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Archive for December, 2007

The 28 Best Albums of 2007

Dancing

Hey Fahim, is that you striking that suave pose? I think that girl on the right’s checkin’ you out! But seriously, he does look eerily similar to the jr. high you…right down to the nerdy clothes…HA!

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Yes, that’s right. It’s time to put on those dancing shoes because we’re ready to announce Michael’s Top Albums of 2007!

Since you guys are all excited, I’ll try to hurry up and introduce the list. I set out trying to compile a simple top 10 list. So I decided to first amass a large base of albums to choose from. Then I couldn’t decide which ones to cut, so I just decided to make a list with however many albums I had. I put them all in a certain order and was painstakingly comparing, re-listening, re-ordering, and re-ordering again for an hour or two. Then I just stopped because I realized that there was no way I was going to spend any more time and energy on a list that only 4 people will read. So here’s the best list ever of the top 28 albums of 2007. (I hope no one else has made a “top 28″list. If so, I’m not sure if this will be “The Best” anymore.) Some album descriptions will be one sentence, others may be up to two paragraphs, and, in some descriptions, I may not even talk about the album. I’m not sure, we’ll see how it goes. But ALL will have one or two carefully selected sample songs to whet your appetite. I can wholeheartedly recommend all of these albums as “sound” investments (by the way, that is a clever, wit-tastic pun. I put quotation marks just in case anyone might miss it), so go buy them, or hear them in concert, or something. I hope you enjoy the list.

(Click on the artist/album name to go to the Amazon page where you can check out or buy the album. I get absolutely no compensation for it. I probably should though…)

(more…)

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It’s Christmas Eve. All your shopping better be done by now…mine is. Fortunately, I don’t have many people to buy stuff for (or is that unfortunate?). Anyways, Melissa, a fellow blogger in the blogosphere (I like that word), wrote an excellent post inspired by the holiday madness. After I read it, I proclaimed it as “the bastard love-child of Dr. Seuss and C.S. Lewis”—and Melissa agreed with my description. (I also really like the phrase “bastard love-child,” especially when I come across it in otherwise serious book/movie/music reviews.) This is her lovely story, titled “How the Wench Stole Christmas”:
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It came without ribbons! It came without tags! It came without packages, boxes, or bags! He puzzled and puzzled till his puzzler was sore. Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn’t before! Maybe Christmas, he thought, doesn’t come from a store. Maybe Christmas… perhaps… means a little bit more….

I remember the first time I saw the Grinch get an awful idea. His Grinchy wonderful, awful idea. His smile grew and grew and grew until he should have run out of a face, but his face held a trace of a smile that made me brace, brace, brace, brace.

As a little girl, I thought he was just awful, stealing those poor Who presents, making their Christmas as empty as a Who peasant’s. But as I grew older, and wiser, and grim, I sort of made a anti-Who-shopping hero out of him.

That grinch who hated material wealth, who despised bee-bobs and doodads, and empty wishes for good health. The grinch became a hero, a green man in tights, who boycotted Who darkness by putting out their lights.

I hoo-rahed and hoorayed and snipped my own debt cards, feeling somehow more righteous for judging those Who-hearts.

And what happened then? Well, I grew up some more – and I realized something I’d never quite realized before. While Whos like to shop, like to shop til they drop, like to head to the store and hop hop hop hop. Deep down inside, I think most Whos will tell you, that Christmas is not about what the department store sells you. I believe that we Who-mans are not as dark as some naysayers say, but still largely believe in the Spirit of the day. There is an old saying, as old as the sun, about inner battles, since time was first spun. About lights shining in darkness, just like Old Tannenbaum’s, and giving, not getting, being second to none.

But I think in the stink of the inner cesspool of man, the lights sometimes go out, though that isn’t our plan. We Whos find ourselves working – working ever so hard – and in working, working, working, we forget the first part. We forget why we gift-wrap gifts in our houses, why we open our doors and even give cheese to the mouses. We forget Who first gave, and then gave some more, not out of His debt, but out of His store. While we Whos frantically try to honor his rule, that we love our family, our neighbors, and even the fool, we forget the Rulemaker in the midst of our Yule.

