Schwartz's 2007 Year End Music Review
Best Albums of 2007
1. Smashing Pumpkins: Zeitgeist
It may not have quite the sonic majesty of Siamese Dream, but Billy Corgan put the keyboards away and stepped up with just what the alt-rock world needed: a big guitar-driven Pumpkins album that shows all the bands who have been ripping him off how it’s really done. Bonus points for delivering an album cover that makes a statement, even if the sinking Statue of Liberty is an easy slam dunk.
2. Foo Fighters: Echoes, Silence, Patience & Grace
Dave Grohl is like a fine wine, just getting better and better as the years slide by. And thank goodness, because there’s very little alt-power pop rock of a comparable nature these days.
3. Rilo Kiley: Under the Blacklight
The most diverse pop rock album of the year cements vocalist/multi-instrumentalist Jenny Lewis’ status as a true artistic kingpin. A treasure chest of delicious pop rock gems that blends 2007 with 1977 in the best way.
4. The Shins: Wincing the Night Away
Gorgeous psychedelic dream pop that doesn’t devolve into shoegaze territory. This is an album in the true sense of the word, with a distinct vibe and a seamless flow, and masterfully produced.
5. Ryan Adams: Easy Tiger
Adams, the most prolific songwriter in rock these days, goes sober and delivers a classic platter full of emotionally arresting tunes (and then follows it three months later with an equally great companion EP, Follow the Lights). Like the Shins’ Wincing, this album has a flow that demands it be listened to in its entirety.
6. Arrested Development: Since the Last Time
Tied with the Pumpkins’ Zeitgeist for comeback album of the year, AD deliver a fresh dose of funky and socially conscious hip-hop that briefly made them one of the biggest bands in music in the early ‘90s. Since the Last Time makes it feel like they never left, and it’s about time!
7. Radiohead: In Rainbows
Offering the album for free download wouldn’t be much of a statement if it didn’t have some great music on it. It could use a couple more rockers, but the Brit rock kings deliver again with their singular blend of alt-rock and sonic art/noise mayhem.
8. KT Tunstall: Drastic Fantastic
British songstress makes good with an album full of guitar-driven songs that range from soaring rock to moody pop nuggets and back again.
9. Alter Bridge: Blackbird
The musicians from Creed leave Scott Stapp in the dust with a monster second album, one of the smokingest guitar rock discs of the past few years. Guitarist Mark Tremonti is in top form as he channels guitar god antics from Jimmy Page to Zakk Wylde.
10. The Mother Hips: Kiss the Crystal Flake
They’ve never hit it big, but the Northern California alt-country, psychedelic roots rock jammers just keep delivering the goods.
Top 10 songs of the year
1. “Long Load to Ruin,” Foo Fighters
The catchiest, most infectious hard-hitting rock song of the year.
2. “Doomsday Clock,” Smashing Pumpkins
Zeitgeist indeed, this epic rocker kicks off the Pumpkins’ first album in seven years with a vengeance, as Billy Corgan sounds the clarion call to save the planet.
3. “Bodysnatchers,” Radiohead
This rip-rocking, yet still sonically weird, track embodies the vibe that makes Radiohead such a unique band.
4. “Sealegs,” The Shins
Passively aggressive, trippy song that rocks with a uniquely subtle vibe as the bass and an acoustic guitar lead the way for one of the year’s best grooves.
5. “That’s the Way (My Love is),” Smashing Pumpkins
The thing that makes Billy Corgan so special is how he can rage one minute and then bring an uplifting feel-good cut like this one the next. There are so few alt rockers who can go both ways these days.
6. “Little Favours,” KT Tunstall
Soaring pop rock gem that sticks in your mind in the best way.
7. “Halloweenhead,” Ryan Adams
The only real rocker on an album of alt-country rock gems, this is the tune that demonstrates what Adams and his powerhouse band the Cardinals sound like live.
8. “Under the Blacklight,” Rilo Kiley
It’s tough to pick one track off this album, but the title track has an epic shimmer that could make an aspiring rocker want to move to Silverlake to try and find another Jenny Lewis to write songs with.
9. “Miracles,” Arrested Development
Perhaps the top feel-good dance groove of the year, this is the kind of cut that makes you believe music can indeed still help save the Earth.
10. “Money,” Jesca Hoop
Nic Harcourt from Morning Becomes Eclectic (the influential indie rock radio show on LA’s KCRW) has Hoop’s album Kismet as his #1 album of the year. This tune features some of the best inside commentary on the music biz since Pink Floyd’s “Have a Cigar,” and it’s catchy too, as opposed to much of the other material on the rest of the album, which is interesting yet too avante garde for the masses.