So I’ve been trying to put together a list of my top 10 albums of 2007, something I feel obliged to do, despite the fact that everything at this time of year is in convenient list form. The problem I’ve found myself having is that basically I can’t come up with 10 albums. I don’t know if it’s the fact that I haven’t been posting (count how many posts separate this one from the same one last year.. yeah..) or if there just wasn’t an awful lot of stellar music this year or what, but here are my top 8 albums of 2007, in ascending order.
*8. Band of Horses – Cease to Begin*
At the risk of sending you to listen to an album that’s already mostly used for cell phone commercials, it’s still a pretty decent work of melancholy pop music for when the need of such a thing might strike you.
* “Band of Horses – No One’s Gonna Love You”:http://www.fileden.com/files/2007/12/26/1663580/03%20No%20Ones%20Gonna%20Love%20You.mp3
*7. VHS or Beta – Bring On The Comets*
So many people would give me shit for listening to this band. The best way I can describe them is if you imagine Robert Smith fronting a disco-punk band that relies on a healthy dose of wah-pedal, you’d be really close. Except they’re better than that, I swear. I rocked out to this album quite a bit this year and still kick myself for not seeing them at the Larimer Lounge when I could have.
* “VHS or Beta – Burn It All Down”:http://www.fileden.com/files/2007/12/26/1663580/05%20Burn%20It%20All%20Down.mp3
*6. Tiger Army – Music From Regions Beyond*
I’m not sure why I’ve never posted about Tiger Army before, maybe it’s because of the silly-ness of the music or because the singer is named Nick 13. Yes, that’s the number 13. Either way, the first album to come from Tiger Army that does not contain a number since their self titled debut (ie, “II: The Power of Moonlite”, “III: Ghost Tigers Rise”, etc) is their finest to date. Punk or rockabilly purists would argue with me, as there are a few disco-punk-pop anthems on there, but the reality is, this is one damn fine album. Just enough dose of the psychobilly they’ve come to be known for, as well as that country twang we’ve all come to know and love, but we’re also starting to see some pretty solid songwriting in there, too. Check it out.
* “Tiger Army – LunaTone”:http://www.fileden.com/files/2007/12/26/1663580/06%20LunaTone.mp3
*5. The National – Boxer*
Sort of a hipster-lite favorite. Nothing exactly ground-breaking going on here, just The National doing what they do best: making their way through a subtle soudscape with solid songwriting and sad lyrics.
* “The National – Slow Show”:http://www.fileden.com/files/2007/12/26/1663580/06%20Slow%20Show.mp3
*4. The Arcade Fire – Neon Bible*
Another hipster favorite that shouldn’t surprise anyone for being on this list. I wasn’t actually even going to include it until I cracked it open again for the first time in quite a while and I must say, this is a damn fine album. Seeing them live at Red Rocks not too long ago doesn’t hurt, either.
* “The Arcade Fire – Keep the Car Running”:http://www.fileden.com/files/2007/12/26/1663580/02%20Keep%20The%20Car%20Running.mp3
*3. Beirut – The Flying Club Cup*
To be honest, I really wasn’t sure about this album when I first listened to it. Sure, it had Zach Condon’s lovely warbling voice fronting it, but it took awhile for my consciousness to latch onto the music and want to listen to it. I’d been hoping for more of the same accordion-heavy, eastern European-flavored fare from the previous album The Gulag Orkestar and was surprised when The Flying Club Cup felt a lot different. Perhaps it was seeing Wes Andersen’s short film Hotel Chevalier which preceded The Darjeeling Limited, a film which takes place in a French hotel room that I started to appreciate what Beirut was trying to do with this release. The music was not featured in the film, although perhaps it should have been, it was just the visual French aesthetic that seemed to so well accompany The Flying Club Cup that helped me understand it. That probably makes no sense. Oh well, just listen to it for yourself.
* “Beirut – La Banlieu”:http://www.fileden.com/files/2007/12/26/1663580/05%20La%20Banlieu.mp3
*2. Voxtrot – Voxtrot*
My love for Voxtrot has been hashed out at length before, so I won’t do it here, but suffice it to say that I’m not putting the self-titled LP debut from Voxtrot at #1 because I was a little disappointed with it. There’s not an awful lot for me to dissect as to why; when I listen to any single song from it individually, I hear all of the great things I love so much about Voxtrot, but for some reason the album as a whole didn’t “stick” to me as much as the previous EPs had. Maybe this is because I got so used to consuming Voxtrot in EP form, that is, obsessing about each song on its own and learning its ins and outs so well, that when I tried to apply this technique to the LP, I just got overwhelmed. All I know is that I could probably only call out by name 1/2 of the 11 songs on the LP, and know even fewer songs’ lyrics all the way through. Seeing them live twice this year, once in Austin and once at the Bluebird in Denver was a real treat, the latter of which absolutely blew me away. The live versions of the songs on this LP are mostly why it’s being included.
* “Voxtrot – Brother in Conflict”:http://www.fileden.com/files/2007/12/26/1663580/06%20Brother%20In%20Conflict.mp3
*1. Explosions in the Sky – All of a Sudden I Miss Everyone*
There was a time when I referred to Explosions in the Sky as “The poor man’s Tristeza.” Something about them seemed derivative and simple compared to a Tristeza opus like Espuma or Bromas. After Tristeza’s DVD/CD release in late 2006, however, something switched. I couldn’t follow where they were going any more, and at the same time, Explosions in the Sky stepped it up and absolutely killed with All of a Sudden I Miss Everyone. Deeply moving, noisy-but-not-too-noisy, epic-without-being-lame, dynamic-without-being-tiring, this album simply kills. I’ve listened to this album more times in a row than any other this year. An absolute gem. Also, catch them on Austin City Limits if you can. I’d link you to the YouTube vid of it, but it seriously does not do it justice.
* “Explosions in the Sky – It’s Natural to Be Afraid”:http://www.fileden.com/files/2007/12/26/1663580/03%20Its%20Natural%20To%20Be%20Afraid.mp3
* “Explosions in the Sky – Catastrophe and the Cure”:http://www.fileden.com/files/2007/12/26/1663580/05%20Catastrophe%20and%20the%20Cure.mp3