Wednesday, December 31

Top 40 Songs of the Year

40) M.I.A - Paper Planes
Seeing as this song was released in 07, it usually wouldn't be eligible for the "Best of" list. However, I think it would be a much bigger lapse in judgment to ignore a song that was so fucking huge for so long with such a good hook. "Paper Planes" did things for the "Cash Register" and "Gunshot" sound effects that no one has done since late 90s hip hop, and for that alone it deserves to be on the list, regardless of what year it came out in.

39) Black Kids - I'm Not Going To Teach Your Boyfriend How To Dance With You
In a year saturated with hipster dance music, the Black Kids went post-modern and scored a hit with a track so catchy and simple that it almost feels like a guilty pleasure.

38) The Wombats - My First Wedding It's a story as old as time. Kid goes to a wedding to see an old flame get married, has too much to drink, tells off the wedding party and gets run out of town. The lyrics are authentic and bitter ("She's my heartless bitch that I just can't seem to get enough of..." "She's not that beautiful...") benefitied by excellent delivery and brit-pop effiecntcy, making for the best song about unrequented love on an album overflowing with it.

37) The Gaslight Anthem - The 59 Sound

The title track for The Gaslight Anthem's breakout record paints a perfect picture of the band: new school jersey punks for whom which music stopped with Lifetime and Springsteen, writing songs about cars, funeral songs, the afterlife, and young kids who die on Saturday nights. Tragedies rarely come so well packaged.

36) Man Man - Poor Jackie

Honus Honus and his band of wolves get their sad on with this seven minute sailor's durge about a soul-sucker of a woman who has to hid from the athourites. Concidering how manly Rabbit Habbits is, it's nice to hear Honus howling again, practically sobbing broken man lyrics ("I don't see what everybody sees in youy sexy body / all I see is a pretty face painted on a shallow grave.)

35) Death Cab For Cutie - I Will Posess Your Heart
If there is a band less likely to make an eight-minute long bass heavy love grove than Death Cab For Cutie, I don't know about them. Nothing about this song makes sense, which makes its success all the more rewarding.

34) TV on the Radio - Crying

Track one, side one of Dear Science is textbook TVotR: spacy distant rock music with a beat you can move to and a mind to be the next Talking Heads / David Bowie. Someday, these dudes are going to stop cranking out hits.

33) Tom Gable - Anna is a Stool Pigeon
Gable didn't invent folk-punk, but few people can smash on major chords and grumble about politics better. "Anna" takes a funny turn on a love story gone wrong, painting a revolutionary falling for an FBI informant. Since this is Gable and not Colin Meloy, you can guess how the story ends.

32) Frightened Rabbit - Good Arms vs Bad Arms
Emotional dudes of the world, take notice. Frightened Rabbit are your new gods. Expect big things in 09 / 10.

31) The Cool Kids - What Up Man
The best rap song ever made using only a mic and a bell. Worth a listen just to find out what I'm talking about.

30) Sleepercar - Wednesday Nights
Jim Ward will always sound better as a member of At The Drive In, but he's not half bad as an alt-country crooner, either.

29) The Mars Volta - Goliath
As much as I hate this band, "Goliath" is one of the most brutaly mammoth rock songs of the year, and far and away the best thing TMV has done since their first album.

28) Women - Cameras
27) Wavves - Side Yr On

2008 was a pretty bad year for cheaply made low-fi punk music, what with Japanther going soft and hype bands like No Age and Times New Viking doing blow with strippes. Thank god for Women and Wavves and their crunchy, sunny basement pop. "Cameras" is the kind of song that Brian Wilson listens to while doing drugs, and "Side Yr On" is as fuzzy and rolling as the band's namesake.

26) The Streets - The Strongest Person I Know
If Mike Skinner comes in two settings ("Playful" and "Sentimental"), its the second one that drags him down more often than not. Still, with nothing more than a common piano melody accented with some woodwinds, Skinner's love letter to a nameless hero is honest, down to earth, and wonderfully, strightforwardly simple.

