It's taken me a while to finish this one with the FTM day journal and the baseball preview work, but I'm back on board.
The best of 2007:
1. M.I.A. - Kala
If you've ever wanted to know what it sounds like to take reggae, hip hop, electronica, and world music and play them all at once while maintaining pop sensibilities and super catchy hooks, this is the album for you. And it was done so well, it was the best record of the year. If you've heard the track "Paper Planes" even once, you've undoubtedly listened to it 100 times. And it doesn't get old.
Stand-out Tracks: Paper Planes, Boys
2. Robert Plant & Allison Krauss - Raising Sand
If I were to ask you about unlikely duets in music, the reigning queen of bluegrass and the frontman for unarguably one of the loudest, hardest-rocking bands in rock history would rank among the most unusual, right? Well, this record surprisingly proves the theory wrong.
Stand-Out Tracks: Please Read The Letter, Rich Woman
3. Arcade Fire - Neon Bible
Simultaneously dark and lovely, this reminds me of the best record R.E.M. never made. This creative 7-piece has tastefully blended 80's pop, new wave, arena rock, and Springsteen into one of the most re-listenable albums of the year.
Stand-Out Tracks: Keep The Car Running, The Well & The Lighthouse
4. Kanye West - Graduation
Not nearly as genre-bending as his two previous efforts, Graduation takes what Yeezy does best to new heights of pop appeal. It was almost impossible to avoid the Daft Punk collabo "Stronger" considering you would hear it nearly every 30 seconds throughout the summer. Thing is, it was such a fun record that I didn't mind.
Stand-Out Tracks: Stronger, Barry Bonds, Good Life
5. Amy Winehouse - Back To Black
Until this release, I had always been curious what Etta James would've sounded like mixed in with today's pop garbage. It was so refreshing to hear something so retro yet so fresh. It's hard to believe someone so crazy could record something this real.
Stand-Out Tracks: Me & Mr. Jones, You Know I'm No Good, Rehab
6. LCD Soundsystem - Sound of Silver
James Murphy and the boys managed to take their previous self titled release, and make their rock harder, their dance bolder, and their groove deeper. While most bands try to reinvent their own wheel, bands like LCD just take what they do well and do it better.
Stand-Out Tracks: All My Friends, North American Scum, Watch The Tapes
7. Fair To Midland - Fables From A Mayfly: What I Tell You Three Times Is True
This major label debut from System of a Down frontman Serj Tankian's imprint Serjical Strike maintains some of the chaos that SOAD fans have grown to love, while incorporating gentle elements of bands like Coldplay to form a very animated manic sound. The journey from hard and heavy to soothing melodies is surprisingly easy on the ears, enough to be the only hard rock album on this year's list.
Stand-Out Tracks: The Wife The Kids & The White Picket Fence, Tall Tales Taste Like Sour Grapes
8. Of Montreal - Hissing Fauna, Are You The Destroyer?
Apparently, self-help divorce therapy sounds a great deal like a Ziggy Stardust synth storm. Not exactly how I would express those feelings, but for this record, it works like a charm.
Stand-Out Tracks: The Past is a Grotesque Animal
9. Spoon - Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga
This is the sound of a true-blue indie rock band recording a fantastically commercial record. They always say that "a lot of times, less is more", and this album proves the cliche.
Stand-Out Tracks: The Underdog, Don't Make Me A Target
10. Deerhoof - Friend Opportunity
Fuzzy, riff-heavy guitars with art rock synth over childlike vocals. A strange brew that is hooky enough to catch you by surprise. This is noise pop downplayed for the masses.
Stand-Out Tracks: Believe ESP, Matchbook Seeks Maniac
NOTE: Unlike 'Freak, I included the Fair To Midland release while not including The Timeline Post due to the fact that the FTM record was a formal label release but TLP's effort was independently distributed. I will, however, recommend everyone to check out The Timeline Post's self titled album here, as it was a very good record and deserving of a spot on this list in terms of quality.
'06 is a-comin'...