Rolling Stone Magazine The 100 Best Songs Of 2007
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Rapper M.I.A. has beaten out competition from Bruce Springsteen and Jay-Z to land Rolling Stone Magazine’s coveted Album Of The Year 2007 honor. Complete List Of The 100 Best Songs Of 2007 After The Jump.
1 “Roc Boys”
And the winner is. . . Hov! This is black superhero music, circa 2007: Jay-Z goes to the movies and comes back with an even better film in his head, with a song that plays like the Copacabana scene in GoodFellas translated into hip-hop. The most triumphant sound anyone came up with all year, this track makes you fly in more ways than one. After thanking his drug connection and tipping his hat to God, Jigga toasts the high life over a gritty Brooklyn funky-horns riff from the Menahan Street Band. It’s a celebration, bitches. Drinks is on the house!
2 “A Few Words in Defense of Our Country”
“Let’s drop the big one and see what happens.” That was Newman’s advice twenty-five years ago in “Political Science.” But on this farewell to the American empire, it turns out we dropped the big one on ourselves: “The leaders we have/While they’re the worst that we’ve had/Are hardly the worst this poor world has seen.” Bush: not as bad as Stalin. Don’t you feel better?
This year’s “Crazy,” as in the sleeper hit that becomes the world’s favorite song. And then just keeps getting more popular, until everybody can hear that robot voice chanting “ella ella ella, ay ay ay” in their sleep. The guitars are prime Eighties studio rock, while the green-eyed lady on the mike sings like the Cranberries.
The breakout tune from the hypercool Paris dance label Ed Banger (run by Daft Punk’s manager) is a blast of glitter-disco joy, with a rubbery bass line and an insistent children’s chorus demanding that you “do the dance!” Just try to say no!
5 “Four Winds”
The lyrics evoke W.B. Yeats; the music, J.C. Mellencamp. No song better captured our current sense of looming apocalypse than this one, which also makes a case for Conor Oberst as one of the best â€” and bravest â€” lyricists out there: “The Bible’s blind, the Torah’s deaf, the Koran’s mute/If you burned them all together, you’d get close to the truth.”
6 “Dough Is What I Got”
Insanely prolific (or maybe just insane), the self-proclaimed Best Rapper Alive works his down-South magic over a jazzy sax sample and proves his sub-zero flow can make the shy girls horny and the fly girls corny.
Not since Eminem has a pop song hit with this subversive force: The contrast between the retro production and the defiantly slurred chorus is hilarious at first â€” then heartbreaking.
8 “Long Walk Home”
In a song that sums up the American moment better than any presidential candidate has managed, the darkness on the edge of town creeps into Main Street â€” and we’re left to figure out what went wrong. And if the chorus leaves some hope that we’ll regain what we’ve lost, the E Street Band’s martial blare somehow guarantees it.
A dutty-rock jam about riding with your girls, calling out the dude version of “How many ladies in the house?” Except M.I.A. turns those shout-outs into a global-capitalism survey: “How many no-money boys are crazy . . . how many start a war?”
10 “Int’l Player’s Anthem”
Before his sudden death, Pimp C celebrated his release from jail with the posse cut of the year: Houston’s reigning hip-hop duo with fellow Dirty South crews Three 6 Mafia and OutKast.
Robot funk is the new soul loop! With his futuristic, Daft Punk-fueled synthfest, Kanye declares he’s down with hipster America’s obsession with French dance music.
Armed with Creedence-y twang, Fogerty turns Bush’s love for Wild West demagoguery against him, yearning for some frontier justice to tame the “wild-eyed bunch” running the country.
13 “The Past Is a Grotesque Animal”
The best Bowie homage to mention Georges Bataille since . . . ever? Ever! Almost twelve minutes of emotional turmoil, with an intense krautrock groove full of synths and guitar. Kevin Barnes chronicles the details of a young love gone very, very bad.
14 “I Get Money”
This over-the-top celebration of stanky richness was one of the strongest radio hits of 2007, thanks to its grinding beat, nickel-plated hooks and 50’s pile-driving rhymes.
15 “Piece of Me”
Britney gets a pissed-off synth rocker to match her shaved head as she eviscerates the tabs one by one. Proof that she’s got a soul â€” and the right producers to construct it for her.
16 “You Got Yr Cherry Bomb”
Britt Daniel’s sandpaper voice meets a reconstituted Motown groove built on riffing saxes, a spry dance beat and loads of reverb. A painstakingly detailed slice of indie heartache.
