Lucid Culture

JAZZ, CLASSICAL MUSIC AND THE ARTS IN NEW YORK CITY

The Top 100 Songs of 2007

Here’s Lucid Culture’s list of the top 100 songs of 2007. A few disclaimers:

1. Since this page is basically – for better or worse – a New York live music blog, a lot of these songs are so new that they haven’t been recorded yet, and consequently some of the titles here may be wrong. Some of them may not even have a title yet. Corrections are always appreciated via the form at the bottom of the page.  

2. The list isn’t limited only to songs released during calendar year 2007 (but who’s counting a year or two back, anyway?).

3. The list isn’t meant to be definitive, by any stretch of the imagination. The stuff we haven’t heard far exceeds what we have. Most of what’s here is rock or country – jazz, classical, hip-hop and a lot of other perfectly good genres aren’t represented.

4. If the song you wrote, or the song you love isn’t here, that doesn’t mean it’s no good. It just means that either we don’t know it, or we already listed it in the 2006 list (in a former incarnation), or we’re going to list it in 2008. Or maybe it’s really no good after all.

5. Aside from the top 10 or so here, the list is completely non-hierarchical. In other words, number 100 is just as good as number 11 and vice versa.  We put this together by writing the names of songs on little strips of paper and then pulling them out of a Brooklyn Cyclones hat one by one.

6. Wherever possible, we’ve included a link to where the song can be heard. In the case of songs that don’t have links, we’ve linked to the artist’s website or their myspace. Some of the unrecorded stuff may be available as bootlegs, or on youtube, but you’ll have to track them down. Happy hunting!

  

1.  Amy Allison – Turn Out the Lights

Her darkest, most devastatingly powerful song yet (even if the production leaves a lot to be desired) – and she has a bunch of them. And then there’s that uniquely beautiful voice.  From her album Everything and Nothing Too

2.  Nightcall – Blackwater

Bliss Blood’s latest side project, our favorite new NYC band,  plays “crime jazz.” This one is a slap upside the head of the mercenaries killing innocent Iraqis.

3.  Rachelle Garniez – After the Afterparty

A beautifully subtle and triumphant tale of rejection and revenge. From her new album Melusine Years

4.  Rachelle Garniez – People Like You

A hilariously sarcastic swipe at the sons and daughters of outer borough wealth who are taking over New York. Also from Melusine Years

5.  Randi Russo – Invisible

A gorgeously catchy, backbeat driven outsider anthem from the absolute master of the genre. Unrecorded.

6.  Randi Russo – The Immigrant Song (silly tentative working title)  

Another outsider anthem, this a fiery 3-part suite that ends up with a wild crescendo on a Middle Eastern theme. Unrecorded

7.  Melomane – O Mighty Orb

Death from above via majestic and sarcastic art-rock song. Unreleased.

8.  Melomane – The Ballot Is the Bullet

The most potent anti-Bush song written to date, a stark and direct hit. From their album Glaciers.

9.  Amy Allison – Dreamworld

Another chilling, impeccably terse “Should-I-kill-myself-or-go-to-sleep” song, as Allison calls them,  that she writes so well. Unrecorded.

10. Richard Thompson – Sneaky Boy

Fast, bouncy, mordant broadside which could be an attack on Tony Blair. From his album Sweet Warrior.

11. Richard Thompson – Dad’s Gonna Kill Me

Vitriolic anti-Iraq war song with great guitar.  Also from Sweet Warrior

12. Paula Carino – Grace Before Movie

Fast rockabilly tune and one of Carino’s trademark sardonic, literate lyrics, loaded with smart puns and double entendres. This is one of her best. Not sure if this is the right title. Unreleased.  

13. Melomane – Going Places

One of the funniest anti-trendoid rants ever written. Unreleased.

14. LJ Murphy – Another Lesson I Never Learned

Another great lyric, a typically sarcastic parable of our times set to a potently crescendoing post-Velvets melody. Unrecorded.

15. Erica Smith – Firefly

Sounds exactly like a classic 60s pop hit, firing on all cylinders. From her forthcoming album Snowblind.

16. Amy Allison – Rose Red

A scary take on the Snow White myth, cast as catchy janglerock. Also from Everything and Nothing Too

17. Sloe Guns – This Far

Absolutely gorgeous, resigned, melancholy backbeat-driven Americana rock hit. Unrecorded.  

