Favorite Songs from 2007 Playlist (Theme: Relax)

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Nov 21 2007, 21:37

With the end of the year approaching, I have been reviewing music that was released in 2007 in preparation for my Best Music of 2007 write-up. I am going to have a hard time deciding the best of 2007 because so much great music was released this year.

For me, the best music of most years come from artists who push the boundaries and do the unexpected, experimenting with sound. For some artists, this means abandoning their usual instruments and picking up foreign ones; for other artists, this means abandoning vocals; and for yet others, this means playing instruments in non-traditional ways.

During my review, I assembled a playlist of some of my favorite songs from 2007. This playlist (the first of several I hope to compile) has a theme of "relax." All of the songs are pretty easy on the ears and soul.

Favorite Songs from 2007 Playlist (Theme: Relax)


01 Hljómalind - Sigur Rós (from Hvarf-Heim)
"Hljómalind" is my favorite song at the moment. It has a more traditional song structure than most of Sigur Ros' other work. Its sweet, pop song quality lifts my spirits.


02 Dear Darkness - PJ Harvey (from White Chalk)
The lyrics and piano on "Dear Darkness" are haunting. The way PJ delivers the lyrics -- almost in a whisper -- makes the hair on my neck stand up. I was amazed to learn that she did not know how to play piano before recording White Chalk. She taught herself by pretending that she knew how to play. Unbelievable.

**BONUS: Live performance of "Dear Darkness" on Youtube


03 Water Boy - Richard Hawley (from Serious - CD Single)
Imagine Johnny Cash, Frank Sinatra, and Bob Dylan as one artist. That's Richard Hawley. "Water Boy" is a b-side on a single from Hawley's fabulous album Lady's Bridge. Like PJ Harvey's "Dear Darkness," "Water Boy" is a haunting melody...a dark lullaby.


04 As A War - Pale Young Gentlemen (from Pale Young Gentlemen)
Pale Young Gentlemen are from Madison, Wisconsin (aka the homeland). Their songs are piano- and cello-driven melodies. Mike Reisenauer's vocal style is eerily similar to Coldplay's Chris Martin -- but without being boring. (I don't like Coldplay.) Pale Young Gentlemen's debut album was probably the most interesting album I heard this year.


05 Hospital Bed - Seabear (from The Ghost That Carried Us Away)
Icelandic indie folk with lots of strings. Their songs are very light and easy. Fresh.


06 Song to Bobby - Cat Power (from Jukebox)
"Song to Bobby" appears on Cat Power's forthcoming release, Jukebox (due January 2008). I love her Dylanesque vocal delivery on this song. The song has me hungry for the album, which is exactly the label's reason for releasing the song this year.


07 I Box Twenty - To Kill a Petty Bourgeoisie (from The Patron)
The Minneapolis duo create a shoegazer to lose yourself in. Trip-hop noise.


08 The Gala Event - Beastie Boys (from The Mix-Up)
"The Gala Event" stood out to me the first time I heard the Beastie Boys all-instrumental album. Eight months later, it still stands out to me. It connotes mystery and intrigue. It could easily be a James Bond theme.


09 Unstookie Titled - Babyshambles (from Shotter's Nation)
This album took me by surprise. I didn't expect to like it, but it is pleasing from beginning to end.


10 Trees Outside The Academy - Thurston Moore (from Trees Outside The Academy)
I love Thurston's album. I think I played it the most of any album this year. This particular song is an instrumental (i.e., vocal-less) number. It's all about the guitar!


11 Window Bird - Stars (from In Our Bedroom After the War)
This is probably the "poppiest" song in the mixtape. Stars have been hugely popular in the music blogging world. Their 2007 album didn't impress me tremendously. I did, however, like this particular song a lot.

12 Ten Dead Dogs - Wild Sweet Orange (from We Have Cause To Be Uneasy)
I'm not sure when this song was recorded. I believe it will appear on Wild Sweet Orange's album expected in 2008. I discovered this band in 2007. It's a simple folk-pop number with a weird title.


