Friday, January 04, 2008

Top 200 Singles of 2007

There's usually never a lack of great singles in a year, but living in the Information Age, it is no longer possible for there to never be a great year in singles again. It is no secret that the pop universe revolves around the United States. The biggest hits from this country are usually international hits, and unless it comes from the U.K., it's very rare that a hit from another country has the same impact that an American one does. But thanks to filesharing, blogs and YouTube, our pop borders are expanded to music from other countries we would have never been exposed to. The fact that this list is 200 songs long is evidence of the abundance of great stuff around the world. A lot of the singles on this list have yet to see North American release, but don't let that stop you from enjoying them. It didn't stop me.

1. UGK F/ Outkast - International Player's Anthem
I know it's totally cliche for blogs to deal in hyberbole, but I honestly think that five or ten years from now, this song will be considered one of the all-time classics in hip hop. Looking past the fact that this was Pimp C's last hit before his untimely death, the circumstances surrounding the record already have the plate set for a legendary moment. UGK, one of the premier hip hop duos of all-time and arguably the most influential Dirty South artists, were finally reunited after Pimp C's incarceration. Since they never got the chance to cash in on the momentum of "Big Pimpin'", anticipation was high for the album. The accolades for Outkast are already pretty well known, but let me state that as disappointing as some songs on Idlewild were, they can still lay claim to being one of today's most important and respected artists. Add to that Andre 3000's recent hot streak of guest appearances and we can see that there is still plenty of life left in the group. Not only that, the production is done by none other than Three 6 Mafia, who despite all their sonic innovations in hip hop are just now finding mainstream attention thanks to an Academy Award win. So on paper, you have three of the greatest hip hop artists to ever rise from the South collaborating on one track. Sounds like it should be a classic, right? Well, it is.

"International Player's Anthem" is the rare collaboration without one weak spot and where everyone involved is still in their prime. And even though UGK, Outkast and Three 6 Mafia have a combined three decades-plus in the business, the track still manages to surprise. Take for instance the opening verse by Andre 3000. It's expected that Andre would give us content to make us think and to blow our minds at the same time, but he's rapping over nothing but the Willie Hutch sample with no drum or bass. Vocals, strings and horns. That's it. And it's like that for the entire verse. As extravagant as the productions in modern hip hop have become, there is always at least drum and bottom prevalent, but right from the beginning, we're warned that this song is going to be special and we should hang on to every word.

On any other song, Pimp C, Bun B and Big Boi would have stolen the show, but it's not their fault that Andre dropped what is one of the greatest verses of the year. For all the attention that Andre 3000 has gotten from the song, the song as a whole would be nothing without the charisma and game provided by UGK and Dre's partner. Directly following the minimal sounds of the first verse, the tension pays off in a big way with the explosion of that trademark Three 6 Mafia drum pattern and Pimp C's bravado. It's one of the most exhilarating music moments of the year. The song doesn't really have a hook either, besides the "I choose you" sample, but I honestly think a hook would have probably gotten in the way of building the song's momentum. By the time we get to the screw section of Big Boi's verse, you fail to notice how hard and fast you've been hit because you've been too busy enjoying yourself. My conscience is as clear as it can be when I say that this song is a modern day classic.

2. M.I.A. - Paper Planes
When the opening guitar riff to The Clash's "Straight To Hell" is strummed, you're immediately in a trance. Of course, they wanted you to pay special attention to the content of the song dealing with bui doi, but that riff and the other guitar effects is what locks you in. It's also used to a similarly intoxicating effect on "Paper Planes". The combination of the "Rump Shaker" interpolation during the chorus is a prime example of genre mashing at its best and it's as delightful as music can get without taking too much focus away from the content of the song. Oh, the powers of that riff.

3. Pleasure - Out Of Love
Imagine Blondie's "Heart of Glass'" disco leanings with some added neon and lasers, and you're close to understanding the sound of Pleasure's "Out Of Love". This Norwegian pop band boasted not only one of the coolest album covers of the year, but one of the most euphoric pieces of music this year, even though it doesn't have the happiest of lyrics. "Out of Love" makes you want to dance, smile and cry all at the same time. Madonna would have sold coke to choir boys for a song like this in 1984.

4. Amy Winehouse - Tears Dry On Their Own
I always found it odd that this song didn't become a bigger hit in the States. Perhaps people weren't ready for Sensitive Amy, which is a shame since her emotive voice has more uses besides showing attitude all the time. There's still some of that feisty spirit that her songs have become famous for, but Amy's vulnerable side is just as entertaining. Singing over a joyous sample of Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell's "Ain't No Mountain High Enough", Winehouse delivers one of her most heartbreaking songs and never once asks you to feel sorry for her. Salaam Remi's production is already superb, but it's Amy's independent outlook that makes the song soar.

