Tag: best-of-2007

the 31 best of 2007 – 1: Sara Bareilles – Little Voice

Drum roll please… we have made it to the top of my list of the 31 best CDs of 2007!! I am sure that my number one pick will not come as a surprise to those that know me, and to even those that follow this blog regularly, because I have been screaming like a school girl with excitement about Sara Bareilles ever since I heard her back in 2005 at a Marc Broussard concert. From the first time I saw her in concert, I was mesmerized by her powerful voice, and her amazing ability as both a song writer, as well as a singer. Sara is the real deal, she is an amazing artist who is filled to the brim with talent, and it is refreshing and exciting to see her finally getting her chance to shine.

Little Voiceis one of the most well crafted albums that I own, let alone discovered in 2007. From the first time I listened to this record, I was hooked by the new catchy songs like Love Song and Bottle It Up, which both serve as frustrated anthems from an artist struggling to get the music industry to just let her perform the way in which she does best. I was welcomed by fresh retakes on songs from her “demo” record, Careful Confessions, which I have been clinging to and playing on repeat, since the night I scored it for $5 at the concert I first saw her. What’s so fantastic about each and every one of those re-takes on her already amazing songs, was that she managed to make them better; which is something that I didn’t think was possible, because of how much I liked the “demo” versions. What’s even more amazing, is that songs like Vegas, which I had only been familiar with the live demo cut, quickly became one of my favorite songs from Little Voice,because the new production on this, and others, takes it from a “good live version” of a song to a fantastic one.

There really aren’t enough nice things that I can say about Sara Bareilles, and that is mainly because she deserves all of them. She is a performer who puts her heart into each song, and when you see her perform, you can see that she feels what she is singing. As she says in the song Bottle It Up, she is in this for love; the love of making amazing music. Fortunately, Sara was able to craft an album, despite pressures and set backs from the record company, that is destined to receive the true attention that it deserves. There are very, very few artists that I have discovered, and instantly, I was mesmerized by the sheer amount of talent they possess. If every singer could be as talented, and make records as great as Little Voice,the radio would be a much more listener friendly medium… but I don’t need the radio to hear Sara; I have the record, and trust me, it doesn’t get far from my player.

Little Voice is one of those albums that are really, really few and far between in my music collection. What I mean, is that with every listen, I truly am enthralled and engaged from beginning to end. I don’t like every song, I LOVE every song. That is something that is so rare for an artist, that when one comes along as amazing Sara, I am captivated. Little Voice is my album of the year, because even after getting it at the end of July, I still have it on HIGH rotation; and it gets better with each listen. There isn’t a bad track anywhere near this record, and with Little Voice,Sara Bareilles has made one of the strongest debuts that I have ever been exposed to. My hope, is that this level of talent in one person will truly be seen by everyone, and not just me, because it is my sincere desire to have many, many more records by the amazing Sara Bareilles in my collection in the years to come.

If you were looking for where it is at, and wanting to find the next biggest thing to happen to music, you need look no further than the amazing debut by Sara Bareilles, Little Voice. Seriously, I know I am gushing here, but it really is as good, and even better than I am getting on… and don’t say that you didn’t know it when she is huge; I have been going on, and will continue to go on, about Sara Bareilles for a while now. Sara has solidified her place as the number one album pick of 2007 for me, and she has also found a place amongst my favorite artists as well. If there was only one record that I could own from all of 2007, this would definitely, without a doubt, be the one that I would want; do yourself a favor, and run out and buy it for your collection now.

Favorites from Little Voice:(all of them, seriously)
Between The Lines
One Sweet Love
Love Song, Bottle It Up, and Fairytale. (link for you tube goodness!)


the 31 best of 2007 – 2: Feist – The Reminder

As I said yesterday, it was really hard to rank the number 2 and 3 spots, because both records are so wonderful, that I really love them both about the same; however, Feist’s The Reminderdoes have a sliver of an edge, which makes it number 2 on my list. Feist is one of those “obscure” artists that burst onto the scene this year, with a little (okay, a LOT) help from a small company called Apple, and one of their ads for the rarely sought after iPod. With Feist’s infectious pop hit 1234 blasting on every TV commercial for the mp3 player, and her music gaining more attention because of this exposure, it is no wonder that I took notice. Even after many people had suggested that I might like Feist, I’ll admit that it still took all of those ads for me to finally listen; and I am really glad that I finally did. What I got by paying attention was a brilliant album from a truly talented artist, and a record that I have listened to incessantly ever since I got it.

