There were many, many musical highlights in 2007, but a lot of disappointments too, which i guess is unavoidable, considering the amount of music i listen to throughout the year. Probably the worst of the lowlights of the year was Avril Lavigne‘s The Best Damn Thing, an unfortunate title considering it was one of the most appalling things i’ve heard in a long time; it seems she’s not averse actually to steal musical ideas from other people these days (Peaches in particular). As for the highlights, the brightest and best were:
• Andrew Liles’ Vortex Vault series and New York Doll
• irr. app. (ext.): Ozeanische Gefühle, Perekluchenie and Cosmic Superimposition
• Joanna Newsom‘s Ys
• Fovea Hex‘s Neither Speak Nor Remain Silent trilogy
• The Hafler Trio‘s Hljóðmynd, How To Slice A Loaf Of Bread, The Explanation, The Discussion, An Answer and Whistling About Chickens
• Belle and Sebastian‘s The Life Pursuit
• Björk‘s Volta
• Nine Inch Nails‘ Year Zero
• Orphan Fairytale‘s Whose Words Are My Words (with Mudboy) and Speaking Spooky
• CocoRosie‘s Noah’s Ark and La maison de mon rêve
• IAMX‘s The Alternative, and finally
• Pan Sonic‘s Katodivaihe
Yesterday i listened to Frou Frou‘s wonderful album from 2002, Details. i’m always interested in the links connecting one’s tastes, and here i guess the connections are my love of the musics of Imogen Heap (obviously) and Björk (who worked a lot with Guy Sigsworth in the ’90s). This album certainly shows just how much of Guy Sigsworth influenced Björk’s sound early on in her career, and it’s a delicious taste of what Imogen Heap can do with her voice. i’m sheepishly fond of “The Dumbing Down of Love”, which is such a passionate, divine song; it starts by lapping at your feet and ends up washing all around—music to bathe in.
Beautiful in a very different way is the music of Antony and the Johnsons. i clearly have a penchant for singers with unconventional voices, and Antony’s is utterly unique. There’s a Björk connection again; Antony collaborated on her latest album, Volta, and he seems to be doing the rounds with other performers at the moment. But his own work is magical, and i particularly love his take on Julee Cruise’s “Mysteries of Love”, on his EP I Fell In Love With A Dead Boy. i wouldn’t have believed someone could do a version that lives up to the original, but his does.