In a year that saw the UK drenched all summer due to the sheer force of Rihanna’s ‘Umbrella’ reigning the charts and the High School Music 2 Soundtrack outselling every other release, 2007 was a very mixed (yet still pretty fantastic) year for music. It’s hard to believe that some of our most loved albums were released 10 years ago so let’s take a wander down memory lane for a round up of some of 2007’s album highlights. I’m feeling nostalgic already.
A follow up to their critically acclaimed debut Whatever People Say I Am, That’s What I’m Not, Arctic Monkey’s exploded into 2007 with a change in sound, pace and emotional depth. Thrashing singles ‘Brianstorm’ and ‘Teddy Picker’, whilst popular, fight for centre stage in an album full of well-produced tracks, including fan favourites ‘Fluorescent Adolescent’ and ‘505’. However, I wouldn’t advise the t-shirt and tie combo for 2017.
Who didn’t go through a FOB phase at school? The band’s Infinity on High is an album full of some of their most famous singles to date: ‘This Ain’t a Scene, It’s an Arm’s Race’, ‘”The Take Over, The Break’s Over”‘ and ‘Thnks fr th Mmrs’. Don’t attempt to recite some of these titles after a drink or two. I dare anyone not to hear a track on this album and immediately sing along to Pete Wentz and Patrick Stump’s infectiously poetic lyrics.
For many students my age, this album soundtracked the first year of secondary school, which makes me feel very old. Nash’s lyricism and talk-singing is highly infectious, with the piano-laden tracks ‘Foundations’, ‘Mouthwash’ and ‘Skeleton Song’ being just some of the highlights. Despite not going down well with critics, Made of Bricks shot to the number one spot, not surprising given how every single song on the LP could be a single in its own right. However, Nash has never fully transcended the same kind of success since,
Jamie T could easily be described as an indie kid’s favourite, storming onto the scene with his Mercury Prize nominated debut Panic Prevention. The album deals with youth culture in the UK and critics compared his delivery to that of Lily Allen and The Streets. Coupled alongside popular singles ‘If You Got The Money’ and ‘Calm Down Dearest’, there lies an absolute classic: ‘Sheila’. Not everyone can say they had Bob Hoskins star in their music video now, can they?
Kanye’s third album, Graduation, helped him to win his third (of four) Grammy Awards for Best Rap Album. The album includes several examples of Kanye’s finest work including the likes of ‘Good Life’, ‘Can’t Tell Me Nothing’, and even a collaboration with Coldplay’s Chris Martin on ‘Homecoming’. However, the runaway favourite for many is the Daft Punk-sampled ‘Stronger’. Graduation is a cohesive body of work and has since been cited as an inspiration for other rap artists to use electronica and house elements in their music.
Everyone loves a singer-songwriter, and Jack Peñate’s debut Matinée ticks every box for a songwriter of his type. The infectious toe-tapping rhythm of ‘Second, Minute or Hour’ and the twinkly guitar of opener ‘Spit At Stars’ is just the appetiser before highly acclaimed ‘Torn on the Platform’ steals the limelight.For any fans of Adele, there are also some very familiar backing vocals on gorgeous acoustic ballad ‘My Yvonne’… it pays to be best friends with a now-worldwide starlet.
An album so packed full of bangers it was rereleased with a ‘reloaded’ tagline a year later, Rihanna’s Good Girl Gone Bad was a force to be reckoned. Not only did her reign at #1 in the UK charts with her Jay-Z collaboration, ‘Umbrella’, eerily coincide with one of the wettest summers on record, but it features several of her best known singles. ‘Shut Up and Drive’ and ‘Don’t Stop The Music’ are party anthems, and her very smooth duet with Ne-Yo, ‘Hate That I Love You’, is hard to get out of your head. This album was the first true sign that Rihanna would dominate the charts… it’s now been an innovative ten years and counting.
Utilising brass, strings and a ton of new compositions, Ronson’s masterpiece Version is still a fresh listen ten years on. Being the man behind the scenes (to put it lightly), the album features several artists on versions (I see what you did there, Ronson) of songs by Kaiser Chiefs, The Zutons, Coldplay, Mäximo Park and more. Highlights include the Daniel Merriweather mash-up of The Smith’s ‘Stop Me If You’ve Heard This One Before’ and The Supremes’ ‘You Can Keep Me Hanging On’ and Amy Winehouse’s sumptuous vocals on ‘Valerie’.
Avril Lavigne had one of the best-selling albums of the year with The Best Damn Thing (the English student in me really wants to add an exclamation mark for effect). Lavigne’s third studio album is a progression from grunge to a more pop-punk style. In particular, the album features the heart-rending ballad ‘Now You’re Gone’ and the ever-so famous ‘Girlfriend’. Who doesn’t know the words to the latter? Ten years on and you can probably hear every student chanting along to this anthem on every cheese floor in the UK.
Throwback to the good old days of Riot! when Paramore still had all its original members and a legion of teens had this album on repeat trying to imitate Hayley Williams’ impressive vocal range – and her bright orange hair, for that matter. Displaying a range of songwriting talent, the album is a neat package of pure pop punk and set up a solid foundation for future success in years to come with their self-titled LP.
Named the Sound of 2007 by the BBC, Mika released his debut album Life in Cartoon Motion and it definitely did not disappoint. Despite calls to write more conventional pop songs, the album is a mixture of happy pop hits that essentially tell everyone to stick it and be who they want to be. It is full of well-known songs including the #1 single ‘Grace Kelly’ and feel good bops in the form of ‘Love Today’ and ‘Big Girl (You Are Beautiful)’. If you’re a hardcore X Factor fan you may even recognise ‘Happy Ending’ from the emotional audition reels.
This may have been Feist’s third studio album but the first that truly gained her worldwide recognition, helped by the use of single ‘1234’ in an advert for Apple’s iPod Nano. The Reminder is a fabulous mix of indie pop and folk and Feist’s delivery is something to behold. Upon hearing the first note of ‘The Limit to Your Love’ (famously covered by James Blake) it is hard to choke back tears, and totally impossible not to sing along to ‘I Feel It All’ or ‘My Moon My Man’ – now you’ve rediscovered this album you won’t be forgetting it in a hurry.
These are just some of the albums released in 2007. If I was to go through them all, we’d be here for a long while. Let’s not forget this year also saw releases from Radiohead (with the groundbreaking ‘pay what you like’ release of In Rainbows) , Kings of Leon, The Pigeon Detectives, Timbaland, Wu-Tang Clan and even Josh Groban. A 2007 Throwback Thursday-inspired night is definitely due – ten years is a big anniversary, after all.
[Originally written for The National Student]
Image credit: Consequence of Sound