You can't keep a zombie down for long.
I would like to celebrate my return to the land of the living with a much belated Best Of list. Hell, it's only one week into 08, the Russian Orthodox are just having their Christmas today, we've got loads of time!
With the usual disclaimer that this is a strictly personnel list of my favourite album releases of 07 and with the open admission that I have overlooked so many acclaimed albums just because I haven't really listened to them all, here be my personal picks for the Top 07 Zombie Approved Albums of 07:
07. Ongiara - Great Lake Swimmers
- more stunningly beautiful music from this Ontario indie folk-rock group. Ongiara was recorded primarily in Aeolian Hall in London, Ontario, a venue that is renowned for its astounding acoustic qualities. The feeling of space that this gives the songs matches the solemn beauty of Tony Dekker's voice.
06. Hospital Music - Matthew Good
- an intensely personnel album which rose from the demise of Good's marriage, his diagnosis with bipolar disorder, and his resultant hospitalization. Though the themes of many of these songs are almost painfully bleak or bitter, the music is still glorious and a real tribute to this astounding musician.
05. A Weekend in the City - Bloc Party
- the long-awaited sophomore album. Although lacking in the righteous spontaneity of their debut album, A Weekend in the City scores points for its maturity of sound and for its continued political approach.
04. the Challengers - the New Pornographers
- another power pop-filled offering from this sprawling collection of musicians. The Challengers has all the elements which make the New Pornos so much fun - boy-girl harmonies, building anthems and Dan Bejar. Although Neko Case's powerhouse voice is more reigned in than in the past, she still brings it.
03. Reunion Tour - the Weakerthans
- far too long in coming, this slice of Canadiana was a true high point of the year. The Weakerthans are renowned for their highly literary and poetic songs, covering the span from punk to country-tinged. Reunion Tour is a perfect vignette of little stories of the everyman, bus drivers, curlers, wandering cats, medical oddities, hockey heroes. The Weakerthans' sound has never been tighter and their imagery has never been more seductive.
02. In Rainbows - Radiohead
- without question, the most newsworthy and most important album of the year in terms of cultural and music industry impact. But setting aside the question of the impact of In Rainbow's release and listening strictly to the music contained in this album, one is struck once again by the direction which Radiohead has chosen to take their music.
At once more lush and more mature with swooping strings and piano lounge crooning, In Rainbows also incorporates both the electronica and the guitar rock elements at which Radiohead excel. Bringing Thom Yorke's voice to the forefront adds a layer of intimacy to this album, with this being evident most clearly on the track 4 Minute Warning, (available only on the b-side disc of the discbox). In Rainbows shows Radiohead as a band which has matured together, raised families together and approached 40 together. And in this case, that is a very good thing.
01. Kala - M.I.A.
-a glorious sophomore album, jam-packed with so many elements that it should be a mess, but somehow it all works. M.I.A. shows no sign of relinquishing her exuberant approach to music. Kala haphazardly throws together bits of bhangra, hiphop, street sounds, machine guns and cash register noises, as well as clear nods to Pixies. Kala is a bombastic, defiant, highly varied offering of pop fun and political awareness.
If anyone hasn't yet listed their favourites, (perhaps some of you, like me, are still working on finishing off last year), I'd love to hear all about what you were grooving to in 07.