Zombie Politics

I drank your milkshake.

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

The Zombie's Year in Pop 2007: MUSIC

01 LCD Soundsystem, Sound of Silver (EMI/DFA)
This album leaked in November of 2006, and still, with all that time and all those repeated listens, nothing in 2007 even came close to eclipsing it. James Murphy may very well be the savior of modern pop music. It positively shimmers. Murphy proves that you have to be smart to be a smart ass, and on this collection of songs he is both snarky (on “North American Scum”) and (especially with the final song “New York I Love You But You’re Bringing Me Down”) sincere. It’s a fine line to walk, between art and pop, between intellectualism and dance-your-ass-off, but he does it with such assured brilliance that you can’t help but be in awe; this album is both the party and the reflective come down afterwards. In short: a towering achievement.

02 M.I.A., Kala (Interscope/XL)
It’s the least annoying “world album” ever made. Who cares about the politics? Sure, they’re there, but should only enrich the experience of listening to a really amazing pop records and if you don’t pick up on her nods to globalization and terrorism, you’re not missing out on anything. (Why bloggers choose to flex their degrees on inferring socio-political leanings is beyond me.) It’ll be a long wait for album three.

03 Private, My Secret Lover (Universal Denmark)
A late entry to the list but totally deserving: it’s one of the most compulsively listenable (and loveable) albums of the year and you know it almost instantly. (Sorry for the overdose of adverbs there, I’ll try to control myself.) Masterminded by Thomas Troelsen (who was also partially responsible for the girl group album of the year, Monrose’s amazing Strictly Physical), it sounds like a ‘80’s pop album engineered in the distant future. Here’s hoping for a domestic release.

04 Kanye West, Graduation (Roc-A-Fella/Def Jam)
Kanye whittled down the overstuffed musical opulence of Late Registration into a thirteen-song electro soul record and ended up making his best album to date. For some reason both his restraint (again: thirteen songs, only a handful of guests) and his pop savvy (Steely Dan and Can samples on a “rap” record that whooped 50 Cent) are routinely ignored.

05 Justice, (Vice/Ed Banger)
Yes, it was the electronic album of the year, but only since I can’t count Daft Punk’s Alive 2007 as a “new album” (fuck).

06 Rihanna, Good Girl Gone Bad/The-Dream, Lovehate (Def Jam)
Everyone loves “Umbrella,” but no attention is paid to the fact that it came from a remarkably solid ALBUM. Good Girl Gone Bad is an uncanny, expertly produced collection of pop and R&B jams, while “Umbrella” co-writer The-Dream made a great album full of fake Prince songs (written and recorded in nine days, no less!) – with Rihanna singing on one track!

07 Midnight Juggernauts, Dystopia (Siberia/Inertia/Modular)
I could have put the Midnight Juggernauts’ debut album on my list for a lot of reasons but I think I’ll choose the fact that it sounds a lot like Queen’s Hot Space as a deciding factor.

08 Britney Spears, Blackout (Jive/Zomba)
Why Amy Winehouse can be a fucking mess in her personal life and release a mostly forgettable album of boring pop pastiches and Britney (admittedly, a fucking mess) can release a brilliant album that actually sounds like it was recorded in the year 2007 (or beyond) and totally be ignored is beyond me. Never should a distinction between artist and art been made more strongly.

09 Dizzee Rascal, Maths + English (XL Recordings)
An album so good it should have at least merited a PHYSICAL RELEASE IN THE UNITED STATES. Jesus Christ, there were a lot of bone-headed decisions in the record industry this year. Sadly, Dizzee’s third (and best) album was a casuality of these horrible judgment calls and got a fraction of the audience it should have.

10 Silverchair, Young Modern (Eleven/Atlantic/Independent)
Who would have thought the best pop rock opera since the original Bat Out of Hell would have been produced by a snotty Australian band best known for their role in the inception of the hideous grunge movement? (Not me.)


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