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Tuesday, November 24, 2009

The Top 31 Songs of 2009

Why delay things with a long and drawn-out introduction that you probably won't read anyway?  Readers, it's been a long year here at the ol' A/O, and I'm glad it's coming to an end.  Let's celebrate 2009 with a look back at the 31 songs that made it unique!

#31. "Get it Right Now" - Del the Funky Homosapien - Saying this is Del's best song in years isn't a difficult thing to do. Pretty much everything he's done since Both Sides of da 'Brain has been pretty poor. With that said, "Get It Right Now" is an awesome track, and one that was going strong on my iPod for months. It just may be the best rap track of 2009.

#30. "The Ruminant Band" - Fruit Bats - The title track to the new Fruit Bats album is a charming song, both lyrically and musically. It towers above the rest of the album and was its only song that I have listened to for more than a week.

#29. "I Belong to You" - Muse - Muse's most-recent record is a big ol' pile of hit or miss despite the fact that some of the band's best songs are contained on it. "I Belong to You" happens to be one of those tracks. It's got a danceable, "Supermassive" feel to it, plus a little bit of orchestration a-la "Butterflies & Hurricanes." And it's perfect. So there's that.

#28. "Black & Blue" - Miike Snow - The catchiest song on Miike Snow's self-titled album is also its greatest asset. The rest of the album? Meh, it can be good sometimes.

#27. "Daylight" - Matt & Kim - It's relentless in its awesomeness, despite Matt's sometimes grating voice. Once the drums kick in, I can't help but break out in a slightly-embarassing groove.

#26. "El Caporal" - My Morning Jacket - The only song on Dark was the Night''s second disc that is any good, "El Caporal" is actually reeeeaaaally good, which is nice in a year without a proper MMJ record.

#25. "Swing Tree" - Discovery - In my time with this great album, there have been multiple songs that have slid in and out of my "favorite song on the album" spot. "Swing Tree" currently resides there, where it has for the last month.

#24. "Give It Up" - Datarock - I first listened to Datarock's Red about 3 months ago. I stopped listening to it about 3 months ago as well. However, about a week ago, this song started playing on my iPod. I've been hooked ever since. Is a week enough time to determine whether a song deserves a spot on this list? That's debatable. What isn't is the greatness of "Give it Up." It rocks.

#23. "Little Bribes" - Death Cab for Cutie - I usually stay away from EPs, opting instead for a full LP for my musical enjoyment. But "Little Bribes" is a great song, and The Open Door EP is pretty good too.

#22. "I'm On a Boat" - The Lonely Island f/ T-Pain - For as goofy and bizarre as this song is, it's also pretty damn catchy. It's been stuck in my head multiple times in 2009, and chances are it'll still be getting some plays in 2010. Not bad for a bit of musical comedy.

#21. "Ray Gun" - The Bird & the Bee - The Bird & the Bee's latest is filled with some outstanding pop gems, "Ray Gun" just happens to be the best on here. If you have yet to listen to it, you owe to yourself. Trust me. I'm Cale.

#20. "Waters of March" - Anya Marina - This is the second-best cover song of 2009. The first? Keep reading.

#19. "Young Adult Friction" - The Pains of Being Pure at Heart - "Young Adult Friction" has the uncanny ability to sound like both an early 90s indie rock song and a song off of an 80s John Hughes movie. How that works is anyone's guess, but it does, and it's a beautiful song.

#18. "Remember Severed Head" - Clues - This song almost sounds like a Unicorns song. Almost. Sometimes almost is good enough.

#17. "Take On Me" - A.C. Newman - I was in love with A-Ha's "Take On Me" long before Newman decided to cover it for the Sweetheart Compilation this year. It's one of the best pop songs of all time, in my opinion. What he does to it here is slow it down and make it a bit more somber, which suits the lyrics perfectly. It's a new spin on an old classic. I love it!

#16. "11th Dimension" - Julian Casablancas - Under the Radar magazine called this song "the best 80s jam of 2009," which I totally agree with. Casablancas' synth-heavy grooves can get repetitive if you focus too much on that aspect of it. I choose to focus on the coolness of it all, and "11th Dimension" is the coolest track on the album.

#15. "1901" - Phoenix - It's a minor travesty that I did not include this song in my first draft of this list. Problem solved. This album isn't just good, it's fantastic. It's the Mercedes of indie rock songs, which may or may not be a subtle reference to its use in a car commercial. Okay, it is.

