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10. In The Flowers by Animal Collective
9. Sleepyhead by Passion Pit
8. Surf Solar by Fuck Buttons
7. Blood by the Middle East
6. With This Ship by the Basics
5. Carol Brown by Flight of the Conchords
4. Love Like A Sunset by Phoenix
3. Counterpoint by Delphic
2. Summertime Clothes by Animal Collective
1. Hearing Damage by Thom Yorke

50. The King Is Dead – The Herd
49. Bullet – End of Fashion
48. Desire Be Desire Go – Tame Impala
47. Silouettic – Birds of Tokyo
46. Social Currency – Children Collide
45. I’m Not Gonna Teach Your Boyfriend How To Dance With You – The Black Kids
44. Machine Gun – Portishead
43. Talons – Bloc Party
42. You Don’t Know Me – Ben Folds/Regina Spektor
41. Jealousy – Sparkadia
40. Spaz – N.E.R.D.
39. Ready For The Floor – Hot Chip
38. Fools – The Dodos
37. Mercury – Bloc Party
36. Strange Times – The Black Keys
35. Brainwascht – Ben Folds
34. Yes – Coldplay
33. Halfway Home – TV On The Radio
32. White Winter Hymnal – Fleet Foxes
31. Death and All of His Friends – Coldplay
30. Bitch Went Nuts – Ben Folds
29. Trojan Horse – Bloc Party
28. So Haunted – Cut Copy
27. Sex On Fire – Kings of Leon
26. Get It – Dukes of Windsor
25. The Other Side – Pendulum
24. Paris – Friendly Fires
23. Family Tree – TV On The Radio
22. Les Artistes – Santogold
21. Ares – Bloc Party
20. Far Away – Cut Copy
19. The Lighthouse Song – Josh Pyke
18. Gamma Ray – Beck
17. Happiness – Goldfrapp
16. Something Is Not Right With Me – Cold War Kids
15. Pork And Beans – Weezer
14. Better Than Heaven – Bloc Party
13. Pull Me Out Alive – Kaki King
12. Ion Square – Bloc Party
11. Shake A Fist – Hot Chip
10. The Eraser (remix) – XXXchange
9. Golden Age – TV On The Radio
8. Midnight Madness – Chemical Brothers
7. Viva la Vida – Coldplay
6. Dancing Queen (cover) – Whitley
5. Signs – Bloc Party
4. The Rip – Portishead
3. Jump In The Pool – Friendly Fires
2. Walking on a Dream – Empire of the Sun
1. No Sex For Ben – The Rapture

The quality of your taste in music is defined by how many of these songs you already have (i.e. how close it is to mine, which is the correct one). 

1. A.M. 180 by Grandaddy
2. After All These Years by Silverchair
3. All I Need by Radiohead
4. All My Friends by LCD Soundsystem
5. All These Things That I’ve Done by the Killers
6. Baba O’Riley (Teenage Wasteland) by The Who
7. Bad Day by REM
8. Band On The Run by Wings
9. Bliss by Muse
10. Blow Up The Pokies by the Whitlams
11. Body Movin’ by the Beastie Boys (Fatboy Slim remix)
12. Bohemian Like You by the Dandy Warhols
13. Don’t Panic by Coldplay
14. The Drugs Don’t Work by the Verve
15. The End by the Doors
16. Everything In Its Right Place by Radiohead
17. Extreme Ways by Moby
18. Glorious by Muse
19. The Golden Path by the Chemical Brothers (feat. the Flaming Lips)
20. Going To California by Led Zeppelin
21. Harrowdown Hill by Thom Yorke
22. Heart It Races by Architecture in Helsinki
23. Heart’s A Mess by Gotye
24. Hospital Beds by the Cold War Kids
25. How Soon Is Now by the Smiths
26. Ice Cream by Muscles
27. Kick In The Door by Skunkhour
28. Kids With Guns by Gorillaz
29. Kinetic by Radiohead
30. Life Is Better With You by Eskimo Joe
31. Mad World by Gary Jules
32. Mr E’s Beautiful Blues by Eels
33. Night Drive by Gotye
34. No Cars Go by Arcade Fire
35. The Nosebleed Section by the Hilltop Hoods
36. O Yeah by End of Fashion
37. The Old Boy by Jo-Yeong Wook (Oldboy soundtrack)
38. Planet Telex by Radiohead
39. Pogo by Digitalism
40. Pyramid Song by Radiohead
41. Rabbit In Your Headlights by UNKLE (feat. Thom Yorke)
42. The Real Thing by Russell Morris
43. Send Me On My Way by Rusted Root
44. Set Fire To The Third Bar by Snow Patrol
45. She’s A Rainbow by the Rolling Stones
46. Song To Say Goodbye by Placebo
47. Staralfur by Sigur Ros
48. Tank! by the Seatbelts (Cowboy Bebop soundtrack)
49. Time To Pretend by MGMT
50. Tuesday’s Dead by Cat Stevens

It’s that time of again – the limbo period between Christmas and New Year’s, where the year is pretty much over but not quite and everyone stands around looking at their watches and coughing loudly to try and hint it out of the room. Eventually it trudges through the doorway with one last forlorn look over the shoulder, and disappears into the mist outside.

