Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Top 25 Tracks of 2007

As the year begins to turn to 2008, we'll be participating in a tradition as old as the Internets themselves: creating an overabundance of top 10 lists.

A month ago we released a preliminary list of the rankings for the top 25 songs of the year. Releasing a preliminary like that serves the purpose of allowing all the songs to posture for the final push of the season. Between then and now we've had a lot of jostling of position and a few late-comers into the fray (don't worry, The Fray didn't make it).

Before we release the final list, let it be known that the top 4 spots were all very close. Nothing against #5 but the top 4 all could stake a claim for number 1. See, this is why there are all these advocates of a playoff system, perhaps the +1 model.

But enough about the pedagogical process. Here's the Top 10 25 Tracks of 2007.

  1. "Fake Empire" - The National
  2. "Wet and Rusting" - Menomena
  3. "23" - Blonde Redhead
  4. "Keep the Car Running" - Arcade Fire
  5. "Paper Planes" - M.I.A.
  6. "Scythian Empire" - Andrew Bird (mp3)
  7. "Heart it Races" - Architecture in Helsinki
  8. "Intervention" - Arcade Fire
  9. "I Feel it All" - Feist
  10. "The Underdog" - Spoon
  11. "Paris is Burning" - St. Vincent
  12. "Truck" - The Octopus Project (mp3)
  13. "Bees Bein' Strugglin" - The Octopus Project
  14. "Accident and Emergency" - Patrick Wolf
  15. "Bros" - Panda Bear
  16. "Butterfly Nets" - Bishop Allen
  17. "Relief Next to Me" - Tegan & Sara (mp3)
  18. "Now, Now" - St. Vincent
  19. "Introduction" - Voxtrot (mp3)
  20. "The Ivori Palms" - Peter and the Wolf
  21. "Nude" - Radiohead
  22. "Sleeping Lessons" - The Shins
  23. "All My Friends" - LCD Soundsystem
  24. "Angel in the Snow" - Elliott Smith
  25. "Tonight I Have to Leave It" - Shout Out Louds
Dropping out of the top 25
"Cherry Bomb" - Spoon
"Mother of Pearl" - Nellie McKay
"No Cars Go" - Arcade Fire
"Slow Show" - The National
"Dashboard" - Modest Mouse
"Black Blizzard / Red Umbrella " The Octopus Project
"Phantom Limb" - The Shins
"The Magic Position" - Patrick Wolf
"Bodysnatchers" - Radiohead
"My Moon / My Man" - Feist

Others receiving votes:

"Rain" - Bishop Allen
"Don't Make Me a Target" - Spoon
"Hijomoland" - Sigur Ros
"Spitting Venom" - Modest Mouse
"Rehab" - Amy Winehouse
"Jesus Saves, I Spend" - St. Vincent
"Apocalypse Song" - St. Vincent
"Boy With the Coin" - Iron & Wine
"Impossible Germany" - Wilco
"Heretics" - Andrew Bird

Most Annoying tracks of the year:
1. "D.A.N.C.E." - Justice

It gets its own category:
1. "Atlas" - Battles


Yes, it was a tenuous stay in the top 25 with no less than 10 tracks dropping out. But the big news has to be "Fake Empire"'s final push to the #1 spot. It had been on the outside, looking in at "23" and "Wet and Rusting" for months. But as those two tracks peaked earlier in the year, "Fake Empire" finally broke through when it mattered most: a real clutch job.

The biggest jump was Andrew Bird's "Scythian Empire," going from unranked to #6 in the span of a month. The other big jumper was Architecture in Helsinki's "Heart it Races," however that was a function of not realizing it was a 2007 release. The biggest drop was Radiohead's "Bodysnatchers," from #7 to unranked. It's tough to say why exactly. It's a really cool song.

One other observation without giving away too much for the long awaited Albums of the Year post: it was really tough to pare down the number of St. Vincent tracks. In fact, if we were really being honest, we might have a few more of her tracks in here. She's fantastic.

Until then, post your favorite tracks of the year. Peace.


Adam said...

I only listed to 3 cds this year - or something like that. But here's my comments anyway.

