The Observer is a Student-run, daily print & online newspaper serving Notre Dame & Saint Mary's. Learn more about us.



Another listen: the best of 2007

Christine Nguyen | Tuesday, December 11, 2007

The year is coming to an end and the topic at the top of every music lover’s mind is: The Best Album Lists of 2007. Whether you read them on the internet, refer to magazines, or just ask around, The Best Album list is a fun way to wrap up the year and see what new developments have occurred (or not) in music. The WVFI Music Committee offer you our favorites to read while taking a break from bio-chemistry chapters and crunching accounting problems.

This year in top album lists there seems to be a disparity between actually quality records and what the industry thinks they need to acknowledge to keep their music cred flowing. Abysmal lists from several print magazines (Filter, Harp, UnCut) as well as trusted music blogs (My Old Kentucky Blog, seem to signal a need for reinvention).

After the top 10 there seems to be nothing more than a gamete of the best indie artists of the last five years filling up the rest of the amazingly long top albums lists. If a band made a fantastic album five years ago why is that an invitation for its mediocre album to invade 2007’s lists? Is there a need for a top 100 if only 1-57 are actually deserving of any recognition? And why in the world is The Good, The Bad and the Queen getting into the top five?

We get it, you all miss the Gorillaz. However, TGTBATQ are not them, and even if Damian is heading up the project, gold does not flow from his fingertips. To be fair, going through other lists and voicing my dismay, makes me realize that I will never be able to make everyone happy, but nevertheless I present my list of best (read: personal favorites) of the year.

Top Albums:

“Health,” by Health

Health is pretty much the only experimental noise band that I can really stomach. Really I not only stomach it, but I really enjoy this noisy/trippy freshman album. This is saying a lot, as they have crafted some amazing amounts of chaos into controlled melodies while never losing the rawness of their sound.

“Sound of Silver,” by LCD Soundsystem

Sure, some people don’t like really good dance music that isn’t techno. I’m not one of those people. I am normal. Therefore, I believe Sounds of Silver hits the spot when a dance party needs to be picked up.

“The Magic Position,” by Patrick Wolf

Patrick Wolf’s sophomore album proves him to be a proprietor of not only beautifully orchestrated songs but also in control of one of the most unique presences in music. Sheer joy and cheeriness are contained the title track while the rest of The Magic Position never moves too far from his industrial background. A nice mix making for a truly interesting album.

“Rise Above,” by Dirty Projectors

Rise Above is composed of some really unique sounds: bells, whistles, choir like hums, computer beats, etc. However, The Dirty Projects have been making sounds that are totally accessible, while never leaving the listener board, though perhaps a bit confused.

“Cross,” by Justice

French Pop is the new…everything that is great and good in music. Danceable, loud, and catchy as all out, Ed Banger Records’ token child is push dance music beyond techno beats, filtering the obnoxious repetition of beeps and sirens for well-placed beats and stressed sounds. If “D.A.N.C.E” doesn’t do it for you, you might consider dropping out and moving into a retirement home.

“Myths of the Near Future,” by Klaxons

New Rave references aside, the band has already voiced their distaste for the label, Klaxons are sonically beat driven, while keeping rock in mind. Anything that promotes kids dressed in neon thrashing around to post apocalyptic beats and lyrics based on futurist manifestos is worth a listen.

“Favourite Worst Nightmare,” by Arctic Monkeys

The Arctic Monkeys are young, about our age, and part of me wants to say “look, we can make great rock music!” and the other side of me is green with envy for their talent and ability to take naiveté and turn it into songs about longing that never border on pathetic. It’s as if they took all the most fun and most frustrating parts of youth and channeled them into tales that make nostalgia appear as fast as events occur.

“Back to Black,” by Amy Winehouse

Despite the constant flurry of “Britain’s version of Britney Spears” its hard to ignore that talent that ultimately catapulted Winehouse into celebrity. Her songs work both as throwbacks to 50’s girl groups and fresh approaches to the female singer genre. Try and ignore her messy beehive and whacked-out eyeliner and take a listen to “Love is a Losing Game” it will melt your heart.

“Night Drive,” by Chromatics

The Chromatics mix lo-fi electronic beats with airy echo-y vocals, to create

hauntingly beautiful songs. Minimal at their very best, Night Drive has the ability to sound full while sometimes employing no more than guitar and a voice, not a feat to be ignored.

“Easy Tiger,” by Ryan Adams

Knowing fully that mentioning “that new Ryan Adams record” is the musical equivalent to the lead-up for a punch line, Easy Tiger presents itself as Adam’s most accessible, maybe due to his sobriety. Not Heartbreaker, but still employing some serious sincerity and heart tugging lyrics, Easy Tiger is maybe “Adams Lite” presented to the public for pop consumption.