Tag Archives: Jens Lekman

Aaron’s Top Albums Of 2007

Joel Plaskett Emergency's Ashtray Rock

Joel Plaskett Emergency’s Ashtray Rock

This is my official Top 10 album list for 2007:

10. Magnolia Electric Co. The Black Ram

Picking just The Black Ram was a bit of a technical cheat as this record was part of the three-album, one-EP Sojourner box set Magnolia Electric Co. released that year. That said, of the four discs it’s definitely the one I listened to the most. In fact, the title track, “Will-O-The-Wisp” and “A Little At A Time” all rank in my Top 25 most played songs in iTunes. What this all probably means is that because I was pretty deep in my Magnolia fandom at the time, as a conscious act to not look like such a fanatic I ranked this album lower than I felt it deserved in my heart. In truth it’s probably a top five record.

9. Arctic Monkeys Favourite Worst Nightmare

If I’m to be completely honest, I still don’t feel I know this album all that well. I was mostly enamored with the song “505” and had approached the band with more open ears on this album because the hype train for the Monkeys had receded to the point it where wasn’t annoying anymore.

8. Two Hours Traffic Little Jabs

I listened to this record a lot for a month or two and it fits solidly in a Can-Rockpop lineage that includes Sloan, By Divine Right, Limblifter, Zuckerbaby and their ilk. Since then, though, Two Hours Traffic have become extremely irritating to me. This is because of the disproportionate amount of times iTunes tries to play their songs when I’m listening in “random” mode. I have thousands upon thousands of songs. I’ve got the full Neil Young and Bob Dylan discographies. And yet, with peculiar frequency iTunes tries to serve me up songs from this album. The only reason I can guess for this is that one of the band members had a computer engineer cousin who worked at Apple and was in the department that developed the iTunes random algorithm. It’s the only explanation and it’s definitely tempered my enjoyment.

7. Buck 65 Situation

Buck 65 seems to suffer from a bit of Rodney Dangerfield can’t-get-no-respect-ism and Situation is a pretty good example of this. A concept album focused roughly around the year 1957, the songs on Situation deftly traverse topics like crooked cops, Bogart and obscenity trials. The fact that the subject matter is so unlikely — not just for a rapper, but for any type of modern music maker — just makes Situation all the more intriguing.

6. Neil Young Live At Massey Hall 1971

This show may represent the most perfect version of “solo Neil.” It’s a historic document and a brilliant setlist. In cold scrutiny, though, it’s probably not a best of 2007 album. This ranking probably says more about how much I’m willing to jockey parameters because of my Neil love than anything else.

5. Jens Lekman Night Falls Over Kortedala

Night Falls Over Kortedala is an entirely fine album, but this #5 rank is almost entirely attributable to one song, “And I Remember Every Kiss.” A soaring orchestral ballad, the song captures all the fire, all the intensity, all the passion of that nervous, electric first kiss.

4. Cuff The Duke Sidelines Of The City

Someone recently told me Wayne Petti basically tries to copy The Inbreds’ Mike O’Neill when he’s singing. Fascinating, right? And it explains why I like Cuff The Duke. I don’t listen to this album anymore, though, and I don’t remember why I had it ranked so high.

3. Feist The Reminder

The sort of person who can remain unmoved by “My Moon My Man” is the sort of person I would look upon with great suspicion.

2. Amy Winehouse Back To Black

“Me & Mr. Jones” was really what hooked me on Back To Black. Here was this jazz singer going on about Slick Rick, plus ones and “fuckery” (which has since become a core swear word for me), all with an air of stumbling, drunken tragic romance. I was won over immediately.

A lot of the songs and albums and artists I love have something I’ll define as “turbulence of the soul.” The world, for them, is just a bit tougher, a bit more painful and a bit more difficult than it is for the normals. It was clear from the first listen of Back To Black that Winehouse was one of these people and it reflects beautifully/uncomfortably in these songs.

1. Joel Plaskett Emergency Ashtray Rock

A teenage love triangle that breaks up the band and breaks up a friendship. It seems like such a small narrative to build a concept album around, but Ashtray Rock, like a less morbid Quadrophenia, works perfectly. You feel there when the drunk teenagers party down at the Ashtray Rock and when you’ve got nothing more to say to these people… well, it’s like a grayscale closing scene capturing the back of the jean-jacketed protagonist walking down a slushy sidestreet. Alone.

Other album lists…

2015 Top Ten — SUUNS + Jerusalem In My Heart SUUNS + Jerusalem In My Heart is #1
2014 Top Ten — Sharon Van Etten’s Are We There is #1
2013 Top Ten — M.I.A.’s Matangi is #1
2012 Top Ten — Dirty Ghosts’ Metal Moon is #1
2011 Top Ten — Timber Timbre’s Creep On Creepin’ On is #1
2010 Top Ten — The Black Angels’ Phosphene Dream is #1
2009 Top Ten — Gallows’ Grey Britain is #1
2008 Top Ten — Portishead’s Third is #1
2007 Top Ten — Joel Plaskett Emergency’s Ashtray Rock is #1
2006 Top Ten — My Brightest Diamond’s Bring Me The Workhorse is #1
2005 Top Ten — Black Rebel Motorcycle Club’s Howl is #1
2004 Top Ten — Morrissey’s You Are The Quarry is #1
2003 Top Ten — The Dears’ No Cities Left is #1
2002 Top Ten — Archive’s You All Look The Same To Me is #1
2001 Top Ten — Gord Downie’s Coke Machine Glow is #1
2000 Top Ten — Songs: Ohia’s The Lioness is #1
1999 Top Ten — The Boo Radleys’ Kingsize is #1
1998 Top Ten — Baxter’s Baxter is #1
1996 Top Ten — Tricky’s Maxinquaye is #1

