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The 50 Best Songs of 2007

Journey back 13 years to a stellar year for Rihanna, M.I.A., Arcade Fire, and Kanye West. From hip-hop to indie rock and everywhere in between, PopMatters picks the best 50 songs of 2007.

40. Manic Street Preachers – “Your Love Alone Is Not Enough”

The first single from Welsh rockers Manic Street Preachers’ Send Away the Tigers, “Your Love Alone Is Not Enough” has all the power of a monsters ballad, but the song soars with the true grandeur of hopeless romantics. Belting it out with frontman James Dean Bradfield is honey-throated Cardigans singer Nina Persson. The two trade tales of disappointment, but the music’s anthemic surge will take you high. – Michael Keefe

39. Gui Boratto – “Beautiful Life”

More than anything else on Chromophobia, “Beautiful Life” builds until it teeters on self-implosion. The crown jewel on the debut LP from Brazilian dance music producer Gui Boratto is driven into near-hysterical bliss with layered synth loops and even bits of guitar. “Beautiful Life” brims with romantic swirls of sound, and grows lovelier, perhaps fittingly, with muffled but necessary vocal contributions from his wife. It’s a rock song that crashes a mostly techno party, and it’s breathtaking. – Dominic Umile

38. Modest Mouse – “Dashboard”

Johnny Marr’s presence is evident here more than anywhere on Modest Mouse’s fifth long-player, and with the slick riffs that form the track’s beating heart, in particular. Billed in some quarters as We Were Dead…‘s “Float On”, there is admittedly an analogy transcending both tracks’ commercial prospects, extending to the way Isaac Brock’s frantic yelps challenge their pop hooks. Indeed, “Dashboard” is an intriguing experiment in contrasting melodic precision with Brock’s persistent mania. Thankfully, it’s also a successful one. – Chris Baynes

37. My Chemical Romance – “Teenagers”

With their simple and joyously young turk-minded single “Teenagers”, My Chemical Romance learned to crack a smile. This anthemic, fist-pump of a song cribbed crunchy T. Rex riffs as freely as Oasis’ “Cigarettes and Alcohol” but, unlike most of The Black Parade, brooding wasn’t on its agenda. Disregard the album’s bleak concept. From the overkill cliché of its “dark clothes” reference to leadman Gerard Way’s chorus-prefacing plea “All together now”, “Teenagers” is smirking self-parody. Never has brat pack disaffection seemed so celebratory. – Barry Lenser

36. 50 Cent – “I Get Money”

Curtis Jackson doesn’t run New York, SoundScan, or — sorry, man — much else beyond the increasingly beside-the-point G-Unit and apparently a line of condoms. But that’s okay. He’s charismatic and skilled enough to affect genuine dominance as convincingly as Dick Cheney, or at least Donald Trump. For close to 4-minutes anyway. Tremendous beats don’t hurt either, natch. – Josh Timmermann

35. Lucky Soul – “Add Your Light to Mine, Baby”

Lucky Soul make no apologies for being all about sugary, retro ’50s/’60s pop. Nor should they. Not when they can produce two and a quarter minutes of pop perfection like this. All trumpets and candy-coated vocals, “Add Your Light to Mine, Baby” might be little more than a ridiculously infectious chorus, but it’s the kind of pure unadulterated fun that risks reminding you why you fell in love with music in the first place. – Adam Bunch

34. Dan Le Sac Vs. Scroobius Pip – “Thou Shalt Always Kill”

This debut single from beatmeister Dan Le Sac and poet-rapper Scroobius Pip fuses thin-yet-propulsive synth-pop with a smart and funny rant on the dos and don’ts of flirtation and music appreciation. The song’s highlight is Pip’s cataloging of acts we’ve put on a pedestal. Scroobius declares everyone from the Beatles to Arctic Monkeys “just a band”. Blasphemy? Nah, “Thou Shalt Always Kill” is just good, intelligent pop music. – Michael Keefe

33. Mika – “Grace Kelly”

A buoyant lament on the pressure to conform, Mika’s “Grace Kelly” is tailor-made for anyone who has felt the need to put on an act. Using bombastic production, falsetto vocals and appealing lyrics, Mika takes on the music industry, Hollywood or any other proponent of poser-dom. At the same time, he proves that being yourself reaps some worthy rewards. – Rachel Kipp

Timbaland, Justin Timberlake and Nelly Furtado – “Give It to Me”

Timbaland’s wizard production work for “Give It to Me” stands dominantly on its own. But pop’s prolific king-maker and his ascendant co-stars, Nelly Furtado and Justin Timberlake, couldn’t resist topical smacktalk to boot. Rhetoric on “Promiscuous”, “Sexyback”, and the Scott Storch tiff, “Give It to Me” is their self congratulatory pat-on-the-back. Its twilight-tinted, mesmerizingly brittle beats provide the checkmate, though. They typify Timbo’s otherworldly prowess even as the song’s charming bluster keeps him human. – Barry Lenser

31. Of Montreal – “Suffer for Fashion”

This album opener encapsulates the joyous first half of Of Montreal’s operatic epic Hissing Fauna, Are You the Destroyer?, and thus the joyous side of self-destruction. Singer Kevin Barnes adds this to the burn out vs. fade away dilemma: “If we gotta burn out / let’s do it together”. And the music follows suit. Its electro-trash-rock-pop is the sound of rushing towards the darkness, a fitting stand-in for the gleeful nihilism driving so much music today. – Dave Heaton