Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Finally, The Defining List.

Well, as my Best Albums of 2007 list finally concludes (good riddance, right?) I thought I'd share a quote from a music writer for Yahoo.com, "Robert of the Radish" (Check out his list, I thought it was a good one.)
I share it because I am a complete "list nerd" and I have many friends who are also. Everyone has their opinion. Some think their's is fact. Others spend their time debating the difference between "best" and "favorite." Some just like to see their favs mounted into an organized presentation. In the end, it all boils down to how much the music made you feel, right?
So, this basically puts my thoughts into writing on the subject, and it seems more legit coming from an official type person:
Yea, yea, I hear ya. End of year "best of" lists are like fruitcakes. There are way too many of them lying around unnoticed at the end of the year. They've become "I'm a credible critic" lists more than anything, with popular indie blogs shunning anything commercial and adding in some hip-hop, world music, or jazz to increase their hip-factor.
So when I went through the process of creating my top 100 of 2007 list why did 70% of it turn out like most every other hipster blog out there? Well, it all boils down to the fact that even in this new musical landscape, we fall in love to the stuff we listen to. And we only listen to the stuff we are aware of. And I can't resist listening to what is getting buzz. But from time to time I do find an under-the-radar gem.
So yes, some of the albums you will see in my list will be completely new to you, many more will appear on other year end lists, and the reason is simple. They're great albums.
The only measure I used when selecting my top 100 was whether I found myself coming back to listen for enjoyment. Not because I had to do a review, or because I was told it was a great record, but because I wanted to hear it again and again. A melody, a technique, a feeling, something about each of these records brought me back for more, and each has earned a permanent spot in my collection and in my life.

Well said, Mr. Of the Radish. And, I concur. That being said, I give you my final ten of 2007. Behold, the greatness. Budda-budda-budda-budda...

10.) Justice - Cross

Electronic/dance music had a surge of greatness this year. (Lucky for me, since I LOVE shaking my bionic-booty to the genre!)) The album opens with "Genesis," a massive robotic battle anthem (lasers and all) that reminds me of the Transformers having a disco dance off to da' def. And from there, it doesn't stop. In the grand tradition of the great Daft Punk, these two rocka'-turnt-beatsta Frenchies pop out metallic groves to head bang to, odd as that sounds. Its as gritty as it gets. The main single, "D.A.N.C.E.," is one of the catchiest songs all year, but it actually says very little about the album's flavor as a whole. Like any great dance album (or any album in general) it flows smoothly from one track to the next. Cross is basically one big song with 12 movements. So, its impossible to take any one song out of it. Tracks like "Let There Be Light" fuzz out some wicked electro-bass lines that smoothly melt into the poptastic "D.A.N.C.E.", which in turn explodes into "New Jack," another favorite. That song is the perfect example of beauty from chaos. It is millions of pieces spliced together to form one bodacious beatster. Simply an AMAZING dance album that should not be missed by anyone who likes to move.

9.) Robert Plant & Alison Krauss - Raising Sand

Who'da thought these two, both giants in their respective areas, would combine forces to produce one of the best albums of the year? One reviewer at Amazon.com said "only the fantasy duo of King Kong and Bambi could be a more bizarre pairing..." Tis true! I haven't listened to much of Robert Plant's more modern stuff, but I understand it isn't too far in comparison. In all honesty, I have been a bigger fan of Alison's work for quite some time. (But, of course, nobody can deny the legacy of the Zep.) The two make a flawless album of bluesy-folk covers here. Calling it simply a "duets" album doesn't work. They effortless perform each song with such a tight chemistry, its hard to not imagine the two as one group rather than a power combo. Songs like "Gone Gone Gone (Done Moved On)" perfectly showcase this point, while other songs like the beautifull sad "Through the Morning, Through the Night" and the Zeppy "Fortune Teller" focus the sound on one or the other, while they harmonize in and out. This one was quite a pleasant surprise.They both have simply amazing voices! Brilliant tag team, I hope they do it again.

8.) Clap Your Hands Say Yeah! - Some Loud Thunder

I could do a whole segment on why I consider this one of the most sinfully underrated albums of the year. Granted, I do understand why people were turned off to this (Besides Alec Ounsworth's rediculously nasal vocals, of course) cuz it took me awhile to get it. First of all, the album opens with "Some Loud Thunder," which has you thinking said thunder may be TOO loud. I thought my speakers were blown when I turned it on, until I noticed every player sounded the same. It took me forever to realize that song is pure genius disguised as a bad fuzzy recording. Also, the album does not groove like their first self-titled (superb) album. Definately a more subdued sound. You find yourself missing that on first listen, but when given a chance, the layered harmonies and less obvious intensities come out on brilliant tracks like "Mama, Won't You Please Keep Those Castles in the Air and Burning?" The song "Satan Said Dance" is the only dancer, and though it is an interesting experiment in electronic noises for the band, it is the most obvious and boring track on the whole thing. (besides, do you really want to dance if its SATAN that said to??) What is the same, is amazing songs that showcase every member equally. Basically, what the band has done is drop kick "hype" right in the balls by giving everyone an album of opposites...on purpose. It is disorienting, strange, slow-paced...and completely brilliant. They've done what many have done, for better or worse, and completely split their fanbase. But where they succeed, (and Bloc Party fail miserably) is they kept their strengths by still writing amazing songs and expanding their creative horizons, as opposed to expanding their wallets and Mtv playability. And they didn't tour with Panic At the Disco, either. I see this album being a hindsite classic a la Weezer's Pinkerton. I can't wait to see what they do next.

