Saturday, December 22, 2007

Best of 2007

What a fantastic year for music! There were so many great releases from a slew of old and new friends, but without a doubt, the album of the year was the soundtrack to the movie Once.

Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova, the "guy" and "girl" from the film, created one of the more moving, engaging collections of songs I've heard in a while. And it's hard for me to separate the way I feel about the music from the way I feel about the film itself because the two exist in beautiful symbiosis. The emotional ride I got from the movie will forever influence the way I hear the songs, and each time I see the film I enjoy the songs in a slightly different way. Who can hear "Falling Slowly" without reliving the goosebump-inducing scene at the piano in the music store? When "If You Want Me" starts, it's impossible not to see Marketa strolling the streets of Dublin at night in her slippers. And the build up in "When Your Mind's Made Up" is like a tidal wave crashing to the shore - such sweet release, with visions of Glen and the band making their record over the course of one triumphant weekend in the studio.

I could go on and on, track by track, scene by scene. The film and its soundtrack somehow managed to capture the passion, heartache, indecision, frustration and joy that goes into making music, while telling an honest, genuinely touching love story along the way. I can't recommend Once more highly to anyone who loves music.

Now that you've heard about the best of the best, here's the rest of the best, in the form of the requisite "best of" list that's every blogger's pseudo-obligation. Like last year, I've included the annual mix that I make for friends and family at the end of the post. If you like some of the music I've posted on this blog then chances are you'll find something you like on the mix. And away we go...

Sweet Oblivion's Essential Albums From 2007
(Alphabetical by arti

Ryan Adams - Easy Tiger

The prolific Adams made a concise musical statement for once, and this may be his strongest album yet. All the good stuff we love in his songs without any wasted space. (Oh, and by the way, he released an EP too. It was outstanding as well.) Buy it here.

Black Rebel Motorcycle Club - Baby 81

BRMC put together a tour de force in Baby 81, managing to combine the sounds of their first three records into something awesome and new. A cohesive musical statement with a plethora of single-worthy tunes to boot. Buy it here.

Brandi Carlile - The Story

Last year's "little singer that could" is now a full blown star, and her sophomore effort is simply stunning. I can't get enough of her voice, and if this record is any indication of the depth of talent this young woman has, then she's in for a long, impressive career. Buy it here.

The Frames - The Cost

Irish rockers The Frames produced a fantastic album in The Cost, successfully riding the wave of singer Glen Hansard's current creative epoch. If you were taken by Once's music, this album will treat you right. Buy it here.

Matthew Good - Hospital Music

It's a challenging listen, but it's emotional darkness and brutal honesty are right up this listener's alley. Matthew Good continues to make compelling music year after year, and it still amazes me that he's not as famous on this side of the US-Candian border as he is in his home country. Buy it here.

Glen Hansard & Marketa Irglova - Once (OST)

I've said it all above, but in case you missed the memo - go buy this album and see this film!!!

Idlewild - Make Another World

These Scottish rockers continue to do what they do, and each time they do it it gets better and better. Some of the most interesting music of the band's career. Buy it here.

Jason Isbell - Sirens Of The Ditch

Isbell was always my favorite songwriter in The Drive-By Truckers, and now he's made the DBT album I've always wanted to hear. Heartfelt, soulful southern rock. Buy it here.

Matt Nathanson - Some Mad Hope

I've been a longtime fan of Matt Nathanson's concerts, but his studio work has never been consistent enough for me to supersede his live show. With Some Mad Hope he's made a great pop rock record that begs for repeated listens. Finally! Buy it here.

Soulsavers - It's Not How Far You Fall...It's The Way You Land

Absurdly long title aside, this is an awesome album. It may be unusual, dark and moody, but Mark Lanegan sings the songs. Need I say more? It's a more fully realized "Lanegan album" than 2004's Bubblegum. Buy it here.

