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The Music of 2007 (part 1)

Setting the Stage
You know how I sometimes get obsessive-compulsive about post topics, and even after I begin to realize that the amount of work involved is ridiculous and possibly not worth it, I cannot stop until I finish?  Yeah.  I don’t want to say I spent a lot of time on this, but I've been working on it all week...obviously not realizing I should have been posting it in daily segments.  Le sigh.  And it was cooler when my post was exactly 10,000 words (prior to adding the chart & some revisions) but apparently that was JUST TOO LONG for a single post.  Or even two posts.  You suck, site.  

Actual Introduction
After years of keeping a reading list, and eventually expanding the project to include movies seen, I asked myself: what about music?  Surely there was a way to catalogue the third major form of media I consumed.  I decided that rather than include every new song I heard and rank it – because that list quickly exploded out of control – I would instead make the list about songs that I fell in love with at some point during the year, even if only briefly.  It didn’t have to be released that year, but it did have to be something I’d never heard before – rediscovered or nostalgic songs didn’t count.  Otherwise, anything I played on loop got added.  After failing in 2006, I got my act together and determinedly maintained an Excel file for twelve months straight.  Which is why I now bring you my complete (if split over multiple pages) and annotated collection of…

The Musical Realm of Rainbow Stevie: 2007  

They’re sorted by month, but otherwise are alphabetical by artist rather than straight chronological, both because it was visually easier to make comparisons and because I’m usually not sure exactly where in the month I fell in love with songs versus first beginning to like them.  

For simplicity’s sake, and because I couldn’t fit this all in one post anyway, you can go HERE for a simpler, clearer look at the list of songs all at once (bold = top favorite).  Or you could just find out as you go along.  Now, in more detail…

JANUARY

1. All American Rejects – Move Along
Go ahead as you waste your days with thinking

What you need to know that is that January 2007 is when I first discovered music videos on VH1, which happened to play at convenient times early in the morning (convenient for me, anyway, with a single room and looking for TV to watch at the end of my all-nighters).  I had never actually watched music videos before, and was fascinated by the concept.  As such, most of the songs in this month convinced me more with their video than their music…this one being the first example.  I just think his five million shirt changes produce a neat effect.  And, okay, listening to it again I do like the opening lines and the chorus.  Nothing stellar, but kind of a fun head-bobbing piece.  
 

2. Fergie – Fergalicious
Definition: make them boys go loco
I hated Fergie; flat-out despised her.  Rest assured that sentiment as not changed to this day, and yet when I saw this video, I fell in love with the song.  Said video still fills me with glee (aside from the cake-smearing bit), and ashamed though I am to admit it, I really enjoy the music on its own.  I may have been known to sing it under my breath.  Because it’s memorized.  God, how sad am I?    

3. Gwen Stefani – Sweet Escape
I will come running to watch the video, just because it has such amusing visuals, but the song by itself now pretty much puts me to sleep (although the woo-hoo, yee-hoo bit is fun).   

4. Regina Spektor – Fidelity
I’d fallen in love with “Samson” thanks to CSI: NY, but otherwise I knew nothing about the artist.  When I heard her name announced on the next video, I thought I’d pop over for a listen, and was pleasantly surprised by the cute, bouncy, quirky melody.   

5. Snow Patrol – Chasing Cars
A fanfic I was reading at the time used song lyrics as chapter titles; one was from this song, “and just forget the world.”  It had a significant place within the story too, and so after I recognized the video by its lyrics, I was briefly infatuated with it.  Can’t really remember why.  

FEBRUARY

6. 8mm – Liar
I’m a liar
Yeah, I’ve given up my wings
I’m a liar
They were only wax and string 

The funny thing is, sometimes Grey’s Anatomy really gives you fantastic music recommendations.  It’s a very beautiful, simple, stripped-down song (just voice and acoustic guitar), and it always brings me back to Meredith and the beginning of the February ferry arc. 
 

7. Chris Brown – Run It!
Another thing you need to know is that the Grammys this year had a whole lot of fantastic performances, including this one, which turned me on to all kinds of music I’d never have found on my own.  I was probably more impressed with the choreography than the song, but nevertheless the music makes for a fun dance beat, and he has a fairly pleasing voice when he’s not turning the vocal portion of the song over to the stupid rapper. 

