Here are my favorite songs of the year. They may not be the best, but they're the ones that I've been listening to constantly. It was a TOUGH year. Many of these artists had SEVERAL great songs.
I must emphasize that I do not think of myself as an expert on music, nor do I think that these are the best songs of the year by any means. These are just songs that I have loved this year.
22. Of Montreal - "Labyrinthian Pomp"
I really enjoyed this album, despite almost forgetting about it towards the second half of this year. There were a few definite favorites, but on this one I shied away from the obvious pick. This song was repeated for quite a while. The song (and album) is just very fresh and original, quite different from almost everything on this list.
Other good songs: "Heimdalsgate Like a Promethean Curse," "The Past is a Grotesque Animal"
21. Bruce Springsteen - "Girls in Their Summer Clothes"
It's hard to find a song on this album that I don't like. I was blown away from beginning to end. But there's just something about this song that got me stuck on it. Everything just fits.
Other good songs: "Radio Nowhere," "The Devil's Arcade"
20. Andrew Bird - "Darkmatter"
"Do you wonder where the self resides/ Is it in your head or between your sides?/ Who will be the one who decides/ Its true location?"
This was another tough pick. As one of the harder songs on the record, this was just what stuck with me. The thoughts invoked, the lyrics, everything. And Mr. Bird is one heck of a whistler.
Other good songs: "Plasticities," "Heretics," "Scythian Empires"
19. Vampire Weekend - "Cape Cod Kwassa Kwassa"
Definitely a band to watch. I really love their international influences. A different and exciting sound. I think an LP is coming out sometime in early 2008.
18. Peter, Bjorn, and John - "Young Folks"
Although this was one of those "it" songs of the year, where you weren't cool if you didn't know it, I still liked it a lot. I don't know much more about the band than this song.
17. Justice - "D.A.N.C.E."
What a fun song! The music video was definitely a great of the year, but this song was one of my favorite d.a.n.c.e. songs of the year.
16. Pela - "Tenement Teeth"
Of all of these songs, this was probably the hardest pick from a band. Pela's entire album, "Anytown Graffiti," had so many songs I loved, I STILL don't know if this was the perfect pick. Pela has a unique rock sound, while at the same time having the sound of several bands blended together.
Other good songs: "Waiting on the Stairs," "Lost to the Lonesome," "Drop Me Off," "Calvary," "Song Writes Itself," "Rooftops," "Anytown Graffiti" (see what I mean?)
15. St. Vincent - "The Apocalypse Song"
Pay close attention to background singers for the Polyphonic Spree or Sufjan Stevens? If so, you will probably recognize this voice. Her debut album is really impressive, and this particular song just blew me away.
Other good songs: "Now, Now," "Jesus Saves, I Spend," "Your Lips are Red"
14. Kanye West - "Can't Tell Me Nothing"
Feel free to dislike the singer. Kanye West is one of the most arrogant people on showbusiness. But all those things that he says about being good? He's really right. I hate saying it. But he is. Although I really liked his new CD, I didn't enjoy it nearly as much as his previous "Late Registration." While I was still greatly impressed with the music and nearly every song on his new album, I felt like all but a couple songs were about how "awesome" he was and how much he had. Admittedly, that's Kanye West--but believe it or not, it's a little bit of a departure from his previous record. But "Graduation" was still a great album. He's not afraid to do things completely different, and they've paid off his past three albums.
Other good songs: "Good Morning," "Stronger," "Everything I Am," "Big Brother
13. Jon Foreman, "Equally Skilled"
Just a month or so ago, Jon Foreman released his first of four EPs, all titled according to season. This particular EP, "Fall," definitely had the autumn-esque feel to it. Although I enjoyed the album, I still don't feel completely blown away by anything--except for this song. For some reason I really got into this song, despite really hating the first couple of lines. Reminiscent of Ecclesiastes, the song begins by describing the depravity of humanity, but by the end reveals the love and mercy of Christ. I got goosebumps towards the end.
12. M.I.A. - "Paper Planes"
M.I.A. released one of the best and unique albums of the year with "Kala." Despite GREATLY enjoying this album, it's definitely an album I can't just listen to all the time. It's one of those albums that I LOVE here and there. This song, however, I can listen to all the time--gun blasts and all. A chilling song, but brilliant in it's irony.
11. Feist - "One Two Three Four"
The genius of Feist is that she has an appeal for just about everyone--"indie" enough to appease the folks at Pitchfork, but vintage enough for me to recommend her to an old Bed and Breakfast owner (which I actually did). This song is probably my favorite off "The Reminder," and has gotten her lots of attention (thanks to Apple and David Letterman). One of the most memorable songs on the album, "1, 2, 3, 4" combines banjos, choirs, and snaps to make for a frolicking and fun piece. Who knows, you may have even been a part of the choir during her Letterman performance!
