I'm not gonna do an albums of the year list because there were hardly any full albums that I really got into. Of Montreal, Tegan and Sara, The Maccabees, Paramore and...thats about it. There were lots of albums I listened to, but hardly anything that I went back to over and over throughout the year. So that's that. There were, however, a lot of songs that I was really excited about this year. Separate from the album they appear on. I'd go back to these before the rest of the album. They defined 2007 more than any individual album, save the four mentioned above. So here is my top 40 of 2007.
Ryan Adams - Halloweenhead (m4a)
Aside from just being a nice song, it was the ring-tone for my alarm clock phone for the latter part of the year. So I wake up to "I've got a baaad ideeea..." every morning. Somehow, it still made the list.
The Black Lips - O Katrina (mp3)
This song...this band in general, just doesn't sound 2007. Despite the, um, topical lyrics. Like a completely different era. All said, probably the most enjoyable live band of the year. This is their best song off the latest album.
Digitalism - Pogo (mp3)
I didn't want to put this on as a "representative" of this great album, because it's such a departure from the rest of the band's stuff. Regardless, it's still a great tune. If there's one song to take off of that album tho...one song that I'll listen to on its own a year or two on the line, this is it.
El-P - The Overly Dramatic Truth (mp3)
I can never get into El-P's flow, but his beats are the best. This one wins on that alone.
Justice - Stress (mp3)
This song is off the charts intense. Maybe not as listenable as some of the other songs on this album, but I like music that creates subliminal reactions. This song makes me twitch.
Menomena - Wet and Rustling (mp3)
I couldn't ever get past the first three songs on this record, but man are they good. This is the best of the three, I suppose. My opinion on them changed almost daily when I used to listen to this more often.
Modest Mouse - Dashboard (mp3)
I really really liked this Modest Mouse album when it came on. It was a perfect progression past the mainstream 'Float On' era into a new comfort zone. This was probably the best song on the album, tho there were other contenders. I haven't listened to it much lately, but I should. It was good.
The National - Mistaken for Strangers (mp3)
The "Silvery Citibank lights" line, the "Showered and blue blazered" line. The National creates great images. Stuff I can kind of relate to. This song just feels like walking down Lafayette street at 3AM in the rain. I like that.
Of Montreal - She's a Rejector (mp3)
Jeez, it's been so long since I've spent a lot of time with this album, it's hard to pick songs off it. The entire album could have probably made this list had the record been released 6 weeks ago. It was my favorite this year by far, but looking back now, its hard to pick favorites. This was the last song that I decided was my favorite before I stopped listening to this album every day. So points for that.
Okkervil River - Our Live is Not a Movie or Maybe (mp3)
I never got into this OR album, despite loving them more than ever leading up to the release and it getting a ton of great press. Every time I try to listen to the album, I really get into this jam (first track on the record) then kinda lose focus.
Paramore - Hallelujah
Another alarm clock song. The pre-chorus hook is so huge I love it. Also, I like the way her voice starts at a higher pitch than expected. Thats fun.
Pela - Waiting on the Stairs (mp3)
This was the song that made me say whoh...these guys are great. Must have seen them live 5 times at the beginning of the year, still love hearing this song. Great moment towards the end of the song where they slow it down and are all "Come sit next to me..." Terrific song.
The Photo Atlas - Light and Noise (mp3)
In the end, this was a far better song than the rest of the album, which was probably why I never really noticed them take off. This song kind of takes everything I like about music over the last 6 years and mushes it into four minutes.
Kellie Pickler - I Wonder (video)
Listen, I know this song is total cheese, but out of all the rest of the shit out there, this one kinda stuck with me. Everything about it is just total trash, but it still resonated somehow. If the song wasn't enough, that CMA performance where she ended in a pile of tears was one of the most genuine, oddly touching live moments on TV this fall. Something about people actually caring about what they're singing really works for me.
