Year in Review 2007: Albums I Tolerated I think of myself as a music lover, but when it comes right down to it, I'm forced to admit that Theodore Sturgeon (I think) is right: 95% of everything is crap.
This was a great year for music, in my opinion. There's tons of fascinating things going on in every area that I'm interested in. The stranglehold of the major labels is easing up. Blogs and musicians are delivering more specialized music directly to the people who need to hear it. Until OiNK was taken down, I had more exposure to interesting and curious things than ever before in my life. And yet, at the end of this year, there are only about five albums that I feel comfortable calling albums of the year. And one I got in 2006, and another is a demo for an album coming out in 2008.
Still, a good year. Here's the quickie year in review for me.
Albums of the Year
Menomena - Friend and Foe: Sure, I got in 2006. But I'm still listening to it now. These guys are awesome. When I first heard them, they were playing Sin-E. Now they're playing South Street Seaport and Webster Hall, and they deserve all the success they get.
Arcade Fire - Neon Bible: Sure, this album was no Funeral, but Funeral was one of the best and most distinctive albums of the last ten years, so that's no insult. Sure, they're melodramatic and loud and bombastic, and one of their songs (the most acclaimed one, even) off this albums sounds like the Beaver Brown Band parodying U2 covering "Holiday Road." But it's really good, regardless.
Radiohead - In Rainbows: "Nude" is fucking awesome, and "Reckoner" is so much better this way. Not Radiohead's best album, but a good one, regardless.
Vampire Weekend - Blue CD-R: These guys are going to make it so big, and it's so weird that they will, because really, who thought Talking Heads/"Graceland" type music would interest people anymore. Anyway, this is really good, and I'm looking forward to the full album when it comes out this year.
Wilco - Sky Blue Sky: I was really disappointed with this album when I first heard it, but it really grew on me. But I think you're probably tired of hearing people say that.
The National - Boxer: I think I would love this album a whole lot more if it was raining, 3am, I was drunk, chainsmoking, and recently dumped. As none of these things are true, I can only say that I like it. "Fake Empire" is one of the best songs of the year.
Albums That Are Surely Perfectly Nice Once You Get To Know Them
Okkervil River - The Stage Names
Besnard Lakes - Are the Dark Horse
Ratatat - Remixes II
Dalek - Abandoned Language: I don't like much hip-hop, but this is a great album that I can just tell will grow on me.
Band of Horses: Cease to Begin
Halleluiah the Hills - Collective Psychosis Begone
Spoon - Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga: Never really got into it. I think it moved immediately into standard rotation like all my other Spoon albums.
Josh Ritter - The Historical Conquests of...: I'm keeping this one around just in case all my Bob Dylan accidentally gets erased in an accident and I need a fix.
Bowerbirds - Hymns for a Dark Horse
Beirut - Flying Club Cup
Completely Underwhelmed By
The Shins - Wincing the Night Away: No matter how many times I listen to this, none of the songs stick in my head at all.
The New Pornographers - Challengers: "Myriad Harbour" is a great song. What else is on this album?
Andrew Bird - Armchair Apocrypha
Amy Winehouse - Back to Black
Feist - The Reminder: Man, do I love "Mushaboom."
The Good The Bad and the Queen: What the hell was this shit?
The White Stripes - Icky Thump: The album of the year that most resembled the Matrix Sequels in quality.
Voxtrot - Voxtrot
Interpol: Apparently, I hate Interpol. I didn't realize this until just this year.
Battles - Mirrored: One of the albums of the year for many people who don't like themselves much.
And this is not even taking into account the many albums that came out from M.I.A., Deerhunter, of Montreal, Dan Deacon, or Panda Bear--groups that I occasionally suspect people pretend to like as a joke on those of us are haven't committed fully to being hipsters yet. Call it the Joanna Newsom Effect.
And yes, I realize that people I respect like those bands. I just can't get into them at all. And I've tried. Oh, how I've tried. Because I just want to be cool, and I can't do it.