When I set out to make a list of my favorite albums of the year, my initial inclination was to make it as well-rounded as possible. I began the usual year-end cram, when I catch up on "everything" I missed throughout the year. This year, with a broadened perspective and more music out there than ever, it quickly became clear that cramming wasn't going to do much good.

So I tossed out my list's hasty additions. That means albums I cribbed from other lists and greatly enjoyed (Phosphorescent, Blues Control), albums recommended by friends (Chamillionaire, Songs of Green Pheasant), albums I didn't give as much time as I'd like earlier this year (Besnard Lakes, Bottomless Pit) and stuff that I wanted to like more than I really did (Travis Morrison, Jens Lekman).

Instead, what you get is a list of 30 records that earned significant replay from me this year-the only way to really gauge an album's greatness. There are undoubtedly at least 30 more out there that could have made this list-more like 300 more-but I haven't heard them yet. Use the comments section to make recommendations, if you please.

Without further ado, my favorite albums of 2007:

When I set out to make a list of my favorite albums of the year, my initial inclination was to make it as well-rounded as possible. I began the usual year-end cram, when I catch up on "everything" I missed throughout the year. This year, with a broadened perspective and more music out there than ever, it quickly became clear that cramming wasn't going to do much good.

So I tossed out my list's hasty additions. That means albums I cribbed from other lists and greatly enjoyed (Phosphorescent, Blues Control), albums recommended by friends (Chamillionaire, Songs of Green Pheasant), albums I didn't give as much time as I'd like earlier this year (Besnard Lakes, Bottomless Pit) and stuff that I wanted to like more than I really did (Travis Morrison, Jens Lekman).

Instead, what you get is a list of 30 records that earned significant replay from me this year—the only way to really gauge an album's greatness. There are undoubtedly at least 30 more out there that could have made this list—more like 300 more—but I haven't heard them yet. Use the comments section to make recommendations, if you please.

Without further ado, my favorite albums of 2007:

30 Arctic Monkeys – Favourite Worst Nightmare

When this band emerged from the UK hype machine, I was quick to dismiss their debut as just more second-rate, umpteenth-generation britpop fluff. I'm still not too fond of that record, but talk about a sophomore jump! Alex Turner and company have essentially made the same album, only with better songwriting, fuller arrangements and sharper lyrics. After making what's practically a Pablo Honey-to-The Bends caliber leap, these kids could be going places after all. (Listen)

29 Andrew Bird – Armchair Apocrypha

Bird has been doing his thing for years now, and while his tricks have lost their initial wonder, they haven't lost their potency. The "armchair" imagery is apt; I imagine curling up in one next to a fire and listening to these songs while reading some high-minded literature. He also put on two splendid live shows in Columbus this year, one solo and one with a well-honed backing band. (Listen)

28 Ruckus Roboticus – Playing With Scratches

Dan Haug's talents are evident from the moment you pop in his record or step inside one of his DJ gigs. The Dayton cratedigger has been smoldering way too far underground for way too long, and with any luck Playing With Scratches will catch on and blow up in '08. At once a blast from the past and a gateway to the future, this instrumental hip-hop masterstroke was a welcome reminder of just how revelatory this kind of music can be. (Listen)

27 Broken Social Scene Presents Kevin Drew – Spirit If…

Drew is the central force behind Broken Social Scene, so it's no surprise this record basically sounded like another solid BSS release—sprawling, ambitious, lyrically clumsy and gleefully pilfering from indie rock's greats while maintaining its own distinctive personality. (Listen)

26 Low – Drums & Guns

At once stark, serene and scary, Drums & Guns is a minimal work of beauty that promises to get better with age. Alan Sparhawk and Mimi Parker have come a long way since the early days of slowcore, but their music has maintained some consistency since then—the feeling of a fundamental battle between darkness and light going on in between the lines. Quiet music doesn't get more intense than "Murderer". (Listen)

25 Pharoahe Monch – Desire

Desire is perilously front-loaded, but even if the second half isn't as bangin' as the first, Monch steps to the mic with the same angry conviction and clever wordplay. You will feel him. You will admire. (Listen)

24 Dolby F---ers – Dolby F---rs

What a revelation Lee Keeler's songwriting has been this year. You could feel his joy for music emanating throughout every scrappy second of this lo-fi tour de force. The former Columbus music scene staple (now residing in Savannah) claims he can't make this music without his friends. Let's hope he makes some more friends down there real soon. (Listen)

