20071212

Top 30 Albums of 2007


Notables on the cutting room floor (#31-50, in random order): Mae - Singularity, Lovedrug - Everything Starts Where it Ends, Feist - The Reminder, The New Pornographers - Challengers, Stars - In Our Bedroom After the War, Say Anything - In Defense of the Genre, Menomena - Friend and Foe, Travis Morrison & the Hellfighters - All Y'All, A National Chorus - The Millions Too Many, Rogue Wave - Asleep at Heaven's Gate, Page France ...and the Family Telephone, Other Men - Wake Up Swimming, Minus the Bear - Planet of Ice, Kings of Leon - Because of the Times, Fink - Distance and Time, Far-Less - A Toast to Bad Taste, Wheat - Everyday I Said a Prayer for Kathy..., Via Audio - Say Something, The Snake The Cross The Crown - Cotton Teeth, Chris Bathgate - A Cork Tale Wake

30. Band of Horses - Cease to Begin
29. Beirut - The Flying Club Cup
28. Josh Ritter - The Historical Conquests of Josh Ritter
27. Pinback - Autumn of the Seraphs
26. Jose Gonzalez - In Our Nature
25. Lymbyc Systym - Love Your Abuser
24. Matt Pond PA - Last Light
23. Sara Bareilles - Little Voice
22. Sunparlour Players - Hymns for the Happy
21. The Thrills - Teenager
20. The Rocket Summer - Do You Feel?
19. Dear and the Headlights - Small Steps, Heavy Hooves
18. Paramore - Riot!
17. Maritime - Heresy and the Hotel Choir
16. the Acorn - Glory Hope Mountain
15. Cloud Cult - The Meaning of 8
14. Spoon - Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga
13.Ryan Adams - Easy Tiger
12. The National - Boxer
11. Loney, Dear - Loney, Noir
10. The Weakerthans - Reunion Tour

Everytime I hear this record, I like it more. It's quirky and decidedly Canadian. Not the kind of Canadian always making headlines here, the BSS's, Stars, Feists, New Pornographers, Acorns, or Most Serene Republic's. This is the kind of Canada I can hear through odes to hockey goalies, curling, snow and ice, sung in John Samson's inimitable voice. It's decidedly human, warm despite the cold outside.
Top tracks: Night Windows [mp3], Civil Twilight, Sun in an Empty Room

9. Iron & Wine - The Shepherd's Dog

So this is what happens when you give Sam Beam a full band to work with. Wowza. It's really nice, though I still prefer the stripped down themes of his last album for the most part. An amazing storyteller, this one.
Top tracks: Carousel [mp3], Boy with a Coin, Resurrection Fern

8. Chris Merritt - Hello, Little Captain

Finally a worthy successor to the Ben Folds throne of amazing piano pop. In addition to being a ridiculously talented pianist with a voice that kills, Chris has an uncanny feel for chord phrasing and melody. His songs will stick to you like velcro-covered maple syrup. Chris has jazz hands.
Top tracks: The Palace Flophouse, It's Been Sad, Lay a Finger on Me (aka: Show Me What You're Made Of) [mp3] (bonus track)

7. Bon Iver - For Emma, Forever Ago

This is the little record that could. Justin Vernon's (of The Rosebuds and Ticonderoga) solo project was the surprise of the year, probably most of all to himself. Secluded in a snow-covered cabin in NW Wisconsin for 6 months, he combined a barrage of heartaches and memories with solitude, serene sunrises and sub-freezing temperatures. The result is a haunting 9 song album without equal. "Re: Stacks" destroys me. It devastates me. It makes me feel alive.
Top tracks: Skinny Love, Re: Stacks [mp3], Lump Sum

6. The Shins - Wincing the Night Away

Their most accessible and polished record, to their detriment some would say. It is what it is, I say. Gone is some of the emotion, scratchy and lo-fi, from their previous albums, and also the novelty. That said, this release is exactly what it needed to be. Tight, clean, and beautiful, grabbing the nation as a whole with its first major release. Maybe now they can return to their roots, break out the analog recorders, and make history.
Top tracks: Sleeping Lessons, Australia, Spilt Needles [mp3]

