Best of 2007 Music

Happy New Year, everyone!

Given how easy and inexpensive it has become to record and distribute music, so many albums are released every week that it is impossible for any of us to hear them all.  It dawned on me that if I organized all the good music I’ve heard this year it might be helpful to others.  So, set forth below is a list of all the artists with 2007 albums that are worth hearing.  I hope that if you already like some of these albums, you might listen to something else from the same categories.

1.  Given how difficult it is to keep all this information and music straight, I haven’t even attempted to memorize the names of the albums.  Thus, all I’ve listed is the band name, without the album title.  The internet of course makes it easy to discover the name of, and listen to, any of these 2007 albums.

2.  I haven’t done a Top 10 list for two reasons.  First, it doesn’t make sense to compare albums in different genres.  (Is it even intellectually possible to compare Sigur Ros to Neil Young?)  Second, there is so much good music in the world today that only listing 10 albums would exclude way too many worth hearing.  Face it, you could almost do a Best Of 2007 list that just included music by Broken Social Scene members.

3.  None of these albums made the list based on my hearing just one song.  I’ve listened to each album at least twice all the way through (well, not the disappointments listed at the end), and would gladly listen to each again in the future.

4.  I’ve included some categories near the end for artists older than age 40 who made their mark in the 60s, 70s, and 80s (such as Neil Young).

The bands in each category are listed in alphabetical order, and together they cover such a wide expanse of music that there is either something for everyone here, or nothing for no one.  At the bottom are my own favorites, songs of the year, and best album.  I hope you enjoy reading this, expanding your musical horizons, and discovering some great new stuff!

Post-Punk

Bloc Party
Editors
Film School
Foreign Born
iLiKETRAiNS (not a typo)
Interpol
Moving Units
The National
She Wants Revenge
Silence Is Sexy

Britain Indie

Air Traffic
Alberta Cross
Arctic Monkeys
Art Brut
Athlete
Babyshambles
Hard-Fi
The Heavy
Kaiser Chiefs
Klaxons
The Libertines
Manic Street Preachers
1990s
Placebo
Prinzhorn Dance School (Britain’s Captain Beefheart/White Stripes)
Radiohead
The Rumble Strips
Stereophonics
The Strange Death Of Liberal England
Super Furry Animals
The Tracie Hunter Band (daughter of Ian)
Tunng
Voice Of The Seven Woods

Canada Indie

Arcade Fire
Cowboy Junkies
Great Lake Swimmers
Letters Letters
The Most Serene Republic
Neverending White Lights
The New Pornographers
Small Sins
Sunset Rubdown
Tokyo Police Club
We Are Wolves
You Say Party!  We Say Die!

Broken Social Scene

Apostle Of Hustle
Jason Collett
Do Make Say Think
Kevin Drew
Feist
Emily Haines & The Soft Skeleton
Metric
Amy Millan
Stars
The Weakerthans

Europe Indie
(not including Britain)

Appie Kim
The Bent Moustache
Boy Ler
Club Of High Eyebrows
Creature With The Atom Brain
Efterklang
The Frames (the actor Glen Hansard)
Friska Viljor
Hollywood Porn Stars
Hospital Bombers (the one from the Netherlands, not the one from Britain)
John Dear Mowing Club
Neonbelle
The Raveonettes
Reverend Beat-Man (Surreal Folk Blues Gospel Trash)
Shout Out Louds
A Silent Express
Stockholm Syndrome (the one from Denmark, not the one from Athens, GA)
The Thrills
Tristand

Australia/New Zealand

Architecture In Helsinki
Sarah Blasko
Grinderman (aka Nick Cave And The Bad Seeds)
Ben Lee
Shocking Pinks
Silverchair

