By John Hastings
Making a “best-of” list can go in many different directions; I’m going to tell you the albums that I listened to the most, as opposed to those I thought were most genius. Some of them fall into both categories. Sometimes the mainstream produces some pretty kickass music, and hey, occasionally that’s not just a fluke. We can all appreciate Person Pitch and In Rainbows for the masterful pieces of art that they are, but I wasn’t blasting these gems in cottage country all summer, or hosting Halloween parties with them humming in the background. So, my list rocks a little harder, and may overlook some golden discs that deserve mention, but here’s to variation!
1. Kaiser Chiefs — Yours Truly, Angry Mob (Universal)
I chose the Kaiser Chiefs’ Yours Truly, Angry Mob because, well, it’s awesome. The single “Ruby” is just the right catchy song for radio station overkill — but if you don’t listen to radio, it’s just an incredibly irresistible song for your stereo. The second track, entitled “The Angry Mob,” is my reason for putting the Chiefs first. Despite being an obvious rail against conformity and the like, I found myself destroying this song all summer. It’s great for the car, great for the dock, great for an iPod on the streets, and perfect for making cleaning dishes a little more exciting. With all the tranced-out-dark-folk-meets-cheerful-geek-and-ancient-instrument-crossover music (to lump several genres under one unfair moniker), it’s nice to have a disc that lets you bang it out without having to think about it. (Same goes for the Foo Fighters’ newest.) Let’s hope that 2008 can provide us with a few mainstream beauties like Yours Truly, Angry Mob, and that our lesser-known favourites continue to be as stunning.
2. Modest Mouse — We Were Dead Before the Ship Even Sank (Sony)
3. Foo Fighters — Echoes, Silence, Patience and Grace (RCA)
4. The National — Boxer (Beggars Banquet)
5. Interpol — Our Love To Admire (Capitol)
6. Arcade Fire — Neon Bible (Merge)
7. Band Of Horses — Cease To Begin (Sub Pop)