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The Year's Best Music, from WFUV

This year, my favorite albums tend to coincide with the best live shows I've seen. It was a great year for both.

Dan Wilson

There's a fine line between sappy and beautiful, and Dan Wilson knows exactly where it lies. Here's an artist who says it's okay to be in love, it's okay to be happy and it's cool to put away your cynicism. At least that's what I hear on Free Life. (Listen: "Baby Doll")


It's crazy that Radiohead's most accessible album is the one the band has given away for free. I first heard this song live last summer, and I'll never forget it. That says a lot. (Listen: "Nude")

Mark Ronson

This is the dance record of the year from the producer of the year. Version is a fearless collection of disarmingly cool covers. (Listen: "Valerie")

Original Soundtrack

You need not love the film (though I do) to love this collection of Bob Dylan covers. The eclectic lineup of participants includes everyone from Antony to Ramblin' Jack Elliott. The production is flawless, and many Dylan classics get a proper updating. (Listen: Stephen Malkmus, "Ballad of a Thin Man")


I've probably listened to this album more than any other this year. I love the stories the songs tell, as well as the artistic, poetic way the album addresses life during wartime. It's tres romantic and dramatic, too. (Listen: "The Night Starts Here")

Amy Winehouse

It’s a good year when one of the most talked-about and successful albums is also one of the best. I love this one -- especially the respectful nods to The Supremes. (Listen: "Rehab")


Another great album from Wilco, Sky Blue Sky doesn't hit a wrong note, from the way the guitars sound to the way hope pokes through the words at all the right times. (Listen: "Impossible Germany")

Iron & Wine

This is an old-fashioned great album: I can hardly listen to just one song. Sam Beam's worldly musical palette is right up my alley. (Listen: "Pagan Angel and a Borrowed Car")

Brandi Carlile

Brandi Carlile's second album provides a clear sense that she's a truly evolving artist. Her live show is ever-changing, too, and that's a good sign for the future. (Listen: "The Story")

Bright Eyes

Cassadaga places Bright Eyes as one of the greats. Beyond all the press and hype, it’s clear that Conor Oberst is the real deal as a songwriter. I hate to reference Bob Dylan, but I love the Desire-esque sound of Cassadaga. (Listen: "No One Would Riot for Less")

Copyright 2007 WFUV

Rita Houston
A nationally recognized tastemaker with a broad knowledge of and passion for music, Rita Houston shapes the musical direction of WFUV's acclaimed City Folk® format. With the help of staff, Houston selects the songs that become part of City Folk®, establishes theme days and creates popular features like "New Release Monday" and "Guilty Pleasures Day." Well-known for her rapport with artists, she books the on-air interviews, hosting a number of them herself. Houston also serves as executive producer of the nationally distributed City Folk Live concert series, and produces annual benefit CDs of performances from WFUV's Studio A.