Sorry so long...

7.) Iron & Wine - The Shepherd's Dog

Sorry that last one was a doozer (did you even read it? Maybe you are gone by now...) Iron & Wine's Sam Beam decided to go bring a full band along this time. I have enjoyed his earlier work, (me and Cass danced to his cover of "Such Great Heights" at our wedding) but its The Shepherd's Dog that officially hooked me. It is magnificient to hear the layers added to his already great songwriting. Even more amazing, to me, is the layered harmonies. Each song has the feel of a southern folk-tale, steeped in legend, mystery and beauty. Though many of the songs don't have an official verse/chorus/verse type structure, they bounce and bob along so hypnotically you never notice. I'm not even sure what song to single out specifically. "Lovesong of the Buzzard" is a brilliant example. As is "The Devil Never Sleeps." Album closer "Flightless Bird, American Mouth" continues in his tradition of sweet lullabye by smoothly winding this instant classic to a finish. When I suggested this album to a customer at work, they replied "I thought they were a death metal band!" I think it was the scary cover.

6.) Eluvium - Copia

Speaking of covers, isn't this an awesome one?? I love this cover. Its one of those that would make me wanna buy it without knowing anything about it. Infact, that's almost what happened. I knew this album was a quiet album full of ambience. But all I heard before buying it was a 30 second clip, and that doesn't exactly work with albums like this. Still, it was getting good reviews, and the album art sealed the deal. I can't fully describe why I came to love this album so much, other than it just relaxes me. Whenever I needed to ease some stress, I'd turn it on. Needless to say, it became one of the most played albums of the year on my iPod. There isn't much to the "music," it mostly meanders smoothly through epic landscapes of sound made by piano, strings and synthesizers. No words to interupt, just pure mood. Track 2 is called "Indoor Swimming at the Space Station," and that is a perfect summary of how the song makes you feel for 10 and a half minutes. You can easily fall asleep to this stuff. Infact, upon first listen, I did. Have you ever fallen asleep in an album, waken up in the middle of a song, and every single note and/or word is augmented inside your head? I dunno if its a result of being half awake, but you notice things you normally don't. I did that on the end track of this album, at about the 5:38. I woke to what sounds like fireworks or bombs blasting in the distance in rthymic repitition... and as simple as it is, it blew me away. (Excuse the pun.)

5.) Of Montreal - Hissing Fauna, Are You the Destroyer?

So, we move on to a completely different album. This is about as far from Copia as you can get, as it is a total shake ya azz, party till ya drop, take no prisoners, bounce off the walls album. And I of course mean all that in a good way. Much like Justice's album, this one feels like one big party song. The party shifts gears about midway through, as the nearly 12 minute "The Past is a Grotesque Animal" divides the album with "Lets tear this @#%ing house apart!" chants and the intensity of an animal bursting from its neon cage. I actually think I am beginning to like this album better than their last, which is a big deal. I dunno, maybe I don't. But it's just so durned great! It's so cohesive, yet very random and chaotic. Kevin Barnes' crazy croon spouts anti-love lyrics ("To me you're just some faggy girl/and I need a lover with soul power") and soul searching verses ("I guess it would be nice/to give my heart to a God/but which one do I choose?") hidden underneath brilliant pop. The harmonies on "Gronlandic Edit" slap me in the face everytime. It's so hilarious, but so intelligent. He uses lines like "We'll fall back to Earth like gravity's bitches/Physics makes us all it's bitches" and "All the party people dancing for the indie star /but he's the worst faker by far." There are tongue-in-cheek self parodies throughout. And I'm not sure what the C.C.A.A. Booty Patrol is, but I would love to join. Its an ironic paradox when it can appeal to those that like to grind to hip-hop with a dumb look on their grill, as well as those that sit in coffee shops analyzing every segment.

4.) LCD Soundsystem - Sounds of Silver

Similar to Of Montreal, LCD Soundsystem is party music for the brain. A little less crazy, and a little more intelligent is Sounds of Silver. I was a little late on the LCD wagon the last album, but really enjoyed it. Somehow James Murphy has managed to up the anty as far as combining punk and dance. While many have done it, and done it well, Sounds of Silver merges the two so effortlessly it no longer sounds like a fusion of sounds. Instead, its a perfect statement all on its own. Its often very hard to tell what's electronic and what's band instrumentation. "Get Innocuous!" starts the album off right, with a fabulous club beat. "Time To Get Away" brings the funk. An' it don' stop. The most notable intrigue to the music is the honest lyrics. "All My Friends," "Someone Great," and the beatless piano ballad closer "New York, I Love You, But You're Bringing Me Down" all have an overwhelming sense of melancholly to contrast the party goingon around them. It sure is rare to have a dance record with such depth, but that is exactly what has been done here. To perfection.

