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Posts Tagged "Best of 2007"

5 ALBUMS FROM OTHER PEOPLE’S BEST OF 2007 LISTS THAT I WISH I’D HEARD BEFORE I MADE MY LIST

The great and frustrating thing about music is, no matter how much you hear you can never hear it all. Here’s 5 albums I found about by reading other peoples’ lists (most of which I found on Largehearted Boy’s master online list).

1. Andrew Bird-Armchair Apocrypha. How the hell did this album get by me? It sounds like something that should have been submitted by the label. Shame on Fat Possum for not doing that. God bless e-music, where I found this delightful pleasure. Great singer-songwriter tunes, perfectly crafted and constantly engaging. Not a flawed track on the entire album.

Andrew offers lots of free music on his download page, so go check it out. Like this:

Imitosis (Four Tet remix)

2. Ha Ha Tonka-Buckle in the Bible Belt.

A really, really, really good album, also available on e-music. Self-described “foot-stompin indie rock,” this is easily as great as The Broken West. Being a huge Americana fan, I can’t understand how this album never made a blip on my radar all year long. Maybe it was the fact that their name is nothing like their music.

Off one of my favorite labels, Bloodshot Records.

Caney Mountain

3. Scarface-Made.

The fact that this ex-Geto Boy can make solid, compelling, and utterly merciless hardcore rap albums in his sleep shouldn’t deter you from buying every single one. One of the most underrated artists in hip hop today, a true O.G., and a brilliant storyteller.

4. The Pipettes-We Are The Pipettes.

Of course I had heard this band’s big single, “Your Kisses Are Wasted On Me,” several times last year, but it didn’t move me. I didn’t realize how witty the album was until Universal unloaded a bunch of copies on my office, needing to “get rid of them.” What a thrill! I take back anything negative I may have said about this fun retro frolic. Sometimes the major labels get it right, and this is one of those times.

5. Blockhead-Uncle Tony’s Coloring Book. A selection from the always dependable Passion of the Weiss, my favorite blog (I like it more than my own, actually). Go read what he wrote about it, and listen to the track he posted, available below:

grape nuts and chalk sauce

This is a very difficult album to find–I think it is out of print–and I happened to luck upon it at my favorite used CD store, but the copy I got is slightly scratched. I love it if someone gave it to me for Christmas.

You reading Mr. Weiss?

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THE BEST ALBUM OF 2007: SPOON, “GA GA GA GA”

I can’t say more than the dozens of bloggers I’ve seen put this album in their top 10 or 20, except that more of them should have put it at number 1. Fun, choppy, funky, and bouncy, it’s an album that never stops giving.

Here’s some stuff they released this year, including bonus cuts off of Ga etc.

It’s Gonna Take an Airplane (Dan Bejar cover)

I Can Feel It Fade Like An AM Single

1975

Mean Mad Margaret

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THE BIGGEST DISAPPOINTMENTS OF 2007 (AND WHAT TO BUY INSTEAD!)

In no particular order. These albums aren’t necessarily bad, but they should have been much better. 50 Cent’s “Curtis” isn’t here because, frankly, I didn’t have high expectations for it in the first place.

1. Common, “Finding Forever.” Lots of folks swear by Common, but to me he’s rarely been more exciting than a bath, and that’s at his best on joints like “I Used to Love H.E.R.” and “Bitch in You.” His last album, Be, had good Kanye beats and a few catchy pop songs like “Go,” but there wasn’t much meat there. He tries so hard to be likable that his message has all the meaning of a candy cane. Sure, it tastes good and looks nice, but after you’re done all you’re left with is a sugar high. Sometimes he’s creative, often he’s familiar, and he gets points for not stooping to the lowest common denominator, but I’ve never understood what about him is so great that Jay-Z had to name-check him and Ice Cube bothered to battle him.

Instead Buy: Blue Scholars: Bayani. It’s got all the lyricism critics seem to find in Common, and all the wit, but none of the sentimentality.

The Distance-Blue Scholars

2. Rilo Kiley, “Under the Blacklight.” I’m not a huge fan of this band’s albums, but their earlier work includes some inspiring and brilliant singles. Usually, I can count on at least four really, really good songs on each Rilo Kiley record. Up until now. As for “Under the Blacklight,” diehards should be saddened by the brevity (it’s under 37 minutes) and the fact that, although a few of the songs do pop, it’s lyrically pedantic and musically unsurprising. New listeners will not be attracted, either, because there’s no clear singles. It took them this long to come up with an album that sounds like B-Sides and outtakes?

Instead Buy: The Parkas:Put Your Head In The Lion’s Mouth or Bat for Lashes: Fur and Gold. Two much better somewhat cerebral, obtuse pop albums. (Parkas Review)

Change of Heart-Parkas.

Raggedy Ann-Parkas.

3. The Dead 60s, “Time to Take Sides.” Expecting another rollicking joyride like their last album, I instead got watered-down, studio-exec friendly Clash-lite. Looks like success spoiled them. Dead 60s, meet Jet. Discuss.

