# A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

Miscellaneous - December 2007

  by Benjamin Howarth

published: 23 / 11 / 2007

Miscellaneous - December 2007


In his 'Condemned to Rock 'n' Roll' column, Ben Howarth looks at records, both past and present, which didn't quite make the cut of his Albums of the Year poll

Having been looking forward to making an album poll since about February, I finally got my chance this month - this is the real reason I am such a fan of Christmas. I hadn’t really noticed, but it’s been a great year for music. Most of the albums in last year’s list would not have been selected had they come out in 2007. I strongly recommend investigation of every album on my list at some stage, because all have given me great pleasure. Indeed, the measure of the list is in the albums that didn’t make the cut. The most surprising omission is Radiohead. 'In Rainbows' is an exceptional piece of work. But when it came out, I had to think for only ten seconds before typing in £00.00 as my chosen price. I don’t really see why I should pay for music downloads, (if you can’t hold something, I don’t believe it really exists) and though all ten tracks are astonishingly good, I can’t think of it as an album. I’m looking forward to being able to buy a CD, but, until then, this is disqualified. Darren Hayman’s new album is a real return to form, containing some of his best work. The song ‘Elizabeth Duke’ is lovely, and one of the best individual songs of the year. But, impressive as it was, I couldn’t quite find room for it. Other good albums left out this year included the Hold Steady, Interpol, Stephanie Dosen, the National and Patrick Wolf. And yet, though these albums - along with the ten mini-masterpieces that did make the list - soundtracked my year, the most heartening fact is that I probably haven’t heard my favourite 2007 albums yet. Looking back at the albums that never made previous lists from this decade, I see the following omissions: Lambchop’s 'Nixon', Ryan Adam’s 'Gold', the Divine Comedy’s 'Absent Friends', Beastie Boys’ 'To The 5 Boroughs', Ben Fold’s 'Songs For Silverman', Four Tet’s 'Pause'. Why was that ? Simple, I didn’t own any of them at the time I made the lists. But that doesn’t stop me loving all of them more than nearly all the records that actually did get picked. There are others that I owned, but have since grown with age, such as the Eels’ astonishingly good 'Daisies of the Galaxy', a desert island disc for me now, but one that didn’t merit a mention back in 2000. Why did I bother? Christmas is as good a chance as any to mop up the year’s best albums into your CD rack. But buying from the critical lists is a risky business, especially as they are so often wrong. Sometimes, an album needs a bit of time to mature before you realise how good it is. So, if you’ve spent all your money already, you probably want to be sure you are buying something good. One album everyone seems to have ignored is Van Morrison’s 'Magic Time', released in 2005, when I didn't it an ‘album of the year‘. But still I can‘t stop playing it. It’s as good as any album he has made in his career, picking up the mood where 'Moondance' left off. It has great songs, is well produced and is well sung. It also has variety, new ideas that work, old ideas that still work and the band keeps it up from first track to last. Yet, precisely nobody bar the hardcore fans seems to have bought it. Fear not, you haven’t missed the chance. Grumpy Van may have made newer, less enjoyable albums since, but 'Magic Time' is still right there for you, on the shelves of HMV where everyone else left it. It would make the perfect Christmas present, for you and everyone else you know. Meanwhile, the best albums from 2007 will still be waiting for us in 2009. I can’t wait.

Also In Condemned to Rock 'n' Roll

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