That preamble out of the way, I will serve up this year's list, but since many of you will already be familiar with 95 percent of my choices, I have also included a second list of albums that I love but because they were not given the same amount of play, I could not justifiable make them part of the top ten. I will also give a shout out to my biggest disappointments--scrooge hasn't completely left the building. Let's get to it.
Top 10 Albums of 2007
1. Burial - Untrue
Dubstep masterpiece of melancholy in chains and the rain.
For a taste, spin: Archangel
2. Tracey Thorn -Out of the Woods
A voice that weeps even when it is happy.
For a taste, spin: Get Around to It
3. The Shins - Wincing the Night Away
A beautiful album that didn't kick in till last month--10 months after I got it.
For a taste, spin: Turn on Me
4. Feist - The Remainder
A lo-fi heartbreaker even when she is reciting her times tables. Brilliant.
For a taste, spin: Limit to Your Love
5. M.I.A. - Kala
More of the same, but deeper, wickeder, better. Bird flu, indeed.
For a taste, spin: Paper Planes
6. Roisin Murphy - Overpowered
Everyone agrees she is the smartest pop/dance singer around. Who else can make swaying to a global warming warning sexy?
For a taste, spin: Tell Everybody
7. Bat for Lashes - Fur and Gold
An accessible fantasticist with the chops to make you believe.
For a taste, spin: Trophy
8. LCD Soundsystem - Sound of Silver
James Murphy rocks so hard, so well, you have to be insane not to like this.
For a taste, spin: North American Scum
9. Arcade Fire - Neon Bible
I still remember the first time I heard this album. Dark, layered, poignant.
For a taste, spin: My Body is a Cage
10. Basia Bulat - Oh, My Darling
This album booted the Innocence Mission out of the top ten. Bulat is an amazing, tuneful songwriter, who makes well-crafted music that never bores and is infinitely revealing. Gorgeous.
For a taste, spin: Snakes and Ladders
The "OMG, This is Really, Really Good" List
Most of the selections below I got rather late in the year, and they recently have supplanted even many of the albums in my top ten.
1. The Thermals - The Body, The Blood, The Music
This album rocks balls...seriously. And, as a concept album, it rocks even harder. According to the band it tells "the story of a young couple who must flee a United States governed by fascist faux-Christians." Now that got my attention.
For a taste, spin: Returning to the Fold
2. Against Me! - New Wave
My friend IM'ed me one day and said, "Do you know this band Against Me?" The next day I downloaded their album...and was stunned. At 36 minutes long it is perfect. Lead singer Tom Gabel wails, sings, calls, begs. He is as emotional as his punk rock.
For a taste, spin: Thrash Unreal
3. Club 8 - The Boy Who Couldn't Stop Dreaming
This is just lovely, all around, lovely. Like Belle and Sebastian with a siren for
a singer. Memorable, yearning pop.
For a taste, spin: Whatever You Want
4. New Buffalo - Somewhere, Anywhere
She has written several songs for Feist. She is just as good and quirky.
She deserves your time.
For a taste, spin: Cheer Me Up Thank You
5. Nicole Atkins - Neptune City
She is from New Jersey. She sounds like Patsy Cline without the despair
and desperation. She sings about Brooklyn. I love her. She pops.
For a taste, spin: Brooklyn's On Fire
6. Iron & Wine - The Shepherd's Dog
What I knew of this man was not that intriguing. Then I heard this great
album, with its swelling cords, gothic imagery, and intricate story telling.
For a taste, spin: Boy with a Coin
The "WTF" List
Yes, my disappointment with the following can be summed up with the question:
What the fuck?
1. Bjork - Volta
What I said earlier this year:
She looks trapped in a bloated coke bottle that has been dipped in a kid’s paint kit...there is something curiously flat about Volta…dare I say, annoying. I’ve never found her pretentious, but then I’ve always been hopelessly devoted. Age has done a number on my ears and sensibilities, and so, when my beloved purposely stammers through “Dull Flame of Desire” with the ubiquitous Antony Hegarty (Antony and the Johnsons), my eyes literally glazed over as the two of them took seven minutes and 30 seconds to completely bore the shit out of me. This happens again on “Pneumonia”, her voice unable to win me over as that bloody foghorn and splatters of rain drive me to near lazy insanity. And while “Declare Independence” livens things up with fuzzy guitars and needling static, the message is almost too overstated and so un-Bjork like, that I couldn’t help but think of Nine Inch Nails. I still love Bjork, but I don’t love Volta. I hope to eat crow on this, but I doubt it will come to all of that. Yes, still no crow pie for me.
2. Interpol - Our Love to Admire
I actually squeezed out a near favourable review of this album when it first appeared, but repeat listens have not been kind to me or this album. It sounds full, but like cotton candy, it is all fluff and air. They are singing and playing, but I can't seem to remember one single song...ever. I miss the old Interpol.
3. Annie Lennox - Songs of Mass Destruction
I loved her heartbreaking album, Bare. Hell I even still love the Eurthymics. But this album was painfully awful. Lennox reverted to overblown 80s production and sappy lyrics that involve cheesy exhortations of women's lib. I rolled my eyes so hard throughout the few listens I managed, I thought I would go blind. Stay clear.
4. Justice - †
I just don't get it.
Happy New Year everybody!