This is what we talk about when we talk about “Best Of.”

I posted this on OTD yesterday:


We were gonna post a Journey video but we just couldn’t bring ourselves to do it.

Oh, listmania, you’re like Paris Hilton holding a plate of Oreos: contradictory, slightly off-putting, and yet fascinatingly addictive. Just when we think we’re listed out, we find ourselves reading another one, and nodding enthusiastically or wondering why anyone thinks the new Band of Horses album is Top 10-worthy. The best list-related reading of the week is undoubtedly Slate’s ongoing documentation of a musical conversation between Robert Christgau, Jody Rosen, and Ann Powers. If you’ve got an hour, it’s worth reading through, but if not, here’s our favorite part: On Sunday Rosen praised Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believin’” as the song of the year, thanks to boosts from The Sopranos and drunken karaoke-ing college kids across the US (Rosen notes that “Don’t Stop Believin’” wasn’t critically acclaimed in 1981, leading him to deduce “There’s a “Don’t Stop Believin'” of 2007 out there somewhere; it’s probably some Nickelback song. Or maybe it’s Mims”). Powers agreed (“Journey is so relevant now”), and just our heads began to spin Christgau verbally smacked some sense into everyone, via his post on Monday: “Journey sucks. They sucked in 1981, they’ll suck in 2033, and they suck now. Who gives a fuck what Tony Soprano thinks?” Xgau, we love you, even though we have no idea how Soulja Boy’s Souljaboytellumdotcom ended up on your Top 30 albums of ‘07 list.

List-related blog item #2: Flipping through our roommate’s copy of Blender recently and we spotted Animal Collective’s Strawberry Jam at number 90 of the mag’s list of the 100 Greatest Indie-Rock albums Ever. “Way to go AC!” we thought. We might’ve picked Feels instead, but whatevs. Then we checked out Blender’s Best 25 Albums of 2007 and, amazingly, Animal Collective is not on there. Like, at all. WTF? Is Strawberry Jam so great and influential that we’re supposed to just feel it’s presence on there? Or is this a reality check that these lists – all of them, not just Blender’s – are kinda BS because (duh) it’s all a matter of (sometimes dissenting, even at the same publication) opinion. We’re not pointing fingers here – we just put the finishing touches on our best album lists, look for ‘em on the Internets soonish – but maybe Slate’s got the right idea in turning listmania into a friendly debate about musical happenings within the past year, rather than a set-in-stone, these are the best albums period, kind of thing. Or maybe that’s what Idolator’s comment section is for.

So now, my own best of list, which is in no way set in stone – in fact, I spent weeks debating it, and am still not positive about my choices. But, deadlines demanded I make a decision – you can also find the list, along with other Phoenix-contributor Top 10’s, here.

A few stipulations: 1) These are not in any order, 2) I’m counting Peter Bjorn and John’s Writer’s Block as 2006, even though Rolling Stone doesn’t think so, and 3) I would’ve put Grizzly Bear’s Friend EP, which I simply adore, on the list in a heartbeat if EPs were allowed.

THE TEN:

M.I.A. – Kala
Deerhoof – Friend Opportunity
Radiohead – In Rainbows
Animal Collective – Strawberry Jam
Yeasayer – All Hour Cymbals
Of Montreal – Hissing Fauna Are You the Destroyer?
Les Savy Fav – Let’s Stay Friends
The Besnard Lakes – The Besnard Lakes A re the Dark Horse
LCD Soundsystem – Sound of Silver
Andrew Bird – Armchair Apocrypha

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