Humor from on High

Friday, December 28, 2007

Top Albums of 2007

Well, as a self proclaimed music snob, I feel as though it is my duty to report my reflection of the 2007 music scene. Hopefully you have heard of many of these bands, if not check them out. Some thoughts about 2007: Tupac is still making records every month, Seal has a new album (good for him), and the Goo Goo Dolls released a Best Of album. The top ten hits in the world consist of such great artists as Rihanna, Fergie, Nelly Furtado, Timbaland, Akon, Gwen Stefani, Avril Lavigne, and Justin Timberlake...which makes me wonder who purchases music these days besides 16-21 year olds. Alas, the list:

1) Band of Horses - Cease to Begin

You know an album is great when you can listen to it from beginning to end without skipping a track. Cease to Begin falls under this category. The sophomore effort from this band is outstanding with a mixture of slow and fast songs and songs which combine both dynamics. As Josh Wilhelm said after seeing them in concert, "They play loud...and were awesome." Vocals of the lead singer resemble those of "My Morning Jacket" lead singer and are extremely haunting and pure. Oh ya, the album has a track entitled "Detlef Schrempf" which makes the album number one of all time automatically.

Top Tracks: Islands on the Coast, Ode to the LRC, Is There A Ghost, The General Specific

2) Sugar Ros - Hvarf-Heim

I've been in love with this band for a few years now for their originality, beautiful instrumentals, and the fact that they are Icelandic and I can't understand a word they say. A very relaxing band that has toured the US a few times and is apparently great in concert.

Top Tracks: Hljomalind, Staralfur, Salka, I Gaer

3) Ryan Adams - Easy Tiger

The blend between Alternative and modern country. No, I'm not talking about Shania Twain. Ryan Adams' depressing love songs are well written and his up tempo rock songs are a great change of pace as well.

Top Tracks: Two, Halloweenhead, Goodnight Rose, I Taught Myself How to Grow Old, Oh My God, Whatever, Etc.

4) Angels and Airwaves - I-Empire

Before you say anything about this selection, just know that AIA is not a punk band--in fact they do not resemble anything close to the lead singer's former genre with Blink 182. They have the most original sound of any current rock band minus a few (Muse comes to mind among others). This album falls short of their debut album, but still remains strong due haunting guitar rifts and use of various types of instruments which resemble U2 (actually the bands top influence).

Top Tracks: Call To Arms, Everything's Magic, Sirens, Secret Crowds

5) Andrew Bird - Armchair Apocrypha

Classic acoustic singer resembling Jeff Buckley and Elliot Smith. Has some great tracks on this album and worth a listen for any acoustic fan.

Top Tracks: Scythian Empires, Imitosis, Plasticities

6) VHS or Beta - Bring on the Comets

Wish I could have gone to this concert, but nonetheless the album is great. Very powerful band with a strange sound to them.

Top Tracks: Can't Believe a Single Word, Bring on the Comets, Burn it All Down

7) Newton Faulkner - Hand Built By Robots

Not the typical acoustic singer, Newton is British and has long blond dreadlocks. Yet, he amassed one of the greatest albums of the year with an album that can be listened to from beginning to end.

Top Tracks: Dream Catch Me, People Should Smile More, Teardrop, All I Got

8) Coconut Records - Nighttiming

As if Jason Schwartzman wasn't cool enough as an actor, he headlines this EP with his new band Coconut Records. A step up from Phantom Planet with a more real sound listeners can enjoy.

Top Tracks: Nighttiming, West Coast

9) Rooney - Calling the World

No, I'm not a 16 year old girl who watches the OC, but I really enjoy this California pop band. Loved the first album, this one follows suit. Every song is catchy and makes you want to go surfing...

Top Tracks: Paralyzed, When Did Your Heart Go Missing?, Love Me or Leave Me

10) Interpol - Our Love to Admire

Pure rock band with great guitar and drum combos.

Top Tracks: The Heinrich Maneuver, No I in Threesome, Rest My Chemistry

Honorable Mention:
  • Minus the Bear - Planet of Ice
  • Okkervil River -The Stage Names
  • The Shins - Wincing the Night Away
  • Silverchair - Young Modern
  • The Arcade Fire - Neon Bible
  • Feist - The Reminder
  • Future of Forestry - Twilight
  • Maroon 5 - It Won't Be Soon Before Long
  • Colbie Caillat - CoCo

See you next year.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

State of Love and Trust

Dear Primary Love Interest,
I know I don't express myself emotionally very well. I am a man, after all. Granted that some men are better than others (screw you Hugh Grant -- you f'ed it up for all of us), and I may be skewing towards one end of the continuum, but most men seem to be somewhat poor performers in this category. Probably because we talk about football and donuts when we get together with each other, and with the exception of Homer Simpson, there is not a great deal of emotion tied to donuts. I realize it's not the most ideal trait in a life partner. Rest assured though...I'm working on it.

As you queried the other night, yes, this has indeed been a common motif in relationships in my past. And yes, I am fully aware that a good relationship requires care and some degree of "work" (trust me, I'm FULLY aware). But that is a tricky thing, you know? How much is work, and how much is "work" and how much is Work, and what is the significance of each? And when it is incredibly easy to be with someone, as I feel about me and you, it also becomes easy to get complacent and take certain things for granted....like saying you look hot in that tube top, or no those jeans fit you perfectly and don't at all make your butt look big. Unless that's the look you're going for -- I don't know what's "in" these days because my Cosmo subscription lapsed. Regardless, I know that the way I feel about you means that I would do any amount of work/"work"/Work to make things....er....work. Clarification: I KNOW things will always work between us...I have Trust in that...but I would do these things to make us both as happy as we deserve since we so directly and dynamically influence each other's happiness now. P.S. I don't use caps lock and capital letters frivilously.

I'm not a good enough amateur psychologist to really hash out what from my childhood made me this way (I have a few hunches, at best), but I think it's what made me a good athlete -- that never too high and never too low temperament. And having male roommates for my entire life didn't help but hammer home these habits. Especially the silent ones. It might seem odd, but it's always been a positive attribute in my life, an easy way to be, until now, and so the habit is hard to break given the decades of positive reinforcement it has recieved. Just remember that this is the first time I've spent more than several nights a week and the weekends with someone with pleasantly different anatomy consecutively, and it takes a little getting used to. I am, however, REALLY enjoying the constantly clean house and that there is ACTUALLY food in the fridge all the time. But please know that it is a process and that change is sometimes slow and don't be afraid to help shove it along whenever you feel you need too. My easy-going temperament also means that I readily absorb helpful criticism, as well. Lucky you!

It's odd, because women get painted with the "moody" label, but I am too. Though it is often really hard to detect on the surface. With me, it particularly applies to being in the mood to talk about serious things like new pets or kids or marriage or State of the Relationship type stuff. Most of the time when you bring them up, I might make a joke or two, and not really engage in the conversation in any great depth. I seem to put it off til later, but later doesn't always come soon enough. Part of it is that I'm not aware til later (when you make me aware) that you are really serious about talking about these things in depth. Part is that when I'm home I'm trying to mentally decompress from work and life and these topics seem very Serious and are daunting and require many arbitrary mental energy units to address. Make no mistake, I'm not trying to avoid these conversations. In my head, I have a vague notion of "crossing those bridges when we come to them" and that the whole buying a house together situation should answer some of them for you already. I'm sorry for not communicating those assumptions of mine frequently enough, but I know we'll get to all those questions and their answers eventually, and I'm still learning what you need and how to provide you with it.

Like I said...I'm working on it.

Labels: ,