For me, 2007 was about nice chord sequences, tunes that modulate into different keys, and honest-to-goodness "bridge" sections where big sunshine comes through the clouds. It's been a while since we've had such interesting progressions. Pop people did unexpected things with them (KT Tunstall), Radiohead found new ones in its already formidible toolkit, the National wrote tunes that borrow harmony from torch songs, ditto Iron and Wine and especially the Sea and Cake, creators of this year's most criminally overlooked sleeper. This is one reason, among many, for hope: Nothing against the repetitive vamp, but after a steady diet of them (are you listening, Kanye?), it's great to encounter compositions that snake around weird corners and go careening off cliffs and don't resolve in neat and tidy ways.
More 2007 Top Tens From:
Bob Boilen, Will Hermes, Robin Hilton, Meredith Ochs
Listener Picks for 2007