Now that 2008 is here and I'm doing my annual Itunes/Ipod cleanout, I thought I'd post some thoughts on my favorite songs and albums of 2007 and hopefully trigger others to do the same.
5 Favorite Songs (in no particular order)
The Temptation of Adam by Josh Ritter--The Historical Conquests of Josh Ritter: Best love song ever written about people falling in love in a nuclear missile silo waiting to start WWIII.
Goodnight Rose by Ryan Adams--Easy Tiger: Ryan Adams and The Cardinals need to stick to the American Beauty-era Grateful Dead sound, which works perfectly on this song. Also, a fantastic live song (try to find the youtube clip of them playing this on the Henry Rollins show)
Keep the Car Running by the Arcade Fire--Neon Bible: Best Bruce Springsteen of the year
The General Specific by Band of Horses--Cease to Begin: The most fun song on a really fun album; best example of BoH moving their sound back to southern rock/Byrdsian alt-country
Make a Plan to Love Me by Bright Eyes--Cassadaga: Hated this song the first time I heard it (Connor Oberst doing 60s pop shouldn't work) but no song grew on me more this year. Love the female backing vocals.
5 Favorite Albums (no order)
Ryan Adams-Easy Tiger: Nothing new or special here (let's be honest RA never does anything new, but he does mimic his influences very well) but by far the most enjoyable album I bought all year. Got more play in my car/cd player/ipod than anything else.
Arcade Fire-Neon Bible: Best true post-9/11 album (Yankee Hotel Foxtrot was actually finished before 9/11). Diverse instrumentation and a big sound make up for somewhat iffy lyrics.
Josh Ritter-The Historical Conquests of Josh Ritter: Took me a while to get used to this album because it's so much different than his older stuff. More rocking-Bob Dylan than his previous albums, and has several standout tracks (Last Temptation; Right Moves; Still Beating)
The National-Boxer: Unabashedly an album for and about white-collar, young professionals. Another album that takes a while to get into to, but well worth it.
Band of Horses-Cease to Begin: Better than their previous album, Everything All the Time, because of its embrace of twang. As I said above, sounds like the best modern take on Sweetheart of the Rodeo-era Byrds. This is what early My Morning Jacket would've sounded like had it been more than just Jim James messing around with instruments and drenching everything in reverb.
Barely missed the cut: Iron & Wine-The Shepherd's Dog; Panda Bear-Person Pitch; Bright Eyes-Cassadaga; The Shins-Wincing the Night Away (which wins for best album title)
You gotta have Wilco - Sky Blue Sky somewhere on the top 5.
rckymtndevil, I agree with your post excpet for Ryan Adams. I find that everything he does sounds like everythng else that he ever did, none of which was ever very original or very good. I know I'm in the Americana minority here, but I wish he'd just retire and go away.
Don't have much time because I'm off to watch the women's game on ESPN
But for albums:
Neon Bible - Arcade Fire
Icky Thump - The White Stripes
Magic - Bruce Springsteen
Sky Blue Sky - Wilco
All Of A Sudden I Miss Everyone - Explosions in the Sky
Haven't heard the Shins yet... I need to
just watched it last night - Once. stars the lead singer of the frames (now i must go and buy all of their albums) and a czech musician. lonely, struggling boy musician meets lonely, struggling girl musician. beauty ensues. little dialogue but tons of music.
Let me be the first insufferable music snob to note for Wilson, before I even submit a Top 5 selection in accordance with the thread title, that the Shins' previous album before Wincing The Night Away was Chutes Too Narrow, and that "Caring Is Creepy" is actually a song from their debut album Oh, Inverted World. Simply a slip of the typing fingers, I imagine. I agree, however, that Chutes is superior to Wincing. Pop songcraft and eloquent lyrics at their apex, and worked better as a collection than last year's output. That said, I loved Wincing The Night Away and it's definitely in contention for my list here. Several of the tunes, including "Australia," "Sea Legs," and "Spilt Needles" are outstanding.
My tops list will definitely include Neon Bible, but I'm not sure what else yet. I'll admit to not really getting Arcade Fire at first, but they've totally grown on me. Spoon will be there, too, for Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga.
