2007: The Best Albums

The BMS Editors select their favorite albums of the year

, Staff

2007 brought with it tons of great albums for an array of artists. With that in mind, Boston Music Spotlight Editor-in-Chief Rory Flynn and Managing Editor Jed Heneberry present their favorite albums of 2007.

For Rory’s picks, go here.&
For Jed’s picks, go here.

Editor-in-Chief Rory Flynn’s Top Ten Albums&

1. Against Me!: New Wave
The best of the year. Screw emo – these Florida-based rockers proved that alternative punk is alive and well. Picking up where Green Day’s American Idiot left off, Against Me! delivered an album of& politically and socially punk anthems. With help from bigtime producer Butch Vig, Tom Gabel and company score big with "Thrash Unreal", "White People For Peace", and with help from Tegan Quin on "Borne on the FM Waves of the Heart".

2. Bruce Springsteen and the E-Street Band: Magic
The Boss once again proves that he is ageless. Maybe he’s taking a musical version of HGH but this album serves up a potion of stellar tracks that channels Springsteen’s classic rock past (The River, Born in the U.S.A ., etc) through lyrical content that hits home today. Standouts include "Radio Nowhere", "Livin’ In The Future", and "Girls In Their Summer Clothes."

3. Foo Fighters: Echoes, Silence, Patience & Grace
With a widely varying sound, it almost feels like a compilation album. It opens with the hard rocking "The Pretender", eases into "Long Road to Ruin," and winds down with the Paul McCartney-like "Statues." I just hope history will remember Dave Grohl as the musical genius of his generation that he is.

4. Arcade Fire: Neon Bible
The U2 and Bruce Springsteen comparisons are deserved though may be a little overboard considering this is only their second album. But with tunes like "Keep The Car Running" and "Windowsill", watching Win Butler and company continue to grow over the next few years will be a special treat for all.&

5. Tegan and Sara: The Con
I hate to admit it but I hardly knew about these Canadian sisters before this album arrived. "Back In Your Head" did just that for weeks before the rest of this ambitious and unique album was ingrained in my head. The twins’ tremendous vocals mesh brilliantly through piano ballad, dance-pop, and indie rock gems.
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6. Radiohead: In Rainbows
Sure it helps that we all got to pay however many pence if any we wanted to, but the honest truth is that this album is better than anything they have done since Kid A. It took a few listens but this album grew on me quickly and has been getting better each time.
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7. Spoon: Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga
These days, the Austin, Texas-based rockers are far from being Indie’s best-kept secret. They gained a lot of new listeners with an album that may have a goofy name but excels with a compelling sound through ten stellar tracks including "The Underdog."
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8. Dropkick Muprhys: The Meanest Of Times
More blue coller Irish-punk from the hometown favorites. The band has been getting more attention at the national level lately, but their Boston roots are firmly evident throughout the album. "(F)lannigan’s Ball", the band’s revision of the popular Irish drinking song "Lanigan’s Ball, features Stacy of the Pogues and Ronnie Drew of the Dubliners .

9. Miranda Lambert: Crazy Ex-Girlfriend
Unlike 2006, it was a rather dull year for country albums in 2007. Thankfully, this hot Texan delivered a sophomore album that shook Nashville to its core. She’s fiery singer with a sassy attitude on "Gunpower and Lead" and a gentle singer-songwriter on "More Like Her". But "Famous In A Small Town" might be the country hit of the year.&
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10. The Smashing Pumpkins: Zeitgeist
Billy Corgan is back to making good music. With drummer Jimmy Chamberlin at his side, he resurrected the Smashing Pumpkins moniker and got on his soapbox. The album’s centerpiece "United States", a near 10-minute epic, is a fusion of punk and heavy rock.
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Honorable Mentions:&
The White Stripes: Icky Thump – I thought after The Raconteurs that I would be fine with no White Stripes. Then this album came.
John Fogerty: Revival – The surprise of the year, the CCR frontman’s best stuff in decades
Kaiser Chiefs: Yours Truly, Angry Mob –& This sophomore effort is pure fan and provides plenty of catchy hooks and tunes like "Ruby"&

Locals Albums: Go and support these locals, you’ll be happy you did….
Six Day Slide:
Lights – A pop-rock gem that went far too unnoticed in their hometown.
Bang Camaro: Bang Camaro – 80’s Hair Band rock never sounded so good, but their live show is better
Hallelujah The Hills: Collective Psychois Begone –& Ryan Walsh’s new band may have outdone his last, The Stairs

Managing Editor Jed Heneberry’s Top Ten Albums

1. The National: Boxer This album is so good. This band is so good. Matt Berninger’s voice is so good. There’s not much more I can say about Boxer coherently, I’ve listened to it so much that I feel like I’ve internalized the songs. The album is immediately evocative but also shrouded in impenetrability, its cohesive mood reminiscent of Interpol’s Turn on the Bright Lights. Just listen to it, you’ll understand.

