2007 Verve Awards

2006 Verve Awards

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Best Arts and Culture Blog Nominee

Saturday, December 29, 2007


ModFabulous: The Best Music of 2007

With a jury that was 1/3 Brits, 2/3 Americans, there was definitely a problem when it came to release dates. Many of the albums which made the 2007 list from the U.S. voters were actually 2006 releases in the U.K.; furthermore, a number of the albums listed below haven't yet hit American shores. (There's even one that hasn't gone further than Demark...are we forward-thinking, or what?) I thank them for their global treasure hunt for the best music of the year, and hope the record companies are reading this closely. It makes NO sense to release music provincially anymore, people; thanks to MySpace, the world is our oyster, and the labels can either keep up with us or perish. Your choice.

The 2007 Modfabulous Music Jury
Damion, Queering The Apparatus | Paul, The Zapping!
Mervin, Aria | Raj, Electroqueer
Robbie, Toons 'N Tunes | Me, Your Humble Servant


10. LCD Soundsystem, Sound of Silver
How do you mix retro electronica with contemporary technology, production, and still make it all sound brand spanking new? I don’t know, but LCD Soundsystem does it. (Queering The Apparatus)

9. Ultra Naté, Grime, Silk and Thunder
Our panelists who voted for Ultra's comeback CD didn't comment specifically on it...but I'll say that the cover of The Pointer Sisters' "Automatic" rightfully owned the dancefloor for months. Glad to see one of the great divas of our day has returned, in such great form.

8. Maroon 5, It Won't Be Soon Before Long
It Won't Be Soon Before Long: No surprise here, as I adore La Five. Adam and the boys managed to mine a plethora of influences, mix it with their trademark rock-funk-pop and create an extension of their debut album that wasn't a reproduction. (The Zapping!)

7. Timbaland, Timbaland Presents Shock Value
I know, how cliche, but seriously, 'The Way I Are' is one of the best songs I've heard in a long while, and the album continues in a boucey and fun direction, while still borrowing bits of rock, rap, R & B, pop, and dance to make the most diverse album of the year. (Toons 'N Tunes)

6. Robyn, Robyn
Every song on this album is a pure pop gem. Admittedly, I was a tad bit late to jump on the “Robyn is brilliant” bandwagon, but better late to the party then not show up at all, eh? From the number one UK smash “With Every Heartbeat” to the funky electro of “Konichiwa Bitches” and “Cobrastyle”, this is an album of amazing self-dedication and dignity. Non-singles ‘Bum Like You’ and ‘Robotboy’ are pretty damn good too and Robyn stays true to her vision on this album - not tempted to comply with the music industry bullshit and that’s why it’s my favourite of 2007. I can listen to it over and over again. (Electroqueer)

5. The Pipettes, We Are The Pipettes
Did I buy it in 2006? Technically, yes. But it was 2007 that the all-girl Brit trio conquered the world, frugging all over their 50's doo-wop roots. There may be other debuts that feature a wider palette, but for me, this is still the record that gets my butt a-shakin'. (ModFab)

4. Róisín Murphy, Overpowered
The voice of Moloko was an unlikely place to look for 2007's catchiest dance tune, but Ms. Murphy served up two of them on her breakthrough CD: the gloom-and-glam title track, and the infectiously languid "Let Me Know". She emerges on the international scene as a dance music powerhouse...a must-have, must-love artist especially for those who enjoy a little intellect in their electro. (ModFab)

3. Private, My Secret Lover
This album is just incredible. It seems like overnight that they were everywhere and mentioned on every good music blog. I first read about them on Pop Muse and got instantly pulled into their fresh sound – it was truly magnetic. ‘Crucify My Heart’ is fantastic and lead off single ‘My Secret Lover’ are funkylicious and retrotastic. It’s no surprise to me these Danish delights are exploding all over Europe now and we’ve only just seen a small glimpse into their world thus far. People are talking about them and you very well should be interested. (Electroqueer)

2. Kylie Minogue, X
The return of Ms. Minogue after a bout of cancer saw the singer celebrating life and wanting to dance, sing and croon about the glory of love and the sheer exuberance of every day existence. Even the one or two songs referencing cancer are a shimmering delight. (The Zapping!)

1. Amy Winehouse, Back To Black
No album even comes close to touching the frayed and messy hem of Amy Winehouse and Mark Ronson’s masterwork. This is one for the ages, and it has been many, many years since we have had one of those. (Queering The Apparatus)

Next 5: Darren Hayes, This Delicate Thing We've Made; Ledisi, Lost and Found; Annie Lennox, Songs of Mass Destruction; Mark Ronson, Version; Original Soundtrack, Hairspray


5. "Alright," Ledisi (off Lost and Found)
4. "2 Hearts," Kylie Minogue (off X)
3. "Rehab," Amy Winehouse (off Back To Black)
2. "Stop Me," Mark Ronson ft. Daniel Meriweather (off Version)
1. "Grand Canyon," Tracey Thorn (off Out of the Woods)

AND NOW...ModFab's own MODFABULOUS OF 2007

HONORABLE MENTIONS TO: Mary J. Blige, Growing Pains; Burial, Untrue; Kelly Clarkson, My December; Common, Finding Forever; Ari Gold, Transport Systems; Macy Gray, Big; Ledisi, Lost and Found; Mika, Life in Cartoon Motion; OneTwo, Instead; Radiohead, In Rainbows; Mark Ronson, Version; Emmy Rossum, Inside Out; Jill Scott, The Real Thing, Words and Music Vol. 3; Tracey Thorn, Out of the Woods; Rufus Wainwright, Release The Stars; Motion Picture Soundtrack, Hairspray; Motion Picture Soundtrack, Once

10. Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings, 100 Days, 100 Nights
In a year that celebrated retro sounds, Jones and Co. was the real deal. Honest, raw musicianship, unemcumbered by flash or gaudy celebrity. Brilliant.

