Written by: Jimmy Hitt, CC2K Staff Writer
It’s been very difficult to narrow my 2007 music collection down to 10 albums. In the process I passed over many favorite albums that spent time in my media players like long lost girlfriends. In going back over the year, I felt like I was going over little pieces of my life, and, as Kevin Barnes so aptly opined in my favorite album of the year, “The past is a grotesque animal, and in its eyes you see how completely wrong you can be.” What follows is a traditional top 10 with supplemental list that I feel may be more important than the main grouping. So many legitimately classic albums made their debut this year that it would be wrong of me to touch on 10 alone. I could touch on 10 from January 2007 that were awesome and well deserving of year-end accolades.
But anyway, here goes:
The 10 Essential Albums of 2007
Panda Bear – Person Pitch
This albums sounds like impressionist paintings look, i.e. you don’t really get it at first. Repeat listens become exponentially rewarding, however, once you come to hear the delicate brushstrokes and harrowing sample work, such as a door opening.
MIA – Kala
Probably the most 2007 of any record on here, MIA’s sophomore effort felt just as now this summer as when I saw her on tour this fall. The big, worldly beats and crushing lyrics truly bring it like rap records used to and Madonna never could.
LCD Soundsystem – Sound of Silver
Sound of Silver feels like taking a class on eclecticism. Every important and touching musical genre that originated over the last 30 years gets some sort of treatment on here, aside from metal. The result is an addictive collage with risks aplenty, touched off by the most sincere lyrics a Williamsburg hipster could ever tolerate singing.
Battles – Atlas
About ten listens later and I’m still baffled by Atlas, as if it’s a stripped down version of metal or a tightened up, emotional version of post-rock. Either way, I don’t think 2007 would be complete without something a little harder than the rest of what we got.
The Field – Over the Ice
Dance music dropped aplenty in 2007, but The Field made the biggest impact. Over the Ice packs more than just repetitive beats and a few tempo changes. There’s a vibrant humanity to it that somehow sounds more organic than anything live instruments can ever pull off.
The National – Boxer
Another grower, Boxer follows the eccentric and unheralded Alligator and proves no less charming. Sometimes described as the poor man’s Interpol or the sad man’s Spoon, The National carved out their own niche with Boxer, owing more and more to their air-tight percussion and moody lyrics.
Fiery Furnaces – Widow City
Aside from #1, Widow City provided 2007’s most action-packed album, with no song resting on its laurels for more than 30 seconds and nothing concrete to grab on to, save for fiery guitar riffs and acrobatic vocal dirges.
Animal Collective – Strawberry Jam
If you’ve followed Animal Collective’s last couple of albums, you might have grown impatient with their tendency to do nothing. Fear not, intrepid listeners, for Strawberry Jam
packs in moment after moment of gorgeous melody and slinky beats, more than making up for any previous outings that left you scratching your head.
Radiohead – In Rainbows
How does the world’s greatest post-Nirvana band answer the call on In Rainbows, their 7th studio album? For starters, take a brilliant marketing ploy—handing out the album for free—and also deliver the goods. In Rainbows is the understated gem Radiohead’s been meaning to record since The Bends. They just had a few other albums to make in the interim.
Of Montreal – Hissing Fauna, Are You the Destroyer?/Icons, Abstract Thee EP
No album spent more time on my speakers that Hissing Fauna and its companion piece, Icons, Abstract Thee. From the sheer insanity of its production to the perfect ten landing, the album offers listeners something beyond rare in the pop landscape: a chance to get inside the mind of the artist while also enjoying every minute of the process.
Hissing Fauna’s first seven songs, climaxing with the abovementioned “The Past Is a Grotesque Animal”, pack an entire career’s worth of hooks and production tricks into about 30 minutes. By the end of the album, the listener is run through a gauntlet of post-breakup blues, all to a sugary, meth-dipped Of Montreal that previous albums could only foreshadow.
Studio – Yearbook 1
The Shins – Wincing the Night Away
Caribou – Andorra
Deerhunter – Cryptograms/Fluorescent Grey EP
Arcade Fire – Neon Bible
Okkervil River – The Stage Names
Bon Iver— For Emma, Forever Ago
Patrick Wolf – The Magic Position
Blitzen Trapper – Wild Mountain Nation
Kings of Leon – Because of the Times
Mum – Go Go Smear the Poison Ivy
Beirut – The Flying Club Cup/Lon Gisland EP
Burial – Untrue
Band of Horses – Cease to Begin
Fog – Ditherer
Pantha Du Prince – This Bliss
Kemialliset Ystavat – Kemialliset Ystavat
Thomas Fehlmann – Honigpumpe
Lil Wayne – Da Drought 3
Spoon – Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga
Younger Brother – The Last Days of Gravity
Dizzee Rascal – Maths & English
Mint – Binary Counting
No Age – Weirdo Rippers
Jose Gonzales – In Our Nature
Kanye West – Graduation
Chromatics – Night Drive
Dirty Projectors – Rise Above
Eluvium – Copia
Muscles – Guns Babes Lemonade
Roisin Murphy – Overpowered
Tinariwen – Aman Iman
Ricardo Villalobos – Fabric 36
Von Sudenfed – Tromatic Reflexxions
Jens Lekman – Night Falls Over Kortedala
A Place to Bury Strangers – A Place to Bury Strangers