Thursday, January 20, 2011

11 Best Instrumentals: Conclusion

The first 11 Best is in the books. The topic was instrumentals, and the list is as follows:
11. Pixies - "Cecilia Ann"
10. Broken Social Scene - "Meet Me In The Basement"
9. Tom Waits - "Closing Time"
8. Red House Painters - "Cabezon"
7. Radiohead - "Treefingers"
6. M. Ward - "Neptune's Net"
5. The Silver Jews - "Night Society"
4. Phoenix - "North"
3. Uncle Tupelo - "Sandusky"
2. Neutral Milk Hotel - "Untitled"
1. Sun Kil Moon - "Si Paloma"
As will always be the case, this is really just a list of my 11 favorite instrumentals, not some sort of argument that they should be yours. Still, I hope you discovered a couple of new tracks, and perhaps albums, in the process.

Something I'd like to offer as a part of the 11 Best feature is a Wild Card entry, that might not have fit perfectly within the parameters of the month's edition, but deserves some credit nonetheless. This month's wildcard is:

Elliott Smith - "I Didn't Understand"



Why doesn't this fit? Probably because Smith closed his 1999 album XO with an a cappella tune--no instruments at all. But it's noteworthy because he didn't just sing the vocal part--it's a full-on composition, but using only his voice as a means of texturing the song the way a string section might. I'm intrigued by artists who are capable of using their voice as an instrument (Thom Yorke and Jim James are other examples.) Plus, Elliott Smith was a bit of a studio rat, so I could see him hunker down and spend a night layering tons of vocal tracks.

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Thus concludes our first month of 11 Best. Ten more to go!

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