Best Albums of 2007

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Gen 4 2008, 19:06

A very very very good year for music. These were my faves.

Agree, disagree, but enjoy!

And comment!!




The Long List (Honorable Mentions):


Rufus WainwrightRelease The Stars
Andrew BirdArmchair Apocrypha

Iron & WineThe Shepherd's Dog

Band of HorsesCease to Begin

The Besnard LakesThe Besnard Lakes Are The Dark Horse

CaribouAndorra

Ben WeaverPaper Sky

MoonbabiesMoonbabies At The Ballroom

M.I.A.Kala

Aesop RockNone Shall Pass

The ShinsWincing the Night Away

Orba SquaraSunshyness


The Short List (Top 20):

20. The White StripesIcky Thump . . . the Stripes figure out how to pull off interesting sounds (via “Get Behind Me Satan”) and merge them effortlessly with raucous classic rock muscle, making what is surely one of the weirdest and most irresistable blues-rock albums of the year.

19. Joe HenryCivilians . . . simply put, whenever this dude releases new music, it is a cause for celebration. The only thing wrong with this album is that it is not “Tiny Voices.” Sophisticated, poetic and hopeful, it is a ray of light from an artist who has survived the darkest of nights.

18. LCD SoundsystemSound Of Silver . . . the funniest, smartest neo-disco dance record of the year. The 2, 3, 4 punch of the tracklist leaves me absolutely breathless. Proves that just because someone gets older (and wiser) doesn’t mean you have to stop shaking yer ass.

17. MenomenaFried or Foe . . . my favorite odd-rockers of the year. An absolutely mesmerizing collection of songs that get inside me like a strange and recurring dream. Friend or Foe is strange, yet rooted in an indisputable and odd beauty that suprises me every time I give it a spin. By the time they sing “Oh, to be a machine . . . oh, to be wanted . . .oh, to be useful,” I know I’ve become tangled up in a place that could, on certain technicolor nights, be called a kind of home.

16. The ClienteleGod Save The Clientele . . . A quiet, beautiful, hopeful and literate album that somehow manages to feel both progressive and nostalgic at the same time. The Clientele make sweet, forlorn lovesongs about hope, loss and longing that somehow make it all feel better.

15. ApparatWalls . . . the absolute sexiest album of the year. Dense, seductive, lush and hallucinogenic, this album makes we want to have lots and lots and lots of sex. Electronics never sounded so organic, and virile. Walls is an album of sonic red velvet for the latest and most secretive of nights.

14. BeirutThe Flying Club Cup . . . no one (in this century) makes music like Zach Condon. Original, beautiful, transporting and layered, this album reveals something delicious with every new spin.

13. FeistThe Reminder . . . not only is this the best pop album released by a female this year, it is also a statement of serious musical intent from an artist who previously relied on cover songs to flesh out an album. The Reminder is not only accessible and giddy fun, but also contains absolutely heartbreaking, moving songwriting (“The Park, “ “How My Heart Behaves,”) that she has only hinted at in previous releases. An astonishing improvement on her already impressive last album.

12. Stars of the Lidand Their Refinement of the Decline . . Forget the ugly song titles, this album contains some of the most gorgeous, prismatic musical sounds of the last few years. There are no songs on this album, only a pure, honeyed, slow motion tide of gorgeous sound. Music to disappear into.

11. Jens LekmanNight Falls Over Kortedala . . . the hands down best pop album of this or any recent year. One giddy, catchy gem after another. “Kortedala” proves that “Maple Leaves” (from Oh, You’re so Silent Jens) wasn’t even close to a fluke. Irresistable.

10. SpoonGa Ga Ga Ga Ga . . . experiment meets melody in the most undeniably hooky rock record of the year. 35 minutes of pure psych-jukebox gold.

