Thursday, December 20, 2007

2007 Top-20 Countdown - Final Top-20

Νο. 20 Yeasayer - All Hour Cymbals (total points 113)

Νο. 19 John Maus - Love Is Real (total points 118)

Νο.18 Roisin Murphy - Overpowered (total points 124)

Νο.17 I Like Trains - Elegies To Lessons Learnt (total points 131)

No.16 Richard Hawley - Lady’s Bridge (total points 167)

Νο.15 Sunset Rubdown - Random Spirit Lover (total points 172)

Νο.14 Εfterklang - Parades (total points 181)

Νο.13 Good, Bad & Queen - Good, Bad & Queen (total points 183)

Νο.12 Siouxsie - Mantaray (total points 196)

Νο.11 Τhe Klaxons - Myths Of The Near Future (total points 242)

Νο.10 Arcade Fire - Neon Bible (total points 283)

Νο.09 Panda Bear - Person Pitch (total points 301)

No.08 P.J. Harvey - White Chalk (total points 356)

No.07 Of Montreal - Hissing Fauna, Are You The Destroyer? (total points 369)

No.06 Jens Lekman -Night Falls Over Kortedala (total points 372)

No.05 The Battles - Mirrored (total points 378)

No.04 Burial - Untrue (total points 381)

No.03 Feist - Reminder (total points 420)

No.02 Radiohead - In Rainbows (total points 446)

No.01 National - Boxer (total points 487)

2007 Top-20 Countdown - My top-20

Here is my top-20 in one comprehensive list:

Best Albums of 2007

1. Feist - The Reminder
2. Jens Lekman - Night Falls Over Kortedala
3. Siouxsie Sioux - Mantaray
4. Underworld - Oblivion With Bells
5. Burial - Untrue
6. Jack Peñate - Matinee
7. Roisin Murphy - Overpowered
8. Nick Cave & Warren Ellis - The Assassination Of Jesse James By The Coward Robert Ford
9. Radiohead - In Rainbows
10. Strategy - Future Rock
11. kbhta - Argos
12. Info - Periplaneta
Pink Martini - Hey Eugene
P.J. Harvey - White Chalk
15. Tori Amos - American Doll Posse
16. The Raveonettes - Lust Lust Lust
17. The Bird And The Bee - The Bird And The Bee
18. MIKRO - Restart
19. Candie Payne - I Wish I Could Have Loved You More
20. Kylie Minogue - X

Worst Albums of 2007

1. Celine Dion - Taking Chances
2. Scorpions - Humanity - Hour 1
3. Jennifer Lopez - Brave
4. Dolores O'Riordan - Are You Listening?
5. Babyshambles - Shotter's Nation
6. Manu Chao - Radiolina
7. Debbie Harry - Necessary Evil
8. Jessica Simpson - A Public Affair
9. Dave Gahan - Hourglass
10. Rihanna - Good Girl Gone Bad
11. Shane Ward - Breathless
12. Westlife - Back Home
Sugarbabes - Change
Norah Jones - Not Too Late
15. Carrie Underwood - Carnival Ride
16. Bon Jovi - Lost Highways
17. Katie Melua - Pictures
18. Take That - Beautiful World
19. James Blunt - All The Lost Souls

20. Michael Buble - Call Me Irresponsible

2007 Top-20 Countdown - waiting for the results of the jury...

...and while we wait, let's play a game, proposed by one of the participating blogs, Po Po Culture and particularly one of the writers, Mr. Arkadin:

1. Go to Wikipedia, and press random article. What comes up will be the name of our group - mine is:

Story Of The Book Kings (I love it!)

2. Again press random article and you get the title of their album - mine is:


3. Press random article for 10-15 times, thus getting the necessary song titles... mine are:

And here is the cover, designed for the game especially from me!!! With those titles, group name and album title, the group will play ambient electronica with trip/hop influences and dubstep loans! Great idea Mr. Arkadin!

