Next week, Scene publishes its annual year-end music issue. But instead of the usual critics’ Top 10 lists that run every year, we asked a bunch of sorta-famous people from around the country what they listened to in 2007.
But we don’t want to deprive you of yet another chance to read just how fabulous Arcade Fire and Radiohead’s new CDs are. So, we’re doing a Top 10 list anyway (and yes, Arcade Fire and Radiohead are perched firmly at the top of it)…
1. Rilo Kiley: Under the Blacklight (Warner Bros.) – Like Fleetwood Mac’s Rumours, Blacklight is an inner-band breakup album. Unlike Rumours, it doesn’t sound like it was recorded under a pound of coke (see video above).
2. Arcade Fire: Neon Bible (Merge) – The 457 members of Canada’s best combo make music for people who prefer their pop with an occasional hurdy gurdy solo.
3. Radiohead: In Rainbows (inrainbows.com) – As much for its industry kiss-off as for its music: a typically ingenious mix of paranoia and keeping one’s emotions at arm’s length.
4. Band of Horses: Cease to Begin (Sub Pop) – In which frontman Ben Bridwell breaks up with a girl and moves from one hipster hotspot (Seattle) to another (South Carolina) to forget her. Then he writes a bunch of songs about how he can’t.
5. M.I.A.: Kala (Interscope) – Literal gunshot rhythms and global rhymes fuel the year’s best political record. Bonus points for making us dance too.
6. Amy Winehouse: Back to Black (Universal Republic) – By year’s end, Winehouse was better known for becoming music’s biggest fuck-up since Pete Doherty. But this bluesy, boozy CD is old-school soul filtered through Mark Ronson’s new-school hip-hop template.
7. Wilco: Sky Blue Sky (Nonesuch) – As these reformed alt-country shit-kickers continue their transformation into the planet’s best jam band, they make their most laid-back album – a dreamy rumination on wide open spaces.
8. Okkervil River: The Stage Names (Jagjaguwar) – It contains the year’s best meta-rock song, “Plus Ones,” in which the Austin group goes the Stones’ “19th Nervous Breakdown,” R.E.M.’s “Seven Chinese Brothers,” and the Byrds’ “Eight Miles High” one better.
9. Modest Mouse: We Were Dead Before the Ship Even Sank (Epic) – The weirdest album to hit No. 1 this year is also the veteran band’s most tuneful – a guitar-powered trip through leader Isaac Brock’s fractured mind.
10. Against Me!: New Wave (Sire) – Old fans and purists yelled “sell-out!” after these punks released their most melody-stuffed album. Old fans and purists don’t know shit. --Michael Gallucci