8. Ludacris/Mary J. Blige – Runaway Love
Lisa is stuck up in the world on her own
Forced to think that hell is a place called home
Nothing else to do but get her clothes and pack
She says she's 'bout to run away and never come back

I STILL cannot get over how amazing this song is (thank you, awards show!).  It manages to combine two of my least favorite genres, rap and R&B, and create something amazing.  How did this happen?!  It’s depressing as hell, even without the video, but it’s the good kind of poignant that brought tears to my eyes.  Blige has a much better voice than I’ve ever given her credit, and it brings a nice complement to the rap, which itself is surprisingly impressive – rap is normally stupid and mindless (see above), and yet!  This is filled with stories and moving social commentary!  And I really love it!

9. Red Hot Chili Peppers – Snow (Hey Oh)
As disappointed as I was when they didn’t turn up with “Dani California,” this song was equally great.  I dare you to listen to the first few measures and not love the little guitar trills (that’s not the right phrase, but I don’t know what you call that sound…it’s not really a riff, is it?).  Very catchy melody.   

10. Shakira – Estoy Aqui
After having gotten hooked on “La Tortura” and “Hips Don’t Lie” and the rest of Oral Fixation, Vol. 2, I started an obsessive radioblogclub.com quest to round up any and all Shakira songs, whether or not I could understand them.  Some missed, some stuck, but this is by far my favorite, with a very light and contemporary pop feel.  I particularly love the rapid-fire lines in the chorus.  

11. Shakira – Te Dejo Madrid
Nothing really special to say about this one, but it’s one of the few songs that month that I enjoyed as opposed to skipping, so…I get carried away on the beat, I suppose.

March

Indigo Girls:
12. All the Way
I checked out their CD “Despite our Differences” from the library, and fell in love with quite a few tracks.  This one’s just a nice, easy-listening piece.    

13. Fly Away
Fly away little bird
Find the song in you that no one's heard
Strengthen your wings as you sing your solo flight
Through this short life

BIRD METAPHORS YAY!  There’s nothing inherently stand-out about this song, and it’s fairly slow, but I like the message of hope and encouragement all wrapped up.  There’s a very delicate feeling to the sound as well, in keeping with the songbird theme. 

14. Money Made You Mean
Right or left, it’s all the same conspiracy
Robbing Peter to pay Paul, or robbing Peter to pay me
It opens with extremely catchy guitar music, and while the frenzied pace ebbs and flows, I particularly like the Peter/Paul references. 

15. Little Perennials
Track #2 on the CD, it’s my second favorite, bringing a sense of rural, rustic simplicity.  I love how I have nothing more to say.     

16. Pendulum Swinger
It’s fine about the old scroll Sanskrit
Gnostic gospels, the Da Vinci Code’s a smash hit
Aren’t we dying just to read it and relate it
Too hard just to go by a blind faith
The energized guitar and driving beat that opens this one is what immediately hooked me on the CD.  Additionally, there’s all sorts of veiled social commentary in there that would probably annoy me if I unpacked it, but as it is, it’s an empowered song, with a sense of confidence coming from their voices.    

17. Rock and Roll Heaven’s Gate
I want to say this isn’t my favorite, but every time I try to get rid of it, I’m drawn back into music, with (as the title implies) an edgier rock sound that stands out because it’s unlike anything else they’ve done.   They’re almost punky.   

18. Liz Phair – Extraordinary
I am extraordinary, I am just your ordinary
Average everyday sane psycho
You can thank a commercial for my discovering this.  I haven’t forgiven Liz for ruining what should have been a really nice contemporary song (“Why Can’t I?”) with one crass phrase, but then this came on and I sort of loved the grungy sound.  I also discovered that it makes for really fantastic workout music. 

19. Petula Clark – Downtown
After hearing it used in quite possibly one of the greatest commercials of the year (featuring a fairy godmother-like figure transforming her subject with the power of Visa – I loved this so commercial so much I’d rewind it), I had to track down the original for myself.  Joyful music!  

