All Songs Considered Listeners Pick The Best Music Of 2007

collage

Tens of thousands of listeners voted in the All Songs Considered poll for the year's best CDs. It was tight for much of the race, with Radiohead and Arcade Fire running neck-and-neck for first place. But in the end, Radiohead's In Rainbows pulled ahead as an overwhelming winner.

There were also surprises: Some of the year's most anticipated CDs (like Rilo Kiley's Under the Blacklight), or most popular albums (like Lily Allen's Alright, Still) barely made the top 25. Meanwhile, smaller acts like Andrew Bird wound up in the Top 10.

The 25 CDs NPR listeners loved most this year are listed below. Thanks to all who voted for helping make it a great year at All Songs Considered.

More 2007 Top 10 Lists from:

Bob Boilen, Will Hermes, Robin Hilton, Tom Moon, Meredith Ochs

Listener Picks for 2006

Download this show in the All Songs Considered podcast.

Sign up for the All Songs Considered newsletter and we'll tell you when new music features are available on the site.

All Songs Considered Listeners Pick The Best Music Of 2007

Cover for Under the Blacklight

25.

  • Artist: Rilo Kiley
  • Album: Under the Blacklight
  • Song: Moneymaker

Rilo Kiley's 'Under the Blacklight' was one of the year's most anticipated records. The band had built a huge following, but a major-label contract provided a chance for a lot more exposure. Judging from its poor showing in our poll, we're guessing that a lot of people heard a few good songs, but were generally disappointed.

close

Purchase Featured Music

  • "Moneymaker"
  • Album: Under the Blacklight
  • Artist: Rilo Kiley
  • Label: Warner Brothers
  • Released: 2007
 
Cover for Alright, Still

24.

  • Artist: Lily Allen
  • Album: Alright, Still
  • Song: Alfie

Lily Allen's pop masterpiece was a smash when it was released in the U.K. in the summer of 2006. Most of her music was on MySpace then, as well. The U.S. release was a bit anticlimactic -- it wasn't released until January 2007 -- and by the time of this poll, the record felt old. Still, this is a great CD.

close

Purchase Featured Music

  • "Alfie"
  • Album: Alright, Still
  • Artist: Lily Allen
  • Label: Capitol
 
Cover for Con

23.

  • Artist: Tegan and Sara
  • Album: Con
  • Song: Hop a Plane

Chris Walla of Death Cab for Cutie co-produced this album by the duo of twin sisters from Canada. The Con has a sound seemingly inspired by '80s power pop.

close

Purchase Featured Music

  • "Hop a Plane"
  • Album: The Con
  • Artist: Tegan and Sara
  • Label: Sire
  • Released: 2007
 
Cover for Flying Club Cup

22.

  • Artist: Beirut
  • Album: Flying Club Cup
  • Song: St. Apollonia

A lush and beautifully arranged album, The Flying Club Cup draws heavily on songwriter Zach Condon's love of Balkan music.

close

Purchase Featured Music

  • "St. Apollonia"
  • Album: Flying Club Cup
  • Artist: Beirut
  • Label: Ba Da Bing!
  • Released: 2007
 
cover for easy tiger

21

  • Artist: Ryan Adams
  • Album: Easy Tiger
  • Song: Goodnight Rose

Ryan Adams is so prolific that it's easy to lose track of his individual albums: One can easily blur into the next. But NPR listeners found a lot to love on Easy Tiger, one of the singer's strongest efforts in years.

close

Purchase Featured Music

  • "Goodnight Rose"
  • Album: Easy Tiger
  • Artist: Ryan Adams
  • Label: Lost Highway
  • Released: 2007
 
Cover for The Stage Names

20.

  • Artist: Okkervil River
  • Album: The Stage Names
  • Song: Our Life Is Not a Movie or Maybe

Okkervil River's The Stage Names is a stunning and soaring collection of songs that examine the consequences of celebrity and pop culture. Wonderful wordplay and cinematic tales from songwriter Will Sheff, with music that's upbeat and smart.

close

Purchase Featured Music

  • "Our Life Is Not a Movie or Maybe"
  • Album: The Stage Names
  • Artist: Okkervil River
  • Label: Jagjaguwar
 
Cover for Historical Conquests of Josh Ritter

19.

  • Artist: Josh Ritter
  • Album: Historical Conquests of Josh Ritter
  • Song: To the Dogs or Whoever

The sound of Josh Ritter's most mature album to date was as bold as the title. For Historical Conquests, he tossed his guitar aside and wrote songs on piano instead, hoping for something new. It worked, yielding some of Ritter's most inspired songwriting.

close

Purchase Featured Music

  • "To the Dogs or Whoever"
  • Album: Historical Conquests of Josh Ritter
  • Artist: Josh Ritter
  • Label: V2
  • Released: 2007
 
Cover for Cassadaga

18.

