I'm not gonna do an albums of the year list because there were hardly any full albums that I really got into. Of Montreal, Tegan and Sara, The Maccabees, Paramore and...thats about it. There were lots of albums I listened to, but hardly anything that I went back to over and over throughout the year. So that's that. There were, however, a lot of songs that I was really excited about this year. Separate from the album they appear on. I'd go back to these before the rest of the album. They defined 2007 more than any individual album, save the four mentioned above. So here is my top 40 of 2007.
Ryan Adams - Halloweenhead (m4a) Aside from just being a nice song, it was the ring-tone for my alarm clock phone for the latter part of the year. So I wake up to "I've got a baaad ideeea..." every morning. Somehow, it still made the list.
The Black Lips - O Katrina (mp3) This song...this band in general, just doesn't sound 2007. Despite the, um, topical lyrics. Like a completely different era. All said, probably the most enjoyable live band of the year. This is their best song off the latest album.
Digitalism - Pogo (mp3) I didn't want to put this on as a "representative" of this great album, because it's such a departure from the rest of the band's stuff. Regardless, it's still a great tune. If there's one song to take off of that album tho...one song that I'll listen to on its own a year or two on the line, this is it.
Justice - Stress (mp3) This song is off the charts intense. Maybe not as listenable as some of the other songs on this album, but I like music that creates subliminal reactions. This song makes me twitch.
Menomena - Wet and Rustling (mp3) I couldn't ever get past the first three songs on this record, but man are they good. This is the best of the three, I suppose. My opinion on them changed almost daily when I used to listen to this more often.
Modest Mouse - Dashboard (mp3) I really really liked this Modest Mouse album when it came on. It was a perfect progression past the mainstream 'Float On' era into a new comfort zone. This was probably the best song on the album, tho there were other contenders. I haven't listened to it much lately, but I should. It was good.
The National - Mistaken for Strangers (mp3) The "Silvery Citibank lights" line, the "Showered and blue blazered" line. The National creates great images. Stuff I can kind of relate to. This song just feels like walking down Lafayette street at 3AM in the rain. I like that.
Of Montreal - She's a Rejector (mp3) Jeez, it's been so long since I've spent a lot of time with this album, it's hard to pick songs off it. The entire album could have probably made this list had the record been released 6 weeks ago. It was my favorite this year by far, but looking back now, its hard to pick favorites. This was the last song that I decided was my favorite before I stopped listening to this album every day. So points for that.
Okkervil River - Our Live is Not a Movie or Maybe (mp3) I never got into this OR album, despite loving them more than ever leading up to the release and it getting a ton of great press. Every time I try to listen to the album, I really get into this jam (first track on the record) then kinda lose focus.
Paramore - Hallelujah Another alarm clock song. The pre-chorus hook is so huge I love it. Also, I like the way her voice starts at a higher pitch than expected. Thats fun.
Pela - Waiting on the Stairs (mp3) This was the song that made me say whoh...these guys are great. Must have seen them live 5 times at the beginning of the year, still love hearing this song. Great moment towards the end of the song where they slow it down and are all "Come sit next to me..." Terrific song.
The Photo Atlas - Light and Noise (mp3) In the end, this was a far better song than the rest of the album, which was probably why I never really noticed them take off. This song kind of takes everything I like about music over the last 6 years and mushes it into four minutes.
Listen, I know this song is total cheese, but out of all the rest of the shit out there, this one kinda stuck with me. Everything about it is just total trash, but it still resonated somehow. If the song wasn't enough, that CMA performance where she ended in a pile of tears was one of the most genuine, oddly touching live moments on TV this fall. Something about people actually caring about what they're singing really works for me.
R. Kelly/Usher - Same Girl This shit was just genius. Sure, the video was what really put it over the top, but the back and forth dialog, the lyrics about TBS, Waffle House, and that magical "She gonna be looking so stupid when she see us together!!!" line was what won me over. Kudos, Kel.
Rihanna - Please Don't Stop the Music (mp3) Best song off an album that had several other fairly decent tracks. I get excited when I hear this instead of Umbrella at a Knicks game or a Christmas party.
Bruce Springsteen - Radio Nowhere (mp3) I thought this was a killer single. Exactly the kind of song that makes people remember that you're Bruce Springsteen and this is what you do. Not the greatest thing he's ever done, but it was fun for a couple months towards the end of the summer.
