Life at an Intersection

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Friday, December 21, 2007

Best Music of 2007

I fancy myself a music lover, or at least a music strong-liker, so I enjoy making a list of my favorite songs each year. Part fun list-making exercise, part delusional project to create CDs for a comprehensive, mega soundtrack of my life. And then I like to post that list at the end of the year here on my blog so that you can read my choices and scoff at how poor my taste in music truly is. Whatever, ugh, I like what I like, OK? You probably bought Hootie and the Blowfish at some point, too, so no pointing fingers from you.

But, here's an excuse: I've had a weird year in lots of ways, and it has kind of been typified by my consumption of music. Because I was living or travelling abroad for something like 11/12ths of the year I haven't been continually connected to radio, a serious source of digital streaming music, or any other fount of new, happening, and/or interesting music (music videos, Paste, other media). So my favorite song list for 2007 is, um, weird. It includes Taiwanese and Latin pop, Regaeton, a traditional Chinese New Year song, and no less than two commercial jingles. It is the kind of list that would be completely inaccessible to anyone but myself and therefore ridiculous to post, so I'm not going to.

The music that I have enjoyed this year has been albums that I've bought off iTunes or managed to score in the import sections of Taiwanese record stores by artists that I have been enamored with in the past. In other words, I expanded my library this year with new records but really no new artists.

Here then, are my top 5 albums of 2007. If you know me well, you will be surprised by exactly none of these choices.

1 - Bright Eyes, Cassadega - Tune for tune, this CD had the most songs that stuck in my head with no hope of banishment in 2007. The only cure is another listen. Sweeping, discouraging, romantic, countrified, strange, brilliant.

2 - Dixie Chicks, Taking the Long Way - As it turns out, they were way right about President Bush anyway, so if you haven't gotten over that yet, the joke is certainly on you. A brave album, full of difficult sentiments, somtimes bitter truths, a little dish on the dirty South, and that's not to mention beautiful harmonies. "Everybody Knows" is my anthem of the year, a song about living up to the truth and the life that you've created for yourself in less than pleasant circumstances.

3 - Mindy Smith, Long Island Shores - Both soft and striking, the perfect voice on some imperfect songs about love, the meaning of home, Jesus, and the turning of the world. No one else could make such a heartbreaking, tear-inducing song about a family reunion sound so sweet, and "Tennessee" made me feel homesick for a home that I continually take for granted.

4 - Rufus Wainwright, Release the Stars - Bombast is the key; nothing is ever understated with Rufus. He's tired of America, and he isn't afraid to say it (gofuckyourselffoxnews). It's a randy album ("Between My Legs," "Slideshow"), but there's lots of those slow, drawn-out opera-ballady things that he does so well here too. My second favorite vocal question of the year: "Do I dissapoint you in just being human, and not one of the elements that you can light your cigar on?"

5 - Lucinda Williams, West - My first favorite vocal question of the year, much more simply put: "Are you alright?" I've had nearly a year to live with this album, and I'm still torn by it. About half of the tracks here are perfect in every way, and they will stand up with her best songs from Car Wheels on a Gravel Road even. "Learning How to Live," "Rescue," "Everything Has Changed," and "West" are highlights. But those chewing-on-gravel spoken rock things that she does, I just hate those so much. "Unsuffer Me" and "Wrap My Head Around That" are my picks for the two worst songs of the year; "What If" is just a bad take on John Lennon's "Imagine"; and "Words" is a little too self-congratulatory for my taste. But I guess I'm probably just bitter because I was expecting a 2CD set.

Honorable Mentions:
Radiohead, In Rainbows; Hairspray Soundtrack; Whiskeytown, Pneumonia

What music did you like in 2007? Let me know, 'cause I've got a lot of catching up to do.


Liza Pierce December 29, 2007 at 11:52 AM  

1) Sooooo great to be reading you again. So so so great.

2) We have such great musical tastes in common, and then yet not so much too. I too love Taking the Long Way Home, Long Island Shores, and most of West. As you will soon read, songs from two of those albums made it on my favorites of the year. Your other pics are, as you know, not musicians I listen to. But I was not, as you said, suprised by your choices.

3) "Tennessee" makes me long for the home I'm apparently in.

4) "Taking the Long Way" could be my theme song, I think.

Twitter / Davie_St

Words That I'm Living By - 5/2/2010

Time, as I've known it
Doesn't take much time to pass by me
Minutes into days, turn into months
Turn into years, they hurry by me
But still I love to see the sun go down
And the world go around

Dreams full of promises
Hopes for the future, I've had many
Dreams I can't remember now
Hopes that I've forgotten,
faded memories
But still I love to see the sun go down
And the world go around

And I love to see the morning
as it steals across the sky
I love to remember and
I love to wonder why
And I hope that I'm around
so I can be there when I die
When I'm gone

I hope that you will think of me
In moments when you're happy and you're smiling
That the thought will comfort you
On cold and cloudy days
if you are crying
And that you'll love to see
the sun go down
And the world go around
And around and around

"Around and Around" by Mark Kozelek

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