Americana UK Readers End of Year Poll 2007
So, the votes have been counted – thanks to you all for ruining a whole week before Christmas trying to work out how to create a pivot table in Excel 2007 (note to anyone thinking of using it: don’t. Go back to a calculator and lots of bits of paper) – and you’ve decided what you love, what you don’t and what we should have reviewed had the bastard record labels that never send us anything pulled their fingers out and done so. Who wants to hear the latest Wilco album anyway?! Er, you do. But thankfully we at least reviewed the album of the year this time around…
Album of the Year - 2007
- 1. Richmond Fontaine “Thirteen Cities” (Decor) Pipping Wilco to the post by just two votes, the seventh studio album (have they really been around that long?) from arch miserablists Richmond Fontaine finds Willy Vautlin being as maudlin as ever, but when misery sounds so, well, comfortable, who wants to be happy? “Thirteen Cities” sets a new high standard for the band, and listening to the offcuts from the EP released later in the year, you realise they could make another one of the same calibre by putting in precisely zero effort. Stunningly beautiful.
- 2. Wilco “Sky Blue Sky” (Nonesuch)
- 3. Felice Brothers “Tonight at the Arizona” (Loose)
- 4. Mark Olson “Salvation Blues” (Hacktone)
- 5. Bruce Springsteen “Magic” (Columbia)
- 6. The National “Boxer” (Beggar’s Banquet)
- 7. Neil Young “Chrome Dreams II” (Warners)
- 8. Iron and Wine “The Shepherd’s Dog” (Warners)
- 9. The Shins “Wincing the Night Away” (Transgressive)
- 10. Sam Baker “Pretty World” (Independent)
Artist of the Year - 2007
- 1. Richmond Fontaine And not just album of the year, but artiste of the year, presumably for being the new standard bearers for the genre, and for their live shows which are always wonderfully emotional affairs (although not always in the right way apparently – someone had a fist fight during one of their sadder numbers during a Manchester gig earlier in the year – maybe they were just into the idea of juxtaposition….) Ryan too may be unusually absent from every other list this year but is still always on our minds.
- 2. Ryan Adams
- 3. The Hold Steady
- 4. The National
- 5. Lucinda Williams
- 6. Jim White
- 7. Chuck Prophet
- 8. The Broken Family Band
- 9. The Arcade Fire
- 10. The Sadies
Best TV Show of 2007
- 1. The Sopranos - It couldn’t really be anything else this year, given the widely acclaimed season and series finale from arguably HBO’s finest show ever. Elsewhere “Heroes” continues to pull in new fans by the series and the wheels of the Simpsons bandwagon just won’t stop, even if the movie didn’t quite hit the heights of the series itself. “Flight of the Conchordes” in the meantime could be the new Mighty Boosh. See? New Zealanders can do humour!
- 2. Heroes
- 3. The Simpsons
- 4. Curb Your Enthusiasm
- 5. My Name is Earl
- 6. Lost
- 7. Flight of the Conchordes
- 8. Later with Jools Holland
- 9. Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip
- 10. The Wire
Best Movie of 2007
- 1. This is England – Shane Meadows’ story of a 12 year old who gets involved with fascists in the 1980s is both frightening and incredibly evocative. It still has one of the most memorable and harrowing endings to a film in recent times. And hey, it beat Control, which everyone loved even if Ian Curtis was a rabid Tory. And he made shit music. (Joke!) Michael Moore’s “Sicko” finally got the UK release it deserved and was as relevant here given recent goings on as to its intended audience.
- 2. Control
- 3. The Bourne Ultimatum
- 4. Zodiac
- 5. Sicko
- 6. The Simpsons Movie
- 7. Once
- 8. The Lives of Others
- 9. Hot Fuzz
- 10. American Gangster
Best Radio Show of 2007
- 1. Bob Harris Saturday Show (BBC Radio 2) Bob Harris is once again beaten into second place by…. Bob Harris. Despite having had a difficult year with his health, Bob’s show continues to be the gold standard for not just Americana but so many genres of new and exciting music. If the man can beat Bob Dylan, he must be on to a good thing. Stephen Merchant’s show on 6Music is the only non Radio 2 show to make the list and proves his talents aren’t just tied to a certain bearded fortysomething bloke.
- 2. Bob Harris Country Show (BBC Radio 2)
- 3. Bob Dylan’s Theme Time Radio Hour (BBC Radio 2)
- 4. Mark Radcliffe and Stuart Maconie (BBC Radio 2)
- 5. Stephen Merchant (BBC 6Music)
Best Magazine of 2007
- 1. Uncut Despite the continual protestations a la Viz that it’s “not as good as it used to be,” Uncut still managed to get more votes in this section than all the other contenders put together, proving that it may be worse than it was in its heyday but it’s still a damn site better than anything else around. Just be careful when you do searches for an image of its frontcover. Further down, two magazines on the list are imported titles only, but are obviously worth the time and money it takes to get hold of the titles.
- 2. Word
- 3. No Depression
- 4. Paste
- 5. Mojo
Hero of the Year: Neil Young
Think of Alan Johnston. Or Aung San Suu Kyi. What’s Neil Young done that’s so special this year? Well, nothing really, but he just remains a timeless hero who’s obviously a living legend in the eyes of many Americana UK readers, if only for his music if nothing else which continues to impress. And after all, he came down on the right side in the end against our villain of the year….
Villian of the Year: George W. Bush
No prizes for guessing who the villain of 2007 is, and not withstanding a minor miracle will also hold this position next year, as he has every year we’ve run this category. Who the hell we’re going to choose in 2009 is going to be difficult, although rumour has it that Satan is planning a comeback tour, a la South Park: The Movie. Watch this space.