Favorite Albums and EPs of 2007


15 Dic 2007, 0:01

I love all kinds of music, so my year-end list is unlike many of the favorites and best of 2007 lists I've seen published on the internet and in print. It seems many people today are listening to only one genre of music. I feel sorry for them.

You will not find albums by Animal Collective and Panda Bear (I didn't like either one) -- or any other animal-named band, for that matter -- on my list, nor will you find that my albums can be classified in one easy genre. I don't care about being hip, so all my album choices are based on honest opinions. I do not repeat or let myself be influenced by what others say about music. My opinions are my own.

Favorite Albums of 2007

20. Mind Control - Stephen Marley
Among the Marley children, Stephen Marley is the one who sounds most like his famous father. Alt reggae.
Stand-out track: The Traffic Jam (Featuring Damian "Jr. Gong" Marley)

19. Battle and Victory - Nancy Elizabeth
Nancy Elizabeth has crafted beautiful folk tales on Battle and Victory. She is a modern-day Joni Mitchell. Alt folk.
Stand-out track: Battle And Victory

18. Cross - Justice
This album does not feel like a 2007 release to me because a French friend had introduced me to the band two years ago. I was already familiar with many of the songs (and had overplayed them) when the album did finally get released. Dance.
Stand-out track: D.A.N.C.E.

17. A Year In The Wilderness - John Doe
John Doe has been my favorite male vocalist since I was 16 years old. His songs are American stories of living and loving. Alt folk/Americana.
Stand-out track: The Golden State

16. Writer's Block - Peter Bjorn and John
Stand-out track: Young Folks

15. BOSS - Magik Markers
Stand-out track: Taste

14. Lady's Bridge - Richard Hawley
Stand-out track: Our Darkness

13. Good Bad Not Evil - Black Lips
Stand-out track: Veni Vidi Vici

12. Pale Young Gentlemen - Pale Young Gentlemen
Stand-out track: Fraulein

11. B/E/A/T/B/O/X - Glass Candy
Glass Candy's sound is new "new wave." B/E/A/T/B/O/X is a fun album with delicious dance beats and sexy vocals.
Stand-out track: Digital Versicolor

10. Build a Nation - Bad Brains
Bad Brains is a perennial favorite of mine. Adam Yauch of the Beastie Boys accepted the challenge of producing an album for a band whose sound is not something that can be easily captured and recorded. Bad Brains' power is in their energetic live performances. Build a Nation is a polished version of what the Brains are on stage. Hardcore.
Stand-out track: Universal Peace

9. Kala - M.I.A.
Stand-out track: Paper Planes

8. Widow City - The Fiery Furnaces
Stand-out track: My Egyptian Grammar

7. No Shouts, No Calls - Electrelane
The tragic musical lost of 2007 is Electrelane, who announced they were going on "indefinite hiatus" at the end of their tour this year. This is particularly sad because No Shouts, No Calls is the finest album of their career. Alternative.
Stand-out track: Saturday

6. Shotter's Nation - Babyshambles
Stand-out track: Baddie's Boogie

5. Let's Stay Friends - Les Savy Fav
Les Savy Fav is an extremely fun band with an old-school punk spirit. Frontman Tim Harrington is a dynamo. Les Savy Fav are a must-see live. Post-punk.
Stand-out track: The Equestrian

4. Weirdo Rippers - No Age
Stand-out track: Everybody's Down

3. White Chalk - PJ Harvey
For a long time, I had White Chalk on the top of my favorites list, but I was forced to place it in third place because I simply didn't play it as much as the top two albums. That said, I believe White Chalk is the best album I heard all year. PJ Harvey is the kind of artist who interests and excites me. I am drawn to artists who challenge and transcend what people believe and expect them to be (see Beastie Boys).

For White Chalk, PJ Harvey sat down at a piano -- an instrument she did not know how to play -- and composed songs while she taught herself how to play the instrument. (She has said in interviews that she learned by pretending she knew how to play.) These songs are ethereal works that sound unlike any of her previous songs. An extraordinary concept album.
Stand-out track: Grow Grow Grow

2. The Mix-Up - Beastie Boys
In 2007, I played The Mix-Up more than any other album. Beastie Boys hold a special spot in my heart that no other artist comes near to touching. Although I love The Mix-Up and really wanted to list it as my favorite album of the year, I thought Thurston Moore's album was the better of the two.

