Wednesday, December 19, 2007

2007 Round-Up: Top 20 Albums (15-11)

15. Simian Mobile Disco - Attack Decay Sustain Release
Everyone likes them some SMD. Their singles were one hit after another and all those favorites are collected here, plus new gems that aren't all as big of dancefloor bangers, but are good songs in their own right. They help to round out the album too, which if anything is too concise. My version came with two bonus tracks which actually help to expand the album a little bit. "System" in particular isn't afraid to expand to double the length of most of the LP's tracks and shows SMD letting themselves go a little bit. Hopefully SMD will take more chances like this in the future as they've more than proved themselves capable of creating serious dancefloor fire with their singles.

14. Digitalism - Idealism
I'd listened to plenty of Digitalism before this album, but still focused on their very LOUD remixes above all else. Then they released "Pogo" and trumped everyone's expectations of what they were supposed to sound like. As with the SMD album, this one collects the previous singles and then adds tracks around them to flesh out an album. Most of the time these tracks work well, and surprisingly enough for an electronic album, this this rocks hard! Digitalism is a band that is full of potential. You can tell they haven't got themselves as a band all the way figured out yet, but here's hoping that they're only going to get better.

13. !!! - Myth Takes
This album is a collage of sounds churned together and flattened back out, then installed as the floor of a club. Not your typical club, no doubt, but there's definitely been some dancing going on. When !!! sticks to this formula (again, it's a whacked-out formula), everything really gels together. Tracks have a sporadic juxtaposition to one another. Some are very long and have fake endings, while others end without you even realizing it. When the frontman deviates from his whiteboy scat-rap, things get a little iffy (and on "Sweet Life" a little too much Sublime-sounding for me), but the extended psychedelic funk rock of the rest of the album more than makes up for those moments.

12. Klaxons - Myths of the Near Future
I don't know if I've ever fluctuated as much on my like/dislike for an album as much as the debut from the Klaxons. I originally thought it was OK, then my liking wained tremendously, only to have a resurgence after buying it on CD. Now I've really come to appreciate the Klaxons as a very promising, very young band that put out an album that has awkward degrees of polish and roughness, which is one of the things that makes it so interesting. There's really too much to say about what this album is doing on a conceptual level to fit in all in a little blurb, but I'll sum up the core ideas in a series of words and phrases: imagination, outer space, the future, expectations of the youth of the world, the apocalypse, super powers, and desertion and name a few.

11. Justice - †
Of course Justice is on this list. Justice rules. As Michael said on his list, Justice seems to have done the best job of crafting a rounded, balanced, and varied album of any of the new-French-housers. I still don't really like the Uffie track, but everything else on here shines. New tweaks to early singles work out extremely well for "Let there be Light," making it one of the standouts on the album, but somehow "Waters of Nazareth" lost a lot of the power it used to have. Maybe that's because it's thrown way in the back. "Stress" and "Genesis" are undeniably good and the more I listen to "New Jack" the more I like it. They may not have lived up to the hype, but no one could. Few would have gotten this close though.

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