08 December 2007

sounds of silver : the best of 2007

Not to let a good year in music pass this blog by, I'm making a last ditch effort to resuscitate it after being long out of commission due to a technical glitch. Nothing serious; my iMac just decided one day to, you know, die, and this trusty PowerBook didn't have the program that lets me stream songs in Flash format, until recently. I'm still going to get a new computer; the act has just been delayed, first because of the wait for Leopard, and now for whatever upgrade comes after Macworld next month. I'm also torn between a new 24-inch iMac and a 17-inch MacBook Pro, but enough of the tedious stuff. I'm back on track, and since it's the end of the year, I thought I'd make the second of what will hopefully be my annual list of the year's best songs.

That's right, this blog is all about songs, not albums, so I won't even bother (We Were Dead Before The Ship Even Sank, Modest Mouse) telling you (Because Of The Times, Kings of Leon) what are (Armchair Apocrypha, Andrew Bird) to my biased ears (In Rainbows, Radiohead) the best albums of 2007 (Boxer, The National) even though (Sound of Silver, LCD Soundsystem) I enjoyed (Crime & Beauty, Suzanne Vega) this year (The Con, Tegan & Sara) more than (Leaves In The River, Sea Wolf) the last (Wincing The Night Away, The Shins). I just wanted to make that clear.

I'm sure I'm not the only one thinking that alternative rock is entering a new, quiet golden age, not just in the sense of today's music being not of the out-loud variety that grunge was, but also because the independent music scene seems to have found a lasting mode of survival, thriving and happy to be buzzing under the radar like never before. I am, of course, talking more about its manner of distribution than the creation of new styles. MySpace and Facebook have made word-of-mouth not only easier and more effective but also cool again, and these new channels have allowed bands to reach new and old audiences without reliance on corporate marketing. While getting rid of the middleman has long been possible through downloads from artists' websites, the conundrum has always been how to translate this freedom from labels into revenues. Radiohead's pay-as-you-wish model for "In Rainbows" introduced a clever way of doing so, because although it no doubt attracted low-ballers, it also won for the band a new market in those who wouldn't have thought of buying the entire album otherwise. I'm pretty sure it won't be the last, and as new, creative ways of selling songs and albums come up, independent artists will continue to make music the way they really want them to sound.

Which brings me back to my blog. Next year, I'll be back to posting songs not just because they're new and worthy, but because they mean something to me. In the meantime, enjoy this list, which took me a while to compile. A few housekeeping notes: There are two ways to listen to these songs. Apart from uploading them individually, I've also grouped the songs in two virtual mix tapes. All songs in each mix are in the same file, and will play one after the other in the sequence below. You can, however, jump from one song to the next or the one before by clicking the forward and back buttons. You can also play them in shuffle mode by clicking on the cube icon. So without further ado:

Best of 2007 Mix 1
click here or on the image above to stream the entire list, or
click on the titles to listen to the songs individually
  1. Australia : The Shins
  2. Do Me A Favour : Arctic Monkeys
  3. Don't You Evah : Spoon
  4. Go Tell The Woman : Grinderman
  5. Coat Check Dream Song : Bright Eyes
  6. People As Places As People : Modest Mouse
  7. Time To Get Away : LCD Soundsystem
  8. A Hand To Take Hold Of The Scene : Okkervil River
  9. Plasticities : Andrew Bird
  10. Mistaken For Strangers : The National
  11. House Of Cards : Radiohead
  12. The Opposite Of Hallelujah : Jens Lekman
  13. Somewhere Between Waking And Sleeping : Air
  14. No Cars Go : The Arcade Fire
  15. Fans : Kings of Leon
  16. Makeup : Everybody Else
  17. Yankee Go Home : Clap Your Hands Say Yeah

Best of 2007 Mix 2
click here or on the image above to stream the entire list, or
click on the titles to listen to the songs individually
  1. Heart It Races : Architecture In Helsinki
  2. Gronlandic Edit : Of Montreal
  3. Raise The Roof : Tracey Thorn
  4. Close Call : Rilo Kiley
  5. Zephyr & I : Suzanne Vega
  6. Myriad Harbour : The New Pornographers
  7. Lay Your Head Down : Keren Ann
  8. I Feel It All : Feist
  9. Lifesize : A Fine Frenzy
  10. The Con : Tegan & Sara
  11. Love Me Like The World Is Ending : Ben Lee
  12. Basement Parties : Matt Pond PA
  13. Pioneer To The Falls : Interpol
  14. Like Something Worth Remembering : Mixtapes & Cellmates
  15. Pots & Pans : Les Savy Fav
  16. You're A Wolf : Sea Wolf
  17. Tonight I Have To Leave It : Shout Out Louds


  1. Anonymous10.12.07

    I have to say I'm excited to see you're back to blogging. I've been "lurking" for a bit on your blog and love it.

    I wish I could figure out how to make iWeb post playlists like that.

  2. Sabrina10.12.07

    And for some strange reason, blogger hates me and wouldnt let me sign in but my name is Sabrina.

  3. Yea Great to so have you back ...

    You are so right on the Web 2.0 revolution & the relation to music industry .

    Not to mention how similar your list is to mine half a world away ..

    Will add public radio brodcasters in the EU BBC etc .. CBC ABC & NPR in the States

    The All Songs Considered programs on NPR have started to drive the indy music world ...

    happy days

    Also : Check out St. Vincent "Marry Me" the only thing not on your list that is on mine ..




  4. I came across your blog looking for Travis' cover of Britney Spears' "Baby One More Time." I used to have the song on an old i-pod that regrettably died. Do you know where I can get a copy of the song? I can't find it on i-tunes. I like the blog.

  5. yay!
    no more clicking on the songs one by one... (coz that gets tiring after the first fifteen or so, browsing through your blog :)

  6. all of my friends is clearly the best song off the new LCD Soundsystem.

    I won't even mention your missing the best album of 2008 (Against Me's New Wave - unless you're counting Kanye's Graduation. What? It's not alternative? Look how much french electronica disco is in the album - it is SO alternative!)

  7. Nice Work!

  8. karina bravo5.10.11

    l music is better than it can exist because we can identify as a person but we live in a society so censorious who believe that this kind of music listening and is delinquent or something without knowing what it feels like.