Frank Jams: Top 5 Favorite Albums of 2013

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Author’s Photo: Sara Bareilles at the Electric Factory in Philly (Oct. 2013).

It’s the end of the year, so I feel obligated to do some reflecting, recapping, and re…nee-ing.

2013 was a pretty big year for me. My nephew was born. I officially became employed full time for the first time since 2009. I finally got to move to the Philly area (which is something I’d been trying to do since I finished undergrad in 2005). I knitted my first full-size blanket. I took up running. I ran my first 5k. I joined Rotary.

I listened to a lot of music.

One of the things I love best about living so close to the city is that I can get to shows easily now (bad for my wallet, but good for my love of live music). I love that I can go to a show on a week night and be home 20-30 minutes after I exit the venue. I was fortunate enough in 2013 to see 3 of my 5 favorite albums of the year performed live.

I’m terrible at ranking. I spend too much time second guessing myself. So here are my desert island top 5 favorite albums of 2013.
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Frank Listens: Desert Island Top 5 Albums

It’s cold. I’m talking “wind chill is below zero and I keep thinking about how this time last year, I at least had Florida to look forward to” kind of cold that seems endless. Because I have no warmer climates to visit this year (although if someone else wanted to foot the bill, I probably wouldn’t decline), I’ve just been trying to imagine them in my head. Naturally, the whole desert island scenario came up for me, and I started thinking about my desert island top 5 albums.

Of course, this causes my pop culturally sensitive brain to go two places at once: first to the film High Fidelity, one of my favorite Cusack movies. How can you even consider any kind of top 5 list without thinking about that movie? Second, my brain goes to that episode of LOST when Hurley is listening to his Discman and the batteries die. That makes me wonder if the whole concept of “Desert Island Top Five Albums” is kind of dead. When I went to Ireland, I took four CDs with me and three of them were “mix tapes on disc”. But now I have an iPod and all of my music is at my disposal all the time. I wouldn’t really need to choose my top 5 albums. I’d just need to pray for an iPod battery that never dies.

Clearly I’m over-thinking this and should just get to the list. So, for technicality’s sake, here’s my list.

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Enjoy the Silence

Yes, I did just reference Depeche Mode in my blog title.

I have, on several occasions, mentioned how I like to think. I won’t get into how that is sometimes not really a good thing, but I’ve been thinking about thinking, so I decided to write about it (at least to some extent).

As I type this, it has just turned 2:00 a.m. For my entire life, I have been somewhat nocturnal. I love the quiet and the peace of just enjoying time to myself when no one else is awake, and I use this time to do a lot of thinking and reflecting (and, in college, homework). Sometimes I take this time to collect my thoughts and process them into something that will resemble a coherent blog. Tonight is not one of those nights. This is Renee Unplugged. And speaking of Unplugged, there is music.

I’m sure that when I was in high school, I used to stay up late and listen to music. It’s always been such an integral part of my life that I can’t see how I wouldn’t have done that. In fact, most of the time, I would rather turn on iTunes than watch TV. It wasn’t really until I got to college, though, that I realized the pure joy that comes from just lying in a pitch black room, thinking to music.  Continue reading