Melodic, peaceful, sad, romantic, profound; these are all words that come to mind when I listen to this record. The Reminder truly is a reminder; of what great music sounds like. I love the delicate nature of Feist’s voice, and how she elegantly takes you through emotion after emotion on this record. I also love how she throws you for a complete tailspin when she brings on Sea Lion right after tugging so hard at your heartstrings on the previous two tracks. She is truly full of wonderful surprises, and she shows us too.

Her voice may not be the most powerful, but what it lacks in technical power, it makes up for in spirit and the feelings that it can stir inside you. There aren’t many records that I can listen to over and over, and get tingles when I hear certain songs; but this is definitely one of those records. Specifically, the song, How My Heart Behaves, is one that I would easily consider to be among my favorites of all time; and each time I hear it, I get goosebumps all over.

Feist reminds me a bit of Karen Carpenter; not just because she looks a little like her or how they sound, but because both of these women conjure such emotion in me, and their music really tugs at my heart. When you listen to Feist, you FEEL; which is an amazing, but rare experience when listening to music. I am just glad that I was able to overcome my initial ignorant rejection of this magnificent album; because it solidly deserves to be on everyone’s top records of the year list.

If you are one that really values a softness, subtlety, and feeling, all wrapped up in a shining talent in your music, then you will embrace this record as a shining example of all of these things. When I listen to this record, I realize how you can love something instantly and wholly; and recognize that your love only manages to grow over time. Feist’s The Reminder is truly an exceptional album, and one that demands attention. I am glad that she is gaining exposure from the commercial use of 1234, but after listening to the entire record, I would definitely shout to anyone and everyone listening, that there is a whole lot more to her than just that song. The Reminderis fantastic.

Favorites from The Reminder:
How My Heart Behaves
The Park
I Feel It All
Past In Present, 1234, Intuition, and The Limit To Your Love. (again, difficult to pick only a few… and click for videos too!)


the 31 best of 2007 – 3: Kate Nash – Made Of Bricks

Wow. I can’t believe how hard it was to rank these next two CDs. Seriously, this may be the hardest one to do out of the top of this list, because both the number 3 and the number 2 CDs are so close for different reasons, that I really didn’t know which one to put below the other. However, I do love both of the CDs very much, and they did make the top of my list, so I guess it really isn’t that big of a deal, now is it? Right. Now, in at number three (practically number 2 if we did ties), is Kate Nash’s brilliant debut record, Made of Bricks.

I originally heard of Kate Nash through one of those random “Now!-type samplers”, where the song Foundations was included. After hearing it, I was hooked; and I knew I needed more. What I got, was an amazing CD, chock full of interestingly told stories about childhood rebellion, lovers professing, and missed love connections. Kate is one of those really rare singers that crafts these everyday stories into songs, and does so in a way that defies the conventional way of writing a chorus, refrain, and following a typical song pattern. What happens, is you get crafty songs like Birds; which is full of strangely chosen sentences and weird ways of describing love that come across as both sincere and heartwarming. While some may be off-put by this alternative method of “waxing poetic”, I think that it really shows depth and a level of interestingness that is definitely a welcome thing in today’s music scene.

There are a lot of comparisons between Kate Nash and Lily Allen; they are both Brits with an alterna-pop, single female fronted record, filled with stories about their trials and tribulations, and both exhibit a bad girl edge that is not afraid to stick it to the guy that fucked them over. I think, however, that they both have something, that sets them apart from one another; and serves to be something that prevents Kate from being a Lily “clone”. Where Lily Allen masterfully creates brilliant songs that do tend to stick to the aforementioned pattern of “song crafting”, Kate steps outside of the box, and on both accounts, I have found two female artists that I really completely enjoy. Is Kate Nash the Lily Allen of 2007? Perhaps, but she is different enough, that the comparison will only garner interest in her music; and not have people thinking that she is a carbon-copy (which she definitely is NOT).

