The Best Music of 2007

This year we’re joining forces with FREEwilly and releasing our Best Music of 2007 list in tandem.  You can check out their list here. Our “touch points” were more limited than in the past, so we didn’t attempt to combine our lists this year, but you can spot check both lists to see what we agreed on.

In 2007 I found myself listening primarily to the endless onslaught of grade-A funk and soul collections that were released this year (I’ll get to those on a later date), but below you can find the newly-minted gems that cut through the grind…

Best Albums of 2007

1. Blitzen Trapper—Wild Mountain Nation
The Kinks meet Pavement or, more specifically, Muswell Hillbillies meets Wowee Zowee. It’s like it was written and performed just for me.  And it was.

2. O’Death—Head Home (2007 Ernest Jenning release)
I’m cheating a bit because they self-released this in 2006 before Ernest Jenning picked it up and remastered it, but it needs many more faces to tear off.  If the term “life-affirming Appalachian stomp” doesn’t excite you, please go figure out how to fuck a doorknob. (More here).

3. Various Artists—Top Shelf 8/8/88
I’m cheating a bit because these songs were originally recorded in 1988 before they were discovered in New Jersey.  Only they weren’t and this is a shameless, badly-cloaked hoax. And I don’t care at all because I listened to this release more than anything else in 2007. (More here.)

4. Bowerbirds—Hymns for a Dark Horse
A few hippies who favor lilting acoustic ballads live in the woods in a trailer without electricity and form a band.  And, amazingly, they don’t suck.  At all. I want to make a parka out of them.

5. Wu-Tang Clan—8 Diagrams
RZA is so far off the hook on this one that the cord has snapped to Uruguay.

6. The Cave Singers—Invitation Songs
If Fleetwood Mac were a way cool underground band in ‘07, we’d all be like, “Hey, what the fuck’s with the old chick in black who keeps spinning in circles?” My winner of the “why didn’t I listen to this earlier?!” award of the year.

7. Pharoahe Monch—Desire
His last name is Monch. If I were a sandwich, that’s what I’d tell everyone my last name was. And I’d never stop listening to the track “Free.”  Ever. Even though sandwiches don’t have ears.

8. Deerhoof—Friend Opportunity
I could eat marshmallows by the handful while listening to this delightfully off-kilter record and be really happy. And I hate marshmallows. But this makes me wish s’mores were worth the effort. (Good christ, someone wrote an entry for s’mores on Wikipedia.  Who is that person? And how much effort would it take to track them down and kill them?)

9. Tinariwen— Aman Iman: Water Is Life
The international flavor of the year and deservedly so.  9 out of 10 pasty record store dweebs with thrifty sweaters, humorless demeanors, and carefully-zoinked WD-40 hair styles inexplicably agree. Who slapped sense into these people?

10. Kevin Drew—Spirit If…
I didn’t realize how soul-stirring and wonderful this was until I was putting this list together. I hate being white.

11. McCarthy Trenching—McCarthy Trenching
If any of you knew who John Prine was I’d throw in a really cool comparison ... right ... about ... here. Dan McCarthy is deserving of more attention than he’ll probably ever get. I’ll blame it on Lou Dobbs. Because I can.

12. Dizzee Rascal—Maths + English
Like MIA except for the part where listening to her gets boring after a while. I keep hearing beeping noises in my head. *beep* There, it just happened again. Love it.

13. Dirty Projectors—Rise Above
Black Flag fans hate this weirdly melodic re-imagining of Damaged so much one of them wrote this about lead Projector Dave Longstreth, “I hope Henry Rollins punches you in the middle of a potato sack race.” How fucking cool is that?

14. Panda Bear—Person Pitch
(insert something profound here)

15. Nina Nastasia & Jim White—You Follow Me
This is what Joanna Newsom would sound like if she wasn’t impenetrable (I’m being kind) and didn’t live in Chicago with hipsters who pretend to be meatheads.

Honorable mention and deserving (alphabetical):

Angels of Light—We Are Him
The Besnard Lakes—Are the Dark Horse
Bon Iver—For Emma, Forever Ago
The Budos Band—The Budos Band II
Dinosaur Jr.—Beyond
Feist—The Reminder
Jennifer Gentle—The Midnight Room
King Khan & the Shrines—What Is?!
Brad Laner—Neighbor Singing
Mekons— Natural
Okkervil River—The Stage Names
Old Time Relijun—Catharsis in Crisis
Papercuts—Can’t Go Back
RTX—Western Xterminator
Shellac—Excellent Italian Greyhound
Spoon—Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga
Mavis Staples—We’ll Never Look Back
Telephone Jim Jesus—Anywhere Out of the Everything
The Watery Graves Of Portland and Geneviève—The Watery Graves Of Portland and/et. Geneviève
Wilco—Sky Blue Sky

EP of the Year:

La Strada—“Demo” 3-song EP (available via shows and MySpace)
“Mama” and “The Sun Song” were two of the best songs of the year, if not the two best songs of the year. I couldn’t pry either of them out of my skull.

Biggest Musical Disappointment of the Year:

For the twelfth year in the row I wasn’t nominated for a Grammy.

Favorite Moment In Music in 2007:

When I found out I wasn’t nominated for a Grammy for the twelfth year in the row.

Best Album Title of the Year:

Shellac—Excellent Italian Greyhound

Perpetually Overrated:

The Beach Boys—Pet Sounds

Seriously, you’re fucking kidding me ... right? If not, humanity must suffer. Dearly.

Posted by Kevin K. on 12/20/07 at 11:15 AM • Permalink
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You completely ignored Radiohead and the National, but that was the funniest best of I’ve seen this year.  Thank you for the chuckles.

the national sucks, jim p.  they’re like a more boring version of interpol.  wait, is that even possible?

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