Thursday, December 27, 2007

SDD's Top 15 Albums of 2007: An Introduction

Well, it’s that time again. I’ve been practicing my list making skills, and still this was hard. But it’s obligatory, so what can you do? Like I said before, though, it’s fun! I’ve compiled this list, as I do every year, and I really feel like this best represents the albums that I’ve respected, enjoyed, admired, and spun the most in 2007.

*A quick side note:

Conspicuous by its absence you will notice that there is no In Rainbows here. If you are not a regular reader of this blog, I’ll note that it is not on this list because…I didn’t like it that much. I was a little hard on it with my initial thoughts, I’ll admit, but I’m not buying into this idea that it is a masterpiece. It is a fine album, actually, and it has grown on me quite a bit. I just didn't take anything away from it. Ultimately, this is my problem, and I'm not going to sit here and yell that Radiohead has lost it or anything (because they haven't). In Rainbows just failed to fully connect with me. I'd probably rank it somewhere in my top forty of the year. Within the Radiohead catalogue, though, I’d really only rank it above Amnesiac…but that’s it (Pablo Honey is a given).

I’ve heard upwards of fifty albums this year that I feel were worth a damn. This is actually pretty low for someone in my position. But, hey, it’s not as if I’m sent promos…YET (eh? EH?). So, enough with the hullabaloo…let’s get on with the listing!

Which…will happen tomorrow. =)

I want to, first, give out the First Annual South Dakota Dark “Really Good As Well” Award to the following albums:

Good Girl Gone Bad, Rihanna

I couldn’t quite find a spot in my top fifteen for this, but it is…really good as well. This is crisp, compelling pop with a dim and sexy allure that can’t be ignored while listening. Good Girl Gone Bad can be playful as well as heartbreaking. It speaks as an honest, realistic portrait of fame and praise lauded onto a young and thoughtful beauty. This is really a surprisingly long-lasting good time.

The Shepherd’s Dog, Iron and Wine

While I didn’t enjoy this as much as some close to me did, The Shepherd’s Dog is still a wonderfully realized album. It’s weird to call something like this “experimental” but, for Sam Beam, it is. The expansion of his palette to include such lush instrumentals can seem overbearing in light of the stripped down nature of his original recordings; but Beam shows discretion and steadiness, creating a rapturous work that can be appreciated in a variety of different ways.

Is Is, Yeah Yeah Yeahs

This EP contains tracks taken from the recording sessions that occurred in between the Yeah Yeah Yeahs’ debut album Fever To Tell and Show Your Bones. Is Is, in this light, serves as a kind of bridge between those albums, while still strongly standing on its own. As sexually charged and subtly sharp as anything the group has released, it mostly reminds us how different and equally satisfying the Yeah Yeah Yeahs can be when fired in short, concentrated bursts.

, Justice

This French duo received a most unexpected celebrity this year with fairly positive returns and a well-deserved VMA top-prize nomination. While being highlighted by the joke that is Mtv isn’t really something to be proud of, it speaks as a true testament to the expansive and encompassing sound that Justice is able to employ. (The Cross) is sinister and freakishly addictive, filled with club bangers and mood pieces that run the gamut of influence and effectiveness.

Shock Value, Timbaland

Perhaps overly ambitious by design, Timbaland showcases both his fully realized and half baked ideas on Shock Value to interesting, if not completely impressive, results. Working better as a collection of so-so (as well as good-to-great) singles as opposed to a genuine LP; Shock Value takes its sporadic and schizophrenic tones and mashes them into an only semi-coherent vision that will be remembered if not completely appreciated for years to come.

Thanks guys! In 2007, your albums were REALLY GOOD AS WELL!

Other albums of note:

23, Blonde Redhead
A Place To Bury Strangers, A Place To Bury Strangers
Cryptograms, Deerhunter
Disco Romance, Sally Shapiro
Friend & Foe, Menomena
Friend Opportunity, Deerhoof
Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga, Spoon
Myth Takes, !!!
New Wave, Against Me!
The Stage Names, Okkervil River

***Tomorrow: Places 15-11 on SDD's Top 15 Albums of 2007!***


Carrie said...

The Stage Names is my #1 album of the year. That sucker hasn't left my music rotation since I got it in August. Brilliant freaking songwriting.

Daniel said...

I was quite taken with it at first, but was kind of surprised at how quickly it left my rotation. It just didn't have the staying power that I originally thought it would. That's not REALLY a knock on the album though. It has, as you mentioned, brilliant songwritng and is just a fantastic listen from start to finish. That's why I had to, at least, mention it here.

Teresa said...

I have more in common with your honorables than the real list. But good job, anyway, I GUESS.