Monday, November 26, 2007

The Tunnel's Favorite Records of the Year

2007 was a great year for music. As we close in on Thanksgiving I'd like to give thanks to those songs that brought me great joy this year.

Where I can, I have provided FREE DOWNLOADS and/or videos of these songs. But please, after listening, buy the albums/songs if you like them. Support these artists!

"Die Die Die" – Avett Brothers
This may be the single most fun three minutes of the year. The Avett brothers are becoming masters of raucous modern-yet-old-timey country. I simply DARE YOU not to sing along to this song. Wonderful harmonies. Their album "Emotionalism" is also a great time. Download

"What's a Girl to Do?" – Bat For Lashes
There are several wonderful tracks on Bat's new album "Fur and Gold" (DON'T MISS: "Prescilla"), but "What's a Girl to Do" beats out Amy Winehouse for the best Ronettes impersonation/interpretation of the year. Oh, and it's a hauntingly beautiful song and probably the best video of the year. Download

"Fake Empire" – The National
I just cannot say enough about "Boxer." Right now, I'd call it the album of the year - hands down. There just is not a bad song on this album. I just picked "Fake Empire" because it was a single and completely wonderful. BUY THIS ALBUM!!! Also, DON'T MISS: "Squalor Victoria." Download

"Leyendecker" – Battles
Or is it THE Battles? I can't remember. What I do remember is freakin' loving the hell out of this very odd, but surprisingly beautiful music. Do yourself a favor and find this track. It kicks ass without saying (or singing) a word.Download

"Little Birds" – Levon Helm
This year, a lot was made of new albums by aging rockers including Neil Young, John Fogerty, Joni Mitchell, Bruce Springsteen, and The Eagles. But somewhere in there Levon Helm came out with this unassuming album called "Dirt Farmer" - his first proper album in 25 years. Simply put, it is a miracle. The former drummer, singer, mandolin player, etc for THE Band recovered from a decade-long battle with throat cancer which threatened to end his singing and his life to make this lovely, lovely country album. It reminds me of the joy I felt when Loretta Lynn came out with "Van Lear Rose" and showed everyone that she could make a better and more relevant country album than any one else. I'm not sure if "Dirt Farmer" is quite that good, but it certainly is just that genuine and heartbreakingly honest. So few will hear this album, but for those who do it will be the treat of the year. Download

"Sunshine" - Atmosphere
Simply put: fluff hip-hop at its absolute best. It's just such a damned happy and catchy song. I DARE YOU not to smile when listening to this track. Find this song, roll the windows down, and play it as you roll down the street. Off the EP "Sad Clown Bad Summer Number 9." Download

"Indestructible Sam" – Buck 65
This is a cheat. Buck actually self released this song in 2006, but I didn't know about it until 2007 (and it's better than anything on his 2007 release "Situation.") What other hip-hop artists can rap about a civil war era gravedigger over banjo music? WHO? No one else, that's who! There's only one Buck 65. Download

"House of Cards" – Radiohead
"In Rainbows" is the first Radiohead album I've truly enjoyed since Kid A. Makes me feel bad that I didn't give them any money for it. And "House of Cards" is my favorite track. Download the whole damn thing

"So Far to Go" - Common/J Dilla feat. D'Angelo
This is another cheat and another treat.
Why it's a cheat: Technically this song came out in 2006 on J Dilla's last album before he died called "The Shining." That was quite possibly the best album of 2006. Anyway, Common raps on this track and put it on his new album "Finding Forever." There's a few solid tunes on that album especially the very fun "Drivin' Me Wild" produced by Kanye West and featuring lovely vocals by Lily Allen.
Why it's a treat: For one, it has a rare appearance by train wreck D'Angelo whose singing is once again soulful and achingly beautiful. Also, as much fun as Kanye West is, he'll never match the subtle and bottomless deep soul of J Dilla. I eagerly await more posthumous releases.

"1234" - Feist
I know it's become another ipod jingle, but what a wonderful jingle! So pretty.
Ironically, it's just 89 Cents and DRM free on

Honorable Mentions:

"Stars" – Au Revoir Simone
Dreamy, adorable and infectious. This song is a joy.

"Hit That" – M.I.A.
This unannounced track is better than her hit "Paper Planes" from her much hyped but hard to label album Kala. Hard to find, but worth it.

"Can I Get Get Get" – Junior Senior
Great dance record.

"None Shall Pass" – Aesop Rock
Great underground white guy hip hop.

"You Know I'm No Good" Amy Winehouse ft. Ghostface Killah
As much fun as mainstream pop gets.


Allie said...

I stumbled upon your list on Largehearted Boy. I hadn't heard a lot of these, thanks for the the interesting songs.

Fetal Pig said...

Awesome list. I just started posting mine. Got some picks in common.