18. Avengers – The Amerikkkan In Me

They played this punk classic at their Bowery Ballrom show last February. Originally released on a late 70s ep produced by Steve Jones.

19. Willie Nile – The Best Friends Money Can Buy

Scorching rock anthem, the thing this guy does best. From his album Streets of NYC.

20. Mary Lee’s Corvette – End of the Road

They played this beautiful country-inflected twang-rock song at their show at Rodeo Bar almost a year ago. From the classic 1999 album True Lovers of Adventure.

21. Big Lazy – To Hell in a Handbasket

The best song on their most diverse album to date (Postcards from X), it’s a blazing minor-key ghoulabilly instrumental.

22. Big Lazy – Thy Name Is Woman

Delectably noir soundtrack instrumental.  Also from Postcards from X.

23. Melomane – Romans

Death from above finds Pompeii via fast, furious minor-key garage song. From their ongoing “disaster song cycle.” Unreleased. 

24. Avengers – Car Crash

Another self-explanatory punk rock classic originally released in the late 70s. They also did this at the Bowery show.

25. Willie Nile – Back Home

Slightly dazed and twisted literate rock, sounding like the Wallflowers with a lyric by the old man. Brilliant. Also from Streets of NYC

26. Willie Nile – Cellphones Ringing in the Pockets of the Dead

An evocation of the Madrid train bombings with pyrotechnic guitar solo from Andy York to wrap it up.  Also from Streets of NYC

27. Big Lazy – Pulsacion #4

Astor Piazolla cover done NY noir style. Reverb-licious. Also from Postcards from X.  

28. Avengers – Desperation

At the Bowery show, Penelope Houston showed she’s an even better singer than she was almost 30 years ago, when she wrote this punk anthem as a teenager.

29. Erica Smith – Valentine

Superbly literate Livia Hoffman hit recast as a torchy jazz ballad. From the forthcoming album Snowblind.

30. Amanda Thorpe – For All I Care

Cover of the Steve Wynn classic that brings out every bit of angst in its minor-key tango melody. Unreleased. Thorpe is the Bedsit Poets’ frontwoman.

31. Nightcall – Bring Back My Love to Me

Macabre torch song. Unrecorded.

32. Rachelle Garniez – The Shoemaker’s Children

Sounds like a Charley Patton classic with modern apocalyptic lyrics. Matt Munisteri blazing away on various acoustic instruments. Also from Melusine Years

33. Big Lazy – Confidence Man

Short suite for crime flick, NYC style. Also from Postcards from X.  

34. Melomane – Unfriendly Skies

A shot across the bow of corporate radio, sounding a little like a contemporary Roxy Music. Also from Glaciers.

35. Rachelle Garniez – The Best Revenge. Another sarcastic and somewhat scary smash, a beach song for the global warming era.  Also from Melusine Years

36. Rachelle Garniez – Pre-Post Apocalypse

This is the requisite funny song – a very blackly amusing one – on Melusine Years

37. Willie Nile – Day I Saw Bo Diddley In Washington Square

This is the requisite Irish ballad from Streets of NYC. As evocative as a Weegee photo. 

38. Avengers – Uh-Oh

Punk rock girl-power anthem from 1978 that resonates even more powerfully than it must have then. Also on the set list at the Bowery show.

39. Marcellus Hall & the Headliners – Back Where I Started

Wickedly literate Americana pop classic. Love that guitar intro.

40. Richard Thompson – Guns Are the Tongues

Art-rock epic with long guitar solo that’s set in Northern Ireland, but it could just as well be Baghdad. Also from Sweet Warrior

41. Richard Thompson – Mr. Stupid

Tongue-in-cheek folk-rock dance tune that takes a swipe at somebody’s ex-wife. Also from Sweet Warrior

42. Jan Bell – Leaving Town

Gorgeous, propulsive get-the-hell-out-of-here country anthem. Dig that soaring pedal steel.

43. Todd Satterfield – Dropping Names

Dunno if the title’s right: this is a broadside aimed at trendoids and their shitty music yet manages to avoid the nostalgia trap. Unreleased. Satterfield doesn’t appear to have a myspace, but there is one for his former band Your New Best Friend 

44. Marcellus Hall & the Headliners – Vodka Talking & the Gin Listening

Dunno if we got the title to this one right either. It’s a talking blues, funnier than anything Dylan ever did in the early 60s, which is what it sounds like.