5. Radiohead - In Rainbows

The best and greatest band in the world continues to break barriers their own way, pulling rabbits out of their hats, farting in paper bags, etc. This record is no bit of recorded flatulence, however, despite the backlash of non-Radiohead fans that are sick of hearing about them. With time, this could be their finest release overall, and certainly their most notable. Ok Computer came out of nowhere, there were no expectations to make the best album in history. These days it's a different story as the band has reached god-like status, expectations weighing down like so many stones. How do you exceed them? Release an album with some of your best songs in a decade, in the raw, melodies a-soaring, piano a-plinking. And let people pay what they want for it, the most revolutionary tactic to hit music sales in years, not to mention a public relations coup. Brilliant.
Top tracks: Weird Fishes/Arpeggi, Videotape, Bodysnatchers

4. Andrew Bird - Armchair Apocrypha

Mr. Bird is a truly special performer and songwriter, virtuoso at violin, whistling, and the loop pedal. This record is flawless and plays like the soundtrack to a Vonnegut novel, full of emotion and eccentricities that'll bring smiling tears. It's a campfire album, a triumphant love song, a eulogy, an inspirational speech, a road trip, your first love, a lullaby.
Top tracks: Heretics, Armchairs, Simple X [mp3]

3. Fionn Regan - The End of History

I know, I know. "Black Water Child" was my #1 song of 2006, so how can the album be included this year? a) It's my list dammit, but more importantly b) I didn't have the entire album yet because it didn't get released domestically until this year. Fionn is well on his way to becoming one of the definitive troubadours of our generation. A stunning debut.
Top tracks: Black Water Child, Hunter's Map, Underwood Typewriter

2. Field Music - Tones of Town

One of only two early '07 releases to hold its position over the entire year (the Shins being the other). From the opening track (below), this record is determined to capture, balancing immaculate pop sensibility and restraint with a sack full of tasty hooks. There is simply no weak point on this album. Channeling Squeeze and the Beatles creates the kind of pop that never gets old.
Top tracks: Give It Lose It Take It [mp3], Working to Work, Kingston

1. The Most Serene Republic - Population

Here's something: It took only two weeks for this band to become the most listened-to artist on my last.fm page overall, largely because of this album. It flows like molten sugar, too hot to touch, 3rd degree burns if you do. Tongue-in-cheek, sometimes-dark, social commentary built upon layers of sweet indiepop, two singers, furious percussion, crescendos, the works. The Most Serene Republic is the facade of a normal band, but inside they are anything but.
Top tracks: The Men Who Live Upstairs [mp3], Present of Future End, Sherry and Her Butterfly Net

Take a look at 2006's best songs/albums here.
Tomorrow, 2007's best EP's and maybe some other things.

4 Comments:

Blogger Christopher said...

Great list. Andrew Bird and Bon Iver both made my "Best of 2007" also.

6:41 PM  
Blogger johncole said...

pretty good top 30. Though I don't agree with the Shins album and a few others, I am really glad to see Last Light up there and the Weaktherthans! I forgot about their release this year. Here is my top ten:

1.The National-Boxer
2.Spoon- Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga
3.Blonde Redhead-23
4.Dinosaur Jr.- Beyond
5.Matt Pond PA- Last Light
6.Iron and Wine-Shepherd's Dog
7.St. Vincent-Marry Me
8.The Whiles-Sleeper's Wake
9.Band of Horses-Cease to Begin
10.Weakerthans-Reunion Tour

5:04 PM  
Blogger turtle109 said...

i like the list...absolutely needed the radiohead and paramore...i like the new matt pond PA album, too...wish more people knew about matt...

5:08 PM  
Blogger johncole said...

yes..i completely agree. matt pond PA seems to be a band that gets looked over way too often. Also, i feel that Last Light is definitely a more listener friendly album for the indie rock fan compared to past releases.

5:19 PM  

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