3.) The Shins - Wincing the Night Away

So, I'm trying to think of somethin funny to say right here. I'm having difficulty. Watch this again: Funny . Or Dax. The Shins produced the first great album of 2007 way back in January. And it held its own all year. The Shins groove through this one like they haven't before. Lotsa bass and spacey sounds too, which I love. Like other albums on this list, the songs flow smoothly into each other, giving the "one out of many" feel. Infact, when I saw them live this last year, they played the first 4 tracks in their order, which was great, cuz they really do feel like one. But, since the first half, up through the Motowner "Turn On Me," is so enormously brilliant, the last four tracks or so lag just a bit. Not because they are bad by any means, just comparitively less impressive. Despite that, all the music posseses a certain magic to it. The lyrics are witty and poetic, and the tunes often drift through a surreal dream world, much like the album title (and cover) may suggest. I felt that Wincing the Night Away was so much more approachable than Chutes Too Narrow. Chutes was great, but this one caught me from the beginning and kept me coming back for more like no other album (save two, of course.)

2.) Radiohead - In Rainbows

It's really too bad the Shins got put up against my two favorite groups of all time, neither of which cease in bringing the goods. Its also too bad for me in one respect... because I can't name them BOTH my number one. (A tie would be cheating I decided). Nobody even knew Radiohead would be a definate factor until October when we were all blessed with their pay-your-own price surprise release. Hype aside, the band still gave away one of their greatest achievements, at the same time making more off of it then any other of their albums. My opinion aside, this album was in more top tens, (and number one in more of those lists), then any album out in 2007. Rightfully so. They completely deserve every word of praise they get. And, of course, as a backlash to popularity, a lot of people refuse to put them so high, and denounce any that do. My reason for its position is not simply based on the fact I worship these guys. Its because it is truly a flawless album, and one of their best ever. The band's quote-unquote "return to form" was a draw for many, as it rocked and grooved like they haven't before. Still, you could split this album up and find many of these tracks on any of their "weird" albums. The eerily-synthy "All I Need" would fit on Kid A or Amnesiac. The epic "Reckoner" would go nicely on Hail to the Theif. Ironically, I have a hard time picturing any of these songs on anything pre- Ok Computer, so where is this "return to form?" The fact is, for the first time, in a long time, Radiohead have made an album for the SONG'S sake. It is a collection of amazing songs, every single one standing alone in its greatness. They have somehow made an album to cater to the impatient playlist-era digital consumer, while still maintaining the full album statement missing in a lot of modern music. Though its more straight forward, its still innovative and completely original. It is probably the most "beautiful" of all Radiohead's albums, with lots of layered harmonies and weeping strings courtesy of guitarist Johnny Greenwood. Which fits the strangely sugary title. In Rainbows hits all the right buttons. Kermit would be proud. By the way, the disc 2 is also brilliant.

1.) Silverchair - Young Modern

So we arrive at Young Modern Station. I wrote a huge ole babbling review of this when I first got it, so I'm gonna TRY not to pontificate too much here. This was the year Silverchair finally got some respect for their post-17-year-old work. This was also the year the Chair boys sound completely comfortable in their own sound. Every song is a venture into something new, and not one of them is a failed experiment. "Young Modern Station" rocks a dance beat with a heavy riff, and that morphs into "Straight Lines" (a radio hit in America) with a slight U2 twist. Throughout the album you hear a variety of influences ranging from Queen to Prince, Brian Eno to Roy Orbisson, and David Bowie to Andrew Loyd Webber (sometimes all in the same song). And still, it's hard to pinpoint a collective style here. It's all over the place, and all the better for it. Its the most upbeat (and the least 90's) they've ever sounded. In the 7 months or so I've had this album, nearly all of the songs are among the most listened to on my iPod now. There are at least 6 Young Modern songs before it gets to another band/album. And that's not including all the times I had it in my car on CD, or on the computer at home. Is that overkill? Well, I'm not sick of it yet. You give 'er a listen and decide yourself.

There ya have it. Finally, the list be done.

Fav Music Videos of 2007:

Fav Concerts of 2007:

1.) Nickel Creek
(tis true...sorry chairboys...I still love ya)

2.) Silverchair

3.) the Shins

4.) Shout Out Louds
1.) Grizzly Bear
2.) the Knife - Silent Shout
3.) Silversun Pickups - Carnavas

Monday, January 28, 2008

Gordon B. Hinckley 1910-2008

"For I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand. I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith: Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing." 2 Timothy 4: 6-8

Gordon B. Hinckley, the loving leader, humanitarian, and Prophet of God, passed away yesterday, January 27th. He was one of the great men of our era and has done so much for so many around the world.

President Hinckley has been a prominent figure in my life since I was born as a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. I have always loved hearing him speak, and was always edified by his great spirit.
I can remember drawing a quick but decent sketch of the President when I was in seminary, just for fun. (I wonder where that went?) But more so, I remember when I was about 6 or 7 years old, I attended a talk that President Hinckley (then the First Councellor) gave in Illinois. (I think it was Illinois, that's where we lived, anyhow.) After the meeting was over I remember walking up to him with all the other children, and he shook our hands one by one with a bright smile on his face. I always remembered that moment, and I will always remember this great man for the legacy he left.
I am sure he was anxious to get back home to be reunited with his wife, and the God, he loves. Indeed, what man on Earth would welcome death more than he who is so close to that God that brought him life? I wish his family, and all those that cared for this great man, condolences. He has finally recieved his rest.

