December 13, 2007
I had so many songs that I loved this year that I had to upgrade my top songs list this year from 30 to 50. If you’ve been reading this site or generally listen to awesome music, many of these songs will be familiar to you, and if you find one you don’t know you can guarantee that I give it my full endorsement (there’s a link by each song choice where you can download/hear the song). I selected songs based on what songs I’ve experienced this year that have been the most memorable, most listened to, most enjoyed, and as a rule I didn’t choose more than one song per artist. I had a lot of fun re-listening to these songs and I hope you enjoy this list (as always, I would ask that you leave a comment if you do). Don’t forget to click the read more… link for the top 25 with reviews for each song. Thanks for stopping by!
50. Georgie James – Need Your Needs MP3
49. Immaculate Machine – Dear Confessor MP3
48. The Broken West – Brass Ring MP3
47. The Manchester Orchestra – Wolves at Night MP3
46. The Clientele – Isn’t Life Strange? MP3
45. Windmill – Asthmatic MP3
44. Parts & Labor – Fractured Skies MP3
43. Broken Social Scene Presents: Kevin Drew – Lucky Ones MP3
42. M.I.A. – Jimmy Youtube
41. Twilight Sad – That Summer At Home I Had Become The Invisible Boy MP3
40. Page France – Mr. Violin and Dancing Bear MP3
39. Rogue Wave – Lake Michigan MP3
38. Noah & The Whale – Five Years Gone MP3
37. Laura Veirs – Don’t Lose Yourself Youtube
36. The New Pornographers – My Rights Versus Yours MP3
35. The Snake The Cross The Crown – The Great American Smokeout MP3
34. Office – Wound Up MP3
33. Clap Your Hands Say Yeah – Emily Jean Stock MP3
32. Feist – I Feel It All Youtube (live on a bus)
31. Loney, Dear – The City, The Airport MP3
30. Avril Lavigne – Girlfriend Youtube
29. Okkervil River – Unless It’s Kicks Youtube
28. Blonde Redhead – 23 MP3
27. The White Stripes – You Don’t Know What Love Is Youtube
26. Ola Podrida – Cindy MP3
CLICK BELOW TO SEE THE TOP 25
25. Dan Deacon – Wham City MP3
Who would have thought that a guy who’s live set-up includes an iPod Shuffle duct taped to a banana and carries around a trippy green skull everywhere he goes could have made this (almost) 12 minute electronica epic of a song. The killer moment is when the beat drops out and all you can hear is the Dan Deacon choir chanting that crazy nursery rhyme.
24. Dear and the Headlights – It’s Gettin’ Easy MP3
This is the spectacular centerpiece to Dear and the Headlight’s completely under-recognized debut album, Small Steps, Heavy Hooves. There’s so much I love about this song: the playful piano, the vocal harmonies, the chorus which begs to be shouted loud, the brass section that gives the ending that extra boost.
23. Jens Lekman – A Postcard to Nina Youtube (talky version)
I saw this song performed at Pitchfork Fest in the summer of ’06 and Jens hilariously dry delivery made the song the set highlight. The recorded version isn’t as talky as the live version but it packs just as much of a punch, as Jens sings in his sweet-sounding falsetto about how he was forced to pretend to be his lesbian friend’s boyfriend to trick her conservative father. The horns and “Oh God” exclamations that make up the chorus take the song to a different level.
22. The National – Mistaken for Strangers MP3
One of Matt Beringer’s best vocal performances. Completely incredible drumming. Lyrics like “another uninnocent, elegant fall into the unmagnificent lives of adults”. Guitars that provide the perfect dark, moody atmosphere. Could The National be the band that saves rock music? Let’s hope so…
21. Andrew Bird – Dark Matter Youtube
I could have just as easily replaced this with “Heretics”, “Plasticities”, or “Scythian Empires”. The fact is though that Andrew Bird is just amazing and this is one of the most fascinating and cathartic of his mini-suites. The ending of this song just blows my mind.
