The best music of 2007

2007 was an amazing year for music, one of the strongest in a long time. Consequently, I have quite a lengthy list of favorite albums for the year.

Ryan AdamsEasy Tiger
I thought this was the best album of 2007. I wrote a full review of Easy Tiger when it was released last summer. And for a bonus, check out the EP, Follow the Lights, which Adams also released this year.

sample of Everybody Knows by Ryan Adams (mp3)

Ian HunterShrunken Heads
With a great mix of fun rockers, and introspective ballads, the 68 year-old, former lead singer of Mott the Hoople, has made some of the best music of his career with this disc. The songwriting (where Hunter can alternate between being serious, and having a wry sense of humor), as well as the performance on this disc vastly outshine the music Ian Hunter’s contemporaries are making.

sample of Soul of America by Ian Hunter (mp3)

The NationalBoxer
See my post from August 21 for a full review of The National’s unique sound.

Sample of Guest Room by The National (mp3) (from the record label’s website)

New PornographersChallengers
Following up an album as good as Twin Cinema (the band’s previous release) is a tall order. With Challengers, they’ve made a record that’s a little more restrained and diverse, yet still a strong album that can stand along side (if not quite as tall) that record. It’s got a lot of what you’d expect: surrealistic lyrics, touches of melancholy, and great harmonies from a super-group that is definitely greater than the sum of its parts.

My Rights Versus Yours by New Pornographers (mp3) (from the band’s website)

Robert Plant & Alison KraussRaising Sand
Have you ever seen such an unlikely paring? One of the fathers of heavy metal with the queen of bluegrass? Thanks in large part to the production efforts of T Bone Burnett, it works beautifully. Raising Sand has a rootsy, laid back, and sometimes dark feel with harmonies that are nothing less than sublime.

sample of Rich Woman by Robert Plant and Alison Krauss (mp3)

Patti ScialfaPlay It As It Lays
Patti Scialfa is probably best known for being the wife and background singer of a big rock star. With this album, she shows that she deserves to be out of the Boss’ shadow and in the spotlight herself. She’s got a great rock and roll voice, surrounds herself with great musicians, and demonstrates masterful songwriting. What more do you need?

sample of Town Called Heartbreak by Patti Scialfa (mp3)

They say love, Love has it’s very own light,
That can shine through the darkest night,
That we’ve heard of.
And that light, That you may want so much,
Well maybe you can never touch,
Though you may try.
Now at night I dream I’m all alone,
Big sledge hammer and a cold dark stone.
Man swing the hammer, world begin to shake.
I’m just living in a town called Heartbreak.

The ShinsWincing The Night Away
Another strong release by one of my favorite bands. I wrote a full review of this album back in February.

sample of Phantom Limb by The Shins (mp3) (from the band’s website)

SpoonGa Ga Ga Ga Ga
It might be strange to use a term like Brit Pop when describing an album made by a band from Austin Texas, but that’s what comes to mind when I hear Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga. Straight rock and roll with hints of blue-eyed soul, punk, motown and pop, with enough hooks, grooves and attitude to keep the music in your brain long after the short (36 minutes) album is over.

sample of Don’t You Evah by Spoon (mp3)

The Tragically HipWorld Container
This five piece band from Canada has consistently made good records throughout their 20 year career. The Hip has always had a big, guitar-driven sound. With World Containter (which stands up well alongside their finest albums) the band does continue to grow and move forward, without leaving that sound behind.

sample of Fly by The Tragically Hip (mp3)

WilcoSky Blue Sky
On Sky Blue Sky, Wilco makes a welcome move beyond the experimental phase of their last album, and comes up with their most straightforward release in years.

Sample of What Light by Wilco (mp3)

Best Reissue:
The Traveling Wilburys Collection
In 2007 Rhino Records released this outstanding collection of music that hasn’t been commercially available for nearly ten years. It features the two remastered CDs with bonus songs, and a DVD which includes the band’s four videos and a film, “The True History of the Traveling Wilburys.” The excellent documentary (detailing how the band came together and created their music) is worth the price of this collection alone.

Handle Me With Care by Traveling Wilburys

Honorable Mentions

  • Stephen Marley – Mind Control
  • Bruce Springsteen – Magic
  • Winterpills – The Light Divides
  • Neil Young – Chrome Dreams II