Jan 11, 2008

The Year in Music 2007

So there’s top ten lists galore, who cares? I don’t get paid for this so this is as personal and as objective a review as I can make of all the music I was treated to in 2007. Hope you find this helpful or at the very least entertaining.

First the Cream of the Crop

1. Radiohead - In Rainbows

Simply put, this is an album you can put on repeat all and not mind. It’s one of those albums that’s over a bit too fast so you put it on again and everything is solid as usual. It’s nowhere near as experimental as some of their previous work, it’s not rocking, it’s not crazy, it’s not virtuoso-like and it isn’t their best album they’ve ever made. It is however, a pleasure to listen to. The first track starts with a drumb & bass beat that goes to live drumming that flows into such a sweet guitar riff that you can’t help but smile when it hits. Second track is the only rocking track on the album and it can definitely get you to head bang and truth be told, you’re left wanting more, but that’s a good thing. For the rest of the album, you’re treated to music to simply lay idly by and look into the sky, be it at day or night. Definitely a shampoo album, use, rinse, repeat as necessary, which by the quality of this little baby will be quite a few times.

2. Queens of the Stoneage - Era Vulgaris

On the other spectrum of the pheromone balance, you have Queens of the Stone Age doing just as Radiohead in the sense that they didn’t reinvent the wheel, but man what a hell of a wheel. The only card I can 100% give to this QOTSA album versus Radiohead is variety and energy. This is an album with music to surf to, to chill to, to drink to, to mosh to, and most certainly to fuck to (though not as much as Year Zero). The album kicks off with a grungy dirty track that makes you want to kick your cubicle walls down. From there? Vintage QOTSA with odd arrangements, cool guitars, great sing-a-longs and enough hair on the balls to proclaim that though this is music, it is man music.

3. Explosions in the sky - All of a sudden I miss everybody

If music is supposed to transport, pack your bags, this is going to be one hell of a trip. I discovered Explosions in the Sky late last year and was lucky enough to have done so when they were to release this utterly mesmerizing album. If you’ve never heard Explosions in the Sky the main thing you need to know is that they have no singer and that they don’t need one to get your attention. If you’re a guitarist, you owe it to yourself to listen to this album. Anyone else with an imagination needs this album to sleep to. Get a bottle of your favorite liquor or drug of choice, have it beside you, click play and don’t be surprised if you don’t need anything to go on a trip.

4. NIN - Year Zero

Trent Reznor has put out the most audience challenging collection of music since the Downward Spiral and shit, that’s aiming high. Although the music doesn’t surpass the epic Downward Spiral, this damn album doesn’t just kicks ass, it destroys it. If you’ve ever wondered what rock album you could really fuck to, might I present Year Zero. Dark, brooding, broken soundscapes serve as fitting background for some dark music that is oddly very sexual at times. Sorry, if you’ve never had sex to Closer, you won’t get it. I have, I do, I will continue to do so. As an album it isn’t as accessible as With Teeth, but who the hell wants something accessible when you can have conspiracy theories and fuck music? I know I’m not on that list.

Second, Beyond Solid

5. Foo Fighters - Echoes, Silence, Patience and Grace

If anyone showed they can grow with each and every album, it’s these guys. 2007 was in general the year of consistence and Foo Fighters are no exception. Yet another solid album by the Foos with meaty hooks and memorable tunes. I’ve always thought albums should have a logical track listing where you know how to begin and how an album arches to kind of weave a story with the way tracks are played out. FF’s last album shows just exactly how important this is because I’m sure that the album wouldn’t have been as good without the exact track listing it has. It almost anticipates what your ear wants to hear and gives it what it yearns for. Good mix of hard banging tunes, mellow acoustic tracks and lighter gems that round out an album that is beyond solid. In one phrase, I pity the foo who don’t get the Foo’s new album.

6. Kings of Leon - Because of the Times

Physically and sonically this bunch of brothers seem like they got stuck in the 70’s rock groove, and God Bless them for it. Just enough twang to know they’re from the South and just enough talent to know that this ain’t no bullshit barnyard act. These guys can play and I look forward to seeing them live. They’re like a quasi modernized version of Credence Clearwater Revival. What’s impressive is that this band is pretty new at this being a rockstar thing and considering they’ve pumped out 3 super solid albums, you can’t help but wonder what’s next with the Caleb brothers. What I do know is that they rock out with their cocks out. I’d scream Free Bird but I don’t want to take anything away from these guys. Much props for keeping the quality turned up as high as the speakers.

7. Saul Williams - The Inevitable Rise and Fall of Niggy Tardust

Who the hell is Saul Williams and why should you listen to his album? First off, the album is free or was free so you have nothing to lose. Second off, it’s a guy who collaborated with Trent Reznor on Year Zero. Third off, Trent produced his album. Fourth, did I mention it’s free? This album was SURPRISINGLY polished and I used the caps there because even if King Reznor was behind the sonic background, you wouldn’t find it easy to get such a well rounded album from someone who is relatively unknown. Do yourself a favor, listen to this album.

