Thursday, December 20, 2007

Disappointments Of 2007

I've come to a big conclusion: 2007 has been a decidedly mediocre year for music. Sure, there are plenty of really great albums that hit stores this year, but too many bands disappointed. Heck, too many of very favorite bands disappointed me over the last 12 months.

I'm sitting in my apartment trying to come up with the CDs that will make up my best-of-2007 list that will be on the cover of the Dec. 28's Weekend. I've got about 47 discs that I'm considering and just like every year, this is the hardest part: getting that number down to the magic 20. It's a tough job.

But as I look at my list of every significant release of the year, I can't help but see too many of my favorite bands in the mediocre category. I mean, you name a favorite of mine, and I can almost guarantee they put out a record this year that disappointed me greatly. Besides Okkervil River, Dinosaur Jr and The Weakerthans, I can't think of one that bested its previous efforts.

The list of mediocrity is long: Wilco, matt pond PA, The New Pornographers, Spoon, The Good Life, Bright Eyes, Roger Clyne & The Peacemakers and, especially, Rilo Kiley (that's singer/songwriter Jenny Lewis above, credit for the photo goes to Trombontim). The sad thing about Rilo Kiley is that I'm listening to a live show of the band's from not even three months ago, and the new tunes sound good without all that crappy production. If you want make a Fleetwood Mac record, do it, but don't layer on oodles and more horrifying oodles of synths.

Anyway, I'm just thinking out loud right now, waiting to head off to my department Christmas party. And, of course, I'm only talking about groups that I would have mentioned out loud if someone asked me what my favorite bands were sometime in January. Believe me, there are plenty more disappointments and successes of 2007.

So here's the question, what were some of your highlights and lowlights this year? Let me know ...


Anonymous said...

Neither high nor lowlights, but...

1) "Back to Black" - Amy Winehouse. The pro? Pretty kickin' CD. The con? Released by a certified loon.

2) "Long Road Out of Eden" - The Eagles. An OK CD - about what you'd expect (I guess) from the group. However, their "exclusive" releasing deal with a major dept. store chain and Henley's almost overt disdain for promoting the thing in any way makes it the strangest major label release for me this year. Don, babe...don't bite the hand that feeds you.

3)"Graduation" - Kanye West. Pretty good stuff, but overshadowed by everything going on with him, personally and professionally. Unfortunate.

4) "Magic" - Springsteen. Very good, but absolutely no one I know seems to care. I sort of liked it.

5) "Live @ Piedmont Park" - DMB. For the love of God - will someone put a moratorium on this group issuing "live" albums? Yeah, lots of my friends are rabid fans, but even THEY weren't dumb enough to buy this. Enough, guys.

6) Green Day in "The Simpsons Movie" - Just because. It made me laugh.

7) Loudon Wainwright in "Knocked Up" and at FTC - Everything you'd hope he would be. Especially if he decided to score a film. An "existential" cool guy. Backstage at FTC he was both thoughtful AND trippy. A memory that makes me smile.

8) Getting to meet Freedy Johnston - A music hero. An amazingly nice guy. A great talent (in my eyes). VERY cool.

Sorry - know that's not really what you were hoping for, but it's just some personal stuff. But I have to agree with you - it was a year of musical mediocrity. I envy you if you've got 47 kicking around that you need to downselect from. I'd be hardpressed to name ten.

Enjoy your party -

DMc said...

Every best-of list I see this year is full of crap. Everybody seems to be jerking off about the Liars and Band of Horses, but they're both thoroughly mediocre.
The Springsteen album just makes me angry. Give me back my mature Bruce.
The Nine Inch Nails album is at the same time the most musically interesting and lyrically retarded album of their career. And the Saul Williams album seemed to be all the leftover beats from the NIN album with Williams doing his thing on top.
There were a couple things I was happy with. The Rufus Wainwright album got a lot of play from me over the summer.
The Modest Mouse album grew on me.
Grinderman was pretty great.
I dug the Animal Collective album more than I expected.
Patti Smith's cover of Smells Like Teen Spirit was one of the best things I heard this year.
Locally, the Mercy Choir album has some really good stuff on it and Bloarzeyd's cover of Material Girl is incredible.
That's just off the top of my head.
My biggest surprise is that I didn't discover anybody new that I liked this year.

Pat Ferrucci said...

I like both both these comments. I couldn't agree more about the Liars and Band of Horses discs. Both are OK, no more. As for the Springsteen record, against my better judgemement, I like it. No matter how much "Radio Nowhere" rips off "Jenny/867-5309," it's a great rock song.

The Modest Mouse disc grew on me a ton, too. So much going on, and it's definitely a bit overlong, but really good.

I like the Kanye West disc, just not enough. The Eagles record makes me vomit in my mouth a tad. Just thinking about it, not even listening to it.

I wanted so badly to go to that Loudon Wainright show. I can't remember why I couldn't go, but I had some other plans ...

Anyway, locally, the Mercy Choir record is really good. I also really love the Weigh Down, Quiet Life, Murdervan discs. And, locally, for me, this year is not complete with ohmygodimonfire ... what a great duo. I'm sure I'm forgetting some, too, since I don't have my notes, but I'm publishing a top 10 local discs, too. I will say that I think only the Weigh Down record makes my big top 20.

What other good local stuff did you guys hear this year?


DMc said...

The Humanoid disk was decent. Kriss Santala's EP had some good stuff on it. I didn't get a chance to hear the Tyler Trudeau Attempt EP, but I assume it was pretty good based on the stuff from MySpace. Likewise the debut Monitor and the Merrimac album.