The Best Music of 2007: 10 Selected Albums

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24. Dez. 2007, 22:21

I find it hard to pick ten albums and say they were better than all of the hundreds of albums that were released this year. For the most part, I didn't really find 2007 to be a very exciting music year, save for the ten albums that I've listed below. Instead of listing from best album on down, I've decided to list according to how frequently throughout the year I actually listed to the albums; a rough estimate but fair to each of the artists as they all contributed to this year in music in significant ways.

Ten Selected Albums of 2007

1. Kala - M.I.A.
This album did something that a lot of releases failed to do for me this year: it suprized me. I did not expect this from Maya. Kala is darker than Arular which is interesting considering the album is a lot more feminine as it is named for her mother, but maybe that's what suprised me about this album; it's strength, that tinge of darkness, and a concern for third world peoples who are trying to make it day to day. The album is pulsing, addictive, and solid from top to bottom and it merits repeated visits. I could, however, pass on the last cut Come Around (ft. Timbaland).

Stand Out Tracks: Jimmy, World Town, Paper Planes, Boyz

2. The Story - Brandi Carlile
I often played this album before I would fall asleep or while I was busy talking on the phone. It was background music. I neglected it for a few months until I listened to it on a trip to Chicago. After being introduced to Brandi by a Grey's Anatomy fan (they frequently use her songs in episode/on soundtracks), this album (and this voice) has since been my most favorite release this year. Brandi's voice is soulful, rich, and raspy. Her lyrics are heartfelt and her music is a bit folky and very guitar driven with a touch of country-rawness. Backed by her band, The Twins, Brandi makes the kind of music you won't soon forget.

Stand Out Tracks: The Story, Losing Heart, Shadow on the Wall, Turpentine

3. The Reminder - Feist
The Reminder will probably stand as Leslie Feist's best work to date, and certainly one of the most cohesive albums released this year. It's a cool piece of work that is soul baring yet accessible, and enjoyable on any level. Leslie's voice is probably the most standout on this album as many of the songs are comprised of her guitar and a piano, showcasing her lovely husky chops. Lyrically, these songs are made to touch you, to say the things we all feel, and definitely made for singing out loud while driving. An amazing piece of work!

Stand Out Tracks: My Moon My Man, Limit to Your Love, I Feel It All, The Water

4. In Rainbows - Radiohead
I didn't really like In Rainbows on first listen. Some part of me was expecting Kid A, Pt. II but I guess last year's The Eraser sort of filled in that blank, so went I unexpectedly went on a Radiohead binge, I discovered on my second, third, and fourth listen, In Rainbows was a totally different animal. While a lot of critics keep pushing the idea that this is a foray back in to straight rock, In Rainbows experiments with a lot of styles, and the sound leans into this amalgamation of electronic sounds, sparse drums, and some faint soulful, R&B type arrangements. In terms of experimentation, in breaking new ground, and in the amazingness that is Radiohead, this album is pure perfection. And this is coming from someone who despised the album at first listen!

Stand Out Tracks: Nude, 15 Step, Weird Fishes/Arpeggi, Jigsaw Falling Into Place

5. Ear Drum - Talib Kweli
Talib's music just has a bad habit of staying under the radar, and while I absolutely love Kayne's Graduation, I have to admit I enjoyed Ear Drum a whole lot more. While the production work isn't the type of stuff that's going to get the most radio play, this album is plays like a party mix tape. Talib's rhymes harken to his first effort, Quality, and long time fans will not be disappointed. His guest selections are amazing, namely one collaboration with Norah Jones that is simply mind blowing. This is the type of record that is insightful, political, spiritual, and yet amazingly so beat driven, it's hard not to give it some attention.