R. Kelly/Usher - Same Girl
This shit was just genius. Sure, the video was what really put it over the top, but the back and forth dialog, the lyrics about TBS, Waffle House, and that magical "She gonna be looking so stupid when she see us together!!!" line was what won me over. Kudos, Kel.
Rihanna - Please Don't Stop the Music (mp3)
Best song off an album that had several other fairly decent tracks. I get excited when I hear this instead of Umbrella at a Knicks game or a Christmas party.
Bruce Springsteen - Radio Nowhere (mp3)
I thought this was a killer single. Exactly the kind of song that makes people remember that you're Bruce Springsteen and this is what you do. Not the greatest thing he's ever done, but it was fun for a couple months towards the end of the summer.
Sum 41 - With Me (mp3)
One scene on Gossip Girl with Chuck and Blair going at it in the back of a limo and I was sold. I know nothing of what this band is up to since the Fat Lip days, but whatever. I found this song after that episode and listened to it over and over.
Tegan and Sara - Knife Going In (mp3)
My second favorite song off my second favorite album of the year.
Wilco - You are My Face (mp3)
I guess this pick came from those VW ads. I heard this song first on there, followed up with the full record and settled back on this song after listening through a couple times. The "I have no idea how this happened!" part, and the guitar part leading into it is one of the top 10 stuck-in-you-head musical moments of the year.
And the top 20...
20. Hot Club de Paris - Clockwork Toy (mp3)
Kept coming back to this song over the others. I liked the perpetuallness of the sound as a whole. Not as fun as some of their other stuff, but better.
19. Good Charlotte - I Don't Wanna be in Love (video)
There's a lot to hate about this song. The (Dance Floor Anthem) qualifier. The "but most suckas hate it" lyric. But man is there a lot of things working here too. Safe to say this is the best thing Good Charlotte has ever done. I absolutely hated with a passion their early stuff like "Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous." Maybe more than maybe any band ever. But this is, overall, some really good stuff.
18. Maccabees - X-Ray (mp3)
Quietly turned out to be one of my top 5 albums of the year. Still one of my go-to albums 10 months after first hearing it. This is the best track on the album, tho I could probably make a case for 6 or 7 of them.
17. The Shins - Australia (mp3)
Another overlooked album based on principal. These guys had no chance after Garden State, but you know what? They held their own and put out a pretty cool record. This is one of the better Smiths ripoff songs I've heard in recent years.
16. Bright Eyes - Cleanse Song (mp3)
Haven't listened to this album in a few months, but this song makes me wanna go back and get back into it again, cause I really loved it the first time through. This was the album-stopping track for me. Great imagery.
15. Nakatomi Plaza - A Manifest Destiny Grows In Brooklyn (mp3)
I loved this record. Top 5 of the year, maybe. This opening track is a killer...vintage Rainer Maria. Wish more people listened to them cause I think there's a pretty big audience out there that'd be into what they've got to offer.
14. Black Kids - I'm Not Gonna Teach Your Boyfriend How to Dance With You (mp3)
You know, drop all the hype and nonsense and these guys have exactly 2 excellent songs. There's no way around that. This one is the better of them. Someday, they will be a footnote on the Wikipedia entry for "2000's Indie Rock" as the band that finally killed the blogrock trend, but for now we can just enjoy this jam and worry about the consequences later.
13. Of Montreal - Heimdalsgate Like a Promethean Curse (mp3)
This album was greater than the sum of its parts. There are some songs that stood out, but the whole thing was what made it so great. This was the first song I remember hearing off the record where I was like "whoh, we've got something special here."
12. Plain White T's - Hey There Delilah (mp3)
I hated this band so much when I saw them perform that "I don't hate you, but I really really really don't like you" song (actual lyrics) on TV once. But their placement on the emusic top 10 taunted me for long enough that I finally had some extra credits and gave it a shot. Turns out this song is quite a burner. A bit corny, for sure, but catchy and endearing enough to work on me.
