Wednesday, December 12, 2007

2007 - end of year top records

I've enjoyed plenty of records of 2007, and as the curtains close on this year it's customary for about the music to list it's favourites. I should add that there are plenty of records I believe are good but haven't heard this year, but the list below reflects the ones I loved from the ones I heard.

In the order they occurred:

Ryan Adams - Easy Tiger

I count this as a return of a great Ryan Adams record. Really it's a Cardinals record but with quality control. Every track is great, some fantastic and because the filler is omitted, even though it's a shorter album than previous Cardinals releases, it feels like a better one. Old classics emerge like "Off Broadway" and new ones are born like "Everybody Knows". Still haven't tired of it.

Beirut - The Flying Club Cup

This record rather snuck up behind me and burrowed into my iPod. Inspired by a 100 year old photograph and travelling eastern europeans in Paris, but recorded in America, this short album is something of a gem. Horns abound but above all is the strength of the melodies - rock solid.

A Fine Frenzy- One Cell In The Sea

Ever since I heard a demo record I've been a fan. Seattle born 22 year-old Alison Sudol has an amazing voice and her piano led songs are astounding. Ranging from incredibly intimate "Almost Lover" to Amy Mann style "Ashes and Wine" she has hints of Coldplay, Bjork, Motown. I haven't enjoyed many albums as much as this in a while. A real find.

Wilco - Sky Blue Sky.

Eagerly anticipated (at least by me) and it didn't let down. Some were dissapointed by a more accessible record without some of the noise of A Ghost is Born and certainly not the curve ball that YHF was, but it sounds like a band comfortable in its skin. Nels Cline adds beauty to every song with perfect guitar playing and for once, Jeff Tweedy sounds happy.

The National - Boxer

Following on from the slow-burning success of Alligator, Boxer delivers another solid punch. Some were dissapointed that the rockier moments of Lit Up and Mr November weren't replicated but what is present is more strong songwriting.

Band Of Horses - Cease to Begin

I was late to discover Everything all the Time but when I did I loved it. Cease to Begin follows on and progresses what Everything started. Not quite the Shins/My Morning Jacket cross over of the previous record and more their own band, but still throuoghly enjoyable.

Josh Ritter - The Historical Conquests of Josh Ritter

Josh probably did the right thing by opting not to write another Animal Years, instead going the other way with a relaxed, jamming big band sound. Gone is the earnestness and back is the fun, resembling more of his live performances than previous albums.

Bright Eyes - Cassadaga

I was initially disappointed with this, but found myself listening to it all the time. As obvious as it may be, it sounds like a cross between Lifted and I'm Wide Awake It's Morning. "Four Winds" is great and it doesn't really drop from there.

John Mayer - Continuum

I dismissed him as too poppy for a long time, but on hearing this album had to reevaluate my opinion. My only criticism is it's almost too perfectly produced, sounding too smooth for its own good, but he writes the sexiest music of any white man alive.

Horse Feathers - Words Are Dead

This album blew me away when I heard it early in the year. Think Iron & Wine, but with the murmurs of early R.E.M. Great banjo playing, hushed lyrics leading to some almighty cacophonies. One I constantly return to.

If I was allowed another 3 they would be Iron & Wine's "The Shepherd Dog", The Shins' "Wincing the Night Away" and Kings of Leon - Because Of The Times deserve an honourable mention


jayber crow said...

It's good to get your top picks. I'm with you on Wilco and The National - both beautiful records. But I'm not convinced by Easy Tiger - to my ear it's the dullest Ryan Adams album I've heard.

I'll have to check out your other picks soon. I've posted my top five over on my blog...

Happy new year!

Mike said...

Hi Manjo,

Really enjoyed your top albums of 2007 list. Thanks for turning me onto some great records that might have passed me by had I not come across your page. Personally I wouldn't have hesitated to put the Shins record in there.

How's the list for 2008 shaping up? I have a contender for you anyway. Dieter Schöön's album Lablaza. It's being given a release this year outside of Sweden which is where Dieter is from. I am totally overwhelmed by it and thought you might enjoy it too.

Here's the link to his myspace:

& let me know if you want a link to the album... couldn't find your email.

Let me know what you think!

All the best, Mikey