The songs that fill Made of Brickswith such joy, pain, suffering, and happiness really take you on an emotional journey; that both make you feel great, and also leaving you feeling like “ugh, I have been there too, and yes, it does suck”. It is one of those records that allow you to have fun, and poke fun at those situations when you too found out that you weren’t going to get the guy, and as such, got drunk in a bathroom at a party to make yourself feel better. I personally love the way that Kate sings, and I think that the combination of her sweet and sincere British voice, mixed with her alternative story telling methods, you really feel like you are getting to know the woman behind the music when you listen to this record.

Made of Bricks is fun, and has so many catchy songs on it, that you will definitely have a difficult time getting several of them out of your head. The single Foundations is one that demands to be played on repeat; but is only the tip of the fantastic pop-iceberg that makes up the rest of this glorious CD. Like I said, it was really hard to rank this at number 3, because I do love it so very, very much, but it only slightly (seriously, like a sliver of glass less) falls below my number 2 choice, which will be up tomorrow. If you are in the market for one of those amazing talents that have created a record that everyone should be talking about, Made of Bricks is where it is at; it is purely brilliant, and amazingly crafted. I fully love everything about this record; and am so happy that I discovered the talented Kate Nash when I did. This record is one of those records that you listen to, instantly realize that you have found something brilliant, and then love time and time again each and every time you listen to it. This is one that demands a spot near the top of my collection; and not just for 2007. Finally, if you like this CD (and how can you not), make sure to pick up the EP she has on iTunes, which contains a few more equally brilliant songs.

Favorite tracks from Made of Bricks:
Nicest Thing
We Get On, Skeleton Song, Merry Happy, Pumpkin Soup, and Mariella. (all of them, really! Also, links for video; definitely check out the foundations video… so cute!)


the 31 best of 2007 – 4: The Pipettes – We Are The Pipettes!

Despite criticism for choosing some albums that were “officially” released in 2006, yet did not actually see official US releases until 2007, I am going to risk further criticism and bring you another amazing CD that was released recently (finally) here in the states; The Pipettes’ debut album, We Are the Pipettes.With the American release of their record back in October, they reworked several of the songs, making them even more crisp than they were previously (if that is really possible), updated the cover art, and even added a couple of extra tracks; one of which quickly became one of my favorite songs from the Pipettes. This album is definitely one of the best records released in either 2006 or 2007; and since it debuted stateside this year, here she is, near the top of my list.

There really aren’t any negative comments I have about this CD; it truly is a flawless pop record. When I listen to this album, I totally feel like I have been transported back in time, back to the 50s or 60s; to a basement all night sleep over/sock hop/party. The three ladies that make up the Pipettes have sweet harmonies, slick vocals, and self assurance to boot. Another thing that I completely LOVE about them, is that they don’t mask their British accents; this really brings a feeling of British “invasion” to this early throw-back pop-rock style that they so masterfully produce on this record.

While the songs may be simple, and sometimes silly, they are definitely catchy, and will have you bopping your head and tapping your toes. If I were going to have a themed party, one of polka dots, fancy cocktails, and retro glasses, and one where I wanted to get the party hopping with dances like the Chubby Checker and the Twist, I would pull out the Pipettes CD and start the fun. I seriously don’t think that there is much more fun you can have listening to a disc than this one; it is catchy, poppy, deliciously infectious, and will leave you wanting more. They are the Pipettes, and they are here to move you (as well as to get into your brain with their infectious pop numbers!)!

Well, I can tell you this; I have been moving for a while now to the Pipettes, and I have been loving them more and more with each listen. I saw them in concert not to long ago, and they completely delivered at the show. I left that concert as more of a fan, if that was even possible, because I truly love this group thoroughly. If you get the chance to see them in concert, I HIGHLY recommend you go; they have the total package (choreography, costumes, they have it all!). I think that they are fresh, exciting, and a welcome retro-pop reminder of how fun music can be. The Pipettes are amazing, and have made one of my favorite records of this year with We Are The Pipettes. If you don’t get this record now, you are REALLY missing out. Each and every song on this record is fantastic; trust me, the Pipettes are where it is at!