Sunday, January 27, 2008


20.) Spoon - Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga
Still haven't put a lot of time into this album yet, but its infectuous and rediculously groovy. It may rise as I listen to it more. Their Ga Ga Ga Great! Aha! Heh....ahem.
Key Tracks: "The Underdog," "Japanese Cigarette Case"

19.) Rilo Kiley - Under the Blacklight
This is the first album I've fully listened to of the group, and it's brilliantly poptastic. Sexy and fun. I need to go watch The Wizard now.
"Silver Lining," "Dreamworld"

18.) Gorillaz - D - Sides
I decided to count this as an album, cuz it's more than an album's worth of brilliant b-sides (D-sides I guess). Lotsa great beats, and it shows off a more experimental side of Gorillaz. BONUS* - the special addition comes with some small illustrations, stickers, pins and a sweet patch. Fo SHO!!!
"We Are A Happy Landfill," "The Swagga"

17.) Battles - Mirrored
I read a certain blog that said it best: "Four very talented musicians that sound like eight very talented musicians." And instrumental blowout that blurs the line between electronic and band. PERFECT cartoon soundtrack music, and one of the most innovative albums of the year.
"Tonto," "Atlas"

16.) Maximo Park - Our Earthly Pleasures
And they do it again! Some more hoppy New-Wavy rock pleasantries. Could this be better than their debut? May~be... at any rate, my feet do their own thing when I hear anything from these guys. I seriously love this band! They are so great and just getting started.
"Girls Who Play Guitars," "Our Velocity,"

15.) Animal Collective - Strawberry Jam
Didn't rush to hear these guys at first. I heard Panda Bear (this band's drummer), and though I liked it I wasn't extremely impressed. But, I heard this was a little more my style, and The Greg did purchase for me (Merry Christmas!) I gave 'er a listen at about 4 in the morning on the way to Disneyland, and let me tell you this is the PERFECT album to listen to at 4 in the morning. The sample crazy electro freak rock tickled my brain the way it hadn't been tickled in quite some time. What they do with sound in general is amazing. I think I am a big fan now.
"Peacebone," "For Reverend Green"

14.) Shout Out Louds - Our Ill Wills
Another brilliant follow up. This album seems a tad more upbeat, at least in emotion, but has more of a Cure feel to it as well. Definately a bigger sound. Sweden sure does have it goin' on lately. And their fish are still great.
"Time Left For Love," "Normandie"

13.) the White Stripes - Icky Thump
At first I wasn't sure about this one either, cuz I REALLY liked Get Behind Me Satan. No pianos on this one, but there are wicked organs, lotsa guitar, and even bagpipes to make up for it. Jack White still continues with his winning streak.
"Martyr For My Love For You," "300 M.P.H. Torrential Outpoor Blues"

12.) Fujiya & Miyagi - Transparent Things
Woo! My ayazz shakes thoroughly to this album. They aren't really Japanese (as they explain in their songs) but I decided to check them out simply cuz I am a sucker for the Nihon-teki. Go figure! Tis an AWESOME dance album.
"Ankle Injuries," "Photocopier"

11.) Arcade Fire - Neon Ball...I mean NEON BIBLE
(I have a hard time with the album name, as one of Silverchair's albums is called Neon BALLROOM. Inside joke.)
I was anti-Arcade for quite some time. I did not want to like this band, and I have no idea why. But, when I ended up hearing this one, I couldn't help it. It really is a great album full of emotion and intensity. The hype is true, I suppose. Even if they aren't the saviors of the world. Go Canada! Much better than their first, in my opinion.
"Intervention," "Keep the Car Running," "Black Wave/Bad Vibrations"

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Finally, my fav albums.

Durn, it sure has taken me awhile to get to this. What is it...July already? Since its been taking me so long to even get to this, I won't waste a ton of time on each one like I did with the songs.

The reason I always make these lists so blasted huge is simple to explain. There were so many great albums, I wanna give credit to them all...But really its almost like I feel bad for them, like when I was little and had to play with all my toys at once. If I left He-Man out, he'd feel bad! So, ya gotta put in all the good ones in a list like this.

So, first off, here is some miscellaneousness:

Best Guilty Pleasure: Hilary Duff - Dignity

Ahem...dunno what to say. I just really liked this. Its fun to shake to. So sue me.

Biggest Let Down: Bloc Party - Weekend in the City

I better be careful, cuz I could make a whole blog about why this album sucked. Their first one was so fabulous, mainly because of the amazing rythm section and the intense energy the songs had. (Check out "Helicopters," "Banquet," "So Here We Are," and "This Modern Love" from that album for examples) That Asian drummer of theirs was simply one of the best I'd heard in a long time. Then, for their second album, they decided it would be better to NOT have intense songs with amazing drumming, but instead rely on their never-great-to-begin-with melodies and then tour with Panic! At the Disco. I'm all for creative change and what not, but when it makes you sound like a watered down, less talented Blink 182, with a less talented Seal at vocals no less, it just doesn't do it for me. Come on guys. Same problem I had with Guster last year. (Except they didn't sound like Blink 182) Anyway...
(Runners Up:) Smashing Pumpkins - Zeitgeist, Bjork - Volta. These albums actually made my good list, so I do like them. But with how much I totally worship these guys, it was just a little sub-par comparitively. The Pumpkins was still great considering its the first in 7 years, I just wish they woulda mixed it up a little and put some good pop songs in with the rockers. With Bjork, it was just a handful of gems, and a handful of duds. Still decent albums though.