Stereophonics - Pull The Pin

I couldn't put together a best-of list without including at least one import-only release. I'd all but written off the Stereophonics, thinking they'd lost the plot after their third LP, 2001's stellar JEEP. With Pull The Pin it feels like they've regained the form they had back in the good ol' days. It's worth the extra coin to order this one from overseas. Buy it here.

Noticeably absent (at least to me) from this list is Radiohead's In Rainbows. I've made an executive decision to claim that one for 2008, when it's been released to the masses on CD. However, I will say that the limited edition box set that I finally have in my grimy little hands is one of the sweetest packages a collector could hope for. Grab one now before they're sold out.

In terms of the other artists on the mix below, Turin Brakes are finally back on track with Dark On Fire, although the companion EP, Something Out Of Nothing, is a more concise and impressive piece of work. A few other old standbys like Steve Earle, Wilco, Centro-Matic, Foo Fighters and Son Volt all made good albums. Though Chris Cornell's second solo effort just doesn't sit that well with me as a whole, his live shows this year were simply unbelievable. Buffalo Tom came out of retirement to make a solid record with a few outstanding songs on it. Feist's second record is good stuff too. Eddie Vedder's music for the film Into The Wild is really compelling - his voice seems the perfect complement to the visuals in the movie. Charmparticles and Dala are my "little secret discoveries", the former from a couple years ago and the latter from this year. And I've finally come around to the Manic Street Preachers. Their new one is a solid, rocking set of tunes.

Sweet Oblivion's Best of 2007 Mix
(in multiple parts due to Savefile's size restrictions)


Volume I
Jason Isbell - "Brand New Kind Of Actress"
The Frames - "When Your Mind's Made Up"
Brandi Carlile - "The Story"
Buffalo Tom - "Bottom Of The Rain"
Ryan Adams - "Two"
Chris Cornell - "No Such Thing"
Son Volt - "Action"
Idlewild - "Finished It Remains"
Matthew Good - "The Boy Come Home"
Soulsavers - "Paper Money"
Eddie Vedder - "Hard Sun"
Matt Nathanson - "Bulletproof Weeks"
BRMC - "All You Do Is Talk"

Volume II
Glen Hansard & Marketa Irglova - "Falling Slowly"
Manic Street Preachers - "Your Love Alone Is Not Enough"
Stereophonics - "It Means Nothing"
Turin Brakes - "Brave New World"
Feist - "1 2 3 4"
Charmparticles - "Rarest Numbers"
Ryan Adams - "My Love For You Is Real"
Dala - "Marilyn Monroe"
Wilco - "What Light"
Centro-Matic - "Operation Motorcide"
Foo Fighers - "But, Honestly"
Steve Earle - "Come Home To Me"

Bonus Tracks:
"Missed in '06"

8 songs that I didn't get into until 2006 had passed us by.
Download the mix here.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks for sharing your musical reflections - and a mix too! That's what I call generous.

I've been neglecting my blog sadly. I may pass up the "best of 2007" meme and do a "desert island" top 20 or something. After Christmas, though.

Happy holidays!

December 23, 2007 10:58 PM  
Blogger Dieter said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

December 24, 2007 4:06 PM  
Blogger Dieter said...

This is an inspiring collection of music. Again!

As usual I found some music I like and some I should have a closer look at. Thank you for sharing the mix, I really enjoyed to listen to it.

Because, as an itunes user, I'm addicted to covers, I love covers!

Let me share my cover for your mix with you and your friends:

Best of 2007

Enjoy your holidays :)

December 24, 2007 4:14 PM  
Blogger heather said...

good call on the Matt Nathanson and the Phonics, both are EXCELLENT albums that I cut from my list. It hurt.


Merry christmas.

December 25, 2007 4:18 PM  
Blogger Beth said...

Definitely agree on the inclusion of Ryan Adams. It's easily his second best album of all time (second to heartbreaker).

Have a great new year! I should be posting my list on Monday

December 29, 2007 11:06 AM  

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