It’s the end of 2007; time to cast our beady eye upon what were, in our collective and fought over opinion, the best albums released during the last 12 months.
We argued, we discussed, at times various objects were thrown, but eventually we decided on a Top 20 of 2007.
As ever, there was an eclectic selection of albums nominated, from pop to dance, metal to electronica, shoegaze revivalists to nu-rave disco groovers.
So, without any further ado, here are the results:
1. LCD Soundsystem – Sound Of Silver (DFA/EMI)
In which James Murphy’s collective came of age, masterfully mixing funk, disco, rock and those inevitable cowbells into one irresistible, edgy, exhilarating cocktail.From the stately grandeur of All My Friends to the resigned piano tones of New York I Love You, Sound of Silver was the sound of James Murphy at the top of his game.
What we said: “Sound Of Silver is a thrilling, exhilarating ride on a fast machine…You’d be mad to miss out on one of this year’s essential albums”
2. M.I.A. – Kala (XL)
The follow-up to the extraordinary Arular saw the Sri Lanka-born rapper burst back into our lives with tribal rhyhms, Clash samples, rapping aboriginal teenagers and the sound of gunshots. The year’s most eclectic album.
What we said: “this is a record as substantive as it is stylish…you can’t help but admire Kala”
3. Arctic Monkeys – Favourite Worst Nightmare (Domino)
Alex Turner turned his lyrical eye to the music business, and proved as devastatingly perceptive as he was when catching taxis and going clubbing as a teenager in Sheffield. An album which showed South Yorkshire’s finest maturing and evolving at a frightening pace.
What we said: “The more you listen to it, the more these glorious songs reveal their delights, and soon you won’t be able to live without it”
4. Radiohead – In Rainbows (Radiohead.com)
So how much did you pay? In all the talk about the revolutionary nature the way the album was released, what was nearly lost was the fact that this was Radiohead’s best album in a decade – lush ballads rubbed shoulders with industrial rockers, and Thom Yorke has never sounded more affecting.
What we said: “Packed but sparse, thrilling, complex, innovative, simple. Without even a dud bar never mind a filler track, In Rainbows is more than any fan could hope for”
5. !!! (Chk Chk Chk) – Myth Takes (Warp)
Three years on from their debut album, the follow up to Louden Up Now saw the Californian band build on their trademark experimental sound and embellish it into a sound like nothing else quite on Earth.
What we said: “It’ll take a few listens to be pulled towards Myth Takes by the force that operates at its core… but step in any closer and you’ll be sucked in, for sure”
6. Arcade Fire – Neon Bible (Sonovox)
How do you better Funeral? You can’t, but the Canadians come pretty damn close on their second album – uplifting, delicate, deranged and never anything less than utterly compelling.
What we said: “By any standards, excepting those which the band have, through deed, set, it’s a wondrous record”
7. Asobi Seksu – Citrus (One Little Indian)
In a year where My Bloody Valentine reformed, it was perhaps fitting that the second album from Asobi Seksu took elements of the shoegazing scene and brought it right up to date for 2007.
What we said: “There’s plenty of pop tunes here, but there’s also enough self expression and leftfield rambling to make this an album of real interest”
8. The Good The Bad & The Queen – The Good The Bad & The Queen (Parlophone)
In which Damon Albarn linked up with an African drumming legend, a former guitarist from The Verve and the bassist from The Clash to provide a record which held a mirror up to the country – battered, bruised, but with a glorious sense of majesty to it.
What we said: “A remarkable achievement and more proof – if any were needed – that Albarn is one of the most innovative and talented songwriters of his generation.”
9. Simian Mobile Disco – Attack Decay Sustain Release (Wichita)
James Ford may be better known as producer of Klaxons and Arctic Monkeys, but he’s also half of arguably Britain’s most exciting new dance act – more old school house than nu-rave and all the better for it.
What we said: “It’s difficult to detect any flaws in Attack Decay Sustain Release. Simian Mobile Disco have created a seamless electronica album”
10. The White Stripes – Icky Thump (XL)
Jack and Meg marked their return with a ‘back to basics’ blues-rock squeal of a record – featuring bagpipe samples, 70s country-rock, and an absolutely berserk marachi number, Icky Thump also contained some of Jack White’s best songs yet.
What we said: “Never less than absolutely compelling, which is what makes The White Stripes one of the greatest bands of modern times”
Bubbling under the Top 10 came these little beauties:
11. Interpol – Our Love To Admire
What we said: “Interpol are operating in another galaxy to the majority of those who claim to be their peers”
12. Björk – Volta
What we said: “An artist who, a decade and a half since launching her solo career, still sounds like no-one else”
13. Holy Fuck – LP
What we said: “A record that is just about as compulsive as seeing the band up close”
14. Edwyn Collins – Home Again
What we said: “Pleasing as it is to report his progress on the path to recovery, this album gives just as much pleasure by confirming that musically he’s still at the top of his game”
15. The National – Boxer
What we said: “The band were worried that they wouldn’t be able to follow up Alligator, that fans would be disappointed. Boxer proves their fears ungrounded”
16. Justice – +
What we said: “A fine and much welcome showing for a pair of self-professed amateurs”
17. Rufus Wainwright – Release The Stars
What we said: “Few comedowns are as pretty as this. It is different in many ways, but never neglects the melodic, vocal and lyrical genius that has established, and will continue to establish, his status as one of the all time greats”
18. Klaxons – Myths Of The Near Future
What we said: “While Klaxons are at times too cosmetic for their own good, they make this jungle expedition a little more worthwhile”
19. The Cribs – Men’s Needs, Women’s Needs, Whatever
What we said: “Swaggering, full-throttle, full-throated genius”
20. Kings Of Leon – Because Of The Times
What we said: “Kings Of Leon’s best album yet, their most fully realised and mature work to date”