Albums of the year..so far..

It’s getting to be that time (2008). I figure nows as good a time as any to look back on the musical year that was 2007. This should be an overoptimistic article considering there were so many haters of 2007 music. We shall see.

Best of 07′

1. Kevin Drew – Spirit Is… – My personal favorite album of the year. Kevin Drew, when not working on his new solo project, fronts the indie baroque pop sensation Broken Social Scene. His first solo album draws from a similar pool of inspiration. It reminds me a lot of a BSS album, which is great. This is a very original album with a multitude of different styles, both vocal and musical. Drew has a way of creating musical hooks that will have you listening to the same song over and over and over. If you haven’t heard Broken Social Scene – You Forgot It In People, do check it out, easily one of the best albums around.

2a. Radiohead – In Rainbows – This album was well worth the wait. Radiohead do not disappoint. This is a very strong collection of songs and technically speaking its only half the album. The second disc is to be released in the intensely expensive ($80.00) disc box exclusively through Radiohead.com. If Kid A and Ok Computer had sex and Ok Computer produced the dominant genes, Hail to the Thief is Born. Conversely, if Kid A and Ok Computer had sex and Kid A produced the dominant half, then the product would be In Rainbows. Radiohead = gods, probably forever. If you haven’t heard In Rainbows then find a way to, because its well worth the brief 45 minutes it takes up, and how sad you are when those minutes are up.

2b. The White Stripes – Icky Thump – The White Stripes weren’t a band I was into very much originally. Their early stuff is alright, a little garage punk/rockesque, which is cool, but nothing super special. But slowly since Elephant they have been progressing in sound and style. Jack White is one of the best modern lyricists at writing catchy songs. His guitar riffs are always playable by a 1st year guitar player with no practice, yet they are just so god damn catchy. Get Behind Me Satan took a bunch of musical styles and mashed them onto the same album, and it worked. Icky Thump does relatively the same thing, but in a completely different way. It’s hard to explain, just listen to it. I was drawn to it because it was different, not the same old same old.

3. Kings Of Leon – Because Of The Times – See below, amazing album. Knocked Up is one of my favorite songs of all time.

4. Andrew Bird – Armchair Apocryopha – Andrew Bird is the man. His songs are so well constructed, so catchy and so beautiful. It’s great music to listen to anytime and the lyrics will puzzle you enough to keep you on your toes but you’ll hardly think about it as you sing along to each and every song. Heretics is a great song.

5. The Arcade Fire – Neon Bible – One of the three albums I felt received a lot of undeserved slamming. You’re right, its not Funeral, but what is? Now that we’ve established they are different albums, accept Neon Bible for the amazing piece of music IT IS, and not the indie-rock revolution you WANT IT to be.

6. Of Montreal – Hissing Fauna Are You The Destroyer? – Amazing album from and amazing band. The album is a concept album and it chronicles lead singer Kevin Barnes’ transformation from himself into his alter ego. Great concept, even better execution. Interesting and new sound with great lyrics.
7. The Shins – Wincing The Night Away – The second of three albums that was criticized much to harshly. Wincing…is a very strong album. It lets me know that The Shins wont be going anywhere musically that I don’t want to hear. Sleeping Lessons is one of my favorite Shins songs.

8. Modest MouseWe Were Dead Before The Ship Even Sank – The last of the three. There is no denying Modest Mouse has changed their course with their last 2-3 albums, but that isn’t really as bad as everyone seems to think. They have maintained their roots with songs such as, March Into The Sea, Education and most notably Spitting Venom. You can’t stay the same forever, playing the same type of songs for 15 years has to get boring, you’d want to change it up a bit too. And admit it, you love those catchy more poppy songs, Florida, Dashboard, People as Places as People and my favorite Fire It Up.