45. Big Lazy – Walk It Off

More blissfully dark noir soundtrack stuff. Also from Postcards from X.

46. Big Lazy – Naked

Yet another eerie, reverb guitar driven noir soundtrack piece. Also from Postcards from X.  

47. Marcellus Hall & the Headliners – Neon & the Night

Like the Everly Brothers updated for the zeros, but darker. “You only see the neon/You don’t see the night.”

48. Amy Allison – Drinking Thru Xmas

A new solo acoustic recording of her old classic.

49. Rev. Vince Anderson – Deep in the Water

You could call it psychedelic gospel. This version, live at Black Betty last Spring featured a particularly apropos little sermon mid-song. From his album 100% Jesus.

50. Coffin Daggers – Caravan

Their recording of the Duke Ellington classic is excellent, but their new keyboardist absolutely owned this when she built it to a horror-movie crescendo at Rock Star Bar last April.  

51. Custard Wally – Pretty Little Ponytail Boy

Hilarious anti-trendoid rant. From their latest cd Estrogennia Dementia.  

52. Justin Timberlake – My Dick in a Box

This one you know.

53. Adam Masterson – Into Nowhereland

Haunting nighttime stroll among the down-and-out, somewhat Shane McGowan style. From his self-titled ep.

54. Rasputina – 1816 The Year Without a Summer

Volcanic activity in the Pacific turned the summer into winter in the northeastern US that fateful year. A sign of things to come, for sure. From their cd Oh Perilous World.

55. Country Joe McDonald – Support the Troops

Solo acoustic, live, at Coney Island. Unreleased, it seems. And not completely sarcastic, which made it so powerful.  

56. The Snow – The Snow

Pierre de Gaillande’s disaster song cycle has crept over into his other band. This is about the snowstorm to literally end all snowstorms, a riveting art-rock epic. Unreleased.

57. Erica Smith – Cry Me a River

She’s always been a jazzcat at heart, and the version she sang at Parkside in November could draw blood from a stone. Unreleased but look for it on youtube.

58. Rachelle Garniez – Tourmaline

Semi-preciousness personified, but not preciously at all. A beautifully understated underdog anthem. Also from Melusine Years

59. Nightcall – Nightcall

Bliss Blood’s “crime jazz” band’s signature song.

60. Chicha Libre – The Hungry Song 

Like most everything else the band does, it’s a wildly danceable, psychedelic, electric accordion-driven smash, a staple of their live shows. From Sonido Amazonico.  

61. Chicha Libre – Sonido Amazonico

More hypnotic than most of their other stuff, and just as groove-driven.

62. Mark Steiner – Now She’s Gone

Darkly glimmering 6/8 ballad with piano and reverb guitar, as good as anything the young Nick Cave ever did.  

63. Matt Munisteri’s Brock Mumford – T’ain’t So

Recorded by Bing Crosby in the 30s, the unrecorded cover they played last summer outdoors was vastly darker, driven by accordion and guitar.  

64. Ghastly Ones – Double Agent 73

This and the following two are on this terrific monster-surf band’s myspace.

65. Ghastly Ones – Ghastly Stomp 2007

66. Ghastly Ones – Spooky 2007

67. Rasputina – Oh Bring Back the Egg Unbroken

Even more haunting than most of the two-cello-and-drums trio’s other stuff. From their new album Oh Perilous World

68. Greta Gertler – If Bob Was God

The Bob here is Dylan. Gertler at her most out-of-the-box surreal and brilliant on both vocals and piano. From her new cd Edible Restaurant.

69. Love Camp 7 – Jon Strange

Amazing reverb-driven late Beatlesque hit about a guy who stood up at a rally somewhere in Ohio and spoke truth to power. From their new one Sometimes Always Never.

70. Dr. John – Sweet Home New Orleans

Dark and stormy version of his latest N’Awlins blues classic, live in Hoboken in May.

71. Flatlanders – Julia

Sweet, three-guitar-driven acoustic version of this aching, backbeat-driven ballad.

72. Mark Steiner – Unbearable

Sounds exactly like the Walkabouts. Wow.  

