Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Best Albums Acquired 2007

It's time for my patented year-end retro on the best things I heard, read, and watched. Let's start with heard. This year 15 new albums entered the archives. Here are the six that really stood out for me:

1. Aaron Bebe Sukura & the Local Dimension Palm Wine Band - Accoustic Ghanaian Highlife. This has the sound of northern Ghanaian folk music with a twist, and it is the best music I heard in Ghana, which is saying a lot.

2. Wyclef Jean - Welcome to Haiti Creole 101. Wyclef is a musical genius and this album takes him back to his musical and cultural roots.

3. Jill Scott - Beautifully Human. This is a truly special album and I've never heard lyrics quite like this before, really expressing a deep appreciation for everyday life. Here's a sample: We at the family reunion, tellin' jokes and playin' spades, Uncle Dave is on the barbeque grill Grandma braggin 'bout the blanket she made For the new baby on her way Even though the daddy ain't really ready This child is coming...anyway, yeah Neicey made her famous potatoe salad, somehow it turns out green Maybe its all the scalyums, could be the celery But oh, Uncle Jerome loves it, here comes my favorite cousin He says he doing fine, takin' it one step a day but in my heart I know it ain't that way What can you say...its family Aunt Juicy been drinkin' again...ooh its only 1:30 in the afternoon Everybody tip-toeing 'round her, we all know she gonna be toe up soon Saying all the things we like to say, hope she gets around to Cousin Lonnie Cause We all know he got a little extra somebody on the side Oh shit, Damn Micky and Steven are fighten again Move out the way, somebody might get hurt Aw Look at that what happen is worst They knocked over HElenora's Lemon Cake You know the one she barely ever makes I'm gettin rilled up, I want them to go But Somebody turn Frankly Beverly on the stereo Cousin Ruby starts rockin', shakin her good hip and bottom So we all fall into place, smiling and laughing

4. Justin Rutledge - Devil on the Bench in Stanley Park. He's a true urban country poet, the best in Canada, and what a beautiful voice. Buy this album.

5. Ryan Adams - Easy Tiger. This guy has released 9 great albums in 7 short years, spanning country, rock n roll, folk, bluegrass. His range and talent is just crazy. This one isn't his very best, but it's up there.

6. Gossip - Standing in the Way of Control. Political pop-punk at its groovy best.

“to hell with poetry, and to death’s aristocracy, because the things you do to me, you do just fine.” –Justin Rutledge


ps. the two I bolded are the cream of the crop, the absolute must-haves for all my fellow pop music junkies.
Great list!
Don't know about Gnanaian music, but I absolutely dig anything from West Senegal, where (I swear) Led Zeppeling got its music from.
Also Madagascar Slim.
I love Wyclef Jean! He's the modern equivalent to Bob Marley in my book.

Jill Scott also sounds interesting.
Ryan Adams, Wyclef, and Jill Scott.

Well don, sir.

What's your favorite song on the Wyclef album? Mine was "Lavi New York". But I also loved the "Hey Mickey" breakdown thing in "Bicentennial"

I'll have my "best of '07" lists up in my next post.
Although, you now have me wondering if I should do a "best of 2007" list, or a list of the things I listened to the most in 2007, regardless of when it was released...
Hmm come to think of it I didn't add any CD's DVD's or books in 2007. Must be a cretin.



welcome back
Benji, I wish I had time for more cultural things, but the political swamps me, just trying to stay informed. Maybe in 2009. :-)
Happy New Year, Benji. Ryan Adams eh? Hm.
I'm curious. What turns you on the most about these artists. The facility on their instruments (including the voice)? The words? Something intangible that they evoke?
myutopia: thanks!

ivan: cool. i'll have to get a hold of some of that.

eric: interesting comparison. maybe it's that radical caribbean politic. jill scott is amazing. seen chapelle's block party? she's in it. all the music in that movie was amazing. true hip hop.

rayke: actually i'd have to say 'president'. kind of a little ditty but somehow so powerfully simple.
TWM: i wouldn't put cretin on the resume. try 'minimalist'.

TC: music is a powerful medium for information too. given your politics, you might wanna try some conscious hip hop.

Trevor: Just so we're clear: that's Ryan not Brian. Ryan Adams is incredible. Brian Adams is incredulous.

X.Dell: well, it depends which artist. Justin Rutledge is this haunting poet whose words and voice are the same thing. he makes me feel like a widow listening to the ghost of my husband. the ghanaian music takes me to a certain time and place where people dance madly but only until the sun goes down because there's work to do at 5 am. but in the late afternoon it's cool and the music consists of a few simple instruments that do so much, and though i don't speak the language the songs do tell me ancient stories, and the it's also about the dance. jill scott also tells me good simple, life affirming stories that also happen to get my feet and hips moving (out of synch unfortunately). gossip takes this righteous anger at the hierarchy and the patriarchy and the conformity and turns it into a pop song with great hooks and guitar riffs. wyclef does something similar but frankly he's a greater genius and i just appreciate his complexity, and that he has used many different forms of music: soca, reggae, hip hop. all in all music communicates things to me on a much deeper level than pure logic or even just poetry on a page because the poetry is combined with a wailing emotional sound that connects not only to my heart but to my whole body, because through my ears my body feels the rhythm and it moves me to move and to act and to write and to shout.
I need to listen more.
I do love me some Gossip, though... especially when on my way to work as a pick me up!
(by listen more, I mean to your picks. I am actually a reasonably neurotic music fan. So neurotic that I needed to let you know)
PP: i discovered gossip via Air Canada, en route back to Trana after a year abroad. They're so good. I'm always on the lookout for good new music, so if you have any recommendations let me know.
Eric: thanks for the inner monkey award. I'll blog about that in the near future.
I just don't like the genre, Benji. I still listen to the protest music of the 1960s.
TC: in that case, and for other obvious reasons, I recommend Cat Power.
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