Let’s recap what I thought of movies, books and music in 2007. Note that this only includes what I actually saw/heard/read. I’m sure there were far better movies than Transformers, but I didn’t see them, so yeah.

FILMS

10. Superbad
Not nearly as funny as everyone thought (minus the anomaly of Anchorman, most comedy films of this decade are terrible), but still worth watching.

9. Transformers
I was never a fan of the franchise as a kid, so I went into this without the astronomical expectations everyone else seemed to have, and I was pleasantly surprised. Shia LeBeouf is a great leadman with an excellent sense of humour, and the CGI and cinematography was top notch. Even an arrogant left-winger like me had an enormous boner for American military might during most of the battle scenes, although it did get a little too much towards the end (no way we can beat the Decepticons without THE AIR FORCE!)

8. Sunshine
Once you get over the oddly anachronistic basis for the plot (throwing a bomb into the sun in order to “reboot” it, on par with The Core for bad science and not something I expect from British cinema) this is an eerie and haunting psychological thriller, despite losing its way towards the end. It also had the most chilling line of any movie I saw this year, which I now present completely out of context:
Capa: “Trey is dead. There are only four crew members.”
Icarus: “Negative. Five crew members.”
Capa: “Icarus… who is the fifth crew member?”
Icarus: “Unknown.”
Capa: “Where is the fifth crew member?”
Icarus: “In the observation room.”

7. Hot Fuzz
I was going to just upload my .gif of Simon Pegg kicking an old woman in the face, but it’s too big for imageshack, so I’ll leave it at this: pretty good, better than Shaun of the Dead, still suffers from “not funny enough” like most other comedies of this decade.

6. 28 Weeks Later.
The “Aliens” to 28 Days Later’s “Alien”, i.e. it is an awesome action movie sequel to an awesome horror movie. It did lose something in the transition from low-budget to high-budget, but outside of the dubious helicopter-slicing-up-bodies scene, it managed to avoid most of the Hollywood cliches. And the conclusion is excellent. Once you realise the full implications of the final scene (using the concepts established in the first movie), you realise just how superbly chilling it is.

5. Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End
Yes, I know that both Pirates sequels became bloated, swollen monstrosities with no coherent plot whatsoever, but they’re still great fun. After about the fifteenth or sixteenth doublecross, I stopped trying to keep track of the story entirely and just focused on enjoying the glorious Caribbean visuals.

4. Apocalypto
Mel Gibson may be a crazy anti-Semitic son of a bitch, but he sure does make exciting movies. The sudden, unexpected arrival of the Conquistadores at the end capped it off perfectly.

3. The Simpsons Movie.
Oh, if only this had been made ten years ago.

I rewatched it on DVD in November and realised that for the previous four months I’d been judging it as the movie I wanted it to be, not the movie it is. Which is to say, a movie that’s not all that funny. There are maybe ten or twelve really hilarious moments. Any given episode from the mid 90s contains more comedy. But on its own merits, it’s still a great movie, and the plot was truly epic.

Also, to all those people bitching that it was “basically just an extended episode”: Yeah, it was. Was exactly were you expecting?

2. Pan’s Labyrinth
Much like Donnie Darko, my love for this film relies heavily on its terrifying imagery. I’m aware that there are far greater things about this masterpiece of fantasy and reality, but personally, the Pale Man’s brief appearance was the highlight of the film.

1. No Country For Old Men
This is the last movie I saw in 2007 (on the 28th of December, to be precise), and it juuuust edged into first place ahead of Pan’s Labyrinth, the first movie I saw in 2007, creating a satisfying circular motion. Better men than me have extolled its brilliance, from Tommy Lee Jones’ casual opening narration set over a backdrop of cloud-scudded Texan landscapes, to the unusually quiet ending that resulted in everyone in my cinema exiting with their conversations in hushed tones. So I won’t try. Suffice to say that it contains the most suspenseful scenes you will ever see on the screen.

MUSIC

Fuck objectivity.

