Hayden Mountain

Tully Rohrer

December 1st, 2007

Hayden Mountain is a 13,206 foot peak visibile from porch of my parents’ house. I liked how the aspens, pines and mountain split the frame up into layers.

Before we can begin counting down my favorite releases of the year, I think we need to start with both the most overrated and the most disappointing releases of the year. Let’s start with…

The Most Overrated Releases of the Year

Arcade Fire - Neon Bible

This album should also fall into my “most disappointing” list, but we’ll keep the diatribe to one category. While I truly believe that 2004’s Funeral is one of my favorite albums of the decade, even that loyalty is not going to trick me into believing that Neon Bible is even remotely comparable in quality. The songs on this album lack the energy that made Funeral so memorable, the lyrics are often cringe-worthy, and even the musicianship is questionable at times. For example, who pushed the triangle in Intervention to the forefront of the mix, dinging it three times at the end of every line in the verse? I find it so irritating that the song is barely listenable at this point.

Worst part: Track #1 Black Mirror - the lyrics of this song sound as though they were written by a paranoid, sensationalistic teenager.

Best part: The fact that the album as a whole is really not awful. It’s just not all that memorable, and certainly not as good as one would hope from Arcade Fire. I have not lost all hope that LP #3 could be a return to form.

Decide for yourself: Arcade Fire - Black Mirror

Panda Bear - Person Pitch

This album will be at the top of many year-end lists, and I really don’t understand why. Yes, the melodies are nice, and yes, the retro-production is interesting. But when it comes down to it, this album is based on repetition. Repetition that ultimately becomes very boring. An album that is the “best of the year” should be an album that remains consistently listenable. While pretty and catchy at first, this got boring after about five listens.

Worst part: Track #3 Bros - Twelve and a half minutes of exhausting repetition. Shouldn’t tracks be short if they’re this repetive?

Best part: The fact that Noah Lennox still contributed to a good Animal Collective album.

Decide for yourself: Panda Bear - Bros (Album Version)

Of Montreal - Hissing Fauna, Are You the Destroyer?

Of Montreal has always been weird. In the past, though, it was a charming weird. With the band’s resurrection as a dance-pop group, Hissing Fauna is an obnoxious weird, and, with Kevin Barnes stripping down nude in concert, perhaps even a creepy weird. Believe me, I tried to like this album and I couldn’t.

Worst part: The combined whole.

Best part: The lyric “Come on, mood shift, shift back to good again.” We’ve all been there.

Decide for yourself: Of Montreal - Heimdalsgate Like a Promethean Curse

The Most Disappointing Albums of the Year

Bloc Party - A Weekend in the City

This album, I’m pretty sure, is a rehash of 2005’s Silent Alarm. There was not a single new idea or even any memorable points. If you LOVED their first LP, then you might like it. If you just LIKED Silent Alarm, then you will be totally apathetic to A Weekend in the City.

Decide for yourself: Bloc Party - Uniform

Rilo Kiley - Under the Blacklight

There are no words for how bad this album is. It is incomprehensible that a band could create an album as enjoyable as 2002’s Execution of All Things, take a step backward to craft an album as inconsistent as 2004’s More Adventurous, and then take a facefirst leap into the abyss to create something as atrocious as this album. Gone is the character that made Rilo Kiley so charming, and all that is left is… well, all the garbage on this completely forgettable recording. The only highlight is imagining a montage of all of the baffled, disgusted faces when the thousands of people that bought this album first listened to it.

Decide for yourself: Rilo Kiley - Dejalo

Sunset Rubdown - Random Spirit Lover

Random Spirit Lover could also be included as one of my most overrated albums of the year. I love Spencer Krug and I really love Wolf Parade, but I would be lying if I said that I could sit down and listen to this whole album. That said, the only song I really liked on 2006’s Shut Up I Am Dreaming was “Stadiums and Shrines II”. Granted it was my favorite song of the year, but it was clearly markedly better than the rest of the album. Random Spirit Lover lacks a standout song and, as a result, is quite lackluster.

Decide for yourself: Sunset Rubdown - Mending of the Gown

On Monday: the beginning of the countdown of my favorite 20 songs and albums of the year.

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