2. Radiohead: In Rainbows
Forget about the revolutionary release style, eschewing a record label and going completely DIY. The important thing is that Radiohead made In Rainbows their best album since Kid A, and it might even be better. Opener “15 Step” immediately shows every other band that Radiohead is in fact better than them, and then Thom Yorke and company take it up a notch for “Bodysnatchers”. And “Videotape” is the most beautiful song of the year.&

3. Okkervil River: The Stage NamesRemarkably consistent, this disc takes hold with the stellar “Our Life Is Not a Movie Or Maybe” and does not let go. Will Sheff’s lyrics are extremely literate, but that is outdone by the perfect melodies. And the way it ends with “John Allyn Smith Sails” will leave you ecstatic, provided you’ve done your Pet Sounds homework.

4. The Arcade Fire: Neon Bible
This is the best Bruce Springsteen album of the year (check out Bruce playing “Keep the Car Running” with Win and Regine). The Arcade Fire’s sophomore effort showed that they were legit and more, and that they are very much in the running for “Best Band in the Universe” for the next several years. As grandiose in its bombast as Funeral was in its emotional weight, this band is doing what U2 used to do, except much better.

5. Feist: The Reminder
I don’t care where you heard “1 2 3 4”, be it an iPod commercial or Mix 98.5. That song is ridiculously good, and probably only works if Leslie Feist sings it. The rest of the album is great too, with massive dynamic and stylistic shifts. Feist, a member of Broken Social Scene, borrows the band’s brilliance and makes it just a little bit more accessible. And I still can’t get that song out of my head.

6. Spoon: Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga
I don’t even think this is the best Spoon album, but it gets extra points because it’s the one that finally made everyone else appreciate them, sort of like the way Scorcese got Best Director for “The Departed” but not “Goodfellas”. Given, it’s pretty hard to ignore songs as good as “The Underdog” and “You’ve Got Yr Cherry Bomb”. Good work Spoon, you deserve it.

7. Hallelujah the Hills: Collective Psychosis Begone
This isn’t even because of hometown favoritism, this local album stands up with the best of the year because of songs like “Wave Backwards to Massachusetts” and the band anthem “Hallelujah the Hills”. The combination of distorted vocals, frenetic free associative lyrics, and a perfectly clear trumpet results in a win for the Boston band. A jumble of all different influences synthesized into a sound that is anything but coherent, but wholly unique. Check it out and support local music.
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8. Kanye West: Graduation
The best rap album this year by a landslide, although Jay-Z’s American Gangster was strong and Lil’ Wayne was the best rapper. But Kanye’s genius is in the details, like choosing a Daft Punk sample for his mega-hit “Stronger”, and quoting 50 Cent, whom he outsold on launch day, on “Good Life”.& Three for three on albums, Kanye is pretty much alone at the top of the hip-hop class.&

9. Bloc Party: A Weekend in the City
A little calmer than Silent Alarm, but only on the surface, A Weekend in the City is also a bit harder to appreciate right away. Kele Okereke hits all the right notes, and drummer Matt Tong is one of the best in the business. The band’s ambition is ably matched by their sound, evidenced by the drama of “Song for Clay (Disappear Here)”, the beauty of “I Still Remember”, and the freak out of “The Prayer”. A good disc from a great band.&

10. Ian Hunter: Shrunken Heads
Better than Springsteen’s Magic, Englishman Hunter, formerly of Mott the Hoople, gives us the best protest record of the year because it protests subtly. Hunter takes a tour of American music through the stomp of “How’s Your House”, the soul of “Shrunken Heads”, and the twang of “I Am What I Hated When I Was Young”. This was also the best album this year to feature Jeff Tweedy (ouch).&

Honorable Mentions:&
The White Stripes: Icky Thump
Three Day Threshold: Against the Grain
Clap Your Hands Say Yeah: Some Loud Thunder

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