5. Dude 'N Nem - Watch My Feet
Juke music's slowly gaining acceptance in the mainstream may be one of the best things to happen to the genre, usually unheard of for a subculture. Taking the same cues from DJ Gant-Man's remix of Beyonce's "Check On It", "Watch My Feet" is a polished, pop structured attempt at juke that brings a sense of arrangement and composition to a genre that is built mainly on raunch and hop-skip-and-jump drum machines. The juxtaposition between Southern bounce on the verses and juke on the choruses is incredibly giddy, just as it was on the "Check On It" remix, making "Watch My Feet" equally addictive. The hook will more than likely stay in your head for a few days.

6. M.I.A. - Jimmy
We all know that MIA is politically aware. It's definitely not a secret. Actually, it's probably what she's most known for, which is why it's so surprising to hear her do a song this sexy. M.I.A. covered similar territory before with "Hombre", but while that was more of a playful vocal performance, there is no denying she had a serious itch in that recording booth. The beat itself, a combination of Bollywood, disco, techno and freestyle, is alluring enough on its own, but when M.I.A. coos "Your loving gets me crazy/I know that you hear me/Start acting like you want me", we've reached a whole new level of aural arousal.

7. Rihanna - Shut Up And Drive
Who would have thought that one of the sexiest pop/rock tunes of the year would have come from an R&B singer on Def Jam? Rihanna easily adapts to a rock soundscape that's more suited for Girls Aloud with the help of a crunchy revamp of New Order's "Blue Monday" and more automobile sexual come-ons than Quagmire in a dealership. "Can you handle the curves? Can you run all the lights?/If you can, baby boy, then we can go all night/'Cause it's 0-60 in 3.5/Baby you got the keys/Now shut up and drive." Yeah. She's definitely gone bad.

8. Janelle Monae - Violet Stars Happy Hunting
Janelle Monae is no stranger to my singles list as her fabulous debut "Lettin' Go!" placed on my list last year at #3. I'm glad to see that she's back in my top ten so soon with the delirious sci-fi boogie of "Violet Stars Happy Hunting". Regardless if you're oblivious to the story of Metropolis Suite I, Monae's concept EP, the song's narrative of forbidden cyborg love is undeniably funky and should convince you that it's well worth plopping down $5 to see where the rest of the story goes.

9. Jay-Z – Roc Boys (And The Winner Is…)
Crime does pay. Or at least it does if you're Jay-Z. After years of perfecting his own brand of mogul hop, Jay-Z finally returns to what he knows best and what got him in the door: slinging dope. As if the horns heralded the return of a king, Hov rhymes with a fire that hasn't been seen for the better half of this decade and squashed any doubts that he could no longer be an interesting MC.

10. Sugababes – About You Now
There are few things as unstoppable as the power of a great simple pop song. No new territory is covered here and you've probably heard the theme of lost love a million times over, but when those synths kick in on the chorus, you could stand to hear it a million more times. The maturity and patience of the song makes "About You Now" a standout in an increasingly crowded pop world and shows that not every production has to be incredibly busy and swing for a grand slam all the time. It's exuberant yet still restrained.