Favorite tracks from We Are the Pipettes:
Pull Shapes
Dance and Boogie
Your Kisses are Wasted on Me
Why Did You Stay, It Hurts to See You Dance So Well, and Dirty Mind.


the 31 best of 2007 – 5: Rilo Kiley – Under The Blacklight

It’s the final five, y’all!! Coming in at number 5, is the current album by Rilo Kiley, titled, Under the Blacklight.First, let me start by saying that I honestly didn’t care very much for this album the first time that I heard it. I ended up getting it, because of my deep love for the opening song, Silver Lining, but something made me give the album more than a few spins. After each spin, I found something more that I liked, and after a while, I really realized how great this record is. I love it when something comes across as odd or off putting in the beginning, only to grow on you, and become a favorite; those are sometimes the best albums in your collection.

Rilo Kiley are one of those bands that I have had recommended to me time and time again, and for whatever reason, I always ignored those suggestions. However, that’s the way I am sometimes; sometimes, I need to just discover something for myself, which is what happened with Rilo Kiley and this amazing album. I heard Silver Lining, and loved it so much, that I wanted to hear more. What I got, was a well crafted album, filled with great rock songs; all of which have their own feel and flavor.

I have to say, that one of my favorite things about this record, is the lead singer, Jenny Lewis’ vocal style. Her voice is sweet, but with an almost rough edge to it, which really goes nicely with the heartfelt songs she sings on the record. It also makes for the perfect companion on upbeat songs, that aren’t meant to be as serious. All in all, what you have is one of the best female vocals in my record collection, and a great pop-rock band backing her up. This record is raw, gritty, and well produced and polished at the same time; it’s just damn good!

If you have heard this album, and only liked it a little, I highly recommend you spend some time with it; you haven’t let it reach the true potential that it exhibits. Let it marinate; you will discover the intricacies that make it so fantastic. No one was more surprised than I was, when I realized how great this record was, and it solidified itself near the top of my list; seriously, my initial snap judgment couldn’t have been more wrong. This is definitely a great record, indeed; one that is filled with songs that really stay with you… in a good way.

Favorites from Under the Blacklight:
Silver Lining (one of my favorite songs this year)
Smoke Detector
Breakin’ Up
Under the Blacklight, Angels Hung Around, and 15.


the 31 best of 2007 – 6: Delta Goodrem – Delta

As the list gets closer and closer to number one, it gets harder and harder not to just foam at the mouth, and gush incessantly about how great these CDs are; but for the most part, just understand that I am trying. Up today, at number 6, is the fabulous third album by Aussie bombshell, Delta Goodrem, titled simply, Delta.Having been a fan of Delta’s for some time now, I was eager to hear her new album when read that it would be coming out late this year. What I didn’t expect, was that it would be so amazingly good. While I have liked her records in the past, they have lacked an overall consistency that Delta totally delivers this time around. She molds a pristine pop record, and gives herself completely in each track.

The likeness in voice to Celine Dion may be apparent, but Delta definitely has something Celine is majorly lacking; the talent behind the voice. Delta writes her songs and plays piano beautifully, and doesn’t come across as egotistical or shallow with her powerhouse vocals; in fact, she has a sincerity to her that Celine could learn from. With this album, Delta has clearly taken her music to a new level, and made a greatly crafted, and well produced pop record.

While many of the songs are upbeat, and have sunny disposition, it is clear that she has been through, and continues to struggle with, many different issues in her life. The girl beat cancer on her last album, and on this one, she talks about her struggles with relationships, and the divorce of her parents. Regardless of the topic in these songs, there is no denying that Delta has been able to tap into the best that she has to offer, and for this album, has trimmed away the fat (albeit, it was only a little bit of fat; the other records are quite good) that slow down her previous two efforts. It is still a surprise to me that such a talented artist is practically unheard of here in America; but at least I can say that I am one American that has got my ears pointed towards the land down under. Delta is definitely a treat, and the entire album is a great listen. You will find yourself listening to it over and over again; which is exactly why it made it this high up on my list… I can’t get enough of Delta!

