220px-Once_Soundtrack_CoverGlen Hansard & Marketa Irglova – “Falling Slowly” – (2007)

Folk music has never really been the mainstream genre… it sort of infiltrates and disappears throughout time. Folk rock is sort of popular right now but back in 2007 there was a movie called Once about two musicians – namely Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova. It’s fictional, but the two stars wrote and performed all of the music, including this beautiful song that won an Oscar for Best Original Song. It was a top ten hit in Canada but only managed #61 in the U.S. (proving that it came out just a few years too early to really hit it big). 

Wilco – “Impossible Germany” – (2007)

Here’s a random song by Wilco, a band I kind of don’t really “get” (just like KISS or Frank Zappa). I get the appeal of country/folk/rock bands, but Wilco has never stood out. But I do have this song and I think it has to do with Jeff Tweedy just repeating “impossible Germany, unlikely Japan” and the music is kind of nice. But other than that I can’t explain it.

Common feat. Lily Allen – “Drivin’ Me Wild” – (2007)

Here was a song that I once saw featured on some near-the-end-of-it-all music video program on MTV or VH1. Probably VH1. Anyway, it was a minor hit in the U.K. – due to featured artist Lily Allen’s large fame. This song by Common was produced by Kanye West. It’s average. Lily Allen is the best part. As she usually is.

Robert Plant & Allison Krauss – “Rich Woman” – (2007)

I love this album. This was the third and final single from the Grammy Award-winning Album of the Year for 2009. This song was in a movie called Mad Money which I barely recall being a movie. This is a cover of an old, old song but it’s a great example of when the right people come together they really can make magic.

Michael Buble – “Lost” – (2007)

Michael Buble does a lot of vocal standards. That’s most of his repertoire, but occasionally he puts out a pop song (to try and gain airplay and sell records) that is original to the album it appears on. This song was actually co-written by Buble himself and it’s not a happy one. It was an adult contemporary hit, reaching #2 on that specific chart, though it could only manage #97 on the Hot 100.

#14 – Robert Plant & Allison Krauss – “Killing the Blues” – (2007)

I know I said that the top 20 or so songs were all major hits and really obvious, big-time players in the “Top Songs” arena… well this is my one exception. It was not a big radio hit. It did win a Grammy and I remember watching the Grammy ceremony that night on TV – I was ecstatic that this collaborative album – Raising Sand – won Album of the Year. Let’s take a step back and look at how bizarre this is: Robert Plant, lead singer of Led Zeppelin, teams up with Allison Krauss – a vocalist and fiddle player known for her bluegrass and country music and they – with the brilliant help of T-Bone Burnett – produce a folk rock album with heavy emphasis on Americana. The likelihood of these things working out? A million to one. But this is that one and it is amazing. This is my favorite song from the album. Give it a try.

#27 – Michael Bublé – “Everything” – (2007)

Up front: I think all of Michael Bublé‘s current songs sound exactly the same. He was interesting when he first popped onto the scene. Now he’s kind of passé. That makes me sound awfully haughty, but whatever. “Home” is my favorite song by him, but I’ve already featured it – but this is a good #2. This is more of a pop – or adult contemporary – song than most of the “standards” that he covered almost exclusively prior to this. If I had to describe this song in three words (which is two words longer than the title), I’d say “Wedding Dinner Playlist.”

#56 – M.I.A. – “Paper Planes” – (2007)

M.I.A. isn’t a household name but this song made waves back in 2008 when it was featured in the movie Slumdog Millionaire – quite brilliantly at that. M.I.A. is of Sri Lankan descent but was born and raised in London. The song is a hip-hop tune with dance elements and it was nominated for Record of the Year at the Grammys. For most people, this is the only song they know of from M.I.A. The song is good enough that its appearance in film should’ve opened M.I.A. to a larger audience, but it hasn’t – not yet anyway.

#67 – MGMT – “Electric Feel” – (2008)

I listed this as having been released in 2008 (when the CD came out) vs. 2007 when it was released digitally. These distinctions are important to me. Anyway, MGMT, purveyors of psychedelic synthpop had their biggest hit up to this point with this song (the next song would top it, as this was only their second single). I don’t really know what to say other than that this is one of those songs that just has a feel to it (an electric feel, perhaps?). It’s a great groove and a great song.

