Friday, December 28, 2007

So this is it. Welcome to the New Year.

Since I'm encouraging the entire Arts staff to blog their year-end "best" lists (whether that will actually happen is still undetermined), I figured I need to submit mine as well.

For the record, I actually hate these lists.  They're subjective, pretentious, and pointless.  You've listened to the music you wanted to this year and really, if you haven't bothered to take anyone's cultural suggestions yet, it's doubtful that ranking Radiohead's In Rainbows as the top album of the year will actually motivate anyone to download it, despite being free.

That said, here are my *personal* favorite albums of the year, truthfully based on iTunes plays.  They are by no means the "best" albums released in 2007, but for one reason or another, I kept them on repeat.

So here it is, my most-played albums of 2007 (complete with shameless plugs to!):

1.  Chase This Light — Jimmy Eat World
The line "there's still some living left when your prime comes and goes" from the opener "Big Casino" showcases why the aging band that made the emo-cult classic Clarity continue to produce quality albums.  The capsule review I wrote for The Daily Iowan expands on my ridiculous adoration.

2.  Sky Blue Sky — Wilco
I consider "Hate It Here" one of the best songs of 2007.  I'm not sure what that says about me.  Here's my interview with Glenn Kotche and the review and photos from Wilco's show in Iowa City in October 2007, all from The Daily Iowan.

3.  Riot — Paramore
I want to be Hayley Williams.  I listened to Riot!'s bouncy girl rock everyday after work this summer.  Seeing the 19-year-old headline the Warped Tour in August solidified my desire to trade lives.  Must listen:  "Fences."  Sadly, I haven't been able to sneak my love of Paramore into the DI.  Yet.

4.  Graduation — Kanye West
Anna's my roomie.  It's pretty much a requirement to like Kanye to maintain the peace in Apt. 7.  (Sorry, Jay-Z didn't make the cut).  Besides, Kanye almost forced 50 Cent to give up music this year, and that's something to be thankful for. Sorry Paul.

5.  Because of the Times — Kings of Leon
Rachel Bilson is rumored to have inspired "My Party." As a fan of the band, 
the O.C. actress showed up at a party for the Followill brothers, and Caleb wrote this song for her.  Why. Not. Me.  Here's the DI's review, photos, and MP3 from the IC KOL's concert.

6.  The Reminder — Feist
If you couldn't tell yet, my penchant for emo, swoopy-haired boys is pretty high.  Besides Paramore (and while Hayley is a badass, she does roll with the Warped crowd), I don't really listen to female singers.  Seriously, most are annoying.  Feist isn't.  Consider that my endorsement.

7.  In Defense of the Genre — Say Anything
A double-disc release was perhaps a bit ambitious; regardless, Max Bemis' bipolar outbursts provide plenty of engaging fury and confusion.  Also, the two loves of my life guest (Hayley on "Plea" and Pete Yorn on "Skinny, Mean Man").

8.  Even If It Kills Me — Motion City Soundtrack
If I made a "top ten letdowns of 2007," this CD could be included.  However, there are still enough catchy tunes present to entice me to listen, even if the cohesive album isn't as strong as I Am the Movie.  Read my capsule review from the DI for more.

9.  Greatest Hits, Volume One: The Singles — The Goo Goo Dolls
OK, so it's kind of a cop-out, but in a year full of letdowns, this was perfectly timed nostalgia.  I had forgotten awesome The Goo Goo Dolls were ("Slide," "Broadway," "Big Machine," "Iris," "Black Balloon"), so I can't wait for Volume Two, the non-singles?

10.  We Are the Pipettes — The Pipettes
I wish I could throw around the phrase "Your Kisses Are Wasted on Me" the way this sassy, retro British trio does.  I want to join Rosay, Gwenno, and RiotBecky — can I be the fourth member?  Please?  Manufactured pop never sounded this good.

And of course, a few honorable mentions:
Lynn Teeter Flower — Maria Taylor
Robbers & Cowards — Cold War Kids

Here's to 2008!  May it be better than last year!  Anticipated releases from The Format, Jack's Mannequin, and Death Cab for Cutie hint that it will be.  My fingers are crossed.


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