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Review

A look back at the best albums of the year

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December 13, 2007

2007 has been host to a variety of great music. To make it easier, here’s a list of ten albums that you can’t afford to miss.

10. Gogol Bordello – Super Taranta!: You won’t know what to make of Gogol Bordello at first, but then you’ll love them. Their gypsy-punk style brings less electric guitar and more accordion, but they’re louder than anything that came out this year. But underneath their quirky songs are messages of acceptance and a reminder that past borderlines, we’re all related through a deeper tribal connection.

9. Smashing Pumpkins – Zeitgeist: The Pumpkins return with a disc that hasn’t rocked this hard since “Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness.”  While there are only two of them (Billy Corgan and Jimmy Chamberlin), they played every instrument and vocal part themselves, and it payed off. The Smashing Pumpkins are back.

8. The White Stripes – Icky Thump: Jack and Meg experiment further, tackling immigration, bagpipes and even a guitar vs. trumpet battle on a cover of Patti Page’s “Conquest.”  They remain deceiving in nature (both still pretend they’re brother and sister), but underneath their music is just damn good blues.

7. LCD Soundsystem – Sound of Silver: James Murphy brings more jives to his sophomore effort. Proving to be the funk/house album of the year, it might fool you to think it’s nothing more than quick beats and dance floor tunes. But underlying it are the frustrations of living in New York and being looked upon as “North American Scum.”

6. Rilo Kiley – Under the Blacklight: Fueling the sound of Fleetwood Mac, Rilo Kiley have never sounded better. Jenny Lewis is as playful as ever, yet the band’s maturity has evolved: almost half the songs are about sex (gasp!)  The fact is Rilo Kiley has never pushed themselves as far and it payed off immensely.

5. Wilco – Sky Blue Sky: The boys from Chicago return to familiar alt-country sounds, but their song craft jumped in light years. Delicate sunshine and long walks may be more prominent than some would prefer, but no one can deny the genius and fragility on “Impossible Germany.”

4. Kings of Leon – Because of the Times: Southern rock never sounded so good. They’re messy, distorted, and singer Caleb Followill sounds like nails on a chalkboard, but the Kings are rock in its finest form: careless attitudes, wailing drums and a hell of a lot of guitar.

3. Kanye West – Graduation: More of a rock star than a rap star, Kanye West has made his most consistent and important album in his career. Evolving rap into more than catchy beats, Graduation is West’s proof that he is as good as he says.

2. Bruce Springsteen – Magic: Bruce Springsteen remains one of the prominent voices in American music. Magic has him returning to his roots, bringing more rock (and saxophone) to his music. The E Street Band has rarely been in less top form than here, and Springsteen’s lyrics are as heart striking as ever.

1. M.I.A. – Kala: No album is as jagged, hardened or horrifying than Kala. Whether she threatens to knock on the door of your hummer, or showing life from Africa, she never strays from pushing the hip-hop genre to the max.

Matthew Loosbrock is a student at UW-River Falls.