Stand Out Tracks: Hot Thing (feat. will.i.am), Soon The New Day (feat. Norah Jones), Listen!!!, Give 'Em Hell (feat. Coi Mattison & Lyfe)

6. Back to Black - Amy Winehouse
Amy came out of the woodwork doing quite the opposite of what many other female artists were doing. While it took sometime for Rehab to grow on me, I was extremely impressed with Back to Black and I played it religiously for a good three months. A talented lyricist and vocalist, Winehouse's genius is plagued by the torment of being young and too brilliant. However, I hope that holds some stock in her abilities as a musician because she is creating some valuable work as it stands now. This album will be a favorite of mine for years to come.

Stand Out Tracks: Me & Mr Jones, Just Friends, Some Unholy War, Addicted

7. Phantom Punch - Sondre Lerche
While Sondre is well known for concocting soothing, guitar lead indie pop, Phantom Punch is miles away from those sounds, and it's a terrific leap for Sondre's voice, his sound, and his lyrics. The record is probably the most fun indie release I've had the pleasure of enjoying in a while. It's a hard hitter from beginning to finish and each song is a burst of energy, pretty much under 3 minutes long. Definitely a stand out in Sondre's discography. Made to listen with friends in the context of an impromptu party :)

Stand Out Tracks: Say It All, Airport Taxi Reception, Phantom Punch, Face The Blood

8. White Chalk- PJ Harvey
Polly Jean Harvey is quite a talent but I must admit it takes a certain level of musical appreciation to enjoy her music. It took me up until now to really appreciate the genius of her music. White Chalk is a departure for PJ as she sings in a register higher than she has in her previous releases. The album is impossibly dark, consisting mostly of piano driven songs sung in whispers. The album is also impossibly beautiful, in fact, one of the most beautiful albums I've heard in a really long time. Each song resonates and I find myself playing most tracks two or three times over and over. If you haven't listened to Polly Jean before, I recommend this a great introduction to her work.

Stand Out Tracks: Dear Darkness, Grow Grow Grow, When Under Ether, To Talk To You

9. COSMICOLOR - m -flo
I really, really, really wish this album had been released in the US. I really wish more people knew about m-flo because, in all honesty, they're probably one of the best music duos I've had the chance to listen to. First of all, Verbal is an insanely talented rapper and Taku's production work is pretty much flawless. Many of the songs on COSMICOLOR would have been #1 hits in the States without fail. The collaborations are especially wonderful because it seems that m-flo has away of creating the type of songs that end up showcasing just how talented the featured artist really is. The collaborations with Amuro Namie and Koda Kumi, especially, are perhaps my favorite songs by both artists. This is a summer CD and if you like R&B, electronica, and fusion with a dash of hip hop, you will adore COSMICOLOR even if you don't understand much Japanese

Stand Out Tracks: STUCK IN YOUR LOVE / m-flo loves melody., Luvotomy / m-flo loves Amuro Namie, Simple & Lovely / m-flo loves Koda Kumi, Picture Perfect / m-flo loves Monkey Majik

10. These Streets - Paolo Nutini
The voice. It's the voice. At 19, Paolo sounds like a soulful, older black man but with a tilting Scottish accent and he sings beautiful songs about love and longing. Although, the singles New Shoes and Jenny, Don't Be Hasty are pop magic, the rest of These Streets is suprisingly introspective and gentle- well suited to Paolo's rich voice. Meant to be shared with that special someone.


Stand Out Tracks: Jenny, Don't Be Hasty, New Shoes, Last Request

Honorable Mentions
Alright, Still - Lily Allen
I love Lily. This album has been on steady rotation since last March - that is how much I love it. Lily is so witty it hurts and a lot of this album is just a reflection of great she is. Her sound is very refreshing and so is her voice - complete with lovely British accent. Now that Lily is with child, it'll be interesting to see what direction her music will go in next

Stand Out Tracks: Knock 'Em Out, Everything's Just Wonderful, Littlest Things

The World Has Made Me The Man Of My Dreams - Meshell Ndegeocello
Meshell is my hero. I'm hard pressed to think of many other artist that are as insightful and passionate about creating such personal music by exploring hard questions about herself and the world around her. She's also one of the best bassists in the music industry. I cannot lie: this is my number one favorite album this year.

