Showing posts with label caitlyn smith. Show all posts
Showing posts with label caitlyn smith. Show all posts

Sunday, January 6, 2019

the top 25 best albums of 2018 (VIDEO)

And that's the last of year-end list promotion...whew.

Next up... honestly, no idea, we'll see - stay tuned!

the top 25 best albums of 2018

Normally this is the list that feels like the greatest relief to make - it's the final moment where we can lay a year to rest chronicling the best of the best, the sort of release that comes with it being the last list but also one that feels the most professional, for lack of better words. I'm having fun with the lists of the best and worst hits, I'm getting more personal with the overall songs list - this list for critics is staking claim, drawing our lines in the sand, and as such, it's normally the most professionally rewarding.

But I have to say, in comparison to previous years, this list was not that hard to make. Even though I covered far more albums in 2018 than ever before, it felt like I hit greatness less often on average. Which is probably not completely true, but it sure as hell feels like it, especially given that the cuts weren't that painful this year, or it certainly seemed like there was less of them to make. And while I don't do an Honourable Mentions segment for this list, I will say I'm a little regretful that I have to leave Rolo Tomassi and Against All Logic off this list, and I'm sure I'm going to surprise some folks by saying that Beach House and Kacey Musgraves also missed the cut - sorry, but especially in country, Kacey had stiffer competition. But really, if we're to highlight a genre that turned out in spades in 2018, it was hip-hop - and no jokes here, this is more hip-hop on this albums list than I think there has ever been before... which yes, means that there were two painful cuts in the form of Marlowe and Armand Hammer. But you know, let's start off with hip-hop here...

Tuesday, January 1, 2019

the top 50 best songs of 2018

The tagline that I've always had with this list is that it's the hardest to make, but let me qualify it: it's the one that easily requires the most work. And considering this is the year where I reviewed more albums than ever before, you'd think for the sheer volume of material this would be excruciating to assemble...

But in truth, this top 50 list actually fell out pretty quickly, at least with respect to the volume of music I've consumed. It still takes a lot of refinement to go through the best songs of any given year, but the truth about 2018 was that for as many songs as I loved, most of them were concentrated onto specific albums, which might lead to a slightly less diverse list as a whole. And if there was a year where my qualification that I can only put up to three songs from any given album on this list was tested... yeah, it was here. And yet even with that qualification, this list is kind of all over the place - little more hip-hop heavy than previous years and we'll get into why on my final list - and I'll freely admit there isn't quite as much metal or electronic music I'd prefer, but I needed to be honest with this one. Keep in mind songs from albums I covered on the Trailing Edge are eligible, and that if you don't see any songs from an album I loved earlier this year, there's no guarantee it won't show up on a different list - some albums don't put out the best individual songs and vice-versa. 

But no more wasting time, let's get this started!

Saturday, June 30, 2018

the top albums/songs of the midyear - 2018

There are years where I struggle with this midyear list, sometimes in years overloaded with quality that force me to make some painful cuts, or years that are a little more scant I'm stuck with what seems like a smaller list... and still have to make painful cuts. 

And thus it feels odd that building this 2018 midyear list is perhaps one of the easiest I've ever assembled, and since I'm not about to assume I'm getting good at this, I'm genuinely curious why that might be. I will say that outside of hip-hop, other genres don't seem to be having an exceptionally strong year - great albums in rock and country and metal but few that really went over the top in terms of quality, and I'd argue pop has had it even worse. But more than that, even the records that just missed the cut - Beach House, Iceage, Parquet Courts, Against All Logic, and especially Phonte - while they were truly terrific releases, I'm not precisely torn up that they had to miss the cut, as they all have a considerable shot for the year-end as my tastes evolve and change. 

So given that this is my fifth list like this, you know the rules: the albums and songs have to have been reviewed in 2018, and while I'm fairly certain you'll all know what's going to top this list, I'll add that there are songs from The Trailing Edge that have a chance to wind up in the individual songs, because there really were some incredible cuts there. So let's not waste any time and start with...

Saturday, February 3, 2018

video review: 'starfire' by caitlyn smith

So yeah, this was genuinely great, pleased I made time for this... and now onto one of my most anticipated records of 2018, so stay tuned!

album review: 'starfire' by caitlyn smith

So this was a record I didn't plan on covering, at all. And I can imagine for those of you in the know going in before this album came out, a lot of my assumptions might seem justified... but that's just it, they were assumptions, and from the critical buzz, they might have been the wrong ones.

So okay, background: odds are you don't know who Caitlyn Smith is unless you've been reading through the liner notes of very specific records. If you knew her at all outside of country it was for 'Like I'm Gonna Lose You', that big duet hit between John Legend and Meghan Trainor that came out a few years back, but what caught my eye was writing credits on 'Wild Boy' for Danielle Bradbery, and while her career may have gone off the rails in spectacular fashion, 'Wild Boy' was a really good song, and apparently Caitlyn Smith was a powerhouse vocalist on her EPs...

And then she signed to Monument Records. If you recognize the imprint at all it's probably for a ton of music that dropped in the 60s and 70s, but after some mismanagement the imprint was solid and then rebuilt as a short-lived country label in the late 90s-early 2000s. Most recently it's been revived by mainstream country megaproducer Shane McAnally, and while I've said a lot of good things about him in the past, inflicting Sam Hunt upon us in recent years killed a lot of good will and signing Walker Hayes as the first artist to Monument killed the rest. So while I knew Starfire was never going to be as bad as boom was for Hayes, I had no reason to believe McAnally was going to push Caitlyn Smith in a good direction... and yet apparently all the critics are going crazy over this, so there must be something I'm missing here. So I decided I'd check out Starfire - was this country debut I've been waiting for in 2018?