17 “Weird Fishes/Arpeggi”
Just what nobody expected from Radiohead at this late date: a love song, with Thom Yorke singing like he’s been spending quality time with his Al Green records. The guitar takes off from the Velvet Underground, with a lush intensity that’s both engrossing and confounding.
18 “Icky Thump”
The White Stripes
Wondering why there were so few great guitar riffs this year? Turns out Jack White used ’em all up in this song.
It starts with an acoustic guitar and lyrics that could have been written by Sesame Street’s Count von Count. But then come the horns, banjo, pianos, choir and finger snaps â€” adding up to ’07’s unlikely world-conquering jam.
20 “All My Friends”
Seven minutes of electro disco that capture the ecstatic bliss of a perfect drug-fueled night and the bittersweet comedown that follows. Heartstring-pulling and party-starting all at once.
21 “Crank That”
A young Atlanta rhymer-producer cooks up a skeletal stomper and a no-budge MySpace clip, and ends up ruling hip-hop (at least for a few weeks).
22 “Keep the Car Running”
Over a mandolin riff, a propulsive two-step beat and a group-sung chorus, Win Butler murmurs and howls about the need to get the fuck out of a bad place. The best Bruce Springsteen song of 2007 not written by Bruce Springsteen.
23 “Teenage Love Affair”
This sunny head-bopper is an old-fashioned R&B make-out song, never getting past second base. But that doesn’t mean it isn’t full of erotic heat when Keys whispers, “Hey, boy, you know I really like being with you/Just hanging out is fine.”
24 “What Goes Around . . . Comes Around”
Timberlake’s karmic payback tale is powered by a killer Bollywood-meets-Hollywood beat. “I was ready to give you my name. . . . Now it’s all just a shame” â€” anger never sounded so sexy.
My Chemical Romance
My Chem all but cover the Georgia Satellites’ “Keep Your Hands to Yourself” on this unlikely Southern-rock rave-up â€” the catchiest and most fun song of their career.
26 “Same Girl”
R. Kelly and Usher
Turns out that Kels has learned something by churning out 400 chapters of “Trapped in the Closet.” This hilarious minidrama exhibits considerable skill in laying out a complete story (R. and Usher discover they’re both dating a young lady who works at TBS, went to Georgia Tech, drives a Durango and has an angel tattoo â€” it’s the same girl!) in four minutes and twelve seconds. No sequels â€” or flatulent midgets â€” required.
27 “Silver Lining”
Jenny Lewis and her bandmates are at their tuneful best, channeling Rumours and the pop-rock sensibility that may yet make them famous on this track about the dark and good things a breakup can bring.
28 “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend”
The title cut from the best country album of the year, this single found Lambert pushing the role of the rowdy Nashville lass to new extremes. Over bar-band stomp, Lambert narrates a rage-fueled encounter with her ex’s new girl, and both her big chorus and slice-of-life story are long on raucous energy and entertainment value.
29 “The People”
The Chicago MC name-checks Barack Obama and Finding Nemo, asking tough-but-funny questions like, “Why white folks focus on dogs and yoga/While people on the low end tryin’ to ball and get over?”
It has the sunniest chorus since Len’s “Steal My Sunshine” â€” but as the street-scene lyrics suggest, surfaces can be deceiving: “Everything seems nice/But if you look twice/You can see it’s all lies.”
31 “Don’t Matter”
Having proved he can do raunchy hip-hop jams, Akon comes up with the ultimate prom slow-jam: an endearing ballad about loving her even when everybody else thinks it’s a bad idea.
32 “When Under Ether”
“Something’s inside me/Unborn and unblessed.” After fifteen years on the job, Polly Jean Harvey still finds fresh ways to give her fans the creeps â€” this time by stripping her sound down to a piano and her spooky voice.
33 “Backed Out on the . . .”
The Broken Social Scene co-founder gets nostalgic for OG indie rock with a Replacements-style chorus and some scribbly stoner-rock guitar heroics courtesy of actual OG indie-rock dude J Mascis.
34 “Are You Alright?”
“Are you sleeping through the night?/Do you have someone to hold you tight?” she asks an ex on one of the saddest songs she’s ever written, which pretty much makes it one of the saddest songs ever.
With its “I Want Candy” beat and bratty Hills-generation entitlement (“Hell, yeah, I’m the motherfucking princess,” she chirps), this was ’07’s ultimate mall-punk shout-along.
These debauched Scots worship everything sleazy and glorious about 1970s New York punk. Their finest moment proves they can play as fast as they can drink.
37 “Throw Some D’s”
“New money, motherfucker!/Just bought a Cadillac!” No rapper sounded more pleased with himself this year than Rich Boy, who made the happiest car song since the Beach Boys saved up for a 409.
