Saturday, January 26, 2008

Audities Best of 2007 List.

The votes are finally in, comments (mostly grousing) to follow:

1. Fountains Of Wayne -- Traffic And Weather (685 points)
2. The Red Button -- She’s About To Cross My Mind (501)
3. The Nines -- Gran Jukle’s Field (326)
4. Future Clouds & Radar --Future Clouds & Radar (269)
5. Paul McCartney -- Memory Almost Full (268)
6. Bruce Springsteen -- Magic (241)
7. Amy Winehouse -- Back To Black (231)
8. John Hoskinson -- Pancho Fantastico (225)
9. Wilco -- Sky Blue Sky (217)
10. The Broken West -- I Can’t Go On, I’ll Go On (206)
11. Nick Lowe -- At My Age (205)
Robert Plant and Allison Krauss -- Raising Sand (205)
13. Crowded House -- Time On Earth (202)
14. Spoon -- Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga (198)
15. Rooney -- Calling The World (194)
16. The New Pornographers -- Challengers (192)
17. Maple Mars -- Beautiful Mess (171)
18. Lewis Taylor -- The Lost Album (168)
19. Farrah -- Cut Out And Keep (165)
20. Ken Sharp -- Sonic Crayons (156)

And the rest of the Top 50
21. The Shins -- 155
22. Frisbie -- 136
23. The Clientele -- 134
24. Jason Falkner -- 130
25. Ryan Adams -- 129
Jackdaw 4 -- 129
27. Ian Hunter -- 126
28. Silverchair -- 123
29. Band Of Horses -- 105
Jens Lekman -- 105
31. Myracle Brah -- 102
Automat -- 102
33. Ice Cream Hands -- 100
Kaiser Chiefs -- 100
35. Apples In Stereo -- 92
36. Lily Allen -- 90
37. P. Hux -- 88
38. LCD Soundsystem -- 86
39. Rilo Kiley -- 85
Ted Leo and the Pharmacists -- 85
41. Travis -- 84
Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings -- 84
43. Everybody Else -- 83
44. The Weakerthans - 82
Relient K -- 82
46. Graham Parker -- 81
47. Nushu -- 78
The Well Wishers -- 78
49. Mike Viola -- 76
50. Nicole Atkins -- 74
Josh Rouse -- 74

Well the Audities #1 didn't even crack my top 125. Of course my list is more focused on power pop and some offshoots whereas the Audities lists invariably have a lot of "indie rock" on them. However, FoW is as power pop as it gets, but Traffic & Weather just didn't do anything for me. It's not that I have anything against them - their previous three proper releases would have been on my lists had I done them those years, especially 1999's Utopia Parkway. This effort sounded like FoW by the numbers, and although they've always had a "formula" (just ask Robbie Fulks), this disc was all formula and little inspiration when it came to the tunes. The short stories they're famous for in the lyrics continue to be great, but it seemed that they were concentrating on the lyrics at the expense of the music this time around. It wasn't a bad disc, just not a particularly memorable one.

Meanwhile, what seemed to me uninspired efforts from big names (McCartney, Wilco, Crowded House) took high spots, the inevitable result of democratization of a list (97 participants here) where name recognition often trumps quality. Of course it's all subjective, but that's where I come down. I thought The Red Button might take the prize, but I'm still glad to see my #1 at #2 here. The Nines won last year, so third place wasn't a surprise. Interestingly, although I prefer last year's Calling Distance Stations to Gran Jukle's Field, I had the former at #23 last year and the latter at #10 this year, mainly due to this year's top 25 being weaker from 5-25 than last year's was. I'm also glad to see The Broken West, Ken Sharp and Maple Mars get their due. Speaking of name recognition, I see Jason Falkner at #24; luckily, this was a Japan-only release or it would have likely received an unwarranted top 10 spot.

I'm not even going to discuss Amy Winehouse.


Anonymous said...

Hello Steve, i'm Emmanuel from Under The Tangerine Tree...Some comments about the Audities' list:
1- I agree with you, Traffic & Weather is the worst F.O.W. release so far and didn't hit my top 100 as well.
2- Also, the big names' latest records aren't really that inspired...Sky Blue Sky? Boring; Macca? couldn't say anything bad about the man but his latest isn't a good work i think; Time On Heart? Nothing Special really...
3- Amy Whinehouse??? AARGGHHH!!!
4- Why nobody likes the stuff i have in my top 5 (except the Future Clouds)??? And why nobody likes the stuff in YOUR top 5 (except the Red Button)?? I mean, what about considering the Foreign Films???
5- This year i've read several awful lists on the Audities, maybe my tastes are moving farther...Or the tastes of the mosts are just horrible? (I've seen number ones that i wouldn't even have put in my top 750).

OK, stop bothering now....


Mike Baron said...

I agree with you too, Steve. The Audities list seems weak. Our lists, however, are increasingly brilliant.

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Anonymous said...

I understand your frustration about FoW's win. I put the record on my list, but not at the top of it. The fact that a preponderance of folks did the same thing pushed it to #1.
It'd been interesting to see first-place votes included in the count, as is done elsewhere. I doubt if even 10 of 97 voters listed it #1 if the votes posted to Audities are any indication. But I can't be too bugged by the winner, since my real #1 record of the year, Sloan's NEVER HEAR THE END OF IT, was ruled ineligible (for arcane, annoying reasons).

Unknown said...

See, FOW actually will be at the top of my list when I get around to making it, but I should add the disclaimer that FOW is without a doubt my favorite still-working band, and a formulaic FOW album is still going to hit all my pleasure centers. Plus, I actually *really* like this album--moreso than WIM, I think--and thematically it also dovetailed with where I was *at,* mentally, this year, with a big relocation on the horizon.

That said, I unsubscribed from Audities about a year ago and have been using this blog as my main forum to hear about new music. This list sort of reinforces that I made the right decision--I was tired of the bickering, sexism, ageism, whatever--and all of the mounds of praise that would be heaped on mediocre new records by dinosaur acts while there was not much discussion of new artists anymore. This list is entirely predictable and frankly, entirely boring. And yes, how do things like the new Wilco record (which I thought was an utter bore) make it so high?

Out of curiosity, what did you have against the Jason Falkner? I actually did really like that record... as is typical for him it grew on me significantly over time.