Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Bastardizing Albums: The Best Playlists of 2007

Ah, yes... 2007! The year that will be remembered for leaded toys and unleaded gasoline toying with us. And then of course hate is back, apparently by popular demand. Not since the civil rights movement of the '60s has the country--from Jena, Louisiana to Columbia University, New York City--been adorned with so many nooses. Nevermind Don Imus or the church shootings. But all is not lost. In 2007, it seems that everyone from Bush's most trusted confidants (they pretty much all resigned) to his own party (no Republican candidate is dropping his name too often), realized what the Dixie Chicks knew all along. Lead singer Natalie Maines told a London crowd way back in 2003: “Just so you know, we're ashamed the president of the United States is from Texas.” Of course, know you can replace "Texas" with pretty much anything and it kinda works: "We're ashamed the president of the United States is from THE UNITED STATES or IS REPUBLICAN or WAS RE-ELECTED TWICE, etc." It seems, Bush or as my favorite garage rock band under 14 (Tiny Masters of Today) call him, "Bushy," is fulfilling his own prophecy of being supported only by his dog Barney and his wife Laura.

Music biz-wise, 2007 will be remembered as the year that the record industry gasped its last breath, as digital music reigned supreme. People realized two simple things: Who buys albums anymore and whoever liked every single track on any given album to begin with? I can probably count with one hand how many albums are solid masterpieces from track 1 to track X. I know this is probably a bit acerbic to the music purist or to musicians, but to the music fanatic with not enough time to sit through shabby tracks to get to the gems, the new digital age is a very welcome age. So rather than give you my top albums for 2007, since I don't think there is a single album that is outstanding from start to finish this year, I will give you my favorite playlists. There are certainly some repeated offenders who had more than one great track, but rather than suggest that you waste $9.99 or $11.99 for albums where you only get about $4.96 worth of good music, here are the best playlists for the year. And why split hairs with any kind of order. All these tracks are great in no particular order.

2007 was handsdown the year of rockin' ladies, thus my first playlist is "Rawkin' Ladies":

1. Brandi Carlile: "The Story," "Turpentine"
2. Laura Veirs: "Wandering Kind"
3. Amy Winehouse: "Rehab," "You Know I'm No Good"
4. Lilly Allen: "Smile"
5. Rilo Kiley: "Silver Lining"
6. The Puppini Sisters: "Mr. Sandman"
7. The Detroit Cobras: "On a Monday"
8. The Pipettes: "Your Kisses are Wasted on Me"
9. Au Revoir Simone: "Sad Song"
10. Bettye LaVette: "The High Road"
11. Feist: "1234," "My Moon My Man"
12. Yeah Yeah Yeahs: "Down Boy," "Rockers to Swallow"
13. KT Tunstall: "Hold On"
14. M.I.A.: "Paper Planes," "Mango Pickle Down River"
15. Mala Rodriguez: "Nanai"
16. Keren Ann: "Lay Your Head Down," "Jardin d'hiver"
17. The Long Blondes: "Once and Never Again," "Fulwood Babylon"

"Rock Not in English" Playlist
1. Manu Chao: "Me Llaman Calle," "A Cosa"
2. Café Tacvba: "Volver a Comenzar"
3. Dani Umpi: "Atracción"
4. Federico Aubele: "En El Desierto (Live at Stubb's)"
5. Pacha Massive: "Get It On"
6. Bonde do Role: "James Bonde," "Bondallica"
7. Mexican Institute of Sound: "Escribeme Pronto"

"Late Night Blues" Playlist
1. Alamo Race Track: "Black Cat John Brown"
2. Jens Lekman: "Friday Night at the Drive-In Bingo," "The Opposite of Hallelujah"
3. Castanets: "This is the Early Game"
4. The National: "Brainy," "Squalor Victoria," "Apartment Story" and "Blank Slate"
5. The Mary Onettes: "Explosions"
6. The Clientele: "Bookshop Casanova"
7. Caribou: "Melody Day"

"Sweet Twang" Playlist
1. The Avett Brothers: "Paranoia in B Major"
2. The Bees: "Love in Harbour"
3. Castanets: "Westbound, Blue"
4. Josh Ritter: "Next to the Last Romantic"
5. Nyles Lannon: "Hesitation"
6. Utah Carol: "Ruby"

"The Wannabes" Playlist
1. Spoon: "The Underdog" (Billy Joel)
2. Mika: "Grace Kelly," "Relax, Take It Easy" (Freddy Mercury/Queen)
3. Okkervil River: "Our Life is Not a Movie or Maybe," "Unless It's Kicks" (Bruce Springsteen)
4. Arcade Fire: "Keep the Car Running," "Intervention" (Bruce Springsteen)

"2007 Miscellaneous Playlist from Hell"
1. Tiny Masters of Today: "Bushy"
2. Q-Tip: "Work It Out"
3. Against Me: "Stop!"
4. Born Again Floozies: "7 Deadly Sinners"
5. The Teeth: "Ball of the Dead Rat"
6. Devendra Banhart: "Tonada Yanomaminista"
7. Kaiser Chiefs: "Ruby"
8. Public Enemy: "Harder Than You Think," "Can You Hear Me Now"
9. Liars: "Houseclouds," "Plaster Casts of Everything"
10. MKC: "In Da Club-Historia Nuestra" (Remix)
11. Architecture in Helsinki: "Heart it Races"
12. White Stripes: "Icky Thump"
13. Travis: "Selfish Jean"
14. Robert Plant and Alison Krauss: "Gone Gone Gone"
15. Paul McCartney: "Dance Tonight"
16. Kenna: "Say Goodbye to Love"
17. The Rosebuds: "Get Up Get Out"
18. Portugal the Man: "The Bottom"
19. The Cinematics: "A Strange Education"
20. Shout Out Louds: "Normandie"
21. Vampire Weekend: "Mansard Roof"
22. Van Hunt: "Turn My TV On"
23. Sean Kingston: "Beautiful Girls"
24. Beirut: "Guyamas Sonora"

And finally my favorite end-of-the-year list that is not mine: Bill Maher's "Dickheads of the Year" in Rolling Stone.

I did break my own rule and provided my top ten world music albums to Global Rhythm.

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