Thursday, January 17, 2008

GREAT SONGS FROM 2007 - part 2

Here's more songs I loved from 2007, not including tracks from my favorite albums of the year.

Green Day: "Working Class Hero" I was a bit disappointed with the Instant Karma John Lennon tribute that came out this year. Still, the proceeds went to Amnesty International, so at least a good cause benefited. Andyway, Green Day did a great job on "Working Class Hero," which features a short bit of Lennon's own version at the end of the song. I'll also give Green Day a shout out for their version of "The Simpsons Theme" from The Simpsons Movie.

Rush: "Far Cry" No secret that I'm a huge Rush fan. I didn't love thier new album, Snakes & Arrows, but I think this song is among their best. I know that back in the '70s, they were thought of as totally un-hip because (among other reasons) drummer/lyricist Neal Peart was very influenced by the writings of Ayn Rand whose writings were very pro-individualism and were not what you could call "altruistic." But after traveling across the country (Peart has crossed the country many times on his motorcycle trips, which he's written books about) he's gotten scared by the way religion and dogma has been influencing many (mostly republican) leaders, and the direction of our country, and the direction of the world. "Far Cry" addressed that in a global way, "It's a far cry from the world we thought we'd inherit/It's a far cry from the way we thought we'd share it" (which seems to be pretty un-Rayd-ish, but maybe he grew out of that). But he also personalizes things: "One day I feel like I'm on top of the world/and the next it's falling in on me/ I can get back on, I can get back on." It resonates with me.

Dropkick Murphys: "The State Of Massachusetts" I've always kind of known about this band from going to the Warped Tour back in the day, they were always part of that scene. I think I saw them once at the Fleadh Festival as well and liked them. And I think Dicky Barrett of The Mighty Mighty Bosstones told me that they were his favorite band ever. But they really got my attention last year with "I'm Shipping Up To Boston" from soundtrack to The Departed. But this song, "The State Of Massachusetts," is great, just a classic combination of punk rock and traditional Irish music that really "works." I'm going to have to start checking out their albums based on this one.

Grace Potter & The Nocturnals: "Ah Mary" This is the first I've heard of her, I don't really know how long she's been around for. I've heard that Bonnie Raitt is a fan. I enjoyed the rest of this album: I can see her being a real "people's" artist, the way Dave Matthews or Jack Johnson is.

Wyclef Jean and Norah Jones: "Any Other Day" I kind of mentioned this one when I was writing about Norah's album Not Too Late (which this doesn't appear on). It's on Wyclef's The Carnival II, which features all different collaborations with 'Clef. I like that Wyclef can get on stage with any hip-hop act and freestyle, or get on stage with a rock band, strap on a guitar and jam, or produce hits for everyone from Whitney Houston to Santana. Norah is such a great duet partner too, isn't she? Anyway, I didn't love the whole album, but it did have some great moments, including "Sweetest Girl (Dollar Bill.)" I'm surprised to mention that song, because it features two guys who seem to be on every other hip-hop/pop single, Akon and Lil' Wayne. But what can I say, it's a great song.

Social Distortion: "Far Behind" This is one new track from Social D's Greatest Hits album. I don't think that they get enough credit, they are just super-consistent and great. Really, it's all about frontman Mike Ness, who is the only founding member left in the band. He also did some really underrated solo albums a few years back. Social D. fly under the radar these days, but still sell out almost all of their shows. They've earned the loyalty of their fans. I saw them last year, they killed it.

Ray Davies: "Morphine Song" I didn't love Ray's latest, Workingman's Cafe, as much as his last one, Other People's Lives. Still, this is a great song. I do hope that The Kinks do some shows this year, as long as they're in shape to do it. But I think Ray is better served doing solo albums, and not trying to recreate the magic of The Kinks in the studio.

I'm still not done: there are still songs by The Hives, The Arctic Monkeys, The Afghan Whigs, Mark Ronson, Q-Tip, Randy Newman, Paul McCartney and more to write about.

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