#14. "Actor Out of Work" - St. Vincent - My first time through Actor, I was all but convinced that "Marrow" would be my favorite track from the album. Rip a couple months off the calendar and it's actually "Actor Out of Work" that receives that honor. It could be the lyrics, which are a cut above, though it's probably due to the absolutely genius music video.

#13. "The Queen's Rebuke/The Crossing" - The Decemberists - Shara Worden's work on The Decemberist's Hazards of Love is a priceless contribution to the music world. Case in point: this brilliant song from the album that not only captures the essence of her talent, but the awesome energy and storytelling that made the album such a true work of art.

#12. "Sleepyhead" - Passion Pit - 2009 may be the year of the commercials featuring indie-music, as I just saw a Palm Pixi commercial featuring Passion Pit's most-popular song. Personally, I don't think it fits in the ad at all, but I still love the energy of this song.

#11. "Stillness is the Move" - Dirty Projectors - Having 3 songs from one artist in this list is in achievement in and of itself. The fact that Dirty Projectors' first appearance here is at #11 should tell you a lot about the kind of year they had. "Stillness is the Move" is a perfect example of what made Bitte Orca such a great album: bizarre compositions and vocals mixed with pop sensibilities.

#10. "French Navy" - Camera Obscura - I've been singing along to this song in my vehicle for weeks now, and I'm pretty sure I look pretty ridiculous doing it. The joy captured in this song makes the embarrassment worth it, though. So if you ever see a tall ginger kid freaking out in his white Ford F-150, chances are that's me listening to this song.

#9. "I Got Soul, I'm So Wasted" - Wallpaper. - The genius of this song will be expounded upon in future articles. For now, just listen and enjoy everything that it has to offer.

#8. "Harm/Slow" - Loney, Dear - The imagery of solitude and loneliness in this song is absolutely heartbreaking. It's one of the most depressing songs I've heard in a while. Clearly, it's also one of the best. Sometimes there is beauty in darkness.

#7. "Gimme Sympathy" - Metric - There was a time that I thought this song would end up in the #1 spot on this list. It is a perfect pop/rock song and easily one of Metric's greatest tracks. How it slipped to #7 is anyone's guess, but still…7 ain't bad.

#6. "Temecula Sunrise" - Dirty Projectors - Song #2 from Bitte Orca is the album's most-impressive track. I love singing along to songs when I'm by myself. It gives me something to do. Learning the melodies to this one was tough, but worth it. I listen to it at least a few times a week, and have been doing so for most of the year.

#5. "I Ain't Most Dudes" - Wallpaper. - Coming up with what Wallpaper. songs would be on this list was difficult. It was even more strenuous figuring out which one would be ranked highest. In the end, "I Ain't Most Dudes" is my favorite song from Doodoo Face because it is the most timeless of them all, and has one of the most infectious melodies of recent memory.

#4. "Everything Turns to You" - Loney, Dear - On a perfect album like Dear John, narrowing down a top song is usually a chore. Not for this one though. For as great as every song on that album is, "Everything Turns to You" is still a shoe-in for its greatest track.

#3. "Knotty Pine" - Dirty Projectors f/ David Byrne - And the award for "Song that's been stuck in my head for pretty much all of 2009" goes to…

#2. "The Hazards of Love 4 (The Drowned)" - The Decemberists - Some may knock the closing track to The Decemberist's masterpiece as a sort of Titanic-esque ending, but it is one of 2009's most beautiful and poignant songs when taken in the context of the remainder of the story. Any song that brings me close to tears has to be something worth remembering.

#1. "Little Secrets" - Passion Pit - No song has brought me more joy in 2009 than Passion Pit's "Little Secrets," the second track on their debut LP. Sure, it may be about doing drugs or whatever, but every time those kids sing "higher and higher" I can't help but have the biggest smile on my face. This song is great, in almost every aspect and if someone came up to me with a Men In Black mind eraser thing and said, "Hey, I'm going to erase all of 2009's music from your head, except for one song. What song would you like to keep?," I wouldn't hesitate in my response. It'd be this one. Not the live version, mind you. The real thing. The live version sucks, mainly because…well…dude can't sing.


Ben said...

'El Caporal' is the only good song on disc 2? I recommend you revisit 'Inspiration Information'! It's fucking great!

thanks for the great blog!

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