9. Albert Hammond Jr. – Yours To Keep – see below, great album.

10. Elliott Smith – New Moon – Dead, and still kicking. Smith’s newest collection of released material dates back to his Either/Or days and therfore they can’t be bad right? Of course not. Some of my favorite Elliott Smith songs surfaced on this collection. Both discs are strong, but I favor the first one. Hopefully he had many more of these stashed away.

11. Shout Out Louds – Our Ill Wills – The sophmore album from Swedish sensations the Shout Out Louds is anything but a slump. I loved this album. I found it much more penetrable than Howl Howl Gaff Gaff, and god, how much better is the name? Hard Rain is a great song, lot of emotion and very catchy. I hope that the SOL’s keep this up, I’m looking forward to hearing more and more of their material.

Huge Surprises 

Kings of Leon – Because of the Times – The King’s last album (Aha Shake Heartbreak) was great, but this album blows their previous efforts out of the water. This albums starts slowly (in an amazingly good way) and slowly builds towards awesome. By track four your faces is melting of awesomeness. [Key songs–>Knocked Up, McFearless, Ragoo, True Love Way, Charmer]

Albert Hammond Jr. – Yours To Keep – This album game out of no where. I barely knew it existed, and then bam, it was there. Albert (1 of 2 guitarists in The Strokes) should be singing on a future album. There is little to say about this album, the material speaks for itself, but beware, its catchy as hell. Best news is, he is already in the studio working on his second album. Yay! [Key tracks–> Everyone Gets A Star, Call An Ambulance, Back To The 101]

Feist – The Reminder – Usually I am not a fan of female vocalists (no sexism intended), but Feist is an exception. Her and Jenny Lewis are just so good that I can love them anyway. Feist’s newest album is much stronger than her debut in my opinion, well worth hearing.

Rilo Kiley – Under The Blacklight – I don’t know how much I love this album, but I did like it a good amount. It seems to be unpopular among hardcore fans, but I am not a hardcore fan so I find it well worth a listen. Jenny Lewis has a great voice. This album is much more rocky than their previous efforts.

Bout what I expected 

The Apples In Stereo – New Magnetic Wonder – Given to me by a friend (tremor) late in the year, this album pretty much blew me away, at first. Its very catchy and definietly worth listening to, maybe owning, but its not going to blow you away for years to come.

Interpol – Our Love To Admire – The third album from dead pan dan and his group of stagnant musicians. There is nothing wrong with staying the same if it’s a good thing. Interpol’s latest album surpasses Antics, but pales in comparison to Turn On The Bright Lights.

Matt Pond Pa – Last Light – Bout the same as all other Matt Pond albums, which is nice, there is nothing wrong with predicable non-offensive indie rock.

Sigur Ros – Hvarf-Heim – Sigur Ros is one of my top bands of all time. Almost unparalleled in talent and originality their newest album isn’t on my top 11 because it isn’t new material. It is basically an acoustic rehash of some great songs, but nothing new here. Check out all of their old albums, ( ), and Takk… especially.

Explosions in the Sky – All of the Sudden I Miss Everyone – A good album, but no where near as good as The Recuse or The Earth is Not a Cold Dead Place. Worth picking up.

Complete letdowns 

Bright Eyes – Cassadega – Next album please.

Jimmy Eat World – Chase This Light – They managed to hold my attention through Futures, they definietly lost me with this one. Can Jim Adkins sound more pathetically insincere when singing such pathetically insincere lyrics?

Still to come

There is little left to look forward to, but there is one…

Rivers Cuomo – Alone – The Home Recording Of Rivers Cuomo – A collection of lost long and closely guarded B-sides and home recordings by Weezer frontman Rivers Cuomo, recorded from 1992-2007. This should be good, I’m really looking forward to this one. tentative released date: December 18, 2007.

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2 thoughts on “Albums of the year..so far..

  1. I know what you mean about the new Bright Eyes. I dismissed it at first as well. 6 months later I gave it another listen. It has a lot more to it than I thought. Still, it’s no masterpiece, but for me, the jury’s still out.

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