Compare yourself with the person you are now to the one you were a decade ago. It’s true that even in the span of a few years, your life can, and will likely, change in both minor and major ways. Family and friends may pass on to another life, you may experience a mid-life crisis, and you might even undergo a complete personality change. 

The nature of music is oddly similar to this. Trends and genres are cyclical and tend to repeat themselves over time, while newer sounds often reinvigorate music that might be considered on life support. 

This begs the question—what music were you listening to in 2007? We’re here to revisit some of the best albums from that magical year, as well as a few underrated gems you may have missed.  

Kanye West – Graduation

Graduation is not Kanye West’s best record—that’s likely one of the triumvirate of My Beautiful Dark Twisted FantasyCollege Dropout, and Late Registration. It’s not his most influential—that’s perhaps 808s and Heartbreak. But Graduation is arguably his most important. The electronic-based sound introduced on the record certainly suited Kanye West very well.

Clearly a direct stylistic influence on popular rappers of today like Drake, Kid Cudi and Kendrick Lamar, Graduation is an intentioned and measured album on self-analysis and self-critique. To many, it’s an inspirational record as well. Sporting seriously incredible production and the most diverse music on any previous Kanye record, it also reveals major emotional depth in tracks like the ode to his hometown (“Homecoming”) and futuristic track “I Wonder.” Graduation is often highly recommended as an album that truly defined what hip-hop could do with fewer filler tracks and more expansive influences from indie rock, R&B and electronic soundscapes. 


Bon Iver  For Emma, Forever Ago 

If there was a tagline that best fits For Emma, Forever Ago, it would probably be “Winter Is Coming Soon,” because FEFA is arguably the quintessential winter album. 

Coming together after the dissolution of Justin Vernon’s previous project, DeYarmond Edison, as well as a tough breakup, the album is one born of isolation and despair but also hope. It is cold, desperate, and reflective as a whole, and while there are plenty of standout songs (“Skinny Love,” “Blindsided”), the album is simply spectacular as an entire entity. If you have ever felt completely unaccomplished and wondered where your future truly lied and how you’d cope after a breakup, Justin Vernon, some atmosphere, and a guitar should be your soundtrack. Remarkably, FEFA still retains its power a decade later. 


Foo Fighters – Echoes, Silence, Patience and Grace

It is nearly undebatable—Foo Fighters are responsible for some of the biggest rock songs of the last decade. Through eight full-length albums, they’ve managed to release high-quality efforts that are as engaging as they are diverse. 

That diversity was best found on their 2007 release, Echoes, Silence, Patience and Grace, which contained their first instrumental song (“Ballad Of The Beaconsfield Miners”), massive hit “The Pretender,” and the utterly brilliant deep cut “Come Alive,” which truly showcases the band’s energy as a unit. 

The band’s mastery of the quiet-and-loud dynamic is fully displayed on the underrated cut “Let It Die.” Other tracks like “Erase/Replace” and “Long Road To Ruin” are more standard mid-tempo tracks, but perhaps it’s Dave Grohl’s attention to songcraft that makes even these seemingly average songs so great.

ESPG shows that while it’s not necessarily the Foo Fighters’ best record, it’s the most diverse album in their catalogue. This isn’t simply the band playing it safe—it’s the Foo Fighters at their near best.


Mayday Parade – A Lesson In Romantics

Though the band arguably matched their debut album on 2015’s Black Lines, Mayday Parade’s debut full-length, A Lesson In Romantics, will forever be their greatest masterpiece. Bridging the gap between alt rock, pop punk, and pop rock is not an easy task, but it’s something Mayday Parade brought to the table from day one. How can you not be nostalgic for tracks like “Black Cat” and “Jamie All Over”?

If there’s one thing in particular that Mayday Parade are great at, it’s creating genuine hooks and having the songwriting to match. Granted, tracks like “Jersey” aren’t necessarily groundbreaking lyrically, but they immediately get stuck in your head. If the mark of a great band is being memorable, A Lesson In Romantics certainly solidifies Mayday Parade as an unforgettable band. It’s about those relatable relationship stories, those little slices of life that we grow up experiencing—heartbreak, sadness, broken relationships. They’re all put to tape in an effective way that is absolutely timeless. Amazingly, the record seems just as fresh today as it did in 2007.


Paramore – Riot!

In the span of just a few years, Paramore went from a relatively unknown newcomer, having their music plastered all over Fuse, to getting their song “Decode” on the Twilight movie soundtrack, and then years later having singles and albums that sold millions of copies. The band, who then channeled a fun yet fierce concoction of alternative rock and pop punk, certainly is a household name these days. But if you had to point to a pivotal moment in the band’s career in which it was evident they were destined for stardom, it was the video release of lead single “Misery Business” off their breakout sophomore album, Riot!.

“Misery Business” is a true iconic song that stands as one of the best-known Paramore songs to date, but Riot! is so much more than a one hit wonder. It’s an album that demands your attention because while they could have written just a few singles and slapped some filler on, that’s not what happened. Riot! is an album that references Refused (in “Born For This”) and contains underrated anthems (“Let The Flames Begin,” “Miracle”) in equal measure. Want a big crossover track? Add “crushcrushcrush” to your list. Desire a slower, moodier Paramore song that would also hint at future material? The emotional “We Are Broken” is your ticket to paradise.

Riot! is a true moment for Paramore. Notoriously, sophomore records are tough to pull off, but it’s pretty clear this one was, and still is, a winner.  


Arctic Monkeys – Favourite Worst Nightmare

The British press has always had a complicated relationship with bands who release debut albums that explode right out of the gate. Oasis’s Definitely Maybe, Bloc Party’s Silent Alarm, and the self-titled debut from The Stone Roses are a few of the distinctly British albums that have set unreachable expectations for subsequent follow-ups. So when your band has one of the fastest-selling, debut full-length albums in British history, how are you supposed to top it?

Favourite Worst Nightmare is the resounding answer for the Arctic Monkeys. It’s filled with short and fast songs that never overstay their welcome, and one listen to album opener “Brianstorm” shows that Arctic Monkeys were clearly not a one-trick pony. If you like Arctic Monkeys loud, well, this album is loud and raucous indeed. Favourite Worst Nightmare is exactly the kind of sophomore album they needed to make—and it’s one of the best albums in their discography, period.

Radiohead – In Rainbows

It certainly wasn’t the first album to do so, but understanding why Radiohead’s album In Rainbows was priced as a “pay what you want” download has much to do with the band’s overall avant-garde approach to music. Of course, when you have such a unique promotional strategy, which inspired Bandcamp to utilize the same method, it’s easy to forget about the music contained within. As album sales started to drop over the last decade, Radiohead still made a boatload of cash off the release.

In a nutshell, In Rainbows is noisy, futuristic indie rock. However, that’s an incredibly base description of the ambition Radiohead is presenting here. It is fairly accurate, though, in the sense that this is the most “rock” Radiohead sounded since 1997’s OK Computer. As a collection of songs, the album certainly stands out. Tracks like “Videotape” and “Bodysnatchers” rank among the best Radiohead tracks ever put to tape. It’s quite literally the sound of a seismic shift. Most bands are lucky if they ever release one album that changes the musical landscape, but along with OK Computer and Kid AIn Rainbows is arguably Radiohead’s best record.

*A version of this interview first ran in the current print issue of Substream Magazine, on stands now and available through our online store!