10. Nude, by Radiohead (In Rainbows).
9. House of Cards, by Radiohead (In Rainbows).
8. Videotape, by Radiohead (In Rainbows).
7. 15 Steps, by Radiohead (In Rainbows).
6. Bodysnatchers, by Radiohead (In Rainbows).
5. Faust Arp, by Radiohead (In Rainbows).
4. Jigsaw Falling Into Place, by Radiohead (In Rainbows).
3. Weird Fishes/Arpeggi, by Radiohead (In Rainbows).
2. All I Need, by Radiohead (In Rainbows).
1. Reckoner, by Radiohead (In Rainbows).

Honourable mention: Gotye’s album Like Drawing Blood, which came out in 2006 but which I only recently heard. Download a song called “Night Drive”, it’s totally awesome.

BOOKS

10. Bloom, by Wil McCarthy
Science fiction, set in a world where Earth (and the rest of the inner solar system) has been overrun by grey goo and humanity clings to life in the asteroid belt and Jupiter’s moons. A little too realistic and depressing for my liking.

9. Skybreaker, by Kenneth Oppel
An enjoyable but unremarkable young adult swashbuckling airship lark.

8. Between Planets, by Robert Heinlein
My first Heinlein novel, which I enjoyed immensely. I know it’s always been my dream to be a dishwasher in a Chinese restaurant on Venus.

7. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, by J.K. Rowling
She wrapped it up pretty well I guess. Snape being a triple agent was fairly obvious from the Half-Blood Prince, though. And, like every other reader on the planet, I loathed the utterly corny postscript which begged me to invest emotionally in Harry’s cardboard cut-out children (no go).

6. The Ophiuchi Hotline, by John Varley
Another Earthless science fiction jaunt. This time, the human race has been evicted from Earth by a species of almost godlike aliens, who do so for the benefit of the three “intelligent” species on Earth: orcas, dolphins and humpback whales.

5. The Mars Trilogy, by Kim Stanley Robinson
Red Mars, Green Mars, and Blue Mars were a little overwhelming for me at times, since I like my science fiction soft, but you have to admire the unimaginably epic scale of them, and Robinson does occassionally manage some beautiful prose.

Michel’s ashes, up in a balloon over the Hellas Sea. They saved a pinch for return to Provence.

After a thousand words and two hundred years, a character’s death can be truly moving.

4. The Sirens of Titan, by Kurt Vonnegut
Objectively, this is probably better than any book on the list, but I didn’t find it to be particularly noteworthy. I had no idea that Vonnegut’s style was so casually satirical – akin to Pratchett, in fact – and spent most of the book regaining my bearings. At least I got that out of the way; now I can read Slaughterhouse Five knowing what to expect.

3. To Your Scattered Bodies Go, by Philip Jose Farmer
A very original concept for a book, in which the entirety of humanity, from the earliest cavemen to the point where humanity went extinct (2008, apparently, so get ready) is resurrected along the banks of one enormous river valley. Mountains on either side are impenetrable, and the river goes as deep as anyone has ever been able to swim. People who die are resurrected again somewhere else along the river. The book follows Richard Francis Burton in his travels as he attempts to discover who or what is behind the ressurection. Farmer’s writing style is as vanilla-bland as every other sci-fi writer from the mid-20th century, but the concept is intriguing and I’m excited to read the next book.

2. The Golden Globe, by John Varley
Set loosely in the same “world” as the Ophiuchi Hotline, but Varley’s prose has improved immensely over the decades (this is from ’98; the OH was written in the 70’s.) While the OH had the same dull, dry delivery that all old science fiction seems to share, the Golden Globe is a lively first-person adventure narrated by Sparky Valentine, an optimistic, wisecracking actor-slash-conman making his way from Pluto to Luna to take part in an upcoming production of King Lear. Along the way, Valentine is hunted by an unstoppable agent of a violent crime sydnicate that he crossed, culminating in a superbly executed confrontation in a hotel orbiting Uranus. Highly recommended.

1. His Dark Materials, by Philip Pullman
A re-read, but I first read the series in the ninth grade, and I don’t think I quite appreciated the religious issues discussed the first time around. They’re still a completely awesome fantasy adventure, but they’re also probably the most important agnostic works of our era. Yes, even better than the rantings of Richard Dawkins, who acts as though he personally invented atheism and continues to give the rest of us a reputation for arrogance. Anyway, I’ll probably go catch the Golden Compass soon to see how much of a clusterfuck they made of it.

________________________________________

So overall, there were some damn good movies, Radiohead released a new album and I didn’t read nearly enough books. Perhaps next year I’ll take up the 50 Book Challenge. Scratch that; starting Tuesday, I’m definitely taking up the 50 Book Challenge.