My favorite Radiohead song from In Rainbows is "15 Step." But other people seem to list "Bodysnatchers,"Nude," or "Jigsaw Falling Into Place." Those are all great songs but why no respect for "15 Step"? "15 Step" is fantastic. Probably my favorite song of the year. So you got that one wrong DMS.

Also, as for Arcade Fire, I find it difficult to choose between "Keep the Car Running," "The Well and the Lighthouse," and "(Antichrist Television Blues)." But I won't complain about your choice here.

I've just started listening to St. Vincent - I'm liking it so far. I also just got Boxer, and some Peter and the Wolf.

What do you think about the fact that now in our digital mp3 world the ability to download single songs is killing the importance of creating a great entire album? Personally, I don't like it. I like complete albums - albums that are a coherent whole. And no one is better at that than Mr. Stevens.

gk said...

I'm not suggesting "15 Step" isn't a fantastic song, but here's my thinking: while I love "15 Step" it sounds a lot like the first track of "Hail to the Thief," "2+2=5". Which I enjoy as well. But I think Radiohead fans are always either looking for A) something totally new or B) something that reminds them of the pre-Insomniac era. While I know those are two opposed forces, that's my theory. And "Bodysnatchers" sounds a lot like something from "The Bends" or "OK Computer" wile "Nude" and "Jigsaw" sound like "Kid A," both during the "glory days" of RH.

That's my theory at least.

As for the digital mp3 dilema that is causing the industry to collapse.... well I'm not so sure that isn't a bad thing. I mean, the artists that are really really good are still going to produce great stuff - full albums and whatnot - regardless of the economic incentives to do so.

The kind of music that is being hurt by the Naptster/iTunes music world is pop and rap. And those two genres have always relied on The Single as the moneymaker.

I don't think it's at all hurt the quality of the albums of the kind of music I listen to. In fact, I would argue that the digital mp3 has allowed talented and creative bands to get more traction than before. I mean, it's hard to see a band like Midlake or even Sufjan Stevens existing in the pre-mp3 world. And these two artists put out the two of the best complete albums in the past few years.

So I'm not sure that the digital mp3 is causing a downward trend in album quality. The record companies bitch about it - and they have good reason: there's no doubt they are losing millions of dollars. But then, if the only incentive to make a whole album is to get people to pay money for it, maybe it's not such a bad thing to weed out some of those artists.

The best artists are doing it regardless of the money they'll make off of it.

I'm starting to ramble now.

Ash said...

Are we confusing Green Day and Radiohead? Tisk tisk. (Amnesiac v. Insomniac).

Having listened today for the first time to the new Radiohead album in its entirety (how did it take me so long?), I have to say it's their most solid creation since Kid A without doubt. Listening to Bodysnatchers, it strikes me as a strange fusion between Electioneering off OK and The National Anthem off Kid A. What I Need (especially the ending), Videotape, and Bodysnatchers are stand out tracks for me. I think In Rainbows is as good as it is in part because of Thom Yorke's own personal creation, The Eraser. In an interview with NPR while promoting the Eraser, he commented on the fact that he had seriously questioned his ability to create compelling music in the months and years after Hail to the Thief came out. Struggling with depression, the Eraser gave him that renewed confidence that I think is evident on In Rainbows.

I'm glad to see that LCD made an impression, though the callous exclusion of my #1 below makes me question your methodology.

My Top Songs for 2007

1. The Past is a Grotesque Animal - Of Montreal

2. All My Friends - LCD Soundsystem

3. Keep The Car Running - Arcade Fire

4. Uniform - Bloc Party

5. Volver a Comenzar - Cafe Tacuba

6. Racing Like a Pro - The National

7. Videotape - Radiohead

8. 1234 - Feist

9. Paper Planes - M.I.A.

10. Bodysnatchers - Radiohead

11. Fake Empire - The National

12. Dashboard - Modest Mouse

13. Rehab - Amy Winehouse

14. The Underdog - Spoon

15. Now Now - St. Vincent

16. Our Life is Not A Movie or Maybe - Okkervil River