Monday, December 24, 2007

An Early Xmas Gift: A Guest Top 25

Since I got home for Christmas I've essentially stopped posting. I needed a break, but the small readership of this blog has suffered. In any case, in the next few days I will hopefully have a ton of new posts up, starting with my second ever guest post. My friend Jake listens to way more music than I do, and has sent me his Top 25 albums of the year. While I don't agree with all of them, I'm posing them because I strongly believe in having more than one opinion out there. Check out the year-end accumulations over at Metacritic to see most of the media's top albums.

Jake's Top 25 Albums of 2007

25. The Silent Years- “The Silent Years”
24. Sunset Rubdown- “Random Spirit Lover”
23. Dinosaur Jr- “Beyond”
22. Blacks Lips- “Good Bad Not Evil”
21. Dan Deacon- “Spiderman of the Rings”
20. A Place to Bury Strangers- “A Place to Bury Strangers”
19. !!!- “Myth Takes”
18. Iron & Wine- “The Shepherd’s Dog”
17. The Clientele- “God Save the Clientele”
16. Menomena- “Friend or Foe”
15. Wu-Tang Clan- “8 Diagrams”
14. Spoon- “Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga”
13. Battles- “Mirrored”
12. Beirut- “The Flying Club Cup”
11. White Rabbits- “Fort Nightly”

10. Deerhoof- “Friend Opportunity”
I’ve been a Deerhoof fan for as long as I can remember, and this album definitely satisfied my hunger for their new album. The Runners Four is great, but I think this even surpasses it in terms of a complete album. Considering this came out in January, it’s impressive that when making this list I immediately thought of “Friend Opportunity.”

9. The Fiery Furnaces- “Widow City”
OK, this is no Blueberry Boat, but what is? The Fiery Furnaces, no matter what, will always make a f*cking sweet album. Honestly, I was kind of disappointed and it’s still my 9th favorite of the year. Musically, this album is up there with their best; however, it lacked the completeness that I felt from Blueberry Boat and Gallowsbird’s Bark. Still, awesome.

8. Papercuts- “Can’t Go Back”
I listened to this album well after everyone else did, so I feel a little guilty putting it in my top 10. But it’s so f*cking great, that I couldn’t resist. If anyone puts this album as their number 1, you have no arguments from this guy. From the intense lyrics in the opener “Dear Employee” to the haunting “Unavailable,” this album has a song for anyone who likes music. First time I put this on my iPod, I listened all the way through like I do with every first listen, unless it frustrates me (aka “American Gangster” and “Places Like This”). I then listened to it two more times (Yeah, I have a lot of time on my hands); that’s how good this album is.

7. Liars- “Liars”
Best two track opening to an album of the year, and probably the last 2 years although the Junior Boys may have a good case. Once you play those two songs over and over again, you can finally continue and you’re in for a treat. Great lyrics, wonderful guitar work, just solid in every area.

6. The Besnard Lakes- “Are the Dark Horses”
My “dark horse” of this list is this Canadian group. No words can really describe the feeling I get when I hear this album, but the last two minutes of the second track “For Agent 13” may be my favorite part of any song this year. I was glad to see the Lakes get some recognition in some reviews for the great album they made. I’m expecting big things from these guys in the future.

5. The Arcade Fire- “Neon Bible”
Ahhh The Arcade Fire, the new “kings” of indie rock. Funeral is a tough album to follow up, but Win Butler and crew did an admirable job with Neon Bible. Although I hated the first track, “Black Mirror,” every other track on the disc is superb. From the up-tempo “Keep the Car Running” to the beautiful duet “Black Wave/Bad Vibrations,” Neon Bible appealed to all music tastes, which is fucking impressive these days with all the pretentious assholes out there (not excluding myself).

4. Radiohead- “In Rainbows”
I mean, what’s there to say? You might say it’s no Kid A or OK Computer, but what’s that supposed to mean? Nothing will ever be anything like those albums.

3. LCD Soundsystem- “Sound of Silver”
James Murphy just rocked my world with the opening track “Get Innocuous.” Once I heard that track, I figured the disc would just go downhill, which somehow he managed to avoid. I didn’t really like the last two tracks, otherwise it would have been number 1. Still, awesome work by Murphy.

2. Of Montreal- “Hissing Fauna, Are You the Destroyer?”
Not to be a dick, but I wish Kevin Barnes would be depressed more often. OK, Of Montreal has made some f*cking amazing albums, but this is my favorite of all of them. Although some of the lyrics may be depressing, how can you not dance to most of these songs, or at least move around? When I’m driving listening to this album, I’m dangerous. It didn’t hurt either that track 7 is my favorite song of the year.

1. Okkervil River- “The Stage Names”
What are you talking about? Okkervil River? Really? Have you looked at your list? In a year where you were all into the dance, upbeat shit, this is your favorite? Well, I don’t know what to tell you. They’ve made 5 albums, and the only other one I like was the 2005 disc Black Sheep Boy, which honestly was a completely different album. I was immediately drawn in by the opening track “Our Life is Not a Movie or Maybe.” It’s such a pessimistic album, while at the same time cheerful. Being able to achieve such a difficult thing to do made for a much more enjoyable listen. Well done, OR.

There you have it, Jake's top albums of the year. I'll admit I haven't listened to a lot of them, and when I post my top 10 it will be relatively clear that I liked much different stuff, but there's a lot of great music on here.

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