In our effort to serve, we go overboard, we sink in our own goodness, and become what we deplored. We buy what’s not needed – we buy what chains – we buy things for others so that our own identity gains. We buy for those who can likewise return, and then they buy us back so that we don’t feel spurned. On and on the buying goes so that no one remembers the end of their nose, or the simple cheer that came from a Christmas that snows.

But if we should wake and find the baubles gone, I believe man, in his better parts, would go on. Whether eventually, or at the first, I believe his hands would clasp those beside him, whether or not a gift was inside them – that he would welcome to this meeker feast, even the smallest in line to share the roast beast. I believe when you meet man, he can be angel or demon, and what he becomes may hinge on how you greet him. The war is inside, though Christmas is without; we may put out our own light, but the Star of Christmas will never go out.

Welcome, Christmas, bring your cheer. Cheer to all Whos far and near. Christmas Day is in our grasp so long as we have hands to clasp. Christmas Day will always be just as long as we have we. Welcome Christmas while we stand, heart to heart and hand in hand. ~ the incomparable Dr. Seuss
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Song of the Day (follow link to download page):

Sufjan Stevens – “Get Behind Me, Santa!”

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In the spirit of retrospective looks back on the year, here are some memorable youtube videos I came across this year. And because of my very spotty memory, by “this year” I mostly mean “whatever I remember from the last 4 months or so.” Without further ado, I bring to you my top 6 personal youtube favorites of 2007! In random order! Woooooo! I…don’t know what we’re yelling about! Loud Noises!!

1) You think your wedding day was/will be stressful? Watch this and count your blessings:

2) You think you know what “androgynous” means? Give it some more thought after watching this (you have to watch at least to the 1 minute mark):

3) I never knew birds had such rhythm. Perfectly synchronized foot/leg swinging and stomping. This bird is a natural. His/Her infectious dancing spreads in a matter of seconds to the bird at the left of the screen in the background.

4) Ever wonder why some white chicks (or any young girl…or guy) flash up gang signs whenever a camera is within sight? This next guy pondered that same question — and wrote a song about it. (oh…watch for the coffee mug. it basically pushes the video to awesomeness level.)

5) I love nerds who love sports. (So yes, I love myself.) Paul Brogan artfully remixes Fergilicious, Mims’ “This Is Why I’m Hot,” and Nelly Furtado to make some great comments on the state of the NBA.

6) This next video is one I used to watch at least once everyday to make me smile. Now I watch it every week. At least. “Baby juggah” “Blood-duh” “Not funny!”

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I know I’m forgetting at least 17 other ones. So if you happen to know any more, please let me know. I cannot let the year wind down without giving those other videos some recognition.

Songs of the Day (follow links to download page):

Spoon – “I Turn My Camera On”
Okkervil River – “Our Life Is Not a Movie or Maybe”

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Yatta!!!

Hiro Nakamura

I am DONE! Finished. Over. Done with this HUMUNGO, GI-NORMOUS, HELL of a to-do list. Every. Damn. Thing.

I feel like I’ve lost 2 years off of my life expectancy. Not too sure of my final grades this semester but if I were a betting man, and I had to put money on it, I’d bet that I got a 4.0 =)

For further explanation on how I feel right now, please refer to the “Songs of the Day.”

Songs of the Day (follow links to download page):

Talib Kweli – “Joy”
Apples In Stereo – “Energy”
Polyphonic Spree – “Light & Day”

Polyphonic Spree – “Guaranteed Nightlite”
Blackalicious – “Powers”
Belle & Sebastian – “The Boy With the Arab Strap”
Decemberists – “Bridges & Balloons” (Joanna Newsom cover)
The Beatles – “Across the Universe”

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