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Darryn's Top 10 Albums Of 2007

Author: Darryn King
Tuesday, 18 December 2007

Darryn King, Online Editor, Casanova and Renaissance Man (coincidentally, also the guy writing this intro) gives his Top 10 of 2007.
Rufus Wainwright – Release The Stars: Rufus Wainwright’s music provides the strongest case yet in support of the use of crystal methamphetamine, but it’s quite likely this sentence will be edited out. Chaotic brass, swooning strings, Rufus’s charmingly effortless baritone… This is a record that needs to be played loud.

Radiohead – In Rainbows: As an avowed atheist, it’s great to occasionally be part of something bigger than I am, and this year Thom Yorke was my God. With people the world over, I sat prostrate at a computer waiting for that zip file to download. Their finest album yet- Give me another 100 listens first. Hallefreakinglujah.

The Shins – Wincing The Night Away: With two nearly perfect albums under their belt and Natalie Portman’s blessing, James Mercer and company had a lot to live up to. Fortunately, Wincing The Night Away is yet another solid album of tight, melodic rock – with the teensiest bit of shoe-gazing guitar thrown in for good measure. (Phantom Limb is still one of the best songs of the year: unashamedly catchy but intelligently so.) When is their cover of Breathe coming out though-

Silverchair – Young Modern: It’s weird. Everyone I know who grew up with Silverchair has totally disowned them purely because of this album – while all the cool young folk seemed to really dig it. Well, obviously they’re not the precocious 14-year-olds of Frogstomp, but that’s half the idea, right- It shows they’re not afraid to do something different, right- Right- Oh, fuck off.

White Stripes – Icky Thump:
Okay, so apparently that wasn’t Meg White getting icky thumped in that sex tape. So what- It’s still a funny play-on-words. Icky Thump’s opening (and title) track barges into your life like something out of a Japanese monster movie, with the relentless stomp of Meg’s bass drum and the roar of Jack’s guitars. The rest of the album solidifies Jack White’s mantle as one of the best and most inventive songwriters of the decade. And Meg’s drumming is, well, in time.

Feist – The Reminder:
Hey, cool, it’s the song from the iPod commercial! Fortunately, there’s more to Feist than selling out to Apple and 1234‘s three minutes of blissful pop; introspective lyrics, lovely melodies and beautiful vocals. Feist’s allegiance is with the indie crowd, so there’s not the slightest hint of overproduction.

Andrew Bird – Armchair Apocrypha: Musical Renaissance man Andrew Bird is compared to the likes of Jeff Buckley and Rufus Wainwright in the Guide for the Sydney Festival, which is bringing him out here in 2008. He’s probably somewhere in between, and seems to have Sufjan Stevens’s ear for unconventional melodies too. A good mix.

Angus and Julia Stone – A Book Like This:
Another act rubbing shoulders with The Shins on the Natalie Portman mixtape… I admit that I like Angus’s voice and songs a little more than Julia’s, but somehow, together, it works. An anachronistically sweet brother-sister duo with plenty of anachronistically sweet songs to boot. Lovely.

Wilco – Sky Blue Sky: I’ll freely admit that Sky Blue Sky isn’t exactly Wilco’s finest effort to date – the track listing is very front-heavy and less interesting towards the end – but Tweedy’s guitar is better than ever. On the single track Impossible Germany, you can hear the clean frills of Joe Walsh, the multi-layered lines of Brian May, the relaxed melodies of pre-Dark Side David Gilmour. If you know what the hell I’m talking about, this album is probably for you.

Robert Plant/Alison Krauss – Raising Sand: I’d include this album on this list purely on the basis that it’s another outlet for Robert Plant’s stellar vocals – but it’s also a gorgeous album itself. Bluegrass star Alison Krauss is an unpredictable match for Plant – who never had backing vocals that weren’t his own in Led Zep – but it works beautifully, in a laid-back sort of way.

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