Friday, January 25, 2008

My Favorite 50 Albums of 2007

50. Bambi's Dilemma - Melt-Banana
49. Good Arrows - Tunng
48. Destruction of Small Ideas - 65daysofstatic
47. Dandelion Gum - Black Moth Super Rainbow
46. Kingdom of Fear - Shitdisco
45. Rock Dream - Boris and Merzbow
44. Ringo Deathstarr - Ringo Deathstarr
43. Hell is Invisible... Heaven is Her/e - Psychic TV
42. Souviners d'un Autre Monde - Alcest
41. Ruff Draft - J Dilla
40. An End Has A Start - Editors
39. All Hour Cymbals - Yeasayer
38. Tanks and Recognizers - Lights Out Asia
37. Private Cinema - Slaraffenland
36. You, You're a History in Rust - Do Make Say Think
35. Calm - Nomak
34. You Who Pretend to Sleep - Joy Wants Eternity
33. Andorra - Caribou
32. The Reunion Tour - The Weakerthans
31. Part Monster - Piano Magic
30. Pneuma - Moving Mountains
29. Not Too Late - Norah Jones
28. Over Time - Hieroglyphics
27. Kurr - Amiina
26. Armchair Aprocypha - Andrew Bird
25. Mirrored - Battles
24. Human the Death Dance - Sage Francis
23. Hydeout Productions 2nd Collection - Nujabes
22. The Hunt for the Gingerbread Man - MF Grimm
21. Copia - Eluvium
20. This Will Destroy You - This Will Destroy You
19. The Pirate Ship Quintet EP - The Pirate Ship Quintet
18. LP - Holy Fuck
17. Live in Massey Hall 1979 - Neil Young
16. Hissing Fauna, Are You the Destroyer? - Of Montreal
15. Scared Famous - Ariel Pink's Haunted Graffiti
14. From Here We Go Sublime - The Field
13. Sound of Silver - LCD Soundsystem
12. Kala - M.I.A.
11. Alive 2007 - Daft Punk
10. - Justice
39 seconds into the opening track, "Genesis", there is a moment where it feels like an electric bomb exploding all around you. After that point, there's really no going back. never lets up on you after that second. The bass punches, and the crescendos fly. Of course, if this concentrated form of the best of party techno was all Justice had to offer, you wouldn't see it this high. Catchy house numbers like "D.A.N.C.E." and "Dvno" excite and come note-perfect too. Justice showcases the best of French house seen since Daft Punk's Discovery in this brilliant first album.

9. Proof of Youth - The Go! Team
By the end of "Grip Like a Vice", this British band had me more excited to hear the rest of an album than any other band this year. Energy explodes on this album from every mouth and every instrument. Not losing any vitality from their debut album, Thunder, Lightning, Strike, The Go! Team really hits hard on every track, from the catchy opening, to the subdued brilliance of "I Never Needed it Now So Much", to the music supernova of "Titanic Vandalism". Guitars screech, horns blare and vocals cheer for nine tracks, then Chuck D. lands to take it all home, still sounding like the superhero revolutionary that led Public Enemy. Even more amazing - the whole thing lasts just 36 minutes.

8. Untrue - Burial
When Burial's debut album was released last year, it inspired me to take a brief interest in dubstep. It was a removed love, though, like watching a party through a window. I appreciated the music, but I never felt too engrossed; it was just too foreign. Untrue was the equivalent of being invited into the party, and what a party it is. Burial twists vocals and a dark beat around wild drums to underline a sad, lonely message. Invoking images of slums at nighttime, arguments in 24-hour coffeehouses and other fleeting feelings of loss, Untrue stands as a brilliant testament to the dubstep genre and dark ambient on the whole.

7. Neon Bible - Arcade Fire
After 2004's indie-rock masterpiece Funeral, Arcade Fire had a lot to live up to. Luckily for us and them, they circumvented this responsibility by avoiding a "Funeral 2" label. Neon Bible takes the band in several new directions, some towards standard radio rock ("Keep the Car Running") and some towards new worlds of overwhelming, beautiful post-rock ("My Body is a Cage"). True, Neon Bible may not completely reinvent Arcade Fire, indie-rock or Canada's music scene like Funeral did, and it may not be as instantly likable or memorably catchy, but it should be applauded for the strives for innovation and the musical genius found throughout. It is, all things considered, still a fantastic album.

6. LSD and the Search for God - LSD and the Search for God
Maybe it's the hype. Maybe it's newness of the whole thing. Maybe in a year from now, if I chose to look at this list again, I'd shake my head and laugh at putting this so high. After all, it's just a tiny, 5-track, 22-minute EP from a new and obscure band. That usually corresponds to one quick listen, a note to look for their first album later, and then moving on - not the 40 listens (give or take) that I've given this. It's ridiculous, really, to love something so much and so suddenly. Maybe, though, it really is the best shoegaze I've heard. Maybe it is the most beautiful, pure, radiant music that's been composed this year. Every second of this short taste feels like a beautiful dream, and ends all too fast. I might find it completely underwhelming in just a few months, but for now I'm more than happy to enjoy it.

5. Dirty Acres - CunninLynguists
After tackling poverty, racism and world issues in their first three albums, Deacon and Kno come back to their roots, weaving this masterpiece tale of the southern ghetto. It hits like a awakening slap to other "Dirty South" crews, spelling out the shortcomings of their music by exceeding everything else in the genre. Any rapper can ramble on about growing up in the hood and their skills, but Dirty Acres speaks from everyone and to everyone. It's hard hitting, dramatic and poetic, never once lightening up it's image or pulling punches. And the production far exceeds what could be expected of Kno at this point; not only does he retain the loose jazz, catchy drums and gospel crescendos of earlier work, he experiments and innovates still, producing this masterpiece of blues guitar, tinny piano and fast drums. More work seems to be put into one verse of one song than most rappers put in an entire album.

