Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Top 20 songs of 2007

As can be heard on my latest podcast, which you can subscribe to here.

20. “Radio Nowhere” by Bruce Springsteen
While 2007 marked the moment when it was cool to like Springsteen again (see the recent Spin cover story featuring Arcade Fire’s Win Butler shmoozing with Bruce), The Boss — pushing 60!also delivered a barnburner of a single.

19. “Untitled Shook Ones (Emancipator Mashup)” by Sigur Ros vs Mobb Deep
KEXP played this one to death, and with good reason. It’s an unreleased mashup — available on the MySpace page of NYC DJ Emancipator — of a 12-year-old rap hit and one of the tracks from Sigur Ros’s haunting 2002 ( ) album. Genius. (Also on JeffMix2007.09.17.)

18. “Pussyole (Oldskool)” by Dizzee Rascal
Few songs got a bigger reaction than this eye-popping, expletive-laden crowd-pleaser. Apparently there’s a radio edit out there, but why bother? (Also on JeffMix2007.06.21.)

17. “My Rights Versus Yours” by The New Pornographers
How ELO can you go? The New Pornographers give it their best power-pop try and put out a mini-masterpiece.

16. “Golden Skans" by Klaxons
A surprise pick as NME’s song of the year. A great, groovy, get-in-get-out pop song. (Also on JeffMix2007.02.)

15. “Electronic Battle Weapon 8” by The Chemical Brothers
What became the track “Saturate” on this year’s poorly-received We Are the Night CD began as this promo-only version, a thundering six-and-a-half minute electro blast. (Also on JeffMix2007.04.26.)

14. “Hospital Beds” by Cold War Kids
“There’s nothing to do here, just whine and complain” begins Cold War Kids’ lead singer Nathan Willett on a song with possibly the best lyrics of the year, a vivid tale of “joy and misery.” (Also on JeffMix2007.04.26.)

13. “What We Had” by Handsome Furs
One of the best sounding songs of the years, filled with acoustic guitars, harmonicas and anvil strikes. Looking forward to that Wolf Parade follow-up disc… (Also on JeffMix2007.04.26.)

12. “Plasticities” by Andrew Bird
“Precious territory,” indeed, as Bird sings on this delicate, underappreciated track from his Sufjan-like 2007 CD, Armchair Apocrypha. (Also on JeffMix2007.04.26.)

11. “So Much Love” by The Rocket Summer
“Born to Run” is such a fantastic song, perhaps the best ever, that far-less-weighty imitations, like this one, sound pretty great. Complete with a that’s-not-Clarence-Clemons sax outro. (Also on JeffMix2007.12.15.)

10. “Box” by Tokyo Police Club
Another woefully overlooked track, this one from the best thing to come out of Newmarket, The Strokes’-sounding Tokyo Police Club. Wait until they actually put out a full record. (Also on JeffMix2007.04.)

9. “Let’s Dance to Joy Division” by The Wombats
Big in Britain, The Wombats have yet to make much noise this side of the Atlantic. But songs like this fun, tongue-firmly-in-cheek floor-shaker should change things. (Also on JeffMix2007.09.17.)

8. “Take Me to the Riot” by Stars
Not really known for their singles, Stars go for broke with this one, their most unabashed attempt at hitting the charts. Riot on!

7. “New Romantic” by Laura Marling
Not yet old enough to drink, UK singer/songwriter Marling showed why she’s being tipped as the Next Big Thing with this mature-beyond-her-years tear-jerker. (Also on JeffMix2007.09.17.)

6. “With Every Heartbeat” by Kleerup ft. Robyn
Although this Kate-Bush-meets-Daft-Punk single was floating around late last year (and appeared on Pitchfork’s list of top tracks of 2006), it didn’t get an official North American and UK release until early this year. Stunning. (Also on JeffMix2007.02.)

5. “On Call” by Kings of Leon
Nashville longhairs Kings of Leon inched closer to superstardom with their hit-laden 2007 CD, Because of the Times, and this slow-growing stadium rocker. (Also on JeffMix2007.02.)

4. “The Plot” by White Rabbits
It’s got One Hit Wonder written all over it, but what a collar-grabbing way to go. (Also on JeffMix2007.06.21.)

3. “I’m a Flirt (Shoreline)” by R. Kelly vs Broken Social Scene
This was the year of the mashup, so it’s fitting that this growing, er, genre lands near the top of the list. But this track is not here for ceremonial purposes — it’s simply brilliant, not to mention highly enjoyable. From The Hood Internet, a website and DJ duo that specializes in fusing indie-rock hits with the latest hip-hop jams. Already the site is getting tired, but for one glorious moment this past summer, they hit the perfect mix. (Also on JeffMix2007.04.26.)

2. “Lake Michigan” by Rogue Wave
Sure, the handclapping is straight from the Arcade Fire playbook, and the lyrics leave something to be desired (“Heaven is a switchboard that you want to fight…” Um, sure it is.). But in a year strongly influenced by Brian Wilson and his sun-kissed song-making style, Rogue Wave provided the dreamiest pop and its best sing-along. (Also on JeffMix2007.09.17.)

1. “Fake Empire” by The National
One year-end-list writer said something like: “‘Fake Empire’ might be an obvious choice, but that doesn’t mean it’s wrong.” And from the first listen, it was obvious that this was the best song of 2007. Staying out super late tonight, picking apples, making pies. We’re half awake, in our fake empire. Majestic. (Also on JeffMix2007.04.)

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