5. Under the Blacklight, Rilo Kiley 

Jenny Lewis’ solo album grew on me and continues to do so to this day. Just a few weeks ago on Nip/Tuck, “Rabbit Fur Coat” accompanied Kimber Henry on a path of destruction and while my soul was crying for help from the evil I was putting it through by watching Nip/Tuck (And really, you’re not? Get on it.), I couldn’t help but think that that is one hell of a song. When I first heard Under the Blacklight, I had a similar initial reaction that I did to Rabbit Fur Coat, somewhat boring and uninvolving. UTB sounded a lot like the full band tracks from RFC. Yeah, it was good, she’s got a voice like an angel, but I couldn’t see myself giving it any sort of heavy rotation or finding something unique and inviting. Well, in Rabbit Fur Coat fashion, Under the Blacklight grew on me, and fast. A random shuffle one day on the iPod threw down “Silver Lining,” which is a sing-a-long, dance-a-bout, get-stuck-in-your-head-for-days piece of pop goodness if I’ve ever heard one. This album is stuffed to the gills with catchy melodies and biting lyrics that create beautiful musical contradictions. If you like a little spice with your nice, get your paws on this one.  

4. Our Love to Admire, Interpol

There a few albums that I am compelled to put on my favorite album lists year after year, because most times I listen to those more than anything that’s new. Interpol’s 2004 release, Antics, is one of those consistently amazing albums each and every time I put it on. I was nervous about Our Love to Admire before its release, but about 3 seconds into hearing the first single, “Heinrich Maneuver”… Nerves, be gone! This is a band that continues to evolve and enhance their sound with each album they put out. Sure, there’s still that basic dance-ridden Interpol sound that I absolutely adore and those lyrics that are poignantly sharp, but listen closer. It’s like this massive Interpol Renaissance happening right there in your speakers! It’s fresh, without being too out there and captivating time after time. With each listen you notice a different layer or sound that only prompts you to hit the repeat button just one more time. Carlos D, per Antics, carries this albums with his bass lines that give your toes a tap and Paul, my dear, loving, wonderful Paul, haunts you with his delivery of more strife-filled relationship-riddled lyrical goodness. “Heinrich Maneuver” will reel you in, but the five minutes plus “Pioneer of the Falls” will keep you. 

3. The Girl That Killed September, Garrison Starr

Garrison Starr is not a real person. Clearly, she’s some mythical creature who finds herself capable of putting out two of the best albums I’ve ever heard in back-to-back years, on top of an endless touring schedule and putting together a nice little collection of live studio tracks of songs most requested by fans. Rachael Yamagata: Take note. When she first gave a hint of this album’s release, I didn’t think it would ever see the light of day as she described it as an album without a home and those stories don’t usually have a way of turning out in our favor. But, damnit, Garrison. Bless you and your determination, because this year you bestowed upon us the gift of The Girl That Killed September, and from what I’ve heard it’s some of your most brutally brilliant and amazing stuff yet. I still haven’t gotten over hearing this album for the first time and each time I listen I find a new track that pops out of the speaker and clings to me for days at a time.   That being said, it’s impossible to pick just one or two favorites, but “Understood” gets me every time with rock, rock, rock and a voice that conveys emotion better than the actual words she’s singing. “Goldrush Heart,” is like nothing I’ve heard before and the title track has a permanent chokehold on my heart. Just do all of us a favor: Grab some Garrison, and spread the love. 

2. Begin to Hope, Regina Spektor

How can you make a Best of 2007 list and not include Regina? That’s just it, you can’t. This album was everything it needed to be to create that alternate listening universe that so many of us long for when popping in some new tunes. The poppy melodies, snarky lyrics and inventive songwriting styles makes Begin to Hope one album that is good to the last drop and packs some serious punch.  My instinct is to feel that when two of my favorite femme fatale songwriters are almost always MIA (Miss Yamagata and Miss Apple), I’m relieved to have some other incredibly talented women filling this void left behind. But, saying that does no justice and is in fact an insult to Regina as she’s in a league of her own and needs to be recognized as such. I love singers whose voices create an entire new element and are a unique instrument of their own, and Regina is just that. She’s more than a gorgeous voice; she’s a completely separate entity.   So, if and when Rachael and Fiona decide to get down to it, I’m really hoping that Regina is still rocking out the good tunes to deliver some more of these addictive and fantastic pop songs. And it’s worth mentioning, that all the videos for this album are equally awesome and cool and should not be missed (Namely “Fidelity”). Check ’em out. Notable tracks: “Fidelity”, “Samson” and “On the Radio” 

1. The Reminder, Feist

O, Canada! O, Leslie! When I first heard Feist a few years ago with her smooth, stellar and saucy album, Let it Die, I was impressed, especially considering that I counted on not liking her at all due to her direct involvement with Peaches. However, Let it Die was a not to be missed album of 2005. “Even with a Bee Gees cover?” Yes. Even with a Bee Gees cover. Trust me, her version of “Inside and Out” is white hot. But, we’re not talking about Let it Die, 2007’s release of The Reminder introduced Leslie to the masses as the single “1234” made everyone under the sun want a fancy new iPod Nano and/or the opportunity to put on (and look hot in) bright colored spandex and dance around a warehouse for hours. This is the album I could not turn off and couldn’t even begin to try and get out of my head. Starting off with the sweet and bewitching “So Sorry,” Leslie introduces us to her honest understanding of those things that often lack explanation. So many lyrical instances on this album had me crying out to my stereo in pain and elation, “Leslie! How did you know?” Too many favorite tracks to list, but if you must take a suggestion, pick up “Brandy Alexander”, “My Moon My Man” and, of course, the sweet, endearing and gentle melody of “The Park.”  


Nighttiming, Coconut Records and B-Sides and Rarities, Cake