The Year's Best Music, from WFUV

fromWFUV

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

Dan Wilson

  • Artist: Dan Wilson
  • Album: Free Life
  • Song: Baby Doll

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")

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  • "Baby Doll"
  • Album: Free Life
  • Artist: Dan Wilson
  • Released: 2007
 
Radiohead art

Radiohead

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

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")

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  • ""Nude""
  • Album: In Rainbows
  • Artist: Radiohead
 
Mark Ronson art

Mark Ronson

  • Artist: Mark Ronson
  • Album: Version
  • Song: Valerie [Version Revisited]

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")

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  • "Valerie [Version Revisited]"
  • Album: Version
  • Artist: Mark Ronson
  • Label: RCA
  • Released: 2007
 
I'm Not There art

Original Soundtrack

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

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")

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  • "Ballad of a Thin Man"
  • Album: I'm Not There
  • Artist: Original Soundtrack
  • Label: Columbia
  • Released: 2007
 
Stars art

Stars

  • Artist: Stars
  • Album: In Our Bedroom After the War
  • Song: Night Starts Here

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")

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  • "Night Starts Here"
  • Album: In Our Bedroom After the War
  • Artist: Stars
  • Label: City Slang
  • Released: 2007
 
Amy Winehouse art

Amy Winehouse

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

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")

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  • "Rehab"
  • Album: Back to Black
  • Artist: Amy Winehouse
  • Label: Republic
  • Released: 2007
 
Wilco art

Wilco

  • Artist: Wilco
  • Album: Sky Blue Sky
  • Song: Impossible Germany

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")

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  • "Impossible Germany"
  • Album: Sky Blue Sky
  • Artist: Wilco
  • Label: Nonesuch
  • Released: 2007
 
Iron and Wine art

Iron & Wine

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

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")

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  • "Pagan Angel and a Borrowed Car"
  • Album: Shepherd's Dog
  • Artist: Iron & Wine
  • Label: Sub Pop
  • Released: 2007
 
Brandi Carlile art

Brandi Carlile

  • Artist: Brandi Carlile
  • Album: Story
  • Song: 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")

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  • "Story"
  • Album: Story
  • Artist: Brandi Carlile
  • Label: Sony
  • Released: 2007
 
Bright Eyes art

Bright Eyes

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

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")

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

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