full life

Music of 2007

Thought I wouldn't be able to finish this before I left for the weekend, but here it is. 

Biggest Disappointments of 2007
  • Interpol, "Our Love to Admire" - basically revealed the band to be nothing but a one-trick pony, and the trick peaked with their first album.  I loved "Mammoth", which I was considering for my Top Songs of 2007, but the rest of the album was utterly bland.  What's more, they were downright boring at Lollapalooza.
  • Bloc Party, "A Weekend In the City" - Wow, what a letdown.  I feel more or less the same way about this album as I do about the Interpol - utterly bland and forgettable.  Up until a few days ago I was going to include "I Still Remember" in my Top Songs of 2007, but I might have played it out too much. 
  • Clap Your Hands Say Yeah, "Some Loud Thunder" - it took me a long time to get into their first record, but I ended up really liking it.  I never got into this one, though; actually, I found it downright irritating.
  • Band of Horses, "Cease to Begin" - boooooooooooring.  That's probably not fair, actually, considering I've yet to make it all the way through. 
Highly Regarded Albums I Either Never Got Around to Listening To or Just Couldn't Get Into
  • Arcade Fire, "Neon Bible" - A lot of people love it.  I got about halfway through it and then got my hands on Wilco's "Sky Blue Sky", and I guess I just forgot about it.  That said, this youtube video of the end of "Once Upon A Time In The West" set to "My Body is a Cage" is pretty awesome - maybe I'll give this another shot.
  • Of Montreal, "Hissing Fauna, Are You The Destroyer?" - Maybe it's the dude's voice.. I don't know.  I don't get it. 
  • Battles, "Mirrored" - I want to love this album, I really do.  But I can't.  Maybe it's the dude's voice, again. 
Best (Old) Albums I'd Been Meaning to Get and Now Finally Own
  • The first 4 Velvet Underground albums - there's really no excuse.
  • Dr. Dre, "The Chronic" - I was screwing around in GTA:San Andreas for the billionth time and couldn't believe I never actually owned this album.
  • Peter Gabriel, "Passion" - ditto.  I already knew this album backwards and forwards, too.
  • Daft Punk, "Homework" / "Discovery" - just bought these 2 last night, actually, but they are brilliant. 
  • Allman Brothers, "Eat A Peach" / "Live at Fillmore West" - totally ridiculous that I never had these. 
  • Black Star, "Mos Def and Talib Kweli Are..." - goddamn.
  • GZA, "Liquid Swords" - this didn't blow my mind quite as much as I was expecting, but it is still pretty awesome.
  • Ween, "12 Golden Country Greats"
  • Can, "Ege Bamyasi" / "Tago Mago"
Best (Old) Albums I'd Never Heard Of But Was Prompted To Get And Now Totally Love
  • Steve Reich, "Music for 18 Musicians" - I don't know if I've written enough about this piece of music, but it altered my DNA in January.  Jesus Christ.
  • Don Caballero, "American Don" - Leading up to the release of the Battles album, I decided to see what Don Cab was about.  I soon acquired rest of their catalog but this was the first thing I'd ever heard, and the first 30 seconds of "Fire Back About Your New Baby's Sex" absolutely hooked me for life.
  • The Forms, "Icarus" / The Desert Fathers, "The Spirituality" - I came across these two albums in a random, gigantic Steve Albini thread (which link I've apparently misplaced).  I've got more to say about the Forms, in a different list.
  • Shakti, "Natural Elements" - I leaned about this the same afternoon I learned about Steve Reich; it's a John McLaughlin album from somewhere in the 1970s, with an Indian feel.  I can't remember the band lineup, but it's pretty goddamned sick.
Best Songs of 2007, in no particular order (except one). 
  • LCD Soundsystem, "Us V. Them" - this is my song of the year.  When I think about 2007, I will think about this song.  I will think about seeing them play at Lolla as the sun was setting, and hearing them open their set with this - at an even faster tempo than it is on the record - and feeling joyous and alive and young and free.  I also felt this way during "All My Friends" - that's a great song as well.  But the difference between "Us V. Them" and "All My Friends" is that during "Us V. Them", you are compelled to shake your ass.
  • Iron And Wine, "Carousel" - I guess I'm only doing one song per album, because "Boy With a Coin" is also really good, but there's something about this one that makes my heart melt.
  • St. Vincent, "Now Now" - I don't know that I developed a crush on Annie Clark because of this song, but I did really want to be her friend. 
  • Panda Bear, "I'm Not" - Maybe this is a weird choice, if you know the album; it's basically one hypnotic loop repeated over and over, with some haunting vocals mixed in the middle.  For whatever it's worth, this is the song that really unlocked that album for me.
  • Peter Bjorn and John, "Up Against The Wall" - The record didn't really do anything for me, but this song totally hooked me from the get-go.  You've probably heard it in a jeans commercial.
  • The Sea and Cake, "Left On" - One of the best thing they've recorded in years.
  • The Shins, "Sleeping Lessons" - I was going to put the Shins record in my Best Albums of 2007, but I think it's only because I love this opening track so much.  The whole song is a sleepy, dreamy sketch and then it suddenly builds into something glorious.  Now featured in a Zune commercial.  Speaking of which...
  • Rogue Wave, "Lake Michigan" - I saw a Zune commercial with this song in it and immediately had to find out what it was.  
  • Daft Punk, "Around The World / Harder Bigger Faster Stronger" - my 2 favorite Daft Punk songs, mashed up?  OK, I'm sold.
  • Mobius Band, "Friends Like These" - just found out about this a short while ago, via Stereogum's mp3 page.  Mobius Band also was on 'Gum's tribute to OK Computer, and their cover of "Subterranean Homesick Alien", which happens to be my favorite song on that record, also happens to be my favorite cover on the tribute.  These guys do the synth-pop-but-with-real-instruments thing really, really well.
  • The Forms.  I can't choose just one - there are no less than 5 songs on this album that I still can't stop listening to.  If I have to choose one - and I really can't - I guess I'd have to go with "Bones", but I could easily make a case for "Knowledge In Hand", "Alpha", "Red Gun", "Getting It Back"...
Best Albums of 2007

