For the past three weeks I put all my favorites CDs from 2007 into a playlist on my iPod and let it shuffle. In the end, the music I was consistently thrilled with hearing are on the list below. Some are groundbreaking (Panda Bear and Radiohead fit that bill), some were delightfully fun (Flight of the Conchords) , and others were full of so many great songs they were undeniable. We try all year long to find music that you'll fall in love with as much as we do — music that will be your friend and music that will fill you with good memories. The ones below did it for me.
More 2007 Top Tens From:
Tom Moon, Will Hermes, Robin Hilton, Meredith Ochs
Listener Picks for 2007
Heimdalsgate Like a Promethean Curse
10. of Montreal
- Song: Heimdalsgate Like a Promethean Curse
- from Hissing Fauna, Are You the Destroyer?
- by Of Montreal
This is the work of Kevin Barnes out of Athens, GA. The beautiful, psychedelic, almost-origami packaging reflects the beauty and off-kilter feel of this record. The cover art was done by Barnes' brother David . The record is about transformation and despair but it so often feels uplifting and exciting. This record came out at the beginning of 2007 and I still hear new sounds and deeper meanings each time I listen.
Song: "Heimdalsgate Like a Promethean Curse"
09. The New Pornographers
- Song: Myriad Harbour
A brilliant pop record by a loose collective of talented Canadians, each with their own, ongoing projects. The New Pornographers music largely centers around the songwriting of A.C. Newman and features the talents of Neko Case Kathryn Calder and Dan Bejar. More textures then ever and wonderfully contagious.
Song: "Myriad Harbour"
Most Beautiful Girl in the Room [Live]
08. Flight of the Conchords
- Song: Most Beautiful Girl in the Room [Live]
- from Distant Future
- by Flight of the Conchords
Music that makes me laugh out loud over and over again. How hard is that? I can't think of anyone else that has done this in too many years. Thank you New Zealand.
Song: "The Most Beautiful Girl in the Room"
07. Panda Bear
- Song: Comfy in Nautica
- from Person Pitch
- by Panda Bear
Like of Montreal, a record so full of ideas that even multiple listens won't reveal all the mystery. This record will be with me for a long time. Noah Lennox plays with the Animal Collective and though I loved their CD Strawberry Jam, Panda Bear's Person Pitch simply surprised me so much more. I love when music does that.
Song: "Comfy in Nautica"
Our Life Is Not a Movie or Maybe
06. Okkervil River
- Song: Our Life Is Not a Movie or Maybe
- from The Stage Names
- by Okkervil River
Will Sheff has written a fairly upbeat concept record so full of pop culture references that I had to love this. It all could have been a self referential bore. But Okkervil River writes cinematic songs for a multimedia world. If you don't feel like reading a good book, spend an hour with this.
Song: "Our Life is Not a Movie or Maybe"
05. Linda Thompson
- Song: The Way I Love You
- from Versatile Heart
- by Linda Thompson
My British folk passion had been buried for too long. In the '70s Linda Thompson made the best folk records ever with husband Richard Thompson. No record is as good as Pour Down Like Silver, but this new record, Versatile Heart has so much of that expressive beauty and is so heartfelt , with Linda's knockout voice, that I'm thrilled by a ballad all over again. The fact this comes from someone who stopped singing because she was physically and psychologically unable make the stories on this record all the more potent.
Song: "The Way I Love You"
04. Loney, Dear
- Song: I Am John
- from Loney, Noir
- by Loney, Dear
Sweet, innocent and full of hope. This one man band of Emil Svanängen is a masterpiece of simplicity. There were a lot of guys alone in their rooms in Sweden, I don't know why, but I'm glad they had a way to put down in digits what they felt in their hearts.
Song: "I Am John"
I'm Leaving You Because I Don't Love You
03. Jens Lekman
- Song: I'm Leaving You Because I Don't Love You
- from Night Falls Over Kortedala
- by Jens Lekman
Another Swede alone with some keyboards and some stories to tell. Jens Lekman's record references '60s American pop music, in particular Jimmy Webb and Burt Bacharach — all the folks from back then who made me want to turn off my saccharine-dripping AM radio. But Lekman is funny and his pastiche of sounds and turn of phrase make a CD I almost gave away one of my favorites of the year.
Song: "I'm Leaving You Because I Don't Love You"
Antichrist Television Blues
02. Arcade Fire
- Song: Antichrist Television Blues
- from Neon Bible
- by Arcade Fire
How this record isn't my number one fave only speaks to how much I was knocked out by the Radiohead CD. This record takes depressing ideas and turns them into anthemic tales that are thoughtful and musically rich. Is it as good as their first CD? I don't know that anything this decade is that good, but it wasn't a letdown. It wasn't a copy of Funeral — it was full of spark and spirit.
Song: "Antichrist Television Blues"
- Song: Nude
- from In Rainbows
- by Radiohead
Making challenging, intricate music that is beautiful is just not easy. Yet In Rainbows has a flow and ease unmatched by any record this year. If feels effortless and that's the sign of great craft and a good deal of inspiration. Upstaging the way this record was delivered to fans, using the Public Radio model of pay what its worth, was brilliant no doubt. I trust, however, that the legacy of this CD will be the music, not the money.