2007 Poll Results!

By shane

The tide is turning...

But the ocean stays the same. Excellent Online is about to undergo an epic overhaul. If 2007 proved one thing, it's that we admins have let this site quietly slip away from us. Be it advancing years, the chores of life, the creepy word "responsibilities" that I've tried to fight for most of my time on this planet... we can blame whatever we want. Well, I guess we can't blame one thing:

PASSION. We could easily say "Hey, our heart's not in it anymore." But that's crap. The music of our time has defined us as people. It's what initially brought us together, it's what has forged the friendships -- be it in the real world or this very community -- that I hope hold strong forever.

E.M. Forster once wrote, "The kingdom of music is not the kingdom of this world." It was the power of music that brought us all together under this banner, and it's the power of music that will NEVER let this site die.

I hate change. Detest it. When friends move away or even get new jobs, parts of me cringe. So to totally do away with this site in favor of our new launch soon -- turning Excellent into a news-collecting aggregate where stories are voted on and published by YOU -- makes my stomach churn a little. But when I stop to think about it, it brings me solace.

Solace because the thing we care about -- the music -- will still be here. Different faces may pop up on the cover of NME, sure -- but there will always be a band out there to take our breath away, there will always be an artist whose words speak to our very soul, there will always be an amazing record we can use to escape the doldrums of a cloudy Sunday afternoon. And while the site as you know it will soon become radically different, it's our passion for music that will always stay the same -- it's our security blanket through life, and I couldn't imagine a day without it.

Our e-mail discussion list will continue to flourish, and the members of Excellent -- stretched out across the globe, some who have even met and married through this site -- are still as passionate as ever about the tunes that shape our playlists, that shape our lives. We couldn't have done it all these years without you, and we dedicate the legacy of this site to all of you.

To that extent, we have finished tabulations on our 2007 Members Poll for the best music of the year, and you can see the results by clicking "Read more" below.


2. LCD Soundsystem
3. Justice
4. Travis
5. Spoon

Not even a contest. How do you stack the deck and make yourself artist of the year? Well, giving away your record on the internet for any price fans wanted to pay would be a good start. But to make that record one of your career best is sealing the deal. Radiohead returned in top form this year, and their novel approach to defeating the major label monster just added to their credibility ten-fold. As for the rest of the list? Well, LCD Soundsystem certainly got the bulk of 2007's indie music press, Justice proved that French dance music doesn't stop and start at Daft Punk, Spoon were hailed as saivors of North American rock, and Travis? Well, we can't really explain that one, apart from them doing what they do best -- putting out another understated quality record. Under these five was a 14-way traffic jam of a tie, proving that the world of Excellent is indeed wide and varied.


1. Radiohead - In Rainbows
2. LCD Soundsystem - Sound of Silver
3. The National - Boxer
4. Spoon - Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga
5. Arcade Fire - Neon Bible
6. Editors - An End Has A Start
7. Travis - The Boy With No Name
8. Bloc Party - A Weekend in the City
9. M.I.A. - Kala
10. Blonde Redhead - 23
11. Explosions in the Sky - All of a Sudden I Miss Everyone
12. Interpol - Our Love To Admire
13. Band of Horses - Cease To Begin
14. Of Montreal - Hissing Fauna, Are You The Destroyer?
15. Black Rebel Motorcycle Club - Baby 81
16. Shout Out Louds - Our Ill Wills
17. !!! - Myth Takes
18. Patrick Wolf - The Magic Position
19. Feist - The Reminder
20. Peter Bjorn & John - Writer's Block
21. Justice - (Cross)
22. Stars - In Our Bedroom After the War
23. The Shins - Wincing the Night Away
24. Amy Winehouse - Back to Black
25. Lily Allen - Alright, Still
26. Arctic Monkeys - Favourite Worst Nightmare
27. Andrew Bird - Armchair Apocrypha
28. Ulrich Schnauss - Goodbye
29. Maximo Park - Our Earthly Pleasures
30. Super Furry Animals - Hey Venus!
31. Caribou - Andorra
32. Air - Pocket Symphony
33. Charlotte Hatherley - The Deep Blue
34. Beirut - The Flying Club Cup
35. Modest Mouse - We Were Dead Before the Ship Even Sank
36. Maps - We Can Create
37. Richard Hawley - Lady's Bridge
38. The Bird and the Bee - The Bird and the Bee
39. Apples in Stereo - New Magnetic Wonder
40. Okkervil River - The Stage Names
41. Underworld - Oblivion With Bells
42. Electric Soft Parade - No Need To Be Downhearted
43. Panda Bear - Person Pitch
44. The Go! Team - Proof of Youth
45. New Pornographers - Challengers
46. Robyn - Robyn
47. Animal Collective - Strawberry Jam
48. Bat for Lashes - Fur and Gold
49. The Bravery - The Sun and the Moon
50. U.N.K.L.E. - War Stories

Again, no contest. Radiohead received almost twice the voting points as LCD Soundsystem did at #2. For the most part, the entire Top 10 leapt away from all the other records on the list.

