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Hi.

Welcome to Rob Hakimian’s website, collecting together the best of his writing from over the years.

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Car Seat Headrest - Teens Of Denial

[Matador]

“I’m so sick of… fill in the blank.” The soon-to-be-immortal opening line of Car Seat Headrest’s Teens Of Denial finds Will Toledo succinctly summing up the mindset of today’s generation; the constant ennui, annoyance, anger, hopelessness etc. It only hits all the harder when Car Seat Headrest roll around to a rollicking chorus where Toledo yelps: “You have no right to be depressed / You haven’t tried hard enough to like it,” echoing the myriad people who feel they have the right to have an opinion about a man’s feelings, and spinning it in a way that withdraws the anger provoked by such people and infuses it with a resilience and determination that makes “Fill In The Blank” into an absolutely huge indie rock anthem. Just the first of a dozen on Teens Of Denial.

Second track “Vincent” is similarly invigorating with its pulse-quickening guitars and tumbling lyrical brilliance. Again Toledo isn’t afraid to expose his depression and his stand-off attitude to anyone who feels they know better (“There’s a portrait by Van Gogh on the Wikipedia page for clinical depression / …well if that helps you describe it…”), and again it’s a call-to-arms for all those beaten down, mournful, bored young adults. This rip-roaring formula is maintained throughout the album’s 74 minutes, with every track pulling out a hook, a riff, a tick, a quip, a solo or all of these that just puts your jaw on the floor.

Through Teens Of Denial, we follow Toledo in tales of hallucinogenic drug experiences (“Drugs With Friends”), worrying about the safety of his fellow humans (“Drunk Drivers/Killer Whales”) or getting so lost in himself that he needs to get a message to his mother that he’s coming home (“Destroyed By Hippie Powers”). But, the main journey on this album is the journey into Toledo’s psyche. In each song he bares his feelings, his inner monologues, his neuroses, and draws an unflinching portrait of himself – which also happens to be lovable and fascinating. From the rip-roaring helplessness of “Not What I Needed” to the tearful self-admonishment of “1937 State Park” and beyond, every track grabs your attention with its riffs and the way he ekes out emotion with his carefully studied words. And then he saves the longer ballads for when you’re settled in. The 8 and a half minute slow burner “Cosmic Hero” has no competition for the most forlorn-yet-empowering song of the year. Lending 11 and a half minutes to listen to his slow realisations of adulthood in the piano-led “The Ballad Of Costa Concordia” is a turbulent and riveting experience.

In fact, every single second of this huge accomplishment of an album is worth poring over. I’m not the only one who thinks so, Teens Of Denial was voted as our Album of The Year in The Listening Club’s poll on Facebook.

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Below you can see my top 50 albums of the year list.

[Click on the album art at the top to download the album]

50| Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith - EARS
49| Thee Oh Sees - A Weird Exits
48| Daughter - Not To Disappear
47| The Avalanches - Wildflower
46| Beyonce - Lemonade
45| Radiohead - A Moon Shaped Pool
44| Gold Panda - Good Luck and Do Your Best
43| James Blake - The Colour In Anything
42| Lambchop - FLOTUS
41| Ty Segall - Emotional Mugger
40| Nothing - Tired Of Tomorrow
39| Camp Cope - Camp Cope
38| Cymbals Eat Guitars - Pretty Years
37| Aphex Twin - Cheetah EP
36| Mary Lattimore - At The Dam
35| Woods - City Sun Eater In The River Of Light
34| White Lung - Paradise
33| Solange - A Seat At The Table
32| Wild Beasts - Boy King
31| Danny Brown - Atrocity Exhibition
30| Marissa Nadler - Strangers
29| Weyes Blood - Front Row Seat To Earth
28| Kevin Morby - Singing Saw
27| Kendrick Lamar - untitled unmastered.
26| Whitney - Light Upon The Lake
25| Kedr Livanskiy - January Sun
24| Frankie Cosmos - Next Thing
23| Steve Gunn - Eyes On The Lines
22| Pantha du Prince - The Triad
21| Cass McCombs - Mangy Love
20| Cavern of Anti-Matter - void beats/invocation trex
19| Olga Bell - Tempo
18| Chairlift - Moth
17| Mitski - Puberty 2
16| Anderson .Paak - Malibu
15| Underworld - Barbara, Barbara we face a shining future
14| Xenia Rubinos - Black Terry Cat
13| Savages - Adore Life
12| DIIV - Is The Is Are
11| Frank Ocean - Blonde
10| Jenny Hval - Blood Bitch
09| MONEY - Suicide Songs
08| Car Seat Headrest - Teens of Denial
07| A Tribe Called Quest - We Got It From Here... Thank You 4 Your Service
06| Nicolas Jaar - Sirens
05| Angel Olsen - My Woman
04| Parquet Courts - Human Performance
03| Preoccupations - Preoccupations
02| ANOHNI - Hopelessness
01| Blood Orange - Freetown Sound

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