2007 Top-20 Countdown - No.1

Finally reached the end. I must have to say I really enjoyed this , although a bit outside my usual posts. It helped me find out about loads of new and great music, meet some very interesting people and make great friends in the process. Tomorrow you will be able to see the results of all of the 28 Greek bloggers that took part in this countdown, courtesy of the organizer and inspiration behind all of this, gone4sure. But let's move on to my no.1:

Best Albums of 2007 - No.1

Feist - The Reminder

Leslie Feist. After playing with Broken Social Scene, Kings of Convenience and half a dozen other bands, this Canadian lady launched herself as Feist, capturing the world and me, with her amazing talent. A unique mix of pop, folk, jazz, indie rock and low-fi, "The Reminder" places her securely at the top of her craft, shining like a beacon in a sea of darkness. Always unpredictable in a pleasing way, with winning melodies, that amazing voice that can be sexy without overdoing it. Her equally elegant style and poise make for a breathtaking ensemble. For those of us who discovered her with her previous effort, the underrated "Let It Die" (thanks gone4sure), this one came as naturally as it should, making her place in our hearts permanent. Her music keeps me company more than anyone else's these past couple of years, and I am sure it will keep doing so in the future. And "1234" is the best video-clip of the year by far! I love you my moon, my girl!

"A map is more unreal than where you've been
Or how you feel
And it's impossible to tell
How important someone was
And what you might have missed out on
And how he might have changed it all
And how you might have changed it all for him

Did I, did I miss out on you?"

(Intuition, lyrics by Feist)

My Moon, My Man


The Water, at The Gibson Amphitheater

Sealion (live)

The Park, in Seattle

So Sorry at the Wiltern Theatre in Los Angeles

I Feel It All, on a bus(!) on Jimmy Kimmel Live

Worst Albums of 2007 - No.1

Celine Dion - Taking Chances

Well, she definitely is not taking any chances again with this, her 34th (incredible but true) album. Celine Dion, once again, proves that good marketing, a belting voice that covers mercilessly everything else in a song, and the proper connections can make her a veritable entertainer that sells to the masses without mercy. Even Dave Stewart deigned to produce material for her in here. She covers every single trick and style in the book, just to be certain that her fan base will not be disappointed. She even dares to cover Heart's "Alone"... Should we care? No, thankfully.

Taking Chances

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

2007 Top-20 Countdown - No.2

Best Albums of 2007 - No.2

Jens Lekman - Night Falls Over Kortedala

What to say for this young Scandinavian who has stolen my heart and keeps it for himself? With this third collection of his recordings, he proves he is here to stay. Incredible melodies, infused with a wide variety of samples and influences, that have touched me profoundly. His witty and ironic lyrics describe love like few have, without ever being tedious or sugary. Listening to his songs, I find myself in them again and again. They must be putting something in the water up there in Scandinavia. Miss this at your own peril.

"There will be no kisses tonight...
There will be no holding hands tonight
Cause what is now wasn't there before
And should not be
I know I've broken some hearts, I understand
Some firecrackers blow up in your hand
Though I've fucked up I've always tried to be true
And I would never kiss anyone
Who doesn't burn me like the sun
And I remember every kiss like my first kiss..."

And I Remember Every Kiss (live in Göteborg Film Festival 2006)

Sipping on The sweet Nectar

The Opposite Of Hallelujah (live at Bloomington)

A Postcard To Nina (live at Bloomington)

Into Eternity (live at Bloomington)

Your Arms Around Me (live at Bloomington)

Shirin (live at Bloomington)

Kanske Ar Jag Kar i Dig (live at Bloomington)

Friday Night At the Drive-In Bingo (live at Bloomington)

Worst Albums of 2007 - No.2

Scorpions - Humanity - Hour 1

Desmond Child? Scorpions? In 2007? A concept album? Sheer terror. Auf wiedersehen? Not!


Tuesday, December 18, 2007

2007 Top-20 Countdown - No.3

Best Albums of 2007 - No.3

Siouxsie Sioux - Mantaray

A perennial favourite of mine, the Queen has finally deigned to offer us her first solo (and much anticipated) album. Brilliantly showing that she's into current music without resorting to cheap gimmicks or production tricks, and with that voice in form, Siouxsie manages to make an amazing record, full of punch, power, emotion. Pop, glam, industrial, punk, goth, cabaret, all is present here, a heady mix of a cocktail for even the hardest to please fans. Familiar sounds from her Banshees and Creatures days co-exist with brand new production ideas and her indomitable persona. Many younger ladies would kill to release such a record this year. I always loved her, now I do even more. Especially when she sings "If It Doesn't Kill You"...

"If it doesn't kill you, it will shake you
If it doesn't brake you, it will make you"

Into A Swan

Here Comes That Day - Channel 4 (How about a Bond theme song?)

