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Split Magazine: Favourite Albums of 2007

By Split Magazine | January 7, 2008

Now that the new year is under way, the Split Magazine staff looks at music from the year gone by. Here’s presenting Split Magazine’s favourite albums of 2007 (in no particular order):

Split Magazine: RadioheadRADIOHEAD: IN RAINBOWS

[By Vishal Gandhi] For some strange reason, despite being a hard-core Radiohead fan, I just couldn’t get excited about ‘In Rainbows’, after checking out the live versions floating around the Internet for months. Having already been a tad disappointed with Thom Yorke’s ‘The Eraser‘, the band was finally losing it, I felt.

How wrong I was! Whereas, the live versions seemed to lack the spark, on record those very songs have come to life. Producer Nigel Godrich — the unofficial sixth member — makes Radiohead sound a lot more relaxed and comfortable with themselves than on the politically charged ‘Hail To The Thief’. “Nude”, a prime example, sounds plaintive and melancholy, yet not as morose as it did in its earlier form “Big Ideas (Don’t Get Any)”. From the crackling buzz and dissonant drum beat of “15 Step” to the spacey piano ballad of “Videotape”, the album is littered with moments that make you drool. A personal favourite off of “15 Step” – the moment when Thom sings “Et cetera et cetera? as the bass fades in and out in the mix — might seem mundane but it’s these little gems that make a band stand apart.

Recommended songs: “Reckoner”, “Jigsaw Falling Into Place”

Split Magazine: Arctic MonkeysARCTIC MONKEYS: FAVOURITE WORST NIGHTMARE

[By Vasundhara Singh] The Arctic Monkeys’ debut album was the United Kingdom’s fastest-selling debut album of all time — 360,000 sold in the first week — and the indie rock band from Sheffield was back in 2007 with their sophomore album, ‘Favorite Worst Nightmare‘, a more blatant and tougher album than their last one. As expected, the band’s non-fans find it akin to their previous album, but that doesn’t stop the Monkeys from setting themselves apart from their Brit Rock peers. The band has taken a step towards a more plush sound, not forgetting their roots. They still have the same sleazy lyrics and dance floor romance feel as they did on the first album, just a tad bit funkier. With the guitar riffs wild with energy, it’s a treat for the dance floor dwellers; at the same time The Monkeys have laid out a lyrical banquet for their listeners. With both their albums so far, the Arctic Monkeys have got me looking forward to the future additions to their discography.

Recommended songs: “Fluorescent Adolescent”, “Brianstorm”

Split Magazine: Shaa'ir and FuncSHAA’IR + FUNC: NEW DAY (THE LOVE ALBUM)

[By Vineet Kanabar] Fusing a mix of electronica, jazz, funk, hip hop and blues, Shaa’ir (Monica Dogra) and Func (Randolph Correia) bring out a heady concoction with ‘New Day (The Love Album)‘ — reminiscent of ‘The Wedding Album’, by John Lennon and Yoko Ono, but certainly way, way different in style and approach. The only thing these guys have in common with the ganja-smoking hippie culture-inspired Lennon is the confidence that a truly original act brings to the fray. ‘The Love Album’ is almost modern sufism, with the poetry running effortlessly through the album. Dogra sounds like Ani DiFranco, and her voice bounces along Randolph’s tunes as if they were one. Truly universal music themes, some fancy are-there-aren’t-there guitar riffs, layered electronica, and filtered vocals, this album certainly deserves every accolade it has received, and every single one that it never will.

Recommended songs: “Hit”, “New Day”

Split Magazine: Ozzy OsbourneOZZY OSBOURNE: BLACK RAIN

[By Arun Kale] Ozzy Osbourne has had, perhaps, the most distinguished solo career of any musician in the history of heavy music. An integral part of the legendary Black Sabbath, Ozzy has released no less than 15 full-length albums in a solo career that began in 1980. And, as expected, over the course of the past 28 years, every one of his albums has been no less than a classic.

‘Black Rain’ was released a whole six years after Ozzy’s last album ‘Down To Earth’. Reportedly the first album that Ozzy has recorded sober (ha), ‘Black Rain’ is also the first album that sees Zakk Wylde playing the keyboard in addition to the guitar. Songs like “Not Going Away” and lead single “I Don’t Wanna Stop” have Ozzy addressing his much-admired resilience, amongst other things (‘I won’t give up, after all I’m still crazy’), while “Here For You” is a piano-laced ballad, in much the same mould as “Dreamer” or “Aimee”, although not quite as memorable. The album might not be quite as heavy or dark as past albums like ‘Ozzmosis’, but with a line up that includes Ozzy Osbourne, Zakk Wylde and Mike Bordin, you can hardly go wrong.