13 Know Which Way The Wind Blows - The Postmarks (from The Postmarks)
A bit of twee... Female vocals with a lazy, breathy delivery.


14 U Turn (Lili) - Aaron (from Artificial Animal Riding On Neverland)
A tear-your-heart-out ballad by a French duo.


15 Drink Yourself (To Death) - Orion Rigel Dommisse (from What I Want From You Is Sweet)
Quirky, operatic folk. Fans of Joanna Newsom will appreciate Orion Rigel Dommisse.


16 Battle And Victory - Nancy Elizabeth (from Battle and Victory)
From one of my favorite albums of the year. Nancy Elizabeth is a modern-day Joni Mitchell.


17 Call Me the Sea - Ferraby Lionheart (from Catch the Brass Ring)
Sorrow-filled simple melodies. Pure beauty.


18 I Own the City - Saint Bernadette (from In The Ballroom)
I would have never listened to this album if a small item in their bio hadn't captured my attention. It said that they once opened for Run-DMC, which is pretty strange to consider after you listen to the album. Interesting jazz-pop.


19 Hurricane Jane - Black Kids (from Wizard of Ahhhs)
This song has a great melodic bass line (which I'm a sucker for), accompanied by lo-fi guitars and keyboard. If you like this song, you can download the entire Wizard of Ahhhs EP for free from the band's Myspace page.


20 The Philadelphia Grand Jury - The Fiery Furnaces (from Widow City)
This song is a rollercoaster of sound from one of my favorite albums of the year. Admittedly, though, the Fiery Furnace's experimental songs are not everyone's cup of tea.

Commenti

  • xxxjennyx

    Holy Smokes that's a lot to digest! I'll have to revisit this when I'm not so 'preoccupied' ;) Ifyaknowatimsayin' *nudge* Sure looks like you've got some heavy hitters in there. However, I think you've grossly overlooked Don't Matter. The statement that song makes brings me to my knees. Uh... (that didn't sound quite right) You know what I mean... OK, back to partyin with Pauly!

    Nov 23 2007, 5:00
  • u2wanderer

    Was suprised to see Stars on your list. I saw them open for Broken Social Scene a few years back and grew a bit of a sweet spot for them. Especially when they all climbed back up and became part of the BSS contingent that night. The new album has left me a bit flat as well. I much prefer the last...

    Nov 23 2007, 5:51
  • bboysgirl

    @Jenny: Wasn't Akon a 2006 release? I thought you were going to say the mixtape needs Matty. Please gimme a song of Matty's that would fit in with the theme. @Aaron: Is Stars Canadian? I don't know anything about them other than they are darlings of the music blogging world. That probably biased me to them. I tend to shun things that are over-hyped.

    Nov 23 2007, 15:35
  • subversiv

    oh wow looks really interesting. you get comment when i heard it. found it via link to aaron from your mixtape :-) aaron album is very nice. dont know some of the artists you have on your mixtape. greetings from austria ^^

    Dic 3 2007, 0:48
  • tstarkmi

    Great stuff. Are we allowed to post our own personal favs? I'd like to throw Phosphorescent Wolves into the ring... great journals you're posting, it's been a long time since I've discovered a user with a string of great journal entries!

    Dic 8 2007, 17:50
  • tstarkmi

    P.S. - Thurston Moore won me over this year, also. Fabulous album.

    Dic 8 2007, 17:50
  • bboysgirl

    Thanks for the compliment. :) I always welcome recommendations. I have listened to Phosphorescent. I don't remember the album making an impression on me. I'll give it another listen.

    Dic 8 2007, 17:58
  • tstarkmi

    Yeah, Phosphorescent takes three or four good listens... I go to sleep to it... every night for the past three weeks in fact. :)

    Dic 8 2007, 18:44
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