9. Annie Lennox, Songs of Mass Destruction
The most passionate of artists, Lennox put her money where her mouth was in 2007, singing fiercely and fabulously about the state of our sorry world...and what we can do about it.

8. Erasure, Light at the End of the World
After nearly 25 years of music-making, the godfathers of electronic pop put out there best album in years, a shimmering, lushly romantic disc brimming with complex melodies and Vince Clarke's stupendous arrangements.

7. Private, My Secret Lover
Currently available only in Denmark (and via download), this dazzlingly catchy set of uptempo tracks will be rolling out over Europe and the U.S. in 2008. Single "Crucify My Heart" is arguably the best single of the year...reminiscent of Madonna's classic "Like A Prayer", updated for the new millennium.

6. Kylie Minogue, X
Regular readers know how I idolize Ms. Minogue. Her latest disc (out in the U.S. in February) is a slickly-produced, impeccably-constructed wonder. The great news is that the disc's best track, "Wow," has been tipped as the next single.

5. Róisín Murphy, Overpowered
See my comments above. I could listen to this record over and over and over again. And ten years from now, I think I still will.

4. Nicole Atkins, Neptune City
Jersey native Atkins was 2007's biggest find for me. Rock, R&B, and classic acoustic guitar blend with her soulful, langorous delivery and crisp delivery deepen with repeated listenings. The first-must have CD of the year, the Dusty Springfield of our time.

3. Rufus Wainwright, Rufus Does Judy at Carnegie Hall
Although Wainwright's album of originals, Release The Stars, was a singular triumph this year, it paled for me next to his glorious recreation of Judy Garland's signature concert. Magic.

2. Lucky Soul, The Great Unwanted
London's rock-soul sextet is the best new band of 2007, essential listening for any serious music fan. Every song sounds like a hit single; every one of them should be. I defy anyone out there to keep their feet from tapping along to the swinging freneticism of "Add Your Light To Mine, Baby" or the cool-edged ditty "Never Been Cool." This is bliss, pure and simple.

And the album of the year...

1. Amy Winehouse, Back To Black
What is there to say about her that hasn't already been said. The album is a neo-classic. Fifty years from now, when musicologists look back at 2007, they will remember it as the year of "Rehab" which, like it or not, became the major hit of the summer. After all those Grammy nominations and rave reviews, let's hope Amy pulls her personal life together, and gives us many more great years of music. We're with you, Amy.

And a few more snarky awards:
  • Five Biggest Disappointments of 2007: Duran Duran, Bjork, Kanye West, Alicia Keys, Jason Walker, Seal
  • Best Album Released in the U.S. in 2007 (That We Had In 2006): The Pipettes, We Are The Pipettes
  • Best Album To Be Released in 2008 (That We Already Have): Shirley Bassey, Get The Party Started
  • Biggest Musical Event of 2007: The Return of Britney Spears
  • Second Biggest Musical Event: True Colors Tour
  • Third Biggest Musical Event: The Spice Girls Reunion
  • Oh I've Tried, God Knows How Hard I've Tried: Feist, Charlotte Gainsbourg, Arcade Fire
  • Next Album I Plan To Buy: LCD Soundsystem

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Blogger Emma said...

I love X. Good to see Kylie's return.

No idea Rufus Wainwright even had an album out!

12/29/07, 5:51 AM  
Blogger JB said...

Thank goodness for good taste! A few things I need to discover...

12/29/07, 12:46 PM  
Blogger jason said...

Well, I love LCD Soundsystem, so you've hooked me there....and a number of others here I love too.(Amy W...Mary J...Mark Ronson...Robyn, and yes, even Maroon 5 (as much as I resent having to admit that, it's true)...so I'm intrigued to perhaps investigate the rest.

12/29/07, 7:14 PM  
Blogger Nick Davis said...

I can't tell if I'm more surprised that there's no PJ, or that I don't really mind cuz I wasn't wild about the PJ myself. I guess I'm most surprised that I've never heard an Amy Winehouse song. Isn't the parallel universe I inhabit a weird one? (And, apparently, pretty musically bereft.)

12/29/07, 9:32 PM  
OpenID toonsntunes said...

It was so hard to pick.... by the time I get to this on my opwn blog... I could very welll have a completely different top ten in both categories. So much good music this year. A lot of crap though, too!

12/30/07, 11:13 AM  
Blogger paul @ www.thezapping.com said...

Sheesh! I am so relieved that a couple of my choices made it to the final top ten. I was worried i wouldn't have any albums that other people liked, although of course i knew you adored Kylie! Interesting list - especially yours. Amy Winehouse is an album i have only just got into thanks to her version of Valerie and am now finding myself disturbingly addicted to it!

12/31/07, 8:21 AM  
Blogger Michael said...

Feist REALLY is that good! It was a slow burner for me... and oh how it burns so well...!

4/18/08, 1:58 PM  

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