20. Radiohead – Bodysnatchers MP3
Had to include a Radiohead song didn’t I? Well yea! This song is a return to the rocking Radiohead that I fell in love with after hearing The Bends the first time. As much as I love the mellowed out “Nude”, “All I Need”, and “House of Cards”, it’s this song that I keep coming back to. The guitar in this song is simply out of this world. That riff!
19. Panda Bear – Comfy in Nautica MP3
One of the most universally loved songs by bloggers, surfers, Beach Boys fans, and people who try to remember “always have a good time” everywhere. The part where the reverb-soaked background voices change from “Yaaaaaah” to “Laaa-la-la-laaa” is one of the most gorgeous things I’ve heard all year.
18. Sunset Rubdown – Up on Your Leopard, Upon the End of Your Feral Days MP3
Spencer Krug has such a frantic, wild energy that he injects into each song and yet he still has that ability to slow it all down and deliver a line like “you’re the one who’s throwing dead birds in the air”. The organ in this song is fantastic creating that creepy merry-go-round feel and the dynamic tempo changes make it quite the ride. What really makes this song special though, is the absolute intensity of Krug’s vocals. The ending line of “Your highness is holding your chaaaaaaaains” gives me goosebumps each time.
17.Wilco – Impossible Germany MP3
Anyone who has an appreciation for 70’s classic rock in the flavor of Steely Dan or Fleetwood Mac is going to love this track right away. It opens with Jeff Tweedy sweetly singing lines about being “gorgeous and alone” while guitars sway back and forth in the background. Although lovely, it isn’t anything without the three-and-a-half minute Nels Cline wank-fest of a guitar solo that comes afterwards. When I saw it played live with the dueling guitars played perfectly in sync, the was brought to startling new heights. That singular moment in the last 30 seconds when the guitars stop their dueling and jam out that climatic riff has been playing in my head ever since.
16. Bodies of Water – These Are The Eyes MP3
This track crept up on me all year and finally hit me like a punch to the face last week. I had always thought it was one of the best Arcade Fire songs that the Arcade Fire didn’t write this year, but now I wonder if even those Canadian kids can create five-layer vocal harmonies this amazing. The build-up that starts in the middle of this song and moves towards the end (leaving trumpets and out-of-breath singers in it’s wake) is completely mind-blowing. There’s so much vocal bravado and enthusiasm in the call-and-response chants of “These Are The Eyes” that you can’t help but chanting along as joyfully as you can.
15. Kanye West – Stronger Youtube
I feel about the same way about this track that I do about “Crazy” from last year. It’s an untouchable pop masterpiece, a true classic. From the line “Let’s get lost tonight / You could be my black Kate Moss tonight” onwards, the song is a complete rush. And yes, the fact that “Stronger” played a big part in Daft Punk’s gigantic comeback, did factor into its placement here.
14. Of Montreal – Heimdalsgate Like a Promethean Curse MP3
This is one of the first songs from 2007 I heard and I’ve in no way tired of the track (even though I still can’t spell it). Near the begginning of the song, Kevin Barnes sings “Come on, mood, shift, shift back to good again” and as you might expect the mood does shift quite a bit creating some of the most joyous and powerful musical moments of the year. As the “Come On Chemicals!” chorus suggests, this song is like musical acid.
13. Patrick Wolf – The Magic Position MP3
The title track to Patrick Wolf’s incredible third album kicks off with an opening chant of “Shoot! Bang! Fire!” which leads you into one of the most delightful anthems of the year. The song bounces along with ascending violin and keyboard scales and encourages the listener “to live, to learn, to love in the major key” It’s one the most cheerful, bright, and uplifiting tracks of the year.
12. Shout Out Louds – Tonight I Have to Leave It MP3
This is a track that begs to be heard and reheard over and over. The progression of the song is something to behold, the way each section adds something else into the mix – the frantic acoustic guitar, the thumping piano, a violin line, echoing background vocals. It’s also pretty unbelievable that the band can pack all that, as well as two instrumental breakdowns into the mix and still have a song that’s well under four minutes.