Biggest Surprise: Bright Eyes - Cassadaga

To many, it doesn't surprise you that Conor Oberts makes a good album. And I won't go so far to say I hate Bright Eyes, but I really have never been able to swallow his style. He's a talented songwriter, but it just doesn't do it for me. So, this year I was surprised to find I actually kinda liked Cassadaga. The arrangements and instrumentation do this one good. Which sorta makes up for the fact he sounds like an emo-goat.

Best Non-Album Release: Sigur Ros - Hvarf/Heim

I decided to count Gorillaz "D-Sides" as an album the way I did Sufjan Steven's "Avalanche" last year, so the next best is Sigur Ros. Amazing. One disc of new recordings (which include brilliant new renditions of songs from their first album) and another disc of acoustic live versions of some of their popular songs.
(Runner's Up:) Radiohead - In Rainbows disc-2, Daft Punk - Alive 2007, Bird and the Bee - Please Clap Your Hands EP

Best Importers (besides England): Sweden
Shout Out Louds, Peter Bjorn & John, the Hives, Jens Lekman
(Runners Up:) Canada - (Arcade Fire, Feist, Tegan & Sara, Steve Nash) Iceland - (Sigur Ros, Bjork, Amiina)

And the rest, is the best. These aren't numbered, but the lower they go on this list, the better I thought they were. Kinda like counting down...without numbers. (If you want any explanations as to why I liked any certain of these, lemme know and I will personally give you a review, savy? haha.)


Do, Make, Say, Think - You, You're History in Rust

Tegan & Sara - The Con

Arctic Monkeys - Favourite Worst Nightmare

Travis - The Boy With No Name

Jens Lekman - Night Falls Over Kortedala

the Chemical Brothers - We Are the Night

Bat For Lashes - Fur and Gold

Lily Allen - Alright, Still

Bjork - Volta

Smashing Pumpkins - Zeitgeist

the Hives - The Black and White Album

James Morrison - Undiscovered

Amiina - Kurr

Panda Bear - Person Pitch

Jesca Hoop - Kismet

Feist - The Reminder

Peter Bjorn & John - Writer's Block

the Good, the Bad, & the Queen - self-titled

Since this is such a huge blog already, I'm gonna continue with the top 20 tomorrow! I hope...stay tuned!

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Some stuff I been workin' on...

The assignment was to do two quill pen drawings, each with a different style. I've never used quill pens before, and you can see where the ink dripped n' stuff. We weren't supposed to do any gray tones either. Not too shabby I suppose. (descriptions below images)

"They didn't think there would be mermaids..."
More of a Classic Pooh style. Winnie the Pan and Tinklet see a mermaid under the bridge.

"Tigger the Hook"

More of a cartoony, Disney-ish style. That's what Tiggers do best.

This is a portrait of my Grandpa in his navy days I did for his 80th birthday...I'm not to confident in my portraits. I dunno how I like it, but he did, so that's what counts.

Friday, January 18, 2008


Well, I do intend to put a best albums list up. Maybe I should wait until next year, combine the two. In the meantime, I am enjoying my classes so far this semester. Dunno if I'll put much up from my Figure Drawing class...(for your sakes) but here's a lil somethin from illustration. I combined a couple o' classics. Its a work in progress...What ya think?
Its a light sketch, but thought I'd share Winnie the Pan and Tinklet. I didn't wanna look at anything so I could try to give it my own flair. I am also working on a drawing for my Gramps (OF my Gramps) for his 80th b-day. Tut tut, it looks like rain!

Friday, January 11, 2008

Behold, the Flava Favorites.

Well, I've finally got my top 10 songs up. It sure is hard to get a blog done when you've got school, work, and a wife (who desires all my attention). Anyway, here it is for you to enjoy. Again, I've included some links/videos.

These were my absolute favorites this year. Take some time to check 'em out. Let me know what ya think! I'm sure you will agree that they are ALL stupendous. And if you don't, well... that's unfortunate for you. Loser.

To start off, knock 'em out, Lily!


Quite possibly, the funniest song of the year. And one of my absolute favorites. A honky tonkin' piano starts it off, and then the beat breaks with some smashin' horns. Lily introduces: "Awright this is a song 'bout...anyone it could be anyone. Ya just doin' your own thing an' someone comes out the blue, they're like 'awright what ya sayin' can I take ya digits' an your like ' No...not in a million years. Your nasty, please leave me alone.'" The song goes off as she narrates the woes of being hit on by the likes of many a nasty fellow, and they just don't get the clue. The best part is when said nasty says "Yeah you awright, baby, you look awright, stiwl...Yeah was' yo name?" It gets me every time. The last bit of the chorus has her reply: "Just get out ma' face/ jus' leave me alone/and no you can't have my numba'/ cuz I lost my phone." Its rare that a song like this would ever even make my lists, its just a great tune! Mad props, Lily. I don't know what else to say about it, if this doesn't convince you, then....leave me alone. Your nasty.


Another runner up for funniest song. Though it may not have as much humor as Lily's, it makes up for it in pure style and songcraft. This song is interesting, cuz I can't quite tell if its SUPPOSED to be funny. It just is. James Murphy says "And for all of you who still think we're from England.../We're not. No." This song (along with the rest of the album) manages to blur lots of lines. He seems to be mocking and pridefully defending at the same time, while you find yourself laughing and contemplating at the same time. It builds in playful intensity as a girl in the backround chants "North America!" with Murphy and before you know it, you are yelling "We are North American Scum!" right along with them. The song just doesn't get old. And you can shake ya azz to it like it ain't nobody's biddness.