#69 – Matchbox Twenty – “How Far We’ve Come” – (2007)

Exile on Mainstream – while a play on the Rolling Stones’ classic album Exile on Main St. – was essentially a greatest hits album from Matchbox Twenty. It featured 11 of their biggest this and six new songs. This was the top of the new songs and a big hit single for the band, who hadn’t released new material in five years. The song could’ve been released on any of the band’s previous albums – that’s how Matchbox Twenty it is (unlike their newer stuff which sounds like Rob Thomas solo stuff). It peaked at #3 on the Adult Contemporary Chart, hitting #11 on the Hot 100. It’s awesome.

#72 – Matt White – “Love” – (2007)

“Love” was a not a charting single from Matt White (he really hasn’t had a charting single yet). But the song was used in a commercial for McDonald’s for the McRib which was about everywhere in 2007 or 2008 (I don’t quite remember when). The song is relatively simple – which is nice. It’s the perfect type of song that plays at weddings while they serve dinner – if that makes any sense.

#88 – Natasha Bedingfield – “Pocket Full of Sunshine” – (2007)

One thing I really like about this song is how quick Natasha Bedingfield sings the verses. And then the chorus sounds like it’s being sung by someone else entirely. She just screams “Take me away” and then immediately switches back to “I got a pocket got pocket full of sunshine.” This was released as a single in 2008 from the album that came out at the end of 2007 – one of two albums she released that year. It was a top five single in the U.S. in 2008 and wasn’t released as a single in Europe until 2011. Which is strange. But it’s a really catchy pop song and it’s on this list for its awesome vocals.

#101 – Mark Ronson feat. Amy Winehouse – “Valerie” – (2007)

From one incredible vocal to the next. “Valerie” was a song originally released by British indie rock band The Zutons in 2006. Mark Ronson, who is a producer and musician in his own right, covered the song the following year. He asked Amy Winehouse to provide the vocals – my favorite Winehouse performance ever, by the way. Ronson produced some songs for Amy over the years and, how I remember reading it, she agreed to be “featured” on the track as a thank you to Mr. Ronson for his support in helping her become a household name. She doesn’t even appear in the music video as to have done so would’ve put the entire spotlight on her. This was a huge hit in Europe. With all due respect to The Zutons and hipster fans who “liked the original better” – this is better. Recognize brilliance when you hear it.

Well I’m wasting no time in starting our next countdown: the Top 100 Songs of the Noughties. The 100 greatest songs released between 2000 and 2009. I chose to call it “the noughties” because that is my favorite name for the decade and the “00s” looks dumb and isn’t as fun to say. Now, in previous countdowns I’ve instituted rules such as “one song per artist.” That’s not the case this time around. And I know the theme of this blog is “re-discover songs from your past” and 2009 wasn’t all that long ago. But the entire decade has ended (were in the 4th year of the next decade, if I may scare you a little). Enough time has passed to sort through the music and find what I thought was the best – and that’s just it. It’s my opinion. You probably won’t agree, but at least you’ll get an insight into my warped mind. But seriously, I will try and make an argument as to why each song is here.

Also, you may notice a slight favoring of songs from the year 2000 and early 2001. This is because I love the 1990s and the 1990s didn’t end until 9/11. Think about it. They didn’t. At least not musically (okay, 2001 was pretty different from 2000, which was just an extension of 1999). There is also a favoring of later in the decade with the middle part getting skimmed over. Because it sucked. Almost all of these songs got regular radio airplay on pop music stations (with very few, and worthy, exceptions). The two songs I feature this week were “leftovers” – songs I don’t remember hearing on the radio that I personally discovered after the decade had ended. Here we go…

Tim Tim – “Rum ‘N’ Coca Cola (Shake it Up Well)” – (2007)

What a cool track this one is. Who samples The Andrews Sisters? No one. The Andrews Sisters took this track to #1… in 1945. Well in 2007, Austrian reggae band Tim Tim remixed that song into this delightful and fun track that is guaranteed to make you want to dance. I know, it sounds like I’m being paid to sell this song – but I’m not. It’s just that bouncy that you can’t help but move when you hear it. And whatever female (non-Andrews Sister) is singing in whatever language that is (sounds French) has one of the sultriest voices I’ve ever heard. Give this a listen and thank me later.

