Note: I apologize for the lack of updates, but I've been buzzing here in New Zealand. Alas, I haven't forgotten about all my beloved readers and this will be the first in a series of best of lists. Cheers!
I firmly believe in doing “Best of” lists after the year has completely ended because so much great stuff comes out in December and I don’t want to short-change those albums or films.
For the first installment of Foggy Ruins Of Time’s Best of 2007 lists I will be listing my top thirty songs of 2007. What I wanted for this list was a series of songs that to me, stuck in my head and found as much plays as possible. Also songs that truly felt right on every level. Without further ado I present to you:
(Note: this is in alphabetical order according to song title)
Cave Babies-“Asparagus Green”
Helmed by 5…4…3…2…1 radio host and Watercolor Paintings band mate Josh ‘Hoshwa’ Redman, Cave Babies is a sensitive project and “Asparagus Green” is the perfect song in describing feelings of adoration and longing. A simple chord organ riff with splashes of trumpet makes lines like, “My heart is on fire cuz you are so pretty,” even more tender and beautiful.
SXEZSKOZ-“Balloon Ride (Ghostwalking)”
Alfredo Barraza’s electronica project SXEZSKOZ provided the score behind one of UCSB’s best films, The Titan Sting, and “Balloon Ride (Ghostwalking)” is one of the most memorable songs off of that film. Containing layers upon layers of sound but relying on a smile haunting melody, I cannot even come up with the words for how pure and perfect this song is to me. I wish I could have it looped in my brain forever.
Paul Baribeau-“Better Than Anything Ever”
In the lo-fi world, the wait for his second album Grand Ledge seemed like eons, but with songs like “Better Than Anything Ever” it was well worth the wait. This song is adoration at its purest and honest. I know in my life I’ve felt this way about someone.
Marc With A C-“Classic Country Wasn’t Multitracked In ‘61”
Florida’s own Marc With A C released his best album yet in 2007, Normal Bias, and this first track hits hard and delicious. Containing one of the strangest hooks in a long time, there is something so utterly infectious about it. It’s the kind of song that’ll be sung around campfires someday.
Maria Taylor-“Clean Getaway”
She has only begun her reign of glory as former Azure Ray band member released her second album last year, Lynn Teeter Flower. This song echoes with a quiet longing that straddles the line between fragile confidence and sad irony. What does, “I finally made it/I made a clean getaway,” really mean? What does it mean for you?
A Lime Tree-“Cup of Love”
John Collector may be young, but under his moniker A Lime Tree he has started making music that clearly shows he has talent in every sense of the word. The song is startlingly amazing and the lyrics show so much wisdom and so much poetry. And to top it all off it’s incredibly catchy.
Dave Matthews-“Eh Hee”
One of the greatest physical representations of how the world feels to me right now. As I said in my original post, this song is a breathe of fresh air, not just for Dave Matthews fans, but for pop music in general.
Wow wow wow is all I can say; I can’t stop listening to this song. The Darlings are just getting started and “Emily” is quite an anthem to begin with; quite a sweet snarl if you ask me.
Angels & Airwaves-“Everything’s Magic”
The lead single off their second CD I-Empire, “Everything’s Magic” is a great song that proves through all the romantic angst of Tom Delonge, he can still channel some great poetry that packs an emotional punch.
Bright Eyes-“Four Winds”
When I first heard this song I felt like I could conquer the world. The first single off Cassadaga, this song shows Conor Oberst finally being able to grapple heroically over the senselessness of the world we live in. “Four Winds” is pure country at its core, one of the finest hooks in years, killer violin solos and my favorite Bright Eyes song.
Jonny Greenwood-“Future Markets”
Taken off of Jonny Greenwood’s revolutionary score for PT Anderson’s There Will Be Blood, “Future Markets” is representing a man on the prowl, or the kill. The wild staccatos by the violins remind you of a horror film, but with a sugary edge. It’s about a man who sweetly decides to take advantage of you and even if you see it coming you comply anyways.
Jim James & Calexico-“Goin’ To Acapulco”
One of the starring songs in Todd Haynes’s great deconstructive biopic I’m Not There, “Goin’ To Acapulco” reminded us all in the power of Dylan’s words, but it also showed even the uninitiated what a great fucking singer Jim James of My Morning Jacket is. Don’t forget those beautifully nostalgic trumpets by Calexico. One of the greatest Bob Dylan covers ever I’m sure.
Kanye West-“Good Life (Feat. T-Pain)”
One of the greatest summer anthems in ages, Kanye West mixed the right amount of flash and style with a huge splash of nostalgia, hopes and dreams. We all don’t have the same aspirations as Kanye, but I think this song really taps into a core part of all us that wishes for a grand life before any really world cynicism sets in.
Eddie Vedder-“Hard Sun”
This is pure bliss. From the Sean Penn directed Into The Wild, “Hard Sun” is a song that represents a feeling that is almost always escapable and never lasts too long. It only happens when we look down from mountains (all kinds) and see our entire life stretching back. Eddie Vedder tapped into the moment when we realize how great the view is all around us.
Flight of the Conchords-“ Hiphopapotamus Vs. Rhymenocerous”
The song has existed in some form for a few years, but when it came time to adapt it for their HBO show they took it in a great new direction. Featuring cheap hip hop beats from the late 80s/early 90s it only highlights their actually somewhat fantastic rapping skills. Did you read that right? Just listen to the song and you’ll understand.