4.Person Pitch - Panda Bear
Panda Bear is the Brian Wilson of our generation. From the first time I heard his vocals in "Bros", I've thought this. And, if this is true, Person Pitch is our Pet Sounds. Every note in this album leaks an airy, dreamy bliss. This is surf-pop and freak-folk broken down and reconstructed. It never is content with what it has already achieved, however, and the music shifts and evolves every time you feel comfortable with it. Every track is great and memorable, too, a departure from his underrated but still forgettable debut Young Prayer. I truly feel that, years and even generations from now, it will be considered a forerunner to genres unimaginable and eras before its time.

3. Hvarf-Heim - Sigur Ros
Since their last studio LP Takk..., Sigur Ros haven't been wasting any time. Besides releasing a few singles and touring the globe, they found the time to produce an entire concert movie, Heima, which far exceeds the slapped together mess that most bands produce while on tour. Not even content with that, the band cobbled together Hvarf-Heim, a collection of live renditions, rewrites of old songs and acoustic takes. Although it may not compare to a brand new album, the two-disc set proves that everything the band does comes out beautiful. The re-takes of Von tracks "Von" and "Hafsol" are expanded to new brilliance. And the acoustic stuff glows with a warmth and closeness that is sometimes overwhelmed in the regular studio takes. It leaves me wanting a new album all the more, but I'm content with the beauty that has been produced.

2. Strawberry Jam - Animal Collective
If you're wondering exactly what you might get from this album, simply look at the cover. See that strawberry splattered in all those colours? Imagine that's you're brain, and you're getting there. That's not to say that it's relentlessly mind-blowing, nor that it's scarily inaccessible - it's actually their most accessible album and is pretty catchy at times. No, the strawberry more represents the juicy and lush yet erratic and powerful sound. It squirms electronically. It melts your face with rapid-fire vocals and guitars. It explodes with rampages of drums and screams before sweeping beautifully onto a wonderfully minimalistic tune. The lyrics, quirky and lovable, will be looping in your head for weeks. I had high expectations for this album, as a month or so prior to its release, I had fully immersed myself in their previous work and freak folk in general. Strawberry Jam exceeded all those expectations and made me feel amazed like no other album had in years. Feels is still a better album in many ways, but Strawberry Jam still comes note-perfect and brilliant.

1. In Rainbows - Radiohead
First, let me explain that this ranking reflects both CDs of In Rainbows; I think that without the awe-inspiring beauty of "Last Flowers" or "Down is the New Up" it probably wouldn't have beaten out Sigur Ros or Animal Collective. Second, let me explain that my love for Radiohead is, all things considered, completely irrational. I think that if I had a different upbringing, this album might not have even cracked the top 10. I cannot overstate my bias enough. However, I also cannot overstate the brilliance of this album. I've said it before - there's a reason that everyone from the most Pitchfork-infused hipster to the smallest newspaper music columnist to the most critical of /mu/ metalheads paid attention to it. And only half of that reason was the bizarre payment method. This is a band playing music not because they want money - although it did pile more millions into their bank accounts. Nor is this a band playing music to appease old fans - although it may not initially sound like it, this is just as big as a departure as any of their previous leaps. This is just a band playing to the best of their ability because they want to create the sound they did. OK, maybe it was for the money, but it's sort of disappointing to realize that. Nevertheless, In Rainbows succeeds in producing the sound that some of the most talented musicians of our generation make when put in a room together with no expectations and no deadline. Whether it's remembered more for being the first big step towards independent artist distribution without label or industry support - not a bad thing to be remembered for - or for the beautiful sound it makes, it can be viewed now as another great album by the best band I'll be alive to see. What can I really say, though. Radiohead practically created my taste in music. Without them, I probably wouldn't even be writing this list now.

So, yeah, that's it. My top 50 albums of 2007. All things considered, it was a great year for music. I hope you enjoyed reading it, and I'll be more than happy to upload any albums that appear on this list for you. Hell, pretty much any album you want, I'll upload it for you. I'm that bored.

Oh I'm also this bored:

Special Bonus Section: Keatsta's Top 20 Songs of 2007
20. "For Reverend Green" - Animal Collective
19. "Comfy in Nautica" - Panda Bear
18. "Intervention" - Arcade Fire
17. "Flashlight Fight" - The Go! Team
16. "D.A.N.C.E." - Justice
15. "Nude" - Radiohead
14. "Pirate Ship" - Pirate Ship Quintet
13. "Starshine" - LSD and the Search for God
12. "My Body is a Cage" - Arcade Fire
11. "Videotape" - Radiohead
10. "Fireworks" - Animal Collective
9. "Lost Science" - Pirate Ship Quintet
8. "I Gaer" - Sigur Ros
7. "This Time" - LSD and the Search for God
6. "Archangel" - Burial
5. "Bros" - Panda Bear
4. "Last Flowers" - Radiohead
3. "Cuckoo Cuckoo" - Animal Collective
2. "Vaka" - Sigur Ros
1. "Starting Over" - LSD and the Search for God

ok so that's done uh one more thing:

Bonus prediction thing - 2008 will RULE!
Also, if I end up doing another list, I predict Heretic Pride by the Mountain Goats will make the top 5. I haven't heard much else this year, but I would have placed it at like, fifth, if it had come out last year.

ok so that's it comments or questions or anything will be tolerated. also suggest albums i may have missed because it's likely i had heard it and loved it and maybe didn't know it came out in '07 or maybe i completely forgot about it i do that often.

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