38 “So Hott”
The killer glam-trash stripper’s anthem Rock was born to make, complete with sunbaked AC/DC riffs and so-stupid-they’re-genius come-ons like “I wanna fuck you like I’m never gonna see you again.”
He plays an old PiL-via-U2 riff and purrs, “I love you, baby, but not like I love my guitar,” leaving everybody else eating his purple dust.
40 “Old News”
With blissful harmonies, gather-round-the-piano hooks and a big, bright melody, this Philly indie-roots quintet finds two new minutes of Seventies-style pop.
41 “Just Fine”
Mary J. Blige
The queen of hip-hop soul goes disco, with an electro-bounce sound rooted in early-1980s club music.
42 “This Ain’t a Scene, It’s an Arms Race”
Fall Out Boy
FOB get their R&B on? How could it go wrong? Several million ways, actually. Yet the latest installment of Pete Wentz’s high-school-USA soap opera achieves greatness.
43 “Us Placers”
Kanye West forms a supergroup with Lupe Fiasco and Pharrell Williams, and samples Thom Yorke for a one-off that can hang with anything on Graduation.
44 “Bleed It Out”
Their simplest song ever, and their greatest â€” Brad Delson jumps out of the speakers with one monster riff; LP’s vocal tag team of Chester Bennington and Mike Shinoda sound more pissed off than ever.
Adams roams the badlands of his own brain, wondering “what the fuck’s wrong with me?” But the meaty classic-rock riffs and soaring chorus suggest he’s just fine.
46 “Do You Feel Me”
The Bomb Squad’s Hank Shocklee shellacks a butter-smooth groove while Hamilton tries to look into his lady’s mind â€” and, OK, maybe up her dress. Like an Al Green song updated for big-pimpin’ times.
47 “The Pretender”
A fist-pumper that proves Dave Grohl’s got plenty of throat-shredding screams, ridiculously catchy choruses and loud-quiet-loud metalloid riffs left in his quiver.
48 “Kiss Kiss”
Chris Brown feat. T-Pain
Equal parts smooth seduction and club-shaking bounce, this was Usher’s “Yeah!” with even stronger hooks.
49 “Makes Me Wonder”
Quite a player, that Adam Levine: In addition to his good looks, he’s got that silky voice and a big bag of hooks. He deploys both on this dance-pop kiss-off, a hit brighter than any Swedish tunesmith has come up with in years.
50 “The Heart Gently Weeps”
A Beatle’s son, a Red Hot Chili Pepper and rap vets come together for 2007’s most remarkable collabo; the melancholy of “While My Guitar Gently Weeps” is cut by grit from Ghostface Killah and Raekwon.
51 “Killing the Blues”
Robert Plant and Alison Krauss
He’s the golden god who once urged you to squeeze his lemon; she’s the bluegrass virtuoso. They bring out each other’s best on this bit of acoustic grown-up heartbreak.
52 “Pressing On”
An unlikely highlight from the soundtrack of I’m Not There â€” one of Dylan’s least-loved songs from his fundamentalist phase, rescued by the former X frontman, who has aged into the weather-beaten sage he always wanted to be.
53 “Black Mags”
The Cool Kids
You know how psyched Rich Boy is to have a car with new rims? That’s how these Chi-town hip-hop supergeeks feel about tricked-out BMX bikes on their spare, nail-hard debut single.
Fountains of Wayne
A gorgeous ballad about nine hours on the highway just to be with her that thrives on its details: a rest stop full of Barney DVDs and G n’ R posters, the sound of static on the radio, the elderly guy who can’t even drive fifty-five.
55 “Hold On”
The Scottish lass rocks out here with big drums, Latin-style up-tempo guitar and a chorus that evokes the theme song to the Seventies kiddie-TV classic Villa Alegre.
56 “Lip Gloss”
Things we know about Lil Mama: (1) her lip gloss is poppin’, (2) her lip gloss is poppin’. Which is fine, because her angry-teen steez â€” and a raw beat that sounds like a locker door being repeatedly slammed â€” are more than enough to carry the lil’ Brooklyn MC’s debut single.
57 “Men’s Needs”
This Brit-pop gem shows how these three Wakefield, England, brothers delivered one of the year’s most slept-on albums: a wobbly, propulsive dance beat, sweetly melodic verse and a shout-along chorus with the right amount of angst.
58 “Grip Like a Vice”
The Go! Team
Ice-pick guitars, roller-rink organ, pounding drums, blaring horns and samples of Eighties fly-girl MCs Lisa Lee and Sha Rock make for the most thrilling cut on an album full of smart, genre-hopping mash-ups.
