Wednesday, January 2, 2008

obligatory year-end music list

Goodbye, 2007. You were really weird, but no one can deny you were an absolutely fantastic year for music releases... One of the best in quite a long time, and though it was quite hard to whittle it down, I've got five albums that really stood out to me:
5. Sound of Silver - LCD Soundsystem
This album made it onto the list mainly because of LCD Soundsytem's live act. Not until I saw James Murphy in person did I truly appreciate the genious of this recording, and it seems that all the little nuances stand out much more now. Easily one of the best electronic/dance albums of the last decade. 
4. TIE: Armchair Apocrypha - Andrew Bird / The Flying Club Cup - Beirut
Every time I considered putting one of these albums on here, the other popped into mind. Their similarities are unmistakeable, and both have a very pleasant subdued indie/alt feel to them. The string arrangements on both are extremely well done, and conjure up feelings of September. Both albums are significantly more refined as compared to their predecessors, and I would consider both to be the highlight of their creators' respective repertoires.
3. Boxer - The National
America is what I think of when I listen to this cd. It's about all sorts of different things, but the overarching feel of the album is distinctly American, and The National is one of very few artists who have managed to successfully invoke a patriotic feeling without being stale. Although that was a huge part of what made me include this album, I think an even more exciting element to their music is the drumming. The drums are a much larger part of this album than any other I've heard. They transcend their traditional role of a metronomic embellishment, and truly become an inescapable part of the music.
2. In Rainbows - Radiohead
First of all, I'd like to apologize for not posting a review yet. I haven't quite found the right words. As you might know, I decided not to listen to the low-quality mp3s, choosing instead to order the discbox and hear it on vinyl. Whether because it was my first true vinyl experience, or because I hyped it up so much inside my head, or simply because it's an absolutely fantastic album, I haven't been able to stop listening to it. I honestly haven't found a weak song on the album. It doesn't quite achieve the greatness of Kid A ( One of few albums that I've given a perfect rating ), but it comes shockingly close. In fact, I almost gave it my #1 album slot for 2007.  This album will be remembered long after anything else that was released this year, not solely because of its unorthodox release, but because it's a brilliant piece of art.

And my absolute favorite album of 2007:
1. Neon Bible - Arcade Fire
This was a tough decision for me to make, because there were so many fantastic music releases this year. One of the first albums turned out to be the best. The album that I've kept coming back to is Neon Bible. Every song on it has been my favorite at some point, and as an album it's completely cohesive. The lyricism, the instrumentation, the performances, and the writing all earn a perfect five stars from me. However, the true reason it made the number one spot on this list is the live performance. Seeing Arcade Fire play live at Red Rocks was definitely one of the standout experiences from my entire life. Playing two of their songs (admittedly, they were Funeral songs) made me realize why they're so exhilarating to listen to, and I'm excited to see what they do next.

Honorable mentions:

Hissing Fauna, Are You The Destroyer? - Of Montreal

Hvarf/Heim - Sîgur Rós (Considering it's a double EP, rather than a full LP, I didn't feel it really qualified...)

Return To The Sea - Islands

Foley Room - Amon Tobin

The Shepherd's Dog - Iron and Wine

Biggest disappointments (Completely overhyped):

Jens Lekman

Band of Horses


Argue with my decisions in the comment section. Happy 2008!


Nick Danforth said...

Agreed all the way. Though if it did qualify, I feel that "Hvarf-Heim" (for me) would have either replaced the Andrew Bird/Beirut tie, or The National.

Still, all very good albums.

Carl Wilder said...

In Rainbows beats Neon Bible and where is Devendra Banhart. His new album stellar. I think it would definitely be somewhere around those top two. Although I have an extremely hard time comparing music and deciding which is better when I thoroughly enjoy both.