Thursday, January 3, 2008

Top Albums of 2007 and more...

This has been a great year for music. At the beginning of the year I was not to sure how this year would turn out being disappointed by many of the CD’s that were released in the first half of this year like Bloc Party, Sherwood, and The Academy Is… There were some early highlights like Bright Eyes, Dear and the Headlights, and Fiest but over all is was a disappointing first half of the year. Because of this I ended up really getting into some CD of last year like Manchester Orchestra and The Annuals. Yet when the summer came the amount of CD’s coming out in a month sky rocketed as usually and I was drowning in good music once again. As you will see, for those who have known my music taste for a while I have grown in my music taste and development a different palette if you will. For instance, while As I Lay Dying’s An Ocean Between Us was a good CD, it did not make my top 20 because I have pretty much gotten over pop-core, hardcore and metal music and moved to a more indie/ folk / eclectic/ hip-hop/ pop lover. Therefore this year I bring you my top 20 of 2007 as well as some little extras to bring you into the next year. We can only hope that 2008 will be half as good as 2007. I hope you will check out and support the bands I have listed here if you have not heard them before or give them a second listen if you have passed by them in the past. Love and enjoy!

Top 10 CD’s of 2007
1. Arcade Fire – Neon Bible (Amazing CD! There is nothing else to say)
2. The National – Boxer (fall in love to this CD, while watching Garden State and/or Juno)
3. Dear and the Headlights – Small Steps Heavy Hooves (Most listened to of 2007)
4. Iron and Wine – The Shepard’s Dog (Iron and Wine taken to a new level)
5. Band of Horses – Cease to Begin (Folk Indie Rock at it’s best)
6. The Most Serene Republic – Population (Listen to if you are dancing in a field of flowers with your closest friends or running through the streets during a revolution)
7. Chase Pagen – Oh Musica! (Piano {check}, Voice {check}, Beauty {check}; Rufus Wainwright eat your heart out!)
8. Menomena – Friend of Foe (When you are listening know they are only a three member band and be blown away)
9. Broken Social Scene Presents Kevin Drew – Spirit If… (B.S.S. is being one of my favorite bands of all time with music written by one of it’s founding members you know it will be good)
10. Radiohead – In Rainbows (One of the most approachable Radiohead CD’s in a long time, great as usually)

Honorable Mentions (11 – 20 of 2007)
11. Field Music – Tones of Town (It took me forever to find this CD and it was well worth the wait. It was everything I was wanting in a CD at the prefect time.)
12. Straylight Run – The Needless, The Space (Straylight took it to a new level)
13. Common – Finding Forever (My top Hip Hop CD of 2007. The beats and lyrics are just quality. The best thing about this CD is how you can hear the heart and soul of Common in every line. He is not rapping for his own self but for “the people” in hopes to tell other about the injustice of our system to hoping to get the common person through their day.)
14. Bright Eyes – Cassadaga (Coner O. is back, an album of self discovery; musically and personally)
15. Jay – Z – American Gangster (Jay-Z is back for all who hated Kingdom Come, and for those who have been around he is still taking it to a new level)
16. Fiest – The Reminder (loved the first CD, loved this one about half as much maybe because I hear it at every true, will even know but it is still in my top 20)
17. Dr. Dog – We All Belong (Think modern day indie Beatles = Love)
18. Steel Train – Trampoline (In line with The Format’s Dog Problems pulls together many styles from classic rock, jazz, Bob Dylan, Beatles, musicals and mixes them into an Indy-pop smoothie for your singing and listening enjoyment)
19. As Cities Burn – Come Now Sleep (While this CD is different from their last one I feel that it is a good step forward. The CD is an honest portal of someone struggling with God, sin, grace, and heaven and hell.)
20. Ben Harper and the Innocent Criminals (I love Ben acoustic/chill style)

Top 10 Songs of 2007
1. Keep the Car Running – Arcade Fire
2. The Most Serene Republic – Present of the Future End
3. Grace – Dear and the Headlights
4. No One Would Riot For Less – Bright Eyes
5. Invasion – Eisley
6. Horse by the Sea – Iron and Wine
7. Ode to Lrc – Band of Horses
8. 15 Steps – Radiohead
9. Hunting for Witches – Bloc Party
10. Contact – As Cities Burn

Top New Finds of 2007(CD’s that did not come out in 2007)
1. Manchester Orchestra – I’m Like a Virgin Losing a Child
This would have been my number 2 CD of the year if it would have come out in 2007, yet this list. I probably listened to this CD more than any other CD this last year. Everything on this CD is nearly prefect from the music to recording to lyrics. You can feel the passion and honesty of every song as if you listen as if you were seeing the band live! And the best part about this band is they are 100 times better live!
2. Silversun Pickups – Carnavas
Reminds most of the Smashing Pumpkins but more indie sounding. Love the CD love the band! Excited for their 2008 release!
3. Annuals – Be, He, Me
This band is in the new stream of bands indie bands that are coming out that mix genres all over the place leaving you not knowing what they will do next.

