I only got 13 albums that came out in 2007, all CDs, as opposed to downloads or vinyl. Unlike the movies I didn’t see, this fact does not particularly distress me as much as it might, since I did download some individual cuts as well as older albums I had on vinyl.
So coming up with a Top 10 seemed silly. I will discuss all of them, but then give you my Top 5, which is pretty soft.
Across the Universe SOUNDTRACK – It’s OK. Too much of it sounds the same. Didn’t see the movie, though, and that might have helped. I love EDDIE IZZARD doing Mr. Kite, though.
Like A Hurricane-Neil Young Tribute, Uncut Magazine. Pretty good actually, though invariably uneven.
It’s Not Big, It’s Large- Lyle Lovett. As I wrote here, I like it, but haven’t played it in over a month. Might rank higher when I hear it again.
Memory Almost Full-Paul McCartney. I liked it, especially some of the latter songs. The cut that explains the meanings of the songs really enhanced the album for me.
Magic-Bruce Springsteen. I enjoyed it quite a bit actually, but with a couple of exceptions, it sounds as though it could have come out a decade or more ago.
Live In Dublin-Bruce Springsteen. This lives heavily on the songs from the Seeger Session of 2006 that I loved so much. Works well here, too, plus some great reframing of the Springsteen oeuvre, and a surprise or two.
We’ll Never Turn Back-Mavis Staples. Lefty Brown turned me onto this album, and it was in constant rotation in the summer, one track in particular.
Photograph: the Very Best of Ringo Starr. Quite possibly all the Richard Starkey I’ll ever need. A mostly known commodity going in, and some good songs. Beatlefan magazine posed the question a couple months ago whether Ringo, as a solo artist, deserved to be in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame; I’d say no, as commercial success, and is largely not a criterion.
And now, my Top 5:
5) West- Lucinda Williams. This
might be is a hard album to love for me. Sometimes the lyrics are weak, sometimes the music, though usually at least one element is outstanding. Some of the lyrics are as nonsensical as Dylan’s most obtuse. There’s a 9-minute quasi-rap song that somebody on Amazon called the WORST SONG EVER. But when it clicks, it really works for me. It’s no “Car Wheels on a Gravel Road”, but it is a worthwhile effort about loss.
4) Dirt Farmer – Levon Helm. – Maybe I’m a sucker for a feel-good story. Helm, the voice of the legendary group The Band, survived throat cancer, but he was unable to talk, let alone sing. But with treatment, he was able to do both. And this album, which sounds like The Band mixed with the music of the group’s roots, is outstanding. His daughter Amy, who sings with the group Olabelle, is also present here.
3) Chrome Dreams II-Neil Young. What Nik said about the eclectic nature of the project. BTW, Tosy once had a post about the longest and shortest album cuts. He and I had the same Dylan cut as the longest, but Ordinary People on this album at 18 minutes surpasses that. (I have since discovered that I have a 20-minute live version of Frank Zappa’s Don’t eat the Yellow Snow.) Here’s a review from the United Methodist Church website!
2) Raising Sand- Alison Krauss/Robert Plant. Actually, I bought this for my wife for Christmas. I always buy Alison Krauss for my wife for Christmas or her birthday when she has a new album out. While there were some duets that sounded more like her fare, there’s at least one cut that’s louder than anything on any Krauss album I’ve heard. In any case, it works because of genre-bending song selection and a great production by T-Bone Burnett. The more I hear it, the more I like it.
1)I’m Not There SOUNDTRACK- (Nik: this is how I write every day – I just quote other people.) As Nik says, compilations are tough, but this one works exceedingly well, even though I didn’t see this movie yet, either.
The album I’m most likely to get, sound unheard, based on everyone else’s reviews: LCD Soundsystem, Sound of Silver.