Last Year in Music: Pop/Rock

Best

It is not uncommon today for music lovers everywhere to feel somewhat disappointed in what their favorite genre of music has become. Musical legends such as The Clash are now lumped into the same “rock” category as overplayed bands like OneRepublic.

While 2007 brought about many over-hyped “pop rock” albums, it also brought the refreshing wave of originality that rock music has been craving for years. Whether they are newcomers to the industry, or just new to the world of the major label, these hidden treasures of the rock/pop world have each brought their own uniqueness to listeners’ ears.

Rilo Kiley proved their staying power with their summer release, Under the Blacklight. Feeling the pressures of longtime fans to stay true to their indie roots, the band blew audiences away with their first major-label debut. Rilo Kiley proves that experimenting with different sounds has worked in their favor, restoring the faith of fans and critics as well as bringing in new listeners and publicity on networks such as MTV.

Another band who is new to the major label and scored MTV kudos as well are punk rockers Against Me!. Their latest album, New Wave, has proven to be the band’s greatest accomplishment to date – not a single song falls short of the others.

While the band has been consistent with releasing above-average tunes throughout their career, New Wave can do nothing but good things for the band’s credibility – after all, how often is it that a band can release an album bursting with Liberal views and not come off as annoying?

Lily Allen, best known for her single, “Smile,” off her record Alright, Still can be considered the Kelly Clarkson for the twenty-somethings who appreciate a good pop song every now and then. After all, Allen is straightforward and relatable in her lyrics. “No, not in a million years, you’re nasty,” she sneers to a man she deems unworthy in her song “Knock ‘Em Out.”

Worst

For every Ace in the music industry, however, there has to be a joker, and there is no doubt that 2007 has had its fair share of disasterpieces. Avril Lavigne settled out of court because of her lack of originality – she “borrowed” tunes for her annoying single “Girlfriend” off of her album The Best Damn Thing from the Rubinoos 1979 single “I Want to Be Your Boyfriend.”

Britney Spears has not failed to disappoint either, with her album Blackout making listeners wish they were blacked out, and Good Charlotte’s latest release, Good Morning Revival, proves that not all bands toying with different sounds can woo the critics.

While many may complain about the music industry today, it is important to look at the glass as half full. After all, many of the bands today gathering good graces from critics were barely known to the general public a few years ago. Audiences should take off the headphones projecting noise into their ears and listen a little harder to the music.