Monday, December 24, 2007

Part One: THE BEST SONGS OF 2007 (#81--#100)

As this is a five (5) part series, I'll just use the different issues to sum up the theme of the songs. 2007 had probably the most wide assortment of noise-makers than any other year. The fact that these songs are at the end of my top 100 songs shouldn't distract from their just means that the tracks ahead of them were even more radical. The sound merchants are represented through the likes of Dan Deacon and Battles, both who tinkle with electronic urges. In Deacon's case, he suffuses more vocals and comical gaffes. R&B sees the new-comer Estelle about to blow up Stateside surely with the release of a track that is subtle but irresistable. Even more established acts but less than revolutionary offering found a nice range to espouse their egos further (Kanye, Beyonce). Enough talk, here's the first batch of twenty songs.

100. ‘The Chills’ (Peter, Bjorn & John): creepy, but nice creepy, PB&J captured hearts with the strange 'Young Folk' last year (well, not mine...the song didn't make my list year and isn't on this one either). Believe me when I say it's probably the weakest thing on their fine 'Writer's Block' disc whereas 'The Chills' arguably is the best. As the title suggests, this is a blast of icy maturity wrapped in warm vocal work.

99. ‘Esmeralda’ (Speech): all but vanquished from the music scene but the prodigal son returned to the fold along with his band to deliver what is a standard funk exercise.

98. ‘Sugar Mama’ (Beyonce): in a totally new approach, Miss Knowles caressed our thoughts instead of ramming down our throats (as in the case of the equally yummy 'Upgrade U') and behold the sultry result.

97. ‘Atlas’ (Battles): in many ways, ‘Atlas’ highlights the highs and lows of Battles: in its initial segments it proves wildly exciting but it subsides towards it end, leaving us on a high but wishing for more. In a sense though, I'm sure the band and those who gush effusively about them, will say this is precisely the intended effect.

96. ‘Debbie’ (Architects in Helsinki): noisy, loud yet irrepressibly with momentum. This from a group that still wildly grafts any noise they can imagine themselves funking to then recycling it our way.

95. ‘Dumb Animal’ (TV on the Radio): last year’s champions return with an electric EP and this was the most wowing moment. Notice the gleeful shards of electronic feedback towards the end. A year one from the monumental 'Wolf Like Me' and still no group rocks the house like them.

94. ‘Innocence’ (Bjork): it’s been a long time since Bjork has left herself so vocally open to the sheer nuance that it evokes, juxtaposed with Timbaland’s insistent beats. The many different remixes I've heard are way more fun but even in such a natural state, the two titans of pop have balanced out each other's egos and haven't disappointed (which is more than I can say for both solo disc).

93. ‘St. John’ (Cold War Kids): odd flow works nicely.

92. ’Bound’ (Suzanne Vega): even in this current resirrection of her career, 'Bound' proves that no one can parry pop more fecklessly than this woman and unlike others, she can spread it delicately on an entire album too.

91. ‘Crystal Cat’ (Dan Deacon): boldly going further than others like Battles dared to, Deacon fuses electronic sparks on ‘Crystal Cat’ endlessly and, more crucially, successfully. That a pudgy Caucasian can make this type of record and get critical praise for it is really scary.

90. ‘Minaret’ (John Vanderslice): brilliant piano-laced track that drapes its sentiment post 9/11 rememberance. A line like, ‘same name, same war’ is more than a cheeky political reference too.

89. ‘Wait a Minute (Just a Touch)’ (Estelle): ah, the new funk/blues leading lady!

88. ‘Rock Number One’ (Cassius): sheer funk bliss and somehow I get this more than the over-hyped Burial disc.

87. ‘Electrik Boogie’ (Ursula 1000): the influence of Prince crops up all over this much so that one is tempted to remember that the Purple One actually did solo work this year.

86. ‘Stronger’ (Kanye West): though it points to a departure (or is it demise?) of sorts, the Daft Punk sample absolutely rocks here. One of the few forward-thinking tracks on his otherwise dull album.

85. ‘Plaster Casts of Everything’ (Liars): frizzled jam that scoops its insides without copping out. Takes guts to dare put out a record like this and let people love it.

84. ‘North American Scum’ (LCD Soundsystem): cohesively impressive blast of funk from one of the milestone albums of the year.

83. ‘Take My Time’ (Junior Senior): white boy geek pop isn’t supposed to be this fun and formidable and it many ways this group has surely evolved by now: this is from their 2005 album that is only now swimming Southside.

82. ‘Don’t You Evah’ (Spoon): a blissful soul whooping.

81. ‘Art of Story Telling Pt. 4’ (Outkast feat. Floetry): even with a suspect Floetry crooning the chorus, Outkast fizzes the freshest rhymes exquisitely.