Sunday, March 9, 2008

Top 5 Songs of 2007

Tim mentioned this topic last time, and since I'm bored at the moment, digesting some lasagna, I guess I'll go ahead and try starting it. Since it's just songs, I imagine there will be a lot more feedback since I'm pretty sure everything we can think of putting here will be easily accessible. There's always Youtube.

Dan's Top 5:

1. Duran Duran - Falling Down - I had a really tough time trying to determine the #1 spot, which for some reason isn't normally the case. I decided to play it safe and go with a pop song. The masters of pop really came through on Red Carpet Massacre, and this is by far the best song on the album, and ranks up there with "Come Undone" and "Ordinary World" in terms of songwriting quality. I doubt I'll ever get tired of hearing this one.

2. Panda Bear - Comfy in Nautica - I talked a lot about this song in the last post, and it was really the only other contender for #1. I figure it's safer to put it at number two, but really, it's a virtual tie. Who knows, the Duran Duran song may even get old. Now, maybe Panda Bear loses some points because the vocals are just so reminiscent of Brian Wilson and his insane reverb that it almost seems a touch unoriginal. But no, this is just a damn good song.

3. Paul McCartney - Dance Tonight - A-ha, you had forgotten about this single, hadn't you? Shame on you, since it was the epitome of Paul McCartney songwriting. A short, simple-as-hell song. And it gets bonus points for featuring the mandolin. And it's catchy. Look it up on Youtube, and it will be in your head for the next week. Bonus points for Mackenzie Crook being in the music video.

4. Radiohead - Videotape - Not my favorite song off of In Rainbows, but probably the best objectively speaking. It's a good end-of-life retrospective piece, perfect as the last song on the album. I liked the earlier live bootlegs so much better, though.

5. LCD Soundsystem - All My Friends - The music behind this lengthy song is the definition of repetitive, but it gives it almost a "Heroes" kind of feel. I just started listening to it today, and I guess this is my way of saying, "hey, check it out - now I'm listening to LCD Soundsystem." But honestly, this song seems really special. Or maybe it isn't and just seems new to me.

Honorable mentions: All the other Radiohead songs on In Rainbows, The Good, The Bad, & The Queen - Herculean, The Bravery - Believe, The Bravery - Time Won't Let Me Go, Editors - An End Has a Start

Tim's Top 5:
This list is loaded with horns...sorry, KC and the Sunshine Band, this just about had to be your year.

1. Spoon - The Underdog - This is classic Spoon, an understated song that has no basis for ever reaching the radio. The song's even got a horn section, something not you're going to hear out of Austin, TX that often. Britt Daniel is in rare faux British form, and it's a brisk and catchy song with an infinitely memorable chorus moment that you will carry around with you weeks at a time. It's one of the best songs of 1966, which easily makes it the best song of 2007.

2. The Shins - Phantom Limb - It's hard to knock this from #1, since it's the song from 2007 that I've listened to the most obsessively, but for a long time I actually didn't even like it, so I suspect that there had to be something that turned me off initially. It's not all about the vocals here, because the simplistic and constant drumming carries more than its share of the weight, but there's more depth and direction in James Mercer's voice for one second in this track than Scott Stapp will have experienced in his entire life.

3. Jay-Z - Roc Boys (and the winner is...) - Ok, American Gangster is not a great album on par with The Black Album, but this is Jay-Z in rare form. And it's got its own horn section that really carries the flow. It mixes Curtis Mayfield-R&B, the unmatched rap stylings of Shawn Carter, and a pure pop chorus. Rolling Stone called it the number one song of the year, I'm sad to say, but even a broken clock is right twice a day. Their inclusion of Kanye's "Stronger" at #13 on the list just shows that they are also quite wrong on a frequent basis.

4. The Bravery - Believe - I don't quibble with someone who would choose Time Won't Let Me Go as the better of the singles on this album, and part of me almost chose Fistful of Sand as the best track on the album. But if you're listening to it on the album, including the 29 second intro that begins the album, I don't think there's much choice. It's a more modest track than Time Won't Let Me Go, that really just sounds "big", but the guitar - drums - guitar - vocals lead-in in the first ten seconds of the song grabs me every time. It's also apparently on Madden 2008, but despite my hours and hours of playing the game, it didn't catch my attention until I got the album. Well done, The Bravery. With respect to 2007, I choose you in the feud with The Killers. In 2005 and 2006, uh...yeah, well, this album was amazing.

5. Arctic Monkeys - Fluorescent Adolescent - This is what an amazing day in London sounds like. This is the song that will forever place "daft" in my lexicon of words that will be useful in a pinch. It has a lo-fi sound, but you can also tell that all 8 tracks on the recorder were getting used before this went in the can. The real hook here is Alex Turner's vocal work and rapid tempo shifts, ranging from frenetic at the beginning of the verses and slowing down into the breaks -- it's perhaps the only song I can think of that builds up to slowing down, but it works masterfully...until it sprints to the finish. It's a 3 minute pop song, but it does it right.

Honorable Mention: The White Stripes - You Don't Know What Love Is (You Do As You're Told); Travis - My Eyes; The Bravery - Fistful of Sand; Bruce Springsteen - American Land (no one else could capture another era's music any better); Bruce Springsteen - Last To Die (probably the best lyrical song of 2007); Fall Out Boy - Carpal Tunnel of Love (just the "woo hoo hoo" almost pushed it into the Top 5); The Arcade Fire - Keep the Car Running; Maroon 5 - Makes Me Wonder (the lyrics really made the difference, just knowing that the 18 year old girls who wanted to run out and buy the album didn't notice what Adam Levine is saying makes me love this song)

Ryan's Top Five

1. "The Good Life" - Kanye West - I love, love, love this song. This is the ultimate backyard party song.

2. "An End Has A Start" - The Editors This song rules. I love this sound, whatever particular genre this is.

3. "Smokers Outside The Hospital Doors" - The Editors - I thought about ranking this one above song #2, but then I'd just be being cheeky.

4. "Listen!!!" - Talib Kweli - He and Kanye are the two best rappers out there, says I. That'd be an interesting Top 5...

5. "Flashing Lights" - Kanye West - Well, this pick evidences how much music I heard last year. That said, I do love this song. A great driving song.

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