The Top 50 Albums of 2007

Favorite Tracks:

"$20"

"Paper Planes"

"Bamboo Banga"

"Mango Pickle Down River"

5. SHOUT OUT LOUDS — "Our Ill Wills"

Like many cool records coming out of Sweden these days, Shout Out Louds' second album, "Our Ill Wills," was produced by Bjorn Yttling of Peter Bjorn and John. It's a lush, highly expansive sounding, extremely orchestral record full of emotion and beauty. Lead singer Adam Olenius sounds a lot more like Robert Smith of the Cure than he did on the band's debut. The nice orchestration recalls gentler indie-rock bands like Camera Obscura and Belle & Sebastian, while at the same time there seems to be a hint of Spector-esque "Wall of Sound" influence. The string sections can be monumental. This makes tracks like "Tonight I Have to Leave It" seem huge. It also makes for an appealing record, jam-packed with hooky melodies and heartbreak. Quite simply, it's a beautiful, nostalgic, romantically driven record.

Favorite Tracks:

"Tonight I Have to Leave It"

"Suit Yourself"

"Impossible"

"Parent's Livingroom"

"Normandie"

6. THE GO! TEAM — "Proof of Youth"

The Go! Team is very hard to classify. Old-school hip-hop MCs and solid break-beats collide with washes of rock guitar, cheerleader chants and fuzzy sounding music that recalls both "School House Rock" and the campiest of Vince Guaraldi's score work for "Peanuts." "Proof of Youth" is their second album, and it continues and betters the formula used on their debut "Thunder, Lightening, Strike" It is much more confident than that record was, and its bold eclecticism creates a striking concoction destined to be the soundtrack to many hip parties. They must be doing something right. They got Chuck D from Public Enemy to guest on "Flashlight Fight." Try to track down the edition with the bonus disc so you can hear the song "Milk Crisis."

Favorite Tracks:

"Grip Like a Vice"

"Doing It Right"

"The Wrath of Marcie"

"Patricia's Moving Picture"

7. LAURA VEIRS — "Saltbreakers"

Laura Veirs is a mild mannered singer-songwriter with a fascination with geological elements and "Saltbreakers" is the career triumph she's been long due. Sure, not many people have heard it, but many people should. "Pink Light" will catch your ear with its main guitar riff, and haunt you all day. In fact Veirs' songs often rely on haunting, sparse backdrops, while she delivers her lyrics in a gloriously deadpan way. There are moments of levity, like the upbeat title track, but mostly these are sweet, lovelorn odes of self-reflection.

Favorite Tracks: "Pink Light"

"Nightingale"

"Don't Lose Yourself"

"Phantom Mountain"

"Cast A Hook In Me"

"Saltbreakers"

8. LILY ALLEN ? "Alright Still"

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