A toast to the POOP’s 21st drunken birthday! Mark must be such a proud papa. As my people say, slainte! Speaking of my people, I wonder how my shanache ancestors would feel about the fact that my musical mind has been colonized by the Brits. Cacophony and chaos cripple Cromwellianism. I may need an intervention, Or rehab. I say, no, no, no.


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Arctic Monkeys - Favourite Worst Nightmare
The jagged and jarring guitar tension that explodes from the opening “Brain Storm” puts to rest any fear of a sophomore slump right shit quick. The rhythm section is tight, tricky and unrelenting. Alex Turner stands poised at the precipice of the pantheon. “Fluorescent Adolescent” is the song of the year to these ears. Download >> “Fluorescent Adolescent” obviously


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The Fratellis - Costello Music
Soaring debauched sing alongs to wasted youth and eloquence. Ecstatic with élan, flamingly flamboyant arrogance and all the attitude of classic Brit pop. So smart it sounds simple as big dumb fun. La la la la la la la la la. Download >> “Ole Black ‘n’ Blue Eyes”


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Wilco - Sky Blue Sky
No more broken clocks and rusty toy pianos. Jeff Tweedy decides life ain’t all that bad, shills for Volkswagen and utilizes former Rhino Records employee Nels Cline to brilliant results. This summer’s soundtrack sans the teeth. Download >> “Either Way”. Even better without the lease information


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Babyshambles - Shotter’s Nation
Pete puts down the pipe and follows the (Stephen) Street Clashing the Kinks, staggering and stumbling not so much slurring as singing within reach of a key. As emotionally open as an abscessed syringe scab, black pus and all. Download >> “Deft Left Hand”


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Pernice Brothers - Live a Little
Middle-aged elegiac symphonies to God spinning glue back into horses. Download >> “Somerville”


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Ryan Adams & The Cardinals - Easy Tiger
In which the intriguing and irritating enigma opts for excellence over saturation. Download >> “Tears of Gold”


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Amy Winehouse - Back To Black
“What kind of fuckery is this?” There’s something irresistibullish about this hot mess of a hot mess. Carpet burns never sounded so appealing. She may want to reconsider that rehab thing, however. Download >> “You Know I’m No Good”


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Fountains Of Wayne - Traffic and Weather
Mundane lives made melodic and majestic. Ginzu sharp smart enough to be both caustic and comforting. Chris Collingswood and Adam Scheslinger are like Difford and Tilbrook with more carefree irony. I might even suggest an Internet age Updike and Cheever if it didn’t sound so pompous. Oh, wait, that’s the point of this exercise, isn’t it? Download >> “Someone to Love”


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Elliot Smith - New Moon
Apparitions and eerie echoes. “Though it might not be really living, anything is better than nothing.” Just a total waste. Download >> “New Monkey”


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The Wailers - Capitol Records Rehearsal
Captured live in studio in 1973. The definitive proof that the Wailers were the greatest band in the world at the time. Joe Gibbs sits in for Bunny Wailer and his tenor mixing with Marley’s is euphoria. The studio must have been mighty cloudy. Download >> “Slave Driver”


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Radiohead - In Rainbows
The manner in which this record was released overshadowed the music itself. Which is a shame since this is their best since OK Computer. My expectations were so low that I paid a dollar for it. My enjoyment was so great high that I bought it again for $10. Support the arts, as George Bush is so fond of saying. Download >> “Body Snatchers”


Ted Leo &The Pharmacists - Living With the Living
Anthemic and ecstatically eclectic polemics pour from punk’s (?) premier pontificator. Download >> “Bomb Repeat Bomb”


The New Pornographers - Challengers
Peerless popsters mine emotional depth. Download >> “Unguided”


Modest Mouse - We Were Dead Before the Ship Even Sank
Life on Marrs. Download >> “March Into the Sea”


The Kooks - Inside in Outside Out
Ephemera and guitars. Download >> “She Moves In Her Own Way”


Bands to Watch in 2008
Black Kids
The Whigs
Honestly, John.


Live Show of 2007:
Ryan Adams drooling on Vicodin at UPAC.


Books of 2007
Redemption Song: The Ballad of Joe Strummer
The Replacements All Over But the Shouting: An Oral History
Love Is a Mixed Tape (Rob Sheffield’s wrenching account of love and loss and how music matters to both should be required reading for all POOPers)


Best contribution to a film in 2007
Glen Hansard & Marketa Irglova (Tie) “You Ain’t Going Nowhere” from I’m Not There and “Flowing Slowly” from Once. Optimism and hope.


Jim Meyers