Edit: MediaMax decided to mysteriously delete every single one of my files. Awesome. So none of the links in here were working, but I uploaded everything else to another, hopefully less crappy service so they should work now. Anything previous to this post won’t because it’s over 2 months old anyway and I’m not going to go back and find/upload everything again. AND WordPress deleted all my pictures. Thanks, The Internet for continuing to make my life exponentially more difficult than it needs to be.
You know what I always say, “why do something in a timely fashion when you can do it a week late.” Also, “why update your blog when you can…not update your blog.” Yeah, sorry about that. In other news, would anyone like to help this blog be not so sad by writing for it with me? Requirements: know about music that doesn’t suck and be able to form complete sentences in regards to that music. If you fit these requirements leave a comment or email me at commoditiesoftheabstractsort [AT] gmail [DOT] com.
Now, without further ado, my purely subjective list of the top 15 albums of 2007:
15. Peter Bjorn and John-Writer’s Block
The world was introduced to Peter Bjorn and John in a big way this year. Had you heard of them before Writer’s Block? Yeah, me either. Now they’ve played a show with Kanye and I’ve heard them multiple times on main-stream radio. If this were a top songs of ’07 list “Amsterdam” would be in the top 5 and “Chills” would be up there too.
14. Arthur & Yu-In Camera
This is one of the most underrated albums of the year. Arthur and Yu have managed to take the cliche “let’s sound like we’re from the 60s” sound and make it interesting unlike the 7,000 other bands out there doing the same thing. They are a Seattle band on the new Hardly Art label.
13. The BLOW-Paper Television
The only reason this album is on here is because she has the same name as me. That’s a joke, but she does have the same name as me only spelled crazy weird-like. No one else has made sappy love songs sound so awesome this year. For a while there I was hearing “Parenthesis” on KUPS every single hour which speaks to how insanely catchy both that song and this entire album are.
[mp3] The BLOW-Pile of Gold
12. Shout Out Louds-Our Ill Wills
Oh Sweden, how many more amazing bands can you possibly produce? This album is perfectly dancey while at the same time not being so over-the-top that you can’t even listen to the whole thing in one sitting. It came out at an unfortunate time for college radio play–the middle of the summer, but in the few weeks that we left it up after school had started again it was at the top of the chart.
This was a last-minute addition, as in I didn’t realize the brilliance of it until after I had made the list and then had to rearrange some things (sorry The Shins, everyone else still loves you). This album is effing amazing. Everyone has heard D.A.N.C.E. (whether you know it or not, it’s EVERYWHERE) but the rest of the album is so much more than that. I love it when albums sound like the band really put thought into what songs when on and what order they are in. This album is like that, it flows so perfectly that it almost sounds like one really long song. Normally I can’t handle entire electronic albums because I don’t like feeling like I’m at a rave when driving to work/making dinner/staring at the walls in my apartment, but this is just the right amount of rave…like baby’s first rave*. Also, I totally respect the fact that “Genesis” is a theme and variations and I’m really proud of myself for figuring that out. Go go 15 years of music education.
*don’t take your baby to a rave.
10. Mobius Band-Heaven
Can we just talk about how much I inexplicably love this album art for a minute? I have a giant poster of it in my bathroom. This is another underrated one. Actually this entire band is underrated, I had never heard of them despite the fact that they have like 4 other equally good albums. The thing I love most about this album are a) their rock/electronic instrumentation wherein they don’t put too much emphasis on either aspect and thus succeed at both where other similar bands fail at one or both and b) the fact the songs don’t all sound the same but don’t sound so different that I’m jolted by some weird piano/banjo honky-tonk number in the middle. In conclusion, this album is the perfect mix of everything.
9. Sea Wolf-Leaves in the River
I had been waiting for this album since the beginning of time after hearing a couple songs on YANP while I was still in High School. To say the least, it didn’t disappoint. It’s full of perfectly constructed, laid-back indie pop/rock. I would really love to see them live, but oh wait, every venue in Seattle that ever has all-ages shows has closed. Time to move.
8. Spoon-Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga
Spoon had a tough album to follow up with Gimme Fiction which is in my top 5 albums of all time. I’ve listened to that album more times than is healthy or sane. I like Ga x5, but it is not as meticulously crafted or put together as Gimme Fiction. It’s not as cohesive, there are more singles rather than one really great album unit. Even so, I love anything Spoon does so logically this is in the top 10. It also helps that I saw Spoon live 3 times in 2007 and every single one of them was one of the best shows I’ve ever seen. Britt Daniel is an incredibly charming and charismatic lead and their music takes on a new level of awesomeness when surrounded by hundreds of sweaty, screaming strangers.
