Thursday, January 03, 2008

“The Beat's” Best Albums of 2007

It's a little late, so I'm not going to make too big a deal about this list. It's actually hard to narrow it down to 10 this year, since I'm shying away from my normal hip-hop exclusivity to share my favorite pop music albums of the year (none worries, it's decidedly hip-hop heavy anyway). Apologies to The White Stripes, Rich Boy, Wu-Tang Clan, Calle 13, Common and Pacha Massive for being left out. It was another good year for music.

Top 10 albums of 2007:

Amy Winehouse, “Back to Black” — Late 2006, the forums at were buzzing about this new album "Back to Black" from this UK broad named Amy Winehouse. To tell you the truth, I thought she was black at first. How could anyone match friggin' Martha Reeves soulful authority? Winehouse proved to be the most potent (and potentially warped) music artist of the year. Songs like the title track absolutely tear me to shreds when I listen. Fuck album of the year, Winehouse is touching on the decade's canon with her masterpiece.
Kanye West "Graduation" — Part three in West's university trilogy, "Graduation" may be his least consistent effort, and it still manages to be a complete success on all fronts. I think the next stage in his pre-planned discography is supposed to be titled "Good Ass Job." Can't wait to see what happens when West goes to work.
Aesop Rock "None Shall Pass" — A left-field effort, at a time when indie rap is deader than a dial-up connection. Aesop sounds so confident on this effort, songs like "Getaway Car," "Citronella" and the incredible "Coffee" make a bold statement for the underground (also gotta give a quick shout out to El-P's excellent "I'll Sleep When You're Dead").
Talib Kweli and Madlib "Liberation"/Kweli "Eardrum" — Kweli was in the building twice as nice this year, giving internet heads a freebie with "Liberation" before blessing the masses with "Eardrum," his most accessible yet bold album to date. Here's hoping Reflection Eternal II drops sometime this calendar year.
Jay-Z "American Gangster" — Jay is in that "can do no wrong" category with me, so the fact that this album was so damn exciting and good was a special treat. "Roc Boys" was arguably the best song on commercial radio in 2007.
Pharoahe Monch "Desire" — This album came and went with little fanfare, but after seven years and no physical release, it was great to hear one of the best MC's in the game on top of his.
Arcade Fire, “Neon Bible” — There's something about the album's lead single, "Keep the Car Running," that reminds me of "On The Darkside" from Eddie and the Cruisers — and that's a good thing. This Canadian import was certified with "It" status early in the year, but for good reason. They rock.
Wilco “Sky Blue Sky” — Critical darlings for sure, Wilco made one of the most delightful little rock albums of the year. A unique feat considering the band's rigid course.
Turf Talk "West Coast Vaccine" — Can't forget about the Bay Area. Turf dropped a jewel with this thick collection of street-savvy and savage bangers.
UGK "Underground Kingz" — RIP Pimp C. We will never know how many more truly great albums he had left in him, but this last effort will carry on the southern hip-hop tradition for some time.

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