Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Music Lists: 2007

I'm going to be blogging only very infrequently over the next 2 weeks, so I might as well indulge in a bit of list-making before I take a vacation. So here's some comments on music that grabbed my attention in the past year...

5 Pleasant Surprises

5. Mika - Life in Cartoon Motion
'Grace Kelly' is pure joy; the rest of the album is almost as fun, but it's also entirely vacuous. That's why it's a 'pleasant surprise' and not in the 'favorite/best' list.
4. Kelly Clarkson - My December
If 'Irvine' is any indication of what she's capable of, I could actually start buying Kelly Clarkson albums. This album makes this list on that one, Radiohead-ripping song alone.
3. Rihanna - Good Girl Gone Bad
Likewise, this album could have been 10 tracks, all 'Umbrella', and it would be here for that reason alone.
2. Spiral Beach - Ball
Teenagers have no business writing a song like 'Kind of Beast'. Or the rest of this album.
1. Bruce Springsteen - Magic
'Radio Nowhere' could've been written by The Boss in the 70s. Springsteen gets his teeth back.

9 Disappointments

9. Arcade Fire - Neon Bible
To be fair, almost anything was going to be a disappointment.
8. Kevin Drew - Spirit If...
The 'Broken Social Scene Presents' title should have clued me in: it's a Broken Social Scene album, only not as good.
7. Klaxons - Myths of the Near Future
The first song is catchy; the rest of the album is exhaustingly just more of the same, track after track.
6. Dragonette - Galore
There are three songs that I really love on this album; the rest belong on really bad pop radio.
5. Stars - In Our Bedroom After the War
How can an album whose title references both sex and war be filled with such dreadfully middling AOR MOR?
4. Editors - An End Has a Start
I was so bored that I cleared all but two songs off of my iTunes.
3. Paul McCartney - Memory Almost Full
McCartney has released consistently good-to-great solo material for over a decade, now. I suppose the time was ripe for a snoozer.
2. Timbaland Presents: Shock Value
How is it that someone so good at doing material for other people's albums can put out such an awful album himself?
1. The New Pornographers - Challengers
I love the title-track, but didn't the New Pornographers used to be, like, a rock - or, at the very least, pop-rock - band? Nearly every song here is an aimless sort of mid-tempo indie-folk number. Which would be forgivable, I suppose, if it weren't so boring.

9 Favorites
(It's far easier for me to describe my disdain than it is to explain why I like the music that I like, so I'll just include my favorite songs from each album.)

9. Radiohead - In Rainbows
'Bodysnatchers', 'Nude'
8. Los Campesinos! - Sticking Fingers Into Sockets
'We Throw Parties, You Throw Knives', 'You! Me! Dancing!'
7. Caribou - Andorra
'After Hours', 'Sandy'
6. Black Kids - Wizard of Ahhhs
'I'm Not Gonna Teach Your Boyfriend How to Dance with You', 'Hurricane Jane'
5. Arcade Fire - Neon Bible
'Keep the Car Running', 'Ocean of Noise'
4. Iron & Wine - The Shepherd's Dog
'Resurrection Fern', 'Wolves'
3. Feist - The Reminder
'My Moon My Man', '1234'
2. Of Montreal - Hissing Fauna, Are You the Destroyer?
'Suffer for Fashion', 'Gronlandic Edit', 'She's a Rejector'
1. LCD Soundsystem - Sound of Silver
'North American Scum', 'All My Friends', 'Someone Great'


James said...

Curse you Neil Shyminsky! 3 of your disappointments would probably make my favourites! But I can never find out properly: what does AOR actually stand for?

neilshyminsky said...

AOR MOR - Adult-oriented, middle-of-the-road

Don't get me wrong, though; just because I was disappointed doesn't mean that I think those albums are bad. I still play the Stars' and New Pornographers' albums pretty frequently, but I expected a lot more from each.

James said...

Ah, okay. Middle-of-the-road I knew, but "AOR" has eluded me for years.

Honestly, I've been kind of out of it music-wise this year. I don't think I could afford to be disappointed by any of the little I listened to.

You like Band Of Horses, Neil? Everything All The Time was one of my albums of 2006, and I think Cease To Begin tops it.

will said...

That Rihanna album is great! Umbrella, obviously, but then also: Shut Up and Drive, Don't Stop the Music, Breaking Dishes (I think I got those right). 2007's best pop music robot, unless you think Britney is more robot than puppet.

Kamandi Curt said...

As far as the industry is concerned, AOR actually stands for Album Oriented Rock and only recently has also come to be referred to as Adult Oriented Rock in some quarters.

The term originally referred to radio shows and radio stations that played "deeper cuts" from albums, rather than the traditional commercial singles. The idea suggested by the term is that the AOR format is a little less pop and a little more substance (subjectively, of course).