Persson's 2007 Year End Music Review
For me, I’ll remember 2007 as the year indie rock became “blog rock” – and proceeded to drown itself in a sea of a million unchecked, unfettered Blogspot sites, a vocal minority if ever there was one. This didn’t happen overnight in ’07 alone, mind you, it’s been a-buildin’ up for years. I think I reached my own personal tipping point this year, though, with the end result driving me back to more mature musical efforts, allowing me to re-embrace sounds and styles previously drowned out by the durm and strang of the blog-rock noise-to-signal ratio. I wouldn’t exactly call it old-fogeyism, mainly due to my long-running love affair with noise and garage rock-esque primitivism. It’s more a case of wanting (needing?) my music to have roots in something deeper than, say, ‘80s syth-pop or Pavement. Oh, and a groove doesn’t hurt, either.
Best Albums of 2007
1. Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings: 100 Days, 100 Nights
Everything about this record – the sounds, the look, the sheer quality of the music – screams mid-60s Stax/Volt-era soul and rhythm and blues. Thank god.
2. Robert Plant & Alison Krauss: Raising Sand
On paper, it seems like a bizarre pairing. On record, it works, and is one of the ballsiest moves by an aging classic rocker ever.
3. Deadstring Brothers: Silver Mountain
Another throwback, this time to the Stones’ “Exile on Main Street.” It’s exactly the kind of soulful rock ‘n’ roll swagger that’s so sorely missing from the vast majority of music these days, indie or major. It’s also just raw enough to feel completely natural.
4. Wilco: Sky Blue Sky
An unapologetic return to songwriting craft and a conscious step back from the experimentalism showed Wilco and frontman Jeff Tweedy to be a more traditional band than most critics wanted them to be.
5. The White Stripes: Icky Thump
How Jack and Meg continue to evolve their sound without dramatically altering their approach is awe-inspiring. And it just plain rocks, to boot.
6. Various Artists: I’m Not There Soundtrack
Usually, “tribute” albums sound more fun for the participants than they are for the listener. The mostly straightforward readings of some of Dylan’s finest (and some of his most obscure) tunes by this who’s who of indie rock, however, holds up on its own, and doesn’t necessarily send you running back to the originals as most tribute albums do.
7. Feist: The Reminder
iPod commercials and anti-hype PR buzz aside, her musicality is what shines through most.
8. The Bad Plus: Prog
This instrumental jazz trio (piano, bass, drums) continues to innovate, and continue to remain listenable, likeable and inventive. The Rush and Tears for Fears covers don’t hurt, either.
9. Steve Earle: Washington Square Serenade
One of the reasons I like Steve Earle is that he continues to take chances, and his albums are always substantial.
10. John Scofield: This Meets That
Jazz guitarist Scofield’s best in years, this album validates why jazz is still essential listening.
Blog-rock Top 10
Here are the obvious contenders, bound to be on hundreds of other Top 10 lists, ad nauseum; the order here is irrelevant.
1. The National: Boxer
2. Arcade Fire: Neon Bible
3. Arctic Monkeys: Favourite Worst Nightmare
4. Radiohead: In Rainbows
5. The Shins: Wincing the Night Away
6. Spoon: Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga
7. Animal Collective: Strawberry Jam
8. LCD Soundsystem: Sound of Silver
9. Iron & Wine: The Shepherd’s Dog
10. Other usual suspects: Joanna Newsom, Andrew Bird, Panda Bear, Battles, MIA, Okkervil River
Favorite Reissues of ‘07
1. Leonard Cohen: Songs of Leonard Cohen / Songs from a Room / Songs of Love & Hate
2. Iggy & The Stooges: Metallic K.O.
3. Sly & The Family Stone: A Whole New Thing / Dance to the Music / Life / Stand! / There’s a Riot Going On / Fresh / Small Talk
4. Trio of Doom: Trio of Doom
Favorite Live Albums, Collections, Retrospectives, Box Sets, etc. of ‘07
1. Neil Young: Live at Massey Hall
2. Bruce Springsteen w/ The Sessions Band: Live in Dublin
3. Bob Dylan: Dylan
4. JJ Cale: Rewind: Unreleased Recordings
5. Ike & Tina Turner: The Ike & Tina Turner Story
6. Miles Davis: The Complete On The Corner Sessions
7. Stanley Brothers: The Definitive Collection
8. Charles Mingus Sextet with Eric Dolphy: Cornell 1964
9. The Fall: Box Set
10. Various Artists: Radio 1 Established 1967