Sunday, January 27, 2008

A Year in Review - the Top Ten Albums of 2007

10. Tegan and Sara - The Con
(release date: 7.24.07)
The Con is a step up from Tegan and Sara's previous cd, So Jealous. Smart lyrics, harmonies between the two sisters' distinct voices, and mix of acoustic and experimental songs give The Con a diversity previously unattainable by Tegan and Sara.
Memorable tracks: Like O, Like H, Soil Soil, Are You Ten Years Ago, Back In Your Head

9. The Rocket Summer - Do You Feel
(release date: 7.17.07)
The self-deemed soundtrack of the summer. The lead track "So Much Love" is reminiscent of sunshine and sand. Every song is upbeat and has a positive vibe with a catchy melody. One of those CDs you can play the whole way through and sing along to every track.
Memorable tracks: So Much Love, Break it Out, All I Have, High Life Scenery

8. Mayday Parade - A Lesson in Romantics
(release date: 7.10.07)
I first heard Mayday's EP, Tales Told By Dead Friends, last summer and was not initially impressed. When listening to Romantics, I could instantly hear the band's improvement. "When I Get Home, You're So Dead" was easily the best off the EP, and I was pleased they rerecorded it for the CD - it still remains my favorite. I saw their set this summer on the Vans Warped tour, and my love expounded. Big choruses and chugging guitars - I'm always moving around to the Mayday CD.
Memorable tracks: When I Get Home You're So Dead, Black Cat, Jersey, Jamie All Over

7. The Academy Is... - Santi
(release date: 4.3.07)
I'm in love with the Academy's breakout disc Almost Here, and I was throughly excited this year for new TAI music. The songs that had leaked, "We've Got a Big Mess On Our Hands" and "LAX to O Hare" only heightened the excitement. I first grew appreciation for Santi after seeing TAI on the 2007 Honda Civic Tour and getting the opportunity to meet the band. "Neighbors" is my favorite song of the summer and the best track on the CD. TAI would be higher on this list if I didn't turn the CD off after track 8. Starts strong, but not memorable altogether - better individual tracks than a cohesive whole.
Memorable tracks: Neighbors, We've Got a Big Mess On Our Hands, LAX to O Hare, Sleeping With Giants

6. Timbaland - Shock Value
(release date: 4.3.07)
I first grew interest in the CD because of the Fall Out Boy collaboration track, One and Only. Then, I saw three Justin Timberlake tracks, and nearly lost it. Turns out, the entire CD is amazing and a hit. Every track released from this album turns to gold and blows up on the radio. I love the experiments with different beats, melodies and collaborations, even mixing with a few rock bands. My favorite hip-hop CD, ever.
Memorable tracks: One and Only, Way I Are, Apologize, Throw It On Me

5. Metro Station - Metro Station
(release date: 9.18.07)
I remember getting this cd before even hearing a single song from the band, just because of the hype around it. From the first track, I loved it. It's another CD I can play all the way through and dance along. I love the up-tempo electronic beats and the mix of singing and spoken vocals. Trace Cyrus definitely steps out of his family's shadow and creates his own individuality and identity. The more I play this album, the more I fall in love.
Memorable tracks: California, Shake It, Kelsey, Disco

4. 1997 - A Better View of the Rising Moon
(release date: 4.17.07)
I hadn't heard of the band 1997 until late May, a month after the CD release. After the first listen through, I immediately played it again - I didn't turn it off the rest of the summer. I love their unique sound - a perfect blend of harmonies; I love the combination of the male and female vocals. Their songs possess that feel-good vibe that is essential for summer.
Memorable tracks: Droppin Dimes, Water's Edge, Garden of Evil, lovelikepoetry

3. Paramore - Riot!
(release date: 6.6.07)
You couldn't turn on the radio this year without hearing Paramore's breakout hit, "Misery Business." This album caught Paramore in a whirlwind and blew them up huge. I loved their first - All We Know Is Falling - and the big, full, sing-at-the-top-of-your-lungs feel to the band. For her age of 18, Hayley is a talented vocalist, out-performing herself on Riot. "Misery Business" was the song this summer. On the whole, the CD isn't as consistent as AWKIF, and a few tracks are quickly forgotten, but the big songs make up for them. Melodic guitars and huge choruses make you wanna just rock out alongside Hayley. Paramore truly made a name for themselves in 2007.
Memorable tracks: Misery Business, crushcrushcrush, Born For This, Fences

2. Cobra Starship - Viva La Cobra!
(release date: 10.23.07)
The best thing about this album is Patrick Stump's amazing production.When their first single "Guilty Pleasure" was released, I knew I could only expect more of the same fun, upbeat melodies on the rest of the CD. Every track has amazing beats, melody, singing - the entire package. It's a sure step up from their debut - this album marks Cobra as a band. Every track is shiny and polished and explosive.
Memorable tracks: Guilty Pleasure, Kiss My Sass, Damn You Look Good and I'm Drunk, Prostitution Is the World's Oldest Profession

1. Fall Out Boy - Infinity on High
(release date - 2.6.07)
This CD has been in the works since summer '06, and when it finally came, it didn't disappoint. Fall Out Boy played with their sound on this album by recording four tracks with famous R&B producer Babyface. IOH broadened FOB's range - Patrick's voice kills and shows that kid's got soul. And yet, the songs still rock like Fall Out Boy. Every song is where it's supposed to be on the CD and a masterpiece in its own right. The absolute best of the year.
Memorable tracks: thnks fr th mmrs, This Aint a Scene, It's an Arms Race, Golden, Bang the Doldrums

Friday, January 25, 2008

music anticipations

Looking over new releases of some of my favorite bands, I've realized there's a good amount of new material coming out in the next few months. Especially, I'm looking forward to these:

Matches - A Band In Hope
Release Date: March 18, 2008
Ever since catching the tail-end of their set at the Vans Warped Tour in July, I've fallen deep in love with the Matches. And yes, let's face it, Shawn Harris. The Johnny Depp look-a-like singer creates some of the greatest and most original music I've heard in a long time. His vocals are unique and frankly, the shit, with heartfelt and intriguing lyrics (with music to match).Decomposer is such a wide variety of musical sounds and variations, and with the tracks leaked thus far, us fans can expect the same on their upcoming release. Songs "Yankees in the Chip Shop" and "Wake the Sun" are a new, yet familiar sound for the Matches. Regardless, I'm pissing-pants excited for this album.

