Sunday, January 6, 2008

The Top 100 Songs of the Year (100-91)

Now that 2007 is officially over, it's time for my annual Top 100 Songs of the Year list. Just like last year, any song that was released as a single during the year is eligible for the countdown. After hours upon hours of listening to hundreds of songs in the recent week, I have finally narrowed my list down to what I believe are the 100 best songs released as singles in 2007. Most of the songs are rock, metal, and alternative, but there are a few gems from other genres that made the list as well. So, without farther adu, here is the first part of my list for the top 100 songs of 2007.

100:
Tervaskanto
Korpiklaani
Tervaskanto

In a year filled with music that reached new creative milestones and featured some of the most important and emotional lyrics of the decade, there’s no better contrast than to start a list of the best songs of 2007 off with Korpiklaani. Korpiklaani does not reach new creative milestones, and they certainly do not write lyrics of any importance whatsoever. In fact, “Tervaskanto” isn’t even written in English, and it’s unique to this list in that regard. However, what Korpiklaani lacks in songwriting skills, they more than make up for in sheer fun. “Tervaskanto” contains and a fast and fun melody that’s both catchy and amusing. It doesn’t exactly venture away from being formulaic folk metal, but that’s not the band’s intent either. It’s clear that the point of “Tervaskanto” is simply to pack as much fun into a 3 minute folk metal song as possible, and Korpiklaani succeed with flying colors in that regard. “Tervaskanto” is not a song that should be analyzed, but instead heard simply for the fun of it.

99:
Prometherion
Behemoth
The Apostasy

Death metal is often measured in terms of brutality. Very few bands in the genre make an attempt to write worthwhile lyrics, as the growling vocals are used as another instrument to add to the brutality. Behemoth, however, is not your typical death metal band. Behemoth is a truly unique band for the genre, both in terms of the black metal influences in their sound and lyrics that at least attempt to have a message and purpose. “Prometherion” isn’t the best example of that, as lyrics like “fuck the flesh!” don’t quite get their message of creating your own morality across as well as possible. However, Behemoth can still be as brutal as the genre’s best, and “Prometherion” certainly works from that perspective.

98:
Black Rain
Ozzy Osbourne
Black Rain

There have been quite a few great political songs written in the last few years, and although “Black Rain” is a solid song with commendable intentions, the lyrics simply aren’t strong enough to call it one of the better songs in that category. That being said, “Black Rain” works well enough to warrant a spot on this list. Ozzy has recorded some truly outstanding ballads over the years, and “Black Rain” is an example of how to do a power ballad correctly from a musical perspective. Zakk Wylde does an excellent job of conveying the dark mood of the song with his guitar, and Ozzy’s vocals are surprisingly as good as ever. The ambiance of “Black Rain” is excellent, and it’s a perfect example of why Ozzy has been successful at writing ballads over the years. It’s unfortunate that Ozzy doesn’t have anything new to say, but he still deserves credit for at least attempting something political.

97:
Goatriders Horde
3 Inches of Blood
Fire Up the Blades

Much like the rest of Fire Up the Blades, “Goatriders Horde” is a fun and entertaining song that isn’t quite up to par with the best 3 Inches of Blood has done. Cam Pipe’s hilarious vocals may be taken as comedic at first, but 3 Inches of Blood is talented band that has a fairly unique sound. As previously stated, “Goatriders Horde” isn’t the best song the band has done, but it’s still a ton of fun. It’s not a song that can be taken seriously at all, but to discount it strictly as comedy would be selling it short. Even with the excessively high vocals, 3 Inches of Blood is one of the best bands to headbang to, and the addition of the comedic vocals make them even better. Whether you laugh or simply bang your head in enjoyment, “Goatriders Horde” is a quality song by one of the more amusing bands in music today.

96:
Eva
Nightwish
Dark Passion Play

Although “Eva” is a beautifully written song in its own right, it works best as showcase for Anette Ozlon’s vocals. The song was released at around the same time Ozlon was announced as Nightwish’s new vocalist, and it’s clear that its point is specifically to show off her vocals. For that reason, it can’t be compared to the other masterful ballads Nightwish has done through their career. However, it achieves what it set out to achieve. Ozlon’s vocals are exceptionally beautiful on “Eva,” and the story found in the song’s lyrics is worth praising as well. “Eva” is a great song for what it is, but it does lack the mastery and polish found in most Nightwish songs. For that reason, it’s not a song that anyone should use to judge Nightwish, but instead take it for what it is and appreciate Ozlon’s exceptional vocals.

