The Top 50 Albums of 2007

"Time On Earth" is Crowded House's first record in 14 years. The New Zealand band reformed after being shocked by the suicide of drummer Paul Hester. The remaining members regrouped and recorded this relatively low-key set with Beck's former drummer Matt Sherrod filling the hole left by Hester. All these years later, despite having a huge hit with "Don't Dream It's Over," Neil Finn remains one of the most under-rated songwriters of our time. I hope someday he gets his due. Be sure to check out "Farewell To The World," the double disc and DVD documenting Crowded House's last show before they originally broke up. It was also released this year, and is excellent. Welcome back to the world! If only Paul were here.

Favorite Tracks:

"She Called Up"

"Pour Le Monde"

"Don't Stop Now"

"Even A Child"

"Walked Her Way Down"

41. GORILLAZ — "D-Sides"

"D-Sides" is Gorillaz's fifth release. It collects all the tracks left over from the sessions for recording 2005's "Demon Days." The animated band's rejects are just as good as their keepers, so this is truly excellent. A limited edition double disc version is also available with remixes of the "Demon Days" singles.

Favorite Tracks:

"Bill Murray"

"The Swagga"

"Hong Kong"

"People"

"We Are Happy Landfill"

42. SUZANNE VEGA — "Beauty & Crime"

It's been five years since Suzanne Vega's last studio album, and the 32 minute length of "Beauty & Crime" is shockingly short, but it's truly a solid set of songs with a mainly New York based pseudo film-noir vibe . If all you know by Vega is "Luka" or "Tom's Diner," you are missing out.

Favorite Tracks:

"Frank & Ava"

"Unbound"

"Zephyr & I"

"Bound"

"New York Is A Woman"

43. AIR — "Pocket Symphony"

If you've ever listened to and enjoyed an Air album, odds are you'll also enjoy the latest from the French, chilled out duo. Like much of their other work, it plays like an ethereal movie score. This one also has experimentation with Japanese instrumentation and a nice guest appearance by former Pulp singer Jarvis Cocker.

Favorite Tracks:

"Space Maker"

"Night Sight"

"One Hell Of A Party" (with Jarvis Cocker)

"Once Upon A Time"

"Left Bank"

"Mer du Japon"

44. THE WHITE STRIPES — "Icky Thump"

Here's more hard-edged blues rock from Jack and Meg. This time we get Jack White's best Iron Butterfly impression on the title track, and a strange but cool cover of the Patti Page song, "Conquest."

Favorite Tracks:

"300 M.P.H. Torrential Outpour Blues"

"Icky Thump"

"You Don't Know What Love Is (You Just Do What You're Told)"

"Little Cream Soda"

"I'm Slowly Turning Into You"

45. BLACK REBEL MOTORCYCLE CLUB — "Baby 81"

Detractors will say that Black Rebel Motorcycle Club are squandering the good buzz that their more acoustic, blues-driven album "Howl" gave them by plugging their amps back in and continuing to emulate the Jesus and Mary Chain. Those people would be wrong. Listen to "Baby 81" and you'll find it's bolder and more informed than the band's earlier records, as if they are infusing all they learned making "Howl" back into their old sound. "Baby 81" isn't quite as good as "Howl," but it gets the job done.

Favorite Tracks:

"Killing The Light"

"Weapon Of Choice"

"Berlin"

"Windows"

"Need Some Air"

46. KRISTIN HERSH — "Learn To Sing Like A Star"

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