Unlike previous year-end lists, I spent pretty much one afternoon thinking about all the records that rocked my world in 2007. In previous years, I spent a few days listing everything, whittled down the list, and then posted it. I don't think I left out any glaring omissions with this year's list, but I wanted to post a few things that have come to light since I posted my year-end list and read other people's lists.
Decent debut album where fanboys disassociated themselves from the band after it leaked online, thus putting the "fan" part into question
Voxtrot - Voxtrot
I dug Voxtrot's two self-released EPs and found their debut LP to be a logical step-up. Sounding like they had a little more time to work on the record, Voxtrot doesn't sound over-produced nor does it sound rushed. There are plenty of good tunes here, like "Firecracker," "Kid Gloves" and "Real Life Version."
Strangely, hardcore fans seemed to just abandon the band because of this record. It's one thing to not dig a peculiar record by a band, but it's another to sever all ties with them because they put out something slightly different. If I remember correctly, this happened almost instantly once it leaked online months before it came out in stores. And it's not like a glaring difference in sound between this and the EPs. The band didn't turn into a radio-rock, screamo act or a chilled reggae act. So, I'm still in the dark with these naysayers. Maybe I should just stick to my thoughts and not give the pundits too much credit.
A surprisingly good record that I didn't often listen to from start to finish because of wanting to hear Scott Walker again and again
Ash - Twilight of the Innocents
I had a lot of doubts about Ash reverting back to a trio for this record. Being a four-piece seemed to be what the band was always meant to be (even though they started out as a trio). All this aside, I found a number of tracks from this album to be great. Not necessarily going back to their pop-punk ways or metal ways, but instead forging ahead as a solid poppy rock band, Ash claims they have made their final album. They aren't breaking up, but aren't planning on doing albums anymore in the digital age. Of course, this could have been a PR move . . .
Amazing what editing and reading other year-end lists can do
Band of Horses - Cease to Begin
I liked a number of songs from Band of Horses' debut, Everything All the Time, but found them to be a little plodding. Songs just dragged on and on. But I didn't realize this until I listened to Cease to Begin. (Kudos to Chris for mentioning it and the AV Club for posting an MP3 in their year-end list.) Cease to Begin puts the strengths of the band in front with compact songs. As simple as "Is There a Ghost?" is, it's an awesome opener and great mood-setter.
After years of praise for a certain artist, something finally clicks and falls into place for me
I still don't understand the hipster mindset where everything has to be over-scrutinized except for hip-hop and glossy pop. Moreover, almost anything remotely sounding like hip-hop is probably going to be praised as cutting edge. But for me, I like rich melodies as well as atonal, angry-sounding stuff. (Thus explaining my equal love of early Scott Walker and post-Jane Doe Converge.)
I've had my reservations with hip-hop with its emphasis more on beat than melody. But I've never hated hip-hop. Given my daily exposure to some of the most popular hip-hop songs, I must say some things have sunk in. Most notably, an enjoyment of Kanye West's three proper albums. Melodies are aplenty as well as an admitted vulnerability -- something noticeably absent from a lot of the hip-hop I've heard in recent years. Where this leads I don't know, but it might make for an interesting 2008.