Fragile Fawn-“Indian Giver”
This is an epic self-probing lo-fi song by one of my newest favorite duos Fragile Fawn. Labeled “demo” on their myspace I can’t even fathom what else they could do with it. It’s brimming with sounds and surprises, but has a wild melody that’ll have you beaming considering the subject matter.
Mike XVX-“ Inner City Blues”
“This song is about graffiti and how great it is,” says Mike and with that he jumps into a fast declaration of political dissent. It’s simple, honest, eye opening and so much fun to sing along to. It’s the pure spirit of DIY and true anarchy.
The Lonesome Architects-“Julie Vignon”
I don’t want to be her that’s all I know. Off of The Lonesome Architects second record The Ocean at Night, “Julie Vignon” probably exemplifies their brand of “folktronica” best, but it really doesn’t matter, the hook is biting and the beats even more so. Who knew folk music could be this visceral?
John C. Reilly-“A Life Without You (Is No Life At All)”
This song represents the kind of bombastic love songs that we all wish someone would sing about us. John C. Reilly’s voice shines here and the songs melodrama is perfect. By the time lines like, “I want to cry rivers of blood” come along you are so sold by the song you sing along without batting an eye.
A Drum And An Open Window-“Make Things”
I was so moved by this song when I first heard them sing it at Muddy Waters in SB. It legitimizes everything us artists do beyond a shadow of a doubt. It’s a call to arms for everyone to be creative and an assured hand that what we do really does mean something.
Rambling Nicholas Heron-“Only This And Nothing More”
This song is smooth, warm and comforting. I love this song with a passion and I feel like it’s all going to be all right when I listen to it. There is something about Rambling Nicholas’s voice that really grabs you and has a confidence that appears tender. This song is one for the ages.
Regina Spektor-“Real Love”
With all the Dylan covers going around this year it’s easy to forget that there was a Lennon cover album released too. I can’t speak for the rest of the songs off Instant Karma, but all I can say is Lennon’s “Real Love” was a perfect match for Regina Spektor. Her quirky voice brings out the uniqueness of this song like never before, and feels even more earnest. It is quite an accomplishment; its beyond that even.
Tinyfolk-“Really, Really Blue: A Tale Of Unrequited (Perhaps) Romance and Lizardry”
Released on Tinyfolk’s epic lo-fi album Bill and the Wee Pop! Records release Pizza Under The Sea, “Really, Really Blue” drips with nostalgia and longing. It is a new level of poetic mastery by Russ Woods and musically his most accomplished. It’s a sensory trip that brings up too many feelings to comprehend at one time, but Russ manages to channel it all quite beautifully.
This is the Radiohead song we’ve all been waiting for. Released on In Rainbows, the level of emotional outpouring is shocking, almost frightening. It is the song that is perfectly harmonious with Thom Yorke’s voice and uses it to its fullest advantage. “Reckoner” is the summation of everything Radiohead has ever done before this, and shows supremely one the greatest bands of all time at the top of the world.
Adam Faucett-“Salton Sea”
I was lucky enough to play a show with this fine fellow from Arkansas and this song really capitalizes on what makes Adam quite unique. The intricate plucking of acoustic guitar with a touch of organ highlights his soulful country voice. Even though he’s never been there you won’t be able to escape this song anytime soon.
Rilo Kiley-“Silver Lining”
The opener to Rilo Kiley’s much debated Under The Blacklight, “Silver Lining” is simple, pretty and a great gospel number. It’s cleansing because it marks a new direction for Rilo Kiley lyrically, communicating a lot with very little words, “I never felt so wicked/As when I willed our love to die.” Did I mention the handclaps, Jenny Lewis’s prime voice, and Blake Sennett’s harmonious and warm guitar licks?
I’m not that qualified to talk about Beirut (like some people I know), but this song’s waltz is quite beautiful and with the shower of voices and the accompanying trumpet there is something special going on here. Off of their second album The Flying Club Cup, “Sunday Smile,” is an example of a song where no individual part outshines the other, the elements work in harmony.
Shleby Sifers-“Try To Understand”
Shelby Sifers seems quiet, but this song hits hard. “Try To Understand” literally took my breath away when I first heard it. There is so much wisdom in it for how fragile Shelby’s voice sounds. It’s her way of trying to deal with life and living itself. We are all tender creatures, but we can make it if we try.
Isaac Arms-“Us Vs. Stuff”
This isn’t just the best song of 2007, but quite possibly my favorite song of all time. The second song off of Old Artificer, “Us Vs. Stuff” is everything I want in a song and more. I can’t even begin to describe how it makes me feel, but I well up every time. It’s a manifesto to the world that the love between two people will prevail no matter what.
Desmond Reed-“When I Met Michelle”
Desmond Reed is a pop genius. All he needs his acoustic guitar to tell cute, dorky stories with great choruses and smart lyrics. “When I Met Michelle” is his best song yet about how he fell in love with a girl Michelle. It makes me happy that those feelings were reciprocated because I felt exactly like he did when I first had a girlfriend.
So that’s my list for the thirty best songs of 2007. Stay tuned for the best albums, films and more!