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Sunday, December 16, 2007

The Top 31 of 2007 - #16

Cale's Pick
Radiohead: In Rainbows
Released: October 10, 2007

I forgot to set my alarm. That's the excuse I'll use, here. You see I was really planning on waking up at midnight, just in time to make it to the station. But it wasn't until 8am that I finally woke up. I hurriedly put on my clothes, foregoing the typical shower in an attempt to make up for lost time. I was 8 hours late! No time to eat or talk to anyone, I got into my 1994 Ford F-150 and rushed to the train station. Traffic was hell. Everything was stalled, I wasn't moving at all. I decided to take a shortcut, and made it to the station in about 15 minutes. By that time, though, the train had left without me. I had missed the hype train.

You see, maybe it's the experience of staying up late and downloading a greatly anticipated album the first moment it's available. I was there for Kid A, Napster was friendly. But when In Rainbows released over the series of tubes a few months back, I decided that I'd wait until morning to check out the album. By the time I headed to, the site was flooded with traffic. I ended up downloading it from BitTorrent and not paying a dime for it. I missed out on the experience of downloading In Rainbows that so many of you got to enjoy. Maybe that's why I haven't ranted and raved about it. I gave it a 7 out of 10 because it is a good album, there's not a bad song on it really. But it's Radiohead. And amongst all the talk of how Radiohead was revolutionizing the way consumers will receive music in the future, everybody forgot to notice that Radiohead wasn't coming anywhere close to revolutionizing their own sound as they have done so many times in the past.

Kid A remains my favorite Radiohead album to date because it is challenging, and at the time, completely unexpected from the band that was supposed to singlehandedly save rock music. Hail to the Thief had the band falling back on their old tricks, but adding in enough cool things here and there to keep things interesting. The same can be said for In Rainbows. Despite it's utter greatness on every song, there's simply not enough here to get excited about. It sounds a lot like O.K. Computer, which is good, but it doesn't differentiate itself enough from it. In doing so, it's just a bit disappointing coming from Radiohead. But it is a good album. And you should listen to it. And I will buy it in January, because I really prefer CDs over than MP3s any day.

For finally giving us some new material to listen to and freak out over, Radiohead makes it to #16 on my list.

The Top 31 Songs of 2007 - #16
"Peacebone" by Animal Collective, from the album, Strawberry Jam.

Jill's Pick
PJ Harvey: White Chalk
Released: October 2, 2007

I know I sound like a broken record (no pun intended) by using this to describe different artists, but, PJ Harvey is like Bjork...sometimes you never know what you'll get. Really, though, in PJ Harvey's case, it's not exactly a good thing. It's nice, but it's not always good. It's nice to hear her in a different form, but it's not good because well, this album comes off like a Tori Amos tribute album.

It's exactly like a Tori Amos tribute album.

(What is it with the 30 minute range albums anymore? I'm starting to think that people are more concerned with getting an album done in the quickest way possible rather than really working on the things they're putting on to said albums.)

I never thought I'd use the word haunting to describe PJ Harvey, but that's what she is on this album. "Broken Harp" is so, so sad sometimes you get stuck there. There's a very Old West feeling and (hey!) there's no wailing.

Here's what makes this album worthy of being on my list: White Chalk is like she's preparing to die and the lyrics and music are the kinds of things you'd say in a letter to a loved one. I can relate to that.

The best track: "The Mountain" (which should be admired for it's cinematic qualities.

Songs you should give a listen to:
--"The Devil"
--"When Under Ether"
--"Broken Harp"
--"The Piano"
--"The Mountain"

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