Wednesday, December 12, 2007

2007 Recap - Music

[Note to the general public: While I do have a blog, and while many posts discuss music, I am not a Music Blogger, nor do I consider myself an expert, critic, or an expert critic. These are my opinions on the music I was exposed to exposed myself to.]

I bought fewer albums this year than in previous years, trying to save money for other irresponsible purchases. Still, thanks to mp3 blogs, podcasts, and streaming audio, I heard a lot of new music and kept myself reasonably well-informed. With that said...

2007 Albums Purchased

The Shins - "Wincing the Night Away"
Arcade Fire - "Neon Bible"
Modest Mouse - "We Were Dead Before the Ship Even Sank"
Elliott Smith - "New Moon"
Feist - "The Reminder"
The White Stripes - "Icky Thump"
The Polyphonic Spree - "The Fragile Army"
Spoon - "Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga"
The New Pornographers - "Challengers"
The Fiery Furnaces - "Widow City"

Favorite Album Released (and heard) in 2007

The Shins - "Wincing the Night Away"
This was released in January, and it's still in rotation in the Camry stereo. It's simply wonderful ...but this album did prompt me to develop a "Life is too short to listen to 'Red Rabbits'" philosophy.
Runners Up

Spoon - "Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga"
Every song is a winner. Although there is no "Red Rabbits" on this album, the highs of "Wincing" are just a bit higher than Spoon's.
The Polyphonic Spree - "The Fragile Army"
I was disappointed with the album at first. As Dave put it, "There aren't as many Meatloaf moments" compared to their previous effort, "Together We're Heavy". Almost every song grew on me. Seeing them live twice didn't hurt, either.
The New Pornographers - "Challengers"
Critics call this their most "mature" album, which really means "there are slow songs on it". And those songs are really something: "My Rights Versus Yours" is the best track #1 this year, and "Adventures in Solitude" would make me weep if I could make any sense of the lyrics.

"Songs for Silverman" Memorial Award: Worst Album by a Previously Solid Artist

The White Stripes - "Icky Thump"

I can't believe how much I hate this album. It's been months, and I'm still in shock.

Most Refreshing Album
Elliott Smith - "New Moon"

How nice is it to have "new" Elliott Smith songs? Songs that aren't yet connected to a depressing time in your life? Let me tell you how nice it is: very nice.

Best Overall Lyric
Feist - "Intuition"
And it's impossible to tell
How important someone was
And what he might have missed out on
And how he might have changed it all
and how you might have changed it all for him
and how you might have changed it all
and how he might have changed it all for you
Did i miss out on you?

Worst Couplet

Wilco - "You Are My Face"
I trust no emotion
I believe in locomotion

Soul Asylum Funeral/Urinal Memorial Award: Best Half-Rhyming Couplets

Modest Mouse - "Dashboard"
Well, we scheme and we scheme but we always blow it
We've yet to crash, but we still might as well tow it
Standing at a light switch to each east and west horizon
Every dawn you're surprising
And the evening was consoling
Saying, "See, it wasn't quite as bad as"
Well, it would've been, could've been
Worse than you would ever know
The Shins - "Australia"
Watching the latern dim
Starved of oxygen

Best Alliteration

Bright Eyes - "Four Winds"
Your class, your caste, your country, sect, your name or your tribe
There's people always dying trying to keep them alive
There are bodies decomposing in containers tonight
In an abandoned building where
A squatter's made a mural of a Mexican girl
With fifteen cans of spray paint in a chemical swirl
She's standing in the ashes at the end of the world
Four winds blowing through her hair
Okkervil River - "Unless It's Kicks
What gives this mess some grace unless it’s kicks?

Most Obscure Rhymes

Spoon - "Black Like Me"
I spent the night in the map room
I humanize the vaccuum
The New Pornographers - "Go Places"
Deus ex machina
Good morning, Christina

Best Simile (tie)

Spoon - "Don't Make Me a Target"
He smells like the inside of closets upstairs
The kind where nobody goes
The New Pornographers - "My Rights Versus Yours"
You left your sorrow dangling
It hangs in air like a school cheer

Worst Simile

Modest Mouse - "Parting of the Sensory"
This fit like clothes made out of wasps

Most Awkward Grammar

Feist - "The Park"
It's not him who comes across the sea to surprise you
Not him who would know where in London to find you
Arcade Fire - "The Well and the Lighthouse"
So down I fell, down into the water black

Worst Song-Ruining Couplet (tie)

Modest Mouse - "Missed the Boat"
While we're on the subject
Can we change the subject now
Arcade Fire - "Black Wave / Good Vibrations"
Stop now before it's too late
I'm eating in the ghetto on a hundred-dollar plate

Lyrics That Sound Profound But Probably Aren't

The New Pornographers - "Myraid Harbour"
All I ever wanted help with was you
Dntel featuring Jenny Lewis - "Roll On"
There's muscle memory for love

Lyric That Sounds Profound And Just Might Be

The Shins - "Girl Sailor"
You made it through the direst of straits all right
Can you help it if plain love now seems less interesting?