11. Animal Collective – Fireworks Youtube
I could never really get into Animal Collective before “Fireworks” but I think that was just because I hadn’t found that perfect song yet. The song is so spacey, so complex, and so beautiful that I couldn’t help but be completely absorbed. The layers of sound are magnificently crafted and I haven’t been able to rid the infectious melodies from my mind from when I first heard it.
10. Spoon – You Got Yr. Cherry Bomb MP3
“You Got Yr. Cherry Bomb” is such an unabashedly enthusiastic and fun song. It contains everything I love about Spoon, that soulful feel the band always strives for, an awesome bass line, great tamborine (that’s not even to mention the brass section). But forgetting all the elements of the track, there’s some kind of unexplainable joy that I get from hearing Britt Daniels singing the words “Cherry Bomb”. It’s infectious I tell you!
9. The Kissaway Trail – Smother + Evil = Hurt MP3
When I first heard this song I said “Forgive my best song ever hyperbole, but this just might be the best song ever.” It hasn’t dropped down the list too much since then. The majestic orchestral crescendo of violins, synths, and bells sets an absolutely stunning pace for the song and song makes good on that opening promise. The ending is what takes the song to a different level though, the whole band joins in the vocals and the guitars flood you with sound and the drums pound out a marching beat. The fact that this awesomeness comes from an unheard-of band from Denmark makes it even more freakin’ mind-blowing.
8. Iron & Wine – Flightless Bird, American MouthYoutube
Iron & Wine picked the absolute perfect song to the end The Shepherd’s Dog with, an epic ballad that’s as gorgeous as anything the band’s ever created. I had the pleasure of seeing the song performed in concert which I at the time described as “one of the most transcendent moments I’ve ever had a concert.” Beam’s voice is perfect on this song, almost angelic. The song starts very sparse and as the song builds the vocals and instruments become more and more impassioned and poignant. I can’t listen to the powerful ending of the song without having tears well up in my eyes (honestly).
7. Justice – D.A.N.C.E. MP3
Some songs you have to hear live to get the full experience but for this song, just hearing it at a raging dance party will do it for you. It’s been remixed a million times but there’s still something irresistible about the original that makes it stand out as one the best dance track I’ve ever heard. Stylus calls it a “big sloppy mash-note to cheeky pop songs” and I couldn’t agree more but it also has the ridiculously catchy sing-a-long chorus and a feel-good vibe that comes with the Schoolhouse Rock-like lyrics and the 80’s retro instrumentation. Dance floors will never be the same.
6. Battles – Atlas MP3
This is the most ridiculously weird and inventive pop song of the 2007. The heavy emphasis on drumming on Mirrored comes to full fruition on this track and add in those alien/helium sounding vocals and you have what Pitchfork might rightfully calls “stiff, slick, swinging robot rock”. The build-up that begins in the middle of the song that takes from a two-note guitar line to a full on sonic explosion is absolutely breathtaking. Oh and if you wanted to know the lyrics for this song look no further: ”singer is a crook, whoa-ey-oh. kitchen is for cook, whoa-ey-oh scissors at the barber, whoa-ey-oh.”
5. Yeasayer – 2080 MP3
The first thing you hear in Yeasayer’s “2080″ is the lush and spacey build that sets its futuristic tone. Then comes the vocals which are sang in a falsetto that to me sounds both strained and effortless. It’s not until “2080″ hits the bridge, though, that the song begins realizing its full potential with it’s fast-paced chants that are placed wonderfully over a lazy cello and guitar strum while drums try to keep up with the frantic pace. When the bridge’s chanting is repeated for the outro with a children’s choir you see the song for what it truly is: a magnificent piece of art painted on a sonic landscape that’s indescribably beautiful.
