Best of '07: Albums, part I

I don't celebrate Christmas, and had to get up early to take my roommate to the airport, so here I am, awake at 8 a.m. with nothing to do. I guess this is as good of a time as any to start my real best of '07 list. I'm going to do it in three parts because I'm still tinkering with the ones closer to the top. Last year, there were 15. This year, much to my surprise, there are 30. The year started out rocky, and I really didn't enjoy much of anything in the first six months, but a few things grew on me later, and, well, here we are.

So here's to the best and worst year of my life, both personally, and with music:

21. St. Vincent: Marry Me

How adorable is she? Her voice kind of reminds me of what I used to love about Natalie Merchant as a 10-year-old. Raspy, perhaps, but ethereal. I really wanted to put this one higher, and would have if it didn't have the Polyphonic Spree all over it.

22. Band of Horses: Cease to Begin

Still beautiful, though lacking in the raw power of Everything All The Time. It was maybe just as haunting as its predecessor, with a little more jangle than the last time. I really would have put "No One's Gonna Love You" in my Top 10 Songs of this year if it hadn't been so sad.

22. Junior Senior: Hey Hey My My Yo Yo

Best party album of the year. 'Nuff said.

23. Black Kids: The Wizard of Ahhs

I'm so sad that I never got to write about this EP. I guess all of the local and national buzz did it enough justice for me to not have to. There are few things I'd change about the Wizard of Ahhs,, but I wish that it was a full length, so I could have justified putting it higher on the list because everything is so mellow and awesome.Fo sho, the best thing to come out of Athens Pop Fest this year. Grab the Wizard of Ahhs for free on their website.

24. Dan Deacon: Spiderman of the Rings

Dan Deacon isn't afraid of anything and despite all of its seeming innocence and simplicity, this album was serious and daring. I kind of imagine this as what the future of music sounds like, not because I think everyone is going to abandon traditional composition, but because it seems like more and more really talented and skilled electronic composers are coming out of the woodwork, making all of those beeps and strange sounds more palatable and melodic. That is fundamentally what this album does best, and I am happy to have gotten to see him perform parts of it.

25. The Fratellis: Costello Music

I am not ashamed to say that when I am alone I totally rock out to the Fratellis, just like in the itunes ad. This album is probably the most fun of this year. It doesn't take itself at all seriously, and appropriately so, because it is too reminiscent of Andrew W.K. to do anything of the sort.

26. Stars in Coma: Moonshine Heights EP

Andre has released like 8 million things this year so I had trouble narrowing it down. This is the one I've listened to the most, especially in my car, since it has become quite the antidote to road rage. Totally sweet and adorable.

27. Ben Lee's cover album of Against Me's New Wave

It isn't even on his official discography, but you have to give the guy credit for covering an entire album so soon after its release and doing a great job of interpreting it through his own style. Maybe in another life Ben Lee was a RiotFolk-er or something.

28. Johnnytwentythree: JXXIII

My friend Eli introduced me to these folks, and they've been added to the permanent post-rock rotation. Mad props to those 20 minute songs. They are gorgeous and make me feel like going skydiving.

29. Hauschka: Room to Expand

Another album recommendation from Eli. This one is a bit quirkier, more piano-centered, and sounds a bit like the soundtrack to a Charlie Kaufman/Spike Jonze collaboration involving puppets or human evolution or something.

30. Arcade Fire: Neon Bible

Neon Bible is to me what Return to Cookie Mountain was last year. I'm tired of hearing it everywhere but I can't deny that it is actually really good. I went back and forth about this one and like, Wincing the Night Away and all of that. i just don't think there is any reason to promote albums millions of people already listen to, but it is a great piece of art, maybe even marvelous, though I haven't been able to get myself to listen to it much.


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