2007: The year in music

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In a guest appearance on her Broken Social Scene band mate Jason Collett’s 2005 album “Idols of Exile,” charismatic Metric front woman Emily Haines teased, “I told you I never make a promise / a promise I can keep.”It seems the exception proves the rule; when the oft-political, Toronto-based indie/electronica band hit First Avenue Sept. 26., Haines pledged to the crowd to “rock your faces off.”

On that vow, Metric (Haines, guitarist James Shaw, bassist Josh Winstead and drummer Joules Scott-Key) certainly made good. Mixing sophisticated yet eminently danceable hits like “Combat Baby” and “Dead Disco” with promising road tests of songs for a forthcoming album, Metric kept it engaging, with Haines alternately delivering her own heartbreaking, sinuous vocals and flirting with the crowd, and inviting clap- and sing-alongs.

“You know why you have to sing?,” cooed Haines. “Because it’s a Wednesday night, because it’s Minneapolis, because it doesn’t fucking matter. Actions have no impact whatsoever. Do whatever you want!”

The crowd eagerly relented, gently ahhing to the dark “Rock Me Now,” to an uncanny, ethereal effect.

And who wouldn’t comply? Donning silver tights and a black t-shirt-turned-ever-so-form-fitting dress, the inexpressibly, darkly gorgeous Haines – the best characterization I’ve heard is that “she sort of looks like a cigarette” – spoke with the confidence of a woman and a band who don’t take no for an answer.

“You can beat the system,” she grinned, alluding to both Metric’s leftist politics and its recent defiant re-recording and release of their never-officially released first album, 2001’s “Grow Up and Blow Away.”

“This band is evidence of that. This venue is evidence of that. This crowd is evidence of that.”

Indeed. Given the beauty and charisma of its enemies, one almost pities the system.

David Seitz

For the past few years, I’ve busted the bank buying CDs. This year, I was able to afford groceries. What’s up with that?
For the past few years, naming my favorite album of the year was a difficult decision, usually resulting in a three- or four-way tie.

This year, it was easy to name my favorite album.

Relief? No.

It should be difficult to name my favorite album, because every year should deliver dozens of exciting albums.

A few of my favorite artists disappointed me. Rilo Kiley was nothing special. The Arcade Fire’s “Neon Bible” was a let-down – though to be fair, “Funeral” is hard to top. Bj”rk’s “Volta” offered only one exciting song (“Earth Intruders”). Animal Collective was okay, but I’m worried that they peaked with “Feels,” and I wish we could look forward to more from them. Radiohead was badass, for obvious reasons, but let’s face it: “In Rainbows” is not their best album yet. Gogol Bordello’s “Super Taranta” was good, but it sounds exactly like “Immigrant Punk.” It’s boring when a follow-up doesn’t change a bit, or do something new.

Other years, I’ve gotten excited about dozens of bands’ debuts. This year, nada.

So what was my favorite album?

Hands down, far and above, Beirut’s “Flying Club Cup.”

Emily Joan Smith

When I first heard the grinding bass of “Little Cream Soda” on the Current earlier this year while driving home, I couldn’t help but crank the volume. Of course, this was a bad idea in a suburbanite neighborhood where I got many-a-dirty-look from uptight soccer moms about to pick up their children from school. Refusing to care about trite motherly opinions on loud music, I realized I had found another juicy album by the White Stripes.