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Hear ye, hear ye

As 2007 draws to an end, the Indy's music snobs reflect on another year gone by

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Hear ye, hear ye In all honesty, 2007 probably wasn't the greatest music year ever. But, to be fair, it wasn't all terrible. Apparently, it was good enough that, when we asked our music writers to tell us their seven favorite things artists, songs, albums, tours, whatever from the year in music, their responses had very little overlap. We think that's a good sign of the year's depth.

Or maybe we were just reaching. Who knows?

Check out each of our picks for the seven best music "things" of 2007, and you be the judge.

Pete Freedman

1 Band of Horses, Cease to Begin (Sub Pop)

The Seattle-based act with the funny name produced the best album of 2007 by improving upon not changing the formula of its 2006 debut, Everything All the Time. Haunting and eerie shouldn't equal beautiful, but here they do.

2 Post-punk Brits

Two of the year's best albums, The Cribs' Men's Needs, Women's Needs, Whatever and Art Brut's It's a Bit Complicated, came from across the pond, begging you to hit the dance floor and daring you not to laugh at the bitingly sarcastic lyrics.

3 Arcade Fire and Bruce Springsteen on the same stage

Neon Bible was great. But Arcade Fire's best moment of the year came when two of its members joined The Boss on stage for a performance of their hit, "Keep the Car Running." YouTube the clip and try not to smile.

4 Amy Winehouse

The British tabloid train wreck successfully transitioned into the conscious of the mainstream American media this year thanks to her ridiculous antics. But her Back to Black album proved her worthy of the attention, anyway.

5 The National, Boxer (Beggars Banquet)

Vocalist Matt Berninger sounds a heck of a lot like Interpol's Paul Banks, but it's Berninger's band that put out the better album this year. The piano-driven rock, coupled with the desperation buried in Berninger's voice, makes Boxer one of the year's best.

6 The Monolith Festival

In its inaugural year, the Monolith Festival combined two of the music industry's favorite things weekend-long fests and Red Rocks Amphitheatre to bring Front Range music fans the best show they saw all year.

7 Rihanna feat. Jay-Z, "Umbrella"

"Umbrella" is more than just a catchy beat; Rihanna turned her voice into an instrument on this track, the best pop song to hit the airwaves since Kelly Clarkson's "Since U Been Gone" in 2004.

John Benson

1 Van Halen Reunion Tour

Despite the fact David Lee Roth looks more like Broadway legend Carol Channing than a bare-chested, ass-exposed sex machine, this amazing night down a mean-street memory lane is pure fucking rock!

2 Foo Fighters, Echoes, Silence, Patience & Grace (RCA)

Dave Grohl, you unassuming rock star bastard, you did it again. The new Foos disc is equal parts alternative anthems, heartfelt ballads and gum-chewing rock. Kurt must be smiling from above.

3 My Chemical Romance, "Teenagers"

Proving Gerard Way's songwriting genius, this catchy and insightful youthful warning tale is about never trusting anyone over the age of 30 who voted GOP.

4 The Shins, "Australia"

As far as bubbly music is concerned, The Shins have cornered the market with melodic composition genius. The mesmeric single "Australia" confirms that this act is atop its game.

5 The White Stripes, "You Don't Know What Love Is (You Just Do As You're Told)" video

Even though Jack White's sizzling electric guitar solo is played on acoustic guitar, this simple video possesses an early MTV charm that captures the blues rock duo's uncomplicated appeal.

6 Feist, "1234" video

Considering the High School Musical zeitgeist, we didn't expect Canadian indie rock artist Feist to wear her mother's sequined jumper from the '70s in a choreographed video this good.

7 Year Long Disaster, Year Long Disaster (Volcom Entertainment)

Year Long Disaster gets kudos for releasing the best stoner rock album in 2007. It's about time a Soundgarden-influenced disc found the light of day in the new millennium.

Matt Martin

1 Of Montreal, Hissing Fauna, Are You the Destroyer? (Polyvinyl)

Having finally given up their twee dalliances, Atlanta's premier purveyors of bizarro pop return with their most soul-searing and best record yet, chronicling lead singer Kevin Barnes' irresistible rise to fall.

2 James Ford

One half of Simian Mobile Disco, Ford released his own LP this year and produced two other great ones for Arctic Monkeys and Klaxons, while also providing crunchy remixes for Muse, The Rapture and Bjrk.

3 Arcade Fire, Neon Bible (Merge)

The Montreal sextet's sophomore album is a parade of grandiose ambitions and massive rock orchestra, grounded by powerful lyrics and disarming harmonies. Simultaneously baroque and anthemic, it's a bookworm's arena rock.

4 Swedes

The Scandinavian nation had a fine showing this year, from Jens Lekman's fantastic Night Falls over Kortedala to Swedish production on some of the top pop songs of the year. And don't forget Peter Bjorn and John, Jos Gonzlez and Shout Out Louds.

5 El-P feat. The Mars Volta, "Tasmanian Pain Coaster"

Of all the stellar tracks released this year, few are as busy and layered as El-P and Mars Volta's collaboration. The former spits furious raps, the latter wails their netherworld guitars, coalescing into one massive, incredible song.

6 "N Rave"

Heralded by stellar albums by Justice () and Klaxons (Myths of the Near Future), the dirty, rock-meets-dance-floor, pseudo-genre makes speakers bleed with songs equally fist-pounding and melodic (see Justice's "D.A.N.C.E.").

7 The White Stripes, Icky Thump (Warner Bros.)

It may take a bit of time to get to you, but it will. Jack White's handle of pretty much any rock genre is explored to great end on the duo's sixth album, which merges straight-up hooks and canny experimentation.



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