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Tuesday, December 11, 2007

The Top 31 of 2007 - #21


Cale's Pick
Animal Collective: Strawberry Jam
Released: September 11, 2007

It was no surprise to me that I liked Strawberry Jam. I had been a moderate fan of Animal collective since I first hear Sung Tongs back in 2004. What I didn't expect, however, was that I would like it as much as I do. It is without a doubt their most solid, perhaps weirdest album. While their previous albums had some great songs, there were also more than a few duds as well. Strawberry Jam is perfection. Every song has a different feel, and for the most part, the band keeps the tempo going at a high rate for the whole affair. The heavy reliance on electronic instrumentation is a notable and worthy addition to the band, and it's hard to imagine Animal Collective regressing back to their freak folk roots now that I've become accustomed to Strawberry Jam. Regardless of that, I'm still really into this album after a few months of heavy rotation. Everytime I hear "Peacebone" or "Fireworks" I can't help but sing along (butchering every word along the way, I'm sure, because I can rarely understand what the hell is going on). Not everyone is going to like Animal Collective, but that's what being so different will do for you. When your music is so extreme, it forces people to take an extreme stance; either love or hate. There are very few in-betweens when it comes to Animal Collective. I'm just glad I'm on Team Love (the side that loves Animal Collective...not Conor Oberst's record label (but if you're reading this and you're looking for a new artist...call me)).

For keeping it exciting and different everytime they come around, Animal Collective makes it to #21.

The Top 31 Songs of 2007 - #21
"Missed the Boat" by Modest Mouse (f/ James Mercer), from the album, We Were Dead Before the Ship Even Sank.
---------------------------------------------

Jill's Pick
DJ Jazzy Jeff: The Return of the Magnificent
Released: May 8, 2007

Hey. Remember the Fresh Prince of Bel Aire? Remember how he had a sidekick, Jazzy Jeff? This is him. People never believe me when I tell them that, but this is the same Jazzy Jeff.

I like the idea of this album: that Jeff is taking a road trip and all he has for entertainment is an FM radio. Each different track is supposed to represent the different songs he hears on his journey with a simple point: basically, radio sucks. And it's true, it does. I'm just not sure he really does a spectacular job of making his idea solid. There are like 900 million people on this album, which is kind of a let down because not only is Jeff a fantastic producer (he was the man behind one of my favorite Jil Scott albums) he can rap. And having one or two different dj's/rappers on each track kind of makes you forget that, he gets lost in this mix that is other talent. Fortunately, he raps in a style different from Will Smith (Fortunately? Thankfully.) and it's got a sort of underground vibe to it. It's Hip-Hop with a Jazz feel for the 30+ crowd. That's why I like it so much. I think.

My favorite track: "She Was So Fly"

Tracks to give a listen to:
--"She Was So Fly"
--"All I Know"
--"My Soul Ain't For Sale"

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