11. Amerie – Gotta Work
"1 Thing" Pt. 2. No complaints.
12. My Chemical Romance - Teenagers
Heavy and catchy like only MCR can do.
13. Gwen Stefani F/ Akon - The Sweet Escape
Wooooo hoo! Yeeeee hoo!
14. Mark Ronson F/ Amy Winehouse - Valerie
Infinitely better than the original by the Zutons.
15. Avril Lavigne F/ Lil Mama - Girlfriend (Remix)
Avril spits on your girlfriend. Lil Mama spits fire.
16. Kanye West F/ Dwele - Flashing Lights
The most massive song on Graduation.
17. Rihanna F/ Jay-Z - Umbrella
Got myself a new theme song every time it rains.
18. Young Buck – Get Buck
Marching band + atomic bomb = this track.
19. Maia Hirasawa - And I Found This Boy
...but he's got a girlfriend? Shucks.
20. The Game F/ Kanye West - Wouldn't Get Far
The Game and 'Ye trade barbs about video girls and ruin the daydreams of a million teenage boys.
21. LCD Soundsystem - All My Friends
Mid-life crisis set to piano and rising tension.
22. Groove Armada F/ Mutya - Song 4 Mutya
Don't panic, Mutya. Just dance to this groovin' ass synth riff.
23. Jarvis Cocker - Don't Let Him Waste Your Time
24. Lykke Li - Little Bit
An eerie soundtrack for infatuation.
25. Dan Deacon – The Crystal Cat
Dizzying and delightful.
26. Prima J - Rockstar
The only excusable reason to sit through Bratz: The Movie.
27. The Bird And The Bee - Again And Again
Indie with a smack of lounge.
28. Kinky Notti - Nasty Nasty
Funky and foul mouthed. A winning combination.
29. Private - Crucify My Heart
Party like it's 1984.
30. MIA - Boyz
The riddim is killa.
31. Amy Winehouse – You Know I’m No Good
Infidelity you can dance to.
32. Rihanna - Don't Stop The Music
Modern day house with a nod to The Gloved One.
33. The Noisettes - Don't Give Up
The song pounces on your abdomen with a pogo stick.
34. Cherish F/ Yung Joc - Killa
"Shorty is a killa, but I gotta have him?" The lack of logic can be forgiven when the beat is this bananas.
35. Battles - Atlas
A melodic nightmare.
36. Timbaland F/ Keri Hilson, Sebastian & DOE - The Way I Are
I didn't fall in love with this until I heard it in a club. So there you have it.
37. Kelis F/ Cee Lo - Lil’ Star
"There is nothing special about me." Liar.
38. Nas F/ Chrisette Michele - Can't Forget About You
Would love to see more songs like this that sample standards. Music did exist before 1964, y'know.
39. Los Campesinos! - You! Me! Dancing!
It's okay to dance awkwardly to this song. They said it was okay.
40. Lil Mama - Lip Gloss
Double dutch rap at its finest.
41. Juvelen - Watch Your Step
Prince, if he developed a love affair with computers.
42. Aly & AJ - Potential Breakup Song
Pissed off girls, guitars and pop hooks. What more could you ask for?
43. Nicole Willis & The Soul Investigators - If This Ain't Love (Don't Know What Is)
Hard to believe that this was recorded this decade, but it was.
44. LCD Soundsystem - North American Scum
USA: 1 Europe: 0
45. Noisettes - Sister Rosetta (Capture The Spirit)
Furiously catchty.
46. Jill Scott - My Love
Soulful sensual offering from one of the best in the game.
47. Mutya - Real Girl
Mutya sings over "It Ain't Over Till It's Over." It's also ridiculously good.
48. Paula Campbell - Ain't Nobody Stupid
The best R&B song of 2007 you probably didn't get a chance to hear.
49. Mutya F/ Amy Winehouse - B Boy Baby
Mutya sings over "Be My Baby." It's also ridiculously good.
50. Mitchell Brothers - Michael Jackson (Calvin Harris Remix)
I'm more used to their hardcore stuff, but they're talented on the pop side as well.
51. Chamillionaire - Industry Groupie
"A trick is what a whore does for money." -Gob Bluth, magician
52. The Dollyrots - Because I'm Awesome
The pop-punk "This Is Why I'm Hot." Only with more logic.
53. The White Stripes - Icky Thump
Blues riff...drums...White Stripes...blah blah blah...pretty good.
54. Lauryn Hill - Lose Myself
Lauryn sings a little about pain, but overall she seems happy. Whodathunk?
55. Uffie - F1rst Love
Danceable and surprisingly sensitive coming from Uffie.
56. Siobhan Donaghy - Don't Give It Up
Smart and sophisticated pop.
57. Muse - Invincible
Soft, but eventually powerful towards the end.
58. Ciara - Like A Boy
Should be mandatory listening for any man who takes women for granted.
59. Puffy AmiYumi - Boom Boom Beat
Probably one of their hardest hitting tracks ever. At least for them it is.
60. Fall Out Boy - The Take Over, The Breaks Over
