Thursday, January 10, 2008

Top 20 Of 2007: 15 - 11

15. Bruce Springsteen - Magic
Me being me, this was one of my most anticipated albums of 2007. And Springsteen didn’t disappoint. At all. In fact, this is his best album since Tunnel of Love. Every song is just as catchy and memorable as the old classics, and he seems to have the energy of ten Bruces, plus two. I know that a lot of people are sick of hearing about his politics, but I think he feels like he is in a unique position to influence. His fan base undoubtedly consists of a good number of right-wing nuts, and knowing that their hero holds these views that they think are un-American may actually get them to think about something. Maybe some of them may even reconsider how they think about America. Aside from all of that, however, this is a great rock record, one that will last just as long as his best work.

14. The White Stripes - Icky Thump
The White Stripes are good again! A cause for celebration if there ever was one. After Elephant and Get Behind Me Satan, I had given them up for dead, or at least for the hipsters. But Icky Thump takes me back to White Blood Cells, the album that made me fall in love with the Stripes. It’s got huge, fantastic riffs to spare, and also bagpipes. Yup, bagpipes. Awesome.

13. Modest Mouse - We Were Dead Before The Ship Even Sank
As I said before, the more things change, the more they stay the same. Adding Johnny Marr was the best change that Mr. Brock & Co. could have done in the three years since Good News For People Who Love Bad News. He adds a dynamic dimension to their music without changing their sound at all. And “Dashboard” is one of the best songs written this year, period. This record is getting left off a lot of year-end lists, and I have no idea why. It rocks all the way from March.

12. Jason Isbell - Sirens Of The Ditch
I was quite saddened to hear that Jason Isbell left the Drive-By Truckers. They were truly one of the best bands around, with three songwriters who were among the best around. Isbell’s songs were some of the best, straight stories about true people. He hasn’t lost a step on Sirens of the Ditch, though, and it’s nice to hear more than a few of his songs at a time. There are definitely some stinkers here, but even those have their charms. This is a moving, almost poppy record. Here’s to more stretching on the next one.

11. The Shins - Wincing The Night Away
I know a lot of people felt like they fell off on this record, but don’t listen to those people. They know not of what they speak. This is a great record, start to finish. It starts out with “Sleeping Lessons,” a dreamy tune that leads into a monster swell of pop goodness. “Australia” is probably the best song they’ve ever written. As a matter of fact, the songs are all awesome except “Pam Berry.” Whoever the hell that is.


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