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Aaron’s Top Albums Of 2004

Morrissey

Morrissey

This is my official Top 10 album list for 2004:

1. Morrissey You Are The Quarry
2. The Veils The Runaway Found
3. The Organ Grab That Gun
4. Arcade Fire Funeral
5. Feist Let It Die
6. Apostle Of Hustle Folkloric Feel
7. Jens Lekman When I Said I Wanted To Be Your Dog
8. By Divine Right Sweet Confusion
9. The Golden Dogs Everything In 3 Parts
10. The Dears Thank You Good Night Sold Out

There are a number of naggingly unsatisfying inclusions on this year’s list.

I don’t particularly go back to Morrissey’s You Are The Quarry much these days, but at the time it ranked as an amazing comeback record after a couple crappers from the Moz. So that would have been more than enough for a Smiths/Morrissey fan like myself to push it to top spot.

Morrissey “First Of The Gang To Die.” This might be the Moz at his storytelling best:

Coming in second this year was The Veils’ The Runaway Found. This is a great band who’ve been criminally slept on over the years. With them and Moz, Jens, The Dears and The Organ all on my list there was clearly a vibe I was feeling in ’04. I’m not sure what that might be, maybe morbid melodrama?

The Veils “Lavinia”:

Putting The Organ’s Grab That Gun at #3 feels like a bit of a cheat considering I put their Sinking Hearts EP on my Top 10 the year before. I’m going to chalk putting this one so high up to me projecting — hoping that The Organ would be to the world what I thought Moz and The Veils were as well.

The Organ “Memorize The City”:

That Arcade Fire Funeral record was like a bolt of lightning, wasn’t it? I mean, seriously, who knew those guys were going to hit the grand slam and turn every indie band for the next five years into gang-singing, handclapping 13-member art collectives? Nowadays, knowing more about their prep school backgrounds and natural entitlements, there’s a certain realization that I don’t really identify with the Arcade Fire at all, but I still have to admit they can create some compelling music.

Arcade Fire “Wake Up”

Putting Feist’s Let It Die at #5 was probably an error on my part brought on by the fact that my friend and co-worker Chris Burland had put out her previous album Monarch on his label and I would’ve felt a vague desire to be supportive. I like two songs on this album — “Mushaboom” and the Bee Gees cover “Inside And Out.” That shouldn’t have been enough for this album to place where it did.

Feist “Inside And Out”:

I never listen to Apostle Of Hustle Folkloric Feel any more. I haven’t even ripped it into iTunes so I’m going to guess I was getting a little swept up in the rise of Broken Social Scene at the time and it was clouding my perspective.

At #7 was Jens Lekman’s When I Said I Wanted To Be Your Dog. I’m not really sure why I put this on my list. I don’t really like this album all that much and it’s actually Lekman’s next album Night Falls Over Kortedala that I was really into.

I’ve steadfastly maintained that By Divine Right remain one of the most important Canadian bands of the last 20 years and putting their album Sweet Confusion at #8 was a small gesture in support of that notion. Against the rest of their catalog this is one of their lesser albums — still good — but in hindsight Sweet Confusion’s inclusion on my list feels too political now.

By Divine Right “Soft Machine”

The Golden Dogs’ Everything In 3 Parts was a very exciting record for our household when it came out. They were a great band live, they were fun people to be around, and the album was solid, too. I’m still not entirely sure why they never got bigger than they did, but this was still a great ride to be on at the time.

The Golden Dogs “Yeah”:

The #10 pick The Dears’ Thank You Good Night Sold Out is kind of embarrassing to me. The Dears were probably my favourite Canadian band right around then (and might still be now), but this is a live record. I don’t really listen to it any more, and didn’t really listen to it that much when it came out. Nowadays I’m far more ruthlessly clinical about my Top 10 lists and putting this on the 2004 list has a certain cute “Aw shucks” loyalty that I don’t know if I’ve “lost,” but I don’t quite let rule me in the same way any more.

Other album lists…

2015 Top Ten — SUUNS + Jerusalem In My Heart SUUNS + Jerusalem In My Heart is #1
2014 Top Ten — Sharon Van Etten’s Are We There is #1
2013 Top Ten — M.I.A.’s Matangi is #1
2012 Top Ten — Dirty Ghosts’ Metal Moon is #1
2011 Top Ten — Timber Timbre’s Creep On Creepin’ On is #1
2010 Top Ten — The Black Angels’ Phosphene Dream is #1
2009 Top Ten — Gallows’ Grey Britain is #1
2008 Top Ten — Portishead’s Third is #1
2007 Top Ten — Joel Plaskett Emergency’s Ashtray Rock is #1
2006 Top Ten — My Brightest Diamond’s Bring Me The Workhorse is #1
2005 Top Ten — Black Rebel Motorcycle Club’s Howl is #1
2004 Top Ten — Morrissey’s You Are The Quarry is #1
2003 Top Ten — The Dears’ No Cities Left is #1
2002 Top Ten — Archive’s You All Look The Same To Me is #1
2001 Top Ten — Gord Downie’s Coke Machine Glow is #1
2000 Top Ten — Songs: Ohia’s The Lioness is #1
1999 Top Ten — The Boo Radleys’ Kingsize is #1
1998 Top Ten — Baxter’s Baxter is #1
1996 Top Ten — Tricky’s Maxinquaye is #1

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