59 “Let It Go”
Between this Oakland diva’s pin-point croon, Missy’s cheerleading raps and a great chorus, this hit made telling a guy to fuck off sound like hot fun on a Saturday night.
60 “Make It Witchu”
Queens of the Stone Age
On this relaxed yet filthy track, Josh Homme’s voice splashes over Skynyrd-style guitars like Jack on the rocks.
61 “Down Boy”
Yeah Yeah Yeahs
The art-punk threesome has never made a sicker, sleazier sound. Singer Karen O wails her heart out, and when guitarist Nick Zinner hits that riff, it’s like Zep jamming with the Contortions.
62 “The Last Fight”
Slash’s warm, bluesy doodles carve heartache into a moody power ballad that simultaneously laments a drug overdose and the war in Iraq.
63 “Buy U a Drank”
Best pickup line of the year: “Let’s get drunk and forget what we did.” T-Pain overdubs his trademark filtered vocals into a strip-club chorale, while Yung Joc seals the deal: “When I whisper in your ear/Your legs hit the chandelier.”
64 “The Magic Position”
A three-minute spin on a sexual merry-go-round, led by Wolf, whose scarlet mop, six-foot-plus frame and choirboy vocals made him the thinking girl’s rock-chick crush of the year. He piles up guitars, a toy piano and a giddy string section into an over-the-top make-out anthem.
65 “White People for Peace”
How the hell do you turn a line like “Protest songs, in response to military aggression” into a catchy chorus? These Florida punks figured it out and cooked up a rousing call to arms for leftists everywhere.
66 “Big Shit Poppin'”
Over an action-packed, guitar-specked synth beat, the Atlanta MC drops rhymes both gritty and speedy. If this can’t get you going on the treadmill, you’re in trouble.
67 “Cape Cod Kwassa Kwassa”
New York prepsters take Eighties revivalism to a logical, if not previously foreseen, conclusion, biting off a big chunk of Paul Simon’s Graceland for an indie-Africa fusion. Over a blissed-out Soweto groove, the It band of the season serenades a girl into Louis Vuitton, reggaeton and Peter Gabriel.
Swizz Beatz sets off firecrackers, bottle rockets and Eighties boombox beats. Eve leads the shake-shake-shake party chants all the way “from da hood to Dubai.”
Banhart croons about his desire to be a “little seahorse,” shifting from acoustic guitar to a spooky, organ-fired waltz before landing in a heavy-duty psychedelic jam. Consider your mind blown.
In the tradition of love men like Teddy Pendergrass and Al Green, J. Holiday sings about how he’s going to ease his lady’s mind and proves that he knows exactly what he’s talking about.
71 “Impossible Germany”
Like growing a whole beard in six minutes â€” Jeff Tweedy sings in his loneliest voice, following jazzy chords sharper than anything he’s pulled off in years.
72 “You! Me! Dancing!”
A song about the raptures of the dance floor â€” except it’s also a song nobody can dance to. Brilliant! But the spazzy feedback squalls from these Welsh guitar weirdos just add to the cheerful, romantic vibe.
73 “100 Days, 100 Nights”
Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings
Dark, soaring horn-fueled R&B from a fifty-one-year-old diva and the Brooklyn band that helped shore up Amy Winehouse’s soul.
74 “Comfy in Nautica”
If those early-1970s Beach Boys records rock a little too hard for you, try this fluffy Gregorian chant that sums up the Animal Collective’s state of mind: “Try to remember always/Always to have a good time.”
75 “Phantom Limb”
Reads like a Vicodin-addled daydream and sounds like a lost psych-pop masterpiece â€” proof James Mercer has melodic gifts like LeBron has leaping ability.
76 “Go Getta”
The Tony Robbins of the hustling set delivers an inspirational get-rich-now message over a dense, stomping electro beat and R. Kelly’s sharp chorus.
77 “Chelsea Dagger”
No Saturday night of drinking, dancing and catching diseases would be complete without this hit at closing time. The Scottish sex gods drool over a girl and her sister, whichever one will dance with them first.
78 “The Songs That We Sing”
Music by Air, lyrics by Jarvis Cocker and Neil Hannon, vocals by Serge Gainsbourg’s daughter â€” who gets inside the head of a dead singer, wondering what her songs still mean to the living.
79 “Myriad Harbor”
A hilarious psych-folk tale from Canadian madman Dan Bejar about going to New York, getting lost, having a bad time, meeting pretty girls in record stores and saying stupid things.
