NPR logo The Year's Best Music, from WFUV

The Year's Best Music, from WFUV

This year, my favorite albums tend to coincide with the best live shows I've seen. It was a great year for both.

The Year's Best Music, from WFUV

Dan Wilson art

Baby Doll

  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/17275261/17269811" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">

Dan Wilson

  • Song: Baby Doll
  • from Free Life

There's a fine line between sappy and beautiful, and Dan Wilson knows exactly where it lies. Here's an artist who says it's okay to be in love, it's okay to be happy and it's cool to put away your cynicism. At least that's what I hear on Free Life. (Listen: "Baby Doll")

Buy Featured Music

Song
Free Life
Album
Free Life
Artist
Dan Wilson
Released
2007

Your purchase helps support NPR programming. How?

Radiohead art

Nude

  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/17275261/16974945" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">

Radiohead

  • Song: "Nude"
  • from In Rainbows

It's crazy that Radiohead's most accessible album is the one the band has given away for free. I first heard this song live last summer, and I'll never forget it. That says a lot. (Listen: "Nude")

Buy Featured Music

Song
In Rainbows
Album
In Rainbows
Artist
Radiohead

Your purchase helps support NPR programming. How?

Mark Ronson art

Valerie [Version Revisited]

  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/17275261/16749490" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">

Mark Ronson

  • Song: Valerie [Version Revisited]
  • from Version

This is the dance record of the year from the producer of the year. Version is a fearless collection of disarmingly cool covers. (Listen: "Valerie")

Buy Featured Music

Song
Version
Album
Version
Artist
Mark Ronson
Label
RCA
Released
2007

Your purchase helps support NPR programming. How?

I'm Not There art

Ballad of a Thin Man

  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/17275261/16974965" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">

Original Soundtrack

  • Song: Ballad of a Thin Man
  • from I'm Not There

You need not love the film (though I do) to love this collection of Bob Dylan covers. The eclectic lineup of participants includes everyone from Antony to Ramblin' Jack Elliott. The production is flawless, and many Dylan classics get a proper updating. (Listen: Stephen Malkmus, "Ballad of a Thin Man")

Buy Featured Music

Song
I'm Not There
Album
I'm Not There
Artist
Original Soundtrack
Label
Columbia
Released
2007

Your purchase helps support NPR programming. How?

Stars art

Night Starts Here

  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/17275261/13890690" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">

Stars

  • Song: Night Starts Here
  • from In Our Bedroom After the War

I've probably listened to this album more than any other this year. I love the stories the songs tell, as well as the artistic, poetic way the album addresses life during wartime. It's tres romantic and dramatic, too. (Listen: "The Night Starts Here")

Buy Featured Music

Song
In Our Bedroom After the War
Album
In Our Bedroom After the War
Artist
Stars
Label
City Slang
Released
2007

Your purchase helps support NPR programming. How?

Amy Winehouse art

Rehab

  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/17275261/9605878" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">

Amy Winehouse

  • Song: Rehab
  • from Back to Black

It’s a good year when one of the most talked-about and successful albums is also one of the best. I love this one -- especially the respectful nods to The Supremes. (Listen: "Rehab")

Buy Featured Music

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

Your purchase helps support NPR programming. How?

Wilco art

Impossible Germany

  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/17275261/17180959" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">

Wilco

  • Song: Impossible Germany
  • from Sky Blue Sky

Another great album from Wilco, Sky Blue Sky doesn't hit a wrong note, from the way the guitars sound to the way hope pokes through the words at all the right times. (Listen: "Impossible Germany")

Buy Featured Music

Song
Sky Blue Sky
Album
Sky Blue Sky
Artist
Wilco
Label
Nonesuch
Released
2007

Your purchase helps support NPR programming. How?

Iron and Wine art

Pagan Angel and a Borrowed Car

  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/17275261/16974935" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">

Iron & Wine

  • Song: Pagan Angel and a Borrowed Car
  • from Shepherd's Dog

This is an old-fashioned great album: I can hardly listen to just one song. Sam Beam's worldly musical palette is right up my alley. (Listen: "Pagan Angel and a Borrowed Car")

Buy Featured Music

Song
Shepherd's Dog
Album
Shepherd's Dog
Artist
Iron & Wine
Label
Sub Pop
Released
2007

Your purchase helps support NPR programming. How?

Brandi Carlile art

Story

  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/17275261/9431458" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">

Brandi Carlile

  • Song: Story
  • from Story

Brandi Carlile's second album provides a clear sense that she's a truly evolving artist. Her live show is ever-changing, too, and that's a good sign for the future. (Listen: "The Story")

Buy Featured Music

Song
Story
Album
Story
Artist
Brandi Carlile
Label
Sony
Released
2007

Your purchase helps support NPR programming. How?

Bright Eyes art

Bright Eyes

  • Song: No One Would Riot For Less
  • from Cassadaga

Cassadaga places Bright Eyes as one of the greats. Beyond all the press and hype, it’s clear that Conor Oberst is the real deal as a songwriter. I hate to reference Bob Dylan, but I love the Desire-esque sound of Cassadaga. (Listen: "No One Would Riot for Less")

Buy Featured Music

Song
Cassadaga
Album
Cassadaga
Artist
Bright Eyes

Your purchase helps support NPR programming. How?