8.) VON (acoustic Heim version) - SIGUR ROS

I realized my top ten basically ends up being the ultimate party mix, until you hit this one. Like "Hafsol," this is another reworking of a song from their first album, also titled Von, which is translated "hope." I can't even remember the original version, but this one hit me like a ton of bricks. Er...perhaps its better described as a ton of cotton. I first heard this when I finally watched the Sigur Ros movie "Heima" that just came out. As the group wanders around Iceland, playing random shows at random spots, they stop in a small town to play in an extra small coffee house. People of all ages watch in silence, as the song progresses with Amiina on the strings. For some reason that scene struck quite a chord with me. It was just so universal in its emotion. The lyrics are the "Hopelandic" jibberish often sung by the band, the strings are absolutely beautiful, and as the crowd watches in silence, you forget the fact you wouldn't understand a word of their language. For a moment, everyone is the same, and the moment has so much purity to me. For that reason, this song is one of my very favorites of the year.

Ahem...moving on.

7.) D.A.N.C.E. - JUSTICE

If you were to open up a can of "good times," this is what would inevitably come out. When I first heard the tune, I immediately thought of early Michael Jackson. Not just in the music, but in the subtle tributes of the chanting-kid-samples: "You were such a P.Y.T./Catching all the lights/Just easy as A.B.C./That's how you make it right." The duo that makes up Justice actually admit to the song being a tribute to MJ, and a glorious one it is. When that bass busts in with the synth-strings, is there anything better? I say thee NAY! The rest of the album is more of an acid-metallisized-electro-convulsion trip (??), but this one has me doin' the Hustle in the mirror...all da time. Speaking of, I really need to make a video of me doing that.


Ya know what the best part of this song is? The intro. When that sax or guitar (or whatever it is) comes in with the bass, I just can't contain myself. I have restarted that first twenty seconds over and over, and on numerous ocassions. But, of course it doesn't stop there. The whole durn thing is superb. Britt Daniel's voice is raspy and soulful, and the groove is overwhelming. The best way to introduce this song to people is by saying: "Wanna hear the best horny song in the world?" Depending who I'm asking, they either immediately say yes, hesitate before responding, or don't respond at all. But in any case, they always seem to love it. Except Cass, she doesn't like his voice, of course. Still, these boys are proof, once again, that you don't have to be good lookin' to kick out the jams.


An even better example of not so good lookin' dudes that know how to bake a tune. This could be the most rockin' tune the band has ever concocted. When I first heard the tune from a live bootleg last year, I found it groovy. But the album version turns it up to 11. A welcome "return" to form for all the fans that were sick of hearing blips and bleeps. I personally love the blippin' bleepage, but hey, this is the kind of tune that pleases radio heads everywhere. A flawless and gritty guitar riff welcomes you in, and as the "chugga-chicka-chugga-chicka" continues, two other guitars attack you from both sides. That's the joy of the three-guitar attack method. At about the two minute mark, they all reconvene for a spacey interlude until Thom wails "I'm alive!" and they all go their seperate ways again for a jivin' finale. >Sigh<... I love this band.


"Time to put the ear goggles on" "NO!" This was the second song I heard off of Wincing the Night Away, right before it came out. And it was this stunner that convinced me to get it. I liked the previous album, Chutes Too Narrow, but not exactly enough to warrant a necessary purchase of anything with "The Shins" stamped on it. I consider myself converted. You can tell its gonna be good just from the opening seconds and the "La La La La's," but when James Mercer opens up with "Born to, born to multiply" it flies uphill and your feet start moving. The tune never once mentions Australia. Although, it does say the word "conundrum" more than once, with many more a witty lyric throughout. Its just so beachy and bouncy. That'll do pig, that'll do.


There are about 5 or 6 reasons I cannot get enough of this song. #1.- That opening guitar just kicks so much boot it makes my chair silver. That and the lovely slide guitar throughout. Its so 70's. #2.- Fabulously bluesy lyrics. Though the song sounds incredibly happy, the lyrics are actually quite melancholly, and that juxtaposition is stupendous. #3.- The honky tonk piano of Paul Mac. Nuff said I think. #4.- The line "If the object was clear/there wouldn't be a point/only Godless fear." #5.- I am a complete sucker for mounds of melody and heaps of harmony. As far as that goes, the Chair boys reach a new high point with this one. BRILLIANT harmonious chorus! I shall stop with those, (besides, #4 is basically an extension of #2). Simply put: one of the best. Silverchair. Songs. Ever.


(First of all, isn't this picture of the Of Montreal so great? Its like Samurai Star Wars or something.)

So, I bought this album knowing nothing about it, other than it was Of Montreal, whom I adore. Thus, I listened, and each song got better than the last. Suddenly, track 5 comes on with its groovy beat and slammin' bass. I was already impressed with the track, and then the chorus hit. I literally rewound it 5 or 6 times to make sure that JUST happened. "I guess it would be nice/to give my heart to a god/but which one?/Which one do I choo-hoo-hoo-hoose?/Oh, the church is filled with losers/psycho or confused/I just want to hold the divi-i-i-i-ine/in mi-i-i-i-nd/ and FORGE-T!" This song is so amazing, I don't even know what else to say about it other than someone should send the missionaries over to Kevin Barnes. Whether you like this band or not, you will be amazed. Even when we saw Nickel Creek, they declared amazement to the song (and sang the chorus). You have to hear it to believe it. Seriously, check out the link and listen to it. Stop reading.