80 “Stop Me”
One of the year’s left-field hits: Superproducer Ronson enlists Aussie R&B singer Daniel Merriweather to turn the 1987 Smiths hit into a bit of Manchester-via-Motown melancholy.
81 “Our Life Is Not a Movie or Maybe”
The haunted Austin, Texas, band sounds lost in misery and whiskey, as Will Sheff brays, “It’s just a life story/So there’s no climax,” with ragged Neil Young passion and a guitar solo to match.
These New York gypsy punks have never rocked so smartly or with such force â€” the accordion-violin-drums groove plows forward like a tank, then explodes.
83 “The State of Massachusetts”
On the punkiest folk song â€” or the folkiest punk song â€” of the year, an abused mom loses her kids to the state.
84 “The Crystal Cat”
Not a tribute to Pete Doherty’s drug-fed kitten. But it sure sounds like it â€” the synths actually mew! Baltimore compu-hipster Deacon chants his way through the verses and sets his vocals on “syrup-guzzling chipmunk” for the chorus of this electro-pop number.
85 “It’s Me, Bitches” (Remix)
R. Kelly delivers one of the most vivid boasts of all time (“After sex, I beat my chest like King Kong!”), and Swizz brings a freaked-out track that eventually resolves into the Wu-Tang’s classic “C.R.E.A.M.” beat.
86 “Pagan Angel and a Borrowed Car”
Iron and Wine
With some drums and sound effects tossed in, this bit of rustic beauty evokes Nick Drake with a fuller palette and stronger id.
Seattle indie rockers’ strings ‘n’ horns disco mix is the car song of ’07: “The dashboard melted, but we still have the radio!”
88 “Computer Camp Love”
A classic story: Boy meets girl; girl shows boy how to manipulate her circuitry. A note-perfect tale of nerd love from two Norwegian dance rockers.
89 “I Wish That I Could See You Soon”
French folkies with a Jonathan Richman fixation address rock’s criminal lack of ukulele on this totally twee, utterly charming tune, complete with horns, bongos and backup angels.
90 “Threshold Apprehension”
Black Francis, using his Pixies name instead of his usual solo moniker of Frank Black, reinvents the gigantic razor-blade-guitar attack of his old band and slashes away for the best Pixies song since “U-Mass.”
91 “Freak Out”
Bad ideas come in many flavors: disasters, catastrophes and attempts to make melodic pop from out-of-tune-guitar noise. Yet these ne’er-do-wells’ career album spins bad ideas into gold â€” especially with this surf-punk gem, which could be a lost hit from the Jesus and Mary Chain.
92 “Mistaken for Strangers”
Matt Berninger vents over a post-punk guitar loop; if Joy Division had been Dylan fans, they might have sounded like this.
93 “Is There a Ghost”
Band of Horses
Southern rock goes shoegazing in this atmospheric jam. There are fewer than fifteen words in the lyrics, but packed into Ben Bridwell’s vocals is a whole doctoral thesis on what it means to be bummed out.
94 “2 Hearts”
The glam-rock vibe owes a lot to Goldfrapp, who have yet to write a song this good. Bonus: Minogue’s whispery Jessica Rabbit vocals.
95 “Satan Said Dance”
Clap Your Hands Say Yeah
This pulsing dance track â€” which sounds something like ? and the Mysterians trying to cover LCD Soundsystem â€” offers a lyrical vision of hell as a giant disco.
96 “Big Girls Don’t Cry”
A modern-day version of “I Will Survive,” except with Fergie proving that she too can carry a tune, and making herself sound even more impossibly lovable in the bargain.
97 “Honey Bee (Let’s Fly to Mars)”
Nick Cave kicks out of the crypt as if he’s just had an extremely profane sÃ©ance with the spirit of James Brown. He turns himself into a goth-blues king bee, buzzing around the hive of some lucky lady and howling for a little interplanetary love action.
98 “Wild Mountain Nation”
A shambling, hypermelodic jam from Portland, Oregon, indie boys down with Native American culture â€” and the best Grateful Dead knockoff in forever.
99 “Never Again”
America’s Sweetheart churns out a spookily defiant revenge rocker, spitting bile at a former lover over captivatingly dour and crunchy guitars.
you know it’s a weird year when one of the best, funniest songs on the radio is by Nickelback, a band previously noted for having no sense of humor at all. But this not-quite-sarcastic anthem is their bid for a star on the Walk of Fame (yes, “between James Dean and Cher”), and they earned it. If Nickelback can sound like rock stars, there’s hope for us all.