I got an e-mail this morning from our friend Trevor, announcing that he’d put up his Best Music of 2007 list on his MySpace page. Trevor, being a community radio/singer/drummer/all-around music geek type, usually has some worthwhile opinions to offer. In fact, when I had my KAFM show, I’d regularly decide which stuff to play off the new rack by flipping through the CDs and pulling anything with raves from Trevor on the review card.
Anyway, seeing Trevor’s list reminded me that I’d been meaning to come up with my own Best Of lists for ’07. I just love inflicting my judgments on other people, though mine are pretty much guaranteed to be less well-thought-out than his. And so here goes:
Best Music of 2007
I feel a little weird about a couple of these, because they’ve popped up on every rock critic’s list in the known freakin’ universe, and that’s usually a sign that the music is overly wonky and precious and should be shunned at any cost. But whatever, you know. Even a stopped clock is right twice a day, yeah?
- Amy Winehouse, Back to Black. I love this insane little bundle of talent and manic self-destructiveness. I love (and yet mourn) her steepening downward spiral into madness. I love her raw voice and rawer, purely honest lyrics. I love "Rehab" so much that I turned it into a ringtone. (It’s gotten me a few funny looks from fellow shoppers.)
- Spoon, Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga. They are the masters of awesomeness! Hooktastic insanity and deceptively straightforward-sounding song structures that conceal unplumbed depths of snark and bitterness. And they sing about a little Japanese cigarette case, and I myself own a little Japanese cigarette case. Which currently contains no cigarettes; they stay fresher in the hardpack.
- Of Montreal, Hissing Fauna, Are You the Destroyer? and the bonus exciting EP Icons, Abstract Thee. "The Past Is a Grotesque Animal," clocking in at 11:53, hits a big trifecta: the longest good song of the year, the most guaranteed suicidal ideation-inducing song of the year, and also quite possibly just the best damn song of the year overall. And "Du Og Meg" is the sweetest cutest love song about a rocker girl ever written.
- Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings, 100 Days, 100 Nights. Recorded using only ’60s-era instruments and ’60s-era studio technology, this album is a deliberate, delicious throwback to the golden era of soul. Sharon Jones’ voice is both playful and impassioned, and the lyrics are worth writing down and sharing with a friend (especially one who’s having Man Trouble). Even my mom liked it! (Crap. I’ve just realized this one was actually released in winter 2006. But I didn’t hear it ’til halfway through 2007, so I’m running it anyway.)
- Dethklok, Dethalbum. What does it say about a musical genre when the same album can be simultaneously a dead-on satire and a perfect piece of musical brilliance? "Murdertrain a Comin’," "Fansong" (featuring the chorus, which Fisher looooves, "Hate. Hate. Hate. Hate. Hate.", "Blood Ocean," "Murmaider"… the classics just keep on coming. And, slightly embarrassingly, this album has both rekindled my lurve of heavy metal and sparked a passion for the genre that Jim never knew slumbered within his breast.
- Kanye West, "Stronger." You Can.Not. feel anything but aggressively empowered while listening to this song.
- Shawn Lee’s Ping Pong Orchestra, "God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen." Proof positive that absolutely anything can be sung to the tune of "House of the Rising Sun." (See? You’re doing it now, aren’t you?)
- Okkervil River, "John Allyn Smith Sails." Yeah, it’s "Sloop John B," but the tune and some of the lyrics are different and it’s just a great freakin’ song.
- Dat’r, "!Um!Hot." Local band, single not particularly well recorded, but it’s still catchy as freakin’ hell, and you should see how it brings down the house when they play it live.
And now, the biggest most horrendous musical disappointment of the year:
- Bloc Party, A Weekend in the City. This record was boring. It was frightfully boring. It wasn’t bad, it wasn’t sad. It was just boring. I hated it so much that it kinda made me start hating their first record Silent Alarm too, which is weird because Silent Alarm was pretty spectacular. Sigh. Even the title’s boring, isn’t it?
Next time, or at some other time, or perhaps never: Best Books of 2007, or, more accurately, Best Books I Read in 2007.