Year in consumables: 2007 music

Ga Ga Ga Ga GaYeah, I know I said I was going to name this post “Year wax,” but a funny thing happened with that; I realized I came up with a regulah name for this stuff last year. I was searching for the one I remembered writing about music and there it was. Funny what happens when you search your own archives.

Anyway, I decided to keep with the naming convention, just because I like the way it ties things together. I did consider going with a convention based off “Year (something),” which would allow me to use “Year wax,” but I couldn’t figure anything good for gaming and movies. Best I had was “Year smax” and “Year flix” respectively, and those are, well… lame.

On with the scheduled programming…

Lemme see here… this past year, I purchased (!) 56 discs and an unknown amount of iTunes albums. I want to say it was like four or five, but I don’t track them and I should since you can’t fight the future. This total was a lot less than last year (by more than half!) and most likely years previous. I think one reason for that is I have been a lot better about previewing discs before buying. The days of buying blind or gone, and that’s a good thing.

Now, not all these discs actually qualify for this so-called “best of” list for 2007 because many albums weren’t released in 2007. I won’t sit here and figure this out either, but suffice to say that I have enough to say it’s about 60% and therefore sufficient to still do a list of ten and maybe highlight a couple disappointments. (Yes, even previewing doesn’t always work out.)

Suck on these:

  1. Spoon: Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga
  2. The Bravery: The Sun and the Moon
  3. Cinematics: Strange Education
  4. Foo Fighters: Echos, Silence, Patience & Grace
  5. The Shins: Wincing the Night Away
  6. Bloc Party: A Weekend in the City
  7. Kaiser Chiefs: Yours Truly, Angry Mob
  8. Ryan Adams: Easy Tiger
  9. Rogue Wave: Asleep at Heaven’s Gate
  10. UNKLE: War Stories

Now, I haven’t written anything much really about music this year. I did include something about looking for the Summer album for 2007 in another post, but that’s about it. I suppose Ga (*5) was my Summer album, but maybe not how I’ll associate it like Gnarls is with 2006 or Ill Communication is with 1994. It doesn’t much matter.

Here are some quick blurbs about the ten (I like keeping the above list clean):

  • Ga (*5): Not even as good as Gimme Fiction, but pretty close. Fiction got me into Spoon in the first place and their entire catalog is stellar. I like that I have an American band at the top of the list this year. Last couple years I have felt like I am too into British stuff, but when I really look at it, it just isn’t the case. Oh… plus, I heard some Spoon on my favorite new show this year, Chuck, so that’s a bonus, and no, I’m not one of those people that bitches about tee vee soundtracks.
  • The Sun and the Moon: Their self-titled debut was just so very good that I was nervous this album wouldn’t measure up after hearing the first single, “Time Won’t Let Me Go,” but the rest of the album turned out pretty great, obviously. That single was just too off their sound for me and I was happy to find the rest to be a good mix/range between it and their early stuff.
  • Strange Education: Played this non-stop before it came out, so I was all too happy to snap up a plastic copy when it finally dropped. That’s what good people do.
  • Echos, Silence, Patience & Grace: I may or may not have this high enough on this list. It might deserve number 2 or 3, but regardless, it is the best Foo disc since One by One, which really, there’s only one *new* release between that, and if you’ve read this blog, you know how I feel about that one. That said, 1×1 is my favorite Foo disc and this one might well be number 2.
  • Wincing the Night Away: In Garden State, Natalie Portman’s character proclaims that The Shins will change Zach Braff’s character’s life. Well, I don’t know about that, but they certainly are good and different. In my book, different is usually good and while this disc is more refined than earlier stuff, it is to be expected as any band gets more money and matures. It is still all Shins.
  • A Weekend in the City: I had really high hopes for this disc since Silent Alarm really rocks my sox off. (Man, I need to get my 2005 list up here.) I think this disc is a lot like the Bravery’s in that both are second efforts that have enough difference to still be very good, but still don’t capture the same magic as their predecessor.
  • Yours Truly, Angry Mob: Now, here’s a second effort I enjoyed more than the first (Employment). The single, “Ruby,” is a very catchy tune and the rest of the album supports it very well.
  • Easy Tiger: Ryan has now dropped two very good solo efforts (29 from 2005 being the other) on us in a row after dumping too much middling collaboration with his band The Cardinals. I like him on his own much better than with his mates, although I haven’t exposed myself to his first band, Whiskeytown. Probably too alt-country for my taste, but you never know. I’ll probably check it at some point, but Tiger reminds me a lot of his earlier solo stuff, and that, is good.
  • Asleep at Heaven’s Gate: I picked this one up while Christmas shopping and it has been getting a good amount of playtime. “Lake Michigan” is the single on the radio and I am willing to bet on more than one tee vee soundtrack, but again, that’s okay because it is good stuff. Frankly, I didn’t expect to rate this disc this high, but when I sat down with my list, it bubbled its way up. Hopefully that won’t prove to be just because it is so fresh.
  • War Stories: UNKLE has three albums and all are excellent. Hadn’t seen a disc from James in a few years, but it was worth the wait and I was happily surprised when I saw it on the weekly new release list e-mail from Newbury Comics. Good music while coding.

Much like last year, I have a handful that just missed the cut. Here they are with much shorter blurbs and in no particular order (I’m lying):

  • The Arcade Fire :: Neon Bible: Better than first disc (see Angry Mob above)
  • Interpol :: Our Love to Admire: High hopes after hearing “Heinrich Maneuver,” but not as good as both their albums before it
  • Linkin Park :: Minutes to Midnight: I didn’t even know they were still together, never mind relevant. An evolutionary sound that worked very well for them.
  • The Good, The Bad & The Queen: As good as a Gorillaz disc? Nope. Still… another good Damon Albarn project.
  • Arctic Monkeys :: Favourite Worst Nightmare: (see Neon Bible and Angry Mob)

Where’s In Rainbows? I don’t know yet, but I’m certainly not blown away. I did just pick it up a few days ago, so maybe it will grow on me, but I don’t imagine it will crack the top 15. “Bodysnatchers” and about four other songs are pretty damn good, but the rest aren’t nearly as good. Certainly, this is the best Radiohead album since maybe OK Computer, but again, I don’t know yet. I may follow this up later and I only mention it because I have seen it on a lot of other lists.

As for list of disappointments, I don’t have one really, or at least, I don’t have a list of crap like last year. I thought I maybe had a couple when I started writing this, but in looking back over the full list for the year, I don’t see anything and there’s certainly another five discs that are as good as the five bonus here. I guess previewing stuff really has worked out for me this past year.

Well, hope you enjoyed the list. I’m sure many of your that bothered to read this far don’t recognize a lot of that music, but maybe you should fire up iTunes and give it a preview. Or, maybe check out my stuff on or plug some of those bands into Pandora.

This year, I am hoping to post quick reviews as I get stuff and I am looking forward to that. I guess Radiohead will be the first. I will get a page up soon with just the top 10 and also, I am going to add the 2005 list as promised last year and finally, modify my 2006 list as one disc jumped up into the top 10, so I’m sure you don’t care to look for that…

Next up, flix. Maybe games. I don’t know yet. Hahaha.