11. Maximo Park - Books from Boxes
I loved the last Maximo Park album, but didn't listen to this one much. BfB was a major standout track, but the rest was quickly forgotten.
10. GladOS (Portal) - Still Alive (mp3)
(Portal Spoilers ahead, for anyone who is planning on playing it wait on reading this.) Every geeky gamer owes it to themselves to have this in their top 10. Imagine the roller coaster of emotions, playing a 2 hour long puzzle game, until suddenly (SPOILERS) you're thrust from the game world, trying to escape the lab the game had previously been contained in. After another adventure that lasts almost half as long as the entire 18 levels previously, you defeat the boss that had been directing/taunting you the entire game, and the last moment is you, dead on your side, but aboveground in the real world. You destroyed the system, at the expense of your life. Bittersweet, but satisfying.
BUT THEN...this song comes on. And not only is it the boss you were supposed to have just defeated singing about being still alive, but the song is actually catchy and somewhat incredible. And the lyrics are right there on the screen as you sit in stunned disbelief reading along to the song. And then it ends. After all that, you lost. Your 3 hour sacrifice, trying to escape the testing facility to save however many others might have come after you is all for naught. You lose. It's over. The bad guys win. What could have been a more satisfying twist?
9. Vampire Weekend - Oxford Comma (mp3)
I hated these guys on principal until I actually saw them live and heard their songs. Turns out, they're goofy college rock! And awesome! If the Black Kids killed blog rock, Vampire Weekend handed them the rifle. If a band that sounds like this can get pretentious music fans on board, then there's really nothing left to argue about.
8. Band of Horses - No One's Gonna Love You (m4a)
Such a great song. Loved hearing it on Chuck a few weeks ago. Band of Horses is good for 1 amazing song off each album, which pushes the album of otherwise above average tracks to an overall great listen. Kinda like that one kid who throws off the class curve. The Funeral was that track last year, and this is the one for 2007.
7. Black Lips - Hippy Hippy Hurrah (mp3)
This is barely even a song. One epic guitar sequence and a lot of incomprehensible mumbling. But it's so great, isn't it? simple, effective. Good beyond explanation.
6. Kings of Leon - McFearless (mp3)
Kings of Leon are good for at least one amazing song of the year contender per album. Their last two albums have been really solid overall too, but this is just a different level. Surprised they don't have more mainstream traction. What about this would a Nickelback fan not like?
5. Feist - My Moon My Man (mp3)
This was the Feist song in an ad you saw every 5 seconds before that was cool. Aside from being an impossibly catchy jam that could have been a late 90's Jennifer Lopez supersmash in a different life, it provides a perfect speedwalking pace. I've never been late to work while listening to this song.
4. T-Pain/Cloud Cult (Hood Internet) - Collide You a Drank (mp3)
Better than both originals by far. How they're able to make those CC hooks work 100x better than they already were is incredible. Taking the rest of the world's song of the year and mashing it up with one of my favorite bands of the decade is a special thing. Hood Internet is genius.
3. Pinback - Good to Sea (mp3)
Silly puns aside, I love this song. The last Pinback album had remarkable lasting power, and while this one didn't quite stick with me like I hoped it would, this song sure did. One of my most listened individual tracks of the year.
2. Tegan and Sara - Nineteen (mp3)
For the rest of my life, if I ever hear the phrase "I felt you in my legs, before I ever met you" shout out at me from a jukebox, I'll think of 2007. Fondly. Brilliant song. The best by far from one of the only albums this year that actually mattered to me.
1. Paramore - Misery Business
I was pretty high on this song already, but it jumped to all time fav territory once I read Hayley's livejournal explaining the history behind it. This is the best song of the year.
So that's it! I've been working on this post for 2 weeks, and am sure that I left off something I'll smack my head for forgetting. I'll have all these songs in a YouSendIt .zip file or something up by the end of the week, if anyone is interested in that.
Also, check out Kelly's list. Not too much overlap aside from the top spot.