The Top 50 Songs of 2007

The Top 50 Songs of 2007

by Treble Staff; lead photo by Candice Eley

2007>2006

So it was posted on the Treble staff message board. It’s hard to argue with that, considering the level of talent on display this year. New artists wowed us, old favorites outdid themselves, everybody wins! …for the most part. While many of us argued over the better albums of the past year, once the final tally of the best songs of the year came to be passed around, everybody, amazingly enough, seemed to agree—these 50 songs are just that good. As usual, we went with songs instead of singles. The majority of these tracks are singles, but if we left it at that, there would have been some choice selections that would have ended up criminally absent.

One strikingly curious characteristic that many of these songs share is length. One fifth of the list is made up of songs longer than six minutes, and more still hover around the five-minute mark. People can say what they will about the increasingly short attention span of music consumers, but if anything, we spent more time with our collections this year. We snuggled up to our records, got comfortable, made endless nights of it, getting to know them better. These 50 songs deserve that kind of commitment.

Simian Mobile Disco – “I Believe”

Ah, the glorious ’80s. The two James’, Shaw and Ford, believe (pun intended) that even though the technology exists to polish everything to death and to use the latest gear, that sometimes the old sound is just better. Now, by old I don’t mean accordions and ukuleles, but rather the tools of the trade used by the electro-pop forefathers (and mothers) including Yaz, Human League, Heaven 17, etc. “I Believe,” one of the singles from Attack Decay Sustain Release, is one of those songs that employs the methods of a simpler time gone by, when we were asked “Don’t You Want Me?”, “What’s a boy in love supposed to do?” and told “Don’t Go.” SMD has spent a lot of the past few years retooling other people’s songs, but due to the resulting album, ADSR and the song “I Believe” in particular, maybe they should just make us all happy and stick to making their own music. – Terrance Terich
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Lavender Diamond – “Open Your Heart”

My spring routine for the last couple years has consisted of a lot of back patio web-surfing, solitary swimming, occasional drunkenness, and a good bit of soul searching. Suffice it to say there is little comfort in any of those but on one such mope session I came across someone peeping the video to “Open Your Heart” and fell in love. The unexpected hit left me with the impression that Lavender Diamond was to be 2007′s Camera Obscura and erased my ever-present gloom with a temporary sense of happiness. Simplicity, rangy vocals and twenty-some odd consecutive “o’s” has one willing to open their heart and inclined to style and profile in the downtown afternoon. With “Here Comes One” as the salt to its pepper, “Open Your Heart” is among the most loveable songs this year. – Tyler Weir
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Beirut – “Nantes”

After the wonderful, out of left field, didn’t-see-it-coming greatness of Gulag Orkestar, the expectations couldn’t have been higher for Beirut’s The Flying Club Cup. I will admit that it took me more time to find the joys of The Flying Club Cup, but one song did capture my attention immediately. “Nantes” begins with a melancholy keyboard refrain and it becomes evident how much of an influence France had on Zach Condon. The lyrics are romantic with a hint of sadness and it would not seem out of place to imagine Edith Piaf singing along. It combines more of a classical motif with the Balkan horns that we became so familiar with on Gulag Orkestar. “Nantes” is a lovely, eloquent ballad and is further evidence of Condon’s talent as a songwriter. – Jackie Im
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Electrelane – “To the East”

Shortly after reviewing Electrelane’s fifth album, No Shouts No Calls, I found myself revisiting the same song over and over again. “To the East” is one of those blissfully upbeat songs that gives an extra skip in your step every time it pops up on your iPod. Every time I heard it, I found something new to enjoy, from Verity Susman’s endearingly limited vocals to those pitch perfect drum beats to that damn catchy bass-line. But it was Susman’s lyrics that kept that hold on me. Her profoundly simple lyrics captured that desire to share a home with someone with the repeated refrains of “it could be home, it could be home, it could be home for you and me.” The combination of the sweet yet not saccharine lyrics and the poppy rhythms makes “To the East” one of the most enjoyable songs I’ve heard all year. – Jackie Im
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The Long Blondes – “Giddy Stratospheres”

Today I treat you to The Long Blondes, and one of their wonderfully fantastic funky songs. “Giddy Stratospheres” is a mover and a groover, and a great dance hall smoker. The song starts, and WHAMM! One thunderfuck beat hits. A bass rumble starts the song, and some handclapping soon follows, reminiscent of early Blondie and the Delta 5. This song is a filthy romp of sound. The basic structure is one of rock `n’ roll via Britpop, but there is also a nice layer of disco, and another layer of punk, and that great girl vocal from Kate Jackson. Dig this one. – Ayn Averett
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Kevin Drew – “Lucky Ones”

“Oh, I know we’re gonna be the lucky ones . . .”