Samim – “Heater” – (2007)

“Heater” is a good title for a song about summer, no? The genre of this song is definitely “house music” and I know I promised last week that there wouldn’t be any more straight-up house tracks on this countdown, but I have an out here: this song was a major crossover hit in Europe – a top ten in Belgium and the Netherlands and a top 20 hit in Finland and the U.K. It’s über-catchy and the accordion in the song will always make it stand out in my head.

Stephen Marley feat. Maya Azucena and Illestr8 – “Let Her Dance” – (2007)

Stephen Marley is another son of Bob Marley and he was a member of Ziggy Marley & the Melody Makers with his brother, Ziggy. He won a Grammy in 2011 for Best Reggae Album and this one – Mind Control – was his first solo release and it also won the same Grammy in 2008. This song is my favorite from the album. It’s features Maya Azucena – a Brooklyn-based R&B singer and Illestr8, New Jersey-based rapper whose father was in Bob Marley’s Wailers. The vocals in this song are awesome and it really has a smooth feel to it.

Tape Five – “Soulsalicious” – (2007)

This bossa nova tune is from German electro-swing group Tape Five. The songs I know from Tape Five are great – this one being different from the others. Yeah, it was released on Bossa for a Coup – which I guess would mean that it is primarily a bossa nova album. But the rest of their stuff is very much electro-swing and it’s very good as well. The bossa nova feel to this song gives it that beach-y Brazilian feel that songs from summer do so well with.

Carrie Underwood – “Flat on the Floor” – (2007)

I hate American Idol and I don’t really love country music. But I really like Carrie Underwood. While most of her songs are country or country/pop – they all seem to have a little rock edge to them (or at least the ones I like and know). This is the lead track from her 2007 album Carnival Ride and it wasn’t even a single. I’ve still heard it on the radio and it could’ve been an official single and done just as well as some of the others. Carrie is the best thing American Idol has produced.

#6 – Chris Cornell – “You Know My Name” – (2006)

Strangely, this, the theme for the brilliant Casino Royale, was not available on the film’s soundtrack. It was available as a single, on Chris Cornell’s 2007 album Carry On, and on a James Bond music compilation album. And why does Chris Cornell look like a weird cross of Gary Oldman and Brad Pitt on his album cover? I don’t know either. What this song has going for it is the movie – first of all, it’s incredible. Second, the tone of the movie is much darker than previous films, so this hard rock theme with emotional lyrics works quite well.

Bajofondo feat. Ryōta Komatsu – “Pa’ Bailar” – (2007)

Saving the best for last this week, we have a song by Bajofondo (formerly the Bajofondo Tango Club) of Uruguay/Argentina. This is an excellent electro-tango tune. This was featured on a commercial (Acura?) so you may have heard it. On the bandoneón is Japan’s Ryōta Komatsu. I’m not going to sit here and break this song down. I love it. It’s awesome. Give it a shot.

Justice – “Genesis” – (2007)

You’ve probably heard this song on TV – be it in a commercial or in a show. The first seconds of 30 or so seconds of buildup lead to a great drop at the 38 second mark. It’s one of the best songs in electronic music in the past 10 years. Justice is a French duo from Paris who were nominated for a Grammy for this album which is called “cross” when you speak it but the official title is “” – which is kind of a weird, Prince-y thing to do. Hey, I wonder if Genesis has a song called Justice…

Thomas Dutronc – “J’Suis Pas d’Ici” – (2007)

Again, here I have no idea what he’s saying nor what the song title translates to (okay, I’ll look it up)… and I’m back. It roughly means “I’m not here to.” And that doesn’t really clear up what the song is about to me. It has a great beat. It’s what I call a “walking beat” – meaning that you if you were walking down the street this would be a good song to have blasting because it would keep pace with your steps (another example of “walking beats”: Clapton’s “Lay Down Sally”). I randomly came across this song a year or two ago and it’s one of my favorite foreign-language songs and I’m pretty sure I listened to it in France.