Mostly soul in this years selection - is it my taste that is changing, or was it a soul year? Not much electronica at all, which isn't like me. I promise to be more on the electronica side in 2008.
I think this is the last year I will be doing it this style. Next year will be a top track list I think. The album as concept is still important for us oldies, but the single and online presence is more important. It will make a big difference in the selection I'm sure. Compiling a top album list tends to fokus on certain old school qualities, and I'm getting a little tired of this.
I've added a sound clip per album, so you get an idea of the sounds I like. I also list a youtube link - another important dimension of the music for sure. When it works, it really adds something to the song.
I've looked at some different top lists for inspiration, but it was a weak year I think (I say that every year). The albums on my top 10 are all good imo, but there were not that many candidates. The other top lists I thought were worth reading were Pitchfork's top 50 albums and SPIN's 40 best albums. The iTunes "staff picks" was also quite ok.
All 10 x 2 songs in one mp3 file (30 secs per song, downsampled, 4.7 MB)
1. Robin Thicke - The evolution of Robin Thicke
Solid, both in writing and performance. Smooth without being too sweet. Quite unknown album, for its quality I mean. It really should top more lists.
Complicated + Lost without you. (2 x 30 seconds, mp3)
2. Keyshia Cole - Just like you
A big album. Maybe it's just the initial fascination, but this could be a new classic album in this genre. Laid-back and holding back in a good way - less is often more. Check out tracks "Falling out" and "Give me more". I don't know how r&b could be any better.
Give me more + Just like you. (2 x 30 seconds, mp3)
3. Rodney Hunter - Hunterville
What? No videos at all? That's not really acceptable in 2007 guys! All I could find was this basic myspace page.
This is how Vienna sounds today. Not at all like K&D, but with an own style. I like this album a lot. Nice to play in the background, mixed in styles.
Definition pt 2 + Universe. (2 x 30 seconds, mp3)
4. 4hero - Play with the changes
Wikipedia says: "4hero is a band from Dollis Hill, North London, comprising Dennis 'Dego' McFarlane, Mark 'Marc Mac' Clair, Gus Lawrence, and Ian Bardouille. While the band is often cited as 4 Hero (or 4-Hero), 4hero is the style of the name used on the band's albums and website.".
The album is almost too polished and perfect. There's nothing wrong with rough and organic imo.
Bed of roses + Look inside. (2 x 30 seconds, mp3)
5. Jazztronik - Grand Blue
One thing's for sure: there will always be a new album by Ryota Nozaki. He's incredibly productive. He shows a new style and sound for every album. This is more "classic" Jazztronik though, almost like jazzfunk in style and maybe a little bit acidjazz too, no?
BRA. Step + Jazztronik had a party. (2 x 30 seconds, mp3)
6. Freemasons - Unmixed
I like quality dance music (if there is such a thing). This means bands like CrazyP and some house labels (Naked etc). I could have selected David Guetta instead I guess - he had an incredible year with lots of airtime. I know it's a bit lightweight but there's nothing wrong with that.
I'm quite weak for the vocals on Unmixed, like in this video clip. You'll see.
Love don't live here anymore + Uninvited. (2 x 30 seconds, mp3)
7. Miguel Migs - Those things
More of upbeat club music. More house than Freemasons but otherwise quite close. Lisa Shaw and Aya on vocals.
Side2side + Sometime. (2 x 30 seconds, mp3)
8. The Politik + The Politik
Bembé Segué and Mark de Clive-Lowe are The Politik. I like the funky, broken style. Not immediate music - you have to play it a number of times to get into it. A different kind of quality. There's a fun remix competition that could get you a place on their next album.
Saturn + She's gone. (2 x 30 seconds, mp3)
9. Albin Janoska - Le grand baheux
Who knew an album cover like that could hold this good music? Again Vienna. He used to produce old acidjazzers Count Basic.
All I wanna do + Ruffcutz. (2 x 30 seconds, mp3)
10. Jill Scott - The real thing: word and sounds vol. 3
She's better live than on album. The youtube clip clearly show this. A couple of strong tracks.
Only you + Wanna be loved. (2 x 30 seconds, mp3)