Monday, December 31, 2007

FEATURE: TOP 10 ALBUMS OF 2007

As the new year begins, I figure it's the best time to reflect on last year's best of the crop. I know undoubtedly this list is not perfect even in my opinion; there are a number of albums I have yet to break in properly, one of which I know almost for certain would land a Top 10 spot. That said, after weeks of preparing for this list, while watching others add theirs to the pile in December, here it is (tentatively): My top 10 albums of 2007.

Number 10: A Fine Frenzy's "One Cell in the Sea"


Sample Track: "Almost Lover" (Sendspace link)
Buy link: Amazon, Amazon.ca, Indigo/Chapters

A stunning debut album from gorgeous singer Alison Sudol, whose voice immediately captured me in "Rangers". After hearing it, I needed her album in a way I've needed few before it, and hers was one of the albums I anticipated most this year. While not every song is to the same quality, the music is still beautiful. "The Minnow and the Trout", though it feels oddly like the theme of a Disney movie, hits me in all the right places; and "Almost Lover", the sample track, is one of the most beautiful songs of the year.

Number 9: Tegan and Sara's "The Con"


Sample Track: "Soil, Soil" (Sendspace link)
Buy link: Amazon, Amazon.ca, Insound, Indigo/Chapters

This album, from one of my favourite Canadian artists, was indeed a grower as many declared it. Sitting for a long time at #17 on my list, only in recent weeks has it started to grow on me. It's full of good songs - "Soil, Soil", "Floorplan", "I Was Married" - and has one genuine hit in "Back in Your Head", which was the subject of my last Track Showcase. The thing that landed this album the list, however, is that every track is pretty damn listenable, even when you don't want to bother listening to the lyrics.

Number 8: Scala & Kolacny Brothers's "One-Winged Angel"


Sample Track: "The Beautiful People" (Sendspace link)
Buy link: Amazon, Amazon.ca

This Belgian girl's choir, whose gorgeous contemporary covers I've loved since first hearing them, released an album that included this shockingly impressive cover of Marylin Manson's "The Beautiful People". I'm not a fan of Manson (his style is my antithesis), but I enjoy this cover very much, and it gave me a chance to enjoy some of his incisive lyrics. This album also includes covers of Damien Rice, KT Tunstall and Radiohead, all worth checking out.

Number 7: Arcade Fire's "Neon Bible"


Sample Track: "Intervention" (Sendspace link)
Buy link: Amazon, Amazon.ca, Insound, Indigo/Chapters

An indie darling from the moment of its release, Arcade Fire has been sadly one of my neglected albums. Again, this is only one that rocketed into the top 10 once I started paying any amount of attention to it. "Intervention", the sample track, is just plain epic. "Keep the Car Running", "No Cars Go", "My Body is a Cage", all excellent tracks that make this even better than their debut.

Number 6: Andrew Bird's "Armchair Apocrypha"


Sample Track: "Imitosis" (Sendspace link)
Buy link: Amazon, Amazon.ca, Insound, Indigo/Chapters

My favourite artist, whose music has become a regular feature on my iPod. Though not nearly as amazing as "The Mysterious Production of Eggs" (which would have grabbed top spot), this album is a worthy successor, with "Heretics", quite possibly one of Andrew Bird's best songs (and definitely the most catchy). As I've shared "Heretics" before, I've included "Imitosis", a darker, gorgeous song I've only recently started listening to thanks to the brilliant remix I've previously posted. While I'd suggest "Eggs" before this any day, I urge you to get this album anyway. It's worthy of being an Andrew Bird album, and I can give no higher praise. Well, except maybe a spot on this list higher than 6, but it's still excellent.

Number 5: Remi Nicole's "My Conscience and I"


Sample Track: "Go Mr. Sunshine" (Sendspace link)
Buy link: Amazon

Another great debut following Alison Sudol's, Remi Nicole is very much following in the footsteps of Lily Allen, coming on as maybe her less-bitchy, just-as-funny sister. Tht's not a bad position to be in at all, as 'Conscience' is an excellent album full of songs with intelligent lyrics and generally good music to go with it. "Go Mr. Sunshine" is a great tribute to summer, one that allows for negative aspects that only make it, and the song, more charming; "Dates From Hell" is a shot at those men, probably some of the same assholes encountered by Ms. Allen on her album last year; "Rock'n Roll" is a great look as Nicole herself, while taking a dig at the stereotype of 'black artist = r'n'b or hip hop'. Pretty much every song here is a fun listen.

Number 4: White Rabbits' "Fort Nightly"


Sample Track: "While We Go Dancing" (Sendspace link)
Buy link: Amazon, Amazon.ca, Insound

These guys know how to make a beat. Every song on this album, from best to not-so-best, can at least get me bopping a little in my chair. The sample track, "While We Go Dancing", showcases this: It's got a great beat, without being overtly poppy or cheery. Much of the album follows this vibe, making for a great 41 minutes of listening. Also check out "Navy Wives", probably my favourite 'Rabbits' track.


Number 3: Patrick Park's "Everyone's in Everyone"


Sample Track: "Saint With a Fever" (Sendspace link)
Buy link: Amazon, Amazon.ca

After discovering Park via The O.C., as many of his listeners must have, I decided to seek out his albums. I found this, his newest album and an accomplishment indeed, holding a scattering of excellent tracks. I've previously shared "Life is a Song" (which most of you probably already had anyway) and "Pawn Song", so the sample is "Sant With a Fever", an interesting song that showcases Park's interesting songwriting.

Number 2: Dragonette's "Galore"


Sample Track: "Competition" (Sendspace link)
Buy link: Amazon, Amazon.ca, Indigo/Chapters

Eleven songs, all but one are amazingly catchy. The one thing I can say about Dragonette that, despite the sexual subjects of most of their songs, they aren't a band about sex. Well, they are, that's undoubtable - what other band would dare to have songs from the POVs of a prostitute, a mistress and a student seducing a teacher on the same album? - but the true meaning is joy. Joy of life, joy of sex, just utter joy, something no watered-down Britney or Christina will ever properly capture. Every song, despite my normal distaste for 'slutty music', makes me bring, and that's because you can just feel the fun that lead singer Martina's Sorbara's having. This isn't a serious album, and that's exactly why it's endearing.

Number 1: The Pierces' "Thirteen Tales of Love and Revenge"


Sample Track: "Secret" (Sendspace link)
Buy link: Amazon, Amazon.ca, Insound

Thirteen tales from these delightfully devilish sisters, whose harmonizing voices and clever lyrics have captured my heart forever. Their music is haunting, with witchy ("Sticks & Stones"), teasing ("Boy in a Rock and Roll Band"), insanely rich ("boring") and vengeful ("Ruin") protagonists showcased in each and every song. Their dreamiest song, a rumination on the concept of "Three Wishes", is possibly their best. However, one of the stars of their album is "Secret", a song about the dangers of trusting your secrets with anyone, finally hammering it home that, "Two can keep a secret if one of them is dead".

27 comments:

Wendy77 said...

Dude, nice list. Well thought-out. Your lists are so easy for me to steal from because we basically have the same taste, hah.

Wendy77 said...

Wow, I'm absolutely loving the pierces. On a first listen-through I was just (negatively) reminded of Rilo Kiley; on a second listen-through, I'm in love.

The Alden said...

Awesome. :) Between getting you into the Pierces and getting Kara hooked on Andrew Bird, it's been a great week.

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