The year 2007 was an enthralling year in music, to say the least. With everything from Britney’s bald head, to Amy Winehouse’s plethora of addictions, to Led Zeppelin playing together for the first time in almost 30 years, it was only natural that the year’s music would entertain just as much as its musicians. Here’s a sampling of some of the best albums 2007 had to offer:
“Magic” by Bruce Springsteen.
Springsteen’s highly touted “Magic,” which debuted almost 35 years after his first album came out, did not disappoint. It was a top choice for both Rolling Stone and Spin magazine and achieved what can be somewhat impossible for most albums these days – it pleased both teenagers and their parents alike. “Radio Nowhere” and “Girls in Their Summer Clothes” are songs that made a huge hit on radio airwaves nationwide, but it’s “Devil’s Arcade” and the somberly acoustic “Magic” that propel this album. Springsteen proves with “Magic” that he hasn’t traded in his harmonica for a more mainstream sound and that he and the E-Street Band are still a leading force in rock – and can still rock.
“In Rainbows” by Radiohead.
With an experimental collection of songs and an even more experimental marketing scheme, “In Rainbows” easily became a favorite among starving college students who were able to choose how much money to fork over for a downloaded version of the album. Any band that can actually enhance a song’s sound by using an echo effect as Radiohead does with the dream-like “House of Cards” deserves respect. Choosing a favorite song from the album was one of the hardest decisions I’ve made in weeks, but I ended up choosing “Reckoner.” I have no idea why. It’s just a cool song.
“Penny Arcade” by Birdie Busch.
Chances are “Penny Arcade” is one of the best albums you’ve never heard of by an artist with a MySpace page as her official web site. Her music feels natural and is full of intriguing melodies, folky guitar work and simple lyrics. Some might call it typical coffee house music, but don’t let that fool you – Busch is unique in her own way. “Rabbit’s Foot” and “Wild Mountain Honey” are impressive tracks, but every song forms a strong piece of the album.
“Graduation” by Kanye West.
If you’re someone who refuses to listen to hip-hop by any means, “Graduation” is an album that will make you feel like a moron for taking that stance. West’s lyrics are extremely compelling: “The suicide doors/ This is my life homey, you decide yours/ I know Jesus died for us/ But I couldn’t tell you who decide wars.” The only problem that emanates from this is that it takes your attention away from everything else. West proves his widespread approach by grabbing help here and there from artists such as T-Pain and Lil’ Wayne, while the song “Homecoming” features Coldplay’s Chris Martin and piano riffs that resemble Warren Zevon’s. That’s what makes this album so good, though – it has universal appeal.
“Sky Blue Sky” by Wilco.
Wilco’s sixth studio album may not have lived up to the hype that 2002’s “Yankee Hotel Foxtrot” attained, but “Sky Blue Sky” was certainly a favorite on the folk rock circuit. It’s more melancholy than happy and more soulful than the typical Wilco style, but is certainly worth the money. It’s great for a rainy day, contrary to the title, as lead singer Jeff Tweedy consistently sounds like he’s going to break down and cry throughout the majority of the songs. If you don’t feel like buying the album, at least make an effort and download “Either Way,” “You Are My Face” or “Side with the Seeds.”
“Icky Thump” by The White Stripes.
The quirky and simplistic music that The White Stripes are known for doesn’t stop with “Icky Thump.” It just gets better and is highly impressive for an album recorded in less than a month. Songs such as “Icky Thump,” “I’m Slowly Turning Into You,” “You Don’t Know What Love is (You Just do as You’re Told)” and “Conquest” are standouts. The album tackles themes such as immigration and misogyny which keep it highly entertaining until the end, plus, the title is genius.
Kraus is a member of the class of 2009.