chirp turns into a revolving series of chirps that almost sounds like an alarm clock before an explosion of bass breaks in and Noah sings "JUST A SEC MORE IN MY BED."  Haha!  Pretty clever.  This is one interesting song.  I'm not sure how to describe it other than melodic chanting broken up by the series of chirps.  It's very foreign sounding and is just... awesome.  It's just an awesome song.  My only complaint is the length.  It's nearly 6 minutes long.  But nearly 6 minutes isn't the problem.  The problem is a solid 3:45 of a very slow dream-like section that closes out the song.  It's just dreamy noises and Noah singing "Just a sec more in my bed!  Hope the machine's working right!" over and over again.  It's extremely beautiful but gets a little old after about 2 minutes.

It's not a bad song though.  It's one of the best on the album.  But the next song is an incredible step towards a blend of experimental slow songs, dance music, and tropicalia!  "Bluish" (Preview it here) begins with a very liquid sound that swirls into a effect-heavy guitar part.  And then: BA-BOOM BA-BOOM BA-BOOM BA-BOOM.  This heavy beat breaks in and one of the most amazingly catchy series of notes rings through.  When David starts singing, his voice is reverberated through a long hallway of sound.  "I'm getting lost in your curls."  It's an incredibly romantic song.  But the verse is only the beginning of this amazing blend of music.  Noah and David harmonize a word into the chorus: an explosion of shakers, guitar, tribal drums, and sparse piano.  It's almost confusing as to how a song so washed by Animal Collective's signature sound could be so natural with this alien-genre-embellishment.  It's a lesson to be learned by these dime-a-dozen bands out there right now.

The next song took me a while to really understand.  But now I do.  "Guys Eyes" (Preview it here) is what The Beach Boys would sound like if Brian Wilson wrote the music immediately after having his meltdown in the early seventies.  It starts with vocals put through probably 50 different effects.  An explosion of drums meets your ears.  It's so loud and powerful.  The vocals begin at the same time and are covered in effects.  At least the backing vocals are.  My own immediate reaction was not of disgust but of dislike of the very weird backing vocals.  There are about 2 or 3 different vocal parts happening all at the same time and it's almost overwhelming.  But your ear gets past the odd backing vocals, you can pick apart the main melody.  It's an extremely Brian Wilsonish melody.  It bounces all over the place and even the words are similar to The Beach Boys (at least on their simplistic side of things).  By the time you've found the pounded piano under the drums, the song progresses into the second section, a very odd repetition of the words "Need her" backed by sticks-and-stones drums and an accelerating and decelerating synth.  During the third part, which explodes just as much as the beginning, Noah's melody turns into a warped version of the first section's.  If you thought the beginning melody bounced around, you'll be surprised at how much control this man has over his voice.  It flitters and dances around the backing vocals and drum parts and really makes this song.  It's absolutely incredible.  The song then evolves into a half-yelled chant of "WHAT I WANT TO!  WHAT I WANT TO!" before ending on a quiet and delicate wind instrument, slowly dancing away into the next song, which is one of my absolute favorites.

"Taste" (Preview it here) begins delicately, borrowing the flute ending from "Guys Eyes" and applying it to the intro.  Suddenly more woody drums pound out with some sparse, indistinct vocals and then this wonderful electronic, buzzy bass plays out these single notes on the down-beats.  David starts singing: "Am I really all the things that are outside of me?"  With plenty and echo and reverb, he lays out this theme of wondering if everything outside of him is really what makes him who he is.  But then he goes into the chorus and Noah backs his words with a choir-boy-like voice that rings out with even more reverb and finishes the picture Dave started painting.  It's one of the most beautiful vocal accompaniments I've ever heard and I want to hear it over and over whenever I listen to this song.  The song goes through another verse and chorus before (arguably) the most amazing part of this album begins.  The final segment of "Taste" is a harmony between Dave and Noah of the same words that started the song "Am I really all the things that are outside of me?"  The transition from the chorus to this part is seamless and beautiful.  It is proof that these guys are in the same mind as those great musicians, singers, and songwriters from the 50s and 60s that we all know and love.  This song solidified this album as being one of my all-time favorites and close to (if not) my most favorite of all time.

