Sunday, December 30, 2007

Politics, Rehab, and Youngsters...OH MY!

*Disclaimer: These are MY picks for 2007. They might seem biased and not very well rounded for different music genres. There are MANY other artists that released wonderful albums this year, however, I have either not heard them or subjectively don't think they should have made the list If you have any to add, please leave a comment!

So another year ends, and with it, we come to the portion of our program where everyone and their mother gives their Best Of lists. As much as I hate to be a cliche, there is just no avoiding it as there were so many albums to choose from this year. So without further ado (god, I'm just a walking stereotype), here are This Girls' picks for best albums of 2007.

5. Cease to Begin-Band of Horses
This album is what indie rock is about. Absurd lyrics, haunting melody, and a scruffy lead singer with a beard. When you can make a hit out of a song with only 3 lines, and use the song as the first track, you know you've got talent. Band of Horses' sophmore album combines songs that talk about nothing, with songs that talk about, well, nothing. But just like a Seinfeld espisode, 'nothing' seems to make an incredible 'something'. I dare you to listen to The General Specific and not clap your hands or crack a smile. This song, which is geniously placed in the middle of the album pulls you back in from the echos of No One's Gonna Love You, to refocus your ears towards the ghost story that is Marry Song.

4. Back to Black-Amy Winehouse
As much as we want to hate her, or maybe pity her, Amy Winehouse released one of the most talked about albums of the year. Even with her 'no press is bad press' public shennanigans (rehab, bloody fights with her husband, singing at award shows incoherently inebriated), she managed to sell millions before her downward spiral. This is one artist who can rely on her voice to make her money. Listening to Back to Black, you are transported to a time where Do-Wop groups ruled the music charts, and the only substances abused were hamburgers and milkshakes. Amy directly channels the 60's with Tears Dry on Their Own and Rehab, then infuses her heartfelt lyrics and real life experiences to create an album worth listening to beginning to end.

3. Some Mad Hope-Matt Nathanson
If you went to college anytime in the years from 1995 to now, you have heard of Matt Nathanson. His college circuit tour has won him many a fan over the years. But with his second major label release and the Video for Car Crash being played on VH1, Matt Nathanson is sure to score with Some Mad Hope. While his musical style isn't altogether different from Mat Kearney or Five Times August, it is catchy and addictive. Matt can evoke emotions you didn't even know you had. Longing for a wedding you haven't had, invigorating frustration for chasing your dreams, even the complete exhuastion of falling in love. He doesn't push any buttons politically, and won't win any grammys for best new artist, but he will keep you highly entertained with quality tunes for approximately 45 minutes.

2. Undiscovered-James Morrison
Ok. So I guess techinically this CD should go under the Best of 2006 category since it already reached platinum status in the UK but the end of the year. But since it wasn't released in the states until spring of '07, I will allow it to be number two. And trust me, it deserves to be ranked both years anyway. The debut album from 23 year old James Morrison is quite possibly one of the best singer-songwriter records of the modern age. How is it possible for someone so young to have experienced all the pain, happiness, and confusion of an old man? And how does he actually make you physically feel all those emotions at the same time? This Boy and the title track Undiscovered are the most talented songs on the album. But ask again tomorrow, and it might be Wonderful World, and You Give Me Something. This album lets you rediscover each song over and over again through James' throaty voice and evident passion that distinguishes each song from the other. Listen again, and you'll realize that you, too are 'not lost, just undiscovered.'

1. Minutes to Midnight-Linkin Park
From the second I brought this CD home on the day it was released, I have said it's the best album of the year. It's great when you're in the car, it's poweful when you're on the treadmill, it's superb when you're doing the laundry. Mike Shinoda has always had something to say, and now him and the rest of Linkin Park are saying it out loud in opposition of George W., Katrina, and the war in Iraq. No song on Minutes to Midnight is more powerful than Hands Held High, where Shinoda come from behind the pen and paper, and in front of the microphone to lend his inspiring words to the world of music. The band clearly had fun making this album, straying from their typical rap-rock. Instead, Linkin Park tries out a slower, U2-esque circa The Joshua Tree style of music on almost half of the CD. It is unlike their previous albums, but obviously shows their range as musicians and artists. Anyone who can make such an ecclectic album unlike what they're known for, all while staying true to what they believe and not afraid to say it, deserves number one. Not to mention a purple heart for courage.

Runners-up:
Neon Bible-Arcade Fire
Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga-Spoon
So Much More-Brett Dennen
Live at Radio City Music Hall-Dave Matthews and Tim Reynolds

But that's just THIS girl talking...

2 comments:

-josh said...

#1. beards rule
#2. i liked this line..."Listening to Back to Black, you are transported to a time where Do-Wop groups ruled the music charts, and the only substances abused were hamburgers and milkshakes." that's really good.
#3. that linkin park album sounds right up my alley.

jennyshields7 said...

I saw on Josh's blog that you thought he was the only one who reads your blog. FOR THE RECORD...I check it daily. Just waiting for some blogs....