Hooks galore.
61. Bebel Gilberto - Momento
Calming without ever being drowsy.
62. Tiffany Evans F/ Ciara - Promise Ring
I have a theory that electro is probably the best genre for chastity. Will do further research.
63. Those Dancing Days - Hitten
As gorgeous an indie pop gem you're likely to find all year. Sweden: 1 USA: 1
64. Slim Thug - Theme Song (Hoggs On Da Grind)
I think that horns bring out the best in MCs. There truly is a transformation whenever they're on a track.
65. Maximo Park - Girls Who Play Guitars
There aren't any girls playing guitars on the track, but the song is still really good despite that.
66. Justice - D.A.N.C.E.
Would have learned my ABC's quicker if I had this song growing up.
67. Sonny J - Can't Stop Moving
Listening to this sample heavy song won't help you stop moving either.
68. Sophie Ellis-Bextor - Catch You
Sophie shows her dark side once again.
69. The White Stripes - You Don’t Know What Love Is (You Just Do as You’re Told)
Blues riff...drums...great guitar playing...White Stripes...blah blah blah.
70. The Fratellis - Baby Fratelli
Song goes in a completely different direction on the chorus which you'll either love or hate.
71. Elliot Yamin - Movin' On
I would not steer you wrong. Just trust me on this one.
72. Café Tacuba - Volver a Comenzar
Ambitious but always accessible.
73. Genki Rockets - Breeze
Judging from the rainbow grooves of "Heavenly Star" and this, the full length is shaping up to be very charming.
74. Polyphonic Spree - Running Away
These guys have pretty much perfected the art of the joy anthem.
75. Bat For Lashes - What's A Girl To Do
I'm afraid to listen to this one in the dark. Don't tell anyone.
76. Freeform Five - No More Conversations (Mylo Remix)
Dancing is fundamental.
77. Butch Walker and The Let's Go Out Tonites - Bethamphetamine (Pretty Pretty)
Power pop chorus of the year.
78. Robyn – Konichiwa Bitches
Two years old, but apparently it's better than 122 other songs from 2007.
79. Bobby Valentino - Anonymous
Timbaland delivers another solid production. Bobby V is no slouch either.
80. Kanye West – Stronger
It's Harder than the original, but not really Better. Definitely not Faster and the Stronger part is up for debate. When you don't compare it to Daft Punk, the song bangs though.
81. Huey - Pop, Lock and Drop It
With the simplicity of the hook and the thick synth strings, there was no way you stand still listening to this.
82. The Fratellis - Flathead
A raucous stomper the way that only young UK bands can do.
83. Paramore - Misery Business
All kinds of catchy.
84. The Veronicas – Hook Me Up
They've ditched guitars for the dancefloor. Don't worry, they're still catchy.
85. Stars – The Night Starts Here
Simply beautiful.
86. St. Vincent - Jesus Saves, I Spend
A little off-kilter but nonetheless charming.
87. Black Kids - I'm Not Gonna Teach Your Boyfriend How To Dance With You
Sounds like a lost relic from the New Romantic period.
88. The Cribs - Men's Needs
The chorus immediately sticks with you. Always a good sign.
89. The-Dream F/ Fabolous - Shawty Is Da Shit
A little bit of doo wop and a whole lot of gawking.
90. Dan Le Sac vs. Scroobius Pip - Thou Shalt Always Kill
Slam poet rips into idolization of bands and other stupid things people do.
91. Britney Spears - Piece of Me
Britney fights back.
92. Patrick Wolf - The Magic Position
One of the best album openers of the year.
93. Scissor Sisters - She's My Man
Some of my favorite lyrics from a single this year. "As I lie between these covers/I wanna tell her that I love it/when she chokes me in the backseat of a riverboat"
94. The Pipettes - Because It's Not Love (But It's Still A Feeling)
No surprise that this is another ace vintage 60's girl group homage.
95. Mika - Grace Kelly
I can see why people hate this song, but it always puts me in a good spot whenever I listen to it.
96. Kate Nash - Foundations
Kate's getting tired of your shit already.
97. Jordin Sparks - Tattoo
Easily in the top 10 of best American Idol singles.
98. Omarion - Ice Box
Omarion matures. And I actually buy it!
99. Art Brut – Direct Hit
Obviously since it's Art Brut, there will be great attention to detail and a few laughs.
100. The New Pornographers - Myriad Harbor
If I had only one or two songs per album like Dan Bejar, I'd try to make sure they left an impression too.

