Thursday, December 6, 2007

Best Songs From Bad (or Mediocre) Albums - 2007 Edition

For every great album this year has seen there have been even more albums that are mediocre, or just downright terrible. However, a surprising amount of those mediocre or awful releases came equipped with at least one pretty nice track. Because I don't want to tip my/our hats too early and, in a roundabout way, reveal too much about our upcoming Best Albums list, I'm only going to post a few of these "strongest links", and ask that you fill in the rest in the comments section.

Modest Mouse - "Spitting Venom"
(From the We Were Dead Before the Ship Even Sank LP)

Modest Mouse really jumped the shark with their latest album. Don't get me wrong, I'm still a Modest Mouse supporter, even if I can't stand most of We Were Dead. The cautious optimistic in me remembers that their two previous albums were released on a major label too, and I like those albums just fine. And as I mentioned in my review for this album (one of my first reviews, go me!) there are a few redeeming tracks on here, and "Spitting Venom" is definitely the one that floats above the rest.

Even from the start, with the song's acoustic intro that sounds like "Rock Lobster" meets Angels of Light, you can tell its gonna be a good one. "We were spitting venom at most everyone we know", it begins, something I think all of us could imagine Issac Brock doing in real life. Let's face it, we're all Modest Mouse fans because Issac's the kind of pessimistic jerk we can all relate to, the Bukowski of (not so) Indie Rock. This is no sappy "We've got everything!" bullshit, it's all falling off here, and Issac's the captain trying to weather a storm with too heavy of a load. The song, fittingly enough, transforms itself to reflect the sentiment. The chiming guitars and lost at sea horns give this listener a sinking feeling, literally, and puts me eye to eye with the worms and weird fishes, maybe to swim safely to shore or die alone in the ocean. If the rest of We Were Dead were half as good as this song, it could have made our Top 20 easily.

Interpol - "The Lighthouse"
(From the Our Love to Admire LP)

To be honest, this is a song that I have trouble justifying. I just spent about 20 minutes writing reasons why it is that I like this song, and they were all crap. Pure crap. I was talking out of my ass because I honestly can't think of one single good reason to like this song. I just know that I do.

Devendra Banhart -
(From the Smokey Rolls Down Thunder Canyon
Do you think Devendra likes the Doors much? Seriously, this song sounds like it could have been an outtake from L.A. Woman sessions, or maybe he's covering something from American Prayer. Whatever, the song is incredible, even if only while high.

Wilco - "Impossible Germany"
(From the Sky Blue Sky LP)

Like the latest Modest Mouse album, Sky Blue Sky has its share of good tracks. And like Devendra's "Seahorse", "Impossible Germany" has a major Classic Rock vibe going for it. But unlike Sky Blue Sky's weaker songs, it doesn't venture into boring, AOR territory, thanks in no small part Nels Cline's fancy guitar soloing. It's songs like these that make me yearn for another A Ghost is Born, an album that I enjoy immensely.

Like I said earlier, I could go on, but I won't. However, feel free to post any of your favorite songs from albums that you feel are somewhere in the bad/mediocre region in our comments section.


Claire said...

I definitely agree with the Modest Mouse choice, but I'm having a hard time agreeing with the others. I see nothing wrong with the Interpol album, it might even be my favorite.

Femme Fatale said...

I really love the song "Feather in a Baseball Cap" off the new Architecture in Helsinki....

"Love Song No. 7" from the new Clap Your Hands....

And, well, I think "mediocre" is a harsh description for the Thurston Moore album; nonetheless, I want to give props to "Silver Blue." Also that ending track is pretty badass. "What will I do next for your ears to taste?" Hey all you Sonic Youth fans out there, you need to download this track "Thurston @ 13" and laugh your asses off.

P.S. Claire, what about Turn On the Bright Lights???