  • Artist: Bright Eyes
  • Album: Cassadaga
  • Song: No One Would Riot For Less

On Cassadaga, Bright Eyes frontman Conor Oberst further explores his love of roots and country-flavored rock, with more production polish than heard on previous records.

close

Purchase Featured Music

  • "No One Would Riot For Less"
  • Album: Cassadaga
  • Artist: Bright Eyes
 
Cover for Cease to Begin

17.

  • Artist: Band of Horses
  • Album: Cease to Begin
  • Song: Detlef Schrempf

Band of Horses moved from a grittier indie-rock sound to a more Southern feel on Cease to Begin. For many fans, it was a huge step forward from the band's 2006 debut, Everything All the Time.

close

Purchase Featured Music

  • "Detlef Schrempf"
  • Album: Cease to Begin
  • Artist: Band of Horses
  • Label: Sub Pop
  • Released: 2007
 
Cover for Hissing Fauna, Are You the Destroyer?

16.

  • Artist: Of Montreal
  • Album: Hissing Fauna, Are You the Destroyer?
  • Song: Heimdalsgate Like a Promethean Curse

The Athens, Ga., band Of Montreal continues to impress with its swirling synths and tangled wordplay. Hissing Fauna also boasts one of the year's best album covers, with packaging that unfolds like origami.

close

Purchase Featured Music

  • "Heimdalsgate Like a Promethean Curse"
  • Album: Hissing Fauna, Are You the Destroyer?
  • Artist: Of Montreal
  • Label: Polyvinyl
 
Cover for Kala

15.

  • Artist: M.I.A.
  • Album: Kala
  • Song: Paper Planes

This was a fan favorite and a favorite for NPR reviewer Will Hermes who notes that M.I.A. "manages to critique and celebrate modern hip-hop in a single indelible line. She understands full well that in America, as in the world over, audiences love a charismatic outlaw."

close

Purchase Featured Music

  • "Paper Planes"
  • Album: Kala
  • Artist: M.I.A.
  • Label: Interscope
  • Released: 2007
 
Cover for Challengers

14.

  • Artist:
  • Album:
  • Song: Myriad Harbor

In a strong year for Canadian artists, The New Pornographers continued to stand out as a leader. Challengers' melodic and thoughtful pop masterpieces feature more textures and layers than ever.

close

Purchase Featured Music

  • "Myriad Harbor"
  • Album: Challengers
  • Artist: The New Pornographers
  • Label: Matador
  • Released: 2007
 
Cover for Sound of Silver

13.

  • Artist: LCD Soundsystem
  • Album: Sound of Silver
  • Song: North American Scum

Rock and dance pop intermingle with a sense of humor on LCD Soundsystem's Sound of Silver. "North American Scum" is a hilarious example of body-shaking, head-rattling music.

close

Purchase Featured Music

  • "North American Scum"
  • Album: Sound of Silver
  • Artist: LCD Soundsystem
 
Cover for Shepherd's Dog

12.

  • Artist: Iron & Wine
  • Album: Shepherd's Dog
  • Song: Pagan Angel and a Borrowed Car

Iron and Wine's Shepherd's Dog was a surprising turn from the whispery folk of earlier albums. Frontman Sam Beam explores his eclectic side with forays into psychedelic rock and lush instrumentation.

close

Purchase Featured Music

  • "Pagan Angel and a Borrowed Car"
  • Album: Shepherd's Dog
  • Artist: Iron & Wine
  • Label: Sub Pop
  • Released: 2007
 
Cover for Back to Black

11.

  • Artist: Amy Winehouse
  • Album: Back to Black
  • Song: Rehab

It's been a wild year for Amy Winehouse. A tumultuous personal life has some fans questioning her staying power, but there's no doubting her artistry or her voice on the Motown-inspired Back to Black.

close

Purchase Featured Music

  • "Rehab"
  • Album: Back to Black
  • Artist: Amy Winehouse
  • Label: Republic
  • Released: 2007
 
Cover for Armchair Apocrypha

10.

  • Artist: Andrew Bird
  • Album: Armchair Apocrypha
  • Song: Imitosis

Andrew Bird made one of the year's most subtle works of art. Not as brash as other albums, Armchair Apocrypha features delicate, handmade songs built around Bird's trademark violin work and world-class whistling.

close

Purchase Featured Music

  • "Imitosis"
  • Album: Armchair Apocrypha
  • Artist: Andrew Bird
  • Label: Fat Possum
 
Cover for Boxer

09.

  • Artist: The National
  • Album: Boxer
  • Song: Green Gloves

The National wins the prize for clever time-signature trickery, setting different rhythms against one another on Boxer's opening track, "Fake Empire." It sets the tone for a near-perfect collection of introspective late-night rock songs.

close

Purchase Featured Music

  • "Green Gloves"
  • Album: Boxer
  • Artist: The National
 
Cover for Wincing the Night Away

08.

