The Best CDs of 2007
Just look at the best music of 2007 and imagine how great radio could be if it stopped wrapping its big, nationwide arms around easily marketable mediocrity. Sure, there are two genuine hitmakers residing on this list, but each one of the other discs contains songs that could set all the charts ablaze. So just be a 21st century digital boy or girl and make your own radio; this list of great albums could be your foundation for a brave new world in which the most-overplayed song of the year, OneRepublic’s “Apologize,” does not exist. Yes, that limp megahit inspires a great deal of focused anger around here, but everything on this list can act as a potent antidote.
1. M.I.A., “Kala.” Maya Arulpragasam detonated her astonishing pancultural dance explosion “Arular” only two years ago, but “Kala” makes “Arular” sound sedate. M.I.A. displays more range with “Kala,” augmenting her political tribal hip-hop with Bollywood rave-ups (the exuberant disco of “Jimmy”) and angry dream pop (“Paper Planes”), and even invites Timbaland to the party without doing any real damage. “Kala” is the sound of the world’s pop music rising up and blasting away global boredom, as if Arulpragasam abducted the No. 1 acts from every country and forced them to make an album together.
2. LCD Soundsystem, “Sound of Silver.” James Murphy is doing much more than restoring lost luster to club music. He packs “Sound of Silver” with trenchant social satire set to unstoppable beats and rich melodies. “Someone Great” sounds like the transcendent pop hit the Human League forgot to write after “Don’t You Want Me.” If this weren’t enough, Murphy ends “Sound of Silver” with a piano ballad, “New York, I Love You But You’re Bringing Me Down,” that is so good, it’s not difficult to imagine Cole Porter coming back as a 21st century cynic, disillusioned at the squeaky-clean Bloomberg Manhattan before him.
3. Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings, “100 Days, 100 Nights.” A long-standing vocal powerhouse in the underground R&B scene teams with a band of twentysomething retro purists to make a killer soul album. Jones can stand tall with the best soul singers of the past, but “100 Days, 100 Nights” never feels like a dress-up party — instead, it sounds like a genuine lost classic unearthed from the vaults of Stax Records.
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