And so, the greatest song of the year reveals itself. The epic Queen by way of Danny Elfman magnum opus of Silverchair's Young Modern: If You Keep Losing Sleep. This is also the BIGGEST song of the year. A masterpiece with an 80 somethin-piece orchestra, that moves from circus freak out, to whimsy fairy tale, to funky break down, and back again. All under 4 minutes. Somehow the live version was even bigger! (It helps when Daniel Johns talks through his guitar). The lyrics are completely nonsensical. But if YOU kept losing sleep, you wouldn't make much sense either. The insanity of the music adds to the theme. Its looney, funky, and completely over the top. Apparently, this song was considered "too experimental" to be released as a single here in the States. Ha! I think the "big men" underestimate us "little people." Still, while many a U.S. citizen might not have the capacity to appreciate, the rest of you should have nothing to fear. Behold, my song of 2007.




Saturday, January 5, 2008

The Continuational Listings of my Flava Favorites of double-0 seven.

Across from me, there is a man sitting who's skin is completely red! Now I have the "What Makes the Red Man Red?" song stuck in my mind...

And... we continue with 19-11 I guess. (Shoulda ended with 21 last post...) On the last post, I've included ways for you to hear each of these songs, by playlist stream, or youtube video. I've also done that here. The vids mostly likely have nothing to do with the song, they just happened to have the song in it. So, if you haven't heard them, feel free to check 'em out! (I'm at school right now and can't hear the links...so if they don't work, come back later and I should have them fixed.) That's swell eh? I'm nice like that. Moving on...

19.) Please Read the Letter - Robert Plant & Alison Krauss

This was the first song I heard when I decided to see how this "beauty and the beast" combo was to sound. Instantly blown away. Not necessarily the album's best example of the harmonic chemistry the two posess, but definately my favorite song of the collection.

18.) Lovesong of the Buzzard - Iron & Wine

This song doesn't have a chorus. Just a flawless folksy harmony for the intelligent poetry. And if anyone's lyrics can be counted as such, it's Sam Beam's. "No one is the saviour they would like to be /The lovesong of the buzzard in the dogwood tree /With a train of horses laughing through the traffic line /And the cradle's unimaginative sense of time." Such a great song!

17.)Prelude for Time Feelers - Eluvium

The first instrumental of the list. A simple classical piano melody, (that reminds me more than a little of Beethoven's "Moonlight Sonata") builds slowly as layers of synth and/or string and horns are added to the song in an epic fashion. It is mesmerizingly beautiful, and it quickly became one of the most played songs on my iPod this year.

16.) House of Cards - Radiohead

This is one of the SMOOTHEST Radiohead tunes ever. I've never thought of their music as "sexy" until this song. A jazzy R&B groove that REQUIRES one's head to bob during listening. Thom sings mysteriously of a love affair and chants "denial, denial" in between verses. Hey, if Michael Buble can sing about him and Mrs. Jones without complaint, then why can't Thom?

15.) A Martyr For My Love For You - the White Stripes

This has quickly become one of my favorite Stripes songs. Bouncy guitar that turns violent mid way through, and melts into the meanest organ solo. Jack talks of the only way to show this girl his love is by doing nothing: "I could stay awhile/but sooner or later I'd break your smile/And I could tell a joke/but sooner or later I'm bound to choke/We could share a kiss/but I feel like I can't go through with this/I bet we could build a home/but I know that the right thing for me to do/is to leave you alone."

14.)All Across the World - Silverchair

"Whimsical" is the best word to describe this melody. One of the best melodies I've heard this year. Daniel Johns seems to be singing an apologetic letter to his wife, Natalie Imbruglia (remember her "Torn" hit?). The two spent most of their time on separate continents, busy with their own careers, and you really feel it when he sings "I'm on my way home" to close the song. The fact that the two recently split just this week adds that much more emotion to the lyrics. Sad : (

13.)Hafsol - Sigur Ros

I first heard this song when I saw the group last year, and literally felt the hair rise on my arms and neck. Its the only one I hadn't heard before at the time, and later found out it was a modern reworking of a song from their pre-fame first album (which I've since purchased). This version was finally released on their Hvarf/Heim EP, and blows the former version away. The bass is being played by gliding a drumstick along the strings....amazing. The end has the keyboardist going to town on some sorta pan flute.

12.) Sea Legs - the Shins

The bass line makes this song. When I first heard it, I was a little surprised at the sound. It was Shinsy, but pretty different than anything they've previously done. Appropriately, the song makes you feel like your slowly bobbing up and down to the waves of the sea. Good thing is, I don't have to take Dramamine to listen to it. Its very hypnotizing and is definitely one of the best songs the band has done. Too bad they didn't play it live when I saw them...

11.) Everything - Michael Buble

Hey, I am not the BIGGEST fan of the Bubble (I leave that to my wife), but I definitely don't mind the guy. Cass has his albums, and though I'd heard them through her I didn't remember hearing this one until she sent it to me as a lil video love note. And it still gets me every time. I hate using the word...ahem... "cute"... alot. But that's definitely what this song is. As pop love songs go, its very classy and I dedicate it to my Cassidilla!

