Leading up to our year-end retrospective of the Best Songs of the Year (2007), I thought it might be nice to list the five songs that should have made last year’s list, but didn’t because either a) I’m an idiot, or b) I didn’t get into the song in question until later. So, in no particular order:
“Empire” – Kasabian
I loved Kasabian’s first record, but for some reason, Empire did nothing for me when I first heard it. That all changed when I saw the video, which kind of drives home the point of the song: that history repeats itself, that my country could probably learn a thing or two from Kasabian’s home country, etc.
Plus (and I can’t even describe this) it sounds cool like a Kasabian tune should. You know what I mean, right? Their songs sound… cool? Yes. Exactly.
“Wolf Like Me” – TV On The Radio
Seriously one of my favorite songs now, although I didn’t hear it until it was way too late for last year’s list. Anyway, it’s about werewolves, plain and simple, though it’s filtered through TV On The Radio’s patented shoegazer-soultronica sound so it sounds at once menacing and fun. In a perfect world, this would be played at every Halloween party ever.
“Shame For You” – Lily Allen
Spreading your seed all over the town
getting too greedy and messing around:
Oh my gosh you must be joking me
if you think that you’ll be poking me.
It’s not just that she’s that blatant and “out there” with her sexual put-downs, it’s also the fact that she’s singing them in such a sweet, girlish croon. I’m sort of in love with this woman. Just a bit.
“White and Nerdy” – “Weird” Al Yankovic
Chamillionaire himself said that Weird Al had flow, and who are we to argue? The King of Pop culture parody comes back in a big way, and what really works about this tune is the way his rapping skills belie the joke: nerds are now cool. Eat it, popular kids.
“Ring The Alarm” – Beyonce
Probably the perfect 21st century R&B song – a simple backing track, tension heightened by sirens and sound effects, and one of the best performers of our age singing a song about a woman done wrong. But wait, there’s more: in this age of playing-it-safe, here’s Beyonce (arguably the female pop icon) taking a huge risk by singing a song that makes her sound batshit crazy. She even scream-raps the chorus. God, she’s good. I’m kicking myself for not including this song on last year’s list, especially after reading this Village Voice article, which makes my pick for the number one song of 2007, shall we say, ironic.