Tag Archives: Music Reviews

The best music of 2007

2007 was an amazing year for music, one of the strongest in a long time. Consequently, I have quite a lengthy list of favorite albums for the year.

Ryan AdamsEasy Tiger
I thought this was the best album of 2007. I wrote a full review of Easy Tiger when it was released last summer. And for a bonus, check out the EP, Follow the Lights, which Adams also released this year.

sample of Everybody Knows by Ryan Adams (mp3)

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Ryan Adams: Follow The Lights

A few weeks ago Ryan Adams & the Cardinals released some new music, a seven song EP called Follow The Lights, which I have been listening to a LOT lately.

A perfect companion to their excellent disc Easy Tiger (released this past summer), Follow The Lights features two brand new songs, a great cover song, and four live studio performances of songs the band has been playing during their recent tour.

The two new songs, “Follow The Lights” and “My Love for You is Real” are ballads, the latter makes a beautiful statement without being too sweet.

sample of My Love For You Is Real by Ryan Adams (mp3)

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Boxer by The National

Boxer, the newest release from The National, is one of those albums where the melodies linger in your brain long after the music has stopped playing. Maybe it’s the lead singer’s, soothing baritone, maybe it’s the dreamy, atmospheric sound the band has. “Green Gloves” is a perfect example of both.

sample of Green Gloves by The National (mp3)

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Ryan Adams: Easy Tiger

Ryan Adams new disc, Easy Tiger, has been out for a few weeks now, and it’s been in heavy rotation for me. Prior to this CD, Ryan Adams was releasing music at a very quick pace (three hit and miss albums in about a seven month period). Adams and his band, the Cardinals, took their time with Easy Tiger (it’s been a year and a half since the last release), and the result is the most solid Ryan Adams disc since 2001’s Gold.

The albums starts off with “Goodnight Rose,” a rocking promise of the good music to come.

sample of Goodnight Rose by Ryan Adams (mp3)

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The Shins: Wincing the night away

I had been anticipating this CD by The Shins ever since I first heard the marvelous, Chutes Too Narrow (their previous release) over two years ago. In fact, about a month ago, I reserved a copy at my local record store, just be be assured I could get it on the day it was released. I’m sure it’s difficult for a band to follow such a well received disc as Chutes, but after listening to Wincing The Night Away for over a week now, I think they have made a very worthy follow up.

The Shins have a talent for creating beautiful melodies with hooks that stick with you long after you’ve heard the song. While Chutes was a much brighter record emotionally, Wincing The Night Away has a bit of a darker edge to it. Indeed, the title alludes to a bout of insomnia the band’s frontman (James Mercer) had.

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Best music of 2006

Here are my picks for best music of the year, including samples of key tracks.

Richard AshcroftKeys to the World
The former lead singer of The Verve, Richard Ashcroft pulled from a variety of styles to make an outstanding CD. The Motown flavored “Music is Power,” the brit-pop “Break the Night with Colour” and the Paul Westerburg-like ballad “Sweet Brother Malcolm” are all excellent songs. The title track is another superb brit-pop song.

sample of Keys to the World by the Richard Ashcroft (mp3)

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Neko Case, Fox Confessor Brings The Flood

I’ve been listening to the new CD by Neko Case, Fox Confessor Brings The Flood over the past few weeks and it’s one of the best albums I’ve heard in quite a while. You could probably file her music under the alt-country genre (along with bands like Wilco, or even Graham Parsons). Ms. Case prefers the term “neo-country,” a label once used by a reviewer to describe her music. However, like other outstanding musicians, Neko Case’s sound does not easily fit into strict categories.

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Favorite music of 2005

2005 is almost over which means it’s time for my best music of the year list.

Death Cab for Cutie – Plans
Uplifting lyrics with excellent musical arrangements that almost alternate between jangly, acoustic guitars and melodic piano. An example of the latter, the track “Different Names for the Same Thing” sounds like a John Lennon song, straight off of Imagine. This CD includes my favorite song of the year, “Soul Meets Body,” a beautiful love song whose chorus stays in my brain for days every time I hear it.

I do believe it’s true,
That there are roads left in both of our shoes.
If the silence takes you,
Then I hope it takes me too.

So brown eyes I hold you near,
Cause you’re the only song I want to hear,
A melody softly soaring through my atmosphere.

Where soul meets body…

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Twin Cinema by The New Pornographers

Since it was released a few weeks ago, many critics have been raving about The New Pornographers latest release, Twin Cinema. With so many positive reviews, I felt an obligation to go out and buy the CD, which is exactly what I did.

When I first listened to it, I wasn’t so sure I agreed with all those reviewers. Maybe because the band’s style, which isn’t so easily categorized, has to aurally ripen for a while to be appreciated. As I played the disc more, it really began to grow on me. After owning Twin Cinema for a few weeks it’s now the CD I can’t stop listening to.

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2004 music awards

The end of the year means it’s time for me to list my favorite CDs from the past twelve months.

Air – Talkie Walkie
See my post from February 20.

The Dandy Warhols – Thirteen Tales from Urban Bohemia
Better late than never. This album was released four years ago and I don’t know where I was then, but I’m sure glad I found it this year. It’s easy to hear the band’s Brit-pop influences, but their sound is unique and edgy, painting musical pictures you want to hear over and over. My favorite musical discovery of the year.

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