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Sunday, January 20, 2008

Year in Music 2007

Gasp! Coming up for air after elections. Think happy thoughts. Puppies. Babies. Sunshine. Bush on a spit. Music. Music!! That'll do it.

I've been waiting to do my year in review on music until I had absorbed some Christmas acquisitions. Lots of good records this year. I don't know if there are any true classics, but much to enjoy. And, of course, the following list is 100% metaphysically perfect, unaffected by idiosyncratic tastes or human subjectivity. Some of this I commented upon earlier, hence the links.

1) Spoon, Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga. Still my favorite.

2) Josh Rouse, Country Mouse, City House. Overlooked by most critics, probably because he's so easy to take for granted. And the title's stupid. Just one bittersweetly perfect pop song after another.

3) Amy Winehouse, Back to Black. Yeah, I know she's a nutcase. But "Rehab" is an amazing single, and the whole frickin' album catapults you up to Motown heaven.

4) Wilco, Sky Blue Sky. "Dad rock," my ass.

5) Andrew Bird, Armchair Apocrypha. The first half is one amazing tune after another. Love those high lonesome whistles and swooning strings. But it does wear one out by the end.

6) Ryan Adams, Easy Tiger. Yeah, I know he's a nutcase who can't edit himself. But look, this time he edited himself. OK, almost. His best overall record since Gold (2001).

7) Patty Griffin, Children Running Through

8) Liam Finn, I Am Lightning. Sounds like a great old Spilt Enz record. Natch, family affair, etc., etc. But he sounds more like uncle Tim than dad Neil.

9) Okkervil River, The Stage Names. A great year for rock & roll in Austin, what with these guys and Spoon.

10) Iron & Wine, The Shepherd's Dog. Sam Beam got a band! This slot is really a hard pick b/w this record and my SC boys, Band of Horses, whose Cease to Begin has better hooks. But I think I'll probably be listening to Iron & Wine longer.

I had to leave off some really good CDs, a couple because I'm getting too old (Radiohead, White Stripes), one because the nostalgia meant less to me than to others (Springsteen), one because, despite/thanks to its excellence, Mrs. TMcD is playing it to death in her car (Rilo Kiley), two because I haven't really processed them yet (LCD Soundsystem, The National), one because I've only heard the two admittedly amazing singles (Feist), and one because I think it actually came out in 2006 (Ron Sexsmith). Still, there's a special category this year:

Movie soundtracks! Walk Hard is an entertaining movie, but the soundtrack surpasses it. Too many funny songs to mention, whether it's the title track, "(Mama) You Gotta Love Your Negro Man," "Let's Duet" (with the best/silliest double entendres I've heard in ages), "Royal Jelly" (a perfect Dylan spoof), or a 70s variety show version of David Bowie's "Starman" that will make you wretch and giggle simultaneously.

On the more serious side, Once is a really great movie that made a lot of critics' end of year lists. The story of a street corner "busker" in Dublin, it is a musical for people who hate "musicals." Apparently, Glenn Hansard is a cult hero in Ireland, along with his regular band, the Frames. I understand why. The music is stunningly affecting, and if this doesn't get an Oscar nod, at least in the music category, I will be seriously pissed. In both the European and American senses.


At 11:05 PM, Blogger Scott said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

At 11:07 PM, Blogger Scott said...

Great List. I'm a sucker for top 10s. If I still had my XM subscription I may have actually heard of all of those on you Top 10. Thanks to NPR I have heard cuts from Spoon (Did you ever listen to the live Spoon concert I sent?), Iron and White (Lovesong of the Buzzard), and the National (I am not crazy about his voice, but I like the melodies...only heard one song, "War" or something like that.). Of course, you have my favorite female artist, Patty, on there.

Have you heard of The Thermals? I think you might like them. Kind of a garage band sound without the angst of WS.

At 11:25 AM, Blogger tenaciousmcd said...

Scott, I couldn't listen to the Spoon concert--for some reason I couldn't get it to load on either of my computers. Probably just my rank computer idiocy.

Haven't heard the Thermals. I'll have to check that out. Have you seen Once yet? I'd really recommend it if you haven't.


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