Atlanta/Athens

Black Lips
Dead Confederate
Deerhunter
Manchester Orchestra
The Whigs

U.S. Indie

The Apples In Stereo
The A-Sides
Band Of Horses
Bear Hands
Blonde Redhead
Bright Eyes
Celebration
Clap Your Hands Say Yeah
Coconut Records (the actor Jason Schwartzman)
Dinosaur Jr.
Earlimart
Far-Less
The Fiery Furnaces
Future Clouds And Radar
The Intelligence
Kinski
Les Savy Fav
Liars
Louis XIV
Meat Puppets
Minus The Bear
Modest Mouse (Johnny Marr of The Smiths)
The New Amsterdams
Office
The Owls
The Peekers
Pinback
The Polyphonic Spree
Matt Pond PA
Portugal. The Man
The Rentals (Matt Sharp of Weezer)
Rilo Kiley
Robbers On High Street
Rogue Wave
Satellite Party (Perry Farrell of Jane’s Addiction)
The Shins
Spoon
Superdrag
Tacks, The Boy Disaster (Evan Jacobs of The Polyphonic Spree)
VHS Or Beta

U.S. Alt-Country/Southern Rock

Ryan Adams
Bo Bice (first-ever good album by any American Idol singer)
Neko Case
Collective Soul
Steve Earle
Kings Of Leon
Th’ Legendary Shack*Shakers
Oakley Hall
Okkervil River
Kid Rock
The Silver Seas
Southern Culture On The Skids
State Radio
Wilco
Zookeeper

U.S. Psych-Folk/Experimental

Akron/Family
Animal Collective
Alaska In Winter
Beirut
Blitzen Trapper
The Book Of Knots (Tony Maimone of Pere Ubu)
Drug Rug
Dust Galaxy
Holler, Wild Rose!
Joanna Newsome
Mariee Sioux
Sleepytime Gorilla Museum
West Indian Girl
Wooden Shjips

U.S. Hard Rock/Garage Rock

The Detroit Cobras
Electric Six
Explosions In The Sky
Idiot Pilot
The Jon Spencer Blues Explosion
Juliette & The Licks (the actress Juliette Lewis)
Ted Leo And The Pharmacists
Monster Magnet
Operator
Queens Of The Stone Age
Sixx:A.M. (Nikki Sixx of Motley Crue)
Smashing Pumpkins
Velvet Revolver
The White Stripes

Soundscapes/Synth

The Bongolian
Carbon/Silicon (Mick Jones of The Clash and Tony James of Generation X)
Caribou (Dan Snaith)
Findel (Bart Van Dalen)
Holy F**k
Kenna (Kenna Zemedkun)
Maps (James Chapman)
Mobius Band
My Life With The Thrill Kill Kult
The Oscillation
Sigur Ros
Soulsavers
UNKLE
Von Sudenfed (Mark E. Smith of The Fall)

Male Solo

Brett Anderson (of Suede)
Billy Childish
Bonnie “Prince” Billy (Will Oldham)
Rivers Cuomo (of Weezer)
Albert Hammond, Jr. (of The Strokes)
Ed Harcourt
Richard Hawley
Kid Harpoon (Tom Hull)
Jens Lekman
Raine Maida (of Our Lady Peace)
Miracle Fortress (Graham Van Pelt)
The Nightwatchman (Tom Morello of Rage Against The Machine)
“Once” Movie Soundtrack (Glen Hansard of The Frames)
John Ralston
Josh Rouse
Sea Wolf (Alex Church)
Simple Kid (Ciaran McFeely)
The Subhuman (Stefan Breuer)
Richard Swift
Teddy Thompson (son of Richard and Linda)
Patrick Watson
Tim Williams
Dan Wilson

Female Solo

Tori Amos
Nicole Atkins
Pieta Brown
Minnie Driver
A Fine Frenzy (Alison Sudol)
Amy Macdonald
Brisa Roche
St. Vincent (Annie Clark of The Polyphonic Spree)