  • Artist: The Shins
  • Album: Wincing the Night Away
  • Song: "Phantom Limb"

The Shins returned this year with what many considered a long-overdue album. Four years after releasing the incredibly popular Chutes Too Narrow, the band survives the pressure and expectations by picking up where it left off. Wincing the Night Away is full of jangly, heartfelt pop.

close

Purchase Featured Music

  • ""Phantom Limb""
  • Album: Wincing the Night Away
  • Artist: The Shins
  • Label: Sub Pop
 
Cover for We Were Dead Before the Ship Even Sank

07.

  • Artist: Modest Mouse
  • Album: We Were Dead Before the Ship Even Sank
  • Song: Parting of the Sensory

On We Were Dead Before the Ship Even Sank Modest Mouse stands its ground as one of the most original bands making music today. It's filled with surprising music and words, led by the distinctive voice of Isaac Brock and the addition of Smiths guitarist Johnny Marr.

close

Purchase Featured Music

  • "Parting of the Sensory"
  • Album: We Were Dead Before the Ship Even Sank
  • Artist: Modest Mouse
  • Label: Epic
  • Released: 2007
 
Cover for Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga

06.

  • Artist: Spoon
  • Album: Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga
  • Song: You Got Yr. Cherry Bomb

Spoon frontman Britt Daniel makes meticulously crafted pop songs. His attention to detail results in a tight, if oddly titled, album that bounces and sways from track to track, and even surprises every now and then.

close

Purchase Featured Music

  • "You Got Yr. Cherry Bomb"
  • Album: Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga
  • Artist: Spoon
  • Label: Merge
  • Released: 2007
 
Cover for Icky Thump

05.

  • Artist: The White Stripes
  • Album: Icky Thump
  • Song: Icky Thump

Some critics dismissed Icky Thump as a hit-and-miss minor work for The White Stripes. But NPR listeners loved Jack White's jagged guitar solos and Meg White's elemental drum work enough to put the band in the Top 5.

close

Purchase Featured Music

  • "Icky Thump"
  • Album: Icky Thump
  • Artist: The White Stripes
  • Label: Warner Bros.
  • Released: 2007
 
Cover for Sky Blue Sky

04.

  • Artist: Wilco
  • Album: Sky Blue Sky
  • Song: Hate it Here

Much less experimental than recent work, Sky Blue Sky shows Wilco returning to the more straight-ahead, folk and country-flavored rock of the band's earlier days. The addition of guitarist Nels Cline for this recording attracted as much attention as Jeff Tweedy's laid-back songs.

close

Purchase Featured Music

  • "Hate it Here"
  • Album: Sky Blue Sky
  • Artist: Wilco
  • Label: Nonesuch
  • Released: 2007
 
Cover for Reminder

03.

  • Artist: Feist
  • Album: Reminder
  • Song: I Feel It All

Few singers can hold listeners' attention as effectively as Leslie Feist. TV ads for Apple made her song "1 2 3 4" (co-written by New Buffalo's Sally Seltmann) a huge hit. But collectively, The Reminder runs much deeper, both in its mysterious sound and in its soulful meditations on love and loss.

close

Purchase Featured Music

  • "I Feel It All"
  • Album: Reminder
  • Artist: Feist
  • Label: Polydor
  • Released: 2007
 
Cover for Neon Bible

02.

  • Artist: Arcade Fire
  • Album: Neon Bible
  • Song: Antichrist Television Blues

Arcade Fire spent much of the poll swapping with Radiohead for first place before settling in at second. But Neon Bible is no less impressive in its majestic wall of richly orchestrated sound. Political and passionate, it shines light on the darker side of humanity without seeming overly overt or self-righteous.

close

Purchase Featured Music

  • "Antichrist Television Blues"
  • Album: Neon Bible
  • Artist: Arcade Fire
  • Label: Merge
  • Released: 2007
 
cover for in rainbows

01.

  • Artist: Radiohead
  • Album: In Rainbows
  • Song: Nude

They're the biggest band in the world for some and the most overrated for others. But with In Rainbows, Radiohead did something no other major player did this year. It wasn't just the group's decision to more or less give the album away as a download, or its decision to work without a record label. It was the care Radiohead took to produce In Rainbows, sculpting a three-dimensional sonic landscape unlike any other.

close

Purchase Featured Music

  • "Nude"
  • Album: In Rainbows
  • Artist: Radiohead
 

Featured Artist

Purchase Featured Music

Kala

Purchase Music

close

Purchase Featured Music

  • Album: Kala
  • Artist: M.I.A.
  • Label: Interscope
  • Released: 2007
 

Comments

 

Please keep your community civil. All comments must follow the NPR.org Community rules and Terms of Use. NPR reserves the right to use the comments we receive, in whole or in part, and to use the commenter's name and location, in any medium. See also the Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Community FAQ.