My bestest buddy Chris has finally caved in and uploaded some of his music to MySpace. He’s a talented composer, even more so considering that he makes all his songs using Guitar Pro 5, a shareware program that renders everything in MIDI format. This is the musical equivalent of trying to drive to work by crudely attaching a sail to a skateboard. He is to be commended for creating something even vaguely tolerable, let alone good, with that kind of limited equipment.

So, here’s the link. Check it out, and if you have a myspace like all the hip young kids do, then befriend him. As we all know, a person’s worth is determined by the amount of friends they have on MySpace.

In Rainbows is safely purring away on my hard drive. It was released at about 6:00 AM in the U.K, which translated to 3:00 PM here. It finished downloading at about 3:50 and I spent ten or fifteen minutes flicking through it, quickly listening to scraps and pieces, before conceding to my epically inconvenient schedule and heading to uni. Yes, I have a class at 5:00.

Fortunately Triple J was about as excited about it as I am. They played the album in full throughout my hour-long drive to Creative Writing 212, so as I headed down the freeway with industrial wasteland and out-of-commission train stations sliding past on either side, I had a chance to better acquaint myself with my new friend. When it was interrupted by Robbie Buck talking to Sarah Blasko or whoever the fuck she was, I could switch to 92.9 and listen to the wacky antics of Hamish and Andy on their Caravan of Courage roadtrip across Australia. In terms of audio, probably the best commute I’ll ever have.

In these preliminary appreciation stages, the best song so far is easily “All I Need,” which is awesome enough that when I pulled into the university carpark I sat there for two or three minutes waiting for it to end before I switched the engine off.

Focusing on music isn’t easy when there are asshole tradesmen overtaking you as soon as they’re about five centimetres in front (leave for your next job earlier you fucks) and your engine screeches painfully if you drive more than 90 k’s an hour, so I still haven’t had a chance to digest In Rainbows fully. It’ll take a couple of days before the landscape of the album begins to emerge, I learn the lyrics, and I can tell one song apart from the others.

But the verdict so far is that it’s good. I mean, it’s Radiohead. They are objectively the greatest band of all time. Seriously. Scientists proved it with a computer. And my personal love for them knows no bounds. I have 143 of their songs, I’ve lost count of the number of their lyrics I’ve used as entry titles in End Times, and I actually liked The Eraser. In Rainbows isn’t perfect – this album certainly proves to me that the band peaked with Kid A (and it’s somewhat depressing to know they’ll never create anything that good again) – but it’s still Radiohead, and thus greater than any other musical experience anybody else could compose in their wildest, most ludicrous dreams, scribbling down riffs as they ride enormous silver pelicans to the emerald palace.

So, overall, can’t wait till the next album in 2011.

________________

me: ooh, jigsaw falling into place is very jumpy

very un-radiohead…. oh

no, wait

thom yorke just started moaning

Chris: hahahaha

there we go

The other day Radiohead unexpectedly announced that their next album, In Rainbows, will be released on October 10. Very sudden. Still, I’m quite happy, because it’ll be the first album they’ve released ever since I heard of them and they became my favourite band. Their last one was in 2003. That was a long time ago. I was in Year 10. The computer I’m typing this on, which is a rickety, groaning, outdated piece of junk, had only just been bought. Four years, guys? Seriously? What the fuck were you doing? Hitching the oxen team up to try and pull the stick out of Thom Yorke’s ass?

I’d put the album cover up, but it hasn’t been released yet, so I’m just going to put this image up because I think it’s amusing.

I'm hip! I'm cool! PLEASE GOD VOTE FOR ME

In any case, since they’re huge rock stars who no longer need to rely on a recording company (which is always very galling for any band that enjoys taking a stance again consumerism and globalisation and whatever else the hip young kids on Oxford campus are talking about), it’s being released online at http://www.inrainbows.com. Not only that, but you can choose to download it absolutely free if you please. And I do please. Very much.

Previously, I was planning to buy it as a CD, which would have been the second CD purchase in my entire life. I bought Black Holes And Revelations by Muse last year, and was hoping to do the same for In Rainbows, because Muse and Radiohead are the only bands I like enough to actually spend money on. I don’t own any other CDs at all, because it is the 21st century and I have the Internet, which means my single Muse album just sort of sits on my chest of drawers or the edge of my bookshelf, gathering dust and looking lonely.

Granted, a Radiohead album probably wouldn’t have been much company. It would have been all arrogant and snooty and looked down its nose at the Muse album. Nonetheless, the Muse album would have sucked up to it, because it had nobody else to talk to. Companions, but not friends. But maybe… maybe after years of being together, even though they didn’t really like each other, their relationship would have grown into a deep friendship.

A friendship which, now, will never be.

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