Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Best Albums Of 2007

2007 saw the release of a lot of albums by a lot of very high-profile and respectable musical artists, but most of those all sucked, so I won't be talking about them. The past year has actually been a rather disappointing year in regard to good new music.

No stronger evidence for this exists than the simple yet glaringly obvious fact that The Eagles released an album, after a hiatus of, like, 26 years, entitled We Should Have Quit While We Were Ahead. Or something like that. That's what it should have been titled anyway, because it's The Eagles, and although they don't suck nearly as bad as, say, Toby Keith, they're up there on the list with the likes of Nickelback, the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Metallica, and Don Henley's ego.

There waw an exorbiant number of albums released this year by artists I don't listen to, and I'm not going to waste much time talking about them because I can't review them because I didn't listen to them because I didn't buy them because they, in all likelihood, suck like a chest wound. That's just my professional opinion as someone who makes a living off of avoiding music I hate. I just wanted to make sure those artists are included in this recap in some way, and the only way I could think to do so is to inform you that I don't care about them.

Some artists were able to pull of mediocre to overall enjoyable albums, such as Voltaire, which was highly entertaining, Vanessa Carlton, who I have a soft spot for depsite the fact that her voice grates on my last nerve, and Tori Amos put together a rather fun album. Devin Townsend started the year off with a bang, and Megadeth also released the strongest album they've put together since the Eighties. However, it was also a disappointing year for such musical acts as Nine Inch Nails, Scorpions, and Dream Theater whose atypical failures were damn near incomprehensible by comparison to previous works.

Then Queensrÿche capped the year with a practically laughable covers album. I wish bands would stop making cover albums. Cover albums never, ever sound good, without exception. If you want to cover a song, cover a song — ONE song on an album. Even then, make sure not to release that cover as your debut single or you'll disappear into obscurity faster than anyone can recall the significance of Alien Ant Farm on the music world. Also, nothing portrays patheticness more accurately than doing a cover song for your best of album and then naming the best of album after the song that you covered specifically to have something to name your best of album after. Godsmack, I'm looking at you specifically here. Morons. Anyway, entire cover albums never end up sounding good, and it is a far more convincing marker of a band being washed up than a greatest hits album could ever be. It didn't come out right for Simple Minds, Def Leppard's was a joke, and Queensrÿche's did nothing more for the band than highlight exactly how limited the band actually is. So old bands, stop doing covers albums, or I'll break your hips. Capice?

So let's see, what would I select as the best albums of 2007? My exhaustive research has uncovered a grand total of three. If you don't buy any other albums from the past year, these three should be staples of your collections. That should save you a lot of money trying to catch up on all the past year's releases. These albums are, and this is an all-inclusive list:
— Pain Of Salvation - Scarsick

— Ozzy Osbourne - Black Rain

— Dead Soul Tribe - Lullaby for the Devil
Pain of Salvation - Scarsick
I put together a lengthy, in-depth review
here. Along with Killing Joke, Pain of Salvation is what I consider currently one of he most important bands you need to be listening to. Both bands' social commentary is as relevant as it is brutally aggressive, and no time is more important to listen to either band than with their most recent releases. With Scarsick, Daniel Gildenlöw paints a terrifyingly accurate and ultimately destructive depiction of American pop culture, where in a young man burns through all the material excess in search for some sort of deeper meaning or emotion only to discover that none is left. This is where the country is headed if we aren't careful.

Ozzy Osbourne - Black Rain
Originally reviewed
here. Ozzy returns with his strongest album since No More Tears. This was a surprisingly fun album full of immediate hits. There were a couple of weak songs since Ozzy is no good at writing ballads, but he makes up for it by singing half his lungs out on the majority of the songs. I honestly didn't think he had it in him anymore. After Ozzmosis and Down to Earth, I wasn't expecting this album to warrant more than one or two mediocre songs, but it surprised me in much the same way as a sack of bricks to the back of the head would.

Dead Soul Tribe - Lullaby for the Devil
Originally reviewed
here. Devon Graves once remarked that he only writes hits. Any song he produces is hard enough to get lapped up by the modern rock crowd and catchy enough to warrant multiple listens. If only he wasn't on an independent label and could get radio airplay, I'm sure he could go far. This album is no exception. Crushing industrial guitar walls meet driving rhythms and memorable melodies to consistently create song after song of near-perfect listening experience. Even a couple songs that fell short of the Dead Soul Tribe standard are better than most songs by most other artists that came out this year.


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