I have a theory: when it comes to music listeners, familiarity breeds snobbery.
Bear with me.
Let's say you've loved a band from day 1. Let me use Led Zeppelin as an example. They release Zeppelin I. It's awesome. Then II comes out. HOLY SHIT THIS IS AMAZING. Then here comes III66Wait a minute!67What is this bullshit? This isn68s this acoustic shit??69
Not having grown up in the 70s (I was born two years before Bohnam died), I got the pleasure of listening to Zeppelin at my own leisure. I wasn't alive when II came out. I didn't get to experience the thrill of hearing Zeppelin II for the first time with everyone else (which would have been amazing, btw). But, you know what I did get to do? Enjoy the albums for what they are, not having that instinct to compare a new release to its predecessor. If I did grow up in the early 70s, I likely would have missed out on the fact that Zeppelin III is the best album of all time.
What's my point?
I have a buddy who is WAY into Pete Yorn. He tells me ArrangingTime is good, but it's not as good as his other albums.
While I've heard the name Pete Yorn, I never listened to any of his music until this year. And I don't begrudge my buddy's opinion at all, but boy, I sure am glad I got to listen to ArrangingTime without bias or snobbish expectations, because this album is fucking fantastic.
So fantastic, in fact, I will soon go back and listen to Pete Yorn's studio discography in its entirety. And I think I just called my buddy a snob. Sorry, Daniel.
176Beautiful177ArrangingTime is: beautiful. Beautiful production. Beautiful arrangements and melodies. Beautiful lyrics.
It's also moody. Not in a bad way, but in a this-puts-you-in-a-certain-mood kind of way. Which happened to be a theme of most of the albums in my top 10 this year. Each stirs some kind of specific feeling or mood. ArrangingTime is warm with a overarching sense of tonal seduction that keeps you locked in and wanting more, while delivering impeccable production quality.
ArrangingTime is neither pretentious nor boastful; fake nor lazy. It doesn't try to disguise itself as something else. It doesn't have tracks that feel like they don't belong, and every track is true to itself. Pete Yorn doesn't try to wow you with overly complicated beats, complex rhythms and synths, or whatever else pop songs use nowadays to attract listeners. What you see is what you get, and what you get is a fantastic album from track 1 to track 12.
227She Was Weird228