20. RENT soundtrack – Another Day
The heart may freeze, or it can burn
The pain will ease if I can learn
There is no future, there is no past
I live this moment as my last

After having seen a couple of the musical numbers during film studies the previous semester, I finally got to see the whole movie.  I promptly fell in love with it, although I could only find a few tracks online at first.  I adore Roger & Mimi’s duet, especially the contrast between Roger’s rougher rock music and accusatory tone versus Mimi’s much lighter, more optimistic words and angelic voice. Really, this track is all kinds of amazing.     

21. RENT soundtrack – I Should Tell You
“I should tell you, I’m disaster/I forget how to begin it”
“Let’s just make this part go faster/I have yet to be in it”
I may have a slight obsession with Roger/Mimi.  But the opening bars of this are gorgeous, so soft and gentle, that I couldn’t stop singing them for about a week straight…mostly while out walking the dog, so that’s my association with the song: walking around my neighborhood in slushy March weather.  I have quite a few songs branded into my consciousness that way.   

22. Sarah McLachlan – Drawn to the Rhythm
When we wore a heart of stone, we wandered to the sea
Hoping to find some comfort there, yearning to feel free
I love the rather Celtic style of this song, evoking images of desolate and rocky seashore with mournful instrumentals to complete the image.     

23. Sarah McLachlan – Into the Fire
Now, this feels more like classic Sarah McLachlan, evocative vocals and a measured but purposeful beat. 

24. Shakira – Un Poco de Amor
I have no idea what this about, and I’m not overly fond of reggae, but when I found it on Radioblog, I found that I rather loved this one.  It makes me think of the Caribbean. 

25. Shakira – Dia de Enero
Although I really have only a vague idea of what these Spanish songs are about, from rough English translations provided by some lyric sites, I like the sweet, soft, and somewhat ambling style of this one.  And I find the chorus on this very appealing, largely because for some reason the sound of “poco poco” thrills me. 

26. Shakira – Eyes Like Yours
Came from Behrein, got to Barut
Looking for someone comparing to you
Tearing down windows and doors
And I could not find eyes like yours

So, I finally got my hands on the “Laundry Service” album she released a good five years ago.  And this song is AMAZING.  Brilliant.  All kinds of poetic imagery, wonderful background vocals, an energetic and driving beat, and an Arabic flair…this is probably one of my all-around favorite songs.   

27. Shakira – Underneath Your Clothes
I had always avoided this song, because the title sounded dirty and I didn’t want to have to hate Shakira.  It’s much more innocent than it appears, actually, and ended up being one of the few ballads of hers I enjoy.

APRIL
28. Avril Lavigne – Alone
On Radioblog, I’ve managed to turn up several obscure Avril songs, this one included, which delighted me because she’s one of my favorite artists (a merit earned entirely through her music; it snuck up on me).  Not a whole lot of lyrical substance, but the music appeals to me.  

29. Avril Lavigne – Get Over It
I’m slipping down a slide
 I did enjoy the ride
Don’t know what to decide
You lied to me
It’s a pity this wasn’t on her original album, because it’s as good or better than many of those songs (and that’s saying something).  This is pretty much “classic Avril” and a good example of why I like her. 

30. Avril Lavigne – Girlfriend
First taste I had of her third album; I could have done with less clapping and it was very clearly meant to be a performance song, suitable for doing live, but it’s still pretty entertaining.  Especially since I have the squeaky-clean version, which makes me happy.  And although I’d stumbled over it a month beforehand, in my head the song is now permanently attached to theoriginalspy, after she used it in her video recap-of-events in the third season of Numb3rs, with reference to Amita and Liz. 

31. Beyonce/Shakira - Beautiful Liar    
So, American Idol introduced this thing where you could go online and vote for which live performance you wanted to see.  I had trouble finding 5 of the 50 songs offered that looked good, and then I discovered there was a (partly) Shakira song I didn’t know, so I promptly checked it out.  I’m not a big fan of Beyonce, but this song is irresistible, fun little instrumental trills and all that, and both their voices are lovely.      

32. Celine Dion – Pour Que Tu M’aimes Encore
When I found “The French Album” at Half Price, I snapped it up.  I don’t know if this is a nation-wide phenomenon, but my French teachers are always using Celine Dion songs as examples of verb tenses and/or sentence structure.  This particular single was one I gleefully recognized, very pretty vocals in her pure and slightly hushed voice. 