101. The 1990's - See You At The Lights
102. Mika - Big Girl (You Are Beautiful)
103. LCD Soundsystem - Someone Great
104. Candie Payne - I Wish I Could Have Loved You More
105. Roisin Murphy - Overpowered
106. Sophie Ellis-Bextor - Me And My Imagination
107. Rilo Kiley – Silver Lining
108. Office - Oh My
109. 4Hero - Morning Child
110. Those Dancing Days - Those Dancing Days
111. Deemi - The Soundtrack of My Life
112. Of Montreal – Heimdalsgate like a Promethean Curse
113. Girls Aloud - Call The Shots
114. Super Furry Animals-Run Away
115. Chrisette Michele - If I Have My Way
116. Siobhan Donaghy - So You Say
117. Mark Ronson F/ Lily Allen - Oh My God
118. Alphabeat - Fascination
119. Jens Lekman – Sipping on the Sweet Nectar
120. Roisin Murphy - Let Me Know
121. Tegan and Sara - Back In Your Head
122. Los Campensinos! - We Throw Parties, You Throw Knives
123. Pharoahe Monch – Body Baby
124. Joss Stone - Tell Me 'Bout It
125. The Sounds - Painted By Numbers
126. Avril Lavigne - Hot
127. Sean Kingston - Beautiful Girls
128. Fergie - Clumsy
129. The Cliks - Oh Yeah
130. Girls Aloud - Sexy No! No! No!
131. Animal Collective - Peacebone
132. Kanye West F/ T-Pain - Good Life
133. The Go! Team - Grip Like A Vice
134. Those Dancing Days - Those Dancing Days
135. Dr. Dog - My Old Ways
136. Justin Timberlake – LoveStoned/I Think She Knows
137. Natasha Bedingfield - I Wanna Have Your Babies
138. Lupe Fiasco - Superstar
139. 50 Cent F/ Jay-Z & Diddy - I Get Money (Forbes 1-2-3 Remix)
140. Puffy AmiYumi - Kuchibiru Motion
141. Siobhan Donaghy - Ghosts
142. Candie Payne - One More Chance
143. Paramore - Hallelujah
144. Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings - 100 Days, 100 Nights
145. Emily King - Walk In My Shoes
146. Talib Kweli F/ Thing
147. R. Kelly F/ T.I. & T-Pain - I'm a Flirt
148. Against Me! - Thrash Unreal
149. Common F/ Lily Allen - Drivin' Me Wild
150. Kate Nash - Caroline's A Victim
151. Keith Murray - Nobody Do It Better
152. Redman - Put It Down
153. Maximo Park - Our Velocity
154. Sondre Lerche - Say it All
155. Robyn - With Every Heartbeat
156. Tilly And The Wall - The Freest Man
157. Kate Nash – Mouthwash
158. T.I.-Big Shit Poppin'
159. Gruff Rhys - Candylion
160. The Raveonettes – Dead Sound
161. Mark Ronson F/ Daniel Merriweather-Stop Me
162. Puffy AmiYumi - Oriental Diamond
163. Common – The Game
164. The Apples in Stereo - Can You Feel It?
165. Snoop Dogg - Sensual Seduction
166. Sugababes - Change
167. 50 Cent - Amusement Park
168. Björk - Earth Intruders
169. Jens Lekman - The Opposite of Hallelujah
170. Lily Allen - Alfie
171. Swizz Beatz - Money in the Bank
172. Of Montreal – Suffer For Fashion
173. Björk - Declare Indepence
174. The White Stripes - Conquest
175. Amy Diamond - Stay My Baby
176. Idiot Pilot - Retina And The Sky
177. Alphabeat - 10,000 Nights of Thunder
178. Soulja Boy - Crank That
179. Eve F/ Sean Paul-Give It To You
180. Field Music - A House Is Not A Home
181. Monrose - Hot Summer
182. Sean Paul - Watch Dem Roll
183. Lil' Mama - G Slide/Tour Bus
184. Colbie Calliat - Bubbly
185. Klaxons - Golden Skans
186. Chrisette Michele - Good Girl
187. Gogol Bordello - Wonderlust King
188. Rihanna F/ Ne-Yo - Hate That I Love You
189. Howling Bells - Low Happening
190. 50 Cent F/ Justin Timberlake and Timbaland – Ayo Technology
191. Thieves Like Us - Drugs In My Body
192. Trey Songz - Can't Help But Wait
193. !!! - Heart Of Hearts
194. Simian Mobile Disco - I Believe
195. Common – The People
196. Britney Spears - Gimme More
197. Corinne Bailey Rae - I’d Like To
198. T-Pain F/ Akon - Bartender
199. The Cribs - Moving Pictures
200. Cassie - Sometimes


  1. Absolutely stellar list. Why am I just now starting to read your blog? Even more confounding, how did I not include Butch Walker's "Bethamphetamine" on my list? Guess I'm no longer fan club president.

  2. To be honest, I didn't include "Bethamphetamine" on the board poll because I didn't know at the time, or else I would have heavily pimped it. I just recently found out about the video (starring Avril nonetheless) and made sure to include it on my official list.