As promised, I present my picks for the top tunes that did a fair share of tickling my fancy throughout 2007. As a result, my fancy is currently in the process of pressing charges. This list involved a lot of thinking, which is usually against my better judgment. But in the meantime, I shall present the culprits (in no particular order, but just assume any and all Britney entries to be considered first):
Flavor of Life – Utada Hikaru – Don’t be fooled by the CD art. This song involves neither pastel colors, nor rice balls, NOR sheep (a bit disappointed by the latter exlusion). Nay, Flavor of Life was a major tickler during the first quarter of 2007. Floating on top of simple piano chord progressions and string accompaniment, Utada’s breathless vocals made the song both haunting and beautiful.
Gimme More – Britney Spears
I can’t actually describe what happened when I heard the song for the first time, besides a lot of jumping, followed by complete stillness to listen closely, followed by giddy hand clapping, again by intense silence, and then manic laughter. No need to introduce this one. It’s not her best, but it’s damn good. Even the haters couldn’t shake the impossibly catchy chorus. If only she was aware. Come back BB.
. The One – Kylie Minogue
Sometimes I wonder if Kylie wrote this little ditty especially for me. I wrote about this song a few entries ago. It’s timeless, iconic, and especially hypnotizing.
Cry For You – September / I Won’t Be Crying – Infernal
During the lonely winter months of the first quarter, music was a bit dire. By now I’ve learned, there’s only one multi-vitamin supplement jam packed with cheap thrills to fill the void of talent: Euro-Dance! Fun, defiant nothings about getting over him and being the bigger man/lady. September’s entry is more heartfelt, but the vocals in Infernal are much more raw sounding. Equally distracting until the pop wheels began to churn once again.
BUT – Koda Kumi – Wait, why isn’t she lyrically gyrating and riffing nonsensically?? I don’t know, but I think I like it…a LOT. It’s as if she’s trying to make a new sound, instead of regurgitating her songs over and over. Dark, broken electronic beats and vocal aerobics. Now this is the kind of Kumi I want.
Umbrella – Rihanna
We’re tired of it. Accept its brilliance, nothing else to see here.
Volta was not good. At least, not to me. Too much ballad, and the ballads were too monotonous. It sounds very harsh and judgmental, but BjÃ¶rk has produced “Joga” and “Hidden Place” for goodness sake. She isn’t exactly dull. This one rocked the socks off of the album, though. Using a new instrument called the ReacTable, BjÃ¶rk elicited electric noises never before used in such an interesting way. Her inherently guttural voice is wonderfully excitable throughout the song. Watch a live performance of this to understand how cool the process actually is.
Bamboo Banga – M.I.A.
I’ll admit. I don’t love Kala as much as everyone else does. I myself am an Arular advocate. But I do happen to enjoy many of the tracks off of her second album. Most notably (XR-2 is perfect, but I heard earlier versions for almost a year already), Bamboo Banga. When I heard the song, I was ecstatic to think that the album would build off of this more jungle-esque electro. However, it just doesn’t flow for me like Arular did.
Foundations – Kate Nash
Didn’t want to like it. Didn’t want to like anything by someone who shared similarities to Lily Allen, but lo and behold, I was addicted. It’s like a much more lemon tart-filled version of Lily, with more tongue-biting and less egotism. The spoken bits are genius, and bonus points have been added for the opportunity to sing with a British accent. A pissed off British accent, no less.
Sober – Kelly Clarkson
If only the album could live up to its impossible expectations, this song would have received so much more deserved attention. It truly is the rawest experience on the album, and one that was sorely misrepresented in the public atmosphere. Though at the same time, it would have never performed on radio. The song is by far the most haunting and riveting song of the year. By the end, the listener’s ears are practically pleading for that oh-so-necessary shouting that only Kelly could provide. But as a favor: Please stop straining your voice so much on every other song Kelly. Save it for the best moments, such as the finale of this very song. Thank you. I love you. Why don’t you call?
True Believer – Dragonette
I didn’t get it at first. But then I kept listening. I absolutely love the carousel effect of the chorus, dizzyingly obnoxious and catchy at the same time. The track picks up and slows down, but it was a great tune to relax with during the last of the summer.
Lips Are Unhappy – Lucky Soul
Around the same time as Dragonette’s release, I discovered Lucky Soul. The throwback –band’s album contains many care-free songs resembling great pop music from the 1960’s. This pleading number, though short, is one of my favorites. The intro is pretty much representative of who they are as a group: a simple tambourine intro followed by the ever-increasing drum lead-in, leading up to the ultra-delicate vocals of lead singer Ali Howard. The lyrics are unapologetically dated. However, the shake-shimmy breakdown after the two minute mark is particuarly impossible to resist.
State of Grace – Britney Spears
Without a doubt the injustice of the year, Britney’s true soul-searching and almost-adult mid-tempo love croon is without a doubt one of her best works. Yet it was left of the album in order to keep the Donna Summer vibe afloat. The song is beautiful and sincere. The background sound is somewhat Bohemian. VERY Ray of Light Madonna. I’m thinking “Frozen”-ish. And she uses words that are way beyond her vocabulary like “transient” (not a stretch, but work with me). You have to hear it. Such a shame that the song was not released. It’s not B-Side material, so I fear this track may never see the light of day. And P.S. I would add nearly all of the Blackout tracks and outtakes to the list, from the blip-filled “Radar” to the over-sexualized “Pull It,” but that would be too expected.
Bleeding Love – Leona Lewis
I don’t particularly find her interesting, nor did I bother to catch her debut album, but I could not ignore the massive success of her first single. Well, except for the United States. But seriously, it was so big that she’s even being released here. That’s hard to do nowadays. It’s a page out of the Mariah hand book, but the craft is immaculate. I know Leona’s voice is near perfect…if only she’d do something unexpected.
Call The Shots – Girls Aloud
I’ve spoken about this track already as well. Haunting, convincing, and heartfelt. It’s nice and wintery, yet I see purple and pink when the song plays. Which may be the signs of looming epileptic episodes. Just saying.
And you, what do you think?