PubliCola MusicNerd Anand Balasubrahmanyan is counting down his top tracks of the year.
Pitchfork once called Thao Nguyen a “female Judd Aptow.” They meant it as a compliment, but now, coming off of Thao's second spectacular album, it's a disservice to her rich character studies. While Aptowian protagonists are often too frat-stoned to be emotionally stunted, Thao's twenty-somethings are full of warmth and conflict, aching in the wake of love extinguished.
But for Ms. Nguyen the flame of romance never goes out before setting the curtains on fire.
"When We Swam," looks at a relationship on it's last, confusing legs. Thao's complex alto is both world- weary and vulnerable. “Bring your hips to me” she sighs, flirting despite everything for what she tells herself is really the last time.
My previous picks are here.