Friday, 21 December 2007

A Large List of Music I Enjoyed This Year

Usually when someone makes a list of their favourite music of the year, they consider the large (or small) amount that they came into contact with, and will strip out all of the crap, then all of the not-so-crap, then the good, then the very good, and merely leave the outstanding, the life-changing, the most perfect albums and songs. I admire that, and think it is a great skill to have. I too try to do that, but this year, screw it. I'm just going to namecheck very nearly every album I've heard, and then contrive a bunch of nonsensical categories for them to fit into. To the one or two albums I heard this year that didn't get on here, I'm sorry.

Favourite Albums of the Year:

Person Pitch - Panda Bear
Strawberry Jam - Animal Collective
Neon Bible - Arcade Fire
Because Of The Times - Kings of Leon
In Rainbows - Radiohead
Cease To Begin - Band of Horses
And The Refinement Of The Decline - Stars of the Lid
Release The Stars - Rufus Wainwright
Icky Thump - The White Stripes
The Stage Names - Okkervil River

Honourable mentions:

All of a Sudden I Miss Everyone - Explosions in the Sky
Some Loud Thunder - Clap Your Hands Say Yeah
Armchair Apocrypha - Andrew Bird
Saltbreakers - Laura Viers
Mirrored - Battles

Best album that was released in the US in 2006 but in the UK in 2007 and I want to put on the main list but feel it would be wrong to do it:

Boys and Girls in America - The Hold Steady

Best album that was released in the UK in 2006 by a band I have seen live and I actually had a copy of but only got around to listening to as a result of their Mercury Music Prize nomination:

Fur and Gold - Bat for Lashes

Disappointments of the Year:

Drums and Guns - Low (It's obviously a brilliant and thought-provoking album, but I found it impenetrable and it left me cold. Basically, it was like being called an idiot by an album, and I'm taking revenge by sticking it down here.)
Hello Love - Be Good Tanyas (I hate putting this here as the first half of the album is wonderful, but the latter half washes over me totally. I've tried and tried and tried to warm to it, but it's not happening.)
Volta - Bjork (It's almost a return to form, but falls frustratingly short of the mark.)

Albums that might have gotten into the list given more time and more listens:

Magic - Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band
Sound of Silver - LCD Soundsystem
Boxer - The National
The Flying Club Cup - Beirut

Favourite Jazz Album of the Year:

Being There - Tord Gustavsen Trio [I think you mean the Turd Ferguson Trio. Embarrassing. -- Canyon]

Favourite Hippety Hop Album of the Year:

Liberation – Talib Kweli and Madlib

Favourite Protest Album of the Year:

We'll Never Turn Back - Mavis Staples

(Yes, they were pretty much the only jazz, hip-hop, and protest albums I heard this year, but if you don't tell anyone, I won't either.)

Favourite Instrumental Soundtrack of the Year:

The Fountain - Clint Mansell feat. Mogwai and The Kronos Quartet (Runner-up: Zodiac by David Shire)

Favourite Compilation Soundtrack of the Year:

Once (Runner-up: Black Snake Moan)

Album I would never buy as the band would probably use the money to fund their happy slapping empire:

Favourite Worst Nightmare - Arctic Monkeyfuckers

Favourite album that makes me seem like I'm down wiv ver kidz:

Men's Needs Women's Needs Whatever - The Cribs

Favourite Singles of the Year:

Atlas - Battles
Fireworks – Animal Collective
No Cars Go – Arcade Fire
Stuck Between Stations - The Hold Steady
Conquest - The White Stripes
Joanna Newsom and the Ys Street Band EP - Joanna Newsom
Get Lucky - New Young Pony Club
Men’s Needs – The Cribs
All My Friends - LCD Soundsystem
Wanderlust – Bjork (not a single yet, but it will be)

Favourite Album Tracks of the Year:

Unless It’s Kicks – Okkervil River
The Runner – Kings of Leon
Yankee Go Home - Clap Your Hands Say Yeah
I'll Work For Your Love – Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band
Islands on the Coast - Band of Horses
Ootischenia – Be Good Tanyas
Hiding on the Staircase - New Young Pony Club
99 and 1/2 – Mavis Staples
Reckoner – Radiohead
Between My Legs - Rufus Wainwright
Gold - Interference
Drink Deep – Laura Viers

