Monday, December 17

Mr. Dogg's Top 25 of 07: 25 - 21

25) Minus the Bear – Planet of Ice
Gone are the silly song titles. Gone are the softer, dance songs that made Minus the Bear fun to get stoned and sway to. Planet of Ice finds a new, more focused Minus the Bear playing their calculated rock with more edge and more focus, albeit at the expense of sense of humor. Still, when songs play out as well as the time-shifting “Ice Monster” and the frantic pacing of “Dr. L’Ling” one can forget the overly tense moment. Surf-rock never sounded so good.

24) Ryan Adams – Easy Tiger
As the name might suggest, Easy Tiger is a more relaxed effort from prolific singer/songwriter/dickhead Ryan Adams. Older, wiser, and maybe even a little less confident, it’s the softer tracks like “Oh my God, Whatever, Etc” that bear Adams’ bones and suggest a depth and control not found since his fantastic breakout album Heartbreaker. A little heavy on the country and featuring at least one song with miserable lyrics (“Halloween Head”), Easy Tiger is still the most focused and honest of Ryan Adams’ recent glut of records. Makes you wish the guy would let himself get centered more often

23) Arctic Monkeys – Favourite Worst Nightmare
No, there isn’t anything as defining and cutting as “A Certain Romance,” but the Arctic Monkeys have managed to do what most bands fail to do on their second record; reprise their established sound without over embellishing or repeating past sentiments. The band is still as sharp as ever (“Brianstorm”), and still possesses a lyrical sharpness and a keen eye for the perils of post-adolescents acting like children (“Fluorescent Adolescent”), but what is new is the bitter, somewhat jaded edge to the songwriting that turned off many. While easy to write off as defensiveness, it’s given the Monkeys a new harshness that makes for smarter songwriting and suggests that the band can be more than post-collegiate chroniclers.

22) Kanye West – Graduation
This is an album that I wrote off after a few listens based on my disappointment with West’s lyrical development; sure, “Stronger” has got great production, but people deserve more than phoned in nursery rhymes to go over the beat. Still, there is no denying the step forward West has made on Graduation, his most well produced record to date. And there are even some lyrics worth repeating here and there, like the celebratory boasting on “The Glory” and the self-reflective-yet-edifying “Can’t tell me Nothin’.” If West could just stop side stepping and develop as a lyricist, he’d be a really special artist.

21) Silversun Pickups – Caravans
Taking the nearly-defunct genre of droning guitar melodies over driving low end pioneered by bands like My Bloody Valentine and Yo La Tengo now known as shoegazing and mixing it with the pop sensibilities of early 90s grunge acts, Caravans found near universal acclaim from every indie outlet and quasi-underground publication. Not like the accolades aren’t deserved, the record is a great listen; the kind of album that can be played from start to finish without skipping a track. Those looking for dissection would be well served to check out the driving thump of “Lazy Eye” and the cautious fuzz of “Common Reactor” to see what all the fuss is about.
We'll be back tomorrow with 20-16!

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