12.31.2007

Music: The Best of 2007, Steve's List, Part II

(Editor's Note: This is the second part of a year-end list of the best music of 2007. To see the first part of the list, please go here. These postings are the final reviews of the notable music of 2007, a nine-part opus. To see the full opus of reviews from the beginning, please go here.)

by Stephen Tringali


6) Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga Spoon

Earlier this year, I wrote that this Spoon album was solid but hardly spectacular. Months after writing that, I realized just how wrong I was. I found Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga popping up on my music player more frequently. I found myself recommending the album to friends. I found myself astonished that an album might creep up on me like this. Perhaps that’s because I had written Spoon off as a band with an interesting concept — minimalist pop music utilizing repetitive elements — that produced only a handful of interesting songs.

I admit that I was very wrong. Plenty of songs on this album — “You Got Yr. Cherry Bomb,” “The Underdog,” and “Black Like Me” — prove that Spoon continues to expand on their original concepts, broaden their soundscapes and textures, and ultimately improve their pop songwriting skills.

7) Icky Thump The White Stripes

The White Stripes’ newest album returns to their basic songwriting intentions — so much so that their last two albums, Elephant and Get Behind Me Satan, sound like nauseating, self-indulgent experiments. But what The White Stripes lost in excessive 1970s classic rock flair, they gained in instrumentation.

On “I’m Slowly Turning Into You,” guitarist Jack White introduces organ into his blues-rock meets proto-punk mixture. Other instruments, including bagpipes and mandolin, make appearances. They might suggest a contradiction in the simple blues-rock formula that The Stripes conceived on their self-titled debut, but Icky Thump comes closer to approximating their original ideal than any Stripes album since White Blood Cells.

(For a full review of Icky Thump, please go here.)

8) The Reminder Feist

Leslie Feist’s songwriting skills are often overshadowed by the musical collective that is Broken Social Scene. It’s true that she is a part of that group; her backing vocals can be heard prominently on “Our Faces Split the Coast in Half.” But her own albums stand alone, without the aid of Broken Social Scene as a crutch.

The Reminder, her latest release, is an impassioned folk rock record that is both touching (“So Sorry” and “The Limit To Your Love”) and enlivening (“Sea Lion” and “Past In Present”).

(For another short review of The Reminder, please go here.)

9) Sound of Silver LCD Soundsystem

LCD Soundsystem mastermind James Murphy rocked a lot of press this year, gaining much-deserved accolades from the likes of Rolling Stone and the Grammys. What I can’t understand, however, is why “All My Friends” is being considered the best song off this record. My votes for best songs by LCD Soundsystem this year (because it’s pretty much a given that the album as a whole rocks): “North American Scum” and “New York I Love You.”

(For another short review of Sound of Silver, please go here.)

10) Wild Mountain Nation Blitzen Trapper

Like the Black Lips, Blitzen Trapper has established their rock and roll credentials by reworking older rock traditions. But instead of combining 1950s rockabilly with punk rock, Blitzen Trapper have mined the acid rock of the Grateful Dead and melded it to the garage rock of Dinosaur Jr. and Uncle Tupelo.

To sample some of the other reviews in this series, please see:

(To see the first part of this entry, please go here. To see the first review in this series, please go here.)

(Promotional photo of Spoon from Merge Records. To see Spoon performing "You Got Yr. Cherry Bomb" from Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga on NBC's Saturday Night Live, please check below.)







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