33. Daughtry – Home
I’m going home, to the place where I belong
American Idol tried to kill this song with overplay of one verse, not only on the show but on commercials for it, but I recognized good potential when I heard it and stubbornly shut my ears until I could listen to the whole version.  I have no love for Daughtry at ALL, but this song really is kind of heartwarming. 

34. Daughtry – It’s Not Over
Miracle of miracles, this one’s even better than the above - sounds almost like it could be a Nickelback song.  Let us never speak of this again.  *is shamed* 

35. Jennifer Lopez/Lox – Jenny From the Block
When she appeared on American Idol – and no, this is NOT the last time that show will be responsible for a list song – I realized that even though once upon a time there was massive debate over the sincerity of this song, I had managed to go five years without ever hearing it.  I remedied that, to discover that while I could do without Lox’s input, I really love her chorus and the sassy flute piping over the background. 

36. Jewel – Emily
To outrun this, man, I’d have to go real far
Where mercy wears lace, and bottles are thieves
Which of these took you from me
Emily
I had no idea this old song existed until someone uploaded it, but I adore Jewel and I adore songs with a girl’s name in the title, so this was a recipe for beauty, especially after discovering that this was an exceptionally bare track, with only acoustic guitar/vocals.  But then, I’m generally a sucker for songs about lost friends.   

37. Katharine McPhee – Over It
See?  American Idol surfaces again.  I loved her first single immediately; why?  Because she’s Katharine McPhee and her beauty is matched only by her voice.  And any female Idol who sings mainstream pop music wins my unending love, because I think that’s the only kind of music this show should produce/perform, ever.  Besides, I really do like the smooth sound of this one. 

RENT soundtrack: In April, I managed to get my hands on the whole album from the library.  I went nuts with adoration.

38. Goodbye Love
“Heartbreaking” is the only word I have for it.  This is definitely the song with the longest shelf life of the soundtrack; long after my Rent craze had faded, this song stayed on the general playlist.  The very beginning and end are my favorite sections, but I really love it all. 

39. Halloween
Why are entire years strewn on the cutting room floor of memory
I really, really like the depressing songs.  Especially depressing songs about friendships breaking and friends scattering. 

40. La Vie Boheme
Life’s too short, babe, time is flying
I’m looking for baggage that goes with mine
This song wins just for the little bit between Roger and Mimi at the end; I’m not as fond of the rest of it due to its multiple lines of vulgarity, but it’s really a great dance piece, and I highly recommend hearing it with the accompanying video.   

41. Out Tonight
So let’s find a bar, so dark we forget who we are
See “I love Mimi.” 

42. Rent
This was when I knew the movie could hook me with more than just its famous “Seasons of Love” theme. 

43. What You Own
What was it about that night?
Connection in an isolating age
Roger/Mark duets are second only to Roger/Mimi ones, and I love the paralleling of their separate self-realizations. 

44. You’ll See
Because my love for Taye Diggs extends to everything he’s even remotely connected to, including how rich and smooth his voice is on this song. 

45. Shakira – Antologia
A bit of a slower song, but relaxing. 

46. Shakira – Octavo Dia
I just love the music on this one.   

47. Shakira – Si Te Vas
This one ranks right up there with “Estoy Aqui” in terms of my favorite fast-paced Spanish tracks; I love the vibrato in her voice on the chorus.

Part 2 (of 3) is here.  You will not see these other posts show up on your friends page because I have backdated them to avoid flooding; ergo, please to be following my clicky-links. 

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Comments

( 1 comment — Leave a comment )
lieueitak
Jan. 19th, 2008 07:52 pm (UTC)
I can't believe you actually wrote a post this long. Or rather, I'm totally jealous, because lately a paragraph in the old LJ seems too much of a hassle for me. ;)

Mary J Blige is awesome. Sometimes I don't think her recorded songs really illustrate how damn talented she is. But for real, she's a force to be reckoned with. She's one of those artists who has the vocal range, but there's always a wonderfully gritty quality to it. I <3 her so much.
( 1 comment — Leave a comment )

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