Other good songs: "My Moom, My Man," "How My Heart Behaves," "I Feel It All,"
10. Band of Horses - "Is There a Ghost?"
This band I had heard of here and there, but only recently actually began listening to. "Is There a Ghost?" is a simple, but incredibly charged opener that I fell in love with at the first listen. A mix of the Shins and Built to Spill (and can I say better?--I might not get away with that one), I'm looking forward to finding out more about this band.
Other good songs: "Cigarette Wedding Band," "Ode to Irc"
9. Dan Le Sac Vs. Scroobius Pip - "Thou Shalt Always Kill"
This is definitely a breakout song of the year. When Dan Le Sac and Scroobius Pip battle each other, we all win.
8. The National - "Mistaken For Strangers"
One of my favorite albums of the year, and Paste Magazine's top album of the year, this song was definitely a tough pick. If you haven't heard of this band, check out their previous album, "Alligator." While I love "Boxer," I was much more impressed with just about all of "Alligator."
Other good songs: "Fake Empires," "Green Gloves," "Racing Like a Pro," "Start a War"
7. Radiohead - "Bodysnatchers"
Radiohead's newest album, "In Rainbows," was far and out one of my favorite albums of the year. One reviewer mentions that although mosts of the songs on the album (if not all of them) have been performed in concert over the last couple of years, it seems that they waited until they perfected them to put them on a record. It definitely shows. This particular song is the most rocking on the album, but just about the entire record should be on a list of their own.
Other good songs: All of them.
6. Arcade Fire - "Intervention"
This was another difficult choice on an incredible album. Arcade Fire continues to blaze on "Neon Bible." On this particular song, they perfectly utilize the organ, an instrument that's usually third on the "geekiest instruments" list, with the gong and keytar first and second. The lyrics also go to suggest that corrupted faith is worse than not believing. You know what's even better than the album? Seeing them live.
Other good songs: "Black Mirror," "Keep the Car Running," "No Cars Go"
5. Beirut - "Elephant Gun"
One of my favorite new bands, Beirut completely utilizes the Eastern European "gypsy"-esque sound. Although my pick of their favorite song was not on their incredible LP, but an EP released earlier in the year, the newest album, "The Flying Club Cup" is fantastic.
Other good songs: "Guyamas Sonora," "Nantes"
4. Spoon - "The Underdog"
Spoon's newest release, "Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga" is yet another incredible album to come out this year. It was also another tough decision on a favorite song off of it--but I, like others, went with the one that I kept going to. This one is a bit of a departure from the entire album featuring a big band feel with brass instruments.
Other good songs: "Don't Make Me a Target," "You Got Yr Cherry Bomb," "Japanese Cigarette Case," "Black Like Me"
3. The White Stripes - "Rag and Bone"
I was also HIGHLY impressed with the White Stripes most recent album, "Icky Thump." I felt like this record brought back the incredible guitar riffs and earlier White Stripes feel that their previous album "Get Behind Me Satan" left out (although I did enjoy that record as well). This song is probably the most fun on the album, NARROWLY beating out "Effect and Cause" and "Conquest."
Other good songs: "Icky Thump," "You Don't Know What Love Is (You Just Do As Your Told)," "Conquest," "Catch Hell Blues," "Effect and Cause"
2. Bright Eyes - "Four Winds"
Despite being a fan of Bright Eyes (they're one of my favorite bands) and loving their new album, "Cassadaga," this wasn't a particularly hard decision. There were a couple other contenders, but "Four Winds" just rose above them all. What kind of literary reference is this: "It's the sum of man/slouching toward Bethlehem"?! I mean who does that? A wonderful, wonderful song. As for the album, I loved it--but it seemed just a little TOO mature. But it does seem like Oberst is growing--something few acts actually do.
And he looks a lot less like a 12 year old in person.
Other good song: "Hot Knives," "Lime Tree"
1. Modest Mouse - "Dashboard"
Who would have thought that Modest Mouse's newest album would have found itself atop the billboard charts its first week of release? Who would have thought that the first single would perhaps be the poppiest song MM has created? But most importantly, who would have thought that it would be the best song on their album? The lush single, featuring layers upon layers of pop-rock, took a little bit of time to grow on me. --I was surprised! It seemed there was this sort of cognitive dissonance. There was this nearly "pop" sound that was met with the jolts and barks of Isaac Brock. But everything worked. Although this album is definitely not their best, "We Were Dead Before the Ship Even Sank" sailed me my favorite song of the year (sorry, that was an awful pun).
Other good songs: "Spitting Venom," "Missed the Boat"