It's About To Happen - live at L' Ancienne, Belgium

Loveless - live at L' Ancienne, Belgium

If It Doesn't Kill You - live

Worst Albums of 2007 - No.3

Jennifer Lopez - Brave

I don't know who is the brave one here: Jennifer for releasing this record or the listener? She cannot even make the hits she used to. Tragic.

Do It Well (is she kidding?)

Monday, December 17, 2007

2007 Top-20 Countdown - No.4

Best Albums of 2007 - No. 4

Underworld - Oblivion With Bells

Five years after their previous album, and with many side projects in-between, Underworld return with this long-awaited masterpiece. Rick Smith and Carl Hyde present us with an eclectic mix of electronic influences. "Crocodile" is my personal favourite, with an inherent sadness immediately apparent on the chorus (when you listen the line "all these things in me..."). Heart-breakingly beautiful and eerie at the same time, it captures your imagination and sends it soaring to the skies.

Check out the brilliant artwork too, like a Jackson Pollock painting, by the talented tomato - art director John Warwicker.


Beautiful Burnout

Glam Bucket

Boy Boy Boy

Worst Albums Of 2007 - No.4

Dolores O'Riordan - Are You Listening?
Fans of the Cranberries were waiting for this record for a while now. Her voice is still in form (for those who like it that is), but I cannot say the same about her music. With other ladies currently vying for our attention this year with brilliant results, Dolores sounds like a poor relative, destined to stay at the margin while others take centre stage. No, we will not be listening. Pity.

Ordinary Day

Sunday, December 16, 2007

2007 Top-20 Countdown - No.5

Best Albums 2007 - No.5

Burial - Untrue

Returning this year with his sophomore effort, "Untrue", Burial, a still "anonymous" British artist, sets again the bar high for dub step music. His appeal though is not limited to fans of the genre. The dark, atmospheric music, inherent sadness, rotting decay that pervades the album, will send shivers down the spine of any listener. The strange thing is that, although it resonates as a very British record and experience, it makes me feel as if it is the soundtrack to my life. Genius and moving.

There are no video clips, just listen to the music:


Ghost Hardware

In McDonalds

Worst Albums of 2007 - No.5

Babyshambles - Shotter's Nation

When one thinks that being constantly drugged and making out with a famous model is reason enough to be taken seriously, things like this album happen. Enough.


Saturday, December 15, 2007

2007 Top-20 Countdown - No.6

Best Albums of 2007 - No.6

Jack Peñate - Matinee

Jack Peñate is mixing pop, rockabilly, and ska to make his arresting début a record you wither love to death or hate. He is not perfect; but his honesty infusing every single note that comes out of the album makes that fact seem trivial. He is arresting, energetic at most tracks, but also has his sad and melancholy moments. You will find traces of Madness, Housemartins, maybe even Libertines. And if you liked Kate Nash, give this guy a chance. His "Torn On The Platform" is my favourite here as it describes a situation I lived in real life and will forever be linked to that from now on: every time I listen to it it's like a knife cutting through my heart. "My Yvonne" is an amazingly touching ballad, four minutes of love through music. And "Spit At Stars" is brilliantly uplifting!

Torn On The Platform

Spit At Stars

"My Yvonne" live at Manchester Academy

And the same song with his label-mate, Adele, live at The Astoria.

Worst Albums of 2007 - No.6

Manu Chao - Radiolina

He keeps making the same record, year after year - this is the fourth if I'm not mistaken. What at first seemed a novelty, fresh and original, now sounds boring. Joe Strummer supposedly cited him as a favourite artist. I cannot seem to find a reason why.

Raining In Paradise (directed by Emir Kusturica)

Friday, December 14, 2007

2007 Top-20 Countdown - No.7

Best Albums of 2007 - No.7

Roisin Murphy - Overpowered

Ex-Moloco singer Roisin Murphy gave us a precious gem this year, with her second album. A surreal piece of dance music, infused with paranoia, melancholia, not to mention energy and fun. For me it is one of the best records to play at a party, a sure-fire way to make people dance - you cannot stay seated when you listen to these songs. With her eclectic team of producers (among them my favourites, Groove Armada) and songwriters (with her at the lead of course), she manages to assemble a brilliant necklace of pure dance pop diamonds, the likes of which are the envy of many wanna-be dance divas the world over. We will wait breathlessly for the next one.

