The Year In Music

Music is a very important thing to me. I can't imagine going a whole day without a stack of cds, an iPod or iTunes. I'm always plugged in at work, I've always got something playing on the computer.... That being said, here are some of my highlights for the year 2007:

Suzanne Vega - Beauty & Crime
It's her first album on a new label and, for the most part, has New York City as a central theme. It's been a long time since her last cd, but this one is so good, it was worth the wait.

Macy Gray - Big
hat a fantastic album. I know it got a bunch of crummy reviews, but I don't agree with them. Macy is in top form on this album and definitely reaffirmed my love for her. Best song is "Strange Behavior" which tells about Macy and her lover each trying to off each other for the insurance money.

Joan Osborne - Breakfast In Bed
Joan is back doing R&B after last year's foray into country. While I think I prefer the country sound for her, this album is great. It's about half classic R&B covers, half new material, but you'd think it's all covers on first listen. Her new stuff fits in seemlessly with the classics.

Malcolm Middleton - A Brighter Beat
I'm a sucker for artists whose accents come through when they sing. Malcolm Middleton is from Scotland and used to be in the band Arab Strap. This is his second solo album, though the first that I discovered. And how can you not love an album with a song titles "Fuck It, I Love You?"

Patty Griffin - Children Running Through
I think this was the first 2007 release I picked up (and her new live album was the last release I picked up this year.. How 'bout that for going full circle?) What I like about this album is she recorded a Greatest Hits album of all new material. What I mean by that is each song sounds like it could have fit on each of her prior releases without sounding out of place. She's fantastic.
Paula Cole - Courage
She seemed to have disappeared after her last album, Amen, back in 1999. Though I didn't pick that album up, the universal opinion of it seemed to be that it sucked donkey dick. Diseased donkey dick. I don't know where she went, but she came back with this great new album, batteries completely recharged.

Tiny Dancers - Free School Milk
Another band I discovered for the first time this year. I like 'em. 'Nuff said.

Chaka Khan - Funk This
I didn't expect to like this. Really. What I expected was a washed up Chaka doing sub-standard songs in a desperate attempt to sound relevant again. What I got instead was a classy performer doing great material.

Newton Faulkner - Hand Built By Robots
He's all the rage in Britain right now. Kind of reminds me of Jack Johnson, if all of Jack Johnson's songs didn't sound exactly alike.

Trisha Yearwood - Heaven, Heartache And The Power of Love
I love Trisha. I love that she's back. I love that she even has a little bit of fun on this album. And it more than makes up for the lame Greatest Hits album her old label put out this year, which was basically a rehash of her previous one.

Alexander Schultz - If You Forgive Me, I'll Just Do It Again
Regular readers of this blog will know that I've talked about this album in the past. Another new discovery for me this year, and one of my absolute favorites of the year. And if that's not enough, Alexander himself got in touch with me. How fucking awesome is that? "Watching Without Words" is currently my most played song in iTunes. That must tell you something.

Kate Nash - Made of Bricks
Take the attitude of Amy Winehouse and place it in a folk music setting and you have Kate Walsh. "Dickhead" is a stand out track.

Deborah Harry - Necessary Evil
Debbie Harry is one year younger than my mother. But I cannot in a million years image my mother putting out music like this. Hell, I can't in a million years image my mother listening to music like this. For a 62 year old woman, Debbie can still out perform anyone.
Nellie McKay - Obligatory Villagers
Nellie McKay can do no wrong in my eyes. She's amazing. And she duets with Bob Dorough on this album. How fucking amazing is that? You know, the guy from Schoolhouse Rock.

Steve Bertrand - Pain Is A Megaphone
Solid album from the first note to the last. "Megaphone" is another of my top tracks of the year.

Robert Plant & Alison Krauss - Raising Sand
On paper, this collaboration should not have worked. It's freakish. But the music is beautiful. Who knew throwing these two together would make sense? Maybe there's hope for a Dolly Parton/Slayer album next?

Rufus Wainwright - Rufus Does Judy At Carnegie Hall
Rufus Wainwright - Release The Stars
Rufus put two albums out this year and I really loved them both. However, the live album is definitely my favorite of the two, for sheer camp value if nothing else. Rufus recreated Judy Garland's complete Carnegie Hall concert recording here, including talking to the audience where Judy did and flubbing lyrics like Judy did. Fabulous!

Scouting For Girls - Scouting For Girls
The single funnest album of the year. Even more than either Barenaked Ladies release this year. So there.

Alison Moyet - The Turn
How the hell she manages to get better with age, I'll never know. She doesn't have American distribution with this album yet, and that's really unfortunate because this album is so damn good. I haven't felt this way about her since "Hoodoo."

Lori McKenna - Unglamorous
Yeah, Tim McGraw produced this album, but it didn't seem to hurt. I love how raw she can be. If you don't know her, think a stripped down Patty Griffin. Just amazing.

Teddy Thompson - Upfront & Down Low
Teddy turns to classic country for this album and it's like he was born for this material.

This really was a great year for music for me. Probably the best in recent memory. I didn't have the job at the record store to distract me from the music I like. That certainly helped more than I could have thought it would. Other albums I enjoyed this year were:
James Blunt - All The Lost Souls
Barenaked Ladies - Are Men
Barenaked Ladies - Live In Michigan
Amy Winehouse - Back To Black
Deanna Carter - The Chain
New Pornographers - Challengers
Josh Rouse - Country Mouse, City House
Miranda Lambert - Crazy Ex-Girlfriend
Shirley Bassey - Get The Party Started
Lyle Lovett & His Large Band - It's Not Big, It's Large
Roddy Frame - Live In Osaka
Mindy Smith - Long Island Shores
The Roches - Moonswept
Norah Jones - Not Too Late
Missy Higgins - On A Clear Night
A Fine Frenzy - One Cell In The Sea
James Taylor - One Man Band
Tracey Thorn - Out Of The Woods
Ben Mills - Picture of You
Feist - The Reminder
The Puppini Sisters - Rise And Fall of Ruby Woo
Marc Broussard - S.O.S.: Save Our Soul
Joni Mitchell - Shine
Southerly - Storyteller and the Gossip Columnist
Carlene Carter - Stronger
Seal - System
Amy MacDonald - This Is The Life
Melanie C - This Time
Kate Walsh - Tim's House
Crowded House - Time On Earth
Kelly Willis - Translated From Love
Christian Ingebrightsen - The Truth About Lies
Jann Arden - Uncover Me
Lucinda Williams - West
Will Stratton - What The Night Said
Cary Brothers - Who You Are
Kaiser Chiefs - Yours Truly, Angry Mob
Mika - Life In Cartoon Motion

And even more, but that's enough for now. This post took way longer to put together than it looks, considering there's not a whole lot of content.

What did you listen to in 2007 that made you happy?


Fairy Princess Holly said...

I recognize a lot of those artists...and a lot of them are in my favorites folder! :)

Random Nicole said...

I recognize enough of those to want to hear the ones I haven't. You have some good taste, Walt. Adding listen to more music to 2008 things to do. :P

Dane said...

Oh, you already know what I listened to last year. :)

Wow, that's a lot of music here - what a great and informative post. Debbie Harry is 62??