I know it's been rather quiet around here lately (looking around sheepishly), but it's that time of the year--the time for me to foist my barely-coherent opinions upon the Interweb at large and decree my favorite albums of the year.
Even though I haven't been around all that much, I would like to document these, if for no other reason than to expose myself to ridicule right now by the public at large and at some yet-to-be determined point in the future when I will probably view some of these with shock and incredulity.
First, there were a number of recordings that I'd like to mention in one way or the other, even though they didn't merit inclusion in the main list. Here are the honorable mentions:
Shearwater - Palo Santo: Extended Edition
I loved this album, but since it's a reissue of a 2006 recording, I couldn't bring myself to put it on the list proper (given different criteria, it would have made it with a bullet). However, it is a fantastic album, and the bonus materials and re-mastering really take the album to the next level.
The Afghan Whigs - Unbreakable: A Retrospective 1990-2006
One new song. A whole bunch more that should remind you just how much of an awesome, kick-ass band The Afghan Whigs were. Everyone needs a reminder now and then--not that these guys were ever very far from my radar (as evidenced by my Last.fm listening stats).
Vampire Weekend - Various
No full album, but great promise indeed! Here's a very promising newcomer. I wouldn't put a collection of heard songs (maybe an EP worth) on my list, and I've only just started listening to them, but boy-howdy, am I listening to their songs a helluva lot lately. Put them down as one to watch in 2008.
Next up, the disappointments:
Wilco - Sky Blue Sky
I love Wilco, I do. I'm usually among their most tenacious defenders and I proselytize for them among non fans repeated, taking peach-heads to the Fox to enjoy a live show. But you know what, they lost me on this one. While Pitchfork's description of the album as "Dad Rock" seems a bit harsh to me, I certainly think the album is too introspective, too lacking in that Wilco-ish quality to be anything other than a disappointment to me. There are good songs here though ("Impossible Germany"), but the whole does not cohere.
Interpol - Our Love to Admire
Where do I start with Interpol? First album, top 1o of the year (loved it). Second album? mildly disappointed. I thought Editors debut sounded like what Antics should have. And now a third. And no growth. No change. The only positive is the improvement of the cover art. Are there good songs here. Perhaps. But my disappointment is grounded in what Interpol could have, no should have, been. Instead they've stagnated. Every band deserves an off note. But two in a row show that they've not insinuating themselves into my ear for much longer.
I'll be counting down my favorites in succeeding posts in the coming days.
NP: "Rock and Roll" - Spiritualized