james mercer

Aimee Mann: Charmer

Charmer doesn’t grab you by the throat and drill its message into your head; rather, Aimee Mann asks you to have a seat in her office, while you witness her playing psychiatrist to individuals (people she knows? herself?) who need an objective opinion with a healthy dose of reality. Listen closely, and you might even hear Aimee Mann diagnosing you.

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HT 25 Best Albums of 2010: Numbers 1-5

For the second consecutive year at Hidden Track, we concocted our innovative little experiment for the year-end Best Albums list. Instead of picking the old fashioned way – subjectively – we opted for something a little different: a collaborative, collective list that incorporates the opinions of everybody here at HT.

To begin, we devised an all-encompassing list of well over 100 nominees, whereby most everything our contributors recommended made the list. Then we invited our crew of writers to independently and blindly vote on the whole list on a scale of 1 to 20 (20 = five stars). We ended up with varying degrees of familiarity with the nominees as some folks voted on just about everything, while some just a few. From there, we deployed our egghead algorithm for rating albums: (two times the average rating) + (the total number of votes). At that point, we took the top 25 highest scores and presto: the Hidden Track 25 Best Albums of 2010. No bullshit, no big opinions; just the results.

We’ve come to the end of our week long countdown, let’s check out our Top Five…

5) LCD SoundsystemThis Is Happening

Sounds Like: Dance Yrself Clean, I Can Change

Key Tracks: Modern spacefunk, Talking Heads with an indie twist

The Skinny: James Murphy and company’s third full-length finds the eccentric front man exploring the benefits and trappings of stardom accompanied by the funky dance-pop we’ve come to know and love. Not at all a departure from the first two records, This Is Happening takes the LCD sound in a slightly more laid-back, introspective direction. Gone are some of the dancehall sounds in favor of a more organic, live band-sounding approach which brings the seemingly more personal material to life beautifully. Murphy’s impassioned vocals are direct and honest, particularly on the monstrously catchy single I Can Change. This record has all of the things we love about LCD – the Talking Heads-esque bounce, Murphy’s staccato delivery, thick, ever shifting soundscapes – but with a maturity and comfort that shows Murphy growing as an artist and a person.

READ ON for the final four albums in our countdown…

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Pullin’ ‘Tubes: For Whom The Bell Tolls

It’s been a three years since the Zach Braff-approved, indie-darlings The Shins put out their third full-length album Wincing the Night Away. Since its release and support tour, the Portland

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Broken Bells: Broken Bells

As a whole, Broken Bells maintains hip-hop tinge from Burton’s production, but it’s layered across the board with genre meandering psychedelic passages and vocal harmonies woven throughout. Putting Broken Bells in Burton’s catalogue, it’s easy to see how he considers himself an auteur. He assembles great albums like a director puts all the pieces together of a great film.  In a New York Times article Burton told Chuck Klosterman, “…even with some of my favorite bands, I only like 30 or 40 percent of what they do. I'd want to make that 30 percent into the whole album.”  

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BG: Beatles Sell A Lot Of Records…Again

We haven’t really talked much about the much hyped Beatles remasters around these parts (maybe it’s because we haven’t gotten around to plunking our hard earned cash on any of

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