Three, Other Good albums and surprises

8. Silverchair - Young modern

I actually know people who hate this album and I’m not sure why. Well I am, it’s because it follows the vein played in Diorama and already by then people were pissed off that they didn’t get another Frogstomp, Freak Show or Neon Ballroom. What you need to know though is that these guys get bored and want to challenge themselves. Or at least that’s the bullshit excuse for always seeming to know exactly how the hell to change things enough to threaten to sound like a different band yet always keeping it together. This is not an album for self proclaimed Silverchair purists. This is an album for people with an open mind and who enjoy the work of a band that is way too mature for their age. Feel free to take into account that this is the bands fifth studio album, they’ve sold millions already, they’re Australian icons, they took a four or five year hiatus and they’re only 28. Please feel free to put aside what naysayers offer to say about the album and just listen. Don’t listen thinking, what does Silverchair sound like now? Just listen.

9. Ingrid Michaelson - Girls and boys

Who the hell is this? Wait… it’s that girl with the song from the Old Navy commercial… she has an album out?? As a matter of fact she does. And I bought it for like 8 bucks on Amazon and was actually EXTREMELY surprised to see how solid it is. Yes it’s whimsical to a certain point, but she has a great voice, nice lyrics and good music to back her up. Is she the next pop mega star? Not by a longshot, but she is a girl who put out a music to listen to and smile even on rainy days.

10. Satellite Party - Ultra Payloaded

To answer your first question, no Perry Farrell will never do anything normal. To answer your second question, yes that is one of the ugliest album covers I’ve ever seen. It reminds me of David Lee Roth dressed as the Tiki Guy in The Yankee Rose video. Third, no this cd is not as good as Porno for Pyros or Janes Addiction. Fourth, I put this album on the list for a reason. It’s really good and given that you don’t know anyone except Perry from the band, I can’t help but want to clear up any doubts in regard to this new side project or project-project from Chef Farell. Put it on, turn it up and enjoy.

11. Puscifer - V is for Vagina

So many Tool and A Perfect Circle Fans hate this cd it’s funny. Though there is the possibility that Maynard wants to see how far he can stretch it with his fans, that doesn’t mean I didn’t enjoy this album mainly because it’s so different. To be honest, it’s a 3.25/5 star album but for some reason I found myself putting it back into the CD player. Might it be subliminal messages and me succumbing to their orders? Or might this cd just be a tad more decent than most of the population give it credit for. By the way though, this is by far not Maynard’s best work, it’s not one of my favorite cd’s, it’s not epic, it’s good. And that’s enough to say that if you see it at $7, you might want to check it out.

12. Serj Tankian- Elect the Dead

The hype was extra chunky. The curiosity was partially induced. The wait is over. What do we have then? A pretty good album. Not a piece of shit or remotely bad and not the apex of musical expression some people bill this album as. Serj freaks annoy me just as much as the detractors because they don’t listen objectively. Being a pretty big fan of System of a Down I was expecting this cd a lot and my expectations were pretty decent. So what happened? Simple, I didn’t get blown away but I didn’t get disappointed. It’s a cd that actually came to fulfill the minimum expectations with some really, really good tracks thrown into the mix. To put it short, it starts out with one hell of a bang and never seems to match the intensity of the first two tracks but doesn’t fall off the wagon either.

13. Minus the Bear – Planet of Ice

I really like Minus the Bear. This is mainly to do with the fact that they sound like Minus the Bear and that they’re immediately recognizable. That being said, their fourth outing is just as solid as previous efforts and if you like the band, you really, really have to check it out.

14.) Velvet Revolver – Libertad

Ok, so the first album sucked donkey balls or at least did for me. This album however was surprisingly solid and just overall better in each and every aspect you could imagine. Give it a try, forgive the first outing and see that they’ve made vast improvements.

15.) Smashing Pumpkins – Zeitgeist

One of the ’07 words du trend was Zeitgeist and in trendy tradition, Billy Corgan with half a new lineup made a new Pumpkins album. I this an epic album? No. It’s just good. It’s decent enough to be considered a weak pumpkins album which is better than average in comparison to most of what’s out there. The problem SP keeps having is that their BS enigmatic singer, guitarist, frontman gets more and more lazy with his vocals and that just pisses me off. The music is pretty good and to be honest, Jimmy Chamberlain is what pushes this album to sound so good. So check first and see if you’re into it, if not, I’m not surprised, various Pumpkin lovers were let down by this album me included though I don’t think it’s enough for me to say the album sucks.

Anyways, there’s more to share, the bad, but that’s for another post. For now though,

Cheers mates


Jane Sample said...

I just had to say .... that is an awesome selection! Just checked out Explosion in the Sky and I love it, thanks for introducing me to a new artist!

Me said...

Um. Remember that you said you had only one blank cd left? Come Monday that will be corrected, mein friend.

Great review!!!

Thinking In Vain said...

oooh... I have music to buy with my paycheck.


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