The 50th birthday of the Grammy Awards is almost upon us, and in honour of this momentous occasion we decided to come up with a list of our 50 Favourite Songs of 2007.
Just kidding. That would be ridiculous. And impossible. And would probably end in fisticuffs. Instead, we offer you our not-really-related-to-the-Grammys-at-all Grammy edition of the Top Fives!
By Ariana Heppner
5. The Way I Are, Timbaland featuring Keri Hilson and D.O.E. (buy it from Amazon)
Timbaland seems to appear on everyone's top lists of 2007, but this is to be expected when you collaborate with absolutely every person in the United States with a recording contract. Nonetheless, one must – or at least should – admit that Timbaland's collaborations are always quality, often brilliant, and his distinctive touch adds groove to everything. I am certain that if he collaborated with an ostrich, you could – nay, must – dance to it. "The Way I Are" is no exception, and is arguably the best his album Shock Value has to offer.
4. Umbrella, Rihanna featuring Jay-Z (buy it from Amazon)
"Umbrella" gets a spot based sheerly on its catchiness, and the fact that I – like many of you, I'm sure – can no longer say, look at or think "umbrella" without adding "ella, ella, ay, ay, ay." This song was everywhere this year – and to think it all started with a recycled GarageBand loop! Also, I have to add some serious props to whomever it was that developed the idea of the genius semitone shifts on the ay-ay-ays, and to Rihanna for pulling those off beautifully. If you've ever heard the Mandy Moore cover, which I like well enough in its own right, you may notice that she simply doesn't do them justice, and it puts into stark relief the true and underappreciated quality of Rihanna's vocals.
3. Typical, Mute Math (buy it from Amazon)
I listened to "Typical" ad nauseam last summer, and I'm still not tired of it. Never mind the song, I must have watched the video on YouTube approximately fifteen times a day. (Check it out!) This song has that intangible, unnamable quality that just grabs you and doesn't let go. It's some combination of Paul Meany's insane, note-perfect voice (which is even better live), catchy guitar riffs and a fantastic earworm of a melody that does it. It has occurred to me lately that if you're one of those people who loves U2 and can't let go, you would probably appreciate Mute Math. So give them a listen and pull yourself into the twenty-first century while you're at it.
2. Hey There Delilah, Plain White T's (buy it from Amazon)
Okay, so technically, Hey There Delilah was first released in 2006, but 2007's re-release was at the top of the charts for weeks, and deservedly so. I have tried and tried to make myself sick of this song and I cannot do it. Every time I hear it, I love it more, and then I have to listen to it two or three more times in a row. It's just so sweet and so heartbreakingly simple and clear. I can safely claim this is one of the prettiest love songs I've ever known.
1. LoveStoned/I Think She Knows, Justin Timberlake (buy it from Amazon)
"LoveStoned" instantly became my favourite song on FutureSex/LoveSounds the moment I first heard it, way back on that fateful day in 2006 when I bought this album the very day it was released, and I have never looked back. I was so excited when it was finally released as a single, because I really wanted to share the joy of this particular groove with the entire world. Right from the opening beat, you find your torso or your shoulders or your head bopping back and forth, don't you?
And the thing of it is that I just realized the other day that there are virtually no instruments on this song aside from light touches of synth and real strings, the beats and the short guitar section. It's truly an accomplishment that you never notice this without trying to; that the whole track is as rich and lush as you could ever want, and all due to JT's layered vocals. When people question his talent, I like to point them in the direction of this little number.
And let us not forget the "I Think She Knows" interlude, a beautiful add-on and, on the album, a great mood shifter into "What Goes Around..." May I suggest that if you've discounted FutureSex/LoveSounds for any reason (maybe you're jealous of Sir Justin's way with the ladies and you're disguising it as shameless hatred), you get your hands on it and listen to it front to back in order? You'll thank me later.
By Sarah Miller
5) Rooney, Calling the World (buy it from Amazon)
Michael Moscovitz's underappreciated band kept fans waiting almost four years to release Calling the World after their self-titled debut came out in 2003. Rooney is cheerful pop rock at its finest. Tracks like "I Should've Been After You" and "Don't Come Around Again" feature upbeat rhythms and catchy hooks that bring back memories of the Beatles. "Love Me or Leave Me" and the single "When Did Your Heart Go Missing?" resurrect 80s-like pop synth better than Hugh Grant and Jason Street in Music & Lyrics.
4) Sara Bareilles, Little Voice (buy it from Amazon)
The first time I heard Sara Bareilles was on a mixed CD Ariana made for me at the end of summer. She is really into the chick piano rock genre in a big way, and insisted that I needed an education. I loved "Fairytale" so much that I had to go out and buy the whole album. Little Voice has a remarkable stylistic range from the powerful ballad "Gravity" to the soulful "Many the Miles" to the pop single "Love Song". It's a very impressive debut album, showing off Sara Bareilles' songwriting skillz and beautiful voice.
3) Ryan Adams, Easy Tiger (buy it from Amazon)
Easy Tiger was one of the albums in rotation where I work for a few months in the summer and I drove everyone crazy by playing it over and over every time I had to work a shift. There is something really raw and honest about this album. Tracks like "Everybody Knows", "Two" and "The Sun Also Sets" are heartbreaking and beautiful all at the same time. I think Ryan Adams is the country artist for people who don't like country music, or the alternative artist for country lovers, and this album is one of his best.
2) Patty Griffin, Children Running Through (buy it from Amazon)
Patty Griffin is one of the best songwriters around today, and she is seriously underrated. There is an element of storytelling to her writing and a haunting power in her voice that I've never heard anywhere else. This is her seventh album and there are some real gems on this one, especially "Burgundy Shoes", "No Bad News" and "Stay on the Ride". Kelly Clarkson and Jeff Beck covered "Up to the Mountain (MLK Song)" on the Idol Gives Back show in April and it brought the house down.
1) Spoon, Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga (buy it from Amazon)
This album strikes the perfect balance between rock and roll and dance music. Some of the songs are built off Spoon's signature minimalist guitar/piano vamps that make you want to tap your toes, especially "Don't You Evah" and "Don't Make Me a Target," but Spoon has also branched out stylistically on this album, most notably on tracks like "The Underdog" and "You Got Yr. Cherry Bomb," both of which incorporate a stellar horn section. Overall, Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga is solid from start to finish, one of those albums you can pop in your car stereo and drive around with for months.