Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Favorite Songs of 2007, Part One

Now seems like the best time to fart out the requisite doling of my own opinion about this year's music releases. And since I have no time management ability or job, I can only do a music list, as seeing movies requires money. Woe is me, I'm a hobo.

Favorite Songs of 2007:
T-Pain “Buy you a drank/Show U How”

It took a while for this to grow on me. I hated, and still do "I'm in Luv with a Stripper", and his talkbox is more Cher than Roger Troutman, but once I got over the hump and heard the song a bunch of times, I realized how fucking brilliant T-Pain is. Seriously, Epiphany is the only good R&B album to be released since Cody ChesnuTT's The Headphone Masterpiece. There's such a great fucking moment in the bridge/break of the song and the "Awwwwwwwww snap!!!" drops. THAT SHIT IS REAL. That's why he can get away with a dance break written into the song. And Yung Joc actually enhances the track with the requisite R&B song rap-as-bridge-section. Luckily, he has a chilled out, lazy southern flow and voice, rather than sounding like, oh, Lil' Wayne. And the synth riff in this song is really weird, on some new age shit. The weirder pop music gets, the happier I am.

"Show U How", is also fucking great. All hyperbole deserved. I can really imagine getting fucked up at a club and having my crotch dubbed into numbness to these songs.

Really, I could've picked 1/3 of his record. This song is also on some hip-hop/R&B (weird that that's been a genre for like 15 years now) perfection shit, and at this rate, the next T-Pain album will be a classic. Honestly. He's got a song about stomachs. T-Pain wins.

Bright Eyes- “Four Winds”

Cassadega sucks and will not be on my "Best of". Regardless, this song is beautiful. I still maintain the best thing he ever did was Lifted..., although that record left us in the overdone band arrangements and kitchen sink pastiche songwriting clusterfuck of Sufjan Stevens and other boring twee fetishists. It's surprisingly catchy for alt-country, and I still think his lyrics are very smart, regardless of how much crap people give him for looking like a twat. But the song is absolutely flawless, which makes the lameness of his last three records even more disheartening.

Arcade Fire- “Intervention”

Jesus fucking Christ. Now, usually if something is this overwrought, I turn off completely, unless it's the rare occasion that the motherfucker pulls it off. And they do. When I first saw this SNL performance, I wanted to gun down everyone in the band. Especially after the incredibly cliched and impotent guitar smashing and affected vocals. I had hated the band since Funeral, but for the purpose of objectivity and out of curiosity, I downloaded their records anyway this summer, and despite having 3-4 disposable or boring songs on both records, I found myself digging them. It was good, although by no means important, life-changing or really anything I'd shell out $50 to go see at Randall's Island (Seriously. Hipsters shouldn't be allowed an income.) But for indie rock histrionics and overblown full band arrangements, it doesn't get any better than this song. Therefore, all other songs similar are officially shit. Come on, how great is that organ? Jeez. If some movie doesn't snatch this up for some triumphant montage, then film is really as dead as it seems.

Amy Winehouse- “You Know I’m No Good”

Who would've known she would blow up over here? I haven't listened to this in a while, but I still perk up when I hear it. It's not my favorite song on the record. Hell, I didn't even buy the album. It was alright and interesting, and it sucks that her voice is being overshadowed by how much of a fucktard she may be, but when I heard this for the first time on More Fish, I thought it was iller than what Lily Allen was trying to sell to me. And it reminded me of 2002, when this kind of shit got invented. What a great time that was. Remember Zero 7 and Res? Probably not.

Kanye West- “Flashing Lights/Good Life”

Definitely the winner for the song that moved me the most this year. A few tracks on Graduation were legitimately gorgeous and affecting. This is what I mean when I shit on emo, recent pop and whisper rapping for trying to falsely project emotion and not getting the picture at all. It has to be in the music first. You can't just fake some ache over drop-D guitars of a fucking Will.I.Am. beat. And the soft, stacked octave synths are a good look, those hipster-dance rusty saw/industrial synths were just beginning to annoy the fuck out of me. (Hey, I know distorted synths are awesome, but these fucks are killing it like metalcore killed the natural minor scale)

UGK- “Swisha and Dosha/Int’l Playa’s Anthem”

I can't even act like listening to Underground Kingz isn't sort of bittersweet now. I did that last week, and with Pimp's death, it gets really really depressing around disc 2 (See: "How Long Will It Last" and Charlie Wilson's sanging the shit out of the hook). But we still have this last celebration.

R.I.P. Pimp C

Styles P-“The Hardest”

There's two versions of this, but the one from The Ghost Sessions is a lot better, in respect to Styles' verses. But I was surprised to randomly check out that mixtape and find this song, and be taken aback at how lush and pretty yet hardbody this track is. A lot like "We Gonna Make It" is. But Styles and Swizz Beatz are on some bullshit with that new single. Ugh.

Pig Destoyer- “Loathsome”

Oh fucking Christ this is catchy. Despite having an unnecessary refrain of the bridge riff towards the end of the song, it completely destroys the whole way through. I didn't like it at first, but the again, it's taken four listens and 6 months for me to even start digging Phantom Limb. I just fear for the hipster/scene-kid co-opting of the band that's already happening.

Pop Levi- “Pick me Up Uppercut”

I'm pretty sure I just randomly tuned into "Subterranean" for the first time in a year and a half this summer, and this was on. My mind exploded. I had stopped watching the show and listening to anything that wasn't hip-hop, metal, or electronica because the bulk of what was played was really really bad or boring. But I ended up downloading his record after this song drove me crazy the rest of the night. And everything is right with the song, and I support the raping of 60's pop and glam rock by hipsters. It's the one thing they get right. From the combo of electric and acoustic rhythm guitars, to the "e-i-e-i-e-i" trills in the chorus to the loud-ass tambourine and the nonsense lyrics about some fucking dance and an alligator. Can't believe the guy is in Ladytron.

