Friday, December 28, 2007

2007's top 20 singles b/w 2007's random awards (v 1.0)

Note: The following is a companion piece to the Duluth Budgeteer News' "The Best Albums of 2007, Pts. 1 & 2."

The top 20 singles list is a way to recognize great songs that otherwise would’ve slipped through the cracks; whether they are on compilation, soundtrack or EP releases -- or their respective albums just didn’t have what it took* to make the “The Best Albums of 2007, Pts. 1 & 2” list.
Hope this clarifies a few things….
The numbers are kind of meaningless (as I change my mind hourly), so just keep that in mind before you ... cancel your subscription. (HAR HAR HAR)


Atmosphere - “Party Over Here”
This EP shiner has to be Ant’s most triumphant composition yet. Not to be outdone, indieground rap’s dynamic duo is already back with a new batch of songs. (I especially love how they announced the release of “Sad Clown Bad Winter #11” on MySpace: “What do you do when you record too many songs for your new album? How about drop an EP of that material for each season leading up to its release.”) Let me tell you, if 2007’s four EPs are any indication, Atmosphere is going to have a monster hit on its hands early next year when “When Life Gives You Lemons, You Paint that Shit Gold” drops.

Beck – “Timebomb”
Deservedly, this “playful and apocalyptic” digital-only single was recently nominated for the Best Solo Rock Vocal Performance Grammy. For once, a Grammy selection that makes sense! “Timebomb” is as fierce as most Ant productions ... and at least half as fun.

Office - “The Ritz”
The most instantly enjoyable song since Metal Molly’s “Orange.”

Best Friends Forever – “Eisenhower is the Father”
Minneapolis’ premier quirk-pop outfit performing what is arguably their most brilliant composition -- right up there with Jes and Bri’s Nothing Jive About Jupiter/reru work. (Forever on our request lines: “If I Were You.”)

Simple Kid – “The TwentySomething”
Explosive! You couldn’t ask for a more accessible single. It draws you in from the get-go, keeps things going with universal lyrics (“Don’t know where we are going / It seems we’re always running / Can’t pay for things we’re buying”) and has enough “spacey” drum fills to impress even the most ardent of ‘70s rock enthusiasts.

Grayskul – “Scarecrow”
Nothing in Grayskul’s entire catalogue even hints at the unabashed good time that is “Scarecrow.” The group is probably bracing itself for Outkast and Dead Prez comparisons on this spastic, polished track, but I’m going to go one further and say fans of the Black Eyed Peas won’t think twice about embracing it with open arms.

They Might Be Giants – “The Cap’M”
Not an instant classic, but pretty damn close: Funny, hooky and memorable!

Black Lips – “Bad Kids”
In a just world, “Bad Kids” would be at the top of the pops.

Datarock - “Computer Camp Love
Comparison shopper? Try this on for size: Sounds like P.O.S. (by way of Blueprint’s “naughtiness”) fronting TV on the Radio for a “Grease” soundtrack retread ... phew.

J Church – “Vampire Girl Prefers Me Alive”
These guys are back ... and they’ve still got it: infectious, melodic and angular punk at its best.

Brother Ali – “Truth Is”
The best (darn) Minneapolis-by-way-of-Milwaukee albino “indieground” rapper you’ll ever come across.

The Chemical Brothers feat. Fatlip – “The Salmon Dance”
Fatlip has an impeccable sense of humor and, backed by the Chemicals, he's an unstoppable force. Best line: “Did you know … that I could go to Japan?”

Justice – “D.A.N.C.E.”
Like a good Avalanches track, styles of all sorts are thrown together on one gigantic, irresistible canvas. Especially winning is the children’s choir, which has already garnered comparisons to Pink Floyd’s famous anthem “Another Brick in the Wall.”

Dntel feat. Jenny Lewis – “Roll On”
One to surely get the legions tapping their feet is “Roll On,” which features the unstoppable indie siren Jenny Lewis (of Rilo Kiley). With a mild stomp, the song is swept away by her graceful presence — accompanied ever-so-eloquently by Tamborello’s masterful knob-twirling.

Golden Smog – “Starman” (David Bowie cover)
These guys are infallible. Just last summer they dropped the awe-inspiring “One Fine Day,” and now we get a terrific EP with this spot-on Bowie cover? We are all surely living the good life right about now.

Northern State - “Better Already”
The girls in Northern State are “all grown up,” returning with a sound influenced by (as far as I hear it) the post-punk sheen of Seattle’s Pretty Girls Make Graves.

Super Furry Animals - “Run-Away”
Recommended if you like Frank Black when he does his best to ape David Bowie and the Beach Boys (at the same time), with a slight hint of Roy Orbison’s Grade A crooning.

Black Francis – “Threshold Apprehension”
Just think: This is probably one of the songs written for the Pixies reunion album (that was ultimately scrapped), so, if you think about, getting a cute girl to sing backup vox is akin to the legendary Bostonians reuniting in your living room. (No, not really? OK….)

The Hives – “You Got It All … Wrong”
It’s nice to hear that these guys haven’t settled down!

Rogue Wave – “Lake Michigan”
Like the Hives, it’s reassuring that Rogue Wave hasn’t changed a bit from album No. 1 -- few bands sacrifice growth for consistency ... while this isn’t always a good thing (rarely, in fact), it just works.


Artist of the Year: Atmosphere (it takes some mighty creative individuals to release four solid EPs of “extra songs” – and an entire freebie album on top of that)

The Record that Probably Would’ve Placed Somewhere on Matthew R. Perrine’s Hundreds of Year-End Lists Had it Not Showed Up in the Mail After Everything was Written: Office’s “A Night at the Ritz”

The “Hey, Is This the Foo Fighters?” Award: John Davis’ “Arigato!”

Most Radio-Friendly: Stephen Kellogg & The Sixers’ “Glassjaw Boxer”
Best Reissue in Terms of Potentially Saving Me Thousands of Dollars on eBay: “Alone: The Home Recordings of Rivers Cuomo”

Best Remasters in Terms of Sound and Scope: The Traveling Wilburys collection

Most Workmanlike Release: There were many this year, but Ozma’s “Pasadena” really stands out as being the most mediocre

Best Release from People I Used to be in a Fake Gang With: Best Friends Forever’s “Romance Conflict Adventure” (had this not been the case, it would’ve rated quite high on the top albums list)

Best Album that was Actually Released in 2006: Sloan’s “Never Hear the End of It” and/or the Magic Numbers’ “Those the Brokes”

Comedy to Pee Your Pants To: Patton Oswalt’s “Werewolves and Lollipops”

The “How Could They Possibly Cram That Much Talent Into One Album?” Album: Dan Wilson’s “Free Life” (guests include Mason Jennings, Gary Louris, Storyhill’s John Hermanson, Bleu and Jonny Polonsky, "drunkle" Saul … among many, many others)

Stuff I Heard
Last Night on Walt's Show that I'm Kicking Myself for Not Including on Any of My Myriad Year-End Lists, or: I See the Light Now, and I'm Sorry: Black Kids, M.I.A., White Stripes, Future of the Left, Enon, Hotel Coral Essex and Battles

*Only kidding ... I'm not that intense about this exercise in musicgeekdom! (Close though....)

The best albums of: 2006, 2005, 2004 and 2003
"2006's Top 20 Singles/Random Awards"

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