Lyrical Mindfuck

The Polyphonic Spree - "Get Up and Go"
You would like to think you're in denial
Ok. Ok. Ok. So. If I would like to THINK I'm in denial, then that means I am NOT in denial, but I want to be. Put another way, this lyric would be, "You have accepted it, but you wish you have not yet accepted it." Huh? I had a dream that I asked Tim Delaughter about the meaning of that sentence. Honestly - it bothers me that much.

Lyric That Makes Me Hungriest For Sandwiches

Arcade Fire - "No Cars Go"
We know a place where no subs go

Least Accurate Lyric

The White Stripes - "Effect and Cause"
well you can't take the effect
and make it the cause
i didn't rob a bank
cos you made up the law
It's likely true that Jack White didn't rob a bank because there was a law prohibiting bank robbery; however, neither lawmaking or bankrobbing caused the other. Laws against bankrobbing were simply an extension of standard laws against theft. The crime is usually accomplished by desperate men, driven to the crime by the promise of a large payoff, or "score". Anyway, while it's technically true that he didn't rob a bank because of the law that was in place, he should have used an example of two things that actually have a cause/effect relationship. It should read something like:
well you can't take the effect
and make it the cause
it didn't start to rain
cos you grabbed an umbrella
Take note, Mr. White!

Most Overplayed

Plain White T's - "Hey There Delilah"

1996 : The Verve Pipe :: 2007 : Plain White T's

Least Overplayed: Songs I Will Never, Ever Get Sick Of

Spoon - "Don't You Evah"
The Shins - "Sealegs"

"Steady As She Goes" Memorial Award: Song I Made Myself Sick Of

Against Me! - Trash Unreal

I heard the Ben Lee cover of this song first, was startled to find out that Against Me! ROCKS THE SHIT, and put it into heavy rotation. (Quote from Shawn after seeing the video: "That makes me want to break something.") One long night, I woke every few hours to hear the chorus repeating in my head, and that was the end of that. I plan on reintroducing myself after another few weeks.

Best Studio Cover

Queens of the Stone Age - "Christian Brothers"

"Christian Brothers" is track #2 on Elliott Smith's lo-fi, self-titled debut. There, it's plaintive, lonely, and soft. Queens of the Stone Age turned the song into something more urgent and dangerous.

Best Live Cover

Of Montreal - "Tropical Ice-land / And She Was"

I'm sure I listened to this song more than any other during 2007. It's my favorite Fiery Furnaces song merged with my favorite Talking Heads song. It's Exhibit A for why I bookmark mp3 blogs.

Best Video

Bright Eyes - "Four Winds"

Granted, I only watched about a dozen videos this year, but this was a simple, memorable concept, well-executed.

Worst Video

Rihanna - "Shut Up and Drive"

Also a contender for the "Why is this Shit Popular?" award, but I know why this video was in heavy rotation: men want to have sex with Rihanna. (I can't embed the video on my site, but if you hate yourself, you can watch it here.)

Best Live Act

The Polyphonic Spree - Gothic Theatre, Englewood, Colorado


Most Disappointing Live Act

LCD Soundsystem

From what I read, everyone loved this band. Even Kelly from "The Office" raved about them. By the time Gavin and I found some seats for the Kansas City show, I expected a life-changing set. Instead, I got really bored and decided to walk around the amphitheatre by myself, checking out the desperate teen couples, wondering why the only elderly attendees were seated way up at the top of the bowl. The only thing I gained from seeing LCD Soundsystem live was puzzlement: why have some poor sap press the same two keyboard chords for 7.5 minutes of "All My Friends" instead of using a loop? Strive for authenticity, but not at the sake of wrist health.

Best Shuffled Pairs of Songs Delivered by Windows Media Player

No Doubt's "Hey Baby" followed by Radiohead's "The Tourist"

The Fiery Furnaces' "Straight Street" followed by The Shins' "Pam Berry"

Elliott Smith's "No Name #1" followed by Spoon's "The Underdog"

Smashing Pumpkins' VH1 Storytellers performance of "33" followed by The Beta Band's "Broken Up a Ding Dong"

Alison Krauss' "Down to the River to Pray" followed by U2's "Do You Feel Loved"


Nicolas Frisby said...

I'll be harvesting this for weeks. You're my music blogger, like it or not.

Feist's Intuition is to be coddled. My mouth has been spurting unpredictably these two lyrics constantly for the past week:

A map is more unreal
Than where you've been
Or how you feel
And in came a heatwave
A merciful save
You choose, you chose

Not the greatest lyrics, but lulling meter and delivery.

Molly said...

that just made my night. Thank you.