73. Greta Gertler – Edible Restaurant

More pianistic brilliance: when the place gets crowded, pandemonium ensues. Title track to the album.

74. Greta Gertler – Uniform

Slow, haunting antiwar number. Also from Edible Restaurant.  

75. The Snow – Shadows Falling

Dunno if the title is right. It’s a torchy, jazz-inflected ballad written and sung by Hilary Downes.  

76. Mr. Action & the Boss Guitars – Ginza Lights

The obscure Ventures classic which for a long time was to Japan what Stairway to Heaven is here, done brilliantly live at Lakeside this summer.  Unrecorded.

77. Al Duvall – Reconstruction

Hysterically funny original banjo ragtime song about a sex change. Unreleased.  

78. Richard Thompson – I’ll Never Give It Up

Defiantly British folk-rock hit.  Also from Sweet Warrior

79. Delta Dreambox – TB Blues

Unreleased barrelhouse piano blues gem sung by Bliss Blood, live at Banjo Jim’s in November

80. Dina Dean – Soul Depletion

Not sure if this is the title – it’s a gorgeous, vivid, piano-driven soul ballad that could be Gil Scott-Heron at his 70s best. Unreleased.

81. Inbreeds – Memories

A spot-on parody of the nostalgic country ballad. Unreleased. 

82. Paula Carino – Old People)

At the Parkside in November, she and band did a scorching version of her bitingly satirical ode to euthanasia.  

83. John Sharples Band – Can’t Believe

A Paula Carino tune, not sure if it was ever recorded or released, recast here live as a quietly compelling country song.

84. Kristen Gass – Ziploc Torso

Brilliantly reworked solo acoustic cover of the Larval Organs’ punk/metal Xmastime rant

85. Tom Warnick & World’s Fair – 40 People

Arguably the funniest song ever written about being in a band in New York. Warnick slayed with this at the Parkside in November. Unreleased.

86. Maynard & the Musties – It’s Been a Great Life

Unreleased. A tongue-in-cheek country tribute to fiddling while Rome burns.

87. Greta Gertler – Veselka

A completely straightforward, gypsy-inflected art-rock tribute to the East Village pierogi slingers. Check out that amazing Michael Gomez guitar solo.  Also from Edible Restaurant.

88. Devi – Howl at the Moon

Fiery straight-up minor key rock song, guitarist Deb DeSalvo at her most slashing. Unreleased.

89. Adam Masterson – My Only Way Out

Unreleased. Dark, somewhat desperate, Nick Cave-ish anthem by the British expat.

90. Inbreeds – Peckerwood

Another killer country song parody, this time taking on the Charlie Daniels-style clan-vs.-clan epic

91. Marcellus Hall & the Headliners – For Chrissake It’s Christmas

A song that needed to be written, by this guy. Unreleased.

92. Dina Dean – I’m Gonna Be There

Probably got the title of this unreleased song wrong. It’s a wrenchingly beautiful, slow Americana rocker that sounds like the great lost cut on Blood on the Tracks. 

93. Serena Jost – I Wait

It morphs into a surf instrumental toward the end: what Jost and her bandmates did with this live at Banjo Jim’s this month was amazing. Unreleased.

94. Bodeans – Sometimes

Kurt Neumann at his catchiest and most compelling. The guy still has it and so does the band. From the cd Homebrewed.   

95. Custard Wally – Front to Back

Definitely the dirtiest song on this list: it’s about how a woman should wipe after peeing. Too funny. Also from Estrogennia Dementia.

96. John Sharples Band – When Amy Says

Cover of the Blow This Nightclub hit, done to a crisp at Hank’s last summer. This version isn’t available, but the original is on Blow This Nightclub’s myspace.

97. Serena Jost – Vertical World

Very subtle yet very catchy piano pop hit that does the most with its allusions to how NYC is going to hell. Unreleased.

98. Bodeans – Crazy

Another anthemic Kurt Neumann hit, also from Homebrewed  

99. 17 Pygmies – Sammy Hagar Saves Los Angeles from Godzilla

This is definitely not the complete title: it’s a surf rock hit with serious echoes of Misirlou. Who would have thought, from these guys. 

100. No Police State Girl – No Police State

As advertised: hip-hop public service announcement. Over five minutes long, but stick with it: it’s worth it.

December 31, 2007 - Posted by | Lists - Best of 2008 etc., Music

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