Saturday, December 15, 2007
That Time of Year - Top10Albums
TOP10OF2007 :: Alright here's the deal. The following is a list of my top 10 favorite albums from 2007. I have added a few that released late 2006 but since this is [surprisingly] my first top 10 album list, there were a few that I had to add from yesteryear and it corresponds more appropriately with what I actually listened to in 2007 anyhow. Also, this is a personal top 10 - not an attempt at an objective 'best of' list although with my impeccable taste, perhaps they truly are the TOP10 albums of the year. Another note: the top 5 were definitely my top albums so just know that they hold a special place in my heart maybe a little more so than the distance between spots 5 and 6 might indicate. Enough, have fun.
10. Feist - The Reminder :: This Broken Social Scene spin-off can sing and she brings with her a sound reminiscent of an era that contained a style prior to my birth. I was obsessed this summer and am annoyed that I missed her show this fall but hopefully this isn't a one time side project.
9. Anathallo - Floating World :: Perhaps seeing them live twice had something to do with making the top 10 but none can argue that this is one solid album. They bring the complex sounds via vocals, horns, crazy percussion, and an assortment of other instruments that their large group can provide. As Morgan would tell you, the drum intro on track 6 is delightful. Oh, and they also easily win the best album art award (ask me to see it sometime). (Woah, I just found that this album came out early 2006 ... my bad. I lose 10 credibility points.)
8. Peter Bjorn and John - Writer's Block :: I first heard this album through RELEVANT's tv application. It was their single sometimes referred to as that whistle song. I passed them by as another indie-pop band who made you feel good but didn't really set themselves apart too much. Although they continue to make me feel good, I'm glad I decided to give them some time. The opening track (well, track 2 - Objects of my Affection) makes me love them all over again ... every time.
7. Josh Ritter - The Historical Conquests of Josh Ritter :: This dude has folk. I read a review on this album in which the reviewer commented that most folk music (like Sufjan) was nice and all but just didn't keep him interested - but our man Ritter did. Now I would never blaspheme Sufjan in this way but this Josh Ritter guy sure does bring something interesting to the folk market and I like it. I also feel that although I may have listened to it a number of times, I'm sure to get a lot more listens out of this one.
6. Damien Rice - 9 :: What I first heard about this album was that "Damien has changed and it's not that great" and disappointments about another "single good album artist" seemed inevitable. Thankfully, I checked it myself and am pretty sure I like this go around more than the previous album, O. From the alternating female/male vocals on the opener/single to the more 'stripped down' lyrics of Rootless Tree, I found this album to be a little less commercial friendly and thus, maybe a little more true to his sound.
5. Iron and Wine - The Shepherd's Dog :: So we all know Sam Beam's cover of Such Great Heights is great and we may even know how to play it. We may also know that he has pretty consistently put out great "deep South" (in the Flannery O'Conner sense of 'deep South') guitar picking records. What I was not expecting was for him to expand on this sound to such a large degree. I feel the only way to describe this record is lush. He's been criticized as having abandoned his "roots" and getting carried away varying genres or layering but I find it to be exactly what he needed. I have to admit his last album, although well written and relaxing, occasionally put me to sleep. This was unfortunate because he always found his way to my car stereo. This new record maintains the lyrical prowess while bringing the toe tapping folksy tunes.
4. Radiohead - In Rainbows :: OK, my history with Radiohead has been an interesting one. OK Computer, Radiohead's 1997 record, is commonly referred to as one of the best rock albums of the 90's. A few years back, I tried giving it a try and wasn't finding what all the hoopla was about. Luckily, I discovered Kid A (thanks Ruf) and found a new side of Radiohead in their mixed reviewed, electronically leaning album. When I heard about a new Radiohead album this fall, I was intrigued but wasn't expecting perfection with my mixed enjoyment of their past albums. So with their "pay what you want" download making headlines, I checked it out. Wow. To me, this album has everything I need. I'm not even sure how to explain it. The songs are certainly unique but they find a way to make every song catchy and even listen-able for a broad audience. I give them kudos for being around for such a long time while consistently producing genre-breaking music.
3. Jose Gonzalez - In Our Nature :: Jose's last album, Veneer, was my favorite Sophomore year morning album. The songs on that album instantly put me at ease and in many cases, eased me out of sleep. (Oh, and the Sony Bravia commercial with the bouncy balls and his song Heartbeat is life changing. If you haven't seen it, YouTube it now.) Anyways, I hesitantly came into this album half-assuming for it to be another "mood" album (mood being - I'm tired) for me in which more of the same would prove kind of useless. Not so. He keeps his whispering vocals over classical Spanish guitar sound in tack but manages to infuse almost every song with a catchy feeling that I haven't been able to shake for the last month.
2. Manchester Orchestra - Like a Virgin Losing a Child :: Woah. So this rather unknown band released this rather unknown album sometime last year (I couldn't find exactly when on a quick Wikipedia/MySpace search) although I believe they re-released it sometime this year - so I think it can officially be on the 2007 list. This isn't to say they weren't causing a stir. Rolling Stone Magazine named them one of their "10 to watch" and amongst positive reviews elsewhere (i.e. Paste), were even featured on Conan O'Brien this fall. And if my calculations are correct, the lead man, Andy Hull, is a mere 20 years old. Not bad. I initially heard them through Goodrich and vaguely passed them off as another band that so easily gets lost in the plethora of mediocrity. After seeing them open for Brand New in the Spring, I was impressed and thought to myself, "I should give them another try." It wasn't until a few months later until I listened to the album a few times and found them good. And then it wasn't until this summer when I was able to see them play with Colour Revolt at a small venue in Detroit that I realized just how good this band is. Lyrically - amazing. Musically - they can rock AND Hull can bring it down to a few strings for an equally amazing song. Literally every time I listen to this album, I can't get over how good it is. I just hope they keep it up.
1. Brand New - The Devil and God are Ranging Inside Me :: So this one came out in '06 too!? I don't care. It carried into 2007 just as well as any other record and it still gets its fair shares of spins even though it's been a year since it's release. Now this isn't my typical genre of choice. The whole scenester music genre (Taking Back Sunday, early Straylight Run, etc.) doesn't necessarily turn me off but there's generally nothing that captures my attention. That and they often get reviewed as rather uninspired, musically simplistic emos playing their scene. Anyhow, I enjoyed their previous album, Deja Entendu, decently but it most likely wouldn't have made my top 10 from whatever year it came out. With a little hype from Goodrich, I bought the new record and gave it a listen. Practically every song rocks. And I don't mean in a "they're really cool" way. I mean it in a "if you're not screaming with them, you're either over 30 or don't know how to have fun" way. Honestly, how can you not love this album? Oh, and their live show also "rocks."
OK, thanks for reading while I gushed about my fav bands. Up next are just a few honorable mentionable selections that I'm posting at the top of my head:
David Crowder* Band - Remedy :: Good, not great (like usual).
Wilco - Sky Blue Sky :: Slowly but surely getting into this band. I like the new record.
LCD Soundsystem - Sound of Silver :: Think of it as indie, club music. Good for dancin'.
Coldplay - New Album :: Oh wait, it's been freaking 2 and a half years and these tools haven't come out with anything new.
Modest Mouse - We Were Dead Before the Ship Even Sank :: Critics say they've returned to their old school sound. I didn't really know them then but I like what I hear.
May 2008 provide more great tunes.