Sunday, January 6, 2008

Chris's 2007 Picks

20. A Weekend in the City – Bloc Party

I'm a sucker for jangly guitars and I just can't get over his voice.

Highlights: "Hunting for Witches," "Waiting for the 7.18," "I Still Remember"

19. Andorra – Caribou

Everything adds up for Dan Snaith on this release (horrible, I know, but I got nothing - other than I really like this album).

Highlights: "Melody Day," "After Hours," "Desiree"

18. Our Ill Wills – The Shout Out Louds

Sweden does it again.

Highlights: "You Are Dreaming," "Impossible," "Hard Rain"

17. Superman of the Rings – Dan Deacon

Who would have guessed that Darren Keen was onto something?

Highlights: "Woody Woodpecker," "Wham City," "Trippy Green Skull"

16. Graduation – Kanye West

By far Kanye's finest release to date. I'm glad that he finally overcame the urge to interject his album with skits. The good songs are great and the okay songs aren't bad, but the album just isn't as consistent as I think it could be. I love that Kanye is pushing the boundaries of what music can be and who it is supposed to appeal to.

Highlights: "Champion," "Stronger," "Homecoming"

15. Random Spirit Lover – Sunset Rubdown

This is an album that if the bad tracks were mediocre the album would easily be in the top five because the good tracks are absolutely ridiculous. Unfortunately the tracks are completely hit or miss. The vinyl release hurt this album's chance of sneaking into the top ten by putting songs that flow so well into each other, on different sides.

Highlights: "The Mending of the Gown," "The Courtesan Has Sung," "The Taming of the Hands that Came Back to Life"

14. Icky Thump – The White Stripes

Jack is back! and in a huge way. For all the haters that say that The Stripes are a one trick pony, did you actually like Get Behind Me Satan? The White Stripes have always been and will always be about Jack shredding the blues and Meg trying to keep up, deal with it.

Highlights: "Icky Thump," "Conquest," "Rag and Bone"

13. Liars – Liars

Just try to put these guys in a box - you can't. Apart from 2004's They Were Wrong, So We Drowned which musically matched the album cover that looked like vomit, I've enjoyed everything that this band has put out. You never know what you are going to get, but you always know it's Liars.

Highlights: "Plaster Casts of Everything," "Houseclouds," "Clear Island"

12. In Rainbows – Radiohead

Can you believe the audacity of Radiohead, inarguably the biggest band in the world, self releasing a proper album AND letting their fans pick the price of the release (I paid nothing, but I've pre-ordered the vinyl release). Completely ballsy. But what else would you expect, this is the band that gave us Ok Computer. Oh, and obviously this release is great.

Highlights: "Bodysnatchers," "Weird Fishes/Arpeggi," "Jigsaw Falling into Place"

11. Friend and Foe – Menomena

The complexity of the packaging of Friend and Foe would certainly overshadow most other albums' audio offerings, but instead it mirrors the brilliance of the songs that make up this release.

Highlights: "Muscle ‘n Flo," "Rotten Hell," "My My"

10. Myth Takes - !!!

In my opinion, Myth Takes is a much more consistent album than Louden Up Now. I dare you not to dance.

Highlights: "Must Be the Moon," "Heart of Hearts," "Yadnus"

9. Hissing Fauna, are You the Destroyer? - Of Montreal

Initially this album was a runaway #1, but as I heard more and more albums, it wasn't even going to be in my top 20. I'm glad that I gave another shot, because the consistent absurdity and genius of this album deserves recognition. Apart from Patrick Wolf's "Magic Position," there may not be any songs that are more fun than the tracks on this release.

Highlights: "Bunny Ain’t No Kind of Rider," "The Past is a Grotesque Animal," "She’s a Rejecter"

8. Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga – Spoon

Spoon is often described as a "grower" and this album certainly was a grower for me. Upon first hearing this album I knew there were some gems, as per usual for a Spoon album, but eventually I couldn't find a dead track.

Highlights: "Don’t Make Me a Target," "You Got Yr. Cherry Bomb," "The Underdog"

7. The Stage Names – Okkervil River

Austin just won't quit.

Highlights: "Our Life is Not a Movie or Maybe," "You Can’t Hold the Hand of a Rock and Roll Man," "John Allyn Smith Sails"

6. Let’s Stay Friends – Les Savy Fav

This album has the "raw power" that rock 'n' roll is supposed to have and Tim Harrington is certainly as ridiculous as Iggy.

Highlights: "Pots and Pans," "Rage in the Plague Age," "Kiss Kiss is Getting Old"

5. Sound of Silver – LCD Soundsystem

Forget Daft Punk, I want LCD Soundsystem playing at my house. On the S/T debut, I didn't have the patience necessary to embrace the "brilliance" of James Murphy, but on Sound of Silver, Murphy has reeled in the jam-bandy-ness and made a near perfect album.

Highlights: "Someone Great," "All My Friends," "New York I Love You, But You’re Bringing Me Down"

4. Voxtrot – Voxtrot
This is an album that I loved from first listen and with each subsequent listen (and there were lots of those). It's nothing fancy, just good solid indie pop.

Highlights: "Kid Gloves," "Steven," "Every Day"


3. Kala – M.I.A.

I was certain that Kala was destined the same fate as Some Loud Thunder. A sophomore album from an eccentric artist that in no way could match surprising genius of their debut release, but instead M.I.A dropped an album even better than Arular. The energy on this album is unmatched and use of the Pixies and the Clash puts it over the top. I love being pleasantly surprised.

Highlights: "Jimmy," "XR2," "Paper Planes"


2. Boxer – The National

Most reviewers have called this band and their albums "growers," but I was hooked from my first listen. This album has made me forget about how big of a disappointment Our Love to Admire was; who needs Interpol when there is The National?

Highlights: "Fake Empire," "Slow Show," "Apartment Story"


1. Mirrored – Battles

I have to admit that upon my first few listens of this album, as a whole, I was a little underwhelmed. I really enjoyed the A and D sides, but the middle was lacking - for me - or at least I initially thought. Once I really heard all four sides I was, and continue to be, blown away by the sound coming from these four guys from NYC.

Highlights: "Atlas," "Tonto," "Tij"

4 comments:

Chad Jeremy said...

What I love most about your annual picks is that each year I ALREADY know more and more of your picks!

Bradley Sullivan said...

Spoon and !!! both make the top end of my list as well. Loved Boxer, Kala, and Sound of Silver. I really enjoyed Mirrored, but it was a little to uneven to crack my top ten. "Slowly Turning Into You" off Icky Thump was one of my favorite songs of the year. I was terribly disappointed with Weekend In The City at first (I dug Silent Alarm), but I've come to appreciate it. I'm wondering if you heard "Forts" by The Boggs, "All Hour Cymbals" by Yeasayer, or "Black Wing Yalobusha" by The Moaners. All albums I really grooved to. I haven't made my list yet because I still need to listen to the Of Montreal and Okkervil River records, and I just started to listen to Wilco's "Blue Sky Blue". But i'll get to it soon. My main question is, "Where's Neon Bible?". I thought that would've cracked your top 20 for sure.

Bradley Sullivan said...

BTW - Don't know if I told you, but I moving to Austin this week. So if you're ever in town...let me know.

Jimmy said...

Chris,
I gotta say I read this with a lot of interest and am looking into listening to some of these albums. What I can say about M.I.A. is they are a studio band, because in October, while waiting to see Rage Against the Machine at Voodoo Fest they were playing on the stage opposite and I just could not get into it. Maybe I was impatient, maybe it was all the blunt smoke around me, but the screeching vocals and visual display were gut wrenching.