Sum 41 - With Me (mp3) One scene on Gossip Girl with Chuck and Blair going at it in the back of a limo and I was sold. I know nothing of what this band is up to since the Fat Lip days, but whatever. I found this song after that episode and listened to it over and over.
Wilco - You are My Face (mp3) I guess this pick came from those VW ads. I heard this song first on there, followed up with the full record and settled back on this song after listening through a couple times. The "I have no idea how this happened!" part, and the guitar part leading into it is one of the top 10 stuck-in-you-head musical moments of the year.
And the top 20...
20. Hot Club de Paris - Clockwork Toy (mp3) Kept coming back to this song over the others. I liked the perpetuallness of the sound as a whole. Not as fun as some of their other stuff, but better.
There's a lot to hate about this song. The (Dance Floor Anthem) qualifier. The "but most suckas hate it" lyric. But man is there a lot of things working here too. Safe to say this is the best thing Good Charlotte has ever done. I absolutely hated with a passion their early stuff like "Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous." Maybe more than maybe any band ever. But this is, overall, some really good stuff.
18. Maccabees - X-Ray (mp3) Quietly turned out to be one of my top 5 albums of the year. Still one of my go-to albums 10 months after first hearing it. This is the best track on the album, tho I could probably make a case for 6 or 7 of them.
17. The Shins - Australia (mp3) Another overlooked album based on principal. These guys had no chance after Garden State, but you know what? They held their own and put out a pretty cool record. This is one of the better Smiths ripoff songs I've heard in recent years.
16. Bright Eyes - Cleanse Song (mp3) Haven't listened to this album in a few months, but this song makes me wanna go back and get back into it again, cause I really loved it the first time through. This was the album-stopping track for me. Great imagery.
15. Nakatomi Plaza - A Manifest Destiny Grows In Brooklyn (mp3) I loved this record. Top 5 of the year, maybe. This opening track is a killer...vintage Rainer Maria. Wish more people listened to them cause I think there's a pretty big audience out there that'd be into what they've got to offer.
14. Black Kids - I'm Not Gonna Teach Your Boyfriend How to Dance With You (mp3) You know, drop all the hype and nonsense and these guys have exactly 2 excellent songs. There's no way around that. This one is the better of them. Someday, they will be a footnote on the Wikipedia entry for "2000's Indie Rock" as the band that finally killed the blogrock trend, but for now we can just enjoy this jam and worry about the consequences later.
13. Of Montreal - Heimdalsgate Like a Promethean Curse (mp3) This album was greater than the sum of its parts. There are some songs that stood out, but the whole thing was what made it so great. This was the first song I remember hearing off the record where I was like "whoh, we've got something special here."
12.Plain White T's - Hey There Delilah (mp3) I hated this band so much when I saw them perform that "I don't hate you, but I really really really don't like you" song (actual lyrics) on TV once. But their placement on the emusic top 10 taunted me for long enough that I finally had some extra credits and gave it a shot. Turns out this song is quite a burner. A bit corny, for sure, but catchy and endearing enough to work on me.
11. Maximo Park - Books from Boxes I loved the last Maximo Park album, but didn't listen to this one much. BfB was a major standout track, but the rest was quickly forgotten.
10. GladOS (Portal) - Still Alive (mp3) (Portal Spoilers ahead, for anyone who is planning on playing it wait on reading this.) Every geeky gamer owes it to themselves to have this in their top 10. Imagine the roller coaster of emotions, playing a 2 hour long puzzle game, until suddenly (SPOILERS) you're thrust from the game world, trying to escape the lab the game had previously been contained in. After another adventure that lasts almost half as long as the entire 18 levels previously, you defeat the boss that had been directing/taunting you the entire game, and the last moment is you, dead on your side, but aboveground in the real world. You destroyed the system, at the expense of your life. Bittersweet, but satisfying.
BUT THEN...this song comes on. And not only is it the boss you were supposed to have just defeated singing about being still alive, but the song is actually catchy and somewhat incredible. And the lyrics are right there on the screen as you sit in stunned disbelief reading along to the song. And then it ends. After all that, you lost. Your 3 hour sacrifice, trying to escape the testing facility to save however many others might have come after you is all for naught. You lose. It's over. The bad guys win. What could have been a more satisfying twist?
