This is definitely one of the best, but at the same time surprising, in term of sound, record of 2007. Era Vulgaris is extremely progressive and experimental, which means severe patience and care is needed with it, so that you can experience it’s unwrapped beauty. This is an amazingly broad album, and yet maintains a consistent message of inspired disgust. The guitars are dirty, the beats and drums are manic, the vocals are delivered with varying degrees of attitude, and the overall result is astounding
Artist: Kanye West
Label: GOOD Music
Release date: September 11, 2007
There’s probably no more irrepressible persona in hip-hop than Kanye West, which is why one of the most shocking things about Graduation, his third album, is that in some ways he displays something nearing restraint. But the matter at hand right now is that Kanye delivers on what can easily be called an evolution in his style. Whether you like him or not Kanye can not be denied by the fact that he has proven that he is willing to try, experiment, and evolve.
Artist: Sebastian Bach
Album: Angel Down
Gender: Heavy Metal
Release date: November 20, 2007
This could be the biggest pleasant surprise of the year. To be honest nobody or few believed he could still deliver heavy metal of such caliber. The songs here are diverse ranging from old school power ballads to mainstream modern rock to more intense thrash-influenced metal. His voice sounds as good as ever and it is great to hear Axl Rose singing again, who seems to have a great time with Bach. The band is fantastic and basically the sky is the limit for them. He has always been one of the most interesting and charismatic figures in his genre of music but this releases exceeds the expectations and could just be the best release of the genre. Hopefully he is not going to stop here!
Artist: Paul McCartney
Album: Memory Almost Full
Label: Hear Music
Release date: June 4, 2007
An excellent addition to the legend which Paul McCartney is; he has a lot on his mind and he is doing a fantastic job at expressing himself. That is what this record is about. Memory Almost Full often overflows with intense ruminations on time passing and the finality of death, and yet McCartney still maintains an optimistic tone. Probably nobody beside him could speak about impending death and make it sound like a Sunday drive and embracing it in a poetic and nostalgic feel. At a glance there is nothing big here but the deeper you go the most impressive it becomes. It is just as you were walking towards a destination and the closer you get the more you realize you are further away. A touching metaphore which quite frankly sounds better than ever in these days when nobody cares about that kind of things anymore.
Artist: Animal Collective
Album: Strawberry Jam
Gender: Experimental Rock/Indie
Label: Paw Tracks
Release date: September 10, 2007
Rare is the album that’s able to expand an established band’s fan base, by delivering a more accessible record, while completely satisfying the cult of early flag planters, but Strawberry Jam has that chance. Not as exclusive as the previous six records, but definitely no where near as accessible as mainstream rock bands. It’s their best yet and possibly the best record all round of the year. At first listen it may seem half-baked, lazy or just plain old annoying, a term many people use to describe the band, but what you have to do so you can trully experience the magic of this album is give a shot, or two… or even three, it will eventually sink into you. Then you’ll be able to appreciate Jam for what it really is: a modern masterpiece.
Album: In Rainbows
Gender: Alternative Rock/Art Rock
Release date: October 10, 2007
Radiohead has re-cemented their name in alternative rock history; and hopefully furthered their push to be one of the most accomplished British bands of all time. In Rainbows truly is a worthy addition to the legendary Radiohead catalog, an amalgam of breath taking and emotional songs. It’s a revolutionary one as well, through it’s eccentric view upon album sales, marketing and over all promotion it will remain as a example of independence for future bands and hopefully it will spark a wave of rebellion against the giant labels monopolies ever present over the mainstream.
Artist: Sonata Arctica
Gender: Power Metal/Progressive Metal
Label: Nuclear Blast
Release date: May 25, 2007
Saying that Sonata Arctica is a power metal band would be quite a stretch. Sure the first record was power metal to the core but then they turned into a kind of progressive metal band which still has the ability to make power songs as well as ballad and they are in great form; soaring and epic vocals, simple but effective riffs, double bass, good drumming make the stage just right for this epic dream. Oh for those who are not familiar with the title Unia means dreams. In a way the path which they are traveling is sad because the metal scene needed a band as Sonata Arctica was with their first releases but it is obvious for everybody that they have a need to continually expand into deeper, more artsy territory, and they are doing it quite well. Hopefully the following release is going to fiSaying that Sonata Arctica is a power metal band would be quite a stretch. Sure the first record was power metal to the core but then they turned into a kind of progressive metal band which still has the ability to make power songs as well as ballad and they are in great form; soaring and epic vocals, simple but effective riffs, double bass, good drumming make the stage just right for this epic dream. Oh for those who are not familiar with the title Unia means dreams. In a way the path which they are traveling is sad because the metal scene needed a band as Sonata Arctica was with their first releases but it is obvious for everybody that they have a need to continually expand into deeper, more artsy territory, and they are doing it quite well. Hopefully the following release is going to find them a bit closer to their roots and blend in with the music style they have acquired with Unia.
Artist: Arcade Fire
Album: Neon Bible
Gender: Art Rock/Indie
Release date: March 6, 2007
Here’s Arcade Fire making all talk of sophomore slumps laughably irrelevant with the release of Neon Bible. The music is beautiful, spiritual, intense, fun and, as Lester Bangs once called the Clash, righteous. Like the Clash, this band is making music that matters, or sounds like it does, and is playing it as if it needed to be played. What more could we ask for? If Funeral captured the enormity of personal pain, Neon Bible sounds large enough to take on the whole world.
Artist: LCD Soundsystem
Album: Sound of Silver
Label: DFA Records
Release date: March 20, 2007
It’s no exaggeration to say that James Murphy is one of the saviours of dance music as it currently stands. Sound of Silver, Murphy’s follow-up effort, revels in the same extended beat-scapes and sly genre-nods that have thus far permeated the whole of the man’s career. And yet the album addresses each and every shortcoming that made Murphy’s debut less than the epoch-defining event it should have been. It’s no surprise that the newest LCD Soundsystem album is populated with beats that jerk and jump as well as anything Murphy has previously crafted – at this point we rightfully expect at least that much from the man. However, Sound of Silver earns its marks for catching a creative force with his guard down for a moment or two, birthing songs that imbue his never-fail instrumental and production prowess with a newfound sense of humanity, making all the difference this time out. Though even a lesser album could sound stunning in a field now bereft of those mingling rock and dance moves, James Murphy has still created a compelling album that will define whatever legacy he may have as much as those essential early singles.
Artist: Katie Melua
Release date: October 1, 2007
There have been so many good releases this year that it would be a bit unfair to put just one here. Especially such a record which has received mostly good but not fantastic review. But the thing is that here you can find what other artist as gifted as they are fail to put into their music; emotion. Not the demanded emotion which sounds good or the type found on a tearjerker ballad which just had to be included but the emotion an artist has when he or she is being sincere with his or her inner self and to the public. In this Melua is a rare artist which mixes together naivety, innocence, loss or hope, that give her interpretation an integrity that is lacking in other contemporary performers. The album grows on you and you just have to listen to it to understand what it is about. Stop reading reviews or that kind of things and just listen to the music. Get yourself a drink and chill out to the music; let it melt your troubles. The magic in her music is still there.