9. Lightspeed ChampionFalling Off The Lavender Bridge . . . a very very very late addition to this list, the former Test Icicles guitarist puts forth a beguiling and wholly enrapturing collection of oddball pop songs with a beat-poets ear for street smart lyrics, and a melodic ear that rivals McCartney. Devonte Hynes is one of the weirdest looking cats I have ever laid eyes on, but his music is rich, labyrinthine and nearly impossible to ignore. (Note: This album isn’t actually being released until 2008, but the music is out there, and I heard it in 2007, so there . . .)

8. BurialUntrue . . . forget the “dubstep” genre tab, this is electronic headphone music for anyone who has ever walked alone at night down a deserted city street with a rainsoaked soul. This is a very dark, sad but ultimately comforting album that gives companionship to the alienated. This is the electronic counterpart to the National’s brilliant “Boxer” Hold it close to the secret side of your heart.

7. The New PornographersChallengers . . . an irresistible collection of surprisingly somber, mid-tempo gems from the best of the power-poppers. Dan Bejar, in particular, is in top songwriting form. I will never stop singing “Myriad Harbour” at the top of my lungs.

6. Radiohead-- In Rainbows . . . what else can I say other than this is the album that made me love Radiohead again. The ice around Thom Yoke’s heart seems to have thawed enough to create some of the warmest, and certainly the most beautiful music that this again-great band has ever recorded.

5. Josh RitterThe Historical Conquests Of Josh Ritter . . . an album filled with one absolutely irresistible, golden-age-of-radio gem after another. This album is a startling and incredibly exciting musical transformation from an artist who didn’t need a transformation but pulled it off anyway. Astounding lyrical prowess mixed with a very real and very rare penchant for effortless hooks. Music for thinking, dancing, driving and smiling.

4. Matthew DearAsa Breed . . . Dark, sweaty, fun, weird electro-pop for the late night set. Play it loud and play it often. Once it's oddball hooks are inside you won't listen to anything else. This is what Nick Cave would sound like if he were to go techno . . . this one plays effortlessly on repeat.

3. Okkervil River---The Stage Names . . . How does a band like Okkervil River top a record as brilliant as "Black Sheep Boy?" With a record like “The Stage Names," that’s how. What’s really remarkable is how effortlessly this album spins. Like all OR releases, it is dense and sometimes disturbing, but it also has a rock-star thrust and punch that sound great blasting out of big speakers. Will’s ridiculously multi-layered and literate lyrics continue to make me feel stupid in the best possible way, and the music on this album is fresh, hooky, boozy and big. Melodically astounding, The Stage Names is a great leap forward for a very exciting group of musicians.

2. Bon IverFor Emma For Ever . . . incredibly unique, soul-stirring self-made music from a heartbroken artist. This is four-track guitar music made straight from the gut. It is not timid, nor precious . . . it is spun from every color in the fabric of the isolated human soul. “re:Stacks” is nearly unbearably affecting. Music for the ages.

1. The NationalBoxer . . . far and away the best record of the year. Nothing has slipped inside the crevices of my life like “Boxer.” My own personal reactions aside, it contains some of the richest, most multifaceted noir-rock released all year. Each song is full of texture and surprise, and Matt Beringer’s midnight, lovelorn lyrics sweetly stab at those aching places where human being carry their poetry and their regret. Musically, no band was better this year. This is a dark, lovely, endearing collection of hangover songs cut from the diamond edge of an urban moon. This album is the real thing.

Commenti

  • JohnySaskatunes

    Wow. Very, very well written reviews! You nailed the Boxer and The Stage Names ones especially (or it seems that way to me as I'm at least familiar with those ones anyway). I'll have to check out a few of these other albums as well. Thanks! I agree it's been a great year for music. J.S. (P.S. love the Banksy avatar. He's such a great, provocative graphic artist!)

    Gen 5 2008, 0:01
  • jonathanfisk

    Hey, thanks man! It was definitely hard to nail down 20! Let me know if you need help finding any of this stuff!

