Best Albums of 2007 - Numbers 25 through 13
25. Sigur Ros – Hvarf/Heim – Technically, this isn’t really a new album, it’s one ep made of rare tracks from their past, the other ep is a selection of live performances the band did of their songs around various venues in Iceland for their new dvd. Since they can pretty much do no wrong in my book, and the songs sound amazing in the new context, I had to include this.
24. The Terrible Twos – If You Ever See an Owl… - Regular readers know that this is Isabella’s favorite album of the year by far, I have to say that Michele and I both enjoyed it greatly, partly to see Bella learn the songs and partly because the songs are actually enjoyable kid songs that you don’t want to beat your head open after hearing them 10 times over.
23. Feist – The Reminder – I know, I’m nearly as sick of everyone else of “1 2 3 4” thanks to those damn iPod commercials, but I was telling you about this album back in May before the commercials ever appeared. She still has an enchanting voice and is a great performer live, so all is forgiven.
22. Band of Horses – Cease to Begin – This is the second really solid album from this band in two years, as they are continuing to hone their Neil Young/Flaming Lips inspired sound into their own. “A Ghost in My House” has got to be the best song of the year made up of less than 20 words.
21. The Frames – The Cost - I first found out about the Frames by wandering over to the north lawn during the midday at Lollapalooza 2006. It was the first time I had ever heard them, and yet I and several thousand other newcomers were already singing along to the choruses of their songs in no time flat. This album has the full band version of “Falling Slowly,” the song performed by lead singer Glen Hansard in the gorgeous movie “Once.”
20. Wilco – Sky Blue Sky – It was kind of sad to see Wilco move away from their “experimental” sound of their previous two albums (but don’t dare ever call them that in front of lead man Jeff Tweedy). However, this one sounds like a great lost album that Van Morrison never made, with some amazing guitar work by the band’s new secret weapon, Nels Cline.
19. Common – Finding Forever – Yes, you read that correctly, you might want to rub your eyes again to double check, but a rap album actually made it on to my best of the year list. Released on almost the same day as his producer’s (Kanye West), this is a great listen from beginning to end, bringing to mind what Marvin Gaye might sound like if he were still around today. “Drivin’ Me Wild” is without one of the best songs of the year.
18. Yellowcard – Paper Houses – It’s a shame that radio and rock critics both somehow ignore this band, who are capable of making some amazing and incredibly catchy rock. I realize I’m probably one of the few people in the world that will put this on their year end list, but I’ll take their pop-punk sound any day of the week.
17. Smashing Pumpkins – Zeitgeist - I was worried that this album was going to follow in the path of Billy Corgan’s extremely disappointing solo album. Thankfully it didn’t, as Corgan returned to the bombastic rock that was a trademark of the old SP at their best. Not his best work by far, but it definitely holds up over a number of listens.
16. M.I.A. – Kala – So you’re looking for an album to test out the bass on your new Bose stereo at home? Pop this one on and watch your valuables tumble off of your shelving from the resulting sound. Definitely one of the more unique sounding artists out there right now, this one is only hindered by a clunker or two that demand the skip button on the cd player every time.
15. Ted Leo & the Pharmacists – Living with the Living – The man that should be known as New Jersey’s younger pride and joy (that other guy will appear higher on the list) put together yet another great album of his power trio anthems. You can’t possibly go wrong with songs like “Sons of Cain,” “C.I.A.” and “Bomb. Repeat. Bomb.”
14. The Polyphonic Spree – The Fragile Army – This album probably came as the biggest surprise of the year for me over all. The Spree have always functioned best as a live force, with 25 or so musicians all giddily stomping out lead man Tim Delaughter’s songs, although the songs were never quite up to par with the energy that the band put out for them. The Fragile Army reversed that trend, finally displaying a great set of songs to match the mad energy of the live show, with incredible songs like “Running Away” and “The Championship” giving the band a better opportunity to make their live shows even more unforgettable.
13. Fall Out Boy - Infinity on High – These guys were sadly the most picked on band in the press, overshadowing the fact that Infinity on High is a great power pop record from beginning to end. Anyone who denies that they didn’t love “This Ain’t a Scene, It’s an Arms Race” from the first few listens is flat out lying to your face. They could probably still release “Hum Hallelujah” and “Thriller” as great hit singles and keep this one going for the better part of the next year.