2007: The Year in Song, MP3-Style

Jan 1, 2008 at 6:35 pm

Despite a few posts here and there, I haven’t really formulated a final list of my 2007 favorites. Blame indecision, laziness and a lack of time (for starters). But more important – or disturbing, depending on your position – the hype-backlash-leaked-albums cycle whirled around me quicker in 2007 than any other year. I’ve been absorbing 2008 releases (Cat Power, Hot Chip, Magnetic Fields, Nada Surf) for a few months now, rendering 2007 a distant and concurrent memory.

This constant avalanche of good music has changed the way I approach writing about it. Thinking critically about music is much more difficult, as we’re living in the era of snap judgments. With the unspoken pressure to contribute an opinion first -- or to be one of the first bloggers to discover or trumpet a band -- it’s much harder to savor and enjoy an album for an extended period of time. There are constantly new! and! shiny! things to explore – and the looming sense that you’re missing out on something if you're not perpetually seeking out something new.

Music blogs have irrevocably changed the craft of music criticism. The Internet allows for the type of deep discourse that's missing in magazines and newspapers because print space is at a premium. But it's also leveled the playing field quite a bit, and made it easy for anyone to be a music critic -- which means that many days, the concept of a "professional music critic" feels obsolete.

In light of all this, I honestly wasn’t going to make a 2007 retrospective mix this year. But then I read this incredibly well-written, intelligent and moving post by Eric Harvey, the writer behind the blog Marathonpacks. And then I started to document the soundtrack to my past twelve months. 2007 wasn’t a particularly terrible year for me; it wasn’t a particularly amazing year. I had a lot of fun, I laughed a lot, I cemented a bunch of friendships, I lost touch with more people than I care to admit. But as I looked back on the past twelve months, I realized that movement marked this year for me. I went out more than any other year, I traveled an insane amount and I barely stopped to contemplate, well, anything.

Was this subconscious or on purpose? A little from column A, a little from column B. Even when I was little, I was always on the go, go, go; that’s just my personality. But a funny thing happened this year: By always being out-and-about, I stopped working out, didn’t sleep as much and suddenly started feeling aches and pains. Normal for my age? Perhaps. A bigger concern for me, because I have cerebral palsy and my joints/body are going to wear out faster? Most definitely.

So I went back to physical therapy after being away for a decade. And (excuse my language) but it was a huge mindfuck. I’ll spare you the details, but the muscles and movements I’m working on strengthening are the same things I used to work on back in high school a decade-plus ago. (It’s really surprising that I haven’t regressed completely into 1990s mode and listened to nothing but R.E.M. and the Smiths while sporting some worn flannel and too-dark lipstick.) This experience colored the autumn, causing me to remember my introspective, quieter side. I’m actually a very shy person -- stop laughing, I really am – and questions, concerns and worries about my physical self preoccupied me and made me much more self-conscious.

I thought about all of this today as I tracked these four mixes. I liked fewer albums from start to finish, but found more high-quality, durable songs I dug this year. I’m posting these to introduce people to music I liked, while perhaps reminding them of things they may have missed. The links to the following four mixes will be posted tomorrow and deleted January 9 – and as always, if you as an artist/label want your song removed, say the word. Enjoy.

2007: It’s the Beat!(Download here.) Grizzly Bear, “Knife (Girl Talk remix)” Lily Allen, “LDN” Travis Morrison Hellfighters, “You Make Me Feel Like a Freak” Battles, “Atlas” New Young Pony Club, “The Get Go” Matthew Dear, “Don and Sherri” LCD Soundsystem, “Get Innocuous! (Soulwax Remix)” Roisin Murphy, “Overpowered (radio edit)” Moving Units, “The Kids from Orange County” Justice, “D.A.N.C.E. (MSTRKRFT remix)” Bloc Party, “Secrets” M.I.A., “Jimmy” Chemical Brothers, “The Salmon Dance” Timbaland feat. Keri Hilson, “The Way I Are” theStart, “Wartime!” LCD Soundsystem, “Someone Great” Bjork, “Declare Independence”

2007’s Fever Dream (Download here.) A Sunny Day in Glasgow, “5:15 Train” Yeasayer, “2080” Miracle Fortress, “Next Train” Rogue Wave, “Chicago X12” Smashing Pumpkins, “That’s the Way (My Love Is)” Twilight Sad, “Walking for Two Hours” Band of Horses, “Is There a Ghost?” The Comas, “Red Microphones (RAC Mix)” Stars, “The Night Starts Here” Bat for Lashes, “What’s a Girl to Do?” Caribou, “Melody Day” Airiel, “Red Friends” Blonde Redhead, “Spring and By Summer Fall” Fields, “Charming the Flames” Mew, “Am I Wry? No” Great Lake Swimmers, “Gonna Make It Through this Year” Idlewild, “Make Another World”

2007 Doesn’t Need this Fascist Groove Thing (Download here.) Arcade Fire, “Keep the Car Running” Modest Mouse, “Florida” Fall Out Boy, “Don’t You Know Who I Think I Am” Paramore, “Crushcrushcrush” Fountains of Wayne, “Strapped for Cash” Sloan, “Who Taught You to Live Like That” New Pornographers, “Failsafe” Rilo Kiley, “Under the Blacklight” Interpol, “No I In Threesome” The National, “Squalor Victoria” Elvis Perkins, “Without Love” The Twang, “Either Way” Crowded House, “Don’t Stop Now” Buffalo Tom, “Three Easy Pieces” Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, “Berlin” Land of Talk, “Speak to Me Bones” Love of Diagrams, “The Pyramid” VHS or Beta, “Fall Down Lightly” Radiohead, “Weird Fishes/Arpeggi” Jesca Hoop, “Love and Love Again”

2007 Breeds Familiarity (Download here.) PJ Harvey, “The Devil” Scotland Yard Gospel Choir, “I Never Thought I Could Feel This Way for a Boy” Fionn Regan, “Hunter’s Map” Spoon, “Don’t You Evah” Pinback, “Good to Sea” Georgie James, “Need Your Needs” Tegan and Sara, “Back in Your Head” Imperial Teen, “Shim Sham” The Ponys, “1209 Seminary” Queens of the Stone Age, “Sick, Sick, Sick” Nine Inch Nails, “God Given” Editors, “The Racing Rats” Jimmy Eat World, “Let It Happen” Mae, “Crazy 8s” Kaiser Chiefs, “Ruby” Los Campesinos, “We Throw Parties, You Throw Knives” Winterkids, “Tape It” Maximo Park, “Our Velocity” Balor Knights, “The Living Daylights (A-ha cover)” Radiohead, “Ceremony (New Order cover)” Silversun Pickups, “Lazy Eye”

-- Annie Zaleski