It is the time of year where in true geek fashion I begin to compile lists of my favourite musical addictions for the year. I absolutely adore this time of year and I have already began to poor over lists from Paste, Rolling Stone, Pitchfork and NPR among others. I am utterly hopeless.
Its a painstaking process, and I have to admit that I am quite fickle, changing my mind repeatedly. It is strange really, because its not like the fate of the western world is hinging on what titles gets cut from my shortlist. The origins of this process stems from my record store days, which provided me an opportunity to push my favourites on unsuspecting patrons and tell them what they really should have been buying!
To get things rolling here is my list of some of my favourite songs of the year. I am not into ranking within the list (that would be too painstaking) , so I have simply listed my favourite tracks in alphabetical order by artists. If I turn at least one person on to a new song that rocks their universe then I will consider it mission accomplished. I have linked every song to either the actual video, or some form of visual representation or performance. Enjoy!
Black Francis - "Threshold Apprehension" - The former Pixies auteur illustrates with this song just why he was an early muse for Curt Cobain, and countless others who formed bands after being blown away by the Pixies. He's in fine form here. This track provides a raucous listen that is reminiscent of Black's best work with his former band (see my previous Black Francis posting)
Blonde Redhead - "Dr. Strangeluv" - This track is an ethereal piece of transcendent dream pop. Like a few other past 4AD label mates, Blonde Redhead are adept at crafting highly impressionistic songs that take you on a journey to another place. What might be lacking in substance is rich in atmospherics and texture. It is a breath of fresh air.
Bright Eyes - "Four Winds" - Conor Oberst has crafted a much needed dose of biting political and social commentary to help lift us out of our Bush era Orwellian daze.
Crowded House - "Don't Stop Now" - Neil Finn's songwriting is back in fine form with his reunited band. This is a great pop gem, complete with Finn's penchant for a good pop melody. (read my previous review of the Album)
Feist - "My Moon My Man" - This song is immediately catchy and was embedded into my brain permanently after one listen. It is a rapturous and playful love song that demands a little booty shaking (a great video too!).
Flight Of The Conchords - "The Most Beautiful Girl in the Room" - This one will make you laugh, taking the piss out of countless acoustic ballads by over-emotive, sensitive guy singers.
Gogol Bordello - "Ultimate" - A chaotic and joyful masterpiece that spits in the face of thoughtless nostalgia and offers redemption through seizing the moment. (read my previous album review here)
Interpol - "Pioneer To The Falls" - Sounds like Joy Division's hipster little nephew and his friends from an Echo and The Bunnymen tribute band have been having fun in the studio again - a great song by a great band that flaunts it's influences proudly, though also has something of it's own to give as well.
Iron & Wine - "Pagan Angel And A Borrowed Car" - A muddy, slightly trippy little piece of post modern folk rock from Sam Beam and his cohorts. Complete with mesmerizing vocals and stream of conscious meanderings.
Keren Ann - "Lay Your Head Down" - A pretty little gem, kind of reminds me of Mazzy Star with more of a pop oriented sensibility. The vocals and strings on this track are haunting and lovely.
Alicia Keys - "No One" - Alicia is miles ahead in talent compared to many of her contemporaries and here she has crafted a modern day soul-pop classic. This song will bounce around in your skull for a long time, you have been warned! She is Aretha Franklin for a new generation.
LCD Soundsystem - "North American Scum" -Wonderful irony laden gem from James Murphy about the globally maligned North American way of life. An infectious, playful and conceptually captivating number, much like many of Murphy's other anthems.
M.I.A. - "Paper Planes" - A refreshing piece of more globally focused hip-hop that is the perfect anecdote to the mindless bling that dominates the mainstream. M.I.A. is playful with her samples, in this case using the sound of gunshots followed by cash registers in a rhythmical fashion. Clever, bold and daring, this is a real highlight of the year.
Kylie Minogue - "2 Hearts" - Kylie plays chameleon here with this glam rock tribute. Slick, quick and immediately catchy, Kylie is the queen at crafting a good pop single (see my previous Kylie posting)
The National -"Mistaken For Strangers" - A paranoid and oppressive sounding track that perfectly captures the angst of existing within a corporate entity in the 21st century. The thick swirling guitars are brilliantly menacing, creating a haunting soundscape.
The New Pornographers - "Challengers" - A more reflective and subtle piece than is usual from Vancouver's uber-group of power popsters. The song offers a glimpse of something new, of taking a journey to unknown places where one cannot see ahead clearly. The song is a gentle whisper and demands multiple listens to appreciate its magnificence. One of my favourites this year (check out my New Pornographers album review here).
The Polyphonic Spree - "Running Away" - Some life affirming symphonic rock that is unabashedly bold and optimistic, without sounding trite or overly formulaic. If you are feeling giddy with love I suggest you crank this up and sing along with Tim Delaughter's choir towards the heavens.
Rilo Kiley - "Silver Lining" - Shedding some of their hipster sensibilities Rilo Kiley go for some 70'a Fleetwood Mac inspired pop on this one. This song makes the aftermath of a cruel break-up actually sound quite pretty.
Robert Plant & Alison Krauss - "Killing The Blues" - What at first seemed to be an odd musical paring makes perfect sense after you hear this song. Wonderful and restrained harmonies with sublime production from T-Bone Burnett help make this sleepy number into something that is quite breathtaking.
Spoon - "You Got Yr. Cherry Bomb" - Motown meets indie rock in this infectious little diddy that will have you scrolling back again on your Ipod repeatedly. One of the catchiest songs of the year.
Coming Soon - My favourite albums of 2007!