Wilco and Sky Blue Sky won't, however. I enjoyed it, and "Impossible Germany" I could listen to over and over and over, but I can't say it's in my 5 favorites of the year.
Speaking of soundtracks and listenable albums, I've really been enjoying Eddie Vedder's "Into the Wild*" soundtrack. Yes, it's got some Vedder rock qualities to it, but it's also mellow enough to just have in the background if need be.
(* Hated the book, though. Haven't seen the film)
Glad to see this thread get some traction. Hopefully it will keep up.
1. Ryan Adams deserves a lot of criticism (most notably for his apparent lack of an internal edit button that results in releasing crap like "Love is Hell" and "Rock & Roll") but I'm not sure it's fair to say everything he does sounds the same. In fact, I'd say very few artists are as good (or deliberate) about changing up sounds on every album. "Heartbreaker" was Adams doing Gram Parsons. "Gold" and "Demolition" were his takes on the Eagles. "Love is Hell" might as well have been Nick Drake or Eliot Smith, while "Rock & Roll" was his personal mix-tape (featuring his versions of Nirvana, Duran Duran, U2, The Replacements, and the Rolling Stones, just to name a few). "Cold Roses" is the Grateful Dead; "Jacksonville City Nights" is more traditional country, tapping into Willie Nelson and Merle Haggard; and "29" drifts back into the sad British pop of "Love is Hell". "Easy Tiger" is all of this mixed into one album. Like I said, Adams very rarely does anything new, but he is a great songwriter, and even his bad stuff is better than most of what's released (plus, "Heartbreaker" is the best country album of the decade)...full disclosure, I'm a diehard Ryan Adams/Whiskeytown fan.
2. "Sky Blue Sky" is just okay. Call me a Wilco snob, but it's musically boring to me, especially when compared to "YHF", 'A Ghost is Born", and the live album "Kicking Television". Every song follows the same pattern--slow start with whispered vocals followed by a Neil Young/Grateful Dead-melt-your-face-dueling-guitar-solo. It was great on "Your Are My Face" and enjoyable on "Impossible Germany", but by "Shake it Off" I was ready to move on. The best song on the album came on the bonus disc I got with the CD, but I can't remember its name. Don't get me wrong--very good album, just not as enjoyable to me as the others I listed.
3. "Wincing the Night Away" vs. "Chutes Too Narrow" is tough. The latter is a very solid album with no low spots. The former has better highs and worse lows. I applaud The Shins for branching out musically, even if their more adventurous tracks didn't work for me ("Sea Legs" is, IMO, the weak link of the album). "Phantom Limb" is the best Shins song to date, and "Red Rabbits" is wonderful even if I have no clue what it's about.
4. Completely agree with Mal on Arcade Fire. "Funeral" sounds like a less fun Talking Heads album and I didn't really buy into the hype. But Neon Bible...top notch.
Nice call on Josh Ritter. Historical Conquests is a great album. Animal Years (2006) was great also. I saw Josh at Club Passim in December for a benefit show. First time I've seen him live (althought I do listen to In the Dark - Live at Vicar Street a lot). Good fun.
And I will have to second the props to Once. I saw that movie a few weeks ago. Really, really enjoyed it. Not great moviemaking, but just a very enjoyable movie. Glen Hansgard (lead singer from the great Irish band The Frames) and Marketa Irglova (20 yr. old Czech) were wonderful together. I bought The Frames most recent album (The Cost) as well as Hansgard and Irglova's The Swell Season. (Has several songs from the movie; actually, The Cost has a couple, too.) I like them both a lot. (Though, to be honest, I wonder if I would like them as much if I had not seen the movie.)
and i agree, sky blue sky is about my 5th favorite wilco album, nudging out their debut AM at this time.
FYI, Josh Ritter will be a musical guest on Letterman this coming Tuesday, January 22nd.
hhhmmmm, thanks to this thread I have new songs to explore and consider to add to my ipod.
Laugh and the world laughs with you.... Smile and they'll wonder what you're up to
IMO, Bloc Party's "A Weekend in the City" should definitely be in the top 5.
'Where is Home' and 'The Prayer' are groundbreaking. Plus, I really like to dance!
1. Soulja Boy
2. Everything else