As a category world music is both useful and frustrating. It puts CDs on the shelves and prevents people picking them up. It is the other-than category: other-than rock, other-than indie, other-than everything. It is the whole world and nothing definite.
2007 was one of the best years for metal in the 2010s. Like other watershed years -- 1983, 1984, and 1991-- it's partially a case of artists peaking at the same time. The year unleashed a wave of superb releases from January straight through November.
Whatever your taste in music, be it Country or Western, 2007 has been something of a disappointment when compared with recent years. You have to look a little harder to find the diamonds in the Van Lear coal-mine that was the year that was, but they're there.
In spite of the perception of jazz as an increasingly niche market, the year's best show a style of music that remains ever youthful in its exploration of new territories, expanding its diversity and range of expression.
As electronic music's edges bleed out all over the genre map, some sounds have been resurrected, others minimally revised, but the sum total shows a genre that, diffuse identity or not, continues to exert its pull on rock, pop, and the dancefloor.