Honorable mention:  Patton Oswalt's "Werewolves and Lollipops".  I can't put a comedy record in this list, and truth be told I think this is the only comedy record I actually bought this year.  It's arguably better than his first one.

Close, but no cigar:
  • St. Vincent, "Marry Me"
  • New Pornographers, "Challengers"
  • Liars, "Liars"
  • Animal Collective, "Strawberry Jam"
  • Modest Mouse, "We Were Dead Before the Ship Even Sank"
  • Dungen, "Tio Bitar"
  • James Blackshaw, "The Cloud of Unknowing"
  • The Shins, "Wincing The Night Away"
  • Wilco, "Sky Blue Sky"
  • Deerhoof, "Friend Opportunity"
10.  Blonde Redhead, "23" - I wasn't totally blown away at first, but then I saw them play a bit of it live and it made a lot more sense. 

9. Panda Bear, "Person Pitch" - Haunting and ethereal. 

8.  Daft Punk, "Alive 2007" - I said it before; one of my biggest regrets this year was that I didn't watch more than the first 15 minutes of their set at Lolla.  At least they released this, which is amazing - they've mashed up all their best songs, with their own songs!

7.  Menomena, "Friend and Foe" - this record came out of nowhere and utterly floored me.  Totally goofy and strange and yet really powerful; great production aesthetic.

6.  Radiohead, "In Rainbows" - Time will ultimately tell how this ranks in their canon; I just put it on yesterday and I think my brain is still trying to figure it out.  I think this is both their most controversial and also their most conventional album yet.

5.  Iron & Wine, "The Shepherd's Dog" - Some people wondered if moving to a full band and wider production scope would ruin the music; I think those people are wrong, wrong, wrong. 

4.  Andrew Bird, "Armchair Apocrypha" - God this record is beautiful.  Andrew Bird is a goddamned genius.

3.  Cornelius, "Sensuous" - I was wondering where to put this album; at first I wasn't sure it would make the top 10.  So I put it on, and then I remembered that it's stunning.  There are a few filler tracks, which feels almost unfair considering how long the wait is between albums, but the tracks that work are about as good as Cornelius has ever sounded.

2.  LCD Soundsystem, "The Sound of Silver" - This was all set to be my album of the year, until I heard the record at #1.  It's both a goofy party record and a serious mental headrush, and as I previously mentioned it's got at 2 of the best songs of the year on it.

1.  The Forms, "The Forms" - I'm annoyed that this record hasn't gotten more press.  Every single song on it - even "Borges", which can be irritating - has at least one section that is guaranteed to find your brain's pleasure center and reverberate until you can't take it any more; each song is meticulously considered and crafted and yet it sounds utterly effortless.  I couldn't stop listening to this album for about a month after I first got it, and I still can't - if one of their songs randomly pops up on my iPod I end up listening to the whole album.  This record probably has to be in my All-Time Top 10, the more I think about it - I've listened to it dozens of times already and it still remains fresh and vital and, well, interesting.  I spent a few weeks earlier this summer trying to write songs on a keyboard in 5/4 and couldn't do it; I'm still trying and I still can't.  I love this album, I love this band, I wish I had made this record. 
Great lists, dude.

Some comments:
--I agree 100% on Interpol. The only record this year I've liked less is Devendra Banhart's utterly ponderous 'Smokey Rolls Down Thunder Canyon'.
--I never really got into the first Band of Horses record, and am surprised to see how much 'Cease to Begin' has been showing up on year-end lists. It also had a pretty high debut on the Billboard album chart, if memory serves. I didn't bother checking it out.
--I agree about 'Neon Bible' 100% too, but I think AF just aren't a band for me. I've never really given 'Funeral' a chance, though.
--You'll see 'Mirrored' in my year-end list, but not as high as I would have expected. I think Battles were better when the vocals were almost non-existent.
--If I do a top 10 albums of 2007 that didn't come out in 2007, '18 Musicians' will be in the top 5 for sure.
--Iron and Wine's 'Carousel' does, in fact, totally own.
--Five of your 'close, but no cigar' records will be on my list, but only one will be in my top ten. Six of your top ten will be on my list, with maybe two of them in my top ten.
- I liked the first Band of Horses album; it was pleasant, at least, although you could immediately tell that there would be nothing gained in seeing it done live, which is maybe the problem.

- I should've done a Top 10 Albums That Came Out in 2006 That I Finally Got in 2007; quite a few fall in to that category.

Can't wait for your lists.
interpol will likely not ever progress. dunno why that is but at least they got it right ONCE. and 1/2 right on the 2nd album.

oh please give "neon bible" another chance! you shall not be sorry, especially when you give "antichrist television blues" another listen!

blonde redhead's "23" is an excellent choice but i didn't know it until they opened for arcade fire.

and "in rainbows"...great googly moogly i adore that album. every second of it.