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December 4, 2007

2007 Largehearted Favorite Albums

New music dominated my 2007, I listened to more new releases than any other year in my life. With new CDs arriving daily, I struggled at times to keep up with the deluge, but was rewarded in the end with a wealth of quality music.

Looking back, I was surprised how many artists on this list have appeared on my previous year-end lists, but this is my sixth favorite albums list at Largehearted Boy.

After many revisions, here is my list of twelve favorite albums of 2007, along with free and legal mp3 and video downloads (where available):

Andrew Bird: Armchair Apocrypha

Andrew Bird is a musical chameleon, he followed his muse and followed up the marvelous Mysterious Production of Eggs with an album I hold even more dear. I probably won't make a "best songs of 2007" list, but if I did, "Heretics" would definitely be included.

"Heretics" [mp3]

Arcade Fire: Neon Bible

This was my favorite album the first half of the year, to the point where my wife conveniently misplaced the CD. "(Antichrist Television Blues)" is the anthemic pop wonder of 2007, sing it loud and proud.

"No Cars Go" [mp3]
"Black Mirror" [mp3]

Bettye LaVette: Scene of the Crime

Take an immensely talented R&B singer, back her with keyboard legend Spooner Oldham and the Drive-By Truckers, and wait for the magic to begin. An album of covers (with the exception of the standout track, "Before The Money Came (Battle Of Bettye LaVette)," LaVette takes ownership of these songs.

"Talking Old Soldiers" [mp3]
"You Don't Know Me at All" [mp3]

Bowerbirds: Hymns for a Dark Horse

I was listening to my daily incoming CDs one day, popped in this debut album by Bowerbirds, and quickly became infatuated. By the end of the album, I was in love. The band's curious brand of Americana blends clever songwriting with surprisingly intricate arrangements.

"In Our Talons" [mp3]
"Dark Horse [mp3]

see also: Phil Moore's Largehearted Boy Note Books essay

Jens Lekman: Night Falls Over Kortedala

The #1 pop album in Sweden earlier this year, Night Falls Over Kortedala once again showcases Jens Lekman's incredible songwriting talent and adorable voice.

"Friday Night At The Drive-In Bingo" [mp3]
"The Opposite of Hallelujah" [mp3]
"Sipping on the Sweet Nectar" video [mov]

John Vanderslice: Emerald City

John Vanderslice writes with inspired ambiguity in an album inspired by both the Iraq war and the visa problems of his girlfriend, and as usual, the analog production is pitch perfect.

"White Dove" [mp3]

John Vanderslice gets bonus points for releasing a free and legal remix version of his Pixel Revolt album this year, as well as contributing a cover of Radiohead's "Karma Police" to Stereogum's OK Computer tribute album.

Josh Ritter: The Historical Conquests of Josh Ritter

Lyrically my favorite album of the year, The Historical Conquests of Josh Ritter is a worthy successor to one of my favorite albums of the past several years, The Animal Years.

"To the Dogs or Whatever" [mp3]

The National: Boxer

Universally acclaimed (named the best album of the year by Paste, Sixeyes, and others), Boxer is the rare album that gets better with every listen.

Okkervil River: The Stage Names

My favorite album of the year, Will Sheff's lyrics combined with the band's musicianship and Sheff's own vocal performance hold me spellbound with each listen.

"Our Life is Not a Movie or Maybe" [mp3]
"Our Life is Not a Movie or Maybe (Will Sheff solo at Planet Claire)" [mp3]
"Unless It's Kicks (Will Sheff solo at Planet Claire)" [mp3]
"A Hand to Take Hold of the Scene (Will Sheff solo at Planet Claire)" [mp3]
"A Girl in Port (Will Sheff solo at Planet Claire)" [mp3]
"Song of Our So-Called Friend (Will Sheff solo at Planet Claire)" [mp3]

"Our Life is Not a Movie or Maybe" video [mov]

Sharon Jones & the Dap Kings: 100 Days, 100 Nights

Sharon Jones & the Dap Kings: 100 Days, 100 Nights has been in my car's CD changer since it showed up in the mail. Amy Winehouse may sell more albums (with the help of the Dap-Kings horn section), but Sharon Jones is the new queen of soul in my book.

"100 Days, 100 Nights" [mp3]

Tiny Vipers: Hands Across the Void

The only EP on the list, Hands Across the Voidportends great things for Jesy Fortino (who records as Tiny Vipers).

"On This Side" [mp3]

White Rabbits: Fort Nightly

In its review of this album, Pitchfork wrote, "Fort Nightly is that rare debut where potential isn't the operative word-- White Rabbits deliver the whole package straight away." I have to agree, the band's unique sound is fully formed and as charming as it is bright and witty.

"The Plot" [mp3]
"Kid On My Shoulders" [mp3]

also at Largehearted Boy:

other online "best of 2007" music lists

2006 Largehearted Favorite Albums
2005 Largehearted Favorite Albums
2004 Largehearted Favorite Albums
2003 Largehearted Favorite Albums
2002 Largehearted Favorite Albums