Saturday, January 05, 2008

Music, Best of 2007

Hello Music Fans!

Here are my top 15 releases from 2007 (In Order):

1) Southern Culture on the Skids - Countrypolitan Favorites
2) Lyle Lovett and His Large Band - It’s Not Big It’s Large
3) Pearl Jam - Live at the Gorge 05/06
4) Nine Inch Nails - Year Zero
5) Arcade Fire - Neon Bible
6) UNKLE - War Stories
7) Sloan - Never Hear the End of It
8) Radiohead - In Rainbows
9) Stax 50th Anniversary Collection
10) Bruce Springsteen with The Sessions Band - Live in Dublin
11) The Rosebuds - Night of the Furies
12) Stars - In Our Bedroom After the War
13) Imperial Teen - the hair the tv the baby & the band
14) The Bird and the Bee - The Bird and the Bee
15) Feist - The Reminder

When Southern Culture on the Skids released Countrypolitan Favorites early in the year, I was really psyched to hear it. When I finally did, I was a bit disappointed because I wanted the old SCOTS that I come to love over the years. Sure, I liked a lot of the songs on the cd, but the disc did not stay with me… that is until I saw them live. SCOTS has always been one of my favorite bands to see live. Their show at The Rhythm Room in October made me love this album. Let me repeat that: I L.O.V.E. this album. Listening to it for weeks after the show made me realize that the “old SCOTS” that I was pining for was just buried in songs and a style that I normally don’t enjoy: Country… which leads me to my number two album from 2007.

It’s Not Big It’s Large by Lyle Lovett and His Large Band is as classic Lyle Lovett as you will ever get. With his desolate Texas songs & swing sensibility that makes me want to crank up my Bob Wills cd’s, It’s Not Big It’s Large is almost the perfect Lyle Lovett album. If you are a fan of Lyle’s & if you get a chance to see him live do not pass up the opportunity as he is a fantastic live performer.

Other Worthy Releases this year:

Clutch - From Beale Street to Oblivion
Ryan Adams - Easy Tiger
The Shins - Wincing the Night Away
Lucinda Williams - West
Peter Bjorn and John - Writer’s Block
Air - Pocket Symphony

Guilty Pleasure of the Year:

I spent a week in Portland earlier in the year in an attempt to see if it was going to be a place I’d like to move to (it wasn’t). I had a great rental car while I was there (a brand new Nissan Murano with an impressive factory made sound system). I brought a variety of cd’s with me to listen to while I was checking out the surrounding area plus I purchased 10 or 12 cd’s while I was there. The guilty pleasure part of this was just riding around in a new area listening to great music. I don’t get to do that here as my car stereo is limited to radio. While the trip ultimately was a bust for me, I do remember those days driving around- windows down, wind in my face and music blasting. There is nothing like listening to music in your car.

Musical Disappointments of the Year:

PJ Harvey - White Chalk
Arctic Monkeys - Favourite Worst Nightmare
Kaiser Chiefs - Yours Truly, Angry Mob

PJ Harvey’s White Chalk was heartbreakingly disappointing for me. She’s always been one of my favorite artists, but as soon as I heard that warbling falsetto on the opening track, I knew it was just going to suck… and it did. I applaud the effort to try something new, but I hope she does not continue in this direction.

Arctic Monkeys and Kaiser Chiefs suffered the dreaded sophomore slump that is the slayer of many bands. Hopefully they will rebound with better efforts in the future.

Debut of the Year:

I cannot think of one new artist that really blew me away this year. Amy Winehouse made the most noise this year as a relatively new artist (her debut album was issued a few years before last years Back to Black) but now I just wish she’d go away because I am tired of seeing her face appear online and tired of hearing her where I work (not saying anymore about that!).

Trend I wish would go away:

mp3 dominance. I miss good record stores- hell, I miss bad ones too. I have a decent used place here I shop at and I get my hits cheaply at a large big box retailer that I frequent occasionally- but I live in a metropolitan area that has over five million people yet I can count on two hands the number places I could buy music at. I lived in an area in the 90’s that had 250,000 and it had the same amount or more. How can that be? As I talked about last year in my music best of list, the music industry has shot itself in the foot in many ways and now mp3 is their latest target to complain about. It will never be what it was before, but can’t we all just get along?

2007 was a down year for me musically. I did manage to add 122 titles to my collection but a large number of those were either freebies from work or titles I copied from friends of mine. There were plenty of other cd’s I was interested in checking out that I just wasn’t able to. A few examples:

Rilo Kiley - Under the Blacklight
New Pornographers - Challengers
Robert Plant and Alison Krauss - Raising Sand
Joy Division reissues (all three of them)
Taken by Trees - Open Field
Band of Horses - Cease to Begin
Siouxsie - Mantaray
Rumble Strips - Girls and Weather
White Williams - Smoke
LCD Soundsystem - Sound of Silver
John Fogerty - Revival

Hope you enjoyed my list.

Feedback is hoped for and encouraged.

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