4. Los Campesinos! – You! Me! Dancing! MP3
I don’t think I’ve ever been more right on this blog when I started gushing about Los Campesinos! in July of this last year. When I first heard this song, it was sent to me on a CD-R with a thank you for listening note written in. After being re-recorded and properly released this year, the band has a legion of fans, which is only a testament to the brilliance of this completely euphoric lo-fi masterpiece. All you have to do is listen to the first minute of “You!Me!Dancing” and you’ll be entranced . It’s one of the best buildups to a song I’ve ever heard, starting with sparse guitar and slowly adding more layers till your literally bombarded with sound. Then the riff kicks and takes you the rest of the way in a journey that includes thick accents and as many hooks as you can possibly bear.
3. Cloud Cult – Take Your Medicine MP3
From the moment you hear that zigzag bass line and the frantic guitar strumming dissolve in, this song takes you on a chemical-induced journey full of melodies and harmonies too beautiful for this world. It’s hard to explain the power of this song except that every time I hear it I want to laugh, cry, jump for joy, all of the above, and often times, pending on the situation, I do so. There’s so much to love about the song, every single moment is precious, but if I had to take one it would be when the cello comes in at 3:30 till and Craig Minowa begins singing ” We found beautiful babies…”. This part of the song affects me emotionally more than any other moment in music this year. I lose it every time.
2. Arcade Fire – No Cars Go MP3
I know this song is from 2005, but it was released as a single this year and I believe version on Neon Bible tops the original in every possible way. “No Cars Go” is the definitive Arcade Fire song. It’s the definition of epic. The opening march introduces us to the “no cars go/us kids know” themes and then we’re compltely soaked with music. The towering mountain of instrumentation that climaxes the song is excess at its greatest. As the voices, the horns, the strings, crescendo into the overwhelming call to escape you’re reminded “We don’t know where we’re going, but let’s go.” The choir then comes in and echoes it’s point as the song reaches unprecedented heights. It takes the idea of music and pushes it to it’s furthest boundaries providing something that is so awe-inspiring that all you can do after hearing it is sit in amazed wonder. Yes, it’s that good.
1. LCD Soundsystem – All My Friends MP3
My pick for the best song of the year and really one of the best songs in the last ten years is All My Friends. The way LCD Soundsystem can create something so amazing from the repetitive minimalistic piano line blows my mind. I believe much of it has to do with the tight drumming and increasingly prominent guitar parts throughout the song. The fact that the first 7 minutes are all building to the completely euphoric last 30 seconds of the song, and doesn’t lose a shred of it’s potency is amazing, and the fact that all I want to do afterwards is hear it all again, is even more so.
The place where “All My Friends” really hits the hardest though, is lyrically. I love the idea of being caught of in the busyness of the world, “getting with the plan” as James Murphy calls it and then getting hit with a wave of nostalgia and realizing the importance of relationships, the simple joys of seeing all your friends, hanging out, partying. My favorite line is “I wouldn’t trade one stupid decision for another five years of lies”. I don’t think there’s one person over the age of 19 that can’t relate to that line. “All My Friends” shouldn’t just be recognized as a classic 2007 song, it’s a song that defines a generation and should be regarded as an all-time classic.
Other Songs Lists:
Didn’t find your favorite song of ’07 on my list? Maybe you’ll have better luck on some of these ones:
Gorilla Vs. Bear Favorite Songs (link)
My Old Kentucky Blog: Dee’s Favorite Songs (link)
Shake Your Fist 50 Favorite Songs (link)
Rolling Stone 100 Best Songs (link)
Stylus Top 50 Songs (link)
MTV.com Best Songs (link)
NME Critics Poll: Songs (link)
TIME Magazine Top 10 (link)
I think it’s funny that 20% of the songs I picked also made Rolling Stone’s list. And me and MTV.com share the same #1! What is the world coming to…
Tags: Andrew Bird, Animal Collective, Arcade Fire, Battles, Bodies of Water, Cloud Cult, Dan Deacon, Dear and the Headlights, Iron & Wine, Jens Lekman, Justice, Kanye West, LCD Soundsystem, Los Campesinos!, Of Montreal, Panda Bear, Patrick Wolf, Radiohead, Shout Out Louds, Spoon, Sunset Rubdown, The Kissaway Trail, The National, Wilco, Yeasayer