There’s something so genuine and prolific about this lyric, half-sung, half-shouted by Kevin Drew and his crew over jangled guitars, resonating as the deep-seated prowess of Spirit If…‘s lyrical content. Layers of emotion can be linked to that humble set of words, as they hint of love, affection, inspiration, anticipation, satisfaction, celebration, and so many more, making it one of the most fantastically relatable songs of the year. In fact, this lyric alone sums up the subtle yet complex gracefulness of Drew’s songwriting within the context of Broken Social Scene’s distinctly collective musical performance. In addition to the rest of the “solo” album, Drew chooses not to pull off such an epic piece on his own, and thus we experience how Pavement guitarist Spiral Stairs (a.k.a. Scott Kannberg) brings a twisty, effervescent element to the song’s structure that helps tweak the pop sensibility of Spirit If… to a more distinct center of rock and roll. “Lucky Ones” simply begs to be played on your next introspective road trip, your next dinner with friends, your next whatever . . . quite simply, it just begs to played, over and over again. – Anna Gazdowicz
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Gui Boratto – “Beautiful Life”

Unbridled euphoria and irresistible childlike wonder are seldom rendered so completely and compellingly. “Beautiful Life” is the sense of things momentarily slipping into their rightful places, of the extraneous worries and doubts engendered by day to day living made suddenly, however ephemerally, mute. In the context of the more indeterminate, complex states given expression on Chromophobia, Gui Boratto’s debut full-length, such a willfully naïve song could feel out of place, even trite. That it does not, that it is instead one of the anthems of 2007, is testament to its singular quality. – Tyler Parks
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Dan Deacon – ” Wham City ”

He wears glasses your grandmother would point and laugh at, his thrift store bargain-bin sweaters are so atrocious that not even well-intentioned relatives would ever dream of sending you for Christmas. The thing is, though, he kicks out some of the most inspired, uncontrollably ecstatic and frankly weird dance music Baltimore, or the world for that matter, has ever heard. ” Wham City,” the impossibly complex, massive, 12-minute epic centerpiece from Spiderman of The Rings is perhaps the most convincing evidence that Deacon’s eccentric man-child/electronic wunderkind reputation is rightly deserved. Referencing the Wham City artist collective of his hometown to which he belongs, Deacon eases into the lengthy romp with a chorus of inane lyrics about “a mountain of snow” where “everyone plays drums and sings.” The vocals are treated and distorted, as per usual for Deacon. Around seven minutes in, a hazy vocoder relates some near-apocalyptic prayer that man will die out and animals will once again rule the earth, before returning to the repeated chorus of inanities from before. The song fades and re-amps, dissolves and surges, and (this is key) is completely uninhibited by its unabashed, joyous arc. Here’s to weirdness in all its unhinged glory. – Mars Simpson

Bright Eyes – “Four Winds”

Until this year, I wasn’t really a fan of Conor Oberst. As it turns out, Bright Eyes was the show that mi novia asked me to before we started dating. I was a novice, a non-believer until we went to that show at The El Rey in L.A., a few weeks before Cassadaga was released. Conor and his crew played a most excellent show—I was floored and as I left the venue, I was converted. The song that truly won me over was “Four Winds.” It was the first Bright Eyes song to truly catchy my ears, the fiddle and strings throughout “Four Winds” sounding like a band playing on a ship that’s about to go down. It’s like a post-modern lyrical version of William Butler Yeats’ classic poem “The Second Coming.” You can hear the growth in Conor’s voice and lyrics. It’s not just about heartbreak or frustration, and “Four Winds” is a journey through the world falling apart. If this is the soundtrack to the end of the world as we know it, I’ll put on my headphones, sit back with mi amor and listen to Conor’s Bright Eyes sing us to oblivion. – Adrian Cepeda
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The Shins – “Phantom Limb”

To most people, a lack of sleep would be detrimental to the creative process. But I guess if you have insomnia, that means you have plenty of time to figure out how to make, in my opinion, one of the best albums of the year. So it was with Shins frontman James Mercer: a load of poetic imagery, a heaping pile of talent and the lack of sleep all muddled together to display track after track of connective conscious breaking its brilliance with “Phantom Limb.” There is so much that makes this track the most diverse and delightful song of the year. Starting off with a church bell and a perfect melodic mix that could be TV static or amp feedback, the noise leads directly into the tambourine driven base that is both cynical and psychotic. Mercer’s voice provides a nice blend of monotone expressiveness that only he could bring justice to with these lyrics. With the first few bars of this song giving the misconception that this is going to be some kind of industrial anthem, halfway through “Phantom Limb,” it’s refreshing to be singing along to Mercer’s wordless call—”whoa, whoa, whoa.” – Nikki Marra
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