2007: So Give Me Your Hand and Let’s Jump Out The Window

A weird year by any standard: of the handful of these I first heard on the radio at that time (Kate Nash, Iron & Wine, Rilo Kiley, Plant/Krauss), the strangest (and most obscure) of them was Tunng, a British electro-folk collective: resembling laptop Peter Gabriel, “Bullets” somehow found regular rotation on WERS and stood out immediately. The National, Imperial Teen and Sharon Jones and The Dap-Kings were more word-of-mouth discoveries (Pink Martini I became aware of via my parents.)

Otherwise, with each year, my mixes tend to feature more artists already familiar to me. In 2007, some had put out their best work in some time (Tori Amos, They Might Be Giants, Suzanne Vega) while others made triumphant returns after extended absences (Tracey Thorn’s Arthur Russell cover, which thankfully doesn’t change the gender of his lyric; Crowded House’s unexpectedly strong reunion album Time On Earth.) The Weakerthans were on their last, eloquent gasp, while St. Vincent, then a young upstart/Polyphonic Spree refugee was only hinting at a rich, varied catalog to come.

The first two tracks are easily my favorites: Stars’ anthem-like, ‘80s-inspired pop arguably never peaked higher than with this song, while The Shins, finally following up their great 2003 album Chutes Too Narrow evoked no one so much as… prime Crowded House (even if they didn’t call the song “New Zealand”.) Apart from that, nothing encapsulates the year better than a memory of taking the Amtrak into New York City that April, LCD Soundsystem’s epic Sound of Silver opener on my headphones providing a steady, hypnotic pulse across endless row houses and railyards of Queens—more apt for what I remember as an optimistic time than, say, Rufus Wainwright’s premonition of complications still way, way down the road.

Click here to listen to my 2007 playlist on Spotify.

1. The Shins, “Australia”
2. Stars, “Take Me To The Riot”
3. Tracey Thorn, “Get Around To It”
4. Bebel Gilberto, “Bring Back The Love”
5. Fountains of Wayne, “Someone To Love”
6. Kate Nash, “Foundations”
7. The New Pornographers, “Myriad Harbour”
8. Nicole Atkins, “Maybe Tonight”
9. Tori Amos, “Bouncing Off Clouds”
10. Iron & Wine, “Boy With A Coin”
11. LCD Soundsystem, “Get Innocuous!”
12. Rilo Kiley, “Silver Lining”
13. Crowded House, “She Called Up”
14. Imperial Teen, “Room With A View”
15. Andrew Bird, “Scythian Empires”
16. Jens Lekman, “A Postcard To Nina”
17. KT Tunstall, “Saving My Face”
18. Feist, “The Limit To Your Love”
19. The National, “Fake Empire”
20. Robert Plant and Alison Krauss, “Rich Woman”
21. Super Furry Animals, “Baby Ate My Eightball”
22. Roisin Murphy, “Primitive”
23. St. Vincent, “Paris Is Burning”
24. Tunng, “Bullets”
25. Rufus Wainwright, “Going To A Town”
26. Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings, “Tell Me”
27. Tegan and Sara, “Back In Your Head”
28. Pink Martini, “Hey Eugene”
29. Richard Hawley, “Tonight The Streets Are Ours”
30. They Might Be Giants, “The Mesopotamians”
31. Ted Leo and The Pharmacists, “La Costa Brava”
32. The Weakerthans, “Sun In An Empty Room”
33. Suzanne Vega, “Anniversary”