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The Best and the Worst--Music 2007
http://www.lawrence.com/blogs/sludge/2007/dec/10/topalbums2007/After reading this blog on lawrence.com, I outlined my picks for the top ten of 2007 with a comment. Of course, I was not satisfied with this, and felt that it was necessary for me to further explore the year in music. My top twenty albums, honorable mentions, and bottom five albums for 2007 are as follows: (NOTE: THIS LIST IS NOT IN THE RIGHT ORDER. INSTEAD, IT SHOULD BE READ BACKWARDS. FOR INSTANCE, CASSADAGA SHOULD BE NUMBER 20, NOT NUMBER 1. WHAT IS LISTED AS NUMBER 2 SHOULD REALLY BE NUMBER 19, AND SO ON. I DON'T KNOW EXACTLY WHAT HAPPENED, BUT I CANNOT CHANGE IT.)20. Bright Eyes--Cassadaga | Why, you might ask, am I including this on my top 20 list? True, many were quick to bash Cassadaga for its country-esque vibe, something that until now, is unheard of on a Bright Eyes record. However, like most everything he does, Conor Oberst makes it work, and work quite well. Good examples of this are "Four Winds" and "Soul Singer in a Session Band."19. Battles--Mirrored | The avant-garde instrumental rock on this album takes a bit getting used to, but songs like "Tiji" and "Atlas" help smooth the ride. If you want something differnet, this is the album to check out. It could very well be the future of music.18. Great Nothern--Trading Twilight for Daylight | This album was on sale at the iTunes store for $7.99, and I liked the song "Home," so I decided to check it out, and was not disappointed. Great Northern combines duet-style vocals with electric and synth sounds to create this indie pop gem.17. Sara Bareilles--Little Voice | What's not to like about this album? It's creative, it's fresh, and "Love Song" is taking the airwaves by storm. Don't be fooled by the popularity; it's good.16. Lily Allen--Alright, Still | Lawrencians were up in arms when Allen canceled her show at Liberty Hall, as they should've been. Alright, Still is full of hooks and features the smash hit "Smile." Do you need anything else?15. Ben Lee--Ripe | Ben Lee first made his first big splash when "Catch My Disease" came out in early 2005. The rest of that album, Awake is the New Sleep, is much less memorable, however. Ripe is the perfect ending; the one Awake never had. 14. Amy Winehouse--Back to Black | English soul girl Amy Winehouse certainly has a lot of problems, but she knows how to make music. Does anyone know if she ever did go to rehab?13. Bruce Springsteen--Magic | The E Street Band seems to bring something to Springsteen's albums that is not there when they aren't. Magic, like the Rising, featured the E Street Band. And Magic, like The Rising, is a great album.12. M.I.A.--Kala | M.I.A. is not your Avril Lavigne, Hannah Montana, or Rihanna. She never will be. No, her music is much more interesting and insightful. Kala is rhythmic and beat-laden, but it is a record we all should listen to and appreciate.11. Band of Horses--Cease to Begin | The haunting guitar riff of "Is There a Ghost" and Ben Bridwell's wail of "I could sleeeeeeep" is the perfect beginning to Band of Horses' second album, Cease to Begin. That's not all, though. "Ode to LRC" and "Detlef Schrempf" complement it nicely.10. Ben Harper and the Innocent Criminals--Lifeline | Soul, folk, and blues all come into play on Lifeline, yet another gorgeous record by Ben Harper and his gang. From the catchy, country soul chorus of "Fool for a Lonesome Train" to the instrumental beauty of "Paris Sunrise #7," BHTIC make it happen.9. Spoon--Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga | On Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga, you will find Spoon's classic wiry rock, but you'll also find a touch here and there of soul and blues. This strategy may not work well for most bands, but it doesn't feel the least bit out of place on this album. See "You Got Yr. Cherry Bomb."8. Feist--The Reminder | It would seem unethical and irresponsible to not include this album in a list of the year's best albums. Most know this albm only for the infectious hook of "1234" and its respective video. But songs like "My Moon My Man" finish it off.7. Iron & Wine--The Shepherd's Dog | Sam Beam has come a long way from his whispery bedroom folk days and seems to now have gotten into traditional indie rock and 70s rock. That said, The Shepherd's Dog exhibits a wide variety of music ranging from Beam's past ("Carousel") and his more recent work ("Boy with a Coin").6. Modest Mouse--We Were Dead Before the Ship Even Sank | Modest Mouse has never made a true dud of an album. Ever. That includes this album, which is one of their best. From the "Float On"--esque to songs that sound like Bloc Party's "Kreuzberg," this is definitely NOT a dud.5. Radiohead--In Rainbows | Unless you've been living in a cave these past few months or just don't pay attention to the news, you'll probably know that Radiohead recently offered this entire album as a pick-your-own-price download over the Internet. Maybe this wasn't the smartest move, because giving out music this good just seems wrong.4. Kanye West--Graduation | There hasn't been a rap album this good since, well...Kanye's last album. "Stronger" is the best rap song in the last seven years, and has there ever been a true rap album with a hook as cool as on "Good Life"? Hip hop may not be dead yet, but if it weren't for this guy, I dunno...3. Arcade Fire--Neon Bible | Was there a sound that spoke for the entire year in music better than the chilling organs that open "Intervention"? No way, Jose. "Black Wave/Bad Vibrations" isn't too bad either, especially when Win Butler cries, "Nothing lasts forever, that's the way it's gonna be / There's a great black wave in the middle of the sea."2. Wilco--Sky Blue Sky | Pitchfork is usually one of my favorite places to read record reviews, but a 5.2 out of 10 for this album? Seriously. From Tweedy's opening words of optimism (Maybe the sun will shine today / The clouds will blow away / Maybe we won't feel so afraid) to the plain awesomeness of "What Light," listening to this record didn't really leave me with a 5.2 feeling. Try about 4.3 points more.Drumroll, please...1. The Shins--Wincing the Night Away | This album is nearly perfect; there are no bad tracks, and everything works. One could argue that Wincing is much more mainstream than Oh, Inverted World and Chutes Too Narrow, but it works well for James Mercer and his posse. "Australia" and "Phantom Limb" are more poppish, but amazing tracks all the same. The finale, "A Comet Appears," is so strikingly beautiful that no words in my vocabulary will suffice. Wow.HONORABLE MENTIONSFionn Regan--The End of HistoryMatt Nathanson--Some Mad HopeLCD Soundsystem--Sound of SilverFoo Fighters--Echoes, Silence, Patience, GraceThe White Stripes--Icky ThumpPeter Bjorn and John--Writer's BlockBOTTOM FIVEArctic Monkeys--Flourescent Adolescent (Sorry!)The Killers--Sawdust (I love them, but this album was BORING)Bjork--Volta (I just don't get it.)50 Cent--Curtis (Ugh.)The worst album of 2007:Soulja Boy Tell 'Em--Souljaboytellem.com Oh. My. God (Awful).