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Wednesday, December 26, 2007

The Top 31 of 2007 - #7

Cale's Pick
The New Pornographers: Challengers
Released: August 21, 2007

My initial review of Challengers was a bit harsh in places. As it turns out, the more I listened to the album, the more its greatness dawned on me. It is, in my opinion, just as strong, or better than, Twin Cinema. The band spends a lot of time keeping the tempo up on their previous album. Just when you want it to calm down for a track or two, it kicks you in the groin, tells you to "man the hell up" and continues in its power-pop ways. And it is a great album! But Challengers is different, and perhaps that's why it just seemed a bit off to me at first. The big difference is that Challengers isn't afraid to take a breath every now and then. In fact, much of the album is spent on songs that don't pack the punch of Sing Me Spanish Techno" or "All of the Things That Go to Make Heaven and Earth." In the end, I can't be disappointed in such a thing. The band is showing me a side of themselves that they've shyed away from in the past. So while "The Spirit of Giving" or "Unguided" is unbelievably jarring the first time you hear it, it's ultimately a better song than you would have anticipated because it's something new from a band that has relied heavily on the exact opposite sound for years. Challengers is challenging. But once you give it an honest shot, it's hard to walk away disappointed.

For giving more than I expected, The New Pornographers land in the #7 spot on my list.

The Top 31 Songs of 2007 - #8
"Phantom Limb" by The Shins, from the album, Wincing the Night Away.

Jill's Pick
Hairspray: Soundtrack to the Motion Picture
Released: July 10, 2007

Quite simply: there is no way for me to avoid the happiness I seem to feel from listening to the soundtrack for (the latest version of) the movie Hairspray.

My favorite track: "(You're) Timeless To Me" (John Travolta and Christopher Walken)

Songs you should give a listen to:
--"(You're) Timeless To Me"
--"I Can Hear the Bells"
--"(The Legend Of) Miss Baltimore Crabs"
--"I Know Where I've Been" (Queen Latifah)
--"Without Love" (Zac Efron, Nikki Blonsky, Elijah Kelly And Amanda Bynes)
--"You Can't Stop the Beat" (Nikki Blonsky, Zac Efron, Amanda Bynes, Elijah Kelly, John Travolta And Queen Latifah)

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