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The Best Albums of 2007

10. The National, Boxer

If Boxer were labelled a concept album, the concept would be: it’s 2007, do something completely unheard of in mainstream music and release an album where not only is every song good, each builds on the previous and sets up the next. From Fake Empire” to “Gospel,” every one of the tracks are worth putting on repeat. Boxer is destined one of those rare albums: one that is a classic from beginning to end. — Todd Nickel

9. Siobhan Donaghy, Ghosts

Great albums like Ghosts are very hard to market. Commercial, yet left field. Edgy, but not alternative enough. So, like what happened with the UK’s Siobhan Donaghy, these kinds of albums garner passing notices by critics, are ignored by radio, and then underwhelm in the marketplace. It’s near criminal that Ghosts was sentenced to back-of-the-rack status in stores. Fortunately, Donaghy’s label thinks so, too. There’s a good chance for a re-release this year and perhaps then the public will be exposed to Donaghy’s warm, sweeping vocals and atmospheric, yet radio-friendly pop ruminations on love, loss and survival. — Robert Ballantyne

8. Spoon, Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga

A dramatic step away from the darkness that surrounded 2005’s brilliant Gimme Fiction. With Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga, Spoon return to challenge themselves and their fan base, and manage to come out being able to do no wrong. Technical without pretencion, accessible without becoming banal, Britt Daniel and Jim Eno once again deliver what everyone has come to expect without a hint of being predictable. — TD

7. Common, Finding Forever

Soulful, smart, funny, catchy, and most importantly, truthful, Common’s Finding Forever is once of 2007’s overlooked gems. Forever finds Common at the top of his game, rapping with conviction and style. Not to mention producer Kanye West gives his all in terms of production, piecing together an album where each track is worthy of a single release. In particular, check out “Drivin’ Me Wild” featuring Lily Allen. — Jason Gladu

6. Feist, The Reminder

The Reminder was one of those albums of 2007 that even your mother loved. And with good reason – Feist complied a solid of collection of cool, indie-pop tunes. The Reminder ‘s concept is a universal one, which no doubt helps explains its wide appeal (iPod commercial aside): its intent is to break your heart and hopefully piece it all back together by the album’s closer “How My Heart Behaves” featuring Ron Sexsmith. — JG

5. Tracey Thorn, Out of the Woods

Swaying like a pendulum into folk, then back to clubland and eventually stopping at a sonic space in between, Everything But The Girl’s Tracey Thorn delivers a solo album that’s grand, classy and intimate. From the baroque plucked strings of “Here it Comes Again” to the throbbing kick beats of “Grand Canyon,” the result is mesmerizing and surprisingly uniform, too. — RB

4. Radiohead, In Rainbows

Never mind the pay-what-you-want release gimmick — though the band says that more than 1,000,000 albums were downloaded — what In Rainbows delivered was exactly what we’ve come to expect of Radiohead — a work of musical genius that is ridiculously difficult to compare to anything else out there. Radiohead continue to push the envelope, stepping forward, while brand-new acts continue to release rehashed versions of The Bends. — TN

3. Arcade Fire, Neon Bible

The Canadian collective’s third release is all at once joyous and menacing, taking the listener on a dark spiritual journey while slapping you in the face with layers upon layers of sound. Featuring pipe organs, church choirs and anything else that can be strummed or hit – Neon Bible requires some well-deserved listening time in order to get the full effect of how emotional and powerful AF really are. If nothing else, Neon Bible proves to cynics that their breakthrough album Funeral was by no means a fluke. — JG & TN

2. M.I.A., Kala

One of the most anticipated follow-ups of the year, M.I.A didn’t disappoint with Kala, a voracious, cross-cultural, spaced-out dance party. As readers have noticed, descriptions of M.I.A’s music are never clear-cut and every track is a wild defiance to any genre tags. Hypnotic opener “ Bamboo Banga,” features a catchy, pumping bass line with aboriginal chants sneaking in on the chorus; “Paper Planes” is a sauntering reggae track mixed with a children’s choir and gunshots. All these genre-bending build-ups are intensified by M.I.A’s personal, angry and sarcastic lyrics prowess. Kala is one of those albums that will be on constant rotation throughout 2008 and beyond. — JG

1. Against Me!, New Wave

What a bunch of sell outs. Against Me gets a major record deal, tons of exposure, an amazing producer (Butch Vig), and the result is an album that compromises nothing, maintains their individual sound, which goes from gritty to polished without a hint of industry gloss-fakery. On top of that, they keep all their politics, write a kick-ass single (“Thrash Unreal”), and do a duet with a critically acclaimed songstress (Tegan Quin) that blows away the entire album her and her sister (Sara) released two weeks later (The Con). Why can’t every band sell out like Against Me? — TN

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