7. Le Loup-The Throne of the Third Heaven of the Nations’ Millennium General Assembly
This is the most tragically underrated album of the year. It’s original, beautifully orchestrated, and well concieved. It sounds like nothing else that is out there right now but at the same is not weird just for the sake of being weird. I can’t explain it, you just need to listen to it. If you buy one album off this list, make it this one because then you will be able to say that you liked them before they were popular. Don’t lie, I know you people, that’s the most convincing argument I could possibly give. This is the only other band currently on the Hardly Art label (along with Arthur & Yu). Both of Hardly Art’s 2007 releases are among the best of the year in my opinion and I can’t wait to see what they come out with next.
6. Laura Veirs-Saltbreakers
My love affair with Laura Veirs began last year while sitting in the Minneapolis airport for an obscenely long time and Saltbreakers only intensified it. This is one of the few albums released this year by an artist that I already loved which I thought was better than their previous album. While I love the stripped-down, less produced sound of her previous album I think that her music has gained new life with the complexity of this album. Let’s be honest, I just like the piano.
[mp3] Laura Veirs-Pink Light
5. John Vanderslice-Emerald City
I really don’t know how I missed the John Vanderslice boat. I saw his last 2 songs at Capitol Hill Block Party and then proceeded to stream this album all day every day until it came in the mail (sorry about that Barsuk) while reading every interview JV has ever done. I’m still amazed that it was recorded on tape and not a computer, there are so many instruments and it’s so complex and I imagine it would have been exponentially easier/cheaper to do digitally but I don’t think it would have been the same album if he had done that. It would have been cheapened somehow and it wouldn’t have had the timeless quality that it does.
4. Interpol-Our Love to Admire
Before you make fun of me for a) still liking Interpol even though they “sold out” to a major label and b) still liking Interpol so much that their album is #4 let me just add more wood to the fire and say that I like this album WAY better than anything else they’ve done. I honestly can’t explain why, but I will outline things that helped. 1. “Pioneer to the Falls” is probably the best album opener of all time, it starts out spartan and creepy and slowly builds into this great epic ending with driving 8th notes in the drums and strings/brass bringing in a new melody right at the end. Brilliant. 2. There is piano. Everything is improved with the addition of piano. 3. This picture 4. The songs on this album sound less the same than their previous albums. Admit it, every single song on Antics is exactly the same. 4. This is the best driving music ever and I got it on an actual CD right in time to drive my boss’s giant/terrifying industrial van around every square foot of the Seattle metropolitan area. I think this made me give it more of a fair chance than I would have otherwise
3. Menomena-Friend and Foe
Menomena is on here purely because they have figured out how to use sax in their music without sounding like Kenny G. I can’t tell you how many bands try this and FAIL miserably. In fact, Menomena manages to pull off all kinds of things that most bands try and end up making incredibly corny and cliche: far-away/echoey vocals and instruments, weird drums, piano in octaves, etc. Their videos are the coolest, their album artwork is the the most confusing and awesome, they had a full choir when I saw them at Bumbershoot, you can totally tell they would be awesome people to have a theoretical beer with, what’s not to love?
[mp3] Menomena-Wet and Rusting
2. Elliott Smith-New Moon
I don’t even know what to say about this album. Elliott Smith’s music is so intertwined with my life, it’s almost like a soundtrack at this point and now my soundtrack has gained another album. That is an incredibly corny and “sad emo girl” thing to say and I feel kind of gross about it, but it’s true. I feel like everyone has their own association and thoughts about Elliott Smith and it doesn’t matter what I say about this album, if you like him, you like this album and if you don’t, you don’t. I’ll just let it speak for itself.
1. Radiohead-In Rainbows
I would have thought that this would have been at the top of more year-end lists, but it’s conspicuously absent. I debated about leaving this to next year because the actual physical album didn’t come out until Jan. 1st, but then I realized it would be kind of depressing for next year if I pretty much already knew what my #1 was going to be on Jan. 1st, so I decided to let it be tied with Andrew Bird. This is kind of a big deal because prior to October 10th of this year I could not stand Radiohead, which I now realize was just that I can’t stand “Creep” and that’s the only Radiohead song you ever hear. Ever. Above everything else this album is brilliantly arranged, the perfect entrance of strings and piano just before 3:00 in “All I Need”, the slightly out of time drums on “Videotape”, there are a million little moments like these and I find more every time I listen to it.
Buy In Rainbows (like you haven’t already)
1. Andrew Bird-Armchair Apocrypha
This is one of 3 albums that I’ve successfully listened to on repeat for an entire double-shift at work (14 hours). The other two are In Rainbows and The Mysterious Production of Eggs. I don’t like this album as much as MPE because it’s not as cohesive (similar to Spoon’s album), but the individual songs are just as good. The addition of Martin Dosh on drums and other miscellaneous electronic things definitely added to this album. I saw Andrew Bird 3 times in 2007 and one of them, the one at the Crystal Ballroom in Portland was the best show I’ve ever been to. Period. Andrew Bird continues to be one of the most musical indie artists of our time and it really shines through on this album.
[mp3] Andrew Bird-Heretics