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My Top 10 Albums of 2007

 
By on Tuesday, 1st January 2008 at 7:29 pm
 

This is the time of year it seems just about every credible publication is doing a “best of 2007” albums, so I thought I’d join them and do a quick top 10 of my favourite albums this past year. I’ve chosen the top 10 from the 74 albums I’ve “acquired” (either downloaded / bought the CD of / been given the CD of). Disagree? Just say in the comments below.

  • Memorable-ness – Does it have you humming it for days after? Can you remember snippets of lyrics?
  • “Car factor” – Can you put it on play and leave it going without skipping any tracks / few tracks?
  • Irritability – Can you have tracks on repeat without wanting to throw the CD out of the window?
  • Musical quality – Is it likely to be a classic / seen as a highlight of the artist’s career?
  • Enjoy-ability – Is it fun? Get you going?
  • Innovation – How innovative is it?

10. Jack Peñate – Matinee
Jack Penate - MatineeHe may just be one man with a funny swirl over his name, but his album turned out to be one of the most consistent of the year. Many of the tracks are single-worthy, fun, danceable and just the sort of thing that goes down a storm at many end-of term parties.

Tales of bitterness, nights out, missed opportunities, and images of guys in smart suits akin to West Side Story make this album the first in my 2007 top ten.

Buy the CD on Amazon

9. Mika – Life in Cartoon Motion
Mika - Life In Cartoon MotionWho couldn’t have heard Mika’s first single, Grace Kelly, which bothered the top 10 for a few months at the start of the year. Fun, simple pop tunes that live are just quality party tunes.

Many people claimed Mika was trying to capture Freddie Mercury, and yes, he does sound a tiny bit like him, but is completely different: the tunes are quite possibly more girly than anything Freddie did, and his shows are far more like an acid trip than Queen could ever pull off.

His come down tunes, “Relax, Take it Easy,” “Any Other World” and “Happy Ending” are quality tunes in their own right, comedowns for the end of the party. All in all a quality mixture of pop, rock, and pure fun.

My Live Review | Buy the CD on Amazon

8.The Wombats – A Guide To Love, Loss and Desperation
Wombats - A Guide To Love, Loss and DesperationI only really got into this a couple of weeks ago after the release of “Let’s Dance To Joy Division”, but it was on repeat all the way home from the US, with their amusing tales of urban English life. Songs like “Let’s Dance to Joy Division” celebrate English irony brilliantly, tunes that just have everyone dancing for the hills.

They’re knowledgeable, and the whole album is very tongue-in-cheek, which is just what modern indie-pop should be.

Buy the CD on Amazon

7. I’m From Barcelona – Let me Introduce My Friends
I'm From Barcelona - Let Me Introduce My FriendsI’ll admit it, I didn’t think I’d like this album. 29 people on a record sounds like a recipe for destruction if you ask me, but somehow they pull it off without sounding as chaotic as the Polyphonic Spree do at times.

Songs like “We’re From Barcelona” are fun, simple tunes which has all the vibe of a secondary-school band gone pro. EP song “Britney” unfortunately doesn’t make an appearance on this album, but if it did, the album would be even higher up my list.

Buy the CD on Amazon

6. Band of Horses – Cease To Begin
Band of Horses - Cease To BeginOpening song, “Is there a Ghost” is enough for Band of Horses to deserve their 6th place position on this list. A quality, haunting tune that just captures the whole vibe of the album – musically capable, listener – accessible.

The entire collection sounds far more polished and consistent than their debut, “Everything, All the Time”, which whilst had moments of brilliance, failed to capture the consistency of this collection.

Buy the CD on Amazon

5. Radiohead – In Rainbows
Radiohead - In RainbowsA suprise release, Radiohead seemed to garner more headlines for their “Music Industry ruining” way of release and letting people choose the price they wanted to pay for the download of the tracks as an MP3 file.

However, the album wa, in my opinion, one of their strongest yet. A distinctly electronic feel, they combined their solo efforts into a collection that was strong, consistent, and interesting. I wouldn’t be suprised if it turns out to be one of their strongest of their career.

My Review of In Rainbows | Buy the CD on Amazon

4. Stars – In our Bedroom After the War
Stars - In Our Bedroom After The WarI bought this one on a whim – I didn’t know much about Stars, but quickly grew to love them. Songs like the haunting “Barricade”, the danceable “The Night Starts Here” and the yearning “Bitches in Tokyo” make for a collection that builds on their previous albums (which I’ve since acquired), and makes a strong and consistent collection that I’ll be listening to for months to come no doubt.