Sweetest song about a drug overdose:

Chill Out - The Hold Steady

Best post-rock cover version of a Stephen Sondheim song:

Don’t Bother They’re Here – Stars of the Lid (covering Send In The Clowns)

Best old blues standard by an actor who has played a Jedi, an superhero, a supervillain, a junkie, a shark expert, and an Afro-wearing former hitman who now walks the earth like Kane from Kung-Fu:

Stack-O-Lee - Samuel L. Jackson (also the best scene in Black Snake Moan)

Most Pointless Album of the Year:

Proof of Youth – The Go Team (Even though Chuck D is on it, it sounds identical to the previous album. It has the same progression through the album, the same structure, practically the same samples. I gather the main chap in the band has defended it, stating that he's the only person making music like this so he should keep to the same furrow, but my God, man, there's honouring the rules of the new genre and then there's copying and pasting into a new folder.)

"Don’t Get It" Album of the Year:

Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga - Spoon (The critics fell over themselves with this, and obviously there is some ambition and a lot of variation, but it puzzled me, as did the praise. It's alright, but really rather bland.)

Overrated Album of the Year:

Myths of the Near Future - Klaxons (Amy Winehouse, or Bat for Lashes, wuz robbed.)

Annoyingly Ubiquitous Hero of the Hipster-o-cracy:

Mark Ronson (As I've said before in other circles, he's the Mike Flowers it's mandatory to like, except that Mike Flowers was awesome, and Ronson is a dreary, name-dropping, too-cool-for-school rash on the arse of pop, and he can go away now kthxbai.)

Worst Album of the Year:

Leaving The Nest – Benjy Ferree (I tried to give this a proper listen, but everything about it made me angry and nervous. It was on Domino so I thought I would like it, but it baffled and annoyed me. Like a medieval lute player got transported to Mars and came back to play arrangements of their folk music. Never again!)

Worst Song of the Year:

Young Folk - Peter, Bjorn and John (Shut up shut up shut up shut up!!!! You're nothing but a cute whistly bit and then three minutes of bland indie-pop and the love you engender is entirely unjustified. I HATE YOU!!!!)

Other Worst Song of the Year:

1234 - Feist (After hearing her first album, I wasn't sure if I liked her or not. When I realised she was part of Broken Social Scene, I figured I should give her a chance. One million unwanted but enforced listens of this song later, and I've up made my mind. Go away, Feist. You annoy me.)

::re-reads list:: I do go on, don't I.


Masticator said...

Happy New Year, Caruso-Shaders!

I am in complete agreement about Young Folks, which needs to go away. And Peter, Bjorn and John need to do the decent thing and think of a name for their bloody band, as every other band in history has managed to do.*

I admire your persistent adherence to complete revulsion for the Arctic Monkeys for no other reason than that they are young, which is as rational a prejudice as any other, I suppose. (ie not very)

Kings Of Leon's The Runner is awesome and manages the rarer-than-you'd-think trick of sounding like a song you've known for aaaaages the first time you hear it. But I'd be hard pushed to pick a favourite track from Because Of The Times, hands down my album of the year. Black Thumbnail, maybe.

Got the Band Of Horses record for Xmas and am looking forward to spending some quality time with it.

* Except Peter, Paul and Mary.**

** Oh, and The Band, I suppose.

Admiral Neck said...

And a happy new year to you too!

First time I hear The Runner was at work, while standing far away from the computer we use to play music. When it finished I ended up bellowing, "Again! Again!" across the room like a hopped-up Teletubby. It might not be my favourite album of the year, but it's probably my most played. And Black Thumbnail is crying out for some Guitar Hero love. Hopefully there will be a download soon.

Here's hoping you love the Band of Horses album. I didn't want to put an album on the list without giving it a while to percolate in my head, but I'm not exaggerating when I say that the first listen was enough to know it needed to be on there. Several listens after, and I'm convinced. Their first album was damn good, but this is significantly better. Canyon is, shall we say, resistant to the lead vocals. To the max.

And Arctic Monkeys just threw eggs at your house. Little vagabonds. Don't encourage them!