Friday, December 21, 2007

My Albums of the Year

So I wasn't going to post these here but felt I was doing a great disservice to folks who might accidentally show up here to not share MY ALBUMS OF THE YEAR. Hey I have a blog, it's the kind of thing you do:

10. Glass Candy - B/E/A/T/B/O/X

I'm in a moment with the Italians Do It Better company. I'll purchase whatever they ask me to. I've not had a similar reaction to a record label in some time. Of the three products IDIB dropped on me this year this one seems the best balance of cohesion and fun thanks to pumping bass lines and gauzy fake strings and horns that bound out of each of this lean set's 8 songs(plus a strange intro that Olivia Newton John would love).

9. Dan Deacon - Spiderman of the Rings

Music that makes you laugh gets a bad wrap. At their best bands as varied as the Ramones, Simon and Garfunkle, and Lil Wayne can elicit a chuckle. The trick is finding where that chuckle becomes a sustainable piece of work. Spiderman of the Rings made me laugh on a bout a dozen levels and continues to. The outrageous Woody Woodpecker laugh that opens the album, the absurdly long "Wham City", the julting rhythms of "Snake Mistakes". This music is built on low rent ridiculousness taken as far as one man and an army of electronic gadgets can take it.

8. Radiohead - In Rainbows

I paid a full $14 for this album. I got my money's worth. I always do with Radiohead.

7. King Khan & the Shrines - What Is?!

Hook for hook, song for song, this would be one of the finest dirty little rock albums of it's time. But King Khan wasn't happy giving these songs the BBQ treatment, instead he enlisted a fiery R&B orchestra that would make Sharon Jones' Dapkings take notice and spilled a variety of tones all over his classic ditties.

6. Kanye West - Graduation

I was initially unimpressed with Kanye's leaner new album, until I realized that his ambition had not shrunk with the album's run time. Initially I thought "Stronger" did not do right by it's source material, I thought "Can't Tell Me Nothing" was a fairly unimaginative rap retread, and you wouldn't of wanted to get me started on "Good Life" and it's T-Pain chorus. But after the third listen or so in it's first days of release I came around, to everything. God bless Kanye West for making a pop album that is serviced through repeated listens.

5. The National - Boxer

No bells and whistles, just one of the most endearingly simple voices and songwriting styles in modern rock served by the least flashy band in New York. It's a shock this band rises above the cacophony of the blogosphere until you realize how undeniably good everything they're doing is.

4. M.I.A. - Kala

M.I.A. is the most punk rock artist of her time. Like Johnny Liden in the 80's and the Clash in the late 70's, she's co-opting everything she's ever heard and staying on top of every new sound on the planet. That she's expanding the vernacular of pop more than Bjork has in years is often lost on the reviewing public who are more interested in talking about politics and her winks at tried and true rock influences(Pixies, Modern Lovers, New Order).

3. Jay-Z - American Gangster

As of this album's release Shawn Carter has the best catalog of any solo rapper in history. This is arguably his third classic. The speed with which it was created might make some assume a certain feeling of tossed off brilliance but the fact is it's full of intricate details and as a whole is one of the most intricately envisioned LP's of Jay's career. Jay-Z doesn't know how to rein it in until he's trying to get something done under the gun. Just like the hustler of this album's arch who fell when he stopped fearing the consequences, this album was made by a man afraid of losing his stature and is all the stronger for it.

2. Black Lips - Good Bad Not Evil

The Black Lips have a strong sense of vision and an even stronger sense of what makes an awesome rock song. Somehow it doesn't feel like the second coming of the Mooney Suzuki in spite of all the Nuggets referencing. It's a testament to the band's energy and their commitment to making fresh the sounds of yore.

1. LCD Soundsystem - Sound of Silver

Another LAST GREAT ALBUM before the web and single tracks destroy the format forever. Sound of Silver is a classic album with strong beginning, middle and end points. It's like Roger Waters circa 72' came back and soaked in 30 some odd years of pop, post-punk, and electronic music. The album that survives both as a whole and when broken down song by song better than any this year. It also features "All My Friends" the best rock song about aging ever.