Well, my friend, you have gone there. You went into music land. I was hoping to avoid that because of the sheer embarassment that it will bring to my being. I am far from a well-versed music expert. I have my niches and pretty much stay there. This year, I did branch out, but not as much as some will think I should have. So, I will attempt to enter this fray.
To respond to Greg, I will not criticize you for ranking Jars of Clay so highly. I really like them, and have greatly enjoyed their last three albums. I will, however, criticize you for liking that big pansy John Mayer. Just the sound of him makes me spasm into a involuntary motion towards the radio dial - to switch the station. It is going to be a looooooooong time before I am won over to THAT Dark Side. Of course, just ask some of our mutual friends in Tampa. I also used to feel that way about Caedmon's Call. Here's my list for this year.
MOST ENJOYABLE MUSIC (to me)
Back to Basics by Christina Aguillera: I figured I might as well get this humiliation started right. I don't think you can really find someone who will argue about the amazing voice. But, I dare you to sit and listen to the music on this album and try to convince me that she is not an amazing artist. Like the Hall of Fame, I am not going to judge musical talent based on her personality. Fortunately, she decided to adopt this more glamorous style and abandon that nauseating hooker one she had been sporting. She absolutely tears up this double disc - you may have to skip some songs for content. But the ones that are real throwbacks to the classics are incredible.
Daughtry by Daughtry: Oh no, my friend, the humiliation train is not through. I am an American Idol junkie (see the May 2006 Archives of this blog). And I made no secret of who I thought should have won last year. And I am proven right with this rocking album. Lots of great songs. Rock is a rare breed now. It is either way too hard, or way too Nickelback. I thought that Daughtry did a great job of finding a balance. And "What I Want" - song number seven - with Slash on guitar is just rad.
Chaotic Resolve by Plumb: I one time made a comment about how I didn't like very many female singers. I had not heard Plumb. iTunes put the first single off this album up as a "Song of the Week." I immediately went and got all four of her albums. The songwriting is amazing - and very deep. She has songs about cutting and sexual abuse. And the tempo swings from the haunting "Cut" to the dance cut "Motion" to sweet "Real Life Fairytale." There are not many artists willing to be this deep in their music.
Good Monsters by Jars of Clay: See, Greg, I am not going to rip you on this one. It is just that good. I think Jars has gotten better as they have gotten older. And their stuff is deep and convicting and inspiring. I have always like Jars of Clay (I realized how badly I wish I could find their album Much Afraid). This album is definitely one of the best. Good call, Ramer.
Crazy by Gnarls Barkley: I don't care that I have heard it a million times. I still love the song. Awesome stuff.
MOST DISAPPOINTING MUSIC
Daniel Powter by Daniel Powter: The first song was great, but then it got played to death - and then some. When I first heard it, I though that Powter could be the next Elton John. That would only be true if Elton John was a horrible musician and made your head explode.
The Rest of the Gnarls Barkley Album: Although I am going to be in a small minority here, I thought most of the album was awful. A couple songs were good - but the rest were just bizarre. I guess that was the point. (Remember people - I hated Napoleon Dynamite - so I am far from an expert of modern culture.)
Faith: A Hymn Collection by Avalon: Don't get me wrong, this is not a horrible album. It is just disappointing. But, then again, so has been each of Avalon's last few albums. Actually, since Greg Long joined the group, there has not been the same feel or quality. You would think bringing in a singer with a successful career in his own right (and husband of one of the women in the group) would be a good thing. You would be wrong. I don't know if it is that the two main voices (Jody and Jana) now must compete for lead time or what. But this group finally has had the massive switch of members catch up to it. This album should have been a slam dunk -- with all the hymn albums out there, this group should have been able to absolutely tear it up. Instead, it just seemed like a tepid rip off.
Clay Aiken: Everything this man did was a disappointment -- from his hair to his album to his interviews to his annoying personality. I had tried to be supportive of my wife's affinity for Clay, but this year officially made him beyond hope to me. Fortunately, Heather can't stand him either. :)
OTHER MUSIC NOTES (ha ha)
The Grammys are still ridiculous. They did better on some categories, but on some, there was no explanation. Every critic on this planet and three other said Bob Dylan's new album was one of the best things they ever heard. He got one nomination for Folk Album. Timbaland produced some of the biggest songs of the year ("SexyBack," "Promiscuous") and was not nominated for Producer of the Year. Mary J Blige got like nine nominations. The only song I heard on that album was her massacre of U2's "One." That alone should have gotten her banished from the ceremony.
I finally got on board the Passion/David Crowder/Chris Tomlin wagon this year. I had always been angry about how churches treated their music like official canon. David Crowder was like the poet laureate of the Southern Baptist Convention. But then I realized I was missing out on some great stuff. Tomlin's song "Party" alone won me over to his stuff. Well, that and "Indescribable." Maybe I should have led off with the second one. More respectable.
I plan on posting my movie opinions tomorrow. I am going out of town for a vacation with my wife on Thursday and won't be back until Monday. So, be looking for that hotly anticipated post. I know that Oscar voters are waiting to see the King Sized Blogs list, so they can more accurately vote.