Once again, my thirst for new music led me to far too many albums that I liked, so I had trouble narrowing it down. I'm sure even with over 100, I missed something, but chances are I've also got something that you might have missed.
Playlist: Best 100+ Albums From 2007
1. LCD Soundsystem - Sound of Silver
It leaked over a year ago, and somehow still remains completely fresh. It's got two of the best songs of the year ("All My Friends", "Someone Great,") which by itself makes it a contender. The rest of the songs are no slouches, though, and it's likely the consensus album of the year -- as I hyperbolised way back when. Sound of Silver is the perfect marriage of Eno-era Bowie and Eno-era Talking Heads, without sounding much like Eno. Recently, when my friend and boss died, "Someone Great" transcended the normal music experience. I don't know that anyone even come close to capturing the numb feeling of remorse before this song - 'the coffee isn't bitter, because what's the difference?'
(Kinda Review, 07/06/06)
Song: "All My Friends" [video]
2. Radiohead - In Rainbows
This is one that I'm assuming is my number two... I have to extrapolate some because the quality of the MP3's they released from their site are lacking a bit in quality. It's a welcome (slight) return to more 'classic' Radiohead, not that it's not adventurous -- it is. It's just some of the adventure of the past couple albums seems to have been saved for their initial distribution channel of 'pay what you will' via their website. It doesn't necessarily 'change the game' the major labels have locked themselves into, but it hopefully serves as a wake-up call.
Song: "Body Snatchers"
3. The National - Boxer
The baritone of Matt Berninger makes you think of Joy Division, but a bit of Springsteen has always been lurking in his lyrics. Boxer is marked by that populist streak, along with the driving force of drummer Bryan Devendorf. It's a band that was poised for greatness and seems to have reached that potential, even already suffering some indie snob backlash. Just because you've got a song on Chuck don't make you a sellout, dog.
Song: "Mistaken for Strangers" [video]
4. Panda Bear - Person Pitch
It was a year long battle between Springsteen and The Beach Boys for dominance in the "re-establishing of influence." In Pet Sounds comes Animal Collective's Panda Bear, with an even trippy-er journey through the world of harmonies and found sounds. My soundtrack for walking/bus ride commute from it's release until well into the summer.
Song: "Bros" [video]
5. Battles - Mirrored
Featuring former members of Don Caballero, Helmet and the son of Jazz great Anthony Braxton, this is a musician's musician act that's even more than the sum of it's parts. These uncategorizable instrumentals blaze through your head and leave it a burning ember, and feature another song of the year candidate in "Atlas." And that's not even the best song -- for my money the honor would go to "Ddiamondd." With such a big step up from their previous EP's, it will be interesting to see where they go from here.
Song: "Atlas" [Hype Machine]
6. Spoon - Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga
Like every Spoon album thus far, this one makes into my top 10. It's also a bit of a slow burner, with songs that are instantly hummable yet get better with more playback. And forget that "You Got Yr Cherry Bomb" seems to pull from How I Became the Bomb's "Killing Machine," it's still another song of the year candidate.
7. Of Montreal - Hissing Fauna, Are You The Destroyer?
This album (and tour) finds Kevin Barnes exposed for all to see. Whereas past albums had Barnes persona buried behind characters and cute studies of human nature, this album is all Barnes - all the insecurities, sorrow, pain, doubt and redemption... and it's quite a ride.
Broken down for you, 01/23/07
8. Les Savy Fav - Let's Stay Friends
It's been six years since their last (2001's Go Forth) and indie rock's landscape has changed enormously, thanks in part to Les Savy Fav's trailblazing hooks and energy. They don't miss a beat with their return, and seem like they're even having more fun while tearing shit apart. Warning, this album grows on you like the vines from The Ruins.
9. M.I.A. - Kala
After getting denied a visa into the US, M.I.A. took an even more worldly method to recording this great sophomore release. Who needs Timbaland anyway?