The Mix-Up is an all-instrumental (i.e., no vocals) album by a band whom most people don't think of as an instrument-playing band. This is the Beastie Boys curse: they are consider by the general population as simply a rap act. Most people don't realize that the Beastie Boys are highly skilled instrumentalists.

Beastie Boys are serious musicians with serious musical tastes. The Mix-Up is comprised of songs that reflect their musical influences: funk, jazz, psychedelia, bossanova, Northern soul, and dub reggae.

The Mix-Up is not for everyone. You must possess a fine appreciation of all music to be able to appreciate the greatness of the album. I've read a number of reviews that summarized the album as being homogenous, meaning that all the songs sound the same. These critics did not listen to the album more than twice and/or do not have an educated ear if they think the songs sound the same. I can't overemphasize how sophisticated an album The Mix-Up is. It's definitely for the advanced listener.
Stand-out track: Freaky Hijiki

1. Trees Outside The Academy - Thurston Moore
Trees Outside the Academy was the album that I found most satisfying to listen to in 2007. Thurston Moore's skill at crafting beautiful melodies is unmatched by any contemporary artist. His songs are multiple, complex layers of sound that challenge and please the ear.

If someone told me they wanted to learn how to write music and play guitar, I would advise them to study Thurston Moore. Every song on Trees Outside the Academy is worth listening to.
Stand-out track: Honest James

Honorable Mentions
Idealism - Digitalism
Beartrap Island - Division Day
Piñata - Mexican Institute of Sound
Hvarf - Heim - Sigur Rós

Favorite EPs
1. Sticking Fingers Into Sockets - Los Campesinos!
2. Totally Flossed Out - The Cool Kids
3. Ra Ra Riot - Ra Ra Riot
4. Wizard of Ahhhs - The Black Kids
5. Soko Not Sokute - SoKo

(These are all artists whom I admire.)
Volta - Björk
Proof of Youth - The Go! Team
Neon Bible - The Arcade Fire
In Rainbows - Radiohead
Twelve - Patti Smith
Sound Of Silver - LCD Soundsystem

Albums I'm Looking Forward to in 2008
Jukebox - Cat Power
I Believe in Santogold - Santogold
Mountain Battles - The Breeders
New Beastie Boys album (*fingers crossed*)
New Sean Lennon album


  • paulbonardelli

    #18....im am very outraged...true dat about 1/2 the album already being out on the internet like a year before it was released anyways...but still, i love it to death. A bboys/Justice tour would make me very happy. Like that would happen in a million years though.

    16 Dic 2007, 3:04
  • ShoWr

    love your taste!. It's really sad the list of disappointments, a bad year for great bands, I would add: Air - Pocket simphonies, Interpol - a love to admire two more wooofs to your list

    16 Dic 2007, 20:32
  • bboysgirl

    Thanks for reminding me about the Interpol album. Woof, indeed.

    17 Dic 2007, 15:45
  • hickorywind

    Very nice list. I especially like the albums by Electrelane, Thurston Moore, Magik Markers, and the Fiery Furnaces. You're the second person today whose musical taste I respect that ranked White Chalk highly. It just didn't click the first few times I listened, so evidently further investigation is needed. Anyway, great job here.

    18 Dic 2007, 3:36
  • Mozo78

    Great year-end of list! Appreciate that you include the album cover art and a recommended track ... I'm going to check out Nancy Elizabeth, Pale Young Gentlemen and Thurston Moore's new one. And hopefully I'll get my own list posted before the end of the year. Cheers!

    22 Dic 2007, 21:04
  • ColorMeSexy

    The dissapointments are great. I felt the same way with the arcade fire but my gross friend kept pushing it on me so it took quite a while to grow on me. The Go Team sucked so bad this year and Interpol's new one was awful. Also the EP's are great too. Ra Ra Riot put out something great and Oh No! Oh My! had a fantastic one too.

    30 Dic 2007, 19:22
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