I’ve never been a Grammy watcher. I’ll see bits here and there, but the artists I listen to are rarely nominated for anything. I didn’t actually realize the Grammys were on last night, never mind knowing that Arcade Fire was nominated for Album of the Year. To me, it is a shock they were even nominated.
I only found out about this all when checking Twitter before bed and seeing my pal @jayroh tweet:
Arcade Fire. Finally.
Then I was all like “wait, what?” Then I was like “oh, snap”. Then I confirmed via Google News that Arcade Fire had, in fact, won Album of the Year.
I have never owned an Album of the Year.
I have been crazy for this Arcade Fire album since the day it came out. I was only eight seconds into Sprawl II when I paused it to write my first “holy shit” tweet about it. When doing my end-of-year music wrapup, this is how I ranked Arcade Fire on my albums of the year:
1. Arcade Fire — The Suburbs: This album was so good that I’ve spent a lot of time wondering just how good it really is. With the release of The Suburbs, Arcade Fire has released two of the best eight or so albums I’ve ever heard (along with Funeral). Add in Neon Bible and they’ve released three of the twenty best albums I’ve ever heard. Simply remarkable.
I’ve still been thinking about where this album ranks among all the albums I’ve ever heard. Why? Because this album has a chance to be my favorite album of all time. In fact, I think it might be—but I’m hesitant to commit to that because it was so recently released.
What’s the competition? You kinda have to understand my musical taste. In my library, you won’t really find anything before, say, 1986 (you know, the year of Yo La Tengo’s debut album). In fact, the only albums I have before the 1980s are by Big Star, Velvet Underground, and the Sex Pistols. Somewhere, I have some Beatles on vinyl, but only a random bunch of tracks in iTunes.
So, here are the the albums that actually have a chance at being #1 all time for me:
- Arcade Fire – Funeral
- Arcade Fire – The Suburbs
- Smashing Pumpkins – Siamese Dream
- Teenage Fanclub – Songs From Northern Britain
- Weezer – Pinkerton
- Weezer – Weezer
- Yo La Tengo – Electr-o-pura
The list kind of surprised me. I expected to see Mogwai, but for them I suppose it’s more of a consistent career brilliance. I find it very hard to pick and album or two above the others. Siamese Dream was my favorite early ’90s album when it came out and it still is. Weezer’s Weezer (The Blue Album) was like a life-changing event, it had so much impact. I remember hearing The Sweater Song for the first time. I remember buying the cassette. Pinkerton was completely different, but just as good. The critics hated it, but of course they all now love it. For a while, I was obsessed with all thing Matador Records. Electr-o-pura is the greatest release to come from that label.
Since then? Arcade Fire.
And Arcade Fire again.
They had an album in between (Neon Bible), and don’t get me wrong—it was fantastic. But we’re talking only about possible best albums I’ve ever heard. And Arcade Fire has two of them.
Some find it crazy that I actually consider this album as a possible “best I’ve ever heard” type of album. I thought it was a bit crazy at first, too. But the more I think about it, the more I realize it’s true.
Congrats, you crazy Canadian kids.