All Songs Considered Listeners Pick The Best Music Of 2007

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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

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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.

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Song
Moneymaker
Album
Under the Blacklight
Artist
Rilo Kiley
Label
Warner Brothers
Released
2007

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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.

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Song
Alfie
Album
Alright, Still
Artist
Lily Allen
Label
Capitol

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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.

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Song
Hop a Plane
Album
The Con
Artist
Tegan and Sara
Label
Sire
Released
2007

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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.

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Song
St. Apollonia
Album
Flying Club Cup
Artist
Beirut
Label
Ba Da Bing!
Released
2007

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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.

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Song
Goodnight Rose
Album
Easy Tiger
Artist
Ryan Adams
Label
Lost Highway
Released
2007

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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.

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

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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.

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Song
To the Dogs or Whoever
Album
Historical Conquests of Josh Ritter
Artist
Josh Ritter
Label
V2
Released
2007

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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.

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

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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.

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Song
Detlef Schrempf
Album
Cease to Begin
Artist
Band of Horses
Label
Sub Pop
Released
2007

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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.

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

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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."

Purchase Featured Music

Song
Paper Planes
Album
Kala
Artist
M.I.A.
Label
Interscope
Released
2007

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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.

Purchase Featured Music

Song
Myriad Harbor
Album
Challengers
Artist
The New Pornographers
Label
Matador
Released
2007

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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.

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Song
North American Scum
Album
Sound of Silver
Artist
LCD Soundsystem

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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.

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Song
Pagan Angel and a Borrowed Car
Album
Shepherd's Dog
Artist
Iron & Wine
Label
Sub Pop
Released
2007

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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.

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Song
Rehab
Album
Back to Black
Artist
Amy Winehouse
Label
Republic
Released
2007

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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.

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Song
Imitosis
Album
Armchair Apocrypha
Artist
Andrew Bird
Label
Fat Possum

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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.

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Song
Green Gloves
Album
Boxer
Artist
The National

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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.

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Song
"Phantom Limb"
Album
Wincing the Night Away
Artist
The Shins
Label
Sub Pop

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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.

Purchase Featured Music

Song
Parting of the Sensory
Album
We Were Dead Before the Ship Even Sank
Artist
Modest Mouse
Label
Epic
Released
2007

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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.

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Song
You Got Yr. Cherry Bomb
Album
Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga
Artist
Spoon
Label
Merge
Released
2007

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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.

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Song
Icky Thump
Album
Icky Thump
Artist
The White Stripes
Label
Warner Bros.
Released
2007

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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.

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Song
Hate it Here
Album
Sky Blue Sky
Artist
Wilco
Label
Nonesuch
Released
2007

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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.

Purchase Featured Music

Song
I Feel It All
Album
Reminder
Artist
Feist
Label
Polydor
Released
2007

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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.

Purchase Featured Music

Song
Antichrist Television Blues
Album
Neon Bible
Artist
Arcade Fire
Label
Merge
Released
2007

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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.

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Song
Nude
Album
In Rainbows
Artist
Radiohead

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Featured Artist

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Kala

Purchase Music

Purchase Featured Music

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

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