P.S. Her Mad-Hater look is pure genius, I wish more singers would follow her suit...


Let Me Know

Worst Albums of 2007 - No.7

Debbie Harry - Necessary Evil

Has it really been fifteen years since Debbie last released a personal album? Maybe she should have thought better. It does not do her justice, appearing with an album like this, tarnishing her image of new wave queen, the woman that has inspired many of today's fledglings. It sounds messy, confused, overwhelmed. Maybe next time she should stay home. An unnecessary album if ever there was one.

Two Times Blue

Thursday, December 13, 2007

2007 Top-20 Countdown - No.8

Best Albums of 2007 - No.8

Nick Cave & Warren Ellis - The Assassination Of Jesse James By The Coward Robert Ford

I have never before bought an album of Nick Cave. I have always respected his talent and importance in music but he was never "it" for me. This album is something else though. A good friend told me about it (thanks Indiktos), I looked for it, found it and was instantly hooked. Chilling to the bone, melancholy and sad, it overwhelmed me and had me in tears by the time it ended. I was lucky enough to see the film during Thessaloniki's International Film Festival, where we met the director Andrew Dominik and one of the stars, Sam Rockwell. During the film, I had the same sensation regarding its music that I had with the music of Brokeback Mountain: it is intrinsically linked to the film but can very well stand on its own on repeat listening. Each theme has its own strength and is instantly recognizable, with "Song For Jesse" being the most prominent, naturally. The music creates a haunted world all of its own that beckons you to go inside and discover it. It will need you to be strong though. Kudos.

By the way, Cave makes a great cameo at the end of the film, singing a song that is NOT included in the soundtrack.

Song For Jesse (the trailer is from another film, Possum)

Worst Albums of 2007 - No.8

Jessica Simpson - A Public Affair

What can one say about a woman that makes her private life a reality show in order to become famous (and fails tragically), then makes every effort she can to float both as an actress (huh?) and singer (double huh?)... She even made this album to let us know of her "pain". Maybe she should have seen a therapist - her company would have spent less money and we would be spared the trouble.

A Public Affair

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

2007 Top-20 Countdown - No.9

Best Albums of 2007 - No.9

Radiohead - In Rainbows

This must be their most famous album (maybe apart from their début one)due to the way the released it: you could download it and pay anything you'd like for it. But this is not the reason it is so high on my personal list. It is one of their best albums ever. Period. Lyrical, emotional, paranoid, romantic, intimate, devastatingly beautiful at times, it has all the hallmarks of a classic masterpiece all over it. And I dare you to listen to "Nude" and not shed a tear.

Jigsaw Falling Into Place

Nude live in Bill Graham Civic Auditorium, San Francisco, April 2, 1998 (yes! It is that old!)

Worst Albums of 2007 - No.9

Dave Gahan - Hourglass

Not even his return to synthesizers after the electric guitars of his first solo album, "Paper Monsters", is enough to make this a good album. Poor Dave, he is simply not able to make even a decent record by himself. Martin Gore must be rubbing his hands in joy listening to this (if he can stand it that is). Enough.


Light Shadows by Scandinaviandesign

You can find these incredible lamps here. I will not say anything more, just post pictures and let you enjoy. I want them all now!

All lamps by Ingegerd Råman for

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

2007 TOP-20 Countdown - No.10

Entering the top-10 with this post, made me realize that I am past my 100th post (the actual 100th was the post for No.13 in the Top-20 2007 countdown here) in this blog! So I would like to say thank you here to all my friends and readers for bearing with me! So on with the countdown:

Best Albums of 2007 - No.10

Strategy - Future Rock
Strategy's Future Rock is one of the most beautiful albums of the year, an incredibly sexy and funky eclectic mix of sounds, it grabs your senses from the very first notes and does not leave you until the very end. Sounds I had not heard from my childhood (having being raised with a steady dose of Norman Whitfield's Temptations and James Brown among others) mixed with modern funk, dub, house, pop, rock... It builds and builds and builds, taking you upwards to heavenly heights... and when it ends, you want it to start again..and again... I do not have a particular favourite track, I like to listen to his one from the beginning to the end without jumps or cuts. Stars in my eyes for sure, kudos to Paul Dickow, the one-man wonder behind this.

Clips removed as they were not Paul Dickow's Strategy.