To be concluded...




Friday, January 4, 2008

The REAL Flava Favorite Songs of 2 double-0 7

(Can you imagine James Bond wearing Flava Flav's clock? Hmm...)

Well, here goes my official list of favorite songs of...


Boy is it hard to compile this kind of list! I thought I'd just do a top ten (many of you are mumbling "I wish he WOULD'VE") but there were just so many great songs this year I couldn't stop. That's why I made the random categories earlier. There are so many other great songs I would list, but I had to end it somewhere, so I figure 30 is well rounded. For starters, here is 30-11 of my favorite songs of the year.

This list is compiled from songs on albums released in 2007. The numbers almost don't matter until the upper end, its simply 30 songs I absolutely could not get enough of. Like I said, there are more...but 30 is enough. Here' goes...

30.) Mama, Won't You Keep Those Castles In The Air & Burning? - Clap Your Hands Say Yeah!

You either love this voice or hate it. Smart lyrics, subtle instrumentation and swirling vocal arrangements. You don't really appreciate them at first, but listen closely. Its genius. Yeah!

29.) Between You And Me - Hilary Duff

"Oh no you DIT'N say Hilary Duff?!?" Yes I did. This song sounds WAY too much like Sonic the Hedgehog to be ignored by me. EXTREMELY catchy and brilliant pop. She should quit acting, cuz she sucks at that, but as of this year she does make decent tunes.

28.) Faust Arp - Radiohead

Short, sweet, and beautiful string arrangements by Johnny Greenwood. So beautiful infact, I almost forget Thom Yorke is singing. Cass hates Radiohead, but I caught her liking this one. "I like the strings" she said. So do I. So is your face.

27.) Keep The Car Running - Arcade Fire

HUGE song. Pump your fist and get outta town, baby, cuz Armageddon never sounded so exciting. On a mandolin no less. Did I say this song was huge yet?

26.) Comfy In Nautica - Panda Bear

This stray drummer from Animal Collective sings "Try to remember always/just to have a good time" while Lion King-ish chants and claps keep the rythm goin without any instruments. Good, no? I think Mufasa would appreciate. Its them chants that got me.

25.) Intervention - Arcade Fire

Another epic. This song has a huge church organ in it! And it fits the song's powerful theme of religious hypocrisy and a war torn world perfectly. This band has strong views, and agree or not, the power is fully felt in these songs.

24.) Those Thieving Birds (Part 1)/Strange Behaviour/Those Thieving Birds (part 2) - Silverchair

This song could almost fit 3 seperate spots on this list. Its as big as its name. A fully orchestrated (courtesy of Van Dyke Parks) rock opera the likes of which Cass and I have jammed out to many a drive. Daniel's voice is money in the bank on this one.

23.) Dreamworld - Rilo Kiley

The name of the song best describes the song itself. Guitarist and former Boy Meets World star Blake Sennet takes the vocals over on this one, while The Wizard's Jenny Lewis settles for backup, and it makes for one heckuva child-star-tag team.

22.) The Pieces Don't Fit Anymore - James Morisson

This guy is WHITE. Go listen to him sing and you'll see why that is an interesting fact. One of the most soulful voices around this year, and this song brings the tears when he croons, "Well its time to surrender/its been too long pretending/its no use in trying/when the pieces don't fit anymore." : (

21.) Reckoner - Radiohead

Thom falsetto's his way through this song, with some of the best harmonies and most beautifully sad strings the band has every put together. At about the 2:30 mark Thom sings "Because we seperate like ripples on a blank shore," with nothing but winding strings and an army of harmonizers. Genius, I Reckon.

20.) Reflections of a Sound - Silverchair

All of the sudden the Chair boys bust this Beatles jam out of nowhere. Pop brilliance is what it is. The melody is familiar yet unpredictable. Daniel's lyrics are nonsensical beauty as always. My brother found that an echo is defined as a "reflection of a sound."

Well, anyways...that's up to 20. Think I'll at least post this for now. Stay tuned for the conclusion! Lemme know yer opinions...or don't...I'll just leave opinions for myself.





A couple Morcels

Ok, I'm still working on gettin my official best of lists out for everyone's boredom. But, in the meantime, I have come across a couple of morcels in the last few days I must speak of.
First, the movie Juno, staring Ellen Page (X-Men 3) and Michael Cera (Superbad, Arrested Developement) Just saw this, and it is a fantastically quirky film that made my wife cry (I don't cry in movies a whole lot...). Superb acting, witty dialogue, and real-life humor. Instead of telling you what it's about, here is a trailer for your viewing pleasure. If I was into giving things a numerical rating, I would give it 4/5 Chairs, and its one of my fav movies of 07 now. Go see it!

Second, the currently-on-hiatus-cuz-of-writer's-strike gem of a television show, Pushing Daisies. I don't watch a whole lot of tv these days, but Cass introduced me to this nugget online recently, and I am quite sad I missed the 9 episodes that have aired. It is totally my kind of show. Very goofy, slightly twisted, and (dare I say the word...) "cute." I plan to watch all 9 episodes online, and follow it religiously when it comes back on the air. Here's a trailer!

Oh, and I also really enjoy Peach Fresca.