Saturday, January 05, 2008

Best Songs of 2007

Here's my top ten list of best songs of 2007. Last year was a great time for music, and if the pattern continues, it looks like 2008 will also be good for music fans.

Here's some interesting observations from the song list. Nine out of the ten songs had lead female vocals (Hugh Grant being the exception, and he's not even a genuine recording artist). There was only one American song in the top ten (the one by Rihanna). And four out of the ten were either remakes or heavily influenced by an older song.

You can also check out my previous 2006 and 2005 lists. Happy listening!

10. Pop! Goes My Heart - Hugh Grant

When the movie 'Music and Lyrics' opened with Hugh Grant in full 80's look performing the music video to this song, I knew I would like the rest of the film. It's a song that is made to match the look and feel of that era. And parodies a lot of the old 80's music video style.

9. Girlfriend - Avril Lavigne

Surprisingly catchy and infectious. Angst-ridden, yet at the same time having a lot of positive self-affirmations. My favorite part is the short rap solo and the line where she sings "Hell yeah, I'm the motherf___ princess".

8. Don't Save Me - Marit Larsen

I have endured my fair share of ridicule and mockery from friends after admitting that I was a big M2M fan. And Marit, the blonde girl, was always my favorite of the two. So when I heard that she had released her first solo album, I was eager to check out the new songs. This is the first single from the album and was a huge hit in her native Norway. It has a lot of the M2M qualities we like, but in Marit's personal style. You can interpret the lyrics as being about the split with her M2M partner and best friend Marion Raven.

7. Shut Up and Drive - Rihanna

This is a guilty pleasure of mine. Rihanna samples New Order's Blue Monday bass and rhythm parts to create a hit song. I love it when new artists take sequences from 80's songs and adapt it to today's pop music. Most of the time, they end up ruining the old songs, but Rihanna actually does it well, duplicating the successful formula she used previously in SOS (which sampled Soft Cell's Tainted Love). Shut Up and Drive is a fast paced, energy-driven song. Rihanna's attractive physical assets displayed in the music video certainly helps enhance the appeal of the music.

6. Only a Fool - Marit Larsen

I really like Marit's voice in this one. And she does a lot of unconventional things in this song, such as the use of an instrument/sound effect that sounds like a whistle, as well as adding a banjo and harmonica to the list of instruments. This sounds very much like a children's song combined with many bluegrass and country elements. Cute and good song.

5. Everything's Just Wonderful - Lily Allen

This is a song that speaks to the thirty-something batch with which I belong to. We are faced with enormous pressure to be more responsible, get a good paying job, pay for the mortgage, stay thin, be a good taxpaying citizen, stay within the norms of society and play the same game that everyone plays. Then when asked by our friends and relatives "How's everything going?", we reply "Oh, everything's just wonderful" with only a hint of sarcasm and bitterness. And that's what this song is all about.

4. Selfish - Sunset Daze

The original 'Selfish' by The Other Two was my top song back in 1994, when I used to share yearender lists with fellow dangerousreviewer Roehl and other friends. So I was very excited to discover this remake. I only found it by accident from one of the mix collection CDs I bought early this year in my goal of updating myself with the popular songs I had missed from the Philippines the past three years.

The added background vocal blending is a great enhancement to the original. It's also good to know that some of the younger people hearing this song for the first time will also rediscover the original version by The Other Two. It's a tribute to good 90's music. It also symbolizes to me my own reconnection to family and friends I haven't seen in several years.

3. I Didn't Know I was Looking for Love - Sitti

sitti_cafebossa You're probably familiar with the EBTG (Everything But the Girl) version of this song, which is one of my favorites. But after hearing Sitti's bossa nova version, I think I'm starting to like it more than the original! I was with my brother and mother at Rockwell Mall when I first heard this playing in the background. I immediately asked my brother if he knew who the singer was. He didn't know, but he mentioned that bossa nova music was getting really popular in the Philippines and that it probably came from one of those new artists specializing in that genre, in this case, Sitti.

Of all the songs in the list, I feel this is the one with the most staying power and could easily have been my #1 pick as I'm still not tired of listening to it. The music and vocals have a relaxed yet playful style to it. This is how you remake a song, you take its essential qualities, and add your unique spin on it. Looking forward to more Sitti releases.

2. Oh My God - Mark Ronson/Lily Allen

lilyallen_ohmygod Get ready for a real treat if you haven't listened to this yet. This is an overpowering, high energy song featuring Lily Allen's singing and Mark Ronson's musical arrangement. I was amazed when I first heard this, it has almost everything I want in a song. It builds up to a point where you almost feel that it's going out of control, then recomposes itself before the dramatic trumpet solo. I listened to it repeatedly last summer while working out and taking long walks in the hot sun.

It's a remake (and improvement) of the original Kaiser Chief song of the same name. Definitely check out the other tracks in the Mark Ronson album if you're a fan of song remixes.

1. Single - Natasha Bedingfield

natashabedingfield_single This is hands-down the best song of the year. 'Single' has powerful vocals, one of the best bass lines produced in a song, fantastic lyrics, and an extremely addictive quality. The song is about proclaiming your independence, not only in terms of relationships, but also with regards to your individual liberation from the norms of society. Without question, 'Single' is the top single of 2007.

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