Well, I'm sitting here in my apartment-ful of Christmas boxes & pre-holiday mess, but before I get to that the priority is making THE LISTS. Or rather, the LIST and some one-off favorites, seeing as how I cannot for the life of me put together ten great movies (despite, or perhaps because of, going through with a pledge to see every Summer Blockbuster as I did in my teens) or books (having started 'Library School' and not having time to read a damned thing in the last four months). TV- yeah, yeah, Lost was okay, South Park was amazing, Peter Mansbridge still rocks The National, so the status quo's in place all around (although when I actually happened upon Oprah for the first time in years & Cormac McCarthy was on, that was pretty awesome).
So first: RRRRRECORDS.
1) Iron and Wine, The Shepherd's Dog
I think Sam Beam has the 'current' Bob Dylan beat in terms of lyrics and musicality. Enough said there.
2) Museum Pieces, City of Brotherly Love
Even though they live in the same town and run in pretty much the same circles that I do, I am such a nerd for this band. New material from Tyler Messick & Andy March makes me feel the same way I did when another tape from R.E.M.'s back catalogue would arrive for me at the local record store when I was a music-gobbling sixteen year-old.
3) Angelo Badalamenti and David Lynch, Twin Peaks Season Two Music
The original Twin Peaks soundtrack is my most listened-to recording of all time. This might match if not beat that record.
4) M.I.A., Kala
And speaking of over-listening- it's only been two days since I first heard this, but man, it makes the world a better place, and will I think go non-stop straight through the summer for me. I remember as the eighties turned to the nineties all these major-label princes like Bono, Sting, and Michael Stipe were smugly stating that this big world-music-fusion thing was going to happen, but I'd reckon they imagined it would be a lot safer than this (like Ladysmith Black Mambazo backing up Paul Simon ballads safe). When I actually liked U2, every new release seemed like it was simultaneously blaring out of cars in Paris, Brazil, New York, their righteous message doing the globe a world of good. I really hope it's the same for M.I.A., in Paris dancehalls, Brazilian ghettos, what have you- but the U.S., ain't gonna see her live like we do, cause they done banned her- which means she's doing something a)right or b)important. Check out this remix of 'Paper Planes':
5) The Acorn, Glory Hope Mountain
Along the lines of Arcade Fire's Funeral in terms of theme and feeling, kind of. Very bold & very nice at the same time, which is tough to pull off.
6) Julie Doiron, Woke Myself Up
Some real grown-up songwriting & pretty much an Eric's Trip reunion at times, which incidentally was the second-best show I saw this year.
7) Jenn Grant, Orchestra for the Moon
I had this in the car all summer, cruising around Nova Scotian country roads. & After she closed out QEH with her CD release show it was everywhere in Halifax, in coffeshops and living rooms, like a unifying force. And, it was brought to us in part by Jason MacIsaac and Dave Christiansen.
8) Tegan and Sara, The Con
For the four repeated piano notes in 'Back In Your Head', which, now that I've thought of them, will be Back In My Head for a few more weeks.
9) Great Lake Swimmers, Ongiara
Tony Dekker seems to be coming to terms with his abject misery, which makes for less interesting subject matter, and, as noted by a slew of CBC on-air personalities, writing 'tighter, better' songs, meaning 'more boring'. But this is still growing on me.
10) Arcade Fire, Neon Bible
Unlike a lot of mainstream media critics, I thought a lot of the 'political' lyricism on this was, well, juvenile and stupid, kind of, like some of the stuff my buddy Lance would write when he was a passionately frustrated twenty-year-old activist (sorry, Lance, I wrote those songs too). But, still, these guys have le complicite and a great spirit. And really made the list because they put on not only the best show I saw this year, but the best rock show I've ever seen.
Some honorable mentions: Buck 65, Situation, Lil Wayne, Tha Carter III (talk about Bob Dylan; this guy's rhymes sound like Early Bob sometimes), Wu-Tang Clan, Eight Diagrams (which I haven't heard yet, but hey, it's the Wu), Bright Eyes, Cassadaga, John Abercrombie, The Third Quartet, Soundtrack, The Darjeeling Limited.
YEAR'S BEST MUSIC VIDEO:
This one for Kanye West's 'Can't Tell Me Nothin', featuring Zach Galifianakis and Will Oldham:
BEST PERFORMANCE IN A FILM I HAVEN'T SEEN:
If they gave out Oscars for Most Incredibly Delivered Single Line of Dialogue, Daniel Day-Lewis gets it for this trailer.
Though I had 'fun' at The Darjeeling Limited and Margot at the Wedding, the only contender from my Summer Movie-a-thon was, yes, here we go, that's right, Transformers. I've been waiting for a kick-ass, empty piece of awesome smackdown entertainment since The Phantom Menace, and this takes it, and would take it still if the whole movie was the ten seconds where Prime says "Megatron" and Megatron says "Prime".
AND ONE BOOK:
Don Domanski, All Our Wonder Unavenged
I've known Don since I was born, and as I've grown as a person he's grown as a poet. And this year he won the $25,000 Governor General's Literary Prize for Poetry for this, a book that shoots the moon and will put him for good and for sure among the best poets on the face of the Earth, forever.
Well, good people, there you go. I hope everyone had a worthwhile 2007 and that you're all excited about something or other in 2008 (real-life stuff, I mean- but hey, there's Indiana Jones IV in the summer and Star Trek at Christmas, & isn't the Watchmen movie next year?). I had a rather... intriguing year myself, as is hinted at throughout this blog, but my resolutions are in place and I'm more than ready to hang my new calendars, so to speak. Peace and goodwill to all y'all.