Albums of the Year 2007


For the past two years it's been my goal to have my "best of" posts written and posted during the week between Christmas and New Years. And for two years I've failed miserably at that goal. Last year I blamed holiday traveling for the delay. This year I've got no legitimate excuse. I actually started this post on December 29, but it's sat largely untouched since then. Maybe next year I'll start this bugger in November. Better late than never though, so here 'tis... Page 300's Albums of the Year for 2007.



1. Cortney Tidwell - Don't Let Stars Keep Us Tangled Up

Even if I had listened to a million albums this year, this one would still top my list. Everything I
said about it in February still holds true. It's stunning, gorgeous, ethereal, otherworldly, majestic, understated, cryptic, catchy, quirky, and just plain beautiful. That's a lot of adjectives, and some of them contradict each other, but I stand by every one of them. Cortney's voice is the star of the show, but it's surrounded by a dazzling array of musical textures provided an all star cast from Nashville's indie scene. I absolutely love this album, and the fact that is was made by a local gal is the icing on the cake.

Cortney Tidwell - "Eyes Are At The Billions" (mp3)




2. Radiohead - In Rainbows

Most of the press about In Rainbows has centered on the band's "pay what you want" pricing strategy when the album was available for download on their website. And while that was a novel concept (especially for a band of their stature), the most amazing thing about it is that they turned release day into a communal experience again. The age of internet leaks has made people forget that it wasn't that long ago people would still line up at midnight at their local record store, so they could be the first to hear their favorite band's new album. By releasing this online just a week after it was finished, Radiohead ensured that everyone would be experiencing for the first time together. None of that would have mattered though if the album didn't deliver, and it does. Thom Yorke seemed to be returning towards writing actual songs (rather than just singing random phrases over the music) on his solo album, The Eraser, and that approach continues here. As much as I liked the band's last three albums, this is easily their best since OK Computer.

Radiohead - "Bodysnatchers" (mp3)




3. Interpol - Our Love To Admire

I'm not sure I really want to call this a return to form, but it's a return to something.
Turn On The Bright Lights is probably my favorite album of the last ten years, and while I listened to Antics a lot, and like it, there was something missing on it that I've never been able to put my finger on. Call it the sophomore slump, but it was just less... special. Whatever it was though, the magic is back here in spades. Interpol took their new major label budget and managed to flesh out their sound while still sounding quintessentially like themselves.

Interpol - "Mammoth" (mp3)


4. Arcade Fire - Neon Bible

In reading other people's end of the year best of lists, it was kind of surprising to me how this album fell off so many people's radar. It was easily one of the 2007's most anticipated albums, and the prerelease hype for it was huge. And maybe that's the problem. The album leaked early, and by the time it was released in March, many bloggers we're already "over it" in their rush to hype the next big thing. Don't feel too bad for Arcade Fire though... Neon Bible debuted at number 2 in both the US and the UK, and made them arguably the most important indie band out there. The album expanded on the already lush sound they introduced on their debut, Funeral, and served as another sign that Bruce Springsteen is the new indie icon.

Arcade Fire - "No Cars Go" (mp3)




5. The Blakes - The Blakes

This album entered my universe just before Thanksgiving (when I originally
reviewed it), and one of the best things I can say about it is that it managed to break through the never ending parade of Christmas music that is my usual December listening habit. It's probably the best debut album I've heard since The Stone Roses. The Blakes remind me a bit of Oasis, not only because they often wear their influences on their sleeves, but also because they write kick-ass, fun, and instantly memorable pop songs. I missed seeing them in Nashville in November, ironically because I was on my way to Seattle, both my hometown and theirs. Hopefully I'll get a chance to remedy that in 2008.

The Blakes - "Don't Bother Me" (mp3)

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