Thursday, December 27, 2007

2007's Best Albums (According to Joel)

Before I begin, I must preface my list with a little explanation. I consider myself an avid fan of all types of music. I try to give most everything a chance. I read Pitchfork's website a lot, so my taste may slant that direction at times. I also love rap music, so I'm always trying to find the next album to rival "Hell Hath No Fury" (see previous post). Yet at the same time, I'm so fickle when it comes to music. I'm moody. I listen to music according to the mood I'm in. Music has to hit me at the right time, or I cast it aside. I've tried hard to catch up on the "big" albums of the year (according to everyone else) here at the end of the year to give my top 10 list credence. But all this catching up has worn me out. So here's what's not on my list that others may think was absolutely incredible:

Lil' Wayne - Da Drought 3 - For some reason, as hard as I tried, I couldn't get into this. I don't think I've given it enough of a chance.
M.I.A. - Kala - Other than "Paper Planes", there was no song I really wanted to listen to again. In three months I'll probably love this album, but not right now.
Burial - Untrue - I received this album for Christmas but haven't had enough time to get a good feel for it. At first listen, it's a little too inaccessible.
Of Montreal - Hissing Fauna, Are You the Destroyer? - Their lead singer is so weird. I like the music, but his naked show in Las Vegas turned me off to this album.
The Field - From Here We Go Sublime - I bought this album expecting it to be good, but, in my opinion, it didn't live up to the hype it got from Pitchfork and others.

Also, I was really looking forward to two albums in particular this year: Bloc Party and The Shins. They both really disappointed me.

Here is my list of the best albums of the year:

1. LCD Soundsystem - Sound of Silver - James Murphy is the coolest guy of 2007. This album is sick. It's the album of the year on so many levels. I have had more fun listening to this album than anything else this year. That's really what music is all about, isn't it?
2. Panda Bear - Person Pitch - If the Beach Boys were indie and still made music today, they would have made this album. "Person Pitch" has a unique sound, and that's what makes it so great. "Comfy in Nautica" is probably my favorite song of the year.
3. Spoon - Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga - This is Spoon's best album. It seems to be constructed so simply. Maybe that's why it is so good.
4. Radiohead - In Rainbows - Over the past 3 weeks, this album has grown on me. I really think it deserves a spot in anyone's top 5. Plus, Radiohead let the customer pay whatever they wanted for the music and still made more money than had they signed with a major label. That's legit.
5. Peter Bjorn and John - Writer's Block - This album was actually released internationally in 2006, but it didn't drop in the U.S. until 2007. I'm counting it as a 2007 album.
6. Kanye West - Graduation - This is another album that grew on me. The Graduate Mixtape may be better than the album, but I appreciate the honesty Kanye brings to his music. I'm guessing, after the death of his mother, Kanye's next album will be his best. Rap music is at its best when it conveys raw emotion.
7. Feist - The Reminder - A lot indie fans are down on Feist because the iPod commercials have garnered her a lot of "un-indie fans." I agree, a lot of people say they "love" Feist but couldn't tell you her first name (it's Leslie) or name a song other than "1 2 3 4." Yet, Feist's vocals are probably my favorite of anyone right now. I really do love this album.
8. Ben Rector - Twenty Tomorrow - Not many people outside of Fayetteville, AR or the Kanakuk world will have heard of Ben. I think his music is catchy. I've probably listened to this album more than anything else this year. "Disarm" is a legit track.
9. Jay-Z - American Gangster - Jay-Z flopped in "Kingdom Come" which made me skeptical of this album. "American Gangster" put him back on the map (not that he was ever off the map with his involvement in Def Jam, 40/40, and the New Jersey Nets). He's getting older, but this album is reminiscent of his glory days. He's still no Pusha.
10. Band of Horses - Cease to Begin - Musically, there are probably a lot of other albums better than "Cease to Begin." But for some reason, I identify with Band of Horses. This album isn't as good as their first album, but I still listened to this album on repeat for a long time.

One more thing - the end of 2007 found me listening to a lot of mixtapes. These aren't all new, but check out these mixtapes:
Kanye West - Can't Tell Me Nothing Mixtape Kanye West - The Graduate Mixtape
Lupe Fiasco - listen to all three volumes of the Fahrenheit 1/15 mixtapes
Clipse - We Got It For Cheap Volume 2
Lil' Wayne - Da Drought 3

Danger Mouse (The Beatles/Jay-Z) - The Grey Album
- yeah, it's old but I listened to it the other day and was once again blown away.

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