I have been thinking of this list for about three weeks now. I have talked, pondered, wondered, rated, and debated about this list. I think it is something not only do I like but have been thinking about this since about March. I have been trying to keep records to the side thinking, 'this is something that will be worth talking about now but also again in December.' It's something of a work of passion. I don't know where my life would be without music...
#10...Panda Bear "Person Pitch"
Brian Wilson's Smile or Pet Sounds fusing together with smart electronic manipulation. Count me in. If you have not hear Deerhoof or Animal Collective this might be a tough record to start with but let me say it is worth the time and energy to understand the tones and textures that surround the record. It's smart and beautiful, somewhat awkward at times but that's what I like about it.
#9...Band of Horses "Cease to Begin"
Not the best record in the world but it had me listening over and over again to some of the tracks that lyrically are so simple. I like a record that reminds me of simple truths like 'the world is a wonderful place' and 'no one is gonna love you more than I do.' Maybe I just want these things in my life so when tight guitar rock tells me that I need to look you in the eye when I walk down the street I want to remember to do that. The record reminds me of my humanity and what we all need.
#8... Explosions in the Sky "All of a Sudden I Miss Everyone"
This band has some of the most beautiful instrumental builds that transport your feelings and desires in only a way that beautiful music can. The cover art and song titles make me feel like I need to rest in the arms of strangers as well as friends. Beautiful and haunting because you need to insert yourself into understanding the emotion. You end up finding about things in the process and see the journey that the music can only tell.
#7 Iron and Wine "The Shepherds Dog"
Oh so good and oh so beautiful. I think at this point I understand why I love Americana and Folk music. There is something about Sam Beam that knows how to write a story and convey it so beautifully. The music is maturing and new ideas and formulas for songs seem to be apparent. It's almost like his voice lulls you to sleep through telling you haunted stories. The layers in the album are thick that lends a hand to making the record that much more beautiful.
#6...The National "Boxer."
The album is good from beginning to end. Paste Magazine has put it as #1, Harp Magazine as #21 for there record reviews. There is no clear consensus on the record to be honest. It's sharp, fun, distinctive. It has a clear throw back to 80s (non-dance) nu wave but a clear direction for it being 2007. I like it. My favorite tracks are Green Gloves and Fake Empire. Strong tracks worth being downloaded.
#5 Kanye West "Graduation."
Gosh this record is so smooth and soulful. I think at first people didn't know what to do with because there was no beat-filled super pop song. The album is strong from beginning to end with great songs like "Good Morning" and "Stronger." The beats are taken from 70s soul and used well to enhance the strong lyrics. I love Kanye. I am glad he is so eclectic and he does what he wants. I am sad about his mom....
#4... Feist "The Reminder."
I can't tell you how many times this record has been played in my home, my car, or my Ipod. There is such an array of emotions that many artists don't know how to touch or even accomplish. She seems like such a strong woman and the music is sad and then makes you laugh. I know that 1 2 3 4 is EVERYWHERE but it's just the tip of the iceberg of what the record contains. From soulful ballads to shaking your shoulders indie pop. Solid record from start to finish.
#3... Ryan Adams "Easy Tiger"
Since I bought the record it hasn't stopped playing. I think this may be Ryan Adams strongest record to date. It's solid, lyrically tight, and musically strong and connected. You can tell he has taken his experiences of past drug/alcohol use to technically good use. A strong note of the past with how you make amends with the future....plus the music is so so good. There is something that is incomplete for him and I am interested to see how he continues to write and work with his backing band, The Cardinals.
#2... Radiohead "In Rainbows"
The most accessible record since The Bends. The songs are so simple but so fresh and resonate with me from beginning to end. I am always a bit sad when the record reaches to track ten because I know it's over. I had a fantastic conversation about this record with my friend Wess about how we will talk abut how good this record is but how this band single handed change how we use our money to place value on music. That has to propel the record higher on the list....and it did. Simple and gorgeous. How could you go wrong?
#1...Wilco "Sky Blue Sky"
I LOVE this record. I love it's laid back attitude. There is a feel to this record that has never been on any Wilco record before. There is a feel like things are coming together and things are going to be okay. There is a hope on this record that seemed far from close in A Ghost Was Born. This is my favorite band of all time and to be honest there was a day or so that I didn't think it was going to make it as number one but then I realized that it needed to be because of the strength and clarity it possesses. It's sad that people were disappointed that it wasn't more experimental but why would you want to box a band in? That's why most bands can't put out more than a couple of records. They are forced to stay in a space that they got there in the first place but can't move on. I love Wilco because they explore and take chances. This record is so beautiful. just like the cover art, there seems to be a sense of wonder but also the need of another. It's tight, well made, well recorded, solid. The beginning track of 'Either Way' and concluding with 'On and On and On' are like the perfect bookends of love and relationships. Please buy this record if you haven't yet.
So there it is. Let me know what you think or what your Top 10 is....
soon will be more lists because they are fun and I can avoid doing the things I should be doing....like sleep.