Music: The Best of 2007, Vincent's List

(Editor's Note: This is the eighth part of series of reviews of the notable music of 2007. To see the previous entry in the series, please go here.)

by Vincent Lee

1) In Rainbows Radiohead
The best album Radiohead has done since OK Computer, consequently the best album anyone has done this year. (For a discussion of the controversial and innovative marketing of In Rainbows, please see: "What Did You Pay for that Radiohead Download?")

2) Chrome Dreams II Neil Young
An unneccessary sequel to a much greater predecessor. Nonetheless, on “Hidden Path” Young did something few Neil Young fans saw coming: Write a new song that actually compares to the '70's Crazy Horse days. “Ordinary People” has long been regarded as the best song Young never released, and at long last it is finally here. (For a full review of Chrome Dreams II, please go here.)

3) Icky Thump The White Stripes
After a bipolar album, with random, and, at times, unnecessary experimentation, Icky Thump is a tremendous comeback that offers all the things that make the White Stripes great and more. (For a full review of Icky Thump, please go here.)

4) Sky Blue Sky Wilco
No sonic noise. No bizarre robotic voice. No “Less than what you think.” It's not Yankee Hotel Foxtrot or A Ghost is Born. Probably not even as good as Being There. However, it is still a remarkable album that is very solid and pleasurable the entire way through. (For a full review of Sky Blue Sky with a different take, please check here.)

5) Two Gallants Two Gallants
This is an album of uncharacteristically shorter songs that's nothing short of great. This band has yet to write a bad song. (For more background on the band and this release, please see "Music: Two Gallants, in the Throes of Folk Blues.")

6) Into the Wild Soundtrack Eddie Vedder
For years, fans of Pearl Jam have been yearning for frontman Eddie Vedder to depart and make a solo album. Though not quite what most expected, this offering not only fits perfectly with the movie and the mood, but is superb as a stand alone album. Unfortunately, the brevity of the album leaves listeners yearning for much more.

7) Magic Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band
In comparison to the rest of Springsteen's work, this is an enormous let down. On his seemingly final E Street band album, he runs away from the storytelling that truly made him great in the earlier days with this band Yet, it's still Springsteen, meaning it's still better than ninety five percent of the garbage out there. “ Terry's Song” (a hidden bonus track on the CD release) alone could make the worst album a standout.

The Reminder Feist
Despite the constant play of the ever irritating “1,2,3,4” on those ipod commercials, there really are other songs on the album. Feist balances strong lyrics and one of the best voices around to produce a very good record. (For another short review of The Reminder, please go here.)

Lifeline Ben Harper
It doesn't seem like Ben Harper will ever take a break. He doesn't find anything particularly inventive this time, but it is still a wonderfully catchy album, solid the entire way through.

Cassadaga Bright Eyes
After several albums jumping around from style to style, on Cassadaga, Bright Eyes (real name: Conor Oberst) seems to relax a bit. The result is a strong folk album with his hallmark creative lyrics. (For background on the anti-war sentiments of Bright Eyes, please see "The Paltry Anti-War Songbook on Iraq.")

To sample some of the other reviews in this series, please see:

(To see the next review in this series, please go here.)

(Photo of Radiohead in concert by stringbot of Chicago, IL, via Flickr, using a Creative Commons License. To see Radiohead performing "Weird Fishes/Arpeggi" from In Rainbows at a concert in Wolverhampton, U.K., in 2006, please check below.)

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Anonymous said...

glad someone finally mentioned Ben Harper!

Hilary Crowe said...

as per your comment on the stripes: experimentation is never unnecessary, especially in music.

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