The Frontal Cortex

My Favorite Songs of the Year

I’m certainly no music critic, but since it’s the season of top 10 lists, I thought I’d share my favorite songs of the year, even if my list is bound to typecast me as yet another overeducated twentysomething with a soft spot for indy music, American Apparel and thick-rimmed glasses. The list is in no particular order:

Okkervil River, “(Shannon Wilsey On The) Starry Stairs,” The Stage Names
Feist, “I Feel It All,” The Reminder
Bright Eyes, “If The Brakeman Turns My Way,” Cassadaga
Bruce Springsteen, “Long Walk Home,” Magic
Jeff Tweedy, “Simple Twist of Fate,” I’m Not There
The National, “Fake Empire,” Boxer
Rilo Kiley, “Silver Lining,” Under the Blacklight
Ryan Adams, “Two,” Easy Tiger
Wilco, “What Light,” Sky Blue Sky
Arcade Fire, “Keep the Car Running, Neon Bible

Honorable mentions go out to Jaymay (debut album of the year), Spoon and Eddie Vedder.


  1. #1 n/a
    December 28, 2007

    Are these songs you feel were your favourite/most liked, or are they backed up by stats (iTunes “most played, year released: 2007, played in the last 1 year”), etc? I was working on a list like this last week and my feeling vs. reality were way off!

  2. #2 Judy Bond
    December 28, 2007

    Hi Jonah:

    I’m a big fan of your writing and wonder what if any you have any religious or spiritual affiliations. Are you a meditator per chance? Are you aware that the Dalai Lama meets with neuroscientists every year and is very interested in their findings and also allows his monks to be tested? This is personal stuff so it’s fine if you decline to comment.

  3. #3 Christian
    December 28, 2007

    Long time reader, first time poster.

    I really enjoy your blog, but don’t really have too much to comment on your insights. They do help though in my work as a hospice and palliative medicine doctor, as far as insight into the brain and what drives us to do what we do.

    Anyway, it seems we have a lot of similar music tastes. Feist, Arcade Fire, Rilo Kiley. I agree with all of those song selections. The others, I like, but the ones you picked were not my favorites, but up there.

    The one I can’t stop listening to right now is the band Vampire Weekend and the song “Oxford Comma.” It is like “Young Folks” by PB&J , infectious but in a good way if you don’t hear it too much. The other songs I am loving this year are Les Savy Fav -“What would wolves do?” and The Broken West – “Perfect Games.”

    Check em out.

  4. #4 peggy
    December 29, 2007

    I know some of the songs on your list and will check out the others. Thanks for posting! On my personal list, there would be something from both the Robert Plant/Alison Krause and the JJ Cale/Eric Clapton collaborations (unless the latter came out in late 2006?). Also, my personal favorites on I’m Not There are Cat Power’s Stuck Inside of Mobile, Roger McGuinn and Calexico’s cover of One More Cup of Coffee and Antony and the Johnsons Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door.
    There’s no disputing taste.
    On another note, I appreciate your blog on many levels. You set a wonderful tone, which is reflected in the respect your followers show for one another and the intelligent level of discussion. Happy New Year!

  5. #5 Rachael
    December 29, 2007

    Interesting list – I don’t know many of the artists so will have to check them out. I’ll add a few off my own list… the new Radiohead album Over Rainbows, the White Stripes album Icky Thump, and, this is going to sound silly, but pretty much any song off of the Grey’s Anatomy Soundtracks 2 and 3 – they keep a nice collection of music for that show – particularly “Black Cat John Brown” (Alamo Race Track) and “Moon and Sun” (Gomez). And “I Hate Everyone” (Get Set Go) never fails to make me laugh on a bad day. Off my itunes list, the most frequently played song is “Sealion” by Feist.

    Peggy – that’s a nice note, and I would agree! (though I’ve only been hanging around here for a few days now). Happy new year to everyone

  6. #6 Alan
    December 30, 2007

    Perhaps some readers of the Frontal Cortex will be familiar with Echos radio program on NPR, Saturday evenings at 9:00. From listening in a few times I became acquainted with the music of Rasa, comprised of instrumentalist Hans Christian and vocalist Kim Waters. The 2007 release is entitled, Saffron Blue, featuring mostly traditional Vedic chants in unique arrangements. Whether you follow Veda or not doesn’t matter one iota. This music does what true art should do–it transports and transforms you.

    Although the next one doesn’t qualify as a new release, some of you may enjoy the Lucidity Project (2001) by Michael Halas and Joan Jeanrenaud. It’s all instrumental, cello and piano, and with a good set of sound speakers, you’re in for another auditory feast complete with moving, delightful surprises.

    Finally here at year’s end, hats off to Jonah for creating this blog, and also to everyone else for keeping it a collegial place to visit, share and learn together.

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