Since it’s almost the end of 2007 it’s time to post some of my favorite albums of the year. I will post my five most favorite in order then the rest is kind of a free-for-all. I will also offer a few new finds, musicians who don’t (necessarily) have albums in 2007, but nonetheless I’ve come to love this year.
My Favorite Five Albums of the Year
Number Five: Andrew Bird – Armchair Apocrypha. Andrew Bird’s album Armchair Apocrypha is one of those albums that gets better over time. I listened to it only a little when I first got it, but I found that over time it grew on me. I couldn’t seem to help putting this album on. Every song on this album is worth spending your time on, listening to it over and over again. Bird’s an accomplished musician, not just because he plays a mean violin and can whistle, but because he’s making some really great rock music right now.
Number Four: Elvis Perkins – Ash Wednesday. The first time I heard Elvis Perkins’ Ash Wednesday I knew there was something different, something special about his music. Perkins crackly voice, and dylanesque songs drew me in, and it would be difficult to look back. There is a hidden power in this music, something almost transcendent, yet Perkins is able to maintain a humanness that pierces the heart. I’ve raved enough about him before, so I’ll stop. However, I do stand-bye my excitement over this album, even if other top–lists don’t even mention this guy.
Number Three: Arcade Fire – Neon Bible. This was a no-brainer choice for me when I first started thinking about my favorite five albums from this year. Neon Bible is crafted as well as a rock album can be; the songwriting is powerful, haunting and beautiful. As far as songwriting goes, this album has real teeth. But more than the songwriting, the music is like nothing else around. Arcade Fire is refreshingly original, in a way that transcends other flash-in-the-pan acts as seen by this sophomore work.
Number Two: Wilco – Sky Blue Sky. I love the warmth of this album, just about as much as I love the fact that it is a complete deviation from their previous two albums (something I know a lot of people have no been happy with). For me, Wilco is best when their alt. country roots show; Sky Blue Sky is as much about changing up their repertoire as it is about having an album full of alt country rock songs, blues-inspired licks and the emotion of a Wurlitzer. And beyond all this, it has some sentimentality for me as it was the record I listened to the most while I was on my own in Birmingham (UK) this past summer.
Number One: Radiohead – In Rainbows. This is by far my favorite of the year (and should be yours too!). While it is easily accessible in it’s presentation, and feels more like a rock album than Kid A, Amnesiac and Hail to the Thief, it is still musically creative when compared to their other more “rock” albums, the Bends and OK Computer. It is a delight to listen to on many levels and is the album I have listened to the most in ’07 even though it came out only a month ago. But one main reason why I think it should be the best album of 2007 is because this is the album people will be talking about in 15 years as “the album that challenged the music industry,” as well as the way we think about how digital music is distributed. Not only is In Rainbows an incredible record but it ushered in an event that will be talked about for a long time to come [Read my earlier post on In Rainbows].
Other favorites from the year
If I had a top 20 list then I would have these in there as well, but after the first five it’s a bit much to try and rate all this. These are all albums I have really enjoyed (and think you will too) over the past year.
Jose Gonzalez – In our Nature
Explosions in the Sky – All of a Sudden I miss Everyone
Midlake – The Trials of Van Occupanther
Bill Callahan – Woke on a Whaleheart
David Bazan – Fewer Moving Parts
Blonde Redhead – 23
Peter Bjorn and John – Writer’s Block
Modest Mouse – We Were Dead Before The Ship Even Sank
Talib Kweli – Eardrum
Beirut – The Flying Club Cup
Lovedrug – Everything Starts Where it Ends
No Little Kindness – Rejoice
Bodies of Water – Ears Will Pop Eyes Will Blink
Favorite Musical Finds This Year
Finally, here are a few artists I “discovered” this year and I have really loved finding them (the White Stripes also have a new album this year). If I had to pick one, I’d say M. Ward is my favorite.
So there it is, the list is complete. What do you think of it? Who did I miss? Is there anything you agree or disagree with here?