Alt-Metal

Evans Blue
Finger Eleven
Hurt
Incubus
Stone Sour

Prog-Metal

Coheed & Cambria
Dream Theater
HIM
Porcupine Tree
Thrice

Europe SymphonicMetal

Apocalyptica
Asrai
Epica
Nightwish
Tarja

SO Last Century (over-40 artists) – good, worthy, interesting, “I’m glad they’re still around” albums

Kevin Ayers (Soft Machine)
Bad Brains
Bad Religion
John Cale
Ry Cooder
Dave Davies (The Kinks, brother of Ray)
Ray Davies (The Kinks, brother of Dave)
Einsturzende Neubauten
Fairport Convention
The Fleshtones
Dave Gahan (Depeche Mode)
Levon Helm (The Band, first album since throat cancer)
Ian Hunter (Mott The Hoople, father of Tracie)
Iggy And The Stooges
KMFDM
Alvin Lee (Ten Years After)
Nick Lowe (Rockpile)
The Mekons
Mountain (loudest Dylan cover album ever?)
Robert Pollard (Guided By Voices)
Rush
Scorpions
Siouxsie Sioux (Banshees)
Skinny Puppy
Patti Smith
Bruce Springsteen
Mavis Staples (The Staple Singers)
Status Quo
Stephen Stills
Richard Thompson (Fairport Convention, ex-husband of Linda, father of Teddy)
Throbbing Gristle
Steve Vai
Robert Wyatt (Soft Machine)
Neil Young

SO Last Century (over-40 artists) – dull, boring, poor, “why did they even bother?” albums

America
Barenaked Ladies
Beastie Boys
Bjork
Frank Black (Pixies)
Bon Jovi
David Byrne (Talking Heads)
Belinda Carlisle (The Go-Gos)
Crowded House
The Cult
Duran Duran
Eagles
Melissa Etheridge
Bryan Ferry (Roxy Music)
John Fogerty (Creedence Clearwater Revival)
Deborah Harry (Blondie)
Colin Hay (Men At Work)
Mark Knopfler (Dire Straits)
Annie Lennox (Eurythmics)
Marillion
Paul McCartney
Megadeth
John Mellencamp
Ministry
Joni Mitchell
Eddie Money
Thurston Moore (Sonic Youth)
Nine Inch Nails
Ted Nugent
Ozzy Osbourne
Robert Plant (Led Zeppelin)
Prince
Public Enemy
Lou Reed
Saxon
Brian Setzer (The Stray Cats)
The Smithereens
They Might Be Giants
Linda Thompson (ex-wife of Richard, mother of Teddy)
Suzanne Vega
Ann Wilson (Heart)

Unlistenable Live Albums

Jimmy Buffett
The Doors
Genesis
Queen
R.E.M.

Most Overrated And Boring Indie Band
– Tegan and Sara

Most Disappointing Album – P.J. Harvey

Fred’s Top Albums – Collectively, they made 2007 a stunning year for music.

Babyshambles
Bloc Party
The Book Of Knots
John Cale (for both 2007 albums, Stainless Gamelan and Circus)
Dave Davies
Dead Confederate
Dinosaur Jr.
Editors
Einsturzende Neubauten
The Fiery Furnaces
Film School
Foreign Born
The Frames
Grinderman
Holler, Wild Rose!
iLiKETRAiNS
Interpol
Th’ Legendary Shack*Shakers
Jens Lekman
Manchester Orchestra
The Most Serene Republic
Moving Units
The National
Oakley Hall
Prinzhorn Dance School
She Wants Revenge
Silence Is Sexy
Sleepytime Gorilla Museum
Bruce Springsteen
Mavis Staples
Stars
The Strange Death Of Liberal England
The White Stripes
Neil Young

