Music, etc.

Monday, December 11, 2006

2006 Top Ten: #8,7

I'm sure most of you, like me, love to read top 10 lists. Even if the only reason we read them is to disagree with them, it is still fun to sit through other people realing off what they got out of the music year. Some of the times though, if it is a straight list with a brief explination after each choice, I find myself reading only the number one choice or some of my personal favorites. Since I feel every album that makes a top 10 list must be solid on its own merit, I will be posting two albums a day until I reach the number one spot on Thursday.

8) Band of Horses-Everything All the Time

For a while I thought this album was not going to make my list, but there are just too many great tracks on this Band of Horses debut album for me to exclude it from the list. Although "Return to Cookie Mountain," the album which I originally placed in the number eight spot is a really great album, it just does not have the affect that "Everything All the Time" has upon each listen. Overall, this is the most consistant, track by track record of the year.

For a debut album, no band could ask for more from themselves. Ben Bridwell is obviously an amazing songwriter whose talent can only grow in the coming years. I won't get my hopes up too high though, because there is no way the band's sophmore effort, whenever it may be made, can be as good as this. Although I don't anticipate it being as good as "Everything All the Time," I do expect another kick-ass record from these Seattle rockers.

Not to spoil any future list, but at least two of my top 20 songs of the year are on this album, including my number one choice for song of the year. I really don't know why I was going to exclude this from the list, writing this very review (with "Weed Party" playing on my itunes no less) just gets me even more excited about this album. St. Augustine, an aucuostic number, is also one of the best closing tracks of the year.

Sure, Band of Horses are not the most unique band out there. Obviously they are influenced by bands (or horses) such as My Morning Jacket, but influences, in my book, are a good thing. But instead of taking in influences and playing it safe, Bridwell writes songs that are all over the place. The songs aren't too catchy, they aren't too poppy or even heavily sentimental, it is just a good rock band doing what they do best.

7) The Flaming Lips- At War With the Mystics

This pick should come as no shock to readers of this blog. It's an album that was overlooked by a lot of publications this year (but still earned a nod for Best Alternative Album of the Year at the Grammy's) and met a dismal Pitchfork review. Although I can agree with some of the criticisms expressed in the review, I think it is perposterious to suggest that the Lips don't give studio albums their all.

The thing I love about being Flaming Lips fan is that I never know what to expect. They've evolved so much since thier hard rocking "Flaming Lips" debut. After "The Soft Bulletin" and "Yoshimi" this album may seem like a small achievement, but on its own, it stands up as a great album.

From the beginning "Yeah Yeah Yeah Yeah Yeah Yeah Yeah," the listener knows that they are going to be taken on a freaky ride in which only a band like the Flaming Lips would dare to go. After revisiting the ride too many times, I've grown to love it just as much as I had expected.

And unlike many albums out there, this one is pretty solid throughout. "Haven't Got A Clue," almost single-handedly take this album down to number seven though. It is just such a bad song, which I honestly haven't got a clue why it was left on the record. Definatly the worst Lips song in their history. After first hearing this album, "Vein of Stars" stood out as one of my least favorite tracks, until I saw them do the song live and it completly changed my mind on the song, which is actually very good.

Other than that one throw away track, it is a solid album. "Free Radicals" brings in some Prince and Queen influences to portray Wayne trying to discourage a crazy suicidal bomber from doing something stupid. "The Sound of Failure," is another great depiction of loss from the arsnal of Wayne's mind.

The albums more psychedelic tones will inevidably draw comparisons to Pink Floyd. All of the cosmic instrumental numbers have, in a way, been inspired in part by Pink Floyd, especially Steven Drozd's first attemot at lead vocals on "Pompeii Am Gotterdammerung."

Overall, the album is a political and universal triumph. With shots at George Bush and other governmental officicals, "The W.A.N.D." acts as the album's most rocking track. "Mr. Ambulance," depicts a man pleading for the ambulance driver to hurry upin order for a loved one to be saved. The song itself was written after the death of Wayne's mother.

Since this is their first album in over four years, I wish they could have given someting that was better overall, but this will more than suffice for the time being. It's good to see the best band out there still has it.

More from these bands over at the Hype Machine.


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Blogger Jon said...

Totally agree about the FLips. Stunning album - completely of its time, and yet completely outside it also.

7:50 AM  

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