9. Vampire Weekend - Oxford Comma (mp3) I hated these guys on principal until I actually saw them live and heard their songs. Turns out, they're goofy college rock! And awesome! If the Black Kids killed blog rock, Vampire Weekend handed them the rifle. If a band that sounds like this can get pretentious music fans on board, then there's really nothing left to argue about.
8. Band of Horses - No One's Gonna Love You (m4a) Such a great song. Loved hearing it on Chuck a few weeks ago. Band of Horses is good for 1 amazing song off each album, which pushes the album of otherwise above average tracks to an overall great listen. Kinda like that one kid who throws off the class curve. The Funeral was that track last year, and this is the one for 2007.
7. Black Lips - Hippy Hippy Hurrah (mp3) This is barely even a song. One epic guitar sequence and a lot of incomprehensible mumbling. But it's so great, isn't it? simple, effective. Good beyond explanation.
6. Kings of Leon - McFearless (mp3) Kings of Leon are good for at least one amazing song of the year contender per album. Their last two albums have been really solid overall too, but this is just a different level. Surprised they don't have more mainstream traction. What about this would a Nickelback fan not like?
5. Feist - My Moon My Man (mp3) This was the Feist song in an ad you saw every 5 seconds before that was cool. Aside from being an impossibly catchy jam that could have been a late 90's Jennifer Lopez supersmash in a different life, it provides a perfect speedwalking pace. I've never been late to work while listening to this song.
4. T-Pain/Cloud Cult (Hood Internet) - Collide You a Drank (mp3) Better than both originals by far. How they're able to make those CC hooks work 100x better than they already were is incredible. Taking the rest of the world's song of the year and mashing it up with one of my favorite bands of the decade is a special thing. Hood Internet is genius.
3. Pinback - Good to Sea (mp3) Silly puns aside, I love this song. The last Pinback album had remarkable lasting power, and while this one didn't quite stick with me like I hoped it would, this song sure did. One of my most listened individual tracks of the year.
2. Tegan and Sara - Nineteen (mp3) For the rest of my life, if I ever hear the phrase "I felt you in my legs, before I ever met you" shout out at me from a jukebox, I'll think of 2007. Fondly. Brilliant song. The best by far from one of the only albums this year that actually mattered to me.
So that's it! I've been working on this post for 2 weeks, and am sure that I left off something I'll smack my head for forgetting. I'll have all these songs in a YouSendIt .zip file or something up by the end of the week, if anyone is interested in that.
Also, check out Kelly's list. Not too much overlap aside from the top spot.
You'd think that, going to see a band with one popular, breakthrough album, you're bound to hear both your favorite songs. So how on earth did Paramore, one of my favorite bands of the year, get through an entire 80 minute set without playing Hallelujah? That's one of my top jams of 2007! One of two songs I really went to hear. And I get jipped out. Bummer.
Regardless, super fun show. Not much in the way of spectacle, aside from some the head shaking and running around, but the crowd loved it and Hayley's voice held up remarkably well live. Considering it was the last night of the tour and she's like 17 years old and 90 pounds, didn't really expect her to sound all that great in person. But she did. There are some great pics (like the one above) at Ryan Dombal's flickr. Listen to my two favorite songs on the album (and two of the best songs of the year...THAT list is coming soon) below.
I watch videos on MTV in the morning sometimes. Recently, they've been picking a lesser-known, or "indie" band to feature during the commercial breaks.Live clips, video bits, interviews, etc. This week is apparently MIA week, and they seem to have kicked up the in-between band exposure quite a bit. So far I've been watching for 15 minutes, and it's gone like this: Fergie video -> 20 second MIA spot-> Cribs ad Featuring MIA -> a couple other ads -> 20 second MIA spot -> Daughtry Video -> 20 second MIA spot, and on. It's a lot of MIA, is all! Basically they're running 2 MIA segments for every video played, plus incorporating her into all the Network ads. She's getting far more exposure this week than any of the major mainstream artists that are getting their video played. Weird, huh?
Oh, and Rilo Kiley and Lupe Fiasco are right up there next to the T-Pains and Linkin Parks in the video rotation these days. Just saying...the line between Hype Machine and MTV just isn't all that thick anymore.
