Best of 2007: Songs

    Top 5 Songs of 2007   

  1. Remember the Name by Fort Minor: “This is ten percent luck, twenty percent skill, Fifteen percent concentrated power of will.” So begins the swaggering second single from The Rising Tied, the side project album from Linkin Park band member, Mike Shinoda. The lyrics are crafted so well that you can’t help but chant them to yourself even after the song is over. The fact that the rapping is very old school (i.e. easy to understand) also endears it to me. Oh and the video is fun, too.
  2. Put Your Records On by Corinne Bailey Rae: From the moment I first saw her perform this song on Saturday Night Live, I loved the exuberance and joy, both in her delivery and in the song itself. The lyrics evoke a warm summer day from your childhood while the song plants a gentle dance groove in your body. Corinne’s inflections and phrasing is near perfect without seeming contrived, even during the “diva moments” that so many female singers these days over-dramatize. This song is going to be on my future playlists for a long time to come.
  3. Points of Authority/99 Problems by Jay Z and Linkin Park: What do you get when you “mashup” songs by a mediocre rock band and a highly acclaimed but sometimes mediocre rapper? A hard-rocking, rabble-rousing polemic that has a metallic edge and street smarts. I quoted the refrain, “99 problems and a bitch ain’t one,” many times to Tina last year whenever she had to deal with a particular bitch. The lyrics make this inappropriate for some situations but ideal among adults of a specific vintage.
  4. I’d Love To Change The World by Ten Years After: Alvin Lee‘s take on the hippie revolution that never came to pass still sounds fresh 37 years later. Frantic and insistent during the verses, Lee lays back and relaxes for the chorus: “I’d love to change the world, but I don’t know what to do. So I’ll leave it up to you.” Although the song doesn’t give you much of his famous electric guitar, the frenetic acoustic guitar strumming more than makes up for it.
  5. Thick as a Brick by Jethro Tull: I know it’s cheating a little bit to include this entire album as a “song”, but Tull’s intention was that it should be heard as a continuous work. I used the “Join Tracks” feature in iTunes to turn the two songs on the CD (called simply “Side 1” and “Side 2”) into one. Although the 45-minute length might be intimidating, the song never meanders and revisits common themes often enough to keep your attention. The lyrics are a musical retelling of a poem written by the fictional character, “Little Milton“. “I really don’t mind if you sit this one out. My words but a whisper, your deafness a SHOUT,” begins the first of many verses that peek in and out between the musical change-ups and not-too-extended jams. Although it’s not necessary to appreciate the song, the newspaper covered album cover provides a lot of background to the story and is fun to read as you listen to the album.

Click the song titles to hear a sample of the song in the iTunes Music Store. You can get iTunes here.