Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Taking On 2011 - Top Tracks (Q3 Quarterly Review)

Another three months have passed, and as has become a yearly tradition here at Processed Grass it is about time we take a look back at all the yearly developments in the world of culture. As is also tradition my Quarterly Review will be broken in to three parts (songs, albums, film) and list some random number of these entries that have been dominating my ear space and mental functions for the past however many months! We are approaching the time of year when monumental changes occur in these lists. Don't believe me? Just check up on the first and second quarterly reviews to see how things have changed...or how orders have stayed the same.

We all like comfort, right?

Just a reminder, each artist is only allowed one song on the list. These are the rules I use to stay sane, and you care about my sanity, right? And to listen to the songs just click on the title/artist name!

11. "Freaks and Geeks" - Childish Gambino

It seems fitting that writer/actor/comedian/rapper/all around talent Donald Glover, currently co-starring on one of television's best comedies Community, has taken the name of another well beloved television program for his stand out track on this year's five song untitled EP. It's not fitting because of the comedy connections though, no it's what those connections sort of represent for Childish Gambino's entire oeuvre. It sort of captures all the qualities that could easily be misapplied to Gambino's music, he's just another outsider attempting to seem cool, but that mostly misses the larger point. When you have wordplay that fires at such a rapid and well executed pace, you're not an outsider, you're just a rapper.

10. "High Maintenance" - Miranda Cosgrove ft. Rivers Cuomo

You know what I still find baffling, ever since I first reviewed this album? That Miranda Cosgrove and Rivers Cuomo are on a track together. Even more crazy, as I have mentioned before and continue to be slightly creeped out by today, is that this song seems to be about an implied relationship between the two singers. Maybe not Cosgrove and Cuomo (Cuomgrove? Cosmo?), but definitely between the two constructed speakers in the songs. Maybe there's a weird daddy complex going on here. If that's the case, I hope more taboo relationships find their way in to easily digestible pop singles.

9. "The Lonely Doll" - Cass McCombs (Not on Youtube)

Cass McCombs is probably the closest living artist to classic Bob Dylan that we have, at least in terms on song composition and length. This song is also delightfully creepy and kind of reminds me of Poe. Poe, poetry. You see what I'm doing here? Really though, I love Edgar Allan Poe.

8. "Slow Motion" - Holy Ghost!

Despite the Holy Ghost! album not hitting as well as it should have with me, I have been completely lost in the sounds of "Slow Motion" since first hearing it. I may just associate it with the terribad Juvenile song, which makes me like this one more in comparison, but mostly it's just great fun with a touch of despair. And really, what more can I ask for from my music?

7. "Suicide Demo For Kara Walker" - Destroyer

Hard to pick just one of the many beautiful songs from Destroyer's latest album, but I think "Suicide Demo For Kara Walker" not only works in the context of the album as sort of a central point that encapsulates the many elements of the band that work so well together doing just that, but also works as a stand alone single. Poetry. Music. Sometimes it doesn't matter, it's just art.

6. "Lindisfarne" - James Blake

As much as I love this song, or songs depending on when you first heard them, if you haven't listened to them by now you probably never will. You see that? That's a challenge! Just click the link and listen to Blake! If you have already done so, just click it and listen to it again. He's not going anywhere.

5. "Lightweight" - Demi Lovato

Feels like it was only a matter of time before Demi Lovato showed up on this list, though as I have written before I initially had some hesitations about this album. I plan on having a review up in the next week or so, but I can say this is not the only song that competed for a spot on this list. It's just kind of the perfect blend of all things Demi, old and new.

4. "Nightmare" - Tyler, The Creator

I still really wish this and "Tron Cat" were the same song so that I could just call it the best of the year and be done with it. But they aren't, and they won't be. You need that break in the context of the album. Regardless, this is Tyler working at his finest. It's not horrorcore, it's just personalized hiphop with a bit of the old ultraviolence.

3. "California" - EMA

I had a tough time selecting an EMA song for this list as well, but I still feel as if "California" is the strongest track on her debut album. What I love about "California" though is the sheer amount of lyrics that EMA bombards me with, each one hitting a bit harder than the one before.

2. "Bizness" - tUnE-yArDs

The former number one song has dipped slightly, but don't let that fool you. tUnE-yArDs's standout song is still an incredible tour-de-force of sound. In class about a week ago we listened to some lady performing scat, and while I did not much care for that performance I can definitely see how that type of music has found its way in to the work of tUnE-yArDs. Thinking back to when I saw them in Chicago over the summer, this may be the second coming of scat. Or not. But it's a damn great song.

St. Vincent being on this list is also no surprise, though as I was thinking of which song of hers I felt deserved top honors I actually had a good deal of trouble narrowing down the selections. What makes "Cheerleader" my favorite song from her new album, Strange Mercy, is how it combines all of the wonderfully musical elements of Annie Clark's music with a fairly simplistic, but completely identifiable, feeling.

Honorable Mentions:

"Go Outside" - Cults (best music video, but this song was technically released last year despite the album dropping in 2011)
"Come Threw Looking Clean" - Young Ni**a (Technically Tyler, The Creator already has a song on the list)
Any song from The Book of Mormon
the Mountain Goats (they'll probably be back in the year end round up)

So, what did I miss? What do I absolutely have to listen to before the end of the year? Let me know below in comments!


Comments are welcome and, for anyone with a literary mind, I encourage checking out my poetry blogfilled with all original works for your reading pleasure. Or if video games are more your thing, I have a blog dedicated to all gaming news, reviews, and opinions.

Also, I am on the old Twitter thing so I guess you can follow me at twitter.com/FLYmeatwad.

And if you want to know what I'm watching, listening to, playing , and reading you can follow my tumblr account!
© 2011 Richard James Thorne


  1. eyeleveleye: I need to listen to Beitrut

    eyeleveleye: *Beirut

    eyeleveleye: Tell me in comments [tongue]

  2. Good call, I will listen to them before the end of the year for sure.