And so we begin the last leg of the album.  And so I begin this paragraph with a small sigh.  At the time of this review, "Lion in a Coma" (Preview it here) still hasn't really clicked with me.  I typically love songs in weird time signatures (Radiohead's "Morning Bell," Tool's "The Grudge," etc) but this one just hasn't really connected.  It begins with a Jew harp (yes, that is what they are called) and leads into a rambling and bouncy beat in the time signature of 9/8.  David's voice is probably the best part of those song though.  While it does seem like he tried to cram too many words into each phrase during the verses, the chorus really opens up the song and becomes very enjoyable.  The bridge is similar in that it doesn't seem rushed and it even slows down at one point.  But it gets even better.  After the last "Please don't leave me!" part, Dave goes into this chant of "LION IN A COMA, LION IN A COMA..."  The lyrics would sound silly except for the backing synth parts which give it this very emotional feel.  This song really does blossom into something great.  It's just my least favorite track as of this moment.

But there's only so much you can take of fast-paced songs.  So on we go to the slowest song on the album, "No More Runnin" (Preview it here). A quiet chord is played before an underwater-piano plays a beautiful series of notes and a deep rolling bass slides into Dave's voice.  Aside from the title of the song, I haven't quite read into the lyrics enough to really understand what's going on in the words but there are some very beautiful phrases here.  "...With the torch of a firefly-lit tree." is a particular favorite of mine.  Dave's vocals remain un-accompanied until Noah backs him with an equally slow harmony that moves up and down with Dave's on "It's what I hoped fooooooooooooooor, WHOA!"  But the most beautiful part comes with the harmony on "No more runniiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiin!"  It almost angers me how amazing these melodies and harmonies are.  Each one is beautifully crafted into this blissful piece that form-fits to each song and completes the sound desired.  It's incredible.

But they couldn't leave you all with sleepy ears.  A "WOO!" begins "Brothersport" (Preview it here), an Africa-inspired, almost-reggae song that almost reminds me of "Tubthumping" by Chumbawamba except not awful.  This song is just... exciting.  Absolutely exciting.  The way Noah sings on this song is completely different from all the other songs and rolls along with all the shakers in the beginning before repeating "Sport brotha, support ya brotha" over and over until an EXPLOSION of drum and percussion rivalling Stomp.  There's an excess of vocals, yells and percussion that repeats over and over before stopping with a harmonized "MAAAAATT!!!"  Synths bound along with the light percussion while the duo pair voices and create an incredible harmony that builds and builds and builds until there's another EXPLOSION of drums and percussion and the song continues on for another minute.  This is a song to get your blood pumping and it does this with little effort.  You just can't help but bounce and dance and sing (although my version is more of an indistinct mumble of nonexistant words) along with this song.  It is hard to figure out the lyrics just because of the way they're chanted and sung by both Dave and Noah but the song is about Noah making sure his brother is OK and goes on with his life after their father's death a few years ago.  Even in this crock pot of sound, percussion, and chants there's a wonderful message to be heard.  And that's why this album is so amazing.

All 11 songs hold an incredible message that is equally matched by the music backing it.  And the best part is that the cohesiveness of every single song can be puzzle-pieced together to make an even larger picture.  This is an album built upon the message of hope for our close ones' futures, created by people who have a futuristic mindset but also hold strong to the roots which helped them get to where they are today, both musically and personally.  I cannot help but be ensconced in the sound of this album.  Merriweather Post Pavilion is an instant classic to be remembered for a very long time."

This is as best as I can describe how this album makes me feel.  It's incredibly captivating without being too complex (at least, not complex song structures or chord changes).  I followed Radiohead's In Rainbows from day one but I was more excited about this album when it was announced.  I'm not really sure why but I think it has to do with Animal Collective reinventing themselves with every release.  You can't pin down these guys' sound.

I hope you've enjoyed this.  There's 1 more album and it might take me a little while to do the summary for it.  I'm also sick right now so that will play into it.

Please stick around!

61 Albums - #3
I've decided that, since I'm getting burned out writing so much (and, consequentially, writing less about some of the later albums on the list), I will continue the list by posting one album at a time.

So here goes: Think of 25 albums that had such a profound effect on you they changed your life.  Ones that dug into your soul.  Music that brought you to life when you heard it.  Royally affected you, kicked you in the wazoo, literally socked you in the gut, is what I mean.  Then, when you finish, tag 15 others.  Make sure you copy and paste this part so they know the drill.