Worst Albums of 2007 - No.10

Rihanna - Good Girl Gone Bad

Timbaland as guest producer, Justin Timberlake as guest vocalist: guests seem to be mucho importante for our lovely Rihanna. Unfortunately for her, as soon as they leave, they take everything they brought with them. I got the feeling throughout that she cared more about her lipstick than her music. Maybe we should pair her with Mr. Dickow as writer/producer - now that would be fun!


Monday, December 10, 2007

Film and Interior Design Part 3: Match Point (2005)

A stunning film, it marked a turn for Woody Allen: in Match Point, London became his new favourite city to film. It helps the film visually a lot, plus the story would not have been the same if it was filmed in New York.

The house that steals the limelight is the one Jonathan Rhys-Meyers and Emily Mortimer live in as newly-weds. Our first glimpse of the spectacular Thames view from its living room immediately establishes the fact that the character Jonathan Rhys-Meyers plays has come up socially (see photo above). The up scale apartment is in the real Parliament View building.

Soon we get to see the house furnished, Modern, minimal style, but seemingly bland and neutral is the first impression one gets from it. Until you see the art hanging on its walls.

The house is full of modern paintings, due to the fact that the character Emily Mortimer plays has her own art gallery (the privilege of having a filthy rich father). These are the most interesting additions to the house, making welcome cameos for those really watching the film.

The Tai-Shan Schierenberg self-portrait here literally steals the scene:

Of course the apartment, except from the view, has other merits too. It has a second floor for the bedrooms, with the area of the stairs painted an interesting shade of green.

The kitchen looks boring but expensive.

And the living room furniture show that it is not enough to be rich and successful to have an interestingly decorated home - you need taste above average as well.

I do think though that it accurately reflects the couple's characters: Chris (Meyers) is a working class guy that ruthlessly marries into money and Chloe (Mortimer) is daddy's little rich girl that has no personality and is spoilt to death. This is why I think it is an interestingly decorated house. Plus you can't beat the view.

Design facts for Match Point:

Production design by Jim Clay

Art Direction by Diane Dancklefsen and Jan Spoczynski

Set Decoration by Caroline Smith

2007 TOP-20 Countdown - No.11

Best Albums of 2007 - No.11

kbhta - Argos

kbhta (Konstandinos Vita) is one half of the pioneering electronica Greek group Stereo Nova. His records are becoming more and more perennial favourites in my record player. This one for one more reason: his songs managed uncannily to capture a certain phase of my life in so much detail, it send shivers down my spine... it is as if he knew me and wrote about me... It is a double cd, the first record has the songs, the second has instrumentals. "Argos (Ulysses' faithful dog) is my last stop in a journey, name borrowed to pinpoint that no one comes out unscathed from his own wanderings and travels in life" (kbhta's own words).

A sample of his lyrics:

οι εραστες ενα δασος που εχω χαθει
κι ουτε ξερω που παω
και συ με δακρυα στα ματια ψαχνεις να βρεις
αυτο που θελεις θελω
ποτε ποτε ποτε δεν θα γινω φιλος σου

Lovers a forest where I'm lost
and I do not know where I'm going
and you with tears in your eyes are looking to find
what you want I want
I will never ever ever be your friend

Olo Afto pou pote (All This That Never)

Pote Pote Pote De Tha Gino Filos Sou (I will Never Ever Ever Be Your Friend)

Worst Albums of 2007 - No.11

Shane Ward - Breathless

The nerve some people have is incredible. A clone of Justin Timberlake? Shameless copying even his looks, this guy seems to think that it will help him become...what? Oh probably has helped him get into the beds of the ladies he wanted... The unfortunate thing is that he had to release some cds too... And with Britney's and J-Lo's producers as well. Another X-Factor winner - that says it all. (Someone has to let his record company know that they urgently need a new photographer, stylist and graphic designer!).

No U Hang Up

2007 TOP-20 Countdown - No.12

Best Albums of 2007 - No. 12

Info - Periplaneta

Info is a Greek group, they come from my home town of Thessaloniki (like Mikro). Listening to their 2007 release "Periplaneta" (named after a friend's shop that is named after the cockroach) made me proud: electronica with feeling, melodies and beats that grab your feet, heart and mind and make you want to dance and sing with them. Which song to choose from? "Oi Stagones tis Vrohis" (Raindrops), "Ita Vita" (H-B), "Periplaneta" and more...Their future seems promising! Go to their Myspace page here to listen to their songs, as the two clips I found are not of very good quality sound-wise.

