Wednesday, January 16, 2008
18 Tracks (Best of 2007)
In an homage to Bruce, we have decided to post our favorite 18 tracks of 2007 for you to check out. We came up with 18 since that's what will typically fit on a standard CD. We're doing this individually so you can hear more songs and, ultimately, to see that I clearly have the best taste in music on this blog (here's a guarantee: at least 4 Josh Ritter songs will show up on JtR's post).
Enjoy the best of 2007 below for a limited time (if you want to find the CD, and you should, click the link on the artist's name):
***I did not include the I'm Not There Soundtrack for consideration because they are not original songs. However, that entire album is awesome.***
1) Bright Eyes -
This was a fight to the finish, but Conor Oberst's standout song could not be beaten. Cassadaga barely missed my list at #11, but it was a difficult decision as well. The rich, full sounds of the orchestral ensemble alongside Oberst's unique voice make "Four Winds" the song of the year.
2) The Shins -
A close 2nd, "Australia" encompasses everything I like about music. An uptempo track incorporating great harmonizing vocals and a combination of instruments that come together perfectly, this song is one that will get stuck in your head if you're not careful...I think I played it on repeat around 6 or 7 times in a row at one point.
3) Kings of Leon -
Another album that just missed my top 10, Kings of Leon's best track comes through in "Fans" with its opening chord that lingers through the oncoming acoustic and vocal onslaught of the brothers Followill before returning to take over this fantastic song. Definitely the hit of the summer.
4) Modest Mouse -
MM was once a group that I was hot and cold on. Their albums were like a roller coaster of "awesome" to "terrible" songs that ping-ponged all over the place. Now, they have gotten to the point of producing albums with songs that go from "really good" to "Dashboard-tastic." Enjoy.
5) Arcade Fire -
Keep the Car Running.mp3
I wish I could have voted on a top 15 albums list, because it would not have been so difficult to leave off these albums from the recognition they deserve. A beauty of a song, this one blends about 8 instruments together behind Win Butler's dynamic voice. Emotion at its finest right here.
6) Feist -
Past in Present.mp3
While the entire album is great, this is the one song that always catches my ear. It's hard not to feel like you need to dance around by the time the first note hits your ears.
7) The National -
Just beautiful. Matt Beringer's deep, clear voice sings sweetly over a piano and bass beat that is haunting. All is right with the world once the trumpets blast in at the end.
8) Bruce Springsteen -
The lone harmonica that opens this track chills you to your soul. However, it doesn't take long for Bruce's voice to warm you right back up. A passionate story of yet another fallen soldier coming home, Bruce's opening line speaks right to the politicians who are behind this tragic war:
"The speculators made their money on the blood you shed." If that doesn't get your blood boiling, nothing will.
9) Josh Ritter -
To the Dogs or Whoever.mp3
Today's greatest songwriter (I'm so sorry Mason...), Ritter has an uncanny ability to paint grandiose pictures of Americana lore while spitting out lyrics in rapid fire. Oh, and it doesn't hurt that his musical talents are phenomenal.
10) Iron & Wine -
The Devil Never Sleeps.mp3
The shortest song on this list, coming in at just over two minutes, this track packs a punch, evoking a Ray Charles meets the Rolling Stones style that is infectious.
11) The Alternate Routes -
Tim Warren's vocals are a perfect complement to the sweet guitar sounds that drive this song. A song that will absolutely get stuck in your head, it's actually one time that you will not mind it.
12) Kanye West -
Kanye's strong release on 9/11 produced a plethora of memorable tracks, but it's "Stronger" that takes the cake. Sampling Daft Punk's awesome "Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger," Kanye turns it and makes it his own with his wit and his Midas-touch producing skills.
13) Aesop Rock -
None Shall Pass.mp3
One of my surprise picks, this song opens without warning and doesn't let up until it finishes or you say "uncle." Aesop Rock has been producing high quality rhymes for years, but this is by far his defining work. This is hip-hop at it's finest.
14) Peter Bjorn & John -
The catchiest and most sung song of year for me, I couldn't get enough of this after I first heard it. To be honest, I neglected most of the album due to repeating this song so many times (which is the exact opposite of what normally happens), but I don't regret it for a minute.
15) Jay-Z -
Roc Boys (And the Winner Is)....mp3
American Gangster is in itself a masterpiece, but "Roc Boys" is where the CD reaches its boiling point. Self proclaimed "black superhero music," the song evokes a funky 70's feeling that keeps your body moving long after the song finishes.
16) Black Moth Super Rainbow -
A mellow, synthesized trip, "Sun Lips" is surprisingly complex, bringing together a wide range of instruments that make one of the year's most innovative songs. This is not a one-hit wonder for these guys, by the way.
17) Dropkick Murphys -
The State of Massachusetts.mp3
Boston! Beer! Murphys! Yeah! You can't help but pound a Guinness while jumping up and down to this rocking track. Classic Murphys.
18) Radiohead -
In Rainbows was one of the year's best, but Reckoner is the one that stays with you after you've moved on from it. Thom Yorke's beautiful vocals resonate over a subdued and soothing instrumentation, eliciting the feeling of an abandoned row boat on the ocean at dusk as the credits to a movie roll by -- or at least that's what I feel.
19) Wilco -
Side with the Seeds.mp3
The Volkswagen commercials were all over the place, but this was my favorite off Wilco's even, but overall standard album. The guitar solos at the end are what really do it for me.
20) Andrew Bird -
Bird's incredible whistling skills are only bested by his violin proficiency. This fluttery but well crafted song gives the impression of Bird's finely tuned style with a catchy hook.