Stand Out Tracks: The Sloganeer (Paradise), Elliptical, Headline, Lovely Lovely

RIOT! - Paramore
Much to my chagrin, my roommate played Misery Business endlessly. She loved it so much, she made it her ringtone. I absolutely love Hayley's voice - she reminds me of a young Pat Benatar and I can only hope that as she and her bandmates grow so does the quality of her voice, and ultimately, the music Paramore makes. An Extremely catchy and high energy sophomore album. I'll say it out loud: I really hope she thinks about going solo.

Stand Out Tracks: Misery Business, crushcrushcrush, Fences

Graduation - Kayne West
'Ye can do no wrong. When hailed a breath of fresh air at the release of his first album, The College Dropout, I wasn't really buying it-- then I listened to it and I know better now. Kayne is an original. He is unique and innovative and music in general really needs that right now. While I feel as though Late Registration is and will be 'Ye's hard to top masterpiece, Graduation puts a lot of other mainstream rap releases this to shame.

Stand Out Tracks: Big Brother, Good Life (Ft. T-Pain), I Wonder, Homecoming (Ft. Chris Martin)

Under The Blacklight- Rilo Kiley
MTVu is really doing Rilo Kiley a bit on an injustice. They keep freaking playing Silver Lining like it's the ONLY track on a great big label debut for a once indie band. Well, it's not and Under the Blacklight, like almost every Rilo Kiley effort, is a fantastic album. While old fans feel it's not as strong as some of their previous releases or that it strays too far from the old' RK, this album signifies some good change for the band's sound. And boy is Jenny Lewis' voice as beautiful and strong as ever. A bit short but definitely an over all solid album.

Stand Out Tracks: The Moneymaker, Close Call, 15, Give A Little Love, Dejalo

Goodbye 2007, Hello 2008!
Akzeptierte Übermittlungen
Extensive Musical Taste

Kommentare

  • loneparadise

    Out of all the albums, I particularly agree with The Story, The Reminder, Back to Black, COSMICOLOR, These Streets and Alright, Still. I was introduced to Brandi Carlile by Grey's, too. Her singing style is extremely unique and rich, and every lyric she sings is saturated with emotion. I can't stand Grey's now (oh WHY, Shonda, why did you have to kill the show?), but I have to admit Alexandra Patsavas does a [b]great[/b] job with the music on the show - I've been introduced to so many wonderful singers and bands thanks to her. Loved The Reminder, but I'm a little scared that since she was propelled to great commercial success with 1234 (on the iPod nano ad) that her next album will be going in a completely new direction. That said, nothing will ever beat Inside and Out for me. Forget the fact that it's a cover - it's an awesome standalone song that showcases everything I love most about Feist. Oh, dear Amy Winehouse. I thought Me & Mr. Jones was pure genius. With all the spousal and drug madness going on, I really hope she'll continue to deliver as a musician. She's so young, and it will be a huge pity if she never reaches her full musical potential. It's really cool that you're an m-flo fan too. My favorite song from the album was Picture Perfect Love (m-flo♥Monkey Majik). Have you listened to ASTROMANTIC and BEAT SPACE NINE as well? Cosmic Night Run -m-flo♥野宮真貴 & Crazy Ken Band, Miss You -m-flo♥melody. & 山本領平, Let Go -♥Yoshika and Tripod Baby -♥Lisa are my favorite songs from the two albums. And as much as I enjoy the concept of the m-flo♥ series immensely, I think a lot of good stuff came from their albums with Lisa too (i.e. Expo-Expo and Planet Shining), such as L.O.T. (Love or Truth). Just talking about this makes me really excited for their next album already! :D I don't have too much time now, so I'm not going to be able to comment on Paolo Nutini and Lily Allen. Great post though, lots of my most-played 2007 songs actually came from albums in your list!

    2. Jan. 2008, 13:42
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