A holiday sounds like a good time to sit down and ponder all the albums released in 2007 and what my favourites were/still are…
- #6: All of the Above by Hillsong United.
This one just snuck into my top list for the year. I have always enjoyed the United albums, and love the fact that they pump out one a year and the quality of music is pretty good. But I was quite keen to hear what their first ever studio album would be like… and it definitely didn’t disappoint. Their live albums have always been incredibly tight for a live recording… and so you had to expect pretty spectacular things from a studio album. And while I don’t think there was a lot of difference between live and studio for these guys except the cheering, this album still is brilliantly written and performed. Stand-out tracks include Point Of Difference and Hosanna.
- #5: Five Score and Seven Years Ago by Relient K.
The first impressions of this album were that it didn’t grab me as much as Mmhmm did in 2004. This album had been a long time coming, and so I guess that had built expectations a lot and Relient K fans expected something brilliant. But after writing that, it’s still important to note that the album is fantastic – just as an overall experience, I didn’t enjoy it as much as I guess I’d have expected to. Must Have Done Something Right was the pre-release track/single, and is a cute, poppy kinda track that still is one of my favourites… but doesn’t give a feel for the rest of the album. The rest of the album is tight, quick, pop-punk that you expect from RK. Other favourite tracks are Forgiven and Taking You With Me.
- #4: Infinity on High by Fall Out Boy.
The first taste of this album was back in 2006 when This Ain’t A Scene was released. The track had a much more hip-hop style to it, but still with some raw pop-punky chorus as well. The album was then leaked onto the net just before its release, and was all over the place. I heard a glimpse of Hum Hallelujah when someone posted it on YouTube, and was instantly engaged. And so the day it came out, I made sure I got it. The album hasn’t disappointed at all – there’s a massive variety of punky sounds that you’d expect from FOB, and still some nice catchy pop-punk melodies as well. The music is as tight as you’d expect, but the vocal quality took a step up on this album, with some amazing harmonies coming through during loud choruses, such as Thks Fr Th Mmrs. Stand outs are the previously mentioned Hum Hallelujah and Thks Fr Th Mmrs, the latter of which I maintain was one of my favourite tracks well before it was released as a single and killed by all commercial radio stations.
- #3: Riot! by Paramore.
What a stellar album this is. Starting with the fact that the average age of this band is around 20 years old, with the incredible drumming on this album being pumped out by a 17 year old. This was a band that I discovered through the wonders of myspace – the catchiness of Misery Business drew me in quickly. I do love the loud drums and very syncopated beats that prevail on the album. Hayley Williams’ vocals are quite amazing most of the way through the album, and the tightness of the tracks is just brilliant. I love the variance of songs throughout the album though – the first few tracks are quick punky numbers, and that leads into some more slower/”meaningful” tracks in the middle before closing out with a couple more loud, fast tracks. Favourite tracks have to be For a Pessemist… and Misery Business.
- #2: So Many Nights by The Cat Empire.
Again, a hugely anticipated album and one that was written about on many forums before it was released. People who’d been able to hear early copies of the album had been quick to criticise it because it wasn’t “typical Cat Empire”. Trying not to let that influence my first listen to it on the day it was released, I was quite impressed… but not instantly hooked. Instantly noticeable was the increased samples and scratching from Jumps, but in a much better and tighter way – there wasn’t just scratching thrown in for the sake of it… it was delicately placed within each song, and some brilliant samples (such as in So Many Nights. But it was clear from the outset that this wasn’t like their last couple of albums. However I put the comments I’d heard out of my head and just enjoyed new tunes from TCE, and after a couple of listens, the album really grew on me. I quickly fell in love with Fishies because of its upbeat and ska-style feel, and adored the B3 organ work and horn riff on So Long. After a few listens though, So Many Nights overtook both as my favourite track on the album. Absolutely stellar album from TCE, and if it hadn’t been for the #1 album, this would’ve easily been my favourite album for the year by a long way.
- #1: Do You Feel by The Rocket Summer.
This little beauty was one of those random discoveries. I found them on someone’s myspace page, and followed the link to hear a couple of songs. I was quite intrigued – it wasn’t rock, or punk, and you couldn’t really class it as pop. A Wikipedia look-up later and I found that The Rocket Summer is just one guy who plays all the instruments on the recordings – drums, guitars, bass, piano and vocals. Amazing musician. The sound that’s on the album is actually quite a “happy” sound – it’s piano/drum driven, and most of the songs are quite upbeat. His voice is quite hight at times, but he sings brilliantly. Stand out tracks are the first two, Break It Out and So Much Love – both quite poppy radio type songs – and High Life Scenery – still upbeat, but in a more jazzy kinda way, with a change into the chorus. As time’s gone on, Run To You has been a track that I have enjoyed a lot – just Bryce’s voice and his piano… and some quality lyrics. His lyrics are quite brilliant – not only the quality of lyrics, but also the way he sings them, putting a sentence around two lines in the music, and phrasing in a peculiar way – but a way that works. From reading things on different websites, as well as the CD booklet, Bryce Avary appears to be a Christian. And so listening to his lyrics with that in mind, and listening to his lyrics from my point of view as a Christian, they are quite awesome. They’re generally quite optimistic lyrics anyway, but they do have some Godly meaning behind them I think.