Buy the CD on Amazon

3. Tegan and Sara – The Con
Tegan and Sara - The Con

They may be two lesbian identical twin sisters, but don’t let you think they’re a novelty act – far from it. They’re a quality duo, who make amazing short stories for the 00’s generation.

Produced by Death Cab For Cutie’s Chris Walla, The Con is their most accomplished yet, full of drama like their previous records, but a bit more believable, and a bit more stable now that they’re settled down with partners. They seem happier, if that’s possible, which is always good.

Buy the CD on Amazon

2. The National – Boxer
The National - BoxerThe National’s fourth album, Boxer is a very consistent record, though unfortunately not quite as good as their break-through “Alligator”.

They seem to be more at home with themselves, not quite as angry as standout songs on Alligator “Mr. November” or “Lit Up”. Instead, all of the songs are accomplished, but not as much emotion, which is a shame

The National @ The Astoria Live Review | The National – Boxer – My Review | Buy the CD on Amazon

1. Bloc Party – A Weekend in The City
Bloc Party - A Weekend In The CityI’ll admit it here. I wasn’t a big fan of their debut, Silent Alarm. I thought it was crap. However, once I listened to A Weekend in the City I “got” Bloc Party, and fell in love with both albums at once.

Songs such as “I Still Remember” and “Sunday” are the standouts for me, both quality songs that deserve the huge audience Bloc Party have garnered. I’ve possibly listened to this album more times than any other album, and will continue to do so for 2008 no doubt.
My Album Review | Buy the CD on Amazon

Continue reading My Top 10 Albums of 2007

 

The National – Boxer

 
By on Saturday, 19th May 2007 at 10:12 pm
 

The National - BoxerThe National release their fourth full length album tomorrow, following on from their previous epic “Alligator” which was a staple of many critics best of 2005 lists. Morose, dark and epic it was innovative and not afraid to be different, and they’ve carried on from Alligators brilliance with their new album, “Boxer“.

“Boxer” is a mixed bag of songs. Whilst all excellent, it was inevitable that the songs couldn’t quite match the raw emotion that “Alligator” had at times (see “Mr. November” and “Abel”), instead they’ve grown musically and as song writers, creating multilayered songs that would put many artists to shame. The collection seems to be a bit more upbeat than previous albums, however they now have a new range of problems: Alligator it was debauched affairs, on Boxer its dealing with life on the road and finding stable relationships.

Opening with the dreamy, soothing “Fake Empire” with its oblique lyrics and multi layered instrumentation, we immediately feel right at home with old friends, whilst also being relatively chart friendly. “Mistaken for Strangers” could pass for Interpol, was it not for Matt Berninger’s deep, gravelly voice that makes their sound so unique and so soothing.

Driving drums with military precision is the order of the day with “Squalor Victoria“, initially one of my least favourite tracks is definitely a grower. At first I found Matt’s voice a bit too dreary and repetitive, however the subtle differences are what make the song tick and drive it along so ably.

Apartment Story” has a key sense of urgency to it, ‘We’ll stay inside til somebody finds us / do whatever the TV tells us’, perhaps dealing with the perceived downward spiral of society, brought about by their extensive touring.

My favourite combination of songs on the album “Start a War” and “Guest Room” are both immediately memorable, but reward repeated listening. “Start a War” starts off slowly and steadily, before going over the crest of the hill to an epic soundscape with violins and more intricate sounds.

Last song on the album “Gospel” is one of their most epic, dreary and impressive. I first heard it on the train, rain pouring down the windows, grey skies. The song fits perfectly, and is one of their most melancholic, a perfect close to the album.

So, overall, an impressive album from The National, and one that with “Alligator” looks set to define their career. It’ll be interesting to see how the songs develop when played live, however everything points to an amazing year for The National, and one that will be featured on many end of year “best of’s”,

However, its definitely not one for a summer day at the festivals – more of one for a winters evening spent curled up with an old classic by the fire.

 
 
 

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There Goes The Fear is where we tell you about the latest music, gigs, and tours we love and think you should too.

We love music that has its heart on its sleeve, tells a story, swims around our head all day or makes us dance like no-one's watching.

TGTF is edited by Mary Chang, who is based in Washington, DC. She is joined by writers in England, America and Ireland. It began as a UK music blog by Phil Singer in 2005.

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