If I needed to buy a new TV, (and I don't, thanks) I'd have a hard time passing this deal up. Sure, it's refurbished, and but the warranty is still valid, so really no big deal. There are likely far better TVs out there for a few hundred more, but to get a 42" 1080p TV for $680 is a great bargain. No doubt. I would think, for most New York apartments, this would be the perfect size for a living room too, and while 1080p is still pretty useless, having it now will help quell the urge to upgrade again when it becomes more prominent down the line.
Get the TV here. Use the promo code CYBEROUTLET at checkout to get the discount.
This'll be fun... Say what you will about Wal Mart, they've got an excellent deal today and today only (OMG Cyber Monday!) for an Xbox 360.
for $399, you get an 360 Premium System with HDMI out, an extra controller, a stupid looking Messenger Bag, and 3 Games (Forza 2 and Marvel are packed in, plus pick one from a list of recently released Game of the Year contenders like Halo 3, Bioshock, Orange Box, Mass Effect, etc.)
Considering the 360 Premium package is normally $350 and a second controller you'd buy anyway is another $50 or so, you're basically getting your pick of a great new $60 game for free. And that busted messenger bag... Link here. Considering I've spoken with a bunch of friends who were at least considering getting an Xbox this season, I thought this'd be helpful. If you do get one, it'd just be foolish not to go with this.
Hearing the Garden crowd boo Steph every time he touched the ball was depressing. Really really low. Maybe the lowest point I've felt at a Knicks fan. You do that to the guy on the other team who talked shit in the pregame, or the guy who started a fight the last time they played. Really drastic situations. But your own point guard? Even after the shit he pulled last week? I dunno...
The team is in a tough spot right now, and there is no sign that they're in any mood to turn it around. The boo birds don't seem to realize that Mardy F'n Collins is the other option at PG, and he is terrible. Just a dreadful NBA player. Q is completely useless on the court. He can't keep up with his man and has lost all confidence in the shot. Curry can't board, Crawford can't stay hot, Balkman can't stay healthy, Lee trys hard, but looks alone and out of step out there. Robinson looks OK when he plays, which is far too little. The only player out there I'm happy with is Zack, who just is a pure pleasure to watch.
Isiah has to be a problem. He has no control over this team, and can't get them to play. He's trying to teach lessons to $20 Million players. He treats these guys like a High School JV squad, and that isn't going to help. So the easy answer is to can the boss...but who's going to get these guys motivated to play again? Not Herb Williams, that's for sure. He's useless. Will these guys respond to Mike Fratello or some other out of work coach with no connection to the team? Doubt it. It's easy to chant "Fire Isiah," but there's no quick fix to get these guys on track. I'm open to ideas. I don't wanna give up just yet, but a fire needs to be lit under this team. Somehow.
It's draining to watch these guys go through the motions out there to get blown out by a 2-7 team. Just an awful, miserable place to be.
I'm gonna have a lot of free time this Thanksgiving, and I'm totally looking forward to catching up and finishing a bunch of games I've started/purchased over the last few months.
First off, Orange Box, which I've actually already gotten a good chunk through already. I had never played all the way through Half Life 2, despite being a huge fan of the first one. It was phenomenal, as everyone has said. One of those games that you look back once it's all complete and just marvel at what you've accomplished. You don't really appreciate what you're doing until you're done. Such an epic. Episode One was pretty great too, honestly. Felt the same way as the main game...seemed to drag a bit at times while I was playing despite blowing through it, but got a great sense of satisfaction once it was over. I'm gonna give this world a little bit of a rest for now before diving into Episode 2, which is supposed to be the best of the whole series so far. I already beat (and LOVED) Portal and I'm not much of an online gamer, so that'll be it for that box.
I covered my thoughts on Stranglehold earlier. It's a lot of fun, but there's too much else to play right now. I don't think I'll get back to this on until I'm done with the somewhat similar Uncharted...
This game is a beast. The prettiest game I've ever played, hands down. I catch myself staring at the scenery and the animations way too often. It's just...wow. The whole presentation is right in my wheelhouse. I don't need a lot to make me happy, but a well presented story, good graphics and a solid, not too complicated combat system will do the trick. The pacing in this game is great too. I'm really stoked to get through it. Out of all these games, this will probably be the next one I finish.