Favorites from Delta:
Brave Face
The Guardian
In This Life, I Can’t Break It To My Heart, and One Day (link for youtube video, as always).


the 31 best of 2007 – 7: Melee – Devils and Angels

In at number seven, is the amazing sophomore album Devils & Angelsby the Orange county pop-rock quartet Melee. Melee is more than just another one of those emo-punk-pop groups from California; these kids have some amazing talent, and it shows on each one of the songs on this great record. With perfectly polished rhythm, great song writing ability, and production value through the roof, you are really in for a treat when you pop this album into your player. The singing on this record is also a major treat, with all of their beautiful voices melding together in perfect harmony. This is something that puts them amongst my favorite singers in my vast music collection.

Melee are one of those bands that I discovered by accident, and I was instantly blown away by how much I thoroughly enjoyed their music from beginning to end. Seriously, this record sounds like it should be more of a greatest hits record than a sophomore effort; each of the songs are radio-worthy, and quite frankly, could stand out as chart topping singles and bona fide hits. Blending that piano-rock sound that I love so much with the alternative guitar driven pop-rock sound that I also crave, Melee totally delivers the goods on this record; there is not a bad song in the bunch. In fact, it is really hard to pick favorites, because of how good each song really is.

I read somewhere that there was a bidding war between record labels to snag these guys, and that doesn’t surprise me at all; the talent is sky high with this lot. They are the perfect pop-rock group, and make it seem like crafting great music is easy. This is one of those CDs that you can play, and thoroughly enjoy the entire experience. I really can’t say enough great things about Melee, and I am beginning to feel a little like I am a gushing soccer mom at this point. These guys remind me of little bits of some of my favorite artists, like Ben Folds and Weezer; but they have their own polished sound going, and it is great.

I am glad that I randomly discovered this CD, because after one listen, I was truly impressed. I knew that it would make my list instantly, because it is damn good; and it is one of those albums that you can listen to over and over again, with it getting better each time. Again, it sounds more like a greatest hits record that a band would make after years of recording albums, because each and every song sounds like a single. That says a lot about this group, because if their first big label go is this good, I would bet that they have a long career in front of them; and I am certainly looking forward to it myself.

Favorite songs from Devils & Angels:
Can’t Hold On
She’s Gonna Find Me Here
For A Lifetime
Built To Last, Love Carries On, and Stand Up.


the 31 best of 2007 – 8: Mika – Life in Cartoon Motion

Perhaps one of the catchiest records I have heard in many, many years, Mika’s debut album, Life in Cartoon Motionsolidified itself a spot on my top list right after my first listen. Mika is one of those artists that you listen to, and instantly recognize not only a great deal of talent, but you genuinely believe that he makes music because he loves to do it. Interestingly enough, I pegged this as one of the best albums of 2007 back in February, and here it is near the top of my list, well, because I was right.

Channeling a little bit of Freddy Mercury, and banging his heart out on the piano, Mika truly performs the shit out of some amazing songs on his debut. Not only that, he portrays this passion that is so refreshing to hear from someone so “new” to the scene, as well as from someone so young. Given his pop-electro sound, and his flamboyant style, it is no wonder that Mika was so popular with the gays this year, regardless of his own sexuality (which he has yet to state as one thing or another).

I was lucky enough to see Mika live this year, and I have to say, that if I had ANY doubt about his talent, and his ability as a musician before that show, it was solidly blown away by the time the curtain came down. Mika is one of those amazingly strong performers that really can stand out as a strong and charismatic solo singer. Couple that with the powerful voice, and those catchy as hell pop songs, and you have yourself a record chock full of fun, over the top pop hits. Life in Cartoon Motionis just a feel good record, and each of the songs are so radio worthy, that it wouldn’t surprise me if you saw single after single coming off of this record for a long time to come.

I am glad that was exposed to the amazingness that is Mika early on (even before his record dropped in the US!), and I have have been a huge fan ever since. This is one of those records that you can just pop in the CD player, and have a damn good time listening to. It is a feel good, amazingly produced pop record, and it definitely deserves a spot near the top of my list; and so here it is! It really gets me anxious to think, that if Mika can deliver a debut record as amazing as this one is, what he is capable of in the future. I can definitely say, that he has got my full, and undivided attention.