    Gen 5 2008, 0:14
  • jonathanfisk

    Nice! Actually, I believe Orphans (Tom Waits) was 2006 . . . else it would have been in my Top 5! Brilliance. Ben Weaver probably should have made it onto my short list, but I haven't listened to him enough yet. Also re: Beruit. I've actually never heard the debut album (!!), so Flying Club Cup was my first experience with Beruit and it still continues to blow my mind every time I hear it. I'll track down Gulag ASAP. Funny though, I had a very similiar reaction to Strawerry Jam. I thought Sung Tongs and Feels were so freaking brilliant and beautiful, but Strawberry Jam was the first AC album that made me kind of shrug my shoulders. I don't [i]dislike[/i] it (although I do think Avey Tare's continual screeching wears pretty thin pretty quick) but I didn't react to it nearly as strongly as I did to their previous work. With Animal Collective at such a strong position at the top off your list, I was very surprised to see that Panda Bear and his much lauded Person Pitch didn't make your list. Obviously, it didn't make mine. Personally, I thought Pitch was an interesting record, but I never found myself actually [i]wanting[/i] to listen to it. I always kept going back to it because I felt I should give it more time, but it never really [i]got inside[/i] of me. Ah, well. To each his own . . . By the way, a TON of artists on your list that I don't know . . . I've got work to do!

    Gen 5 2008, 19:07
  • lastfmfatale

    Expressive, economical, intuitive, interpretive, I can go on and on about your list. And,we have similar tastes to boot! It's really great to see that you've praised Bon Iver and Lightspeed Champion so highly. Both are still very much under the radar! I've been giving Menomena's Friend or Foe a proper listen lately, and it's finally sunk in... I've got to kick myself for overlooking this one brilliant album. Burial's Untrue is a recent addition to my collection. And it's damn good. Will be checking out Orba Squara, Joe Henry. They both made me go hmmmm.... Thanks for sharing! Anyone can view/critique my list here: http://www.last.fm/user/lastfmfatale/journal/2007/12/15/598610/ PS: Good list you've got there, pacuszka! You also made me go hmmmmm...

    Gen 6 2008, 6:55
  • lastfmfatale

    Expressive, economical, intuitive, interpretive, I can go on and on about your list. And,we have similar tastes to boot! It's really great to see that you've praised Bon Iver and Lightspeed Champion so highly. Both are still very much under the radar! I've been giving Menomena's Friend or Foe a proper listen lately, and it's finally sunk in... I've got to kick myself for overlooking this one brilliant album. Burial's Untrue is a recent addition to my collection. And it's damn good. Will be checking out Orba Squara, Joe Henry. They both made me go hmmmm.... Thanks for sharing! Anyone can view/critique my list here: http://www.last.fm/user/lastfmfatale/journal/2007/12/15/598610/ PS: Good list you've got there, pacuszka! You also made me go hmmmmm...

    Gen 6 2008, 6:55
  • jonathanfisk

    You know, since reading your list, I have gone back and listened to Strawberry Jam several times and am growing to like it more and more. It all started once I re-listened to Fireworks which for some reason blew my socks off this time. After being moved by this song, the rest of the album just started to sink in, and it's starting to really grow on me . . . I'm adding Fireworks to my list of best songs of the year.

    Gen 7 2008, 20:52
  • jonathanfisk

    Came to my senses and raised Bon Iver's For Emma, Forever to it's proper place at #2.

    Gen 19 2008, 6:28
  • Mozo78

    Hey Matthew -- thanks for the Moonbabies comment, and for sharing your own articulate and insightful list! You include quite a few records that I regretfully omitted -- Joe Henry, Stars of the Lid, Josh Ritter, and The Clientele -- all fabulous records I enjoyed last year (some more deeply than others). I'll have to check out Lightspeed Champion, since I share such a strong affinity with your musical tastes. Thanks again for taking the time to craft such a detailed list!

    Gen 20 2008, 5:20
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