2007: The Year in Review from All Songs Considered

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Host Bob Boilen talks with reviewers Carrie Brownstein, Will Hermes, Tom Moon and Meredith Ochs about the year's biggest surprises and letdowns in music. Hear their picks for the year's most innovative album, the best new band of 2007, the year's best song and more. Featured songs and artists are listed below.

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2007: The Year in Review

Dirt Farmer

Levon Helm

  • Artist: Levon Helm
  • Album: Dirt Farmer
  • Song: The Girl I Left Behind

Biggest Surprise: "I'm not sure why I was surprised it was so good, but it was so good. It's a collection of traditional stuff that's been handed down to him and contemporary songs... (Levon Helm) had throat cancer and for him to come back and sing like he does on this record is so tremendous." -- Meredith Ochs

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Song
The Girl I Left Behind
Album
Dirt Farmer
Artist
Levon Helm

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The Voice of Lightness

Tabu Ley Rochereau

  • Artist: Tabu Ley Rochereau
  • Album: The Voice of Lightness
  • Song: Keyla

Biggest Surprise: "This is the first time in ages where (my biggest surprise) was an old record. It's some of the most beautiful singing that exists. It's just wonderful. There aren't many good compilations on Tabu Ley Rochereau that are worldwide and easily gettable. And this one is." -- Tom Moon

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Song
Keyla
Album
The Voice of Lightness
Artist
Tabu Ley Rochereau

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The Distant Future

Flight of the Conchords

  • Artist: Flight of the Conchords
  • Album: Distant Future
  • Song: The Most Beautiful Girl in the Room

Biggest Surprise: "One night, it was late and I went downstairs. And I turned on the TV and this surprise has made me laugh all year long. I look forward to a full record from them soon." -- Bob Boilen

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Song
The Most Beautiful Girl in the Room
Album
The Distant Future
Artist
Flight of the Conchords
Label
Sub Pop

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Raising Sand

Alison Krauss and Robert Plant

  • Artist: Robert Plant/Alison Krauss
  • Album: Raising Sand
  • Song: Please Read the Letter

Biggest Surprise: "It's amazing to realize (Robert Plant) is still a seaker and he's still searching out music to explore. And I was just surprised this was good and had a soul. I think Alison Krauss is immensely talented and when I saw she'd hooked up with Robert Plant I thought, 'yes!'." -- Carrie Brownstein

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Song
Please Read the Letter
Album
Raising Sand
Artist
Robert Plant and Alison Krauss
Label
Rounder

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Sky Blue Sky

Wilco

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

Biggest Letdown: "Is there anyone who wasn't disappointed in the Wilco record? The reason I love this time of year is that I go back and listen to things that other people love. So I've been going back over and over and listening to it. I'm not sure at what point I'll give up on it. Man oh man." -- Bob Boilen

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

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Icky Thump

The White Stripes

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

Biggest Letdown: "The White Stripes are a band I began really digging because they had this great schtick in their presentation and they had great songs. And now it sort of seems they have this great schtick that's getting a little weary, and I just didn't hear the songs on this record." -- Will Hermes

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

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Shine

Joni Mitchell

  • Artist: Joni Mitchell
  • Album: Shine
  • Song: This Place

Biggest Letdown: "Her first new record in a long time. She comes back with this record that sounds like parts that were assembled in various studios and thrown together in a computer. And almost every one of the tracts is a screed. This record we won't be going back at all unless we want to get yelled at." -- Tom Moon

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Song
This Place
Album
Shine
Artist
Joni Mitchell
Label
Hear Music

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White Chalk

PJ Harvey

  • Artist: PJ Harvey
  • Album: White Chalk
  • Song: Silence

Biggest Letdown: "She put her guitar down and that kind of disappointed me. I love her guitar playing so much and I guess I just miss that." -- Meredith Ochs

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Song
Silence
Album
White Chalk
Artist
PJ Harvey

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In Rainbows

Radiohead

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

Biggest Letdown: "The disappointment is not in Radiohead as much as it is in myself. And Radiohead always reminds what a letdown I am because I never really get it. I cannot be the only person who eels that way. I like music that is difficult and challenging but there's this blankness that I can't get over." -- Carrie Brownstein

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Song
"Nude"
Album
In Rainbows
Artist
Radiohead

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Kala

Kala

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

Most Innovative: "What a great record. She put this album together largely on her own. She couldn't get into the U.S. because of immigration problems so she ended up going all around the world to other countries and putting together some of the most innovative backing tracks that anyone's done. Sampling. Bollywood. Beats that are the furthest thing from four-square." -- Will Hermes

