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Tuesday, January 15, 2008

7 from 2007: Top Album Picks

Last year was a busy year for me, and I wasn't as involved in the music scene as I normally am, so I'm afraid my music picks this year are a little more mainstream than the norm. They're also heavily British (a disproportionate amount is, I have sources.) Still, here are my 7 favorite albums from last year in no particular order:

The Wombats: A Guide to Love, Loss and Desperation: This is not out in the US yet! (Like I said, sources.) Which is kind of tragic, because I have been listening to it constantly and I cannot tell my friends to buy it. It's just an upbeat fun album with clever lyrics-- exactly my style.

Peter Bjorn and John- Writer's Block: An aptly named selection, if only because I have had writer's block on this post so many times. You've probably heard the single Young Folks on one of the TV shows you watched last year, and the rest of the album is even better. I was absolutely charmed by their NPR interview/concert here, it's what made me give up the ghost and go buy the album.

Stars- In our Bedroom After The War: I wrestled a lot with putting this on my list. It's a very good, very cohesive album, and I like the story it's telling. It just doesn't have the personal resonance for me that Set Yourself on Fire did. Still taken on its own merits, it's a clever album and shouldn't be a disappointment for Stars fans.

Coconut Records- Nighttiming: I got this around the same time I finally watched Marie Antoinette, and let's just say that April was Jason Schwartzman month. The absolutely charming "West Coast" makes this album for me- the rest of it is winsome, but that song. THAT SONG. And the cover art is some of my all-time favorite cover art. The whole album is light and late spring-y.

Interpol- Our Love To Admire: I know some people absolutely hate Interpol. I am not one of them. This whole album is just dark and brooding, with a delight of an upbeat track in the "Heinrich Maneuver." How are things on the west coast indeed!

Arctic Monkeys- Favourite Worst Nightmare: And I know even more people that hate the Arctic Monkeys. This is a more complex album than Whatever People Say I Am, That's What I'm Not, and not as immediately accessible. It's all the better for it. I took one of my friends with me to see their show, and she was like, "yeah, I could tell the difference between the songs from their first album and the songs on their second album. I liked the ones that were different." So please keep on rocking and making me new albums to dance to in the future, guys. Especially if they're different.

The Once Soundtrack: This is all Jeanne's fault. I don't normally buy soundtracks to movies I haven't seen. I don't normally buy soundtracks, because they're hard to do right. I find most soundtracks to be lacking cohesion, something that is vitally important to me in selecting albums. Even when the music works in the film, it can be jarring to put the songs next to one another on an album.

But she informed me I had to buy this album, and put it on my best of list. And you know what? She is ABSOLUTELY RIGHT. Favorite Soundtrack this year, hands down. I think it's helped that the majority of the songs are done by Glen Hansard. It's really just a stunning album, and it's been great background music for writing. Good stuff.

I'm looking forward to expanding my music horizons a bit beyond the Britrock this year and checking out some of what I missed last year. What's on your list?

Images from amazon.com.

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