Thursday, January 3, 2008

2007 songs you need to hear

Here are 12 songs from 2007 that need to be heard. Some of these were bigger than others, but the one thing that they all share in common is that at one time or another in 2007 each one of these songs spent time in heavy rotation on my ipod. I didn't include songs that were parts of updates that I did through the year (Amy Macdonald, KT Tunstall, Cormega, Saigon, Vanessa Carlton, etc.), so if you're not up on those yet get familiar and check those out too.

1) "Shining Star" from Abby Dobson's debut cd "Rise Up." This song reminds me of the happy, catchy, upbeat feeling of feeling of Natasha Bedingfield's "These Words" (once the drums kick in). This is a kind of song that will go unnoticed for a year, then a sappy tv show will play it and then everyone will notice it. Well, here's your chance to be ahead of the curve and not have to get turned onto great music from cheezy TV shows. If a sappy TV show has already played it, then I wouldn't know cause I don't watch them... At times I enjoy sappy music, but tv shows is where I draw the line. That is after I stoped watching 90210. I've already said too much... "Will you Find Your Way" is another song on her album that deserves to be heard.

2) "All of the Above" ft. R. Kelly from Beanie Sigel's "The Solution." This is the perfect comeback single. A club banger, w/ a great co-star performance from Kells and Beanie comes with his usual solid lyrics & delivery.

3) "I'm From The Ghetto" (feat. The Game, Jadakiss, Trick Daddy & Dre) from DJ Khaled's "We The Best" cd. Cool & Dre bless DJ Khaled's cd with a banger for a track, Dre provides a catchy hook, and Game steals the show. Anyone who doesn't give Game his props after hearing how he rides this track is just a hater. He runs over one of the greatest living rappers (Jada). This sounds like a single to me, but Fat Joe or Lil' Wayne aren't on it so it was probably doomed from the beginning to be a terror squad single.

4) "The Way I Am" from Ingrid Michaelson's "Girls and Boys" cd. I read that this song is all over the place because it was played on Greg's Anatomy. That follows my whole sappy tv show theory of songs, but I like this song even if Greg's Anatomy fans have been turned onto it. I'd rather that they listen to this then Paris Hilton's cd.

5) My Soul by Graph is a very soul-bearing track where (as the title says) Graph just shares his soul with you. You can get an idea of the sincerity, rhyme patterns, and emotion that Graph is capable of with this track. Any fan of music that wants to hear the real honest and heartfelt capabilities of rap music should listen to this track. This is an example of a rap track that I'd like a rap critic to listen to when they talk about rap just being about guns, drugs, and degrading women.

6) "Only Fooling Myself" from singer/songwriter Kate Voegele's brilliant debut cd "Don't Look Away" is a song that at first made me think that she could be the next Michelle Branch. After listening to her album I feel that she's a better singer and songwriter than Michelle Branch ever was. Any song on the cd could have been a single and none of them sound the same (It's only Life, One Way or Another, Facing Up, Wish You Were, etc.). I'm really looking forward to her next cd. I wish that labels would spend more money introducing beautiful and talented musicians like this than the less talented dancers or karaoke singers that they shove down our throats. Hopefully she'll get her due in 2008. She's going to be playing a musician named Mia for "One Tree Hill." I couldn't tell you if her episode's already aired. If you want to know the reason see #1.

7) Keith Murray's "Nobody Do It Better (ft. Tyrese)" should have been the smash rap hit of the summer. This is ten times better than Jim Jones hit "Ballin'" in every way imaginable (beat, lyrics, vibe, etc.) and seemed to have even more commercial appeal, but for some reason this instant classic joint never caught on with the masses (probably because they didn't pay enough urban radio stations to play it).

8) Masta Ace's "Nostalgia" from Marco Polo's Port Authority is a good remembering the good old days track from one of hip-hop's most underrated living legends.

9) 3rd Coast Anthem from Mojoe's "Classic Ghetto Soul" is the song that made me believe that Mojoe could be the next Outkast. They have swagger, soul, and skills on the mic and this track is a great platform for them to share it with the world. They sound like a mix of Cee-Lo & Outkast. If you're fans of either you might want to check them out.

10) Ne-yo's "Go On Girl" from his "Because of You" album sounds like a man's version of Beyonce's hit song "Irreplaceable" (which Ne-Yo also wrote). He should lose points in my book for recycling some of the same ideas that he used to steal the show in the bridge of the "Back Like That (remix)" with Ghostface & Kanye, but I still found myself listening to this song a lot in 2007. This is the 4th single from his album.

11) "Dont Act Like You Dont Know (feat. Freeway)" by Skillz sounds like "How We Do" part 2. (That's Freeway's hip-hop classic from his first album, in case you were wondering.) This track has the same energy and both Freeway & Skillz bless this heater of a track.

12) Lupe Fiasco's "Hip Hop Saved My Life (ft. Nikki Jean)" is one of my favorite story tracks to come out in a while. This is taken from Lupe's instant-classic cd "The Cool." He gives a great tale of how a rapper can come up in today's industry complete w/ the myspace reference, the family member locked up, and a baby-mamma. Lupe crafts the rhyme patterns brilliantly in this track while never taking away from the details of the story. We might now have our modern-day Slick Rick (the respected hip-hop story teller).

2008 should be a great year for music. With new albums coming from Cormega, Natalie Imbruglia, Joe Budden, Mariah, and Saigon's debut cd there's a lot of great music that I'm looking forward to hearing this year...

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