Top Surprises of 2007 that didn’t make the top 20
1. Yellowcard – Paper Walls
I don’t think there is one person who liked Yellowcard’s last CD. This CD is a return to what made them famous good pop-punk that makes you want to sing at the top of your lungs as you speed down the highway with your friends
2. Dashboard Confessional – The Shade of Poison Trees
Dashboard takes a step in the right direction for the first time in years. The last two CD’s have been over all boring with good songs few and far between. Dashboard has not only come back to their roots in this CD with a return to acoustically driven rock that made then stand apart when they first came onto the scene.
3. The Junior Varsity – Cinematographic
This CD is quiet I move from their pop-punk roots to a more mature rock indy sound that deals with larger issues than girls dumps boy. The band approaches issues of faith, hope, the working class lifestyle, and all the other trials that come with life. Great CD!

Most Disappointing
1. Rilo Kiley – Under The Blacklight
I have loved the last 3 Rilo Kiley Cd's and when I heard about their new CD I was very excited to see what it would sound like. I have even seen Rilo twice live and loved them both time as well as Jenny Lewis’ solo band and loved them to. When their first single "The moneymaker" came out I thought I was listening to a totally different band. The music was bland and the lyrics where honorable. I picked up the album anyways out of love for everything that Rilo has done in the past. The first two songs, Silver Lining and Close Call are strongest songs on the album with Dreamworld and Breakin' Up following close behind, but really that is not saying much. Then comes "The Moneymaker," this song's musical make up grew on me but the lyrics are still some of the worst I have heard on any Rilo album. Much of the album reminds me of this song, musical content that is just okay to poor with but lyrics that just lack. It seems as if the band is going for a concept album but it is overall unclear and messy. When it comes down this is a CD that I have had to force myself to even get through the thing, something that never happened to me on during a listen through of the first 3 Rilo CD's.
2. Sherwood – A Different Light
I was really excited about this release. It was in my top 10 of 2007. At first listen I enjoyed the album and hoped and thought it would grow on more. Yet it did not…I soon became bored with the CD and when listening to it could not get past track 6 or 7. The most disappointing thing for me was that half of the album contained songs that were pre-released as a free EP download in the summer of 2006. On top of that the four out of the five songs were better on the free EP download then they were on the CD.
3. Saves the Day – Under the Boards
Anyone who knows me knows that I love Saves the Day and every single CD that they have ever done, even In Reverie, which everyone hated. This CD is the second in a series of three CD’s through Chris Conley’s brain. The first about the dark times in life and the second about picking up the broke piece of our lives. Yet the CD doesn’t seem to focus on this central theme throughout the whole, as most Saves the Day CD’s do. The CD just feels like random songs about disappointment strung together by four or five songs that bookend the album. For track 2 to 7 the CD just drags with poppy songs that yes you can sing along to but seem out of place within the context of the CD’s theme. On top of that Track 9 has a horrible voice over that sounds like it should be on a bad horror movie. Lastly out of any Saves the Day CD this CD lack lyrically, which is usually the strongest element of any Saves the Day CD’s. The lyrics are plain, not descriptive and just typical for a band in their genre. The only reason this album isn’t number 2 on this list is because the musical backing of most songs are so strong.
4. 4. Mae – Singularity
It is never a good sign when you hear about two members of a band hating new material so much that they don’t want to play the songs, hear the songs and eventually leave the band. That how bad and boring this stuff is
5. Kanye West – Graduation
I have been a fan of all of the Kanye CD’s. When I got more into Hip Hop Kanye was one of the first artists I really checked out and got into. With this being this final album in what seems as of now to be a serious of three I was expecting it to be very similar to the last two, yet from the first track he proved me wrong. I love the direction Kanye went with beats on this album they are new, fresh and really good. Sadly what did not like about this album was much of the lyrical content which is why this album concludes this list as number 5. By track 6 I am just tired of hearing all about Kanye and how cool he thinks he is. For a guy that has been hanging out with the likes of Common and Talib Kweli I was expecting a little more socially focused album but oh was I wrong. On top of that this album hosts the worst Kanye song ever, Drunk Hot Girls with Mos Def, which makes the song that much more disappointing because I like Mos Def’s stuff. As a reviewer said about this song, “it sounds like a reject Eminem song.”

10 Most Looking Forward to in 2008
1. The Format
2. mewithoutYou
3. Brand New
4. Jeremy Enigk
5. Dear and the Headlights
6. Silversun Pickups
7. Sufjan Stevens
8. Anathalo
9. Saves the Day
10. Destroy the Runner