Darren's Top 10 of 2007

by Darren Paltrowitz

10. Hannah Montana -- Hannah Montana 2 / Meet Miley Cyrus
Say what you will about teen pop-stars, but the songwriters behind the Disney tracks are geniuses. I like hooks and energy, and while there are some clunkers among the 20 tracks, there's no shortage of memorable choruses.
9. Superdrag -- 4 Track Rock!!! 1992-1995 + Complete "Bender" Sessions
A 2-disc compilation of Superdrag demos prior to their first major label release. Sound quality varies from track to track, but the song quality cannot be denied.
8. Motion City Soundtrack -- Even If It Kills Me
Not as fast as the band's two previous albums, but just as poppy and energetic. Co-produced by Ric Ocasek and Adam Schlesinger. Need I say more?
7. Thrice -- The Alchemy Index: Volumes I & II
Like Cave In, Thrice is a band that seems undecided about whether they want to play hardcore-metal or shoegazer-rock. I'm not a hardcore fan, but I can live with the screams that Thrice adds in there. I look forward to the 2008 follow-up.
6. Suburban Legends -- Infectious
It shocks me to no end that this band is unsigned. This album features the Orange County sextet moving further away from punk and ska and closer towards radio hits.
5. Maritime -- Heresy and The Hotel Choir
Easily the most cohesive album that Maritime has put out. Some of it sounds like Davey and Dan's old band, The Promise Ring, but a lot of it goes into previously-uncharted power-pop territory.
4. Jimmy Eat World -- Chase The Light
The guitar swirls and irresistible ballads are back. There is only one song on here that I'd even consider hitting the skip button on.
3. John Davis -- Arigato!
The frontman of Superdrag goes back to basics and brings out his influences like Dinosaur Jr. and Husker Du beyond the usual power-pop. In turn, "Arigato!" sometimes sounds like the album that Dave Grohl wishes he'd made the last few times he entered a studio.
2. Band Of Horses -- Cease To Begin
One of the few hyped British bands of the past few years that I've bought into. The third song gives me chills almost every time I hear it.
1. Classic Case -- Losing At Life
With no hesitation do I call this my favorite album of 2007. Unfortunately the band went on hiatus shortly after its release. Always melodic, always with an edge, as produced by Page Hamilton of Helmet.


Honorable Mention

Hanoi Rocks -- Street Poetry: This was a #2 album in Japan, yet it remains unreleased in the United States. It's a shame when a band's name alone will hold them back as this doesn't sound like the 1980s.

The Donnas -- Bitchin': I didn't like their last two albums much, or maybe I just needed a break from bands who write the same songs over and over. But "Bitchin'" has some great rock-party anthems along with the usual impressive guitar work from Alison Robertson.

I Hate Kate -- Embrace The Curse: Produced by Linus Of Hollywood, this one also remains unreleased in the States, although a U.S. release is in the works. Justin from Zebrahead returns with a disc that sounds very little like his own band. Expect some great punk-pop, of which Social Distortion's Mike Ness is a fan, along with a handful of radio-friendly ballads.


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