Ok, I know a lot of you are just gonna post your favorite albums of all time or the albums you think are the best of the best and then rank them but I took this pretty seriously.  I've ranked the 60 albums, out of my personal collection, that most affected me after listening.  They range from 1963 to 2009.  Some of these albums I don't really listen to much anymore (but the funny thing is that now I'm re-listening to a lot of these and finding that they're just brilliant [Blink-182 - Enema Of The State, for example]) but they helped shape me, musically and personally, into who I am now.  This isn't merely a "this album is better than the previous" list.  I did factor that in with some of these (mostly the newer albums that really hooked me in but haven't had a profound effect on my life, yet) but most all of these are ranked above others because of their substantial impact on my personality.  This took me a pretty long time to put together so, without further ado, here they are:

3/ Brian Wilson - SMiLE - 1967/2004

When The Beatles recorded and released Revolver, The Beach Boys (mainly Brian Wilson) responded with Pet Sounds.  The Beatles heard Pet Sounds and fired back with Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band.  So what was the most logical direction for Brian Wilson?  Make an even better album.
Wilson began writing in 1966 and hired on a man named Van Dyke Parks to help in writing the lyrics.  I'm not sure what made Brian Wilson choose Parks but he chose well.  A number of my favorite lyrics of all time are on this album.  If you check back a few pages you can read an entire transcript of the lyrics of SMiLE that I decided to do.  But SMiLE was almost completely opposed by the other members of The Beach Boys.  The strongest opposition came from Brian's cousin and bandmate Mike Love.  Love just wanted to stick with the hit-making stuff.  He wanted to stick to singing about cars and girls and sunshine.  In other words (and in my opinion), he wanted the money and fame.  Brian just wouldn't have it though.  He pretty much wrote Pet Sounds by himself and then just brought in the rest of the band to sing the other parts.  When Brian brought on Van Dyke Parks, Mike Love absolutely hated the lyrics he wrote.  He went so far as to call them "Acid alliteration."  He did have a point though.  Brian Wilson was constantly exploring the world of LSD.  And I have to say I'm thankful he did.  I'm not sure how much of this record was completely influenced by the drug but I do know of the "techniques" Brian toyed with while recording.  Things like making a "rec-room" in a tent (which had to be brought down because of all the pot smoke) and building a giant sandbox and putting a grand piano in it for writing songs in.  It was obvious that Brian was completely immersed in this record and had blocked out the rest of the band.
Over the next year, Brian's mental health dwindled, Capitol demanded more hits and battled the band at every turn, Mike Love and the rest of the band were against any idea of this SMiLE project being a Beach Boys album, and Van Dyke Parks ended his partnership with Brian suddenly after a fairly heated argument with Mike Love over his lyrics.  Things just fell apart and SMiLE was subequently shelved.
Thirty years later, Brian Wilson is working on solo material, Dennis had died in an accidental drowning, Carl was losing his battle with lung cancer, and Mike and Al Jardine were touring together.  The SMiLE tapes were collecting dust and many had been trashed or lost.  Brian continued to put out solo material while the legends of this unreleased album grew and grew.  Eventually, his touring band, The Wondermints, convinced Brian to revisit Pet Sounds live.  During the touring of this album, Brian started playing old tracks from the SMiLE sessions.  Soon, his backing band convinced him to do the previously thought impossible.  Brian Wilson, Van Dyke Parks, and 3 members of The Wondermints teamed up to complete unfinished ideas on SMiLE and they began practicing performance of the album.  In February of 2004, 37 years later, Brian Wilson performed the album in its entirety.  The performance got so much praise that Brian was convinced to begin recording a studio recreation of what should have been released in 1967.  In September of 2004, after battling bad memories and bad days, Brian Wilson finally released SMiLE.

The album is follows a main central theme: America.  It's basically a journey from Plymouth Rock to Hawai'i.  It's then cut up into 3 main parts: Eastern America and the conflicts between settlers and Indians, Childhood/Fatherhood and the lessons taught and learned between child and father, and an elemental theme incorporating earth ("I'm in Great Shape/I Wanna Be Around/Workshop," "Vega-Tables"), wind ("Wind Chimes"), fire ("Mrs. O'Leary's Cow"), and water ("In Blue Hawaii," "On a Holiday").  The album ends with "Good Vibrations," which is a cross between old Beach Boys and new Beach Boys.  It's an incredible journey that can only be experienced by listening to the album front to back.  It is literally impossible for me to listen to just one song off of this album.  I have to listen to all or none.  That says a LOT about this album.  It's an epic masterpiece and the most complete and theme-driven album I've ever heard.  It blows me away that one man wrote most all of this album.  It's so incredibly fleshed out and there's not a single misused second on the entire record.  I am so thankful that I was able to purchase and listen to SMiLE so late in my life and music-listening-journey so that I can actually remember and cherish it.  That it wasn't an album I had to discover and seek out.  I'm so thankful that it was finally rereleased.  Brian Wilson was finally able to outdo The Beatles.

(I told you to stick around, jakerad!)

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