Albums of the year: Rock & Pop

'Without a doubt, M.I.A. released the most original album of 2007'
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The Independent Culture

2007 was the year in which being a walking car crash was mistaken for being a genius, while singing like Dick Van Dyke became de rigueur. Scratch under the surface, however, and there was plenty of treasure for everyone.

Arcade Fire's follow-up to their stunning first album was always going to disappoint, but Neon Bible was actually a pleasingly grandiose, Springsteen-esque affair. Meanwhile, M.I.A. deserves some kind of prize for Kala, which cannibalised musical styles from every continent on earth without ever losing its sense of humour. Without a doubt, it was the most original album of 2007.

Further underground, Panda Bear broke away from Animal Collective once more to release his dreamily beautiful Person Pitch, which, on the face of it, was recorded in outer space with Brian Wilson. One of the best albums of the year was also the most unassuming. Herman Dne might pretend they're just a bunch of hairy anti-folk chancers, but they're not fooling anyone. Their loveable eighth album Giant sounds like Paul Simon and Jonathan Richman having a tropical percussion party, full of funny lyrics and perfect songs.

Early in the year, James Murphy, aka LCD Soundsystem, struck gold with the shimmering masterpiece that was Sound of Silver. Was is rock? Was it dance? Does it matter? The album harnessed the very best elements of both genres it rocked and you could dance your socks off to it. Album of the year, hands down.

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