Call of Duty 4 is super-impressive as well, but it's a but too intense for me right now. That's not to say I won't get through it, but it's a little much at times. Non-stop action, bullets whizzing by...even the loading/cut scenes with the satellite map leaves me jittery. It's a brilliant game, I'm sure, and I expect lots of great moments out
of it, but I just need to prepare myself to really get into a game like
this. I'm at more of an Uncharted pace right now.
One moment, so far, that this game provides early on, that makes you realize how awful and fucked up war is...before regrouping 2 seconds later and gunning down another bad guy...That first mission on the boat, you're mostly following the computer teammates, they lead you into a darkened bunk room. You check the quiet room, then, without warning, your wingman just unloads a handful of rounds into a sleeping soldier in his cot before moving on to clear the next room. It was a lot to digest...like, that is what...you do. And it's not only acceptable, it goes without comment or hesitation. Jeesh.
So what's left? Heavenly Sword. I don't think I'll touch this game till the rest are all completely done. I got it for like 50% off used cause I heard it was a great little experience and seemed worth it at the time.
So that's what I've got. See, I don't need some 30 hour epic to keep me busy. Keep your Mass Effects, thank you. I LIKE short games. I like being able to see the end of a game as I play. Unless it's really really good, I usually start to crap out at the 8 hour mark anyway. I get much more value out of a short game I can finish, rather than a long game I'll get sick of before I can see the story through. So there.
I expect it to go like this: Uncharted - ~6 hours left COD4: - ~7 hours left Episode 2: ~7 Hours Stranglehold - ~3 Hours left Heavenly Sword - ~6 Hours
Once these are all done (not all this weekend, I hope) then I'll look into Assassins Creed, Ratchet and Clank and Kane and Lynch to get me through till GTA IV.
First off, back to Marbury. So the Daily News reported a lot of shit the other day on Marbury. And we all ate it up cause it was scandalous and fun. But all of these reports, including the fine, the blackmail threats, the fistfight have a high chance of being a good amount bullshit. The NY Times had an article, on the other hand, about a Coney Island basketball mentor, who suddenly died the other day. There was a Memorial service the night Marbury went AWOL. I'm not saying Steph isn't a bit unhinged, or that he handled this well or that it's the only reason he left, but it should factor into what actually happened. Read it here. Update:Nevermind.
Last night's game was a really tough one. The 3rd Quarter was miserable. Just really depressing. This Clips team, despite their record, he AWFUL. The Knicks aren't that great, and they could and should have blown them out of the water. In contrast to the 3rd, the 4th quarter (which started at like 12:30 AM, so likely most of the local fans missed,) was really impressive. Curry was a beast on the boards, Randolph as well. They were playing GREAT D, stopping almost every possession, forcing turnovers, and seemingly scoring at will. In the end, they just couldn't get it done. A wide open 3 Marbury missed down the stretch, one big basket by the Clips, and a good look by Crawford that didn't fall was the final dif. Obviously, scoring like 3 points, missing 17 straight FGs in the 3rd was the real problem. Gotta blame Isiah for not breaking up that drought somehow, right? Couple more timeouts, fresh legs, something? That was depressing. Anyway...
Earlier watched the Runway Premiere. Thought that challenge was the perfect way to weed out the hacks. That chick who made that busted, half finished dress deserved to go. The crazy chick with the busted train thing has to stick around because she's batshit crazy and the show wouldn't give up on someone like that so easy. The early CV favorite is that Oliver Twist-looking guy Marion, who seemed all bashful and quiet, then busted out this HOT, sleek dark dress that was my fav (note: looked better in motion than it does above.) Nothing against Rami either, tho his dress looked much better on the mannequin than on that...unflattering model.
When I wrote the check to split a pair of Knicks season tickets last summer, I knew either the team would hold it together and finally make a legit playoff run, or flame out in a most spectacular fashion. It was only a week ago when I was giddy with the thought that the first option may be true, but oh, how the winds have shifted. We are in the midst of something special right now, and I am beyond reaction at this point. Unbelievable, really.
I will be at the Garden on 11/20, when the team gets back from their 4 game West Coast road trip. I may figure out a way to liveblog what that whole scene, which should be completely insane. My section is wild enough as it is when the team is doing well. They'll be out for blood next Monday.