23 Loney, Dear – Loney, Noir

I don't believe in guilty pleasures, and even if I did, Loney, Dear makes "respectable" twee folk music that most critics would be down with. Nonetheless, I can't help feeling like this record just took Belle and Sebastian, Sufjan Stevens and Grandaddy and blended them into one predictably smooth beverage. It almost seems too easy, the results too flimsy and insubstantial. But damn does it taste right. (Listen)

22 Do Make Say Think – You, You’re a History in Rust

You, You're a History in Rust sounded rawer than Do Make Say Think's previous recordings, and it found the band at its most serene (most of the record) and its most aggressive (the triumphant "The Universe!"). I always thought of this band as the kind that did one thing exceedingly well, but they impressed me by successfully branching out on this record. Seeing them live sealed the deal. This massive Canadian post-rock outfit is a new kind of orchestra for a new age. (Listen)

21 Okkervil River – The Stage Names

Will Sheff's songs are arresting from the start, sounding at once comfortably traditional and tensely unstable. Further listens reveal densely packed songs with myriad musical and lyrical hidden treasures. Though Sheff's tortured wail can be overbearing at times, his considerable talent overrides any such complaint. (Listen)

20 Deerhoof – Friend Opportunity

Even as Deerhoof advances toward accessibility, they continue to release incredible music unlike anything else out there. At first you might think this music sounds so unusual thanks to Satomi Matsuzaki's pixie routine, but John Dieterich's guitar and Greg Saunier's drumming are just as off-kilter, if not more so. (Listen)

19 Moviola – Dead Knowledge

In the paper I called this a "comeback" because John Ross and I came up with a bunch of arbitrary categories in order to honor all the local records we wanted to, and that way we could group Moviola with fellow 1990s survivors Cheater Slicks. In truth, Dead Knowledge is only a comeback in that it took so long to come out. The band has been cooking up splendid sounds since Day One, but this Americana variety pack is their most satisfying collection to date. (Listen)

18 No Age – Weirdo Rippers

The West Coast kin of our town's own noise-pop nugget specialists (meet them at Nos. 15 and 7 on this list), No Age compiled five singles' worth of obscured beauty into a close-knit collection that, for whatever reason, always makes me think of skateboarding videos. Check out "Everybody's Down"; can't you just see daredevils doing kickflips in inadvisable places? (Listen)

17 Hugs & Kisses – The Casualties of Happiness

This adults-only cartoon music is unlike anything in Columbus or elsewhere. The recesses of Donnie, Jacoty and Phonzie's minds must be very strange places, and I'm oh-so-pleased that the trio decided to delve in there and create something so otherworldly that rings so true in the real world. As previously mentioned, it'd be best if you just listened for yourself.

16 Menomena – Friend and Foe

Four years after finding left-field success with the deep, dark ultimately playful I Am the Fun Blame Monster, Menomena returned with a more prominent label, a more professional sound and a few of its most accomplished songs yet. If the album lacked its predecessor's scruffy charm, it had plenty charms of its own, including the euphoric release at the eye of "The Pelican"'s storm, the snaking melodies of "Wet and Rusting" and the stadium-sized final chorus of piano rocker "Rotten Hell". (Listen)

15 Psychedelic Horseshit – Magic Flowers Droned

I really liked my blurb about this record in the paper this week, so I'm just going to reprint it: "In a whirlwind of friction, diction and warped melodies, the catchiest "pop" of Washington Beach scrapes its way through the fuzz to rattle your brain. It ain't pretty, but it's beautiful." You might also notice we had this ranked above Times New Viking in the paper, whereas TNV clocks in higher here; at the time, I did have Horseshit ranked higher. It just goes to show how mercurial these lists can be. (Listen)

14 The Whiles – Sleeper’s Wake

I'm running short on time, so here's my print Whiles blurb too: "The Whiles are not innovators, but the well-worn folk-pop of Sleeper's Wake is the latest proof that expert songcraft is better than blazing a trail off a cliff. Several tracks should be massive radio hits." I might also reiterate that if Wilco had made an album this good, no one would have been complaining about their regression with Sky Blue Sky. But that's another debate for another time. For now, appreciate this record for what it is. (Listen)

13 Panda Bear – Person Pitch

This one took a long time to click for me. Seemingly every music writer in America is nuts about Person Pitch, and while I appreciated its beauty, it didn't seem as forward-thinking as everybody said it was. Only in recent weeks has Noah Lennox's textural masterpiece begun to truly reveal itself to me. It's still not the kind of thing I see myself turning to regularly, but I'll keep its gorgeous ripples on call for when I need them. (Listen)

