Thursday Thirteen #2

Writing this one a little before Thursday as I’ve been ill the past couple of days, and this is one of the rare moments where I can look at a PC screen without getting a headache. So, for this week’s entry;

The Thirteen Albums Released This Year, That I Purchased, In Order of Preference.

13. Air – Pocket Symphony

Whilst I love Air normally, even their ‘10,000Hz Legend’ album, this particular album unfortunately comes as the worst I have bought this year. Air went from relaxing, interesting music, to the sort of music you find in elevators or on fancy screensavers. A big disappointment, which hopefully they can improve upon next time round.

12. John Barrowman – Another Side

I’ll admit I bought this on the impetus of the John Barrowman ‘brand’ when I had a spare tenner. However, the man definitely can sing, and the album’s good to sit back and relax to. However, being a covers album, I can’t justify placing it any higher when there’s a wealth of original material in the rest of the list.

11. Kaiser Chiefs – Yours Truly, Angry Mob

Whilst not succumbing to ‘dreaded second album’ syndrome, the debut album ‘Employment’ still has more catchy tunes than the latest offering. That doesn’t mean it’s a bad album however, and definitely shows the band maturing nicely. The third album should be a killer.

10. The Killers – Sawdust

Yes, it’s a B-sides album, but it’s a darn good one. With only three remixes out of 18 tracks, the rest of the album delivers the same suave electro-rock present on their normal albums, with only the cover of Joy Division’s ‘Shaowplay’ being the only real let down.

9. Nine Inch Nails – Year Zero

Whilst it’s not the best album Trent Reznor has created, the album certainly grows on you, with NIN still being one of only a few bands, in my opinion, to play to the ‘disenfranchised generation’ whilst still retaining a high dgree of musical credibility. A few of the tracks are a bit lifeless, but the rest of the album makes up for it.

8. The Bravery – The Sun and The Moon

Whilst The Bravery may get a lot of negative press, I’m still a fan that’s lasted beyond their breakthrough from ‘An Honest Mistake’. The second album follows The Killers in moving away from electronic influences to a more rock sound, creating a solid album, which whilst not likely to fill dancefloors, is well worth a listen to hear a band learning from a few mistakes on the debut album.

7. Travis – The Boy With No Name

Another band that dropped out of the mainstream view after an initial buzz, Travis have produced their fifth album of indie perfection. ‘Selfish Jean’ is one of the best singles released this year, and the rest of the album follows suit. Travis have found their niche, and play it to near-perfection.

6. Calvin Harris – I Created Disco

Whilst everyone will remember ‘Acceptable In The 80s’ for a long time to come, the real highlights come from the non-singles on the album, with the title track almost being worth the asking price alone. As a debut, the album works well, though it seems to suffer in a few slight regards from being too pop to be electro, and too electro to be pop, and it’ll be interesting to see which direction Harris decides to take on the second album.

5. Interpol – Our Love To Admire

Whilst originally seen as the ‘new Joy Division’ in some corners, Interpol have fine-tuned their sound to create the darkest album you’ll hear this year, whilst still being accessible enough to be listened to casually. It’s not quite as good as ‘Antics’ was, but it’s a fine album all the same.

4. Justice – Cross

After the letdown of Daft Punk’s third album, it seemed that French dance music had hit a rather large brick wall. Enter Justice, to deliver a stonkingly good selection of tunes, that cover both mainstream and underground influences. There’s not a single track on this album that could be considered sub-par, with the only niggle being the ommission of ‘We Are Your Friends’, the single from last summer from the tracklisting.

3. Klaxons – Myths of The Near Future

Thoroughly deserving the Mercury Prize they were awarded earlier this year, the Klaxons released an album of genius, combining rock, dance and electronica, with the end effect being like the after-effect of a Pan-Galactic Gargle-Blaster. If they can keep this up, then they’re going to reach the top, and possibly never come back down.

2. Arcade Fire – Neon Bible

What can be said about Arcade Fire that hasn’t been said already? They’ve created some of the best songs of the decade so far, and there’s still time to get a third album out by the end of it. The second album follows the same formula as their debut ‘Funeral’, with tracks such as ‘Intervention’ and ‘My Body Is a Cage’ providing the powerful impact that they’ve become famous for. I can’t recommend this album enough, and every home should have a copy of both.

1. Radiohead – In Rainbows

I was originally rather scathing when I did a review of the album when it first came out, as there are a few filler tracks that are just a bit boring. However, the arrival of the second CD in the rather beautiful discbox changes all that, weighing the scales heavily in favour of the good songs. ‘Videotape’, ‘Last Flowers’, ‘All I Need’ and ‘Up On The Ladder’ are the four stand-out tracks across the two discs, showing Radiohead combining new and old to create an album on par with their best.


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