Sean Price- “Oops Upside Ya Head/Stop”

I saw "Operation Lockdown" on some best videos ever list by Pitchfork that was actually interesting and peeped Nocturnal on some list of the Source's best rap albums of all time, so I checked it out. Had some cool songs, but I didn't find it to be that far ahead most decent mid-90's rap, though admittedly, that was still the Golden Age of rap and most slept-on record from '86-'96 are better than the best reviewed rap albums of this decade.

With that said, Sean Price is awesome. They didn't have videos for the songs I picked, but it doesn't matter because Jesus Price Superstar is a shockingly good piece of NY rap and Sean Price continues the trend I've noticed of really hardbody and consistent NY rappers who are in their mid to late 30's. He's the brokest rapper you know. How can you not love him?

QOTSA- “Sick Sick Sick”

I hated this song at first and was sure that the record would be as much of a letdown as Lullabyes to Paralyze. And at first, I hated Era Vulgaris. But I downloaded it again a month later and, obvious faults in some of the songs aside, it was pretty much the best rock album of the year, regardless of what prefix you attach to "rock". Really fucking weird, at that. Plus the riff break after every verse DESTROYS once you get into the album. It's great that there's a relatively mainstream rock band with ridiculous musicianship while still maintaining a degree of weirdness and the good rock cliches, like drugginess and groove.

Municipal Waste- “Sadistic Magician”

Some bands exist to just play music. It's kind of cool that there are excellent live bands whose albums suck and who you can go see just to have a great time. It makes a great disconnect in music criticism, as bands like World/Inferno Friendship Society and Municipal Waste suck on record, but are indefatigable live and also provides an avenue for mindless escapism, as opposed to Behold...The Arctopus or or something. This song is the one exception, more because it's awesome to yell "Sadistic...MAGICIAN!!!!". It's catchy and ridiculous and probably one of the few good Waste songs. Regardless, they WILL fuck you up.

MIA- “Bamboo Banga/Boyz”

I have to refer back to Brandon's post on her. She is a big fat bag of polarization. I made some comments on his posts defending her, yet admitting that there's just something "not right" about her. Regardless, her records are really good, and there's a lot more consistency and depth on Kala, and this is great example.

Kings of Leon- “On Call”

This band strangely went from a legitimate rock band with strong southern influences to a full blown "indie rock" act, complete with vague moments of post-punk influence, with this last album. It was supposed to be the classic "experimental 3rd album" phase, and it was. Some of the songs were fucking weird. This track is really great, but gets annoying by the bridge/solo section. But that slapback echo bassline and the orgy of reverb with the unnecessary palm-muted chugging make for a unique song, and a good blip on a kind of bad album.

Lil' Wayne
- “Dipset 2”

Listen, if you go by Dedication 2, Lil' Wayne is legitimately great. If you go by the shittastic Da Drought 3, he's complete mixtape-rapper trash. Regardless, he's funny, weird and interesting, and therefore heads above 90% of everyone rapping still. His homage (no homo) to his towel buddy Juelz is one of few good moments on the mixtape, but the "Santana's Town" beat is probably one of my favorites of the last 5 years and is fucking ridiculously overblown and triumphant and I always felt that it was wasted on Juelz. It's the definition of a banger, and I wish more people would take a shot and rapping on it to. I wish I could put "Getting Some Head" on here, because he killed that, but I'm sure that Dedication 2 is from late 2006.

Joell Ortiz- “125 pt.1 The Bio”

I was hype about Joell Ortiz for a minute back in February or so. More so, I was desperate for any rap that wasn't complete shit in the first half of this year (little did I know they were saving it all for the 4th quarter), so I was telling those that would listen that this guy was the truth. In reality, he is good, but NY rap is completely homogeneous and boring and every time you go, "Man he spits some crazy shit", you realize everything he says, right down to flow and inflection is completely commonplace and dime a dozen. Still, this track has some hot moments. He just needs to stop chilling with KRS. Seriously.


josephlovesit said...

Awesome post. Hearing that Arcade Fire song reminds me of when I was in the record store way early in the year, vaguely flirting with this cute red-haired hipster cashier. That song was playing over the system at the time and I actually went and bought the damn thing. What a weak move on my part. It's definitely solid for what it is though.

I agree w/your Bright Eyes analysis too. Though I don't really like that single, I could probably still enjoy Lifted.

And I had never heard that Styles P track before. It's really good. My love for both him and AZ is directly proportional to their beat selection, because they're always kind of samey-but-consistent lyrically/vocally.

Christopher said...

JoseStalin: WonderDog- I lost my shit when I heard "Lifted..." in 2004. I was sooooooooooooooooo emo over a few of the songs and I was going through some things with my ex-girlfriend (although I was/have always gone through unpleasant things with her) and would be in the dark swaying, singing "I WANT A LOVER I DON'T HAVE TO LOVE!!! WHERE'S THE KID WITH THE CHEMICALS???!"

Had "Intervention" came out in 2004, I probably would've cried myself to sleep writing bad DJ/LJ poetry and watching "Requiem For A Dream". Yeah, I was that guy in 11th grade.

I'm not very proud of my teenage years, haha.

I sort of feel bad when rappers are useless without a really good beat. They become reduced to musical appendages, in a way.