95:
As Long As I Fall
Helloween
Gambling with the Devil

Being a band that practically created the modern power metal sound 20 years ago, Helloween doesn’t need to reinvent the way power metal is played. All they needed to do to return to form was stop trying to do that and go back to what they know how to do to. “As Long As I Fall” is a song that does that. It may sound like a generic power metal sound, but Helloween plays generic power metal far better than most (even at this point in their career). Above all else, this is Helloween’s sound, and “As Long As I Fall” is proof that Helloween can produce quality power metal. It may be cheesy and familiar, but it’s also the best this classic band has done in some time.

94:
The State of Massachusetts
Dropkick Murphys
The Meanest of Times

“The State of Massachusetts” is not a song that is meant to be analyzed. More than anything, it should be praised for its uniqueness and likeability. In a time where quality punk is hard to come by, the Dropkick Murphys play a unique style of punk and play it well. There’s nothing particularly complex about “The State of Massachusetts,” but one of the song’s strengths is that it doesn’t try to do too much. It’s nothing more and nothing less than an exceptionally fun punk song, and that’s enough for it to be called one of the best punk songs of the year.

93:
Sleeping Giant
Mastodon
Blood Mountain

“Sleeping Giant” is an excellent example of both Mastodon’s versatility and uniqueness. Last year, they released three brilliant singles that didn’t sound anything alike. “Sleeping Giant” continues that trend by having a sound that’s different from anything else Mastodon has done before. That’s part of the brilliance of Blood Mountain. All of the songs on the album sound like Mastodon, yet none of the songs sound especially similar. “Sleeping Giant” isn’t one of the better songs the album has to offer, but that’s not to say it isn’t good. The song’s sound could be described as almost progressive stoner rock, and it’s that unique combination that makes “Sleeping Giant” worthwhile. “Sleeping Giant” is also the type of song that works exceptionally well in the middle of an album, as its uniqueness and variation from the rest of Blood Mountain can make the listener appreciate just how unique that the album really is. However, it doesn’t work quite as well on its own, and the song can best be appreciated as simply a unique song by one of the finest bands in metal today.

92:
North American Scum
LCD Soundsystem
Sounds of Silver

LCD Soundsystem’s James Murphy has received a fair amount of criticism for the lyrics to “North American Scum,” an indie electronica song that is much more intelligent than many have been giving it credit for. Murphy is not implying that all Americans are “scums,” but instead saying that the citizens of a country should not be judged by the government. In all actuality, Murphy is supporting most Americans, as he points out that not all Americans support the current administration. However, that message is more hidden than it should be, and the lyrics don’t measure up to songs the other singles LCD Soundsystem released this year (“All My Friends” and “Someone Great"), Even with that, LCD Soundsystem continues to blend intelligent lyrics with exceptionally catchy beats, and “North American Scum” is a great example of that.

91:
Black is Back
Public Enemy
How to Sell Soul to a Soulless People Who Sold Their Soul?

“Black is Back” not only marks a return to greatness for Public Enemy, but also reminds the listener of why Public Enemy is a truly incredible group. Public Enemy know how to rock. They know how to rock better than most rock bands out there, and “Black is Back” is certainly a reminder of that. The latest Public Enemy song to mix rap and rock samples AC/DC’s “Back in Black,” and it could be argued that taking an all-time great riff and rapping meaningful lyrics over it (contrary to the practically pointless lyrics of the original) make this a superior song overall. However, it’s not nearly as good as the version of “Bring the Noise” Public Enemy recorded with Anthrax, and it’s nowhere near as good as their outstanding lyrically-driven rap songs of the late 80s and early 90s. However, “Black is Back” is a hard rocking song with great lyrics and some of the finest rapping of the year. Public Enemy is back, and it’s about time.

As always, thanks for reading! Feel free to comment and post your opinions. The next part of the list should be up within the next few days.

1 comment:

DF said...

Tervaskanto, Prometherion, Goatriders Horde, and Eva are all great songs. good picks!