BEST OF THE BEST OF 2011: CLIFF CHENFIELD, HUFFINGTON POST
Chenfield gets huge points for coming right out and saying that he’s just paying the bills with a list of shitty easy-listening stuff for people who hate music but want to pretend they love music. Or, as he puts it, "this list is meant for those who want to hear new music but don’t get a chance to discover as much as they’d like." You know, people with kids. "I generally don’t include releases that have received a good deal of attention (Adele) or music that might be too inaccessible for those with limited time." Great. Great job pandering, Cliff Chenfield. I now feel like it’s okay that I don’t know anything about music other than that Adele has been receiving a lot of attention. But I didn’t really know that, and anytime I don’t know something it makes me feel vulnerable and therefore defiant because I’m an insufferable Huffington Post reader, so that’s setting me up to take you more seriously. I am now ready to hear your opinions about what I should check out in between other things I am busy doing because they’re important and I’m important.
Foo Fighters: Wasting Light. Wait, WHAT? Didn’t you just get done telling me how important I am? Foo Fighters? What am I to think of this? I don’t remember anybody telling me to check out this year’s Foo Fighters album. But here Cliff Chenfield just told me that’s because I’m busy doing important things all the time, so I guess I better investigate this potential hidden (in plain sight) gem. Huh. No, that’s just generic alternative music from 1995. I mean, I haven’t been THAT busy. I had a whole twenties, even.
Lykke Li: Wounded Rhymes. Cliff! What is going on here, buddy? I’ve already heard of Lykke Li when her first shitty album came out, believe it or not. I went and checked and this YouTube has 8 million hits! So much for not including "releases that have received a good deal of attention." How is knowledge of this, her second shitty album, at all flattering to my sense of self? I am a chicken little of a smug know-it-all progressive shitsucker, and I demand to have my intelligence implicitly praised with every byte of blog that sexy 60-something redhead can muster. Bjork 2 is not getting the job done.
Lissie: Catching A Tiger. Cliff! "A 2010 release that I missed." COME ON. YOU MISSED IT. GAME OVER. PLEASE REFER BACK TO YOUR OWN COLUMN TITLE. I have the sneaking suspicion that your description of me as somebody who has a lot of better things to do than pay attention to music is really more of a description of yourself, Cliff Chenfield. Because this is the third ubiquity-level collection of MOR pop mediocrity you’ve unleashed on me, and it’s not even from this whole year.
Dawes: Nothing Is Wrong. Cliff says "It seems like every year an album comes out from young bearded dudes that evokes the Band, Neil Young and that soulful, country influenced folk-rock of the early ’70s." I think I’m starting to understand his writing style. He means "completely rips off and is less good than" instead of "evokes." This is music for the kind of person who gets a season pass to the outdoor venue where the clientele can most accurately be described as "competitive picnickers who care more about the conspicuousness of their own culture consumption than they do about the subtle musical differences between Yo Yo Ma, the Gypsy Kings, and Jacob Dylan solo acoustic." Ok, now I understand what you mean by "busy." You mean "asshole." That’s me to a tee! Now we’re starting to get back on track. You must try some of this Chablis from my $70 Williams-Sonoma collapsible stemware. This misunderstanding was all my fault, Cliff.
Danger Mouse: Rome. "Danger Mouse is about the grooviest guy around." GREAT! You can ask my 15 year old daughter. She will tell you, I LOVE groovy guys. I took her to see Santana and Matchbox 20 a couple of years ago and she just had the BEST time. She’s still talking about it. All the time.
Swedish House Mafia: Save The World (Single). "Dance music took over the world in 2011 and became mainstream." News to me! You’re the man, Cliff! Ha HA! WHere do you come UP with ’em?!
Various artists: Red Hot + Rio 2. My Goodness! This genre of music that I’ve never heard of before now is so joyful, I’m surprised it hasn’t had six or seven comebacks in the last 50 years! Keep ’em coming, Cliff Chenfield!
St. Vincent: Strange Mercy. Whoa! I know you said that you wanted to include artists that haven’t been getting too much attention, Cliff, but this is some VERY experimental stuff here. This should come with a warning that says "WARNING: NOT FOR EVERYONE!" Don’t worry Cliff, I’m still with you. After all you did say that this St. Vincent person is "worth spending time with," so I kind of knew what I might have been getting myself into with this one. For the record, I think she is wonderful, BUT: definitely NOT for the faint of heart, people!!!
The Strokes: Angles. I DID NOT LIKE this band when they came out. At ALL. But it turns out as usual you’re right, Cliff. They are DEFINITELY headed in the right direction. I can’t wait to hear what they come up with next.
Antlers: Burst Apart. I can just tell that there is so much music out there that I’ve never even HEARD of and it’s GREAT. Like this one here, Cliff. I would not even give it a second GLANCE if I didn’t have to you guide me, and here I am, just loving every minute of this. It’s just got such a cool sound, I can tell not many people know about it and I gotta admit it feels pretty COOL that I’m one of them now. It’s kind of like an Eagles meets Steely Dan kind of a thing. God, I haven’t thought of Steely Dan in YEARS. Can I look at it on your computer? Put up a YouTube of it. Steely Dan. No not that one. Pull up… what was their big hit? Let’s see… You don’t mind, do you?
Veronica Falls: Veronica Falls. Wow. This is VERY far out there, Cliff. I’m not sure I can agree with you on this one. I can’t even HEAR what’s going on! It just sounds like a MESS! Like that punk rock thing I always thought was so scary. WHAT? You were INTO some of that stuff? Ok, whatever you say Mister MOHAWK. Man, you are bar none my craziest new friend, Cliff.
Metronomy: The Look (Single). Ok, it’s called "Two Against Nature." Steely Dan. S-T-E-E-L-Y Dan. Dan like the guy’s name. Yeah that’s the one. I got it a few years ago because they won the Grammy. I gotta tell you this might be my favorite album of the last ten years. It is THAT good. You have GOT to listen to it. What’s that? Oh I didn’t know they even MADE singles. A HA HA HA HO HO HA HO! You’re the MAN, Cliff! Cliff, this is great!
Dropkick Murphys: Going Out In Style. I was JUST going to say it sounds like the song from The Departed! Are you kidding me, I LOVE that movie! It’s probably my favorite film directed by Martin Scoressessi. I have seen it LITERALLY a dozen times. You know that part where they pull out at the end and then you see there’s a rat on the ledge? PHENOMENAL. Phenomenal movie.
Noel Gallagher’s: High Flying Birds. Man, this is great too! Hey listen, buddy, can we wrap this up? I have a conference call with BisNow I have to jump on in like ten minutes, I haven’t even had a chance to look at the numbers. I tell you what, can you just email the rest of the list to me and I’ll print it out and read it on the train? Thanks, buddy.