A few interesting things to point out:

âEUR¢ Does releasing your album early in the year crush your chances of end-of-year acclaim? That's the only theory I've got as to why Of Montreal came in at #14, why The Shins came in way down at #23. Both records came out in January to fan squeals and critical orgasm, yet both failed to make much of an impact here.

âEUR¢ The biggest story this year to me are the records that DIDN'T make the end of the year list, including some Excellent stalwarts. The combined starpower of Damon Albarn & Paul Simenon couldn't save The Good, The Bad, & The Queen, who missed our Top 50. And where's Excellent perennial list-toppers Ash? All the way down at #58. Brett Anderson from Suede's first proper solo disc? #61 (ouch!) The Kaiser Chiefs? #119! The Polyphonic Spree? #121! Oh, how the mighty fall...

âEUR¢ And look at artists breaking solo and doing better than their bandmates! Ash couldn't crack our Top 50, but former Ash guitarist Charlotte Hatherley made it in at #33. It's no surprise to see Animal Collective in our list (#47), but Animal Collective keyboard player and sampler Panda Bear placed higher with his solo record (#43.)


1. Peter Bjorn & John - Young Folks
2. Amy Winehouse - Tears Dry On Their Own
3. M.I.A. - Paper Planes
4. Interpol - No I In Threesome
5. Battles - Atlas
6. Maximo Park - Our Velocity
7. Klaxons - Golden Skans
8. LCD Soundsystem - All My Friends
9. Radiohead - Weird Fishes/Arpeggi
10. Travis - Selfish Jean
11. The Bird & The Bee - Fucking Boyfriend
12. Of Montreal - Gronlandic Edit
13. Shout Out Louds - Tonight I Have To Leave It
14. Of Montreal - Suffer for Fashion
15. Justice - D.A.N.C.E.
16. The National - Mistaken for Strangers
17. Band of Horses - Is There A Ghost?
18. Editors - Smokers Outside the Hospital Doors
19. Deerhunter - Strange Lights
20. Arcade Fire - Intervention

Peter Bjorn & John owned this category, which is a fairly neat trick since the song in question technically came out in 2006. It even made our song of the year list LAST year. But that was before the cutesy animated video took over MTV's airwaves and got our favorite Scandos some serious face time with the American public. Since the album didn't come out stateside 'til 2007, and since so many stinkin' people voted for it, we allowed it. Again, a category where no one can make up their mind, as half the Radiohead record received votes, as well as large chunks of the Travis, Of Montreal, & Band of Horses records.


1. Various Artists - The Brit Box
2. Daft Punk - Alive 2007
3. Original Motion Picture Soundtrack - Once
4. Depeche Mode - Black Celebration (reissue)
5. Sigur Ros - Hvarf/Heim
6. Sonic Youth - Daydream Nation (Deluxe Edition)
7. Lucksmiths - Spring A Leak
8. Orbital - Live at Glastonbury
9. Pet Shop Boys - Disco 4
10. Various Artists - Labrador 100: A Complete History of Popular Music

Okay, to be fair, only one reissue this year lit up and blinked, so that's why "Brit Box" got MY vote... well, that and it's the best compilation of our lives that's ever to be found in a freakin' Best Buy. Sure, we probably own every damn song on the thing already, but not in this particular order.


1. Radiohead
2. Verve
3. Sigur Ros
4. Spiritualized
5. Elbow
6. Travis
7. Interpol
8. Belle & Sebastian
9. The Cure
10. Editors

Again, we might as well just pack it in and become a Radiohead fan site this year. We could have secret Radiohead messages and hawk our official Radiohead decoder ring (for REAL fans only!) We could have polls like, 'How awesome would it be if Jonny Greenwood did the music for the next Harry Potter movie?' We could host Thom Yorke wonky-eye wallpaper. It would be super swell, and I could finally leave my dream by typing a phrase like, 'Unfortunately, Radiohead is not affiliated with this site. We are not Radiohead and have no way of contacting them.' But BEYOND Radiohead, we get the triumphant return of The Verve at #2, despite no recorded output from their reunion (other than those ace quality bootlegs!)


1. Interpol
2. Black Rebel Motorcycle Club
3. LCD Soundsystem
4. Of Montreal
5. Beirut
6. Band of Horses
7. The National
8. Nine Inch Nails
9. The Decemberists
10. Yo La Tengo

Black Rebel Motorcycle Club are finally dethroned after holding this title for several years now. And they're overthroned by Interpol, which is interesting if you keep reading down...


The National

Once upon a time, I told a friend that this band was heading nowhere. Note to self: I can occasionally be very, very stupid.


