I had a thought while cutting the grass the other day (that’s when I do my best thinking). The elusive definition of “fandom” — debated in a recent thread on this blog — crystallized for me into a rather simple equation.
Halfway through presenting my countdown of 2008’s top ten songs (which has already been signed, sealed and delivered) I realized I committed a major blunder in overlooking one of last year’s gems, Rihanna’s ‘Disturbia.’
I bought her multi-platinum album Good Girl Gone Bad toward the end of December but didn’t consider it for my year-end list because it was released in 2007. However, three bonus tracks on the edition of the CD I have were released in 2008. Silly me.
First, let me sing the praises of this album. I know I’m a year and a half late to this party, but that’s not gonna stop me from raiding the snack table and jumping in the pool with my clothes on. Good Girl Gone Bad is, put simply, the best album of its kind I’ve heard since… maybe ever.
Back in August, I used some Amazon.com gift certificates to load up on new music. I bought the following CDs:
Adele – 19
Fleet Foxes – Fleet Foxes
Jump – Between the Dim and the Dark
Randy Newman – Harps & Angels
She & Him – Volume One
Sugarland – Love on the Inside
So my goal this week was to single out some artists I’ve heard about but never really heard. I went with two bona fide legends (Tom Waits and Patti Smith), two lesser-known but well-regarded 70s bands (Buzzoccks and Faces) and one contemporary artist who enjoys great critical acclaim (Bjork).
Overall, my takeaway is that I wasn’t missing much. I’m most intrigued by Tom Waits, though his voice remains a stumbling block, and I like the idea of Patti Smith even if her song didn’t completely sell me. Faces seems like a generic 70s rock band. Buzzcocks wrote a great song but their style isn’t up my alley. And Bjork is intriguing but too much of an art-school show-off to really grab me.
So M.I.A. was nominated for a Record of the Year Grammy for ‘Paper Planes,’ last Friday’s Song of the Day.
She has been popping up a lot lately, especially on my own car radio, where a generational war of sorts has broken out each morning.
As always, the younger generation is pushing for edgier music while the elder prefers the old melodic standbys. In this case, it’s my 3-year-old daughter Fiona who has emerged as a big M.I.A. fan while 6-year-old Sophia can’t stand “that awful CD.”