Instead Buy: Bedouin Soundclash: Street Gospels. Solid whiteboy ska with all the international flavor of The Clash.

Jealousy and the Get Free-Bedouin Soundclash

Or: The Cops: Free Electricity. Uncommercial, confrontational punk rock from a band that toured with The Hold Steady.

It’s Epidemic-The Cops

Terrible Empty Pockets-The Cops

4. The New Pornographers, “Challengers.” I’m a huge fan of their earlier work, loved AC’s solo record, and enjoyed (but didn’t go ga ga over) Neko’s solo albums. This album? Feh. There’s a clear lack of the catchy pop that hooked me into their earlier work and made their more experimental songs acceptable. Album by album, both the Pornos and Neko’s solo works get progressively worse. I really cannot understand why so many folks put this record on their top 10s.

Instead Buy: The White Rabbits: Fort Nightly. Experimental pop with some jangly hooks. (Review)

White Rabbits: Kid on My Shoulders

White Rabbits: The Plot

5. M.I.A., “Kala.” This is more of an overrated album than a disappointing one. It’s not horrible, just mediocre, but so was her first (and this is nowhere near as good as her first, which had some really good singles, but on the whole the center did not hold). The folks I see digging M.I.A. generally dislike American hip hop and praise M.I.A. up and down for sounding global. If that’s what you want, check out Me’Shell.

Instead Buy: Meshell Ndegeocello: The World Has Made Me the Man of My Dreams.

(Major label-No samples.)

6. Feist, “The Reminder.” This is another one that lots of critics and bloggers got all wet for, but I can’t understand that if any of them heard any of her earlier albums, all of which are not good but are, in fact, excellent. Feist’s major label debut is exactly what you’d expect from a contracted release: Soulless, toothless, and completely lacking in adventure.

Instead Buy: Julie Doiron: Woke Myself Up. Sadly, this LP is out of print. But you can still find it.

No More-Julie Doiron

8. Interpol, “Our Love to Admire.” Each Interpol album is regressively like the one before it, more watered down and less innovative. It’s like listening to a copy of a tape that was a copy of a tape.

Instead Buy: The Editors: The End Has a Start.

9. The Good, the Bad and The Queen, “Self Titled.” Fans of The Clash and The Gorillaz rejoiced! A new project would combine members of both bands, and the title promised a good mix of politics and grit. Together, this supergroup managed to do what I never thought would have possible: They were boring.

Instead Buy: Carbon/Silicon: The Last Post. I haven’t been able to get my hands on it yet, but if it’s anything like the singles they’ve been throwing up on the internet all year long, it’s frickin’ awesome.

Total Fucking Madness-C/S

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THE 40 BEST ALBUMS OF 2007: AMY WINEHOUSE (#2)

It’s almost time to go back to business as usual here, reviewing indie rock and rap.  Tomorrow I’ll post the #1 album, we’ll have a few Xmas posts, and we’ll be doing our old thang.  I hope posting all these things that I’ve already posted throughout the year wasn’t a big waste of time for too many of you.  I had fun doing it, anyway.

Here’s #2:

2. Amy Winehouse-Back to Black.

Drinking self-destructive retro Motown revival tattoos no no no cigarette bra hair.

You Can Only Hold Her/That Thing (Lauryn Hill cover)

Hey Little Rich Girl (Specials cover)

You Wondering Now? (Specials cover)

Monkey Man (Toots and the Maytalls cover)

Rehab (live, acoustic version)

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BEST 40 ALBUMS OF 2007: BROTHER ALI (#3)

3. Brother Ali-Undisputed Truth (Plus bonus disc) (review)

“Undisputed Truth” begins with the birth of a new MC (“I came in the door 1984 . . .”) and that first track tells of fights over lunch money and growing up hard. Every track after that is pure brilliance. In a year where Jay-Z returned to his roots, Wu-Tang reunited, and Ghostface released another characteristically mind-blowing album, the best rap record belonged to Minneapolis’ Rhymesayers artist Jason “Ali” Newman. With a delivery that changes from song to song, hopping from the powerful growl of Ice Cube to the nasal, martyrous Eminem to the chanting, get-up-and-dance cadence of Jay-Z, Ali proves he can do any style, and does it mostly without stooping to silly gangsta bravado, profanity, or lame sex raps. Producer Ant (of Atmosphere) does some of the best work of his career here, but the show belongs to Ali. Never lazy, always stretching, this album is a must-buy, plain and simple. If you can score a copy of the limited release bonus mixtape CD, featuring tracks produced by MF DOOM and Pidgeon John, you can count yourself doubly blessed. There is not a single skippable song, not a single missed opportunity, no flaws at all on this, the best hip hop record of 2007.

Doomage – Brother Ali and Slug, Produced by MF Doom (from the bonus album)

Live From the Chippie (from the bonus disc)

Truth Is (Passion of the Weiss’ #16 best hip hop cut of the year)

Original King

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