Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Best of 2007, Part VIII

Well it is my turn to give you the next chapter of mC's Best (and/or Worst) Lists of 2007 (see Part I; II; III; IV; V; VI; VII):

This year has truly been a phenomenal year in music. There is honestly so much good music out there now, and it's easier to access than ever. Unless you're a fan of Hip Hop (in which case you had about seven quality albums), then compiling a list of only the Top 20 is remarkably difficult. But that is what I attempt to do here in two parts:

Top 20 Albums of 2007 (Nos. 20-11)

Number Twenty (20)
Artist: Wilco
Album: Sky Blue Sky
Label: Nonesuch
Release Date: May 15, 2007

A more mature album from Jeff Tweedy and company, to be sure, with sweet melodies, heartfelt lyrics, and classic Wilco jams. The evolution of Wilco continues.

Number Nineteen (19)
Artist: MGMT
Album: Oracular Spectacular
Label: Columbia
Release Date: October 6, 2007

Pop music plain and simple, Oracular Spectacular covers power pop, dance rock, acoustic ballads, and playground grooves. Perhaps a little directionless, but MGMT has complete control throughout. And this is just their debut album.

Number Eighteen (18)
Artist: Maps
Album: We Can Create
Label: Mute
Release Date: June 19, 2007

James Chapman is the one-man-band known as Maps, and on Create he deftly blends electronic soundscapes with indie rock and dreamy vocals in beautifully sweeping arrangements. "To the Sky" remains one of the year's best tracks.

Number Seventeen (17)
Artist: Stars
Album: In Our Bedroom After the War
Label: Arts & Crafts
Release Date: September 25, 2007

The Arts & Crafts gang follows up the success of 2005's Set Yourself On Fire with a set of lush A.M.-ready tunes easily accessible to both your hipster-teen sister and your Donovan-loving dad.

Number Sixteen (16)
Artist: Shout Out Louds
Album: Our Ill Wills
Label: Merge
Release Date: September 11, 2007

Imagine everything really wonderful about The Cure - dancy pop, tragic lyrics, catchy hooks, Robert Smith's voice - and you pretty much have Our Ill Wills. Somehow, Shout Out Louds manage to make it all sound original while making you melt all over again.

Number Fifteen (15)
Artist: Common
Album: Finding Forever
Label: Universal Music Group
Release Date: July 31, 2007

Despite some lyrical missteps (there is, sadly, a Jennifer Aniston-Vince Vaughn reference), Common and producer Kanye West are again right on beat with these tracks. Simultaneously recalling J Dilla and Quincy Jones, Finding Forever feels good now.

Number Fourteen (14)
Artist: Clap Your Hands Say Yeah
Album: Some Loud Thunder
Label: Wichita
Release Date: January 30, 2007

Initially a little disappointing after their impressive self-titled debut, Some Loud Thunder nevertheless swelled with each subsequent listening. Still raw and unpolished, CYHSY remain Indie Rock poster-boys thanks to Alec Ounsworth's earnest and spirited vocals and their David Byrne-inspired whimsy.

Number Thirteen (13)
Artist: The Twilight Sad
Album: Fourteen Autumns & Fifteen Winters
Label: Fat Cat
Release Date: April 3, 2007

Melancholic anthem rock isn't an official genre we at mC are aware of, but The Twilight Sad would certainly fit into that box if there were. Huge, lush orchestrations permeate Fourteen Autumns & Fifteen Winters, and lead singer James Graham has a more appealing Scottish accent than Sean Connery. If only "That Summer At Home I Had Become the Invisible Boy" had been in existence when I was 14...

Number Twelve (12)
Artist: Kings of Leon
Album: Because of the Times
Label: RCA
Release Date: April 3, 2007

Kings of Leon take a page out of My Morning Jacket's playbook and get cerebral with their Southern garage rock. Taking a more grown-up approach to their sound pays off lyrically and melodically, as songs like "On Call" and "Arizona" are some of their best yet.

Number Eleven (11)
Artist: Fujiya & Miyagi
Album: Transparent Things
Label: DD+BC
Release Date: January 23, 2007

Fujiya & Miyagi seemed to come out of nowhere a little under a year ago, and their debut, Transparent Things, continues to be one of the more modern sounds of the year. Neither Japanese nor a duo, F&M drop funky basslines and deep grooves that could either get the party started or chill the crowd out.

Check back soon for the Top 10 Albums of 2007.


1 comment:

JenniferToo said...

Can I nominate Common's album for the worst album art?

Seriously, was he inspired by the side of a van?