Favorites from Life in Cartoon Motion:
My Interpretation
Any Other World
Grace Kelly
Happy Ending, Love Today, and Big Girls (You Are Beautiful). (click the links for youtube videos!)


the 31 best of 2007 – 9: Aqualung – Memory Man

I should start by saying that I had never heard of Aqualung before this year, and it was only when I was invited to a concert by some friends of mine, that I had even heard a mention of the group. I agreed to go because Sara Bareilles was opening for them, and I always jump at the chance to see Sara live. Little did I know, that I would totally fall in love with Aqualung at the show; the performance knocked my socks off, and I knew that I wanted to hear more from this great artist. After the show, I went out and picked up their most recent release, Memory Man,only to have it also knock my socks off too, as well as to cement itself amongst my top records of the year.

The similarities to Radiohead are inescapable; Matt Hale’s voice (who is the one man behind Aqualung) definitely has a similar quality to that of Thom Yorke, but I really think Aqualung really have something that just makes you stop thinking “Radiohead-this-n-that”. Matt has this bittersweet way of crafting heartfelt and moving songs about love and emotion, and backs them with powerful electronic sounds and pulsating guitars. The electronic beats that he chooses make the music alive and vibrant, and at several points during Memory Man,you are confronted by a perfectly crafted dance/rock song that just makes you move in your seat.

Interestingly enough, as well as he crafts that electronic energy, he just as eloquently carves a beautiful and sweet love song that can bring you down and allows you to really feel the emotion behind the lyrics. In all, Aqualung has really crafted an amazing record with Memory Man, one that is a musical epic from beginning to end. I’ll openly admit that I was extremely surprised by how much I loved this album, and with each and every listen, I fall a little bit more in love with it; there really are only good things that I can say about it.

Memory Manis one of those amazing records that you can listen to once, and really enjoy it from beginning to end. However, the more you listen to it, the more you fall for the intricacies that are displayed in each song, and you realize how well crafted this album truly is. I for one, now consider myself a huge Aqualung fan, and will definitely be up for seeing them in concert in the future.

Favorites from Memory Man:
Broken Bones
Vapour Trail, Rolls So Deep, and Pressure Suit.


the 31 best of 2007 – 10: Paramore – Riot!

I can’t believe it. We have made it to the top ten. Holy musical countdown Batman! Only nine more to go, kids!

Now, let’s get to my number 10 selection, the AMAZING second album by the pop/rock outfit Paramore, Riot!.Paramore fall into that category of groups that I had never heard of, but because they were mentioned somewhere, I felt compelled to check them out; and I have to say, I have damn good instincts. From the first energetic riff on their CD Riot!,and throughout the rest of the disc, Paramore take on the pop/punk/emo scene, and perform a fucking SHOW. Seriously, if you can sit still, and not want to jump up and down and have a good time listening to this record, you should probably check to make sure that you have a pulse.

This CD is not only a fantastic example of music done right, but it is also a breath of fresh air from an up and coming artist; it doesn’t surprise me that Paramore were nominated in the Best New Artist category for this year’s Grammys. They have spunk, attitude, flavor, and a kick ass sound that really bring the whole “emo-pop-punk-rock” music scene to a head. Fronted by an energetic female vocalist, these kids are doing what some of those other similar male fronted rock bands dream of; making the music fun at the same time they are making it good.

I have to say, that I only had to listen to this CD one time, before I knew it would be on my year end list; it is a solid disc throughout every song. There are a couple of songs that you could label as “ballads”, but even those have a backbone, and don’t mumble their feelings to you. This is one of those records that I can put on, and if I am in a foul mood, my feelings instantly change for the better; Paramore really now how to control their sound and make energetic and fantastic rock music.

Another thing that I LOVE about this CD, is that there are more than a few songs that you can literally just listen to on repeat, because they are so good. Take their most current single, Crushcrushcrush for instance; the first time I heard that song, I played it a good eight time in a row, and I still can’t get enough of it. Paramore really gets under your skin on Riot!, and they force you to have a great time, by bringing a great rock album for your ears to enjoy. This is a group that you should definitely keep an eye on, because they are going to be HUGE.

Favorites from Riot!,
Born for This
Misery Business, When It Rains, and For a Pessimist I’m Pretty Optimistic.