12 Spoon – Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga

I've written a lot of blurbs about this record, but one thing I haven't noted is my position on how it ranks among Spoon's other works. Some folks will tell you it's their best work ever, and while such an argument can be made, I can't help but miss the unbridled energy of A Series of Sneaks and the pop anomaly that was Kill the Moonlight. Whatever; Ga x 5 is another superb album from a consistently excellent band, one that is continually bolstering its case as one of the best of its generation. (Listen)

11 Land of Talk – Applause Cheer Boo Hiss

Every year I sneak on one release that technically came out the previous year but didn't hit American record stores (do people still go there?) until this year. My 2007 grandfather clause goes to Land of Talk, the refreshing Montreal rock trio that walloped my brain on disc and on stage this past May. They sound lifted straight out of mid-90s alternative rock, but the songs are built on big hooks and powerful rhythms. On a side note, how strange is it that two of my favorite songs of the year would be called "All My Friends"? (Listen)

10 The Clientele – God Save the Clientele

Some big fans of this melancholy London pop ensemble tell me God Save the Clientele is a step down from their previous works. If that's true, get me their previous works stat! Something about God Save the Clientele just doesn't seem made for daylight, but don't hold that against it. Its bookish pop is ideal easy listening for late-night vinyl sessions, and "Isn't Life Strange" is the ballad of the year. (Listen)

09 M.I.A. – Kala

Kala is one of the many records in this top 10 that have shown up in countless other places this year. The amount of consensus among rock critics could mean a lot of things, but I fear it means we're getting lazy and all turning to the same few blogs and publications to guide us. One of my goals for next year is challenge myself to stray outside the critical consensus. As for this record, I said my piece back in August. I refer you to that for further comments on the globetrotting firecracker. (Listen)

08 Dinosaur Jr. – Beyond

One of two indie rock legends in this list's top 10 that took advantage of my low expectations and thrilled me with their 2007 comeback record. As has been stated elsewhere, this could have come out right after Bug, and we'll call that a good thing. Welcome back, J, Lou and Murph. Stick around as long as you want. (Listen)

07 Times New Viking – Present the Paisley Reich

The old guard at Alive made their most prescient choice for "Bands to Watch" when they selected this scrappy trio back in 2004. Two albums, hundreds of shows and mountains of hype later, TNV is poised to become an even bigger underground sensation in 2008 with Matador debut Rip It Off. In the meantime, Paisley Reich remains a succint statement of what makes this band so great—melodies swiped from the air and molded with gleeful freedom in a fit of teenage lust. The proper nine-song tracklist on one-sided vinyl is the best way to listen to this, but MySpace will do in the short run.

06 Les Savy Fav – Let’s Stay Friends

Here's that other big indie rock comeback. The first half of Let's Stay Friends is a big, dynamic statement of Les Savy Fav's pop-rock power; the second half demands more time and rewards it handily. "The Equestrian" alone has me salivating for another chance to see these kings of the stage in concert once more. (Listen)

05 Kanye West – Graduation

Here's another reprint for ya: "West's world-conquering will is such that an impeccably produced album full of lyrical clunkers becomes increasingly endearing, not annoying, with each listen. "How the hell can you front on me?" he asks on "Stronger." And indeed, the more rides you take on Graduation's emotional roller coaster, the tougher it is to resist West's megalomaniacal charm." (Listen)

04 The National – Boxer

And another reprint from the paper: "Rich, elegant and perfect for driving after midnight, Boxer was an indie hit. But it didn't so much break out as seep through the consciousness of those who heard it. Matt Berninger's baritone ruminations worked hand in hand with the band's dark-hued orchestration to exorcise demons and haunt listeners." (Listen)

03 Radiohead – In Rainbows

Amidst all the praise about their unconventional method of delivery, let's not lose sight of the more important story here: This is an incredible set of songs. Dropping the self-conscious experimentation that produced so much glorious music but alienated a large chunk of fans, In Rainbows was a welcome reminder of why so many of us fell in love (obsessively) with Radiohead back in the day. Here's hoping they don't take four years to remind us again. (Listen)

02 Lil Wayne – Da Drought 3

My final reprint from this week's paper: "Weezy bragged, "I could jump on any n----'s song and make a part 2," then fulfilled his prophecy, running wild over hits from Beyonce, Jay-Z and dozens more. Purists say mixtapes aren't real albums, but proper LP or not, no other rap record in '07 could stand up to Wayne's insane flow." I should note that I was working on a massive screed about his concert in Columbus but eventually scrapped it. Let me know if that's something you'd like to see here. (Download it for free)

01 LCD Soundsystem – Sound of Silver

I've said enough. If you've been reading me all year and haven't given this a shot yet, what are you waiting for?