Saturday, December 01, 2007

Top 100 Tunes Of 2007 (100-91)

Yes, it's that time of year yet again, where all us music nerds take inventory. We are a strange, nitpicky people, but there's quite often a method in our madness. The method being that all music must fight to the death until we crown a winner. That winner will then be known as The Absolute Best Music Of All Times and thus render all other music obsolete. We will be happy then.

Until that time comes however, let's just look back at the year of our lord, 2007 and list what good music came out over the last twelve months (actually eleven months, if you're going to be truly specific). Anyway, let's crack on. The tunes list this year has been expanded from 50 to 100, as there's been hell of good tunes this past year. Let's countdown numbers 100 to 91 then, mp3s and all!

100. TTC - Turbo (Ninja Tune)

By far one of the strangest, most wonderful hip-hop tunes of the year, 'Turbo' would sound equally at home on Border Community as on Institubes, if it wasn't for the nutty French dudes rapping over the top about "Mitsubishi, Kawasaki, Pictionary" and all sorts of other nonesense that appears to be all about opening the engine up dans l'autoroute. The lyrics probably wouldn't be as interessant (I did A-level French! Get me!) if they were to be translated, but as it stands, Gallic tongue and all, this is by far the best hypno-trance/rap crossover of 2007.

TTC - Turbo (mp3)

Bonus: A rather shaky, low-quality YouTube vid of TTC performing 'Turbo' live.

99. White Rabbits - Kid On My Shoulders (Say Hey)

A forceful, heady caper of an album opener, this signalled NYC's White Rabbits' intent to have you captivated from note one of their debut, Fort Nightly. The relentless push of the drums acts as a motor for the sturdy/precarious jalopy on which White Rabbits pile catchy melody on catchy melody until it finally pulls in at a service station, breathless, the engine smoking, four and a half minutes later. It's an unsteady ride but "one day we'll laugh about it", as I'm sure you're all laughing right now at my hideously overstretched driving analogy.

White Rabbits - Kid On My Shoulders (mp3)

Bonus: White Rabbits performing 'Kid On My Shoulders' live.

98. Dondolo - A Question Of Will (La Bulle Sonore)

Where did this come from?! Sounding like it wouldn't have been out of place on the soundtrack to a film starring Molly Ringwald and Judd Nelson in 1986, 'A Question Of Will' is a relationship psychodrama set to sprightly clipped guitar, cheap drum machine fills and airy synths. Dondolo's album, Dondolisme was a patchy affair, in my opinion, but this track shone out like a beacon as the most satisfyingly strange pop song to come from France all year.

Dondolo - A Question Of Will (mp3)

Bonus: The video for 'A Question Of Will'. Cheap but cheerful.

97. Black Affair - Sweet (V2)

When Steve Mason declared he was quitting music for good last year, just before the release of his criminally-overlooked album as King Biscuit Time, did anyone really believe him. A talent like Mason wasn't going to stay away for long, so he locked himself away and with help from Jimmy Edgar and Miss Odd Kid bounced back, Alan Partridge-style, as Black Affair. The full album follows early in 2008, until then though we had a few natty little MySpace downloads to chew on, with this being the best of the bunch. 'Sweet' is a pulsing little funky electro number, which takes the best bits of Edgar's fine production style and recasts them in a pop style. If this is the sign of things to come, then count me in.

Black Affair - Sweet (mp3)

Bonus: Black Affair video for 'Subfuge'.

96. Gruff Rhys - Cycle Of Violence (Rough Trade)

Gruff takes aim at the warmakers in the form of lovely, brushed drums 'n' string-soaked hypnotic folk. It's a peaceful protest then, but one that hits home with force. That said force is akin to being stroked on the back of the head whilst being handed a cup of green tea is irrelevant, as the message and the medium intertwine in such a lovely, addictive manner that it is hard not to subscribe to Rhys' sentiments.

Gruff Rhys - Cycle Of Violence (mp3)

Bonus: Charming live vid of Gruff Rhys and Lisa Jen performing 'Cycle Of Violence'.

95. Fujiya & Miyagi - Uh (Regal)

Ah, the one-off single. Often misused by bands to get certain ill-fitting ideas out of their systems between albums (case in point: Bloc Party's 'Flux'), but for Fujiya & Miyagi, this limited release as part of Regal's singles club, was just a case of business as usual. Over-pronounced, borderline nonesense lyrics? Check. Metronomically-precise rhythm section? Present and correct. White-funk par excellence with a side order of Krautrock? You betcha!

Fujiya & Miyagi - Uh (mp3)

94. TV On The Radio - Dumb Animal (4AD)

A year on from being crowned, basically, as the best band of 2006 by myself, amongst many others, TVOTR find themselves in the mix in my end-of-year thoughts once again. It's a measure of the band that they can pass songs as good as this off as b-sides (it's on the single for 'Province'). 'Dumb Animal' has Tunde and Kyp duelling atop skittering beats and some odd tropicalia flourishes. Also, definitely the best uses of the words "cock" and "cunt" all year.

TV On The Radio - Dumb Animal (mp3)

Bonus: The stunning video for 'Province'.

93. L.S.B. - F.O.G. (Eskimo)

When is an edit not an edit? Well, my own personal take on it, with regards to this list (as there are a few other edit/not edits to come) is that an edit stops being just A.N. Other edit when it takes on a life of its own away from the source material. This is just one of those. Although I still prefer the original ('You Gave Me Love' by Crown Heights Affair), this takes the best parts from that - mainly the insanely whooped chorus - and loops the shit out of them for maximum effect. That effect being of smiling faces and mass dancing. Great job!

L.S.B. - F.O.G. (mp3)

Bonus: That original in mp3 format.

92. Nine Inch Nails - Survivalism (Island)

2007 seemed to be the year that Trent Reznor stopped being such a pompous arse and actually made the miraculous transformation into A-class dude. This interview with Saul Williams made me like him more but he'd already done the groundwork with the better-than-it-had-any-right-to-be album, Year Zero and this, the lead-off single and the best thing NIN have released in years. A throbbing, angry, catchy-as-fuck slab of 21st century industrial that made Reznor sound more relevant than he ever has been.

Nine Inch Nails - Survivalism (mp3)

Bonus: Nine Inch Nails performing 'Survivalism' live.

91. The Tough Alliance - Something Special (Sincerely Yours)

Anyone else think this sounds a bit like Dario G's 'Sunchyme'? And by extension, 'Life In A Northern Town' by Dream Academy? No bad thing really, as this is a curiously out-of-time (a more natural time for this to be released would have been somewhere around 1989) piece of Balearic pop. From Sweden. Written by two art-damaged enfants terribles with a penchant for pissing off their audiences by miming live. It really was that kind of year.

The Tough Alliance - Something Special (mp3)

Bonus: Shaky, camera-phone vid of TTA performing 'First Class Riot' 'live'.

Okay, so that was pretty painless. How long before I start to regret my own hubris? you'll have to stay tuned to find out.


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Blogger Tristan Mahr said...

It is so refreshing to see a list with quality. Given the current standard for music bloggers, you go above and beyond by supplementing the list with images, samples and blurbs. It is so annoying to see people list their favorite albums off without at all justifying their thought process. Well done.

12:14 am  
Blogger James said...

Cheers Tristan. Glad to see that it's not all going unnoticed.

12:17 am  
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