Recommended songs: “Not Going Away”, “I Don’t Wanna Stop”

Split Magazine: The White StripesTHE WHITE STRIPES: ICKY THUMP

[By Vineet Kanabar] Recorded over what qualifies as a marathon session for The White Stripes (a whole three weeks), ‘Icky Thump’ re-assembles most of the scrap-heap elements that characterized the White Stripes’ pre-fame trilogy: grimy old school blues, left of centre cover art, bizarre spoken-word bits, and shameless Led Zeppelin and Bob Dylan cues. The breaking development is Jack White’s instrument sound — its tones are so aggressively tweaked that it’s hard to tell whether he’s playing a guitar that sounds like a keyboard or a keyboard being played like a guitar (prediction for the next White Stripes album gimmick: keytar). With a rejuvenated Meg White crashing through her drum kit, ‘Icky Thump’ is a throwback to good old Stevie Ray Vaughn. It’s eccentric, it’s exhilarating, it is, in parts, absolutely insane. Yet it’s never less than absolutely compelling, which is what makes The White Stripes one of the greatest bands of modern times.

Recommended songs: “Icky Thump”, “A Martyr For My Love For You”.

Split Magazine: Foo FightersFOO FIGHTERS: ECHOES, SILENCE, PATIENCE & GRACE

[By Azeem Banatwalla] Every so often, the Foo Fighters come out of nowhere and drop an album down upon us, with one unforgettable anthem somewhere in the mix. ‘Echoes Silence, Patience and Grace’ is no different.
It took me about two hours to listen to the album that is supposed to play out at 51 minutes, simply because of the first track, “The Pretender”, which I put on repeat on full volume for a good hour; I just could NOT get enough of it! I could write a whole review for just that one song, but perhaps another time.

It’s difficult to put the Foo Fighters under a specific genre, but call them Post-Grunge, Alternative, or Hard Rock, there’s no denying the quality of their music. The album has a whole load of variety from good old hard rock in “The Pretender” and “Long Road to Ruin” to mellow, melancholic acoustic numbers, the likes of “Stranger Things Have Happened”, “Statues” and “Home”. Every song stands out in its own way, and this is as complete a rock album as you are ever going to find in 2007. Dave Grohl’s pulled a bunny out of the hat again!

Recommended songs: “The Pretender”, “Stranger Things Have Happened”

Split Magazine: Nine Inch NailsNINE INCH NAILS: YEAR ZERO

[By Azeem Banatwalla] If you were looking for industrial music in 2007, you needn’t have looked further than Nine Inch Nail’s ‘Year Zero’. Everything from the album cover to the music itself is slick and really well done. The good old combination of distorted electronic riffs, thumping beats, and dark, metaphorical lyrics, provides for some great music with some serious atmosphere. If songs aren’t ridden with Trent Reznor’s trademark drawl, they’re well-crafted instrumental pieces that wouldn’t be out of place at a rave.

The album doesn’t mess about too much; with a small instrumental intro in “Hyperpower!” the album goes up a few gears straightaway with the best song on the track, “Survivalism” and continues to impress, keeping with the same, dark, atmospheric sound right until the very end. The lyrics are vintage Nine Inch Nails — the same old innuendo-ridden passages that fit the music so well — and the instrumental numbers are pretty darned good as well. Special mention for “Capital G”, “Meet Your Master” and the final track on the album, “Zero – Sum”.

Recommended songs: “Survivalism”, “Capital G”

Split Magazine: P J HarveyPJ HARVEY: WHITE CHALK

[By Vishal Gandhi] It’s expected for Polly Jean to change from album to album, and here, she trades her punk-infused bluesy guitar for an amateur dabble at the piano. Maybe, it’s the unexplored quality of the instrument that strangely but appropriately finds PJ Harvey at her most intimate and starkest since ‘To Bring You My Love’. The vocals are bare, and with such minimum accompaniment they linger long, bringing an almost Nico-like gothic appeal to the album. Harvey’s lyrics always have been confrontational and given the nature of the album, words like “Please don’t reproach me / For how empty my life has become” from “Broken Harp” ache and depress with its directness. Loneliness is a theme that runs throughout the album but the lyrics are ambiguous and cryptic enough to broach subjects as motherhood, abortion, psychosis and various personal relationship issues. ‘White Chalk’ is a “winter album” through and through, haunting and soothing at once, making you feel warm inside on a cold dark night.

Recommended songs: “Grow Grow Grow”, “The Piano”

Comments

1 Comment. Post Yours Here.
  1. November 26, 2008, 10:51 am basukidutta

    hi guys

    i haven’t heard all the above albums,But i heard radiohead ‘in rainbows’ and its their best
    work after ‘OK COMPUTER’.Songs like go slowly,last flowers are classics alternative rock
    songs.Also foo fighters latest album is definetly got foo fighters smashing their guitars
    loud with some heavy drumming action.Song like pretender proves that.Even then the album is
    not a hit.

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