Costello released two albums in the past five years: Wise Up Ghost, his 2013 collaboration with The Roots; and 2010’s National Ransom. If one of those records were to make my list, it would have been the latter.
One was this year’s Down Where the Spirit Meets the Bone, a double album that I am still getting to know after a few weeks. If I’d lived with it for a bit longer before compiling the list, it might have had a chance. It’s a grower, like most good albums.
Rufus Wainwright’s 2012 Out of the Game was a splendid return to art-pop form after a five-year span in which he released only an album of somber piano ballads.
For a moment, I thought I had. So I went back to my notes to see exactly how things shook out.
Turns out the album was in the 21st spot, bumped out of the countdown when I decided to make a space for Adele’s 21, which I had forgotten when first compiling the list.
It feels more like a holiday season cash-grab than an extension of the very personal and artistic statement she made with the first record.
I don’t mean that I can easily recall melodies or lyrics. On the contrary, I butcher the lyrics even to songs I know very well.
I mean that I can vividly remember the experience of hearing certain songs — the time, the place, the people I’m with.
The first time, I took advantage of the opportunity to land a pretty good joke, which I’ll paraphrase here:
“Buying this album is the gayest thing I’ve ever done. At least so far.”