Saturday, December 29, 2007

End Of The Year Lists

Look, I don't buy enough new music to be able to cull the "Top Ten of 2007" out of a huge pile of cds, or go to the movies enough to have ten favorite films for the year. But, I listened to some new stuff, and watched some cool things, and I'm going to post my half-assed list of my favorites of both.

Just so that you know that I realize what I'm doing here is ridiculous.

Best Records Of 2007 (that I spent money on):

1. Arcade Fire "Neon Bible"

The songs are simple folk tunes, really, but arranged and performed with such over-the-top orchestration that they just hit you in the head like a wall of sound. "Keep The Car Running" is still one of my most favorite roadtrip tunes, and I have no idea why. I just drove to Dallas and back, and singing along with that freaking song just makes me laugh and kinda cry.

2. LCD Soundsystem "Sound Of Silver"

Proof that dance music can be smart and rock out, and have soul. I discovered James Murphy and his band a few years ago when "Daft Punk Is Playing At My House" was a video on MTV2. I'll admit that I was afraid to spend money on the cd, because I had a bit of an aversion to dance music. But, when this cd came out, I just bit my lip and shelled out the cash and, man, am I glad I did! I think I love it because it seems like "Garage-Dance-Punk"...or something. Get Innocuous" and "Us v. Them" are my favorite tracks.

3. Glen Hansard & Markta Irglova "Once - the original motion picture soundtrack"

Tiny movie about an Irish folk singer who meets and collaborates with a Czech immigrant in Ireland. They make a demo tape of music. Each song seems chalked full of sincerity and personal insight. By the end of the movie, you root for these two artists and you feel like you've come to know two real people. Oops, this isn't supposed to be about the movie, but about the music in the movie. I can't separate the two. Rent the dvd. If you like it, you'll want the cd.

4. Spoon "Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga"

Britt Daniel and Spoon are an Austin band, but this record is bigger than Austin. The guy sure knows how to make quirky music that sounds familiar enough to be called Pop Rock, but veers away into some weird little figure so that you are always having to pay attention to try and keep up with him. He noodles around in the studio a bunch. His compositions are always laden with little treasures, sonic layers and tricks, and then he takes them away from the listener. Lots of hooks that never get repeated enough for them to really be hooks. This is a cd that will just get better and better with time. Cool Stuff. SNL even featured Spoon as the musical guest back in the Fall. This may not be the release that breaks Spoon into "The Big Time", but I'd bet the bank that their day will come. Faves include "Don't Make Me A Target" and "Don't You Evah".

5. Foo Fighters "Echoes, Silence, Patience, & Grace"

Thank God SOMEONE had the balls to make an actual Rock And Roll record this year! Where the fuck has Rock gone? Well, it is safe in the hands of Dave Grohl and his band. Guitars that chug and chime, drums that crack and rattle, and a bass the drives right into my spinal column, this is the cd to jam on when I just wanna get LOUD! The beauty part is that it's a record filled with melody and careful arrangement.

I first fell for Foo Fighters way back when "The Color And The Shape" first came out. What was that, like, 1997? To tell the truth, I thought that record was a fluke. I mean, how could someone who played drums for Kurt Cobain in Nirvana actually pull off leading his own band, stepping out from behind the drum kit, and be the songwriting frontman that he has become? Seriously, how could that happen? Well, it did. With each release, Grohl and company prove themselves all over again. He's no fluke. Favorites include "The Pretender", "Erase/Replace".

Best Movies of 2007 (that I spent money to see) (NOT in any particular order!):

1. Once

See above

2. Transformers

I am as embarrassed for myself as you are for me. Goofy, stupid, cheesy, and just a whole lot of fun. Kinda like sex with me.

3. Ratatouille

Not embarrassed about this one. Sweet, deep, and satisfying, even if it IS about rats in the kitchen!

4. The Bourne Ultimatum

I really didn't think I'd like this, since every time I see Matt Damon now, I think of that marionette of him in "Team America". Fuck yeah! But this movie never slowed down long enough for me to remember that. It was just relentless, and Damon pulled it off. Who knew?

5. The Host

Okay, this is a Korean movie about a monster that comes up out of an industrialized, polluted river and starts eating people. The thing is a mutant fish or something. The story is of a family of losers who have to save the youngest of their family from the fish that abducts her and is saving her for a snack some time in the future. It's hard to follow, because sometimes sub-titles suck (but are ALWAYS preferrable to overdubs!), and there are language and cultural issues that can befuddle you. But all-in-all, I enjoyed the mixture of humor and horror. The ending was really very sweet.

6. Superbad

You either like this movie or hate it. I see the flaws and can accept why some just hate it, but I found it refreshing and funny and honest in the relationship between the two boys who are the center of the story. And, the kid who played McLovin came out of NOWHERE to steal the show.
Seth Rogan will some day love me as I love him. Just wait.

7. Hot Fuzz

Look, I saw this on dvd just over Christmas, so I didn't pay to see it at the theatre. Shut up. If you saw "Shaun Of The Dead" and liked it, you will love this movie. Same guys made it. Quirky British sense of humor and story-telling, but with more of a budget this time. Not that they used the extra money wisely. It's like they didn't know how to end it, which made me laugh all the harder. Just freaking ridiculous when all is said and done. I'm sensing such a style as these two movies have is an aquired taste, but I found them delicious. Nick Frost is a superstar, in my book.


I told you my lists would be half-assed, and they surely are. But, these were the cds and movies that I enjoyed the most this year. What were yours?


Anonymous said...

That movie "The Host" sounds like a great B movie. I'll have to Netflix it. As far as "Superbad" goes, I'm kind of in the middle on that one. I'd say it was 2/5 of a great movie, but after a while it kind of just lost me. Maybe I'm just too damn old.

Stepping Over the Junk said...

I am waiting for the movie "Once" to go down in price so I can buy it. As for the music, well, I have memorized it. As my kids have. Happy New Year!

Mel said...

Great list! Happy new year Jimmy.

Anonymous said...

My 2007 favorite has to be Mika..hes "Grace Kelly" is the singel most played tune on my mp3 this year...besides hes cute too..

Happy New year big boy!!!

Love Ravn

Ice John's World said...

Happy new year, Jimmy!