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

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Person Pitch

Panda Bear

  • Artist: Panda Bear
  • Album: Person Pitch
  • Song: Comfy in Nautica

Most Innovative: "I suppose innovation is relative but I love how Animal Collective and the people that comprise the band have innovated the idea of solo projects. Most solo projects are stripped down acoustic affairs, but (this record) is a sprawling effort and I think more artists should shoot for Beach Boys-like stadium rally cries." -- Carrie Brownstein

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Song
Comfy in Nautica
Album
Person Pitch
Artist
Panda Bear
Label
Paw Tracks

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Vampire Weekend EP

Vampire Weekend

  • Artist: Vampire Weekend
  • Album: Vampire Weekend EP
  • Song: A Punk

Most Innovative: "They're a rock band! But a lot's been made of their love of guitar lines that are obviously cribbed from African pop acts. But like hip-hop acts, they cobble bits from records and artists they like." -- Will Hermes

Artist website

Wild Mountain Nation

Blitzen Trapper

  • Artist: Blitzen Trapper
  • Album: Wild Mountain Nation
  • Song: Wild Mountain Nation

Most Innovative: "They sound a little like Grateful Dead meet Pavement. They're not afraid to destroy their songs in the middle of them. Everything unravels with this sloppy sledgehammer. They make me want to dance and I have to give them credit. I only had to hear the first four songs from this record to know they were my new favorite band." -- Carrie Brownstein

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Song
Wild Mountain Nation
Album
Wild Mountain Nation
Artist
Blitzen Trapper

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Capo My Heart and Other Bear Songs

Lucinda Blackbear

  • Artist: Lucinda Blackbear
  • Album: Capo My Heart and Other Bear Songs
  • Song: Kites

Most Innovative: "They're led by Christian Gibbs, an incredibly talented guy. He's put this band together with the unlikeliest combination. He has this soaring falsetto. Then he's got this string section. The drummer is this hard-hitting drummer. So you have the strings, this guy singing a high, soaring falsetto and the strings. He's got this great sense of humor and it just works." -- Meredith Ochs

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Song
Kites
Album
Capo My Heart and Other Bear Songs
Artist
Lucinda Blackbear

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Floratone

Floratone

  • Artist: Floratone
  • Album: Floratone

Most Innovative: "I don't even know if this can count as a band because to get these guys together to play a lot will be difficult. It's a collective built around Bill Frisell and Matt Chamberlain. They did three or four days of free association with tape rolling... They shaped this record that's really not a jazz record at all. It's really this swamp language that I found incredibly interesting and beautiful and very different." -- Tom Moon

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Song
Floratone
Album
Floratone
Artist
Floratone

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Sound of Silver

LCD Soundsystem

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

Song of the Year: "It's such a difficult thing (picking a song of the year) it's almost ridiculous. But it had to be LCD Soundsystem's 'North American Scum' because any song that can make me laugh and shake my booty at the same time, that wins!" -- Meredith Ochs

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Song
North American Scum
Album
Sound of Silver
Artist
LCD Soundsystem

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Hissing Fauna, Are You the Destroyer?

Of Montreal

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

Song of the Year: "I'm just a sucker for a conflicted song. And I love a song that renders me useless and incapable of doing anything but listen to it. It's just a great pop song. I probably put it on more mix CDs than anything else this year." -- Carrie Brownstein

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

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Boxer

The National

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

Song of the Year: "I like to be spooked out a little. This song is about a guy walking around his friend's house, or perhaps an ex-lover's, while they're all partying and he's just there being a trespasser, wearing someone's green garden gloves. It's very weird." -- Tom Moon

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Song
Green Gloves
Album
Boxer
Artist
The National

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I'm Not There Soundtrack

Stephen Malkmus

  • Artist: Stephen Malkmus
  • Album: I'm Not There Soundtrack
  • Song: Ballad of a Thin Man

Song of the Year: "I feel it's sort of cheating by choosing an old Dylan song as 'song of the year', but it's a pretty darn good song. That Dylan, he wrote some good lyrics. Steve Malkmus is like a cryptic, poetic songwriter very much in the Dylan tradition. On so many levels the themes of impersonation and mutable personas are flickering through that whenever I hear it." -- Will Hermes

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Song
Ballad of a Thin Man
Album
I'm Not There Soundtrack
Artist
Stephen Malkmus

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Neon Bible

Arcade Fire

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

Song of the Year: "It's a song about somebody who doesn't want to work in a building with planes coming down. But in essence it's also a song about someone who puts his children up on stage and makes money off them and that tear 'is it a good thing, is that a bad thing.' It's all about your beliefs. An amazing song." -- Bob Boilen

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Song
Antichrist Television Blues
Album
Neon Bible
Artist
The Arcade Fire

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Featured Artist

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Dirt Farmer

Purchase Music

Purchase Featured Music

Album
Dirt Farmer
Artist
Levon Helm
Label
Vanguard
Released
2007

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