Tuesday, November 27, 2007

My Top 10 Albums Of 2007

10. Justice - †
There simply was no escaping the electro house duo (that is Justice) this past year. I know i'm not the only person who thinks they're going to puke if they hear another D.A.N.C.E remix. (seriously that was by far the weakest track on that album) But whatever, even so there is no denying that the production values on this cd are top notch. True to form the electronic duo take their material strictly from samples of other songs, however they've completely destroyed the originals and ended up creating something that sounds like "a vampire rave with the catholic church" ... trust me on this one.... just go listen to it for yourself.

9. Peter Bjorn and John - Writer's Block
Writer's Block is a classic sounding album with originality (no small task for 2007). This album is completely loaded with singles that will highlight your mixtapes, however as an entire album their unique sound starts to sound a bit like a constraint. Indie kids weren't the only ones who recognized the gravity of these songs. Already Hip Hop acts such as Kanye West and the Blue Scholars have sampled tracks off of this record for their own freestyles..... Writer's block my ass.

8. The Shins -Wincing The Night Away
The new Shins album was a bit of a disappointment for everyone who was hoping for more Zach Braff mixtape fodder. It's not that the album was bad by any means, but some of the songs just don't hold much by themselves. At the end of 2007 however, I've found myself coming back to this album without any pre-conceived expectations. I'm sure even Natalie Portman would agree "it's not their best but it's got some good ones".

7. Shocking Pinks - s/t
Perhaps the most overlooked album of the year, Ex-Drummer of the Brunettes Nick Harte (AKA Shocking Pinks) proves that you don't need a big budget to produce great songs. Hidden within these lo-fi dance songs contain really catchy hooks and yes.... more cowbell. Luckily for us we can expect more Shocking Pinks, they just signed to dance music power house DFA records (LCD Soundystem, The Rapture, Hot Chip).

6. Kanye West - Graduation
Is there any man more driven than Kanye West? I don't think so. Whether you love to hate him or hate to love him, you can't deny that his cultural impact has grown exponentially in 2007. The new shades, the new album art, destroying 50 cent was just icing on the cake for what turned out to be another great year for Kanye. Graduation showcased a smaller tracklist, NO SKITS, and a new direction sonically (which equates to more and more ear candy) making Graduation the easiest Kanye album to listen to from start to finish. Where Graduation occasionally skips a beat however is when Kanye seems like he's run out of "important" things to say (really? you think that highly of barry bonds?). Regardless of the hoopla, Kanye shows no signs of slowing down. His "glow in the dark" tour has already started in Europe and judging by fan-made youtube videos, it looks like this is gonna be the extravagant 2008 tour you don't want to miss.

5. The Field - From Here We Go Sublime
Using altered trance loops, The Field create lush soundscapes out of what are initially small soundbytes from pop songs (examples on the album include Coldplay and Lionel Richie). Each track truly tests your patience (this album HAS to be listened to while in your own quiet zone... be that on a walk or doing homework) but with that patience comes GREAT rewards. Right when you start to become hypnotized by the pattern of a loop, something happens in the song that makes you wake up and yell "what the fuck was that?" The audio trickery on each track makes this album worth listening to over and over again. The greatest example of this would be the title track "From Here We Go Sublime" it contains the greatest song ending EVER. (we're talking trippy melting time warp shit) pure genius.

4. Andrew Bird - Armchair Apocrypha
Andrew Bird's Armchair Apocrypha is a quiet little masterpiece for you and your significant other. I would describe it as a "sexy whistle while you work" or a "romantic comedy set in the apocalypse". Andrew Bird's gentle vocal delivery contrasts beautifully with the lush countryside that his violin conveys. It's a great crossover album that people from all genres will enjoy, though few will probably "obsess" over... which is a shame.

3. Panda Bear - Person Pitch
Person Pitch is a psychedelic collage of everything that is wild and warm. Influences vary from Afropop to Surf Rock, Gospel and everywhere in between. Infact it takes a few listens to find the real soul of the album, the sincere lyrics. Just read the chorus of "take pills" take one day at a time/everything else you can leave behind/only one thing at a time/anything more really hurts your mind/i don't want for us to take pills anymore/not that it's bad/i don't want for us to take pills/because we're stronger/and we don't need them. I recommend putting on Panda Bear for some major positive vibes.

2. The Arcade Fire - Neon Bible
I've been playing Neon Bible all year long and i'm not even close to being tired of it, its now one of those albums that I know I'll always be playing for the rest of my life. So what kept this album from being #1? Believe it or not... It just isn't as amazing as their debut "Funeral". Call it what you want to call it, I know it isn't fair. But just the fact that Neon Bible managed to satisfy both new and old fans is an accomplishment in itself. They also proved this year that they truly are one of the greatest live acts around. Seeing the Arcade Fire is more of an relgious experience than a rock concert. They're one of the few aritsts i can honestly say i would pay full price to see again and again. Which unfortunately won't come around until their next album....please hurry.

1. Animal Collective - Strawberry Jam
My favorite album of 2007 would definitely have to be Animal Collective's Strawberry Jam. I'll never forget the smile on my face when i first heard the opening track "Peacebone" (By far my most played song of 2007). The more I listened the more addicted I became... It was only a matter of time before i got their whole back catalogue, watched interviews of the band, bought tickets to their show, merchandise.. you name it. Following Animal Collective over 2007 made it exciting to be involved with music again. I'm not sure if it was the fact that live, they only play songs that haven't been recorded (or completely remix old ones)... Or the organic rhythm section that exists between unique drum kit configurations and sampler effects... or the catchy vocal harmonies that overlap complete chaos... Whatever it was, i totally bought into it this year. I can only hope that you do too.

Now hold on a second...

anyone who knows me realizes that i totally forgot someone on the list...

∞ Radiohead - In Rainbows

Let's face it, Radiohead is God.... there's just no getting around it

Even if I weren't counting the fact that they leaked their own album

Or the fact that they asked their fans to spend however much money they thought it should cost (even for free)

subsequently scaring the shit out of the entire record industry

Even if I didn't care about all of that

IN RAINBOWS stands as one of the best albums Radiohead has ever made

Assigning them even #1 would be offensive

Plus the "real" thing comes out on January 1st 2008

So inevitably you know the winner of next year's list

That is unless Radiohead puts out another album :)



douglas martin said...

great list. looks like in rainbows will be on both of our 2008 lists for the exact same reason. wincing the night away was better than most people thought, neon bible was, too, person pitch is going to be on everyone's top five [including mine], and strawberry jam is the album that made me like animal collective.

it's always nice to see a good seattle blog [via iceland..?]; keep up the good work.

Top Left Magazine said...

Did you give Okkervil River's The Stage Names a chance?