This is my year-end list. I didn't really have enough time to put a full review to each, but where I have a few thoughts, I've jotted them down. I plan on uploading a few songs, to give tastes of why I found the following so interesting.
(1/12/2008 edit: I've put the MP3 download links in...)
Top 20 Albums of 2007
20. Burning Brides - Hang Love
Album highlights- Your Nation Will Die (mp3); Waring Street; Poor House
19. Justice - †
Album highlights- D.A.N.C.E. (mp3); Phantom; Rivers of Nazareth
18. Kaiser Chiefs - Yours Truly, the Angry Mob
‘Ruby’ is awesome (and Guitar Hero 3 is awesome for including it as a bonus track). It was so awesome, in fact, that I blogged specifically about the song and how excited I was for the full length. Unfortunately, there was really no way for the rest of the album to live up to it. However, if you can get around the fact that only about half the tracks are all that catchy, you can find a lot of fun songs. ‘Retirement’ is my theme song (or would be, if I had one).
Standout tracks – Ruby (mp3); Retirement; Heat Dies Down
17. Feist - The Reminder
Album highlights- 1234; My Moon, My Man (mp3); I Feel it All
16. Spoon - Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga
Album highlights- Don’t Make Me a Target (mp3); The Underdog; The Ghost of You Lingers
15. Project 86 - Rival Factions
A great follow-up to ‘…and the rest will follow’ (which I only partially enjoyed). Their most diverse album by far.
Album highlights- Evil (A Chorus of Resistance) (mp3); Molotov (mp3); Sanctuary Hum
14. Blonde Redhead – 23
Too many dry spots to really merit a top-10, but good Lord, when they make a good song, they make it great.
Album highlights- Spring and By Summer Fall (mp3); 23; Dr. Strangelove
13. Foo Fighters - Echoes, Silence, Patience, and Grace
It almost lives up to the promise of ‘In Your Honor’. Another strong showing by one of my favorite rock bands.
Album highlights- The Pretender (mp3); Long Road to Ruin; Stranger Things Have Happened
12. Dub Pistols - Speakers and Tweeters
As it turns out, the Dub Pistols control the shit - who knew? Well, anyone who heard ‘Speed of Light’, for starters. Nearly every song on this horrifically underrated album is a completely different experience – from the aforementioned, nearly ambient ‘Speed of Light’, to the beach party sounds of ‘Peaches’, to the great album closer ‘Gave You Time’. If you needed to be convinced that the Dub Pistols actually ‘control the shit’, ‘Speakers and Tweeters’ should be all the evidence you need.
Album highlights- Speed of Light (mp3); Something to Trust; Gave You Time
11. Kanye West – Graduation
Kanye somehow manages to do it again. Seriously, he’s gotta hit a dry spell sometime, right?
Album highlghts- Stronger; Can’t Tell Me Nothing; Good Morning (mp3)
10. The Fratellis - Costello Music
Not ‘The Hives’ by any stretch (more on that later), but still a really trashy fun CD.
Album highlights- Vince the Lovable Stoner (mp3); Flathead; Chelsea Dagger
9. The National – Boxer
I could listen to Matt Berninger’s vocals all day. Luckily, the great songwriting makes it easy to do just that.
Album highlights- Mistaken For Strangers (mp3); Brainy; Fake Empires
8. The White Stripes - Icky Thump
Better than ‘Satan’, not as good as ‘Elephant’.
Album highlights- Rag and Bone; Icky Thump; Little Crème Soda (mp3)
7. Klaxons - Myths of the Near Future
Whatever “New Rave” might be, if it sounds anything like ‘Gravity’s Rainbow’, I’ll take another dozen albums, please.
Album highlights- Gravity’s Rainbow (mp3); It’s Not Over; Golden Skans
6. Fall Out Boy - Infinity on High
Nothing I can say will justify this spot in many people’s minds. That’s too bad, they’re missing out on a good, consistent pop record.
Album highlights- This Ain’t a Scene, It’s an Arms Race (mp3); The (After) Life of the Party; Golden
5. Chevelle - Vena Sera
Chevelle is back, and they are pissed. “About what?” you might ask… and well, honestly, I’m not sure anyone but Pete Loeffler actually knows for sure (something about THE FAD. PERMEATING.), but regardless of any of that, Chevelle has put out possibly their most consistant album yet in Vena Sera. The songs are energetic and fresh, Pete sounds passionate about whatever the hell it is that he’s talking about, and the hooks are there in bulk. This CD grabbed my attention from the first listen, and kept it throughout the rest of the many, many listens thereafter.
Album highlights- The Fad (mp3); Brainiac; Straight Jacket Fashion
4. El-P - I'll Sleep When You're Dead
Super-pessimistic look at human nature and the creepy times we live in (or could be living in soon). Great beats, thought-provoking lyrics; this CD should be heard by everyone who can’t choke down another year’s worth of ‘Soulja Boys’.
Album highlights-Tasmanian Pain Coaster; The League of Extraordinary Nobodies (mp3); The Overly Dramatic Truth
3. The Hives - The Black & White Album
The Hives rule the world. This is the most fun album of the year, and it’s really not even really all that close. Criticism got leveled against them for diluting the formula (step 1: ROCK OUT… no step 2), but listening back to some of their old stuff after hearing this, it’s not as different as people are making it out to be. They still bring super-highly polished garage rock in short, enjoyable bursts without really making any grandiose statements – and they continue to do it really well. Enjoyable as the Fratellis were at times, they don’t match up to the Hives.
Album highlights- Tick Tick Boom (mp3); Won’t Be Long; Hey Little World
2. Radiohead - In Rainbows
Until October, number one on this list was a slam dunk, with nothing particularly amazing lined up for the last few months of the year. That changed in a hurry, and I actually had to put some thought into the number one position. While ‘In Rainbows’ isn’t as revolutionary as some are making it out to be (Radiohead is simply one of the bigger names to do the whole “pay what you want” thing, though rumors have Nine Inch Nails maybe doing the same thing next time), it is filled with extremely good music. From the schizo-pop of ’15 step’ to the haunting ‘Videotape’, every song has a common thread, yet is completely different in execution. Bonus: it has the song of the year in ‘Reckoner’.
Album highlights- Reckoner (mp3); Nude; All I Need
1. Arcade Fire - Neon Bible
With a single ominous organ sound (the beginning blast on ‘Intervention’), Arcade Fire had me hooked on their new CD. I torrented the album when I could, and still eagerly bought the CD the day it came out. This album falls into the rarified category of CDs that I don’t feel the urge to utilize the skip button on once throughout the duration. Neon Bible has been accused of being a bit over the top (and I suppose ‘Intervention’ would be a prime culprit of that, if it weren’t just such a good song). I listened to this one all year, and never got sick of it. I waffled for a while on whether this spot was Radiohead’s or not, but in the end, this is the CD I enjoyed most this year by a good margin.
Album highlights- Intervention (mp3); Keep the Car Running; Windowsill