Friday, December 7, 2007

Erik's Top 25 Songs of 2007

Upon seeing fellow editor Joey post up his favorite songs of the year, I figured I'd give a stab at making my own top 25 list. Traditionally, I have been terrible at choosing my favorite songs in a particular year. Songs are just frustratingly subjective. But here it is, with some rules. Firstly, no more than one song per album, no matter how good that album may be. Secondly and finally, I'm not reposting mp3s that Joe already put up. If there's no link in the song title, look below for one.
I have linked the mp3s that Joe put up to my list here.

First, some honorable mentions:

ABX - I'm A Flirt (Shoreline)
This may be the greatest mashup that I have ever heard, so despite not being a real song, it makes my list here. The video for this is fantastic too, mashing up the audio mashup with the real I'm A Flirt music video. The link will take you to the video, so watch it.

Los Campesinos! - You! Me! Dancing!
I was disappointed with Los Campesinos! debut EP "Sticking Fingers Into Sockets," mainly because this song, released before the EP, was so damn catchy and showed so much potential for the young band. The EP is okay, but nothing on it matches the sheer energy and fun that you can hear on this track. Give it a listen if you like fun indie-pop.

Now, the list!:

25. Lupe Fiasco - Dumb It Down
As Joey has already stated, Lupe's rhymes on this are dope to the 10th degree. The whole song is basically one big wordplay, which is astonishing in today's world, where rappers seemingly are allowed to rhyme lines like: "I'm into distribution / I'm like Atlantic / I got them motherf***ers flyin cross da Atlantic." Never will you hear Lupe rhyme Atlantic with Atlantic.

24. Feist - 1234
I absolutely adore the banjos in this song. And the horns. And Feist. Enough said.

23. Andrew Bird - Heretics
This is really a great example of why Andrew Bird's Armchair Apocrypha is in my top 10 albums of the year (come back Dec. 17 to see the full list). It is one of his best vocal melodies, plus I love his violin playing here. Just overall a fantastic track, by an awesome artist.

22. Modest Mouse - People As Places As People
In a perfect world, this song would be a number one smash hit. It is a better song than Dashboard, and it's just as catchy. I have a very indifferent attitude to post-Good News MM. Yet I consider this song to be at least worthy of being mentioned in the same sentence as "I Came As A Rat" or "Doin' The Cockroach." It's a shame no one cares about good music anymore.

21. Iron And Wine - Carousel
You should read my previous post on Iron and Wine to get a better idea of my opinion on this song, but I will sum it up briefly: best song on Iron and Wine's most consistent full-length record to date.

20. Okkervil River - Unless It's Kicks
Basically Bright Eyes, minus the emo, plus a tad more theatrics. Probably OR's finest song that I have heard; you'll likely want to buy the album after hearing it, just like all my friends seem to have.

19. Menomena - Wet and Rusting
I don't want to rehash what my colleague said about this song, but it is truly mind-boggling that this whole record was recorded with a special computer program (a la GarageBand). What should, in theory, sound sterile and bland does just the contrary and sounds emotional and honest. These guys don't even have to use instruments to make beautiful music (although they certainly can, their live show is great).

18. Band of Horses - Is There A Ghost
Beautiful song, really epitomizes BOH's sound in a concise 3 minutes. My only problem with it is its repetitiveness, but they really manage to make the listener put that on the backburner with the song's catchy melody and Ben Bridwell's emotional crooning.

17. Architecture In Helsinki - Heart It Races
This song really plays to AIH's strengths, which are their playfulness and their ability to use, like, 35 instruments at the same time. I think that the Take Away video for this song really demonstrates why this is a song that needs to be heard.

16. Of Montreal - Cato As A Pun
Has a sort of 70s porno-funk feel to it, creating a unique vibe. If you don't understand why Of Montreal are so interesting, maybe you should take a listen to this song.

15. Wilco - Impossible Germany
Where else can you hear Nels Cline engaged in a duel with two other guitars? Nowhere else, that's right. Best track off of Sky Blue Sky.

14. Beirut - Guyamas Sonora
Wow. That was all I could say the first time I heard this song. Zach Condon really takes his time in letting this song develop, adding various instruments as the song goes on, until it explodes in the final verse. By the time the song has finished, you will wonder what hit you. Condon has really come a long way since Gulag Orkestar, which was a fine album in itself. He is truly an artist with unlimited potential.

13. Handsome Furs - What We Had
This song shows that all you need to make a great song is Dan Boeckner, a guitar, and a drum machine. Actually, I think his wife is technically a Handsome Fur, so throw some keyboard in there. The best part of this song is the bridge; with a contagious keyboard riff and Boeckner's yelping, it almost sounds like Wolf Parade.

12. Frog Eyes - Bushels
Frog Eyes are a bit of an acquired taste, in my opinion. But once you can get past that, you will understand the magic behind this tune. Everyone in the band is basically bouncing off the wall and throwing hooks back and forth at one another, but somehow it stays coherent for 9 minutes. This makes for a fun song.

