Not to sound like a whiner, but the summer of 2010 was a little stressful. I was working far away from home, up in northeastern B.C. and trying to deal with some family drama from a distance. The music of Beach House was a balm for my tired brain. But restorative properties aside… I thought it was the most original and beautiful album I’d heard all year.

The song “Norway” is the aural equivalent of a blurry old photo. You can’t really make out of all of the details, but it tugs at your emotions every time. Alex Scally’s woozy guitar lines dip in and out of tune. Singer Victoria Legrand swoops around playfully in the verses, almost mimicking the wobbliness of the music behind her. Her timbre is pretty unusual, which I like. (Actually, I couldn’t tell if it was a man or woman singing, the first time through.) It all builds to a sparkling chorus with a lightness that makes you feel like you’re laying in the sun, with your feet in the grass.

If you like “Norway”, be sure to check out the rest of Teen Dream. It’s a gorgeous record… and my pick for album of the year.