Let's take a second to get away from politics for a moment, and step into my boombox ;)
My 12 favorite albums of 2007, in no particular order (some of these are 2006 releases that were more relevant in 2007)
Amy Winehouse - "Back to Black"
- C'mon, this album put Winehouse on the map in a huge way, providing a new mix to a classic sound.
Linkin Park - "Minutes to Midnight"
- One of the most anticipated albums of the year, very good...not quite as good as "Meteora" or "Hybrid Theory", though.
Norah Jones - "Not Too Late"
- Smooth, mellow...the perfect soundtrack for romantic moments and/or smoky, dimly-lit jazz clubs.
Nas - "Hip Hop Is Dead"
- Nas continues to cement his status as a hip-hop icon with this album. One of the best rappers ever.
Modest Mouse - "We're Dead Even Before The Ship Sank"
- Fun indie rock, I've been a fan of Modest Mouse since the first time I heard the first line of their hit "Float On" a few years ago. Solid album by these guys.
Rihanna - "Good Girl Gone Bad"
- The best pure mainstream pop album to come down the pike in a while.
Yeah Yeah Yeahs - "Is Is"
- A 5 song EP makes this list? You bet. This band is that good. If you haven't discovered the goodness that is Yeah Yeah Yeahs, pick up this album or 2006's "Show Your Bones".
Chamillionaire - "Ultimate Victory"
- Got lost in the noise that was the 50 Cent/Kanye album release battle...but is a better album than both. Also, if you look at the album cover...no "Parental Advisory" sticker. That's right, not only is it a really good hip-hop album, it's also a CLEAN hip-hop album.
The White Stripes - "Icky Thump"
- Can this band ever put out a "bad" album? Or a "mediocre" album? I'm convinced they can't.
Common - "Finding Forever"
- The best hip-hop album of the year, period. This is the album you play to people who don't like hip-hop and convert them.
Timbaland - "Timbaland Presents Shock Value"
- Timbo has gone from one of many "well-known" producers to THE top producer in hip-hop and pop music within the past decade. Timbaland is causing a shift in pop music's sound.
will.i.am - "Songs About Girls"
- Probably the only other "blown up" hip-hop producer that's working in pop-music production besides Timbaland. The leader of Black Eyed Peas puts out another great solo effort that has mostly simmered just under the radio radar.
My Top 12 Songs of 2007, again in no particular order...
Chamillionaire (feat. Slick Rick) - "Hip Hop Police"
- Great video, solid rhymes with a good back-and-forth between Cham and himself (as a police officer), Cham and Slick Rick...just great hip hop thats been sorely lacking over the past few years.
Justin Timberlake - "LoveStoned/I Think That She Knows (Interlude)"
- Funky, well-produced pop music. Being someone who is still nostalgic for New Jack Swing, funky dance pop/R&B like this gets my head nodding.
Killswitch Engage - "This Fire Burns"
- Although it was first released in the middle of last year, it became notable this year due to it being the theme song of pro wrestler CM Punk. One of my five favorite metal songs of all time.
Maroon 5 - "Wake Up Call"
- Any song that talks about catching your woman in bed with another man, and then you "shoot him dead" (as the song goes) works for me. Great song.
Fergie - "Fergalicious"
- The production on this by will.i.am alone makes this a frickin' good song. The heavy sampling the old-school classic "Supersonic" by JJ Fad kicks a good-time nerve for old schoolers like me ;)
Avenged Sevenfold - "Bat Country"
- This song is 2 1/2 years old, but was getting HEAVY rotation until this past summer. Hell, they put out a new album 2 months ago, and this song still gets played on rock radio more than their new stuff. Epic metal.
Shop Boyz (feat. Lil Wayne, Jim Jones, and Chamillionaire) - Party Like a Rockstar (Remix)
- Hip hop meets heavy guitars and southern bass...and Lil Wayne puts out one of the most off-beat verses this side of Kool Keith (I'm heartless and iced-out see/I've got an icebox where my heart used to be)
Joss Stone (feat. Common) - "Tell Me What We're Gonna Do Now"
- Stone's epic, soulful voice combined with Common's smooth flow equals hip-hop/soul goodness. Stone's voice is a cut above the rest in a crowded pack of wannabe female crooners.
Timbaland presents OneRepublic - "Apologize"
- 2007 was Timbo's year, and he tops it all off by giving us a remix to a song by an Alternative Rock band, OneRepublic, that had only been a "buzzworthy" band up until the release of this song.
50 Cent - "I Get Money"
- Look, I'm not Fiddy's biggest fan...but any song that pays tribute to Audio Two's "Top Billin'" like this song does will work for me. It's fun to just nod your head and let Fiddy tell you how rich he is in this song...where it usually becomes tiresome in other songs.
Paramore - "Misery Business"
- This is real "girl pop-punk", not Avril Lavigne, got it? Actually, this band sounds like Jimmy Eat World with a female lead. Nonetheless, it's loud pop-punk and extremely catchy...like many other artists signed to Fueled By Ramen who have gone on to big things.
Mastodon - "Colony of Birchmen"
- This band picks up the baton dropped when Pantera broke up 4 years ago. It is probably the only real "metal" metal song I've seen in real rotation at MTV, and for good reason...this song ROCKS.