Friday, December 21, 2007

Best 100+ Albums from 2007

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.

Review, 05/22/07
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.

(Review, 03/20/07)
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?
Review 08/21/07

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.
Review 04/10/07

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.
Review 02/28/07

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.
Review 10/11/07

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.
Review 09/11/07

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.
Review 09/25/07

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.
Review 05/10/07

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.
Review 02/20/07

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.
Review 08/28/07

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.
Review 08/07/07

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.
Review 09/18/07

24. Ween - La Cucaracha
Those lovable fuck-ups are back with their best album since Chocolate and Cheese. Hilarious in their seeming sincerity.
Review 10/25/07

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?
Review 02/13/07

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)


Shawn Anderson said...

Insert Radiohead at #2 (not in Rhapsody library until the new year) and move the rest down.

2007 Top 100+ Albums

1. All My Friends - LCD Soundsystem
2. Mistaken For Strangers - The National
3. Take Pills - Panda Bear
4. Atlas - Battles
5. Rhthm & Soul - Spoon
6. Heimdalsgate Like A Promethean Curse - Of Montreal
7. The Equestrian - Les Savy Fav
8. Bird Flu - M.I.A.
9. Depth Charge Ethel - Grinderman
10. Keep The Car Running - Arcade Fire
11. D.A.N.C.E. [Album Version] - Justice
12. The Opposite of Hallelujah - Jens Lekman
13. Fireworks - Animal Collective
14. Innocent Bones - Iron & Wine
15. I Feel It All - Feist
16. Devastation - The Besnard Lakes
17. Houseclouds - Liars
18. Archangel - Burial
19. Heretics - Andrew Bird
20. I Wanna Be A Girl - King Khan & The Shrines
21. Our Life Is Not A Movie Or Maybe - Okkervil River
22. Lucky Ones - Kevin Drew
23. With My Own Bare Hands - Ween
24. A House is not a Home - Field Music
25. Up on Your Leopard, Upon the End of Your Feral Days - Sunset Rubdown
26. Stronger - Kanye West
27. Crumble - Dinosaur Jr
28. Wham City - Dan Deacon
29. You're A Wolf (Album) - Sea Wolf
30. Falling Slowly - Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova
31. "Stockades" - Frog Eyes
32. Cryptograms - Deerhunter
33. Sw - Blonde Redhead
34. In Our Talons - Bowerbirds
35. Neck Escaper - No Age
36. The Golden State - John Doe
37. Walken - Wilco
38. You Know I'm No Good - Amy Winehouse
39. Be Easy - Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings
40. + 81 - Deerhoof
41. Push & Pull - Get Him Eat Him
42. Be Dark Night - Phosphorescent
43. A Sunday Smile - Beirut
44. Promise of Water - Angels Of Light
45. Down the Line - Jose Gonzalez
46. Muscle'n Flo - Menomena
47. Golden Skans - Klaxons
48. The Temptation of Adam - Josh Ritter
49. Daemon Meeting - Old Time Relijun
50. Australia - The Shins
51. Long Limbed Girl - Nick Lowe
52. The Plot - White Rabbits
53. Sister Rosetta Goes Before Us - Robert Plant
54. Helen - The Cave Singers
55. Charming The Flames - Fields
56. Mano Dayak - Tinariwen
57. Virginia N.M.2 - Grayskul
58. I've Been Out Walking - Nina Nastasia
59. The General Specific (Album) - Band Of Horses
60. Four Winds - Bright Eyes
61. Crazy Ex-Girlfriend - Miranda Lambert
62. Back In Your Head - Tegan and Sara
63. Triceratops - Health
64. Ignorant Sh*t featuring Beanie Sigel - Jay-Z
65. Words You Used To Say - Dean & Britta
66. National Anthem Of Nowhere - Apostle Of Hustle
67. Fri/End - Thurston Moore
68. North By Northwest - Blue Scholars
69. Just As You Are - Robert Wyatt
70. Priest, Poet, & The Pig - VietNam
71. Archangel - Burial
72. Three Easy Pieces - Buffalo Tom
73. The Piano - P.J. Harvey
74. Our Gaze - Robert Pollard
75. The Magic Position - Patrick Wolf
76. Direct Hit - Art Brut
77. I'm On A Roll - Over the Rhine
78. You Don't Know What Love Is (You Just Do As You're Told) - White Stripes
79. Myriad Harbour - New Pornographers
80. The Sons Of Cain - Ted Leo
81. Black Cat John Brown - Alamo Race Track
82. Aftershocks And Afterthoughts - Small Sails
83. None Shall Pass - Aesop Rock
84. Get Up Get Out - The Rosebuds
85. Pace Or The Patience - Love Of Diagrams
86. Fluorescent Adolescent - Arctic Monkeys
87. Florida - Modest Mouse
88. Thrash Unreal - Against Me!
89. The Brightness - Anais Mitchell
90. Tenderoni - Chromeo
91. Phenomena - Akron/Family
92. I'll Never Give It Up - Richard Thompson
93. Under The Blacklight - Rilo Kiley
94. Parker's Mood - Joe Henry
95. You Made Me Like It - 1990's
96. O Katrina! - Black Lips
97. Brand New Kind of Actress - Jason Isbell
98. Wonderlust King - Gogol Bordello
99. Lionkiller - Cass McCombs
100. Fight & Kiss - We Are Wolves
101. Run-Away - Super Furry Animals
102. Hymn Of The Medical Oddity - Weakerthans
103. Fledermaus Can't Get It - Von Sudenfed
104. Rainin in Paradize (Scheps Version) - Manu Chao
105. Breaker - Low
106. Sharpshooter - Mary Timony
107. Sugar Cinnamon - Portugal.The Man
108. Don't Give Up - The Noisettes
109. Earth Intruders - Bjork
110. Seize the Day - Adam Franklin
111. Versatile Heart - Linda Thompson
112. Shim Sham - Imperial Teen
113. Trophy - Bat For Lashes
114. Grip Like a Vice (Album) - The Go! Team
115. Good To Sea - Pinback
116. Halloweenhead - Ryan Adams
117. Parents Livingroom - Shout Out Louds
118. Forty Cent Raise - Cindy Lee Berryhill
119. The Night Starts Here - Stars
120. The Well - Damon and Naomi

Anonymous said...

No Loney, Dear really?

Shawn Anderson said...

Loney Noir is no Sologne... the sting of my initial disappointment sticks with me still.

Anonymous said...

Agreed on LCD Soundsystem(#1)!

I too enjoyed Alamo Race Track's album (#81), but maybe not 5 spots better than the Arctic Monkeys'(#86) disc.

Nice to see Mr. Ted Leo + the Rx
(#80)acknowledged on your tops list.