Oi Stagones Tis Vrohis (Raindrops)

Ita Vita live at L.I.E.B.E. (fragment)

Worst Albums of 2007 - No.12

Westlife - Back Home

Whatever I wrote in the post about Take That, could very well be written for these guys too. Moreover since they never had a Robin Williams to begin with (don't get me started on Ronan Keating). Formulaic songs and production values, and their good looks are not saving them. And "Home" is written by Michael Buble... Pass.


Saturday, December 08, 2007

2007 Top-20 Countdown - No.13

Best Albums of 2007 - No.13

Pink Martini - Hey Eugene

What to say about Thomas Lauderdale, China Frobes and company? Each time they release an album, they manage to travel me to every corner of the world imaginable. With their retro sound and modern sensibilities, Pink Martini succeed in sounding fresh without resorting to gimmicks or sterile imitation of old songs. Here, their tender crystalline Japan-inspired Taya Tan is my favorite, while all songs manage to bring old memories back, make new and thrill me every time I listen to them. And, if you can, see them live: one of the best live shows in town. In three words: classy and timeless.

Hey Eugene live at David Letterman:


Worst Albums of 2007 - No.13

Sugarbabes - Change

I have lost count (and probably even their record company too) on how many line-up changes have occured to this girl-group. Still, their product is never straying from their tried and tasted formula: their mix of R&B, pop, dance and even some rock-styled guitars (...) sounds as boring and bland as ever.

About You Now

Friday, December 07, 2007

Reina Sofia Museum expansion by Jean Nouvel

For those of you who want to get a pre-taste of my short trip to Madrid, check my post here, at about the Reina Sofia Museum of Modern Art expansion by Jean Nouvel. More about the trip in a future post. Enjoy.

2007 TOP-20 Countdown - No.14

Best Albums of 2007 - No. 14

P.J. Harvey - White Chalk

Gone is the PJ that screamed in "Sheela-Na-Gig". Gone is the PJ that vamped in "To Bring You My Love". Gone is the PJ that punked out in "Stories From The City, Stories From The Sea". The PJ we have here is a fairy; a creature seemingly fragile and delicate, but with inner powers that belie her lithe frame and otherworldly physique. Transformed into a modern day Mrs. Havisham, Polly wrapped up her guitar in cobwebs and hid it in the attic, along with her modern clothing and any electric sound. Piano is the master here; spare, minimal orchestrations, haunting the ear and soul of the listener. It could have been recorded a century ago, it could have been recorded yesterday; Polly Jean sounds as unique as ever on this one, and haunts my soul for ever. Kudos.

Live in Jools Holland, November 2007

Worst albums of 2007 - No.14

Norah Jones - Not Too Late

I first heard of Norah Jones back in 2002, when my best friend played her "Come Away with Me" cd in his car stereo, very enthusiastic, and asked me what I thought of her; "Nice", I told him, "but have you tried listening to Rickie Lee Jones or Joni Mitchell?". She sounds so light and airy and meaningless compared with them, that I could not bring myself to even remotely like her.
Fast forward to 2007. New album. Same style, same calmness, same boredom, same predictable delivery. It is not that she is bad; she's not. She's just vapid. I do not know what is worst: these kind of albums passing off as "quality" music or reality show "singers" releasing albums...

Thinking About You

Thursday, December 06, 2007

2007 TOP-20 Countdown - Invitation to party!

I am repeating the invitation here, to make sure all participating bloggers see it:since I'll be in Athens for the weekend, why not all of us 2007 Top-20 countdown bloggers join Elafini and me in Nixon, on Saturday, after midnight. We can talk about music, enjoy the great environment and music (by none other than dear Makis Papasimakopoulos) and have lots of fun! Let me hear what you think!

