I love looking through the best of the year lists. This year I am noting a pattern though. The rest of this post is just a thought...I am not saying that these bands are bad or these bands are unoriginal. The following is a continued thought:
In 2004 Brian Wilson released "Smile" that fantastic collection that uses materials from The Beach Boys "Pet Sounds." The characterization of the record is unique. The fantastic album uses vocal harmonies, multi-layers, abstract noises and movements. I really enjoy this record and many like it. So much so that since that record it has sparked the interest of indie rock basement dwellers for years to come. The conversation of Pet Sounds and it's follow up of Smile has captured the admiration and interest of the hipster type.
Since the release of the beloved "Smile" some newly defined classics have emerged. In 2004 and in 2005 Animal Collective released "Sung Tongs" and "Feels." The records are great but they reminded me of something...it reminded me of the beloved pet sounds. 2006 released Grizzly Bears "Yellow House". Another beautiful record with beautiful melodies and vocal part harmonies that are earthy...tribal at moments. Nothing sparked or clicked in my head. What makes these records so good? 2007 has Panda Bear (with members of Animal Collective) releasing "Person Pitch." Another great record with fantastic layers and transfixing vocal harmonies. 2008 Fleet Foxes seem to have taken the Indie World by storm and placing their record in the category with the rest of these bands.
So I guess all this to say. What is our infatuation with the vocal harmonies and the animal names. Something happened with "Pet Sounds" some have written to say it was a magical record (or maybe those are my words). Many records you can put in once and you have the feel for it, a few more times and you got it. But the records I have mentioned fold and unfold telling new stories. I can understand why they would be in a top ten but is there going to be something sooner than later that isn't an offshoot of our beloved Pet Sounds?
Creating is never easy. I don't make music. I LOVE it and can't go a day without listening, ingesting, and finding some new thought about some record, some band, or some new song. Some days I want to dance and some days I want one song and one song that helps my heart. Some days I wonder how the same record year after year gets put on number one lists time after time?
So there are my thoughts....Any one want to start a band? We could call it Bears of Vocal Harmonies....