Wednesday, January 3, 2007

Adam "Gunny" Willis' Music Year In Review

Greatest Singles of the Year
5. “I Don’t Feel Like Dancing” Scissor Sisters (as discussed, why are they not bigger in America?)
4. “Black Magic” Jarvis Cocker (2nd Best Sample of the Year)
3. “Hip Hop Is Dead” Nas (Best Sample of the Year)
2. “What You Know” T.I. (The King. Greatest Hip-Hop Anthem of the Year)
1. “Crazy” Gnarls Barkley (Inescapable, but definitely the most infectious and brilliant dance song of the year and probably one of the best singles of the past 10 years. Sorry.)

Honorable Mention Albums of the Year
4. Bishop Allen’s Monthly EP Experiment (a favorite band of mine, dropped from their label embarked on an ambitious project worth mentioning out of it's sheer ambition)
3. Jarvis Cocker Jarvis (A very good return to form from Harry Potter star and former Pulp frontman. Will most likely get more listening in the year to come. (see Greatest Singles above))
2. Beck The Information (as with the next album on the list, this was a very decent album by an old favorite. Leaps and bounds above Guero for me, some fantastic songs but all in all lacking in spirit.)
1. Flaming Lips At War With The Mystics (Disappointing but very good. It's altogether possible that I will grow to like this album much more somewhere down the road. But maybe not.)
Top 10 Albums of the Year
10. Lupe Fiasco, Food & Liquor (Kanye protege of sorts delivered a fantastic hip-hop album about Buddhism and skateboarding, I think, while Kanye did the soundtrack to MI:3. And seriously, that's one of the best rap monikers around.)
9. Phoenix, It’s Never Been Like That (Best Strokes Album of the Year. They have wonderful hair and wardrobes. I'm a sucker for French pop and they know how to deliver it. This time they delivered it as rock n' rollers instead of as Steely Dan and it really grew on me.)
8. The Walkmen A Hundred Miles Off (No comment. I just liked it.)
7. The Clipse, Hell Hath No Fury (They continue to be the greatest rap duo around and live up to any and all hype they receive. This album is way dark compared to their previous major label release. They rap about dealing drugs and appear to continue to do both in equal amounts which holds more credibility for me than every other rapper who "quit the game" and survived to utterly sell out and make mediocre rap albums, movies, tennis shoes and designer jeans.)
6. Band Of Horses Everything All The Time ("The Funeral" is probably the indie single of the year and deservedly so. Lots of people already mentioned this album's merits so I'll agree. This one grew on me all year long and I continued to revisit it throughout 2006.)
5. Girl Talk, Night Ripper (Is it called sampling, mixing or mashing-up? This PB recommendation was a mind-blower and I burnt it and gave it to a young British commercial director I worked for in the hopes that he would enjoy someone else's music which I copied and gave to him so much that he would give me a big break into the industry. Still waiting for that, will let you know.)
4. Peter Bjorn & John, Writer’s Block (I waited too long to pull this one out of nowhere and my thunder was stolen and apparently a lot of other people had also heard this album. Probably my new favorite band.)
3. Jenny Lewis & The Watson Twins, Rabbit Fur Coat (I'm pretty sure I downloaded this album before it was out in 2005 and put it on my list last year. Oops. Either way, it deserves to be on two years running for me because I've listened to it that much. I clearly have a greater love of country music than even I thought. This album is also a real "wife-pleaser" of a CD.)
2. Grandaddy, Whatever Happened To The Fambly Cat (You might think this made the list because they're one of my favorite bands and they officially broke up this year with this release, and that might have something to do with it. Either way, it made Ryan McNeill cry and has many times gotten me pretty damn close. It's a tie with number one as far as most listens of the year.)
1. Belle & Sebastian, The Life Pursuit (You know what, it's a perfect album and it would appear that they have completely come into their own as far as songwriting goes. Nobody does twee better, and this one is honestly less twee than ever and provides some really timeless, perfectly crafted pop songs. Finding Thom McMahon and an inebriated and shirtless Paul Bost at their fantastic Hollywood Bowl show was a highlight of the year.)

Adam Willis

Adam "Gunny" Willis' General Year In Review

In writing something of this nature, I tend to dwell on my decision for too long. The main reason for this is that having a limited amount of time and money for buying/"buying"(downloading) music, watching movies, reading books (ha!), watching television and generally participating in cultural studies restricts the pool from which I can draw. Therefore these year end lists would probably be more accurate a few years down the road after I've had the chance to watch more DVDs and listen to more CD releases from the year in question.

The lists on this blog alternately make me feel good and bad about my tastes in pop culture. I hope the following best-of-lists of my own will impress you and make you feel ashamed for not nearly being as cultured as I am. Sorry for the length of this post. Enjoy!

Best Movies I Saw in 2006
7. Wassup Rockers! (maybe not the 7th best, but very enjoyable and influenced me to take up skateboarding too late in life)
6. Borat
5. The Departed
4. Half Nelson
3. A Guide To Recognizing Your Saints
2. Brick
1. The Fountain

Worthy Acting Performances Worth Mentioning In Which The Film Itself Did Not Make The Top 7
Sasha Baron Cohen- Talledega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby (I still stand by my comment of this being a "Peter Sellers-worthy comedic performance)
1. Isaac Laskin- Art School Confidential (most shocking recognition of an actor on screen, and most Malkovich scene-stealing performance of the year)

Best Movie Trailer of the Year
1. Marie Antoinette (the initial teaser featuring New Order's "Age of Consent")
View Trailer

Best Television Shows of the Year
4. MTV's Two-A-Days (my lack of interest in the past few Real World Seasons, Real World/Road Rules Challenge-esque shows, and the latter 2 Seasons of Laguna Beach provided a gaping hole in my youth culture "reality" programming which this show filled. There's nothing like High School Football and High School Drama. Also, those Alabama jocks had the best uniform hairstyles of the year.)
3. 30 Rock (Tracy Morgan and Alec Baldwin. Fantastic.)
2. Saxondale (Steve Coogan's latest BBC Comedy, see it now before it is made into a watered down, slightly less-funny American version for NBC)
1. Sopranos Season 6 (I can't help being on the bandwagon, it's great.)

Most Un-funny Television Show of the Year Which The General Public As Well As Multiple Friends & Family Find Funny to My Lack of Understanding
1. My Name Is Earl (Jason Lee is much smaller in real life than he appears on screen.)

Most Cliche Celebrity Sighting Observation Used In This Best-Of-List
1. Celebrities are always smaller in real life.

Facial Hair of the Year
1. Beards

(This was such a ridiculously long post, that I have split it up into 2 to look less obnoxious.)

Adam Willis