2007 TOP-20 Countdown - No.15

Best Albums of 2007 - No.15

Tori Amos - American Doll Posse

I would very much liked to have seen the faces of Epic executives when Tori presented them with her idea for her 2007 release: a concept album with 23 songs (OK, some are mere interludes), a five-persona Tori, touching on America: politics, psychology, society. I can almost feel the cold sweat running down their backs seeing her presentation.
Did she do it: absolutely. Tori managed to deliver an album of excellent music, songs that pack a punch and at the same time, manage to sound fresh and new, without veering too much off her characteristic style, although the guitars are heavier here, and the whole production seems to have 80's overtones and a "rockier" style. Still her amazing and personal delivery of strange lyrics (Velvet Revolution), piano acrobatics (Almost Rosey), dark themes (Girl Disappearing) and show-tune melodies (listen to Mr. Bad Man), all characteristics loved by her fans, are very much present here. Bouncing Off Clouds is probably the most accessible and loved song of the album, its melody and vocals reminding very much of older - style Tori. The five personae do not always work well, but the concept is fun. I always love my divas playing parts - makes the whole shenanigans so much more interesting. And Tori seems to have fun too. With us - and that says a lot! And Velvet Revolution sounds so Greek!

Bouncing Off Clouds:

You Can Bring Your Dog (live in Rome)

Code Red live in Athens (pity I missed her).

Worst Albums of 2007 - No. 15

Carrie Underwood - Carnival Ride

A product of the American Idol reality show, she was singled out for being the most promising vocally of all that show's alumnae. Unfortunately, although she has written four of the album's tracks, she cannot seem to be able to get away from the packaging that her company has made for her. You can even tell from the cover - the most perfect set of blond feathered hair seen since Farrah Fawcett back in Charlie's Angels. She has a good voice but nothing else to back it up. Plus she suffers from the Celine/Mariah disease: overdoing it. And what an unfortunate choice of title for the album.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

2007 TOP-20 Countdown - No.16

Best Albums of 2007 - No.16

The Raveonettes - Lust Lust Lust

Like Scandinavian design, this Danish duo has it all: great music, good looks, style and substance. Since their debut in 2002, they have been treating us with delight after delight, and this new album of theirs is no exception. Dreamy soundscapes, chilly vocals, dark undertones, a sense of doom pervading even the more up-tempo tracks. If Angelo Bandalamenti had a group, it would sound like this! When is David Lynch going to ask them for a soundtrack? Their sound is evolving with each new release. I love how "You Want The Candy" sound like Primitives' "Crash" (where are they now?).

Here is their single, "Dead Sound"

And here is "You Want The Candy" live at the Detroit Bar in Costa Mesa in July 2007.

Worst Albums of 2007 - No.16

Bon Jovi - Lost Highways

Bon Jovi going country: as if the world was missing exactly this. Why on earth did this go through product control? If they wanted to play country (of course we're talking about the bastardised mêlée that is called country these days), they could very well do it in their private studios and enjoy themselves. Jon Bon Jovi probably got jealous of Keith Urban and decided "I can do that better!". Unfortunately for him, no one cares apart from his fans (not that they are few). And a duet with Lee Ann Rimes too - a prodigy gone astray. And imagine I have a soft spot for the guys, as my brother is a huge fan and I have heard everything they have released in their career many many times...

2007 TOP-20 Countdown - No.17

Best Albums of 2007 - No. 17

The Bird And The Bee - The Bird And The Bee

Inara George and Greg Kurstin, the Los Angles duo that are called The Bird and The Bee, crafted this amazing pop diamond out of crystal, air and water. Summery. fresh, cool sounds, breezy music and a voice distinct and catchy as the best made mojito. Inara is the daughter of the late Lowell George of the band Little Feet, while Greg has worked with Beck, Flaming lips and others. The sound is very 60's with modern references and lyrics that you could not hear in that decade. They could very well be on the soundtrack of any David Lynch film, Inara sometimes reminds me of Julee Cruise. An excellent album (and their EP "Clap Your Hands is brilliant also). It doesn't hurt that Inara looks like a cross between Audrey Hepburn and Jane Birkin! Also awarded the most stylish group of the year. I could very well imagine them as the new Avengers! Check them out:

Again and Again

La La La

Worst albums of 2007 - no.17

Katie Melua - Pictures

A Norah Jones wannabe (we will deal with that lady later in the countdown)? A Kate Bush offspring? She'd wish! Katie is so mellow, she makes Olivia Newton-John sound like alternative pop. Which is not a bad thing per se, but with all the accolades she has gathered, one would think she had more substance hidden behind her glossy exterior and mellifluous voice. Unfortunately she does not. She leans heavily toward her commercial side, leaving me unfulfilled. Pity she stopped counting bicycles.