2007! Albums!

In lieu of a “Best of 2007” list, I’m just going to do an “Albums That Came Out in 2007 That I Got” list (in handy chronological order). Enjoy, and happy new year’s!

1.
Talib Kweli & Madlib

Liberation
(Jan. 1, 2007)

A full ten months before Radiohead’s crazy “Let’s give our album away for free” move, the BK MC Kweli and uber-producer Madlib let this rough draft out over the internet. One of the best MCs and one of the best producers? For free? Yes, please. I actually didn’t really get into this album when I first listened to it, but every once in a while it would pop up on my mp3 player and it’s grown on me like crazy.

Talib Kweli & Madlib – Over the Counter (Buy It)

2.
Peter, Bjorn and John
Writer’s Block
(Feb. 6, 2007)

Sure, everywhere you went this year, you heard P, B & J’s whistle heavy ditty “Young People.” You may have even gotten pretty sick of it (around the time that Kanye used it on that mix tape probably). Then maybe a couple months went by without it, and then you heard the song again and you liked it again. Maybe not … Either way, the album is damn solid.

Peter, Bjorn and John – Objects of My Affection (Buy It)

3.
Mark Ronson
Version
(April 16, 2007)

It was a good year for lovers of horns and covers. Bolstered by New York’s finest backing band (see #14), producer-of-the-moment / professional Motown fetishist Ronson managed to put together a pretty good album of covers with some better-than-pretty-good songs on it. Nice thing is, the mediocre stuff just makes the great stuff stand out even more.

Mark Ronson – Oh My God (feat. Lily Allen) (Buy It)

4.
Feist
The Reminder
(May 1, 2007)

Bouncing back and forth between tame singer songwriter stuff and pretty up-tempo stuff, like her cover of Nina Simone’s “See-Line Woman” (renamed the animal friendly “Sealion”), Feist manages to strike the balance well on her second studio album. Sounding like a fully polished version of her already outstanding first album, plus with an ipod commercial under her belt, Ms. Feist is all set to blow up huge.
Feist – Past In Present (Buy It)

5.
Manu Chao
La Radiolina
(June 27, 2007)

This was probably the album I looked forward to the most this year. Contributor Matt and I went to INCREDIBLE show by Chao and his band the day before it came out and I was jazzed to get it. That said, I was a little disappointed when I did end up getting it. Some of the songs are some of the best stuff he’s ever recorded, but a lot of the album feels like filler, like he’s slacking, which he’s never sounded like on his other albums. That said, when he’s good, he’s really good.
Manu Chao – Tristeza Maleza (Buy It)

6.
Patton Oswalt
Werewolves and Lollipops
(July 10, 2007)

Oswalt, our favorite nerdy, food-obsessed anger ball of a standup comic brings the high heat with his second album. He covers all subjects here in a way that never feels like he’s telling you a joke, or bragging about how good he has it — complaining about making a living being a comedian would come off as egotistical in any one else’s voice — but just like a self-effacing and always masterful storyteller.

Patton Oswalt – Physics for Poets (Buy It)

7.
Tegan and Sara
The Con
(July 24, 2007)

I’d never actually heard Tegan and Sara before my coworker loaned me their newest album, only heard their names attached with the adjectives “Great” “Amazing” and “Pretty great.” And then, after listening to the album over and over and over, I overdid it and couldn’t listen to it for a while. But now I’m back to liking it a lot. Every time I listen to this album I end up with three or four of the songs stuck in my head for days.

Tegan and Sara – Nineteen (Buy It)

8.
Rilo Kiley
Under the Blacklight
(Aug. 21, 2007)

There are a few musical things that everyone loves except me. As a whole, they are what make me considered a “music snob” by my friends, and what make me pretty unable to dispute the claim. Some are songs (“Hotel California,” “Margaritaville” and “Piano Man” among them) and some are bands, like Fleetwood Mac. Rilo Kiley’s new album sounds like Fleetwood Mac as dance music being played by indie kids. I don’t like it much. And now I’m just anxious for Jenny Lewis to put out another good album with the Watson Twins.

Rilo Kiley – Silver Lining (Buy It)

9.
Pash
The Best Gun
(Aug. 28, 2007)

The album may sound a little too studio-polished in some places, but that polish can’t hide the homespun charm of the tunes here. The songs display an ear for both catchy pop melodies and drama, and a penchant for punk in some places. The tag-team vocals soar above the sharp, sometimes odd (but in a good way) instrumentation, even breaking out into a full-on singalong catharsis on one song.

Pash – Kill The Rich Boys II (Buy It)

10.
The Go! Team
Proof of Youth
(Sept. 10, 2007)

Party music for kids who reminisce wistfully about ‘Sesame Street’ and play with an ancient ‘Lite Brite’ while drinking Pabst. Ok, that’s enough hipster-hating. It’s also party music for the rest of us. Almost as consistent as Thunder Lightning Strike!, this one still manages to pump up the joy and good times in the spirit of high spirits. Plus, Chuck D drops by!

