1) Chicago/Kansas City: In July I took the first real vacation I’ve ever had. I went to Chicago to see friends and to also attend the Pitchfork Music Festival. The festival was pretty ok; I had a friend with a VIP badge so she would sneak me free Chipotle burritos from backstage each day for lunch and dinner. Also, Battles was pretty mind-blowing. I had more fun after the festival each day, running around to various bars and after parties. I had seen Flosstradamus and Chromeo the previous week in Brooklyn, but their show in Chicago was much better. It’s always best to see DJs on their home turf. After three days of madness and drinking in Chicago I made a quick detour to Kansas City to see an old friend. Kansas City was the opposite of Chicago, a detox that involved being a spectator at company softball games and good friends coupled with good conversations on front porches. I stayed in Kansas City for two days but secretly wanted to cut my East Coast ties and move there.
2) My Brother’s Graduation: My younger brother graduated from high school in May, so I went home for the weekend to observe that. Most of the trip was full of the usual politics involved in a large family gathering, but I really enjoyed the ceremony. When I graduated from high school I was not permitted to walk in the ceremony because of some murkiness involving incomplete correspondence courses. The revelation of this murkiness was something I hid from my family until very late in the game, and so the whole family came down but the lack of fanfare cast a pretty dour shadow on the whole event. Because I had embarrassed my parents so badly when I had my crack at it, it was really nice to get to see my brother do it the right way and walk across the stage in the gown and all that. Afterwards he took all his graduation money and bought Guitar Hero, and we stayed up until 3am playing that.
3) Daft Punk on Coney Island: These guys hardly need any more fanfare for their efforts this year, so I’ll do my best not to gush too much. During the show I was actually a bit upset, both because I had seats in the stands instead of on the field, and also because their show was an exact replica of the show they had put on at Coachella in 2006. I had obsessed over that Coachella recording quite a bit leading up to this, so I was a bit disappointed that there would be fewer surprises than I had expected. In retrospect, though, it was a really special thing to see them in that environment (God knows if Coney Island will retain its amazing weirdness over the next few years), and I’m lucky to have attended.
4) Brooklyn Kickball: In March some friends and I decided to enter into a summer kickball league that plays down the street from my apartment. We gathered up the required number of people and had a few practices, made some shirts, and then just went into it. We really expected it to be a nice little summer activity and a good excuse to get drunk on Sundays, but it turned into this much larger thing. Some of my best friends came from that team, and now we all wait in anticipation of next year’s season because we’re dorks who love kickball more than anyone should.
5) UGK – International Players Anthem: It’s dumb to try and intellectualize this or turn it into some obituary for Pimp C. The song just makes me feel good, it’s that simple. It made me feel good when it came out, and continues to make me feel good now. My favorite single of the year.
6) The Collective Caps and Jones Parties at Savalas: I have no way of distinguishing between them in my memory, but each one was as fun as the one before it, which is to say, a hell of a lot of fun.
7) The Dante’s Fried Chicken Party in July: Dante does these parties where he gets a lot of great musicians to play, and he serves free gourmet food in limited quantities. This one was on a rooftop in Bushwick, and the food was delicious as promised. There were lots of great acts who played, but it really served as a great all encompassing Brooklyn Summer memory. I wound up getting really drunk, and on the way home my MetroCard expired. I couldn’t figure out where the other end of the train station was so I could buy another one, because it was dark and I don’t know where anything is in Bushwick. There was no one around, so I tried to crawl under a gap in the gate to the station, and made it halfway before getting stuck. I was considering just giving up and sleeping on the floor of the subway station (drunk!) but then this nice girl came along and freed me, and also gave me a swipe on her card. It’s too bad she wasn’t cute, that would have been a good story to tell our potential grandchildren. The next day at work I had to make up stories about why my elbows were all scraped up.
8) Menomena – Friend or Foe: Just a really solid indie rock album. I didn’t get to a lot of indie rock in 2007 because I spent so much time keeping up with hip hop, dancehall, etc. but this one made it’s way onto my ipod early and stayed there.
9) T-Pain: Dude just killed it this year. He was everywhere, and at no time was I ever mad at that. His album and his collective guest appearances will forever define pop music in 2007 (along with Umbrella, and Crank Dat Soulja Boy).
10) Kanye West – Good Life (Feat. T-Pain): Part of my T-Pain appreciation this year comes from this song, which is my other feel good anthem. It makes you feel like a baller even if you’re not a baller. The video for this one was also really dope. “Welcome to the good life, rather than the life I lived when I thought that I was gonna go craaaaazaaaaay…”