widg‧et /ˈwɪdʒɪt/ [wij-it] -noun: Pointless ramblings from the New Forest. Obviously complete & utter Rubbish. Why must I contibute to all this endless talk about me? My self-indulgent knees, spilling themselves all over the internet. Obviously i am Jon and his hair, I AM HIM!

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Peachy Hoop Toss (Close Calls)

Freshly back from the comedic delights of the last ever (maybe) TWTTIN and the musical high that was the Manics in Bournemouth; it's time to knuckle down and arbitrarily name the best of this year's tasty, aural treats, then put them in a list, in order of my own pointless, personal preference.

Ooh, who could it be? Keep guessing, kids.

Despite sterling efforts from the likes of Bright Eyes, Rilo Kiley, Klaxons, St Vincent, Lou Rhodes, Kristin Hersh, Tegan & Sara, Blonde Redhead, LCD Soundsystem, Arcade Fire, Loney Dear & Bloc Party; they find no place in my top 10. For them, there is no room at the inn. They will have to bed down in the stable with the oxen, the lowing cattle and the screaming baby with the glowing head. Begging for scraps of gold, frankincense & myrrh from the unspecified number of wise men. But let us leave them there, and fly back to the point, with the aid of an anthropomorphic pile of frozen water and an ageing, Welsh choirboy; for the countdown is about to begin:

The Flying Cup Club

Before I go any further I must make mention of this album. I'm loathe to leave it out of the list, mainly due to the fact that their debut, 'Gulag Orkesta', was a glaring omission from last year's rundown; but I didn't get to hear it until January, owing to the international, pre-Christmas, personal CD buying embargo. It doesn't quite live up to expectation, but is still a rollicking good, faux-European, brassy extravaganza, so I will just mention it here in honorary 11th place, and let no more be said.

Róisín Murphy

I've always enjoyed a touch of mentalism in my fizzy pop. Add in a sprinkling of Lambeth-Walk-on-smack dance moves and you'd be on to a winning formula. But I was more than a little disappointed by the former Moloko figurehead's last effort. Tunes seemed to have been sacrificed at the altar of bonkers and the plot was generally lost, but this time around she's got the balance just right. There are melodies here to crawl inside your mind & cling on for dear life, until you too will take to wearing a man-sized furry, Christmas bauble & beret combo in public ('You Know Me Better', 'Let Me Know'). There are groovy rhythms here to chase you through the night in your pants, with nothing but a spoon to fight off the terror ('Primitive', 'Overpowered'). Fun for all the family.

Manic Street Preachers
Send Away the Tigers

I was umming & erring about this one for a while, as it probably wouldn't have appeared here if I hadn't attended a recent gig of theirs. It reignited my passion for this long-lived Welsh trio with their penchant for fancy dress, and brought my attention back to their latest opus to force a reappraisal. I couldn't honestly say that this is a return to form, since, with the exception of damp squib ' The Love of Richard Nixon', I thought that last album, 'Lifeblood', was a thing of rare beauty. But I will say that it is a return to the sound of the Manics of old, fresher and more youthful than they've seemed in years. While their erstwhile idol, Axl Rose, stumbles around in a ginger stupor, The Manics make the case that it is indeed possible for a band to doggedly stick around for over 15 years and not go all shit. (Go get their free Christmas single here. Now!)

Black Francis

From what I remember, without bothering to go and check my sources, this is the Pixies album that never will be. Featuring songs that were written for the reunited, but still unstable band to record; hence the use of his old, pre-Frank Black alias. I have no idea why this never came to pass; though it's not really a surprise that they never got it together. Mr Francis went and did it without them, anyway, complete with Kim Deal-alike vocal interjections and authentic, freaky lyrics. Some of these songs sound like classic Pixies, some like you think they would sound now if they'd never broken up, and some really quite close to the best of his solo, rockabilly output. Sort of like a pick 'n' mix of his entire musical career, but with each shiny sweet a brand new taste sensation on your tongue, and with none of those icky, stray, aniseedy ones, hiding at the bottom of the bag.

The Shins
Wincing the Night Away
One of the few albums that immediately grabs you on first listen, but doesn't fade with time. Full of melodic hooks that never seem to lose their heady thrill, no matter how often you badly sing along with them. On stage, they're a bit of a conundrum: uplifting tunes with an underlying tinge of sadness coming out of the mouths & fingers of beardy, strangely static & not particularly talkative fellows. But on record, you can ignore all the chaff and enjoy their spangly torrent of gut warming niceness with no distractions.

Our Love to Admire

Coming in at number six, Interpol brings you the kind of album that Editors should have made. After a stunning debut, and an okay follow up overshadowed by the aforementioned Editors, they pull a switcheroony & completely outclass the British pretenders with a stylish collection of melancholy brilliance.

Compilation of the Year.
Ed Harcourt
Until Tomorrow Then (The Best of)

No, I'm afraid it's not 'The Very Best of Bucks Fizz'; though it was a close run contest. Not only do you get his catchiest numbers all on one disc here, but also a whole bonus album of fabulous, unreleased delicacies for you to crimp along with all through the night.

For (possibly) dissenting views on this year's top hits go here to see Bo Bo's runners up. I haven't read it yet, for fear of being influenced by his silly opinions, but I'm sure it's perfectly adequate. The come right back here for the all time 5th best album in my world, ever (this year).

Buh-bye. Don't have nightmares (or I will hunt you down).


Blogger AlphIANo said...

Ooh, very nice, and yet completely different. Haven't heard Murphy or Francis enough to rate them, but like what I have heard. The Shins & Interpol were SO very nearly in my 10-6 (and maybe they'll show up in later entries, who knows??!). Yay, this is my favourite thing about Christmas!

BUT, an entry for NUMBER 11?? AND a bloody COMPILATION? Did you inform me of this, or are you just inventing new rules willy-nilly?


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