The Go! Team – The Wrath of Marcie (Buy It)

11.
Comedy Death Ray
(Sept. 11, 2007)

A showcase of LA’s alt-comedy standup scene from the Upright Citizens Brigade’s west-coast theater. The two cds are a mixed bag, ranging from insanely funny to just polite chuckles, but those insanely funny parts… The best segments are offered by Paul F. Tompkins — who details the life of Fabio and the adventures of sidewalk movie character impersonators — and Jimmy Pardo — who spends the lion’s share of his time harassing a young audience member.

Chris Hardwick (Buy It)

12.
Shelly Bhushan
Picking Daisies
(Sept. 20, 2007)

I went to see hometown hero Bhushan perform a few weeks ago, and was definitely not disappointed. All the talent and power that’s on this record was on display that night, and there’s plenty of it to display. Bhushan, with a voice that lots of singers would kill to have, backed by a crack band, is a performer everyone should see and listen to.
Shelly Bhushan – Show Me A Sign (Buy It)

13.
Darjeeling Limited Soundtrack
(Sept. 25, 2007)

Like the soundtracks from Wes Anderson’s other films, this album is a mix of the obscure (Anderson pirates half of the tracks from Indian film soundtracks) and familiar (Rolling Stones and Kinks). The entire internet fell in love with the song “Where Do You Go To (My Lovely)” by Peter Sarstedt, from the short film Hotel Chevalier, which was intended to precede Darjeeling, but I think the real gem is the track below, which will get stuck in your head and you will never get it out. And where Life Aquatic was a Bowie movie, Darjeeling is a Kinks movie, Anderson choosing the less popular but much more evocative tracks here. Good going, Wes.

Joe Dassin – Les Champs-Elysees (Buy It)

14.
Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings
100 Days, 100 Nights
(Oct. 2, 2007)

Nobody does soul music these days like Sharon Jones and The Dap-Kings do soul music and everyone and their mother (even my mother!) knows it. A lady with pipes of gold and a backing band that could peel the paint off any painted surface, this album stands as the most consistent proof that pining for the old days may be an easy way to pass the time, but it’s much more fun just to get down and do the damn thing.

Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings – Keep On Looking (Buy It)

15.
Jens Lekman
Night Falls Over Kortedala
(Oct. 9, 2007)

Every once in a while, I’ll see or hear something that will clue me into just how much of a cynical person I am. Listening to Jens Lekman’s new album, a collection of songs so sweet and sentimental it’s a bit much sometimes. A person can only take so many songs with harps and Burt Bacharach string sections. At his worst, he can bend towards schlock, but at his best, Lekman is an engaging and funny lyricist and knows how to write a damn catchy song.

Jens Lekman – Your Arms Around Me (Buy It)

16.
Radiohead
In Rainbows
(Oct. 10, 2007)

The one that changed the world and won over a majority of Stereogum readers is, despite being insanely over-hyped, just a really solid album. Like that other free album (#1), it’s a grower, though a couple of the songs grab you right away and have been on repeat around here since I downloaded it and the album singlehandedly destroyed the record industry. I’ve heard that the second disc is even better than the first, but I haven’t heard any of it. You probably have to pay for that part.

Radiohead – 15 Step (Buy It)

17.
Michael Showalter
Sandwiches & Cats
(Nov. 13, 2007)

Not altogether hilarious, but funny enough to make you smile consistently through the entire album, and laugh out loud every once in a while. A mix of standup, spoken word pieces (a la This American Life) and music, the album veers from the absurd (the title should tip you off to that) to the absurdly mundane and back again.

Michael Showalter – The Apartment (Buy It)

18.
Wu-Tang Clan
8 Diagrams
(Dec. 11, 2007)

I’m still processing this one. Ignoring the terrible design of the album’s packaging (the Wu “W” should never be superimposed on a ying-yang), the songs are hit-or-miss for me so far. It’s always compelling to hear an old pro like RZA experimenting with his signature sound like he’s doing here, playing with older and newer production styles. A friend of mine mentioned that if this was the Wu’s last group album, he’d think it was a good swan song. I’m not there yet, but we’ll see.

Wu-Tang Clan – Stick With Me For My Riches (feat. Gearald Alston) (Buy It)

posted by Adam

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3 responses to “2007! Albums!

  1. Hey man — great list. We had some overlap, although we definitely disagree about Kanye! (and, to a lesser extent, Ghostface).
    I missed the Talib and Madlib free download, however. Unforgivable, espec. b/c i put 3 “pay what you want” (or pay nothing) albums on my list. And I love Talib and, espec., Madlib (and am one to constantly harangue about evil and stale corporate hip hop). I also loved Go! Team (runner-up).

    –happy new year –cheers

    p.s. loved the x-mas post !

  2. Hey Matt, thanks as always for stopping by and leaving some love. I’d be only too happy to send over the Kweli/Madlib album, and hopefully that’ll make up for the difference in opinion on Kanye …

  3. Thanks a lot for including us in on this list! I am glad you enjoy the record.

    bests,
    Erik

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