Songs Of The Year

John Cale – At About This Time Mozart Was Dead And Joseph Conrad Was Sailing The …
Dave Davies – Rock Siva
Editors – An End Has A Start/Smokers Outside The Hospital Door
Einsturzende Neubauten – Ich Warte
Film School – Sick Hipster Nursed By Suicide Girl
iLiKETRAiNS – Spencer Perceval
Interpol – The Heinrich Maneuver
Linkin Park – No More Sorrow
The Most Serene Republic – Why So Looking Back
Sigur Ros – Hljomalind
Silence Is Sexy – Sympathy
Bruce Springsteen – Radio Nowhere
Stars – Take Me To The Riot
The White Stripes – Prickly Thorn, But Sweetly Worn/St. Andrew (This Battle Is In The Air)
Neil Young – Ordinary People

The John Cale song, At About This Time Mozart …, is an obvious precursor to the Velvet Underground, and thus this song is a foundational cornerstone of much of the cutting-edge music released ever since.

Rerelease Of The Year

Arcade Fire – No Cars Go.  Initially included on their self-titled first album, then released again this year on Neon Bible, their 3rd album.  (2004’s Funeral was their second release, not their first.)  This is an absolutely thunderous version of No Cars Go from 2005, with an ending like the roar of a jet engine:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x2sy2WfhHaU

Best Song On A Bad Album Jimmy Eat World – Big Casino

Best Song On No Album Nada Surf – See These Bones

Worst Song On A Good Album The White Stripes – You Don’t Know What Love Is

Most Played Oldie Buffalo Springfield – On The Way Home/Rock And Roll Woman

Top Guilty Pleasure

Linkin Park – Minutes To Midnight  Their first two albums left me feeling bludgeoned.  This one doesn’t – it is dynamic, varied, and an incredible sonic experience.  No joke, this album is the acme, the zenith, of its genre.

Biggest Jaw-Dropping Surprise Album

The Fall – Reformation Post T.L.C.  Churning, unyielding, and absolutely mesmerizing.  Why such a surprise?  Mark E. Smith turned 50 this year, and how many bands produce their best work 30 years into their career?

Best Romantic Date/Male-Female Duet Album

Stars – In Our Bedroom After The War  A slow-burner that grows on you – like a great relationship!

Overall Album Of The Year

In a year with so much great music coming from Canada, it seems only fitting that the best album of 2007 is A Sky With No Stars by the band Canadians.  How ironic, then, that they are from Italy, not Canada, and how unexpected, since in 30 years of listening to cutting-edge stuff, I’ve never heard anything from Italy.

Most Anticipated 2008 Release

Longwave – Until it comes out, listen to their 2003 and 2005 albums!

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8 Comments on “Best of 2007 Music”

  1. Andrew Says:

    I have seen Attractive Eighties Women (listed under Worthwhile Live Albums – U.S.) live and they are a great band. I found more about the band here: http://attractiveeightieswomen.com/

  2. Itsbecca Says:

    I would like to give you a high five sir. High. Five.

  3. Lauren Says:

    really glad you’ve got iglu & hartly on this list !

  4. Bryan Woodward Says:

    Hi Fred,
    Thanks for the link to this blog via Facebook. I skimmed over it and it is very comprehensive, and a great way to showcase all the work you did. I would caution your from casting such a wide net however. Individual Blogs rarely find a true, core audience with non specialized info. I recommend you find some music verticals and/or genres that really speak to you and focus on reviewing and showcasing the best of those. It will definitely show through in the presentation of your work and will free up your time to focus on other high impact deliverables like Podcasting, or posting videos, etc 🙂 Cheers,
    Bryan

  5. Vinyl Life Says:

    Thanks Fred. We’re honored to make such an in-depth list. You obviously aren’t playing around with your music consumption.

    Peace from NYC. Hope to make it on your 2010 review.

    Vinyl Life

  6. cameron Says:

    You should also check out this acoustic guitarist from Canada, he has lots of youtube videos but full versions of the songs can be heard at http://www.myspace.com/donalder


  7. Impressive list and musical intake…

    ~Dan

  8. Zoe Says:

    I just twitted a link to you list http://twitter.com/BerkleeLibrary I think our students will be interested.

    Thanks for all your hard work!


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