The Hush Sound - Goodbye Blues
Release Date: March 18, 2008
Aww, the Hushies. Award for most underrated band ever. Like Vines was musically one of the best albums of 2006 (thank you, Patrick Stump), with unique blends of groove piano rock. Then, for most of 2007 the band was in hibernation, touring here and there, but mostly "in production" and an album fans never thought would come. Well, the time is drawing near, friends. And with the catchy track "Medicine Man" recently released on their myspace, the excitement is mounting. Expect a full return of the Hush Sound when they tour with Panic at the Disco on the Honda Civic Tour this Spring.

Panic At The Disco - Pretty. Odd.
Release Date: March 25, 2008
Which brings me to the disco boys. Oh, boys. We need to have a talk. While I could lecture all night long, I'll keep it brief and say about damn time! My love affair with AFYCSO can't continue on forever (okay, maybe it can. How is it literally the perfect cd?) And then, you go through that weird mountain phase, all growing some sort of facial hair that I'm hesitant to classify as a beard (I'm looking at you, Brendon Urie). Scrap that, start fresh, give us two months of confusing, tiresome online puzzles, to finally reveal Pretty. Odd. and the new HCT Spring Tour. Oh, and somewhere along that way they lose the ! (which, to quote Best Week Ever, implies things have calmed down and are under control now at the disco).

While I support whatever these boys to do, I can't help but have hesitations for this new cd. It's such a transformation, I can't even say it's the same PATD I fell in love with. Where's the synthesizer and articulate digs at catholic virgins, Ross? But, maybe this is okay; after all change is good, and they can't surely do the same thing twice. AFYCSO stands for what it is, and could never be reproduced. With that in mind, I embrace the new sound, and prepare myself for music I've been craving since my first squeal-induced listen to "Lying is the Most Fun...". And for their first purchase after the record does exceedingly well in sales: maybe a pair of scissors?

Thursday, January 17, 2008

"Come with me if wanna see anything worthwhile"

So, while I was sitting here pondering the future of this blog and letting the days pass by with empty entries, I finally decided I just need to start somewhere. It doesn't need to be brilliant, eloquent, it just needs to be. So great, I decide to get started. On what? To skim over lame introduction posts, I'm just going to jump into this headfirst. The water's not as cold when you cannonball in, right?

So, this blog is my 'opinion' on various things I come across in my day-to-day; mainly, pop culture commentary. And what do I know? Well, I know music. I'm not going to fool anyone by saying I'm one of those music elitists, but I know my fair share. So! I like music, I like writing, ergo I like writing about music.

"CD Review: The Audition - The Champion"
So, The Audition's this band that I've liked for awhile. Their first release, Controversy Loves Company created a small ripple in the "scene" (as its been lovingly deemed - I'm sure I'll have more to say about that in a later entry), mainly with the song "Dance Halls Turn to Ghost Towns." They fell into the category of one of "my" bands (I kind of have this easy way of telling if a band is my kind of music or not, and its also very obvious to others), and I saw their live show Nov. '06, opening for The Red Jumpsuit Apparatus - and it was lackluster at best. Vocals weren't strong, and the lead singer had this cocky air about him that dissuaded me from the band.

But, I didn't give up completely. Their new single, "Warm Me Up" leaked over the holidays, and it, very frankly, contained surpassing amounts of kickassery. Vocally, melodically, and instrumentally it was on-point. Catchier than the pox. I had a renewed faith in the band.

To my joy the full LP, The Champion, leaked soon thereafter, and I remember giving a quick, blearly listen, and I had to pause the record for it was so good, I had to give it more time, and a proper listen. I came back later in full blast mode and attacked the CD head on. From the opening electric riffs in "Bashbat", it grabs and won't let go. Melodic drum cadences support the (admittingly) awesome vocals. Vocal work on The Champion is genius, really.

"Bashbat" lends itself right into "Warm Me Up" and from there its just Catchy Catchy Catchy. Every song has that memorable moment where you come back just to hear that guitar whine or lyric stuck in your head the entire day. The high point of the cd is the track "Hell to Sell" which, in its opening lines, references the song "Go to Heaven" two back on the disk: "Go to Heaven for the weather, but to Hell to sell." Then the guitar starts this awesome high pitched riff that matches the melody (which doesn't always work and sometimes feels lazy), but here, complements and accents the words wonderfully. The slide into the chorus and the almost jazz-like quality of the accents in the bridge keep this track on repeat.

I'm usually on a high after this song, so the next few tracks are a wonderful hangover that carry me peacefully through the disc, slowing in the (forgettable) song "What Gets You Through the Night." It ends back on a high with "Make it Rain," with lyrics that I can almost forgive: "Go run and tell all the neighbors, I'm going to grab her heart and not let go." Ehhhh. Again, its the slide into the chorus and the chord progression and the full, rock out feel that make it stick in my head. The Audition have topped themselves with this latest release, creating a perfect blend of pop-punk hooks and rock-out choruses with catchy riffs. The Audition live up the the pressures of a sophomore release, and I only hope for good things in their future.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008