Interpol - Our Love To Admire
That's right... they are our newly crowned Favorite North American artist... but boy does their new album suck? Like the band or not, most critics this year agreed that Interpol appeared to hit their sophomore slump their junior year.



Or countless winners, however you want to look at it. The point is, every single person who voted for this category had a different answer for the question... showing what a unique open door 2008 is shaping up to be...


1. LCD Soundsystem - Sound of Silver
2. Justice - (Cross)
3. Daft Punk - Alive 2007
4. Underworld - Oblivion With Bells
5. M.I.A. - Kala
6. The Go! Team - Proof of Youth
7. The Field - From Here We Go Sublime
8. Mark Ronson - Version
9. The Chemical Brothers - We Are the Night
10. Amon Tobin - Foley Room

No contest for LCD Soundsystem, who took home many a critical trophy for plain 'ol album of the year, so this one was almost a gimme.


1. Daft Punk
2. Justice
3. Underworld
4. LCD Soundsystem
5. Goldfrapp
6. The Chemical Brothers
7. DJ Shadow
8. Ulrich Schnauss
9. M.I.A.
10. Klaxons

While LCD Soundsystem took home the electronic album prize, they didn't come close to catching Daft Punk for electronic artist of the year. Proving that all it takes for greatness is to put on a shiny helmet, stand in the middle of a triangle, and press play on your greatest hits. Still, their live show was one of the most entertaining things on Earth this year, and a well deserved win.


Mark Ronson

While his sister was busy making headlines partying with Paris Hilton and suing Perez Hilton, brother Mark made one of the most exciting, genre-crossing, rule-breaking records of the year. And covering the Smiths and the Charlatans doesn't hurt around these parts.


1. Control
2. Juno
3. Once
4. No Country for Old Men
5. Superbad
6. Ratatouille
7. Hot Fuzz
8. The Simpsons Movie
9. Darjeeling Limited
10. Atonement

What? A bunch of elitist music nerds like us give Film of the Year kudos to the story of Joy Division as envisioned by legendary music video director Anton Corbijn? Ooh, there's a shocker. :)


1. The Daily Show with Jon Stewart
2. The Office
3. Project Runway
4. Lost
5. Dexter
6. The Colbert Report
7. 30 Rock
8. Heroes
9. Flight of the Conchords
10. Weeds

Just seeing this list makes me want the writer's strike to end this very second.


J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter & the Deathly Hallows

Harry wins. Damn, gave away the ending.


Radiohead - In Rainbows

I suppose it's only fair that in an age where iTunes is making album artwork irrelevant that we give the best artwork award to a band who didn't release a standard packaged version of their album in 2007. The box set is divine, though, and this year's official release makes Radiohead proven masters at music AND visuals.


1. Daft Punk
2. LCD Soundsystem
3. The Polyphonic Spree
4. The Arcade Fire
5. Silversun Pickups
6. Editors
7. Underworld
8. Spiritualized
9. The Police
10. !!!

Two robots in a triangle beats the return of The Police? Yes, actually.


1. Tony Wilson
2. Ingmar Bergman
3. Excellent Online

Not a contest, as the man responsible for bringing Joy Division, New Order, The Happy Mondays, and, err, The Wendys to the rest of the world LEFT our world far too soon this year. And while we're touched by the third place vote, the site is not dying. Only being rebirthed phoenix-style. Hang with us.


Radiohead Sticking It To The Man

For all the epic talk over the past few years about how the record industry is changing, how soon CD's will be a thing of the past, it took a band like Radiohead to actually make that vision a reality. The jury's still out over Radiohead's name-your-price download of "In Rainbows." Did it work as a sales plan? Well, most people paid $1 or less for it, so probably not. And their site had real issues that first week handling all the traffic. But they pulled it off. Millions of people downloaded the record, and enough went out and bought the CD version this year to make it #1. Plus artists thrive and survive on touring and the sales of accessories, NOT album sales, so perhaps we HAVE taken the first steps into a brave new world...


Kevin Barnes (Of Montreal)



(henceforth otherwise known as "The Liam")

Amy Winehouse

What's the best way to celebrate a year of critical and commercial acclaim, not to mention be an early favorite to sweep the Grammies? Well, we now know that "developing a fierce crack habit" is NOT the correct answer.



Okay, first I'll wait a few minutes for the guy who's campaigned for Pavement's inclusion in the H of F for the past decade. Something tells me he's screaming in joy right now. Okay, done? Well, then. One of the stipulations for Hall of Fame inclusion is that your band is done. Inactive. End of the road. And last year, after waiting for a decade and a half, we finally gave in and allowed My Bloody Valentine to enter the Hall of Fame. Which, of course, was the perfect cue for the band to officially announce plans for 2008 plans. And now The Verve are back, too. So the new theory is: Get voted into the Hall of Fame and your band gets back together. Which is great, because I could go for a new Pulp album...

That's it. 2007, as well as Excellent Online as you know it, is in the bag. Here's to a magical new year.