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Wednesday, December 26, 2007

The Top 31 of 2007 - #6

Cale's Pick
Band of Horses: Cease to Begin
Released: October 9, 2007

It could, and has, been said that Band of Horses is a band that should not exist. The argument most often goes a little somthing like this: "They sound exactly like My Morning Jacket, The Shins, etc." It's a valid argument. They do sound a lot like My Morning Jacket. The question I have is, what's so wrong with sounding like other great bands, especially when you have the talent and content to distance yourself from them? You see, even though Band of Horses may not sound like the most original band out there, Ben Bridwell's lyrics put most other bands to shame, his voice blows away My Morning Jacket, and the actual talent that the rest of the band has on their respective instruments should silence anyone who says they're just ganking on other bands' styles. It's one thing to have Nickleback come out, suck up a storm, and then have every other band try to mimic that for a decade, it's another to just coincidentally have a similar sound and yet hold your own entirely. I'm defending this band, and this album, for a reason. That reason is because Cease to Begin is absolutely gorgeous, and 100% enjoyable for almost anyone. It is a masterpiece of indie and southern rock, and will be getting regular plays from me well into 2008 and probably beyond.

They're #6 for a reason people. It's because they're amazing!

The Top 31 Songs of 2007 - #6
"No One's Gonna Love You" by Band of Horses, from the album, Cease to Begin.

Jill's Pick
Mary J. Blige: Growing Pains
Released: December 18, 2007

It took me a really long time to like (let alone appreciate) Mary J. Blige. I dismissed her casually without much thought. Then someone gave me a copy of "The Breakthrough" and said I should give her another chance and I did. I'm glad I finally paid attention because really, the woman is the Queen of Hip/Hop Soul. Not all of her stuff is great, but what there is that is fantastic is mind blowing.

What I like about Mary J. Blige is she's had a rough life but she's made the best of it. And from that rough life, she knows exactly who she was, who she is, and who she will be. I admire that.

There's not much to say about this album. There are stand out tracks. There are songs that have a Disco feel to them. There are songs to make you happy, songs to make you sad, slow jams for long make out sessions. Everyone from NeYo to Ludacris to Tricky appears on this album, but you never forget it's Mary J. Blige that you're listening to.

My favorite track: the Michael Jackson sounding "Just Fine"

Songs you should give a listen to:
--"Just Fine"
--"Work That"
--"Hurt Again"
--"Til' The Morning"
--"Fade Away"
--"Talk to Me"
--"Hello It's Me"

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