Questioning the critics ...

Like that's new, eh?

So in getting ready to list my favorite albums of 2007, I take the time to peruse what others are listening to ... and being me, I hit the cool hipster indie websites.

And every single one of them is singing the praises of "Boxer" by The National and "In Rainbows" by Radiohead.

So I gave them both a two-week listen. And now, after two weeks, I don't get it.

Let's start with Radiohead. They made history by making it available for whatever you felt like paying, initially, to download it. And I'm sure a lot of people did. I'm an old school Radiohead fan. "Pablo Honey" is one of my top 10 albums of the 1990's. And "The Bends" and "Kid A" are decent pieces of work, too.

However, "In Rainbows" just doesn't rock like I like my Radiohead to rock. It's trippy, it's mellow and heavy in points, but really, for me, and as always, your mileage may vary, too mellow. I think they must have forgot that anyone can play guitar - cause there's very little of it on this album.

Now for The Natural. Really, it's not bad. However, it's not good, either. Musically, it's very enjoying. Very mellow and melodic and even engaging. And the lyrics are decent.

But Matt Berninger's voice never changes. It kinda drones on in the same tone. For forty-four minutes.

Every. Single. Song. Is. In. The. Same. Tone.

See how hard that line was to read? That's how hard this album becomes to listen to as the songs flow from one to another. As I said, it's not bad, but it's not an album to listen to often, or on repeat. It's nothing I'll ever have in heavy rotation start-to-finish, as my albums of the year list encompasses, but will be a nice "oh yeah" when it hits in the shuffle mode.

So "Boxer" won't be on my list ... neither will "Sky Blue Sky" by Wilco, because as I said at the time of my review, it's not an album I'll listen to. I like the songs, but not the album.

And that's how I judge my "Albums of the Year" list - the whole album. As presented by the artist.

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