Top Ten Albums of 2007 ~ BitterSweetLife

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Top Ten Albums of 2007

This has been a long time coming, but I didn't want to rush to judgment just to get my Top Ten Albums of 2007 list out before the new year. Thanks for waiting.

Music may have a more fragile shelf life than books, but I feel pretty safe in saying that we should probably all spot the previous year at least six months before we ditch in as totally out-dated. Haha.

Disclaimer: I'm not a music expert, nor am I trying to represent the American public--just myself--so this post will not draw from all available genres. Up front, I'll admit that I'm not a big fan of hardcore, bubblegum pop, or rap music that isn't made by Shai Linne, Timothy Brindle, or their compadres--so don't come after me. Also, I lied: These are actually the Top Twelve Albums of 2007--but that wouldn't sound as catchy, would it? And we're all about surface appearances here...

So then, the countdown:

Top Ten Twelve Albums of 2007

12. Heart Attack Time Machine by Waterdeep. This local, KC-based band rose from the ashes to create a subtle, melodic folk-rock album that showcases Lori Chaffer's wonderful voice while avoiding the overly repetitive jams that used to fill their albums. (OK, I may be slightly biased, but it is a great CD--and I wanted to have a surprise entry.)

11. Reunion Tour by the Weakerthans. They stubbornly refuse to "progress" their throwback musical style, and occasionally a new guitar riff will sound vaguely familiar, but the wildly literate, clever lyrics more than atone.

10. Sky Blue Sky by Wilco. The kings of indie abandon rampant experimentalism to return to the more straightforward, jangly, reflective sound that originally defined them. Good move.

9. The Reminder by Feist. Lilting but plucky vocals deservedly vaulted Feist into the spotlight.

8. Neon Bible by The Arcade Fire. Brooding, enigmatic, symphonic, strident, sometimes opaque--this is an album that not only rewards, but requires, repeated listens.

7. The Story by Brandi Carlile. Carlile's sophomore effort is a folksy, rock-tinged album that highlights the superb songwriting and even more superb voice of a rising star.

6. Shepherd's Dog by Iron and Wine. Sam Beam's whispered vocals occasionally get lost in the whirling, multi-layered, acoustic harmonies, but his songs are filled with stark, searching images.

5. The Historical Conquests of Josh Ritter by Josh Ritter. With poetic/gritty lyrics, catchy/nuanced composition, and a casually expressive voice, Ritter's album is like a good pair of jeans, instantly comfortable.

4. Lifeline by Ben Harper and the Innocent Criminals. Smooth and soulful, with plenty of understated (and sometimes not) don't-mess-with-me edge. In my opinion, Harper's best album yet.

3. Challengers by the New Pornographers. The name is a reference to Jimmy Swaggart's statement that "music is the new pornography"--and gives you a feel for the playfully sly way the uber-skilled band puts their lyrics and lush melodies together.

2. Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga by Spoon. Classic, bluesy rock with driving rhythms and plenty of swagger--perfectly executed--with hooks that don't leave room for weak tracks.

1. In Rainbows by Radiohead. Thom Yorke and company create a spectral, haunting, rock album that makes you want to read Ecclesiastes, muse about where your life is headed, and stare blankly into the middle distance muttering, Wow.

Runners Up

Wincing the Night Away by The Shins

Cease to Begin by Band of Horses

We Walked in Song by The Innocence Mission

Cassadaga by Bright Eyes

Disagree? Any other albums I should have included? Throw in your two cents.

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John B. said...

Some good choices, and you've reminded me that I still haven't listened to the Weakerthans. For shame.

Thanks for posting this.

Alaina said...

Thanks for the list! I'm excited to check out many of the listed cds. I'll admit to not being up on the 2007 albums at all. Your list looks like my kind of music.

tim said...

Good list, and for what it's worth I think Radiohead's latest offering is in the top three of their incredible catalog.

I'm a Weakerthans fan, but still haven't heard their lastest--I'll be picking it up (along with something from the New Pornographers).

Nathan said...

Great list.

I like 1,3,5,6,7,9,10. I'd add Easy Tiger from Ryan Adams...I'm not sure what else off the top of my head.

KU is fading...not a good trend.


colleen said...

excellent list. i love the Radiohead description. perfect.
the only thing i would venture to add would be Blonde Redhead's album "23". it has some incredible tracks that have been at the top of my listening favorites this year.

lovely. :)

Will Hicks said...

Love me some Feist. She reminds me of Jewel, 10 years ago.

Ariel said...

Thanks for the recommendations.
Ryan Adams: haven't got around to listening to him yet, but I need to give him a shot. I have Misery is a Butterfly (feels claustrophobic to me, but has some lovely moments), but I haven't checked out the the new Blonde Redhead album yet...


Culture. Photos. Life's nagging questions. - BitterSweetLife