10. Grinderman - Grinderman
This time out Nick Cave improvised lyrics and for the first time plays electric guitar while the rest of the band built the songs around his primitive guitar work. It's raw and powerful -- some of Cave's best work to date.
11. The Arcade Fire - Neon Bible
Their live shows had always been a sort of religious experience, so why not record in a church. More great songs, but I have to say the production started to wear on me after repeated listening.
12. Justice - †
Might be the party album of the year, Daft Punk style. Distorted synths and raved up riffs keep the party going till the morning.
13. Jens Lekman - Night Falls Over Kortedala
Lekman's innocent-but-wise voiced pop shines through all the lush arrangements from timeless genres.
14. Animal Collective - Strawberry Jam
With every new release, this Brooklyn-by-way-of-Baltimore foursome find new ways to build on their unclassifiable brand of sound, and with this album, they've done it again, with magical success.
15. Iron & Wine - The Shepherd's Dog
The enormity of change in arrangement, from spare to full, could've been a shock to the system in less delicate hands, but Beam knows the sounds he wants you to experience, and it's a revelatory experience.
16. Feist - The Reminder
The best 'grab for the golden ring' release of the year. Who knew this one time Peaches sidekick would blow up so big. Broken Social Scene breakout #1.
17. The Besnard Lakes - The Besnard Lakes are the Dark Horse
Dense and laid back, never sounding like it's trying too hard, yet revealing a lot more upon repeated listens, Low meets Pet Sounds.
18. Liars - Liars
Move to L.A.? Taking a stab at songwriting? Self-titled? Looks like Liars have confounded their fans -- and please the ears -- once again.
19. Burial - Untrue
A wonderous mosaic of sound. Somehow missed it until last month and have had a hard time stepping out of the dreamlike soundtrack of fog that this grime has covered me in.
20. Andrew Bird - Armchair Apocrypha
Bird's intellectual musings backed by smart arrangements and catchy hooks is the stuff that radio should hunger for.
21. King Khan & His Shrines - What Is ?!
What year is this? Ok, so not one inch of their fabric is from this century, but when you're good... you're goood.
22. Okkervil River - The Stage Names
Will Sheff and crew are less meloncholy, more playful... underneath, it's still some heady stuff, though.
23. Kevin Drew - Spirit If
Broken Social Scene breakout #2. J Mascis should guest on more releases... lets make him the Michael Caine (or is it Jude Law now?) of the music world.
24. Ween - La Cucaracha
Those lovable fuck-ups are back with their best album since Chocolate and Cheese. Hilarious in their seeming sincerity.
25. Field Music - Tones Of Town
XTC-like pop... sugary yet disjointed... soft yet jagged. Great songwriting and harmonies, what more can you ask for?
26. Sunset Rubdown - Random Spirit Lover
27. Kanye West - Graduation
28. Dinosaur Jr - Beyond
29. Dan Deacon - Spiderman of the Rings
30. Sea Wolf - Leaves in the River
31. Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova - Music From The Motion Picture 'Once'
32. Frog Eyes - Tears Of The Valedictorian
33. Deerhunter - Cryptograms
34. Blonde Redhead - 23
35. Bowerbirds - Hymns For A Dark Horse
36. No Age - Weirdo Rippers
37. John Doe - A Year In The Wilderness
38. Wilco - Sky Blue Sky
39. Amy Winehouse - Back to Black
40. Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings - 100 Days, 100 Nights
41. Deerhoof - Friend Opportunity
42. Get Him Eat Him - Arms Down
43. Phosphorescent - Pride
44. Beirut - The Flying Club Cup
45. Angels Of Light - We Are Him
46. Jose Gonzalez - In Our Nature
47. Menomena - Friend And Foe
48. Klaxons - Myths Of The Near Future
49. Josh Ritter - The Historical Conquests of Josh Ritter
50. Old Time Relijun - Catharsis in Crisis
The rest (listed by song in playlist)