Music: The Tops for 2007, A Guest's View

(Editor's Note: This is the third part of a series of reviews looking at the best music of 2007. To see the previous part, please click here. Today, we are graced with the views of guest blogger Justin Wilder, who is also a member of the band MHR.)

by Justin Wilder*
Special to iVoryTowerz

1) Radiohead – In Rainbows
Two discs of beautifully haunting music. What else would you expect from Radiohead? It’s basically a greatest hits album for the band, comprised of tracks that failed to make the cut on previous albums but have been played on the road for years. It's just a well-built record all around.
Best tracks: “Weird fishes/Arpeggi,” “Videotape,” “Bodysnatchers.”
(For a discussion of the controversial and innovative marketing of In Rainbows, please see: "What Did You Pay for that Radiohead Download?")

2) Kings of Leon – Because Of The Times
If this album were eight to ten songs instead of 13, it would be one of the best albums of the last ten years. Vocalist/guitarist Caleb Followill treats his words like cigarette butts: he pounds them into the dirt with his howlin’ vocals.
Best tracks: “On Call,” “McFearless,” “My Party,” “Arizona.”

3) The White StripesIcky Thump
Although not as good as their previous two releases, Icky Thump is still The White Stripes making songs that shake my bones. “Rag And Bone” is a song that has the gritty swagger of early White Stripes records, but it adds the humor that Jack White is able to infuse into his more recent lyrics. If you can, buy the vinyl and listen to the different arrangements of some of the songs.
Best tracks: “Rag And Bone,” “Bone Broke,” “Effect And Cause,” “Icky Thump.”
(For a full review of Icky Thump, please go here.)

4) Yeah Yeah YeahsThe Is Is [EP ]
Five songs of punk rock lust. If only they had made a full album of songs this strong.
Best Tracks: All its five songs are pretty strong.
(For a full review of The Is Is, please go here.)

5) Wooden ShjipsWooden Shjips
Five songs. Thirty-three minutes. Reverb soakage. Distorted organs. Crunchy guitar solos. Mmmm sexy. A mix of Velvet Underground, The Doors and Brian Jonestown Massacre. The lyrics are just the icing on a trippy cake.
Best Tracks: “We Ask You To Ride,” “Shine Like Suns.”

6) GrindermanGrinderman
No one in the world liked this record. Shame on you, world. Nick Cave should win an Oscar for greatest mustache. His low growl on songs like “No Pussy Blues” charges up any fun-filled evening.
Best Tracks: “No Pussy Blues,” “Depth Charge Ethel,” “I Don't Need You (To Set Me Free).”

7) WilcoSky Blue Sky
I can imagine that it would be hard for anyone who loved the last two great Wilco records, Yankee Hotel Foxtrot and A Ghost Is Born, to accept Sky Blue Sky for what it is: a straight forward, mellow, jam band recording. Wilco, which had been working toward becoming America's Radiohead or the next Sonic Youth, suddenly switch directions and started heading toward The Grateful Dead. “Impossible Germany” is the best example of this transformation. There are some great songs, and some just above average tracks on this record, but the lyrical ability of Jeff Tweedy always interests me — even when the music doesn't. Search for the B-sides of this record because they will fill in the cracks for you if this wasn't immediately your favorite record.
Best Tracks: “Sky Blue Sky,” “You Are My Face,” “Side With The Seeds,” “Let’s Not Get Carried Away” (B-side).
(For a full review of Sky Blue Sky with a different take, please check here.)

8) LCD SoundsystemSound Of Silver
Discotechnojamz from studio whiz James Murphy. Enough said? No. Hooks and beats, hooks and beats — that’s all there is on this record.
Best Tracks: “North American Scum,” “All My Friends,” “Watch The Tapes.”
(For another short review of Sound of Silver, please go here.)

9) The Black LipsGood Bad Not Evil
Wow. One of the greatest live experiences on the planet. Some of the greatest song writing on the planet. Well, not exactly. But catchy hooks over no bullshit guitar riffs sets this punk band apart from the rest.
Best Tracks: “I Saw A Ghost (Lean),” “Bad Kids,” “Cold Hands,” “O Katrina!”
(For a short review of the Black Lips' other 2007 release Los Valientes del Mundo Nuevo, please go here. For general information on the band, please see "Experience The Black Lips.")

10) Saul WilliamsThe Inevitable Rise and Liberation Of Niggy Tardust
The album title says it all, I think. If you enjoy this record, you should enjoy the Washington D.C.-based The Drugstore Cowboys.
Best Tracks: “Sunday Bloody Sunday,” “WTF!”

*Justin Wilder is a student at American University and a writer for the blog, Kill Film Students.

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

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

(The cover graphic of Radiohead's In Rainbows is from ATO Music Group, the distributors of the band's latest release. To see a video of Radiohead performing "Bodysnatchers" from In Rainbows on a live webcast, please check below.)

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