Album of the Year- Car Seat Headrest- Twin Fantasy
The Internet has made music production and release a more fluid experience. This has made the criteria for end of year lists more flexible depending on the decision of the site/publication. Personally I will allow an album on my list if it’s released in the year and can be considered new in its creation (not just a re-mix/master of the original recorded work).
The reason “Twin Fantasy” may not be on many lists this year is it’s history. Originally released on bandcamp by a then unsigned Car Seat Headrest in 2011; the original version of twin fantasy was lo-fi by any standard. But Will Toledos lyrics and musical ideas outshone its basic production and quickly grew a fan base through the internet.
Now signed to Matador, Will Toledo has returned back to this fan favorite and re-recorded it with more experience and better production skills. It’s a brave choice for any artist to look back on their works and put time and effort into re-creating it for a fan base that you could easily annoy by treading on sacred ground. Fortunately “twin fantasy” proves (that if done right) it can be well worth the time.
The reason the album works so well is how mature then teenage Will Toledo was as a composer. Tracks skittishly flow from one melodic idea to another with a rampant creativity without ever feeling out of place. They brilliantly encapsulate the energy of teenage youth, the crazy mix of hormones that adds an intensity to that part of our lives.
This is backed up by his lyrics. Songs of love and hate are tuned up to 11 through the lens of a writer who isn’t nostalgically looking back; but feeling them in the present. This stops the lyrics from becoming too melodramatic to the listener. We’re placed in the thoughts, feelings and neuroses of a teenager at the point in their life when everything is life or death. Feelings we have all experienced and can relate to.
This raw emotional power and explosive creative talent is then honed in with a skill set of maturity. The album has been carefully reconstructed with the rougher edges sanded down to be more pleasing to the listener without loosing any of the elements that made it so great in the first place. He leaves us with an album that anyone could understand; A testament to the time between youth and adulthood captured with a powerful brutal honesty that makes the album need to be heard.