The Top 50 Albums of 2007

Wrap up the year and your holiday shopping with Allan Raible's list of the Top 50 albums of 2007. From rock to hip-hop and electronic to pop, there's something here for every music lover.

1. PETER BJORN & JOHN — "Writer's Block"

Three Swedish musicians play around with a standard rock trio setup of guitar, bass and drums, adding slight electro elements, some shoegaze guitar swirls, nods to garage rock and er … whistling! PB&J have a '60s vibe mixed with touches borrowed from '80s and '90s alt rock. "Up Against The Wall" sounds like New Order and the Jesus and Mary Chain in a fight for supremacy, while "Let's Call It Off" sounds like something off an original "Nuggets" compilation. The most famous track here is "Young Folks," a duet with former Concretes singer Victoria Bergsman. "Writer's Block" originally came out in Europe in 2006. It didn't arrive on U.S. shores until February 2007. It was worth the wait.

Favorite Tracks:

"Up Against the Wall"

"Let's Call It Off"

"The Chills"

"Young Folks"

"The Objects of My Affection"

"Paris 2004"

2. SPOON — "Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga"

If you haven't been listening to Spoon, you should be. These Austin, Texas, natives have consistently been making great records for the last decade, and have made a solid string of classics since their 2001 album, "Girls Can Tell." On "Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga" all the elements are there — the minimalist, bare-bones chording, the cool rhythmic swagger, the sonic experimentation, and Britt Daniel's world-weary snarl. Nods to '60s pop and its back-to-basics feel make it particularly timeless. This is a record that will hold up well over time. NOTE: The initial pressing of "Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga" comes packaged with "Get Nice," a 12-track, 22-minute disc of highly experimental demos.

Favorite Tracks:

"The Underdog"

"You Got Yr Cherry Bomb"

"Don't You Evah"

"Don't Make Me a Target"

"The Ghost of You Lingers"

3. RADIOHEAD — "In Rainbows"

Here is the album that attempted to throw the conventional music industry on its ear. It's not available in hard copy until New Year's Day, but was available exclusively on Radiohead's Web site for two months using a highly daring "pay-what-you-want" approach. That sales tactic may have brought out the cheapskates but the album is worth a great deal. It's a highly percussive affair and less cryptic than a lot of the band's other recent work. It's an effective cross between their rock-edged material and their more experimental electro outings.

Favorite Tracks:

"15 Step"

"Jigsaw Falling Into Place"

"All I Need"

"House of Cards"

4. M.I.A. — "Kala"

M.I.A. is a politically charged Sri Lankan-British rapper who uses cutting edge electronic backdrops to tell her stories about the plight of people often ignored by the West. She delivers her lines with a punk attitude and has a tendency to quote and sample from the likes of the Pixies, the Clash and the Modern Lovers. This can only widen her appeal among certain forward-thinking rock, hip-hop and electronic fans. This is not a record for everybody since her choice of subject matter is often gritty, but she definitely proves to be an original, besting her much respected 2005 debut, "Arular." It's like a cross between Boogie Down Productions, Bjork, and the Slits with an Eastern twist. At times, it's a challenging listen, but once you can get into it, it all becomes highly worth it.

Favorite Tracks:


"Paper Planes"

"Bamboo Banga"

"Mango Pickle Down River"

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