25) Hot Chip - Ready for the Floor

24) Less Than Jake - Abandon Ship
GNV FLA has plauged me in 2008. On the one hand, it is obvious pandering to a slighted fanbase. On the other, it's exactly what what old heads like me were hoping for. "Abandon Ship" is a track very much aware of this dicotomy and serves as a sort of apology for past transgressions. As much as I want to stay mad, it works.

23) Foals - Cassius

Bloc Party + Minus the Bear + Forward, Russia! = the best post-punk song of the year.

22) Nada Surf - I Like What You Say
These aging tigers seem to have burned off all their bitter snark, leaving nothing but sweetly sinsear pop rock songs. "I Like What You Say" is nothing more or less than that, but sometimes that's all you need.

21) Tapes n Tapes - The Dirty Dirty
Walk it Off might have been a letdown, but there is nothing disapointing about this five minute droning rumbler. Odd time signatures, grumbing guitars, church bells and hooky nonsense lyrics are enough to make TnT fans keep on belivin'.

20) The Magnetic Feilds - California Girls

Hands down, my favorite song about teenage girls of the year. If you are between the ages of 14 and 18, think The Hills is a good model for your behavior and are concidering a career in PR, please listen to this song first and take every word to heart.

19) Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds - Midnight Man

Dig! Lazarus! Dig! has got more than its share of hits, including the catchy-as-sin title track, but none are better than Cave's story of a confused woman caught between two men. Cave is as poetic as ever, but its the twist ending that leave the Midnight Man (not to be confused with the Nightman) twisting in the wind that gives the song its punch.

18) Vampire Weekend - Cape Cod Kwassa Kwassa
Really, concidering the amount of press these dudes got this year, do I honestly think I can contribute anything? No. This song rules. Next.

17) The Old 97's - The One
Half "story-of-our-band" song, half bank robbery, "The One" is a pop-rock victory lap for this year's Phinox band, everyone's favorite cow-punks-turned-popsmiths.

16) The YMD - Drown Yr Hamster in Nail Polish

If there is a more successful combination of punk and rap I haven't heard it. Little brother delivery and old-school battle rap lyrics make this track the party-starter for your next basement get-together.

15) Drive-By Truckers - Two Daughters and a Beautiful Wife

Usually, when an artist gets a family and starts to mellow out, the music suffers. Thankfully, the opposite happened to the Drive-By Trucker's Patterson Hood, who took his newfound family love and turned it into a soft love letter about those left behind after the passing of life. Sweet and soft, this track serves as a great opener to a great album.

14) MGMT - The Kids
Of all the overhyped bands of the last few years totally undeserving of the credit they've been blessed with, no one seems more transparently crappy as MGMT. Still, my naked dislike for them asife, "The Kids" is one of those rare hipster dance songs that can overcome my blind rage and make me shake my moneymaker. I love this song, but fuck you, MGMT.

13) The Mountain Goats - Heritic Pride
John Darniell's story of a man gleefully dragged from his house only to be murdered in the town square to great rejoicing and personal contentment is...well...kind of fucked up when you type it out like that. Still, it's a rocking track that will have the chorus on your brain for at least 48 hours.

12) Flogging Molly - Float
It seems like I spent a lot of this year walking around looking for jobs to no avail. That kind of nonstop rejection can catch up on a dude and there were more than a few times that I felt like packing it all in and moving back to upstate NY. "Float" became my unemployed jam, my anthem for the pursuit of honesty through any means and regardless of cost. Don't sink the boat that you built to keep afloat.

11) Gnarls Barkley - Run

It's safe to assume that this dynamic duo will never reach their "Crazy" heights again, but it won't be because of a dip in quality. "Run" is a punchy quick neo-soul song that would have gotten a lot more play in a fair an honest world.

10) Los Campisenos! - Sweet Dreams Sweet Cheeks

9) Future of the Left - Suddenly It's a Folk Song

8) Ra Ra Riot - St. Peter's Day Festival

7) Lil Wayne ft. Babyface - Comfortable

6) Hot Club de Paris - Hey! Housebrick

5) Titus Andronicus - No Future

4) The Hold Steady - Two Handed Handshake

3) Weezer - The Greatest Man Who Ever Lived (Variatons of a Shaker Hymn)

2) Kanye West - Love Lockdown

1) Algernon Cadwallader - Serial Killer Status


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