11. Arcade Fire - No Cars Go
Yes, I know this song is technically from 2003, but this re-recorded version is far superior. It is also in my opinion the best song on Neon Bible. 5 and a half minutes of full-band Arcade Fire jamming is always a recipe for success.
PS. I would have put the song Intervention on this list, but I prefer the old acoustic version that was played sometime in the post-Funeral era. Look for it, it's amazing.

10. Interpol - Pioneer to the Falls
I'll tell you this right now, I was really disappointed in Interpol's new record. It really just outright stank. I don't know what happened, especially since this gem came out of the album's sessions somewhere. Sparse guitar starts us off here, then in kick the drums and bass, and then finally the song just explodes with guitar riffs abound. You can almost taste how great this song is. No joke.

9. Black Kids - I'm Not Going To Teach Your Boyfriend How To Dance With You
Please, if you download one song from this list, make it this one. A definitive Cure influence with an original twist, this four-piece from Atlanta, GA is easily the most potential-laden band to arise out of the year 2007. Nothing expresses their unbridled energy and enthusiasm better than this track here.

8. Dinosaur Jr. - We're Not Alone
We already know that Dinosaur Jr. made a ferocious comeback with last year's "Beyond." What most people fail to realize, though, is that the best track on that record is "We're Not Alone," buried in the back half of the album. First of all, the tempo change which occurs halfway in is enough to elevate it up a level, but it is really J Mascis' guitar work that makes the song. The last 90 seconds are a blistering solo from Mascis, which would normally be terribly out of place in a ballad like this, but somehow the band makes it work.

7. Spoon - The Underdog
This was the first time on this list that I actually ran into a dilemma. Put The Underdog on the list, or You Got Yr. Cherry Bomb? Or even Rhthm and Soul was a possible candidate, for that matter. In the end, The Underdog made the cut, as you can clearly see. It was just so may even be the catchiest song of the year. The horn riff in particular is very hard to get out of your head. Should be a major radio hit, but hey, what can you do.

6. LCD Soundsystem - All My Friends
I really can't say anything about this song that Joey already didn't say. James Murphy somehow takes these simple electronic dance songs and turns them into real masterpieces. Out of the whole of standout record "Sound of Silver," this track stands tall, with its simple, yet catchy piano riff and sparse additional instrumentation.

5. The National - Apartment Story
Again, big problem choosing a National song. I just love the album "Boxer" as a whole. This song is definitely one that stands out at me, though. Dark and moody, it has been known to occasionally send a chill down my spine. Just hearing Matt Berninger's trademark baritone vocals can do that to me sometimes. It reminds me of prom for some reason, and no, it's not all because he tells the female in question to "please hold still for a second / while I try and try to pin your flowers on." Also, the chorus is just brilliant. It is unfair that someone can write these majestic tunes so easily, it really is.

4. The Shins - Sleeping Lessons
Best album opener of 2007. Yes, that's right, the best opener isn't "Fake Empire" by The National, although it is close. I can't even really explain Sleeping Lessons. It quite literally sends a chill down my spine when I hear the buildup culminate around 2 minutes in. Normally I say this in a metaphorical sense, like I actually don't get a chill down my spine. That is not the case here. Of course, the album itself could only go downhill from here, and it did...but that's probably the only flaw I can find with this song.

3. Beirut - Elephant Gun
The quintessential Beirut song. I almost forgot this song came out this year, but it did in January, on the Lon Gisland EP. If you want to introduce yourself to Beirut, this is probably the song you want; it really summarizes everything that is good about Beirut. Also get the version of Scenic World from that same EP, it is really kick-ass.

2. Sunset Rubdown - Up On Your Leopard, Upon The End Of Your Feral Days
You knew this was coming. Basically, it's Spencer Krug at his most eccentric and playful. Enough said.
EDIT: I did not realize that Joey said "enough said" to this album also. Apologies for stealing your thunder, Joe.

1. Radiohead - All I Need
I'm getting sick of all the hype around In Rainbows, not because the album is bad, but simply because no one really cares about this overrated marketing scheme they used. People who don't even like Radiohead are talking about it like it's some sort of revolution, but it's really not, it's just the internet. I won't get into my argument though. In Rainbows is obviously fantastic. I didn't even know how I was going to pick a track out to put on this list. In the end, that award goes to All I Need, for many, many reasons. First of all, I'll have you know that my roommate literally punched me in the face upon 37th listen of this song. As you can deduce, he dislikes Radiohead. But I was perfectly willing to take his punishment to continue listening to this song, that's how epic it is. The entry of the cymbals and piano in the second half of this song is the best thing I've heard all year. I have no regrets in naming this my favorite song of the year.


Erik's roommate said...

Nice list

note*:I did not hit erik

Stocker said...

Despite the very tiny amount of songs on this list that I actually like, 'tis the best one posted on this blog.

erik's cousin said...

'we're not alone' over 'back to your heart' off the dino jr album!?!?! meh, music is subjective. nice list tho.

Anonymous said...

St. Vincent needs to thrown in there somewhere. Andrew Bird is also on my own “highly subjective” Best of 2007 list.

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