Friday, December 21, 2007

Top Albums of 2007 While Riding Through the Streets of Baghdad

Land of the free...
Home of the brave...
From my teammate, brother and comrade in arms. May he be home safe and soon. The only two weeks he had off in '07, we spent getting haught in NYC and Manchester, TN. And while he misspelled the name of the White Stripes album, I think he was fucking with me...trying to see if I'd proofread. Without further adieu, JQ aka Dr. Thomas Beckett, esq. presents...

Top Albums of 2007 While Riding Through the Streets of Baghdad

There are two approaches when riding through the streets of Baghdad. The first approach is to be vigilant – eyes and ears open, scanning the streets for anything out of the ordinary, locked and loaded, ready to fire. The other approach is to do what I do...plug your dirty white Ipod Headphones into your ears, close your eyes and fuckin pray.

Here is what I was listening to...

10) Of Montreal Hissing Fauna, Are You The Destroyer! – “The Past is a Grotesque Animal,” is a true statement and an epic song from a great pop band. Must be honest with my Elephant 6 bias on this one. I can see why people wouldn’t be taken by it if they weren’t previously into the E6 scene. Plus, the previously mentioned song can get you from Camp Victory to the International Zone via Route Irish with one single play.

9) Derek Webb The Ringing Bell – “This is The End...This is the Very End” starts Derek Webb’s poignant album. I think he used to be a Christian Rocker but this album rocks. Eat skin, Jesus.

9) Elvis Perkins Ash Wednesday – One of first albums I really got into in 2007. “While You Were Sleeping,” is one of the top songs of the year and the album packs as much punch the rest of the way. Acoustic and a lot of instruments...I dig it. Elvis has interesting back story considering his father, Anthony Perkins and his mother [were] on one of the 9/11 planes...but his music speaks for itself.

8) Elliott Smith New Moon – I was thinking that this is more of a tribute, but these songs affected me just as much as any other album on this it belongs here. If Elliott transmitted 1% of the pain he felt into his songs, then one can understand how it all ended. Prolific, never wrote a bad song…anything is better than nothing.

7) Beirut The Flying Club Cup – I just love the fuckin horns! Much of the same from Beirut, but still a lot different and much better than the shit other people are putting out.

6) The Apples in Stereo The New Magnetic Wonder – Jeff Mangum played the Cow Object on this album...enough said. Seriously though, The Apples have reached a whole new level with this album (somewhat literally with Robert Schneider’s introduction of a whole new scale), but the album is simply fun and well produced. The whole E6 community seemed tied to this one way or another and I constantly had a visual of every E6 band in a room singing “the sun is out, the sun is out...c’mon c’mon c’mon check it out!!!!!!” Simply put, at the end of the year I found myself enjoying this album a lot more than others.

5) Rock Plaza Central Are We Not Horses – Came out in Canada in 2006, but released in the States in I am going with the release date just to include this great album. Some might say Chris Eaton’s voice is awful, the songs have no melody and the instrumentation is mediocre and they might have a point...but the cacophony brings joy to my ears. From the beginning with the crooning of “I am an excellent Steel Horse,” I was in and the rest didn’t disappoint. “When We Go, How We Go (Part I)” is one of my favorite songs of the year. The semi-concept album about robotic horses that are used by humans in a war against angels is somewhat poignant to a soldier on stop-loss being used by the government in a war against...
Sad that I can’t even finish that sentence. Whoever we are suppose to be fighting, I am sure they are not angels. I AM AN EXCELLENT STEEL HORSE!!

4) The Poison Control Center A Collage of Impressions – The best find of the year. This album is hard to define, but easy to enjoy. “Thrill” is probably the best song of the year. “You hit your head…now the terrorists want you dead” seemed to speak to me when a detainee tried to spit on me in a helicopter over Qadasiyah Province.

4) Okkervil River The Stage Names – Okkervil River is better than your favorite band. “Unless It’s Kicks” is another top song of the year. What I wouldn’t do to be a 14 year old girl floating to the stage during an Okkervil River show.

3) The National Boxer – I think this band has invented their own music genre. “Slow Show” makes me want to be at least 29 years old. I was lucky enough to catch them with my special lady friend during Bonnaroo. They brought me to tears...or it may have been the completely naked dude standing right next to me.

2) Radiohead In Rainbows – Sounds like the album that should have came after “OK Computer.” I think Radiohead is at a point where they are able to utilize all of their experimental achievements over the last 10 years to pick and choose what to add to just make a song great rather than just make a song different. Whenever Radiohead would play a song off one of their albums since OK Computer live it would be broken down, raw and beautiful. In Rainbows somehow combines [that simplicity] with state of the art production and the [indelible] beauty of a Thom Yorke song. Incredibly, Thom’s lyrics are also improving. I thought so during his solo debut The Eraser, and now with In Rainbows it is even more present. When he starts singing “it was the 21st century, it was the 21st century,” I almost had a head explosion. The best band of the 21st Century.

1) Cloud Cult The Meaning Of 8 – I love the back story of a musician and when Craig Minowa opens up The Meaning of 8 with the pleading of “You have eyes like mine,” I nearly melted as I could feel the pain of his lost child. The lyrics can mean something completely different...but that is what I felt...and that is the power of music. All year, I compared everything to this album and it persevered to the end...listening to it just as much in December than I did in February. If there was ever an album to get you through shots fired, it’s the Meaning of 8. If there was ever an album to help you put on your helmet and do it again, it’s this one. Suck up...take your medicine.


Honorable Mention:
!!! (CHK CHK CHK) – Myth Takes
Arcade Fire – Neon Bible
Band of Horses – Cease to Begin
Bjork – Volta
Bright Eyes – Cassadaga
Dr. Dog – We All Belong
Figurines – When the Deer Wore Blue
Joanna Newsom – Ys
Peter Bjorn and John – Writer’s Block
Rufus Wainwright – Release The Stars
Ryan Adams – Easy Tiger
Smile Smile – Blue Roses
The Twilight Sad – Fourteen Autumns, Fifteen Winters
The White Stripes – Icky Thumb
Wilco – Sky Blue Sky

Things I Wish I Listened to More in 2006 while I was too busy getting Haught:
David Thomas Broughton – The Complete Guide to Insufficiency
Damien Rice – 9
Anything and Everything THE KNIFE.

MP3: Rock Plaza Central - "I Am An Excellent Steel Horse"
MP3: U2 - "Desert of our Love"
MP3: Okkervil River - "For Real"


JK said...

love it. JQ, good on ya brother. keep your head up and happy holidays.

Gus said...

Some previously unknow gems are in here. Thanks and stay safe, doc.