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The Best Albums of 2007

The Top of the Class

2007 was a year marked by rock geezer reunions (Van Halen, The Police, Led Zeppelin), pop starlet meltdowns (Britney Spears, Amy Winehouse), and general turmoil and strain as major record labels continued to suffer from massive loses caused by declining sales and an ancient business model. But among the chaos and despair, a few artists gave us a reason to stay plugged in and tuned out the almost overwhelming mediocrity. Here are our picks for the top of the class of 2007.

Matt Crawford

1. Peter, Bjorn and John - Writers Block
Even without the sometimes-overbearing whistling on “Young Folks,” Writer’s Block is a great album from start to finish.

2. Ghostface Killah - Big Doe Rehab
Ghostface returned with another solid album, full of vivid street stories and throwback 70s beats.

3. Amy Winehouse - Back to Black
Winehouse was 2007’s most beautiful train wreck.

4. Earlimart - Mentor Tormentor
This is an excellent album that deserved much more attention than what it received.

5. El-P - I’ll Sleep When You’re Dead
This is the most sonically interesting hip hop album of the year, with cameos by Trent Reznor and Cat Power.

Aaron Davidson

1. Cornelius – Sensuous
Best time-warped disco adventure. Runners up: !!!, LCD Soundsystem.

2. Wilco - Sky Blue Sky
Best undeniable songwriting. Runners up: Tegan and Sara, Eddie Veddar.

3. Hella - There's No 666 In Outer Space
Best post-instrumental, extremely weird rock. Runners up: Battles, Tera Melos.

4. Radiohead - In Rainbows
Best marketing campaign. Runners up: Lil Wayne, Justice.

5. Kanye West – Graduation
Best use of T-Pain. Runners up: R. Kelly, Plies.

Jesse Nathan

1. Iron and Wine - Shepherd’s Dog
Sam Beam amps it up with driving folky rock’n’roll -- fierce, fresh, and full of unchristian Christian poetry.

2. Person Pitch - Panda Bear
The Beach Boys on acid -- need we say more?

3. Radiohead - In Rainbows
Sure, it’s on everybody’s "Best of" list…but there’s a reason for that and, as opposed to the last Radiohead release (Hail To The Thief), that reason has to do with the stellar qualities of this eerie and tightly woven album.

4. Bonnie Prince Billy - Ask Forgiveness
A charming collection of covers -- and one original -- compiled by the Bonnie One.

5. The Shins - Wincing The Night Away
The James Russell Mercer Front Band makes music filled with strained vocals and nervous, self-deprecating lyrics -- there’s a lot to love here, really, even if you’re not a hipster.

Sarah-Jayne Couhault

1. Led Zeppelin - The Mothership
If like me, you already own every album made by these rock legends, one all-encompassing 2-disc set, makes it easier to rock out to some of the band’s best work whilst the glove compartment remains a little lighter.

2. Amy Winehouse - Back to Black
This album is impossible to dislike. How such a big, soulful voice can come from such a little person remains a mystery but this motown diva is a winner whether she goes back to rehab or not.

3. The John Butler Trio - Grand National
I’m a bigger fan having interviewed John about the sentiments of this album. It makes for the perfect Sunday afternoon "chill-out" to a blend of rock, blues, reggae and socially-conscious folk. These guys are the masters of their instruments.

4. Angus & Julia Stone - The Beast
Another Australian success story, this relatively unknown brother and sister indie duo are incredible. Their voices seem fractured like fragile children and the music is soft and melodic. This album is haunting and calming at the same time. I’d love to see them live.

5. Nine Inch Nails - Year Zero
Their strongest album since The Downward Spiral, Year Zero put NIN back on top of their game. Written about America 15 years from now, Reznor uses this concept to inspire him musically. I think this is the only band that can claim the electro/goth/punk genre and make it legendary.

Vinci Chan

1. In Rainbow - Radiohead

2. As I Am - Alicia Keys

3. Frank - Amy Winehouse

4. Echoes, Patience, Silence & Grace - The Foo Fighters

5. An End Has A Start - The Editors

Chris Ellis

1. Kings of Leon - Because of the Times
This album might not change your life, but you’ll still be listening to it years down the road; a fresh and interesting follow up to Aha Heartbreak.

2. Benny Benassi - Cooking for Pump-Kin Special Menu
Kick-start remixes you can count on to keep you on the dance floor into the wee hours of the morning.

3. Baroness - Red Album
A firm middle finger to all the born on television 2-D rock bands.

4. Radiohead – In Rainbows
“Don’t get any big ideas…”

5. New Young Pony Club - Fantastic Playroom
These relative newcomers to the scene are keeping the electro pop rock dream alive.