Album of the year is never easy and this year in no exception: The Hold Steady, Bruce Springsteen, Steve Earle, The Weakerthans ... but this years winner has to be:
1. Grinderman - Grinderman: Nick Cave and selected Bad Seeds create a side project for some down and dirty blues based noise. Not an easy record, but this really shouldn't be this good. Raw, funny, fuzzy, genius.
The rest of my top 20, in no particular order, are:
2. The Hold Steady - Boys & Girls in America: I have to thank JR for turning me on the THS. He named it as a favourite from last year (came out in US then and in the UK this year). Pub rock wrote large, THS are an everyman band. However, make no mistake they have the songs too.
3. Bruce Springsteen - Magic: Bruce rocks again. Like many I had worried that he another great rock album in him, but this is excelllent stuff. Not really a duff track on the whole thing.
4. The Weakerthans - Reunion Tour: Like the Hold Steady, a band with a habbit of writing catchy songs with quirky lyrics. Almost as good a Reconstruction Site, which I consider praise indeed.
5. Steve Earle - Washington Square Serenade: An album about Earle's move to New York. So this is a lot less angry than Revolution Starts Now. It is a marvelous record though
6. Nine Inch Nails - Year Zero: NIN have always been a bit hit and miss but this may just be Trent's best outing.
7. Mary Chapin Carpenter - The Calling: I had believed that MCC's best days were well and truly behind her, but this album has pleasingly proved me wrong. Listen to Houston and One with the Song if you don't believe me.
8. Ryan Adams - Lost Highway: This album just sounded better and better as the year went on.
9. Queens of the Stoneage - Era Vulgaris: The rock album of 2007. I Just like it.
10.Kate Rusby - Awkward Annie: Another artist returning to form after a couple of perfectly fine, but unexciting releases.
11. PJ Harvey - White Chalk: a short and quite dreery record on the face of it, but there is a beauty and power in the sparceness of this material not seen since Harvey's debut, Dry
12. Public Enemy - How you sell soul to a souless people who have no soul: Pretty much a return to form for Chuck D, This album sparkles and helps remind you why PE were THE rap band.
13. Gogol Bordello - Super Taranta: Gypsy punk at its best. Fun bright, a good party band.
14. Jesse Malin - Glitter in the Gutter: Duet with Bruce Springsteen, and more great tunes from the man who Ryan Adams thinks is a genius.
15. Kings of Leon - Because of the Times: There are a couple of dire songs on this album , but the rest of it is really rather good, and has been one of the biggest 'growers' of the year for me.
16. Foo Fighters - Echoes, Silence, Patience, Grace: Still looking for the FF to make their 'great' record. This like their other albums contains some very good stuff, but still falls away a bit too much for my liking.
17. Funeral for a Friend - Tales Don't Tell Themselves: Wales' finest delivered there most focussed album to date.
18. Manic Street Preachers - Send Away the Tigers: No new ground, but more fun then recent offerings.
19. Rilo Kiley - Under the Backlight: Actually reminds me of early Liz Phair in places this record. Not a bad thing.
20. Robert Plant & Alison Krauss - Raising Sand: A collection of old country/blues numbers reinterpreted by Page and Krauss. It works pretty well, with their voice complementing each other nicely. A good album to relax with.