Yesterday’s post got me all riled up, and since I love lists, I figured I’d go ahead and start yet another analysis I should have posted months ago – this one won’t take as long. Today is the first post in a ten-part series looking at my personal favorite tracks of last year.
100. Yeah Yeah Yeahs – Heads Will Roll
I wasn’t a huge fan of It’s Blitz – definitely my least favorite from this group. I saw them at Monolith 2009, and, to say the least, they were disappointing. Turns out I’m not as big a fan of Karen O and her “animated” stage antics as I thought. Pretention is something I can’t get past, no matter how rocking the music behind her is….but since they were playing mostly ballads from their latest effort, that wasn’t the case. All this being said, this track is pretty damn catchy. Karen’s try at Blondie was hit or miss for me, but the highlight of Blitz is three and a half minutes of complete dancing hysteria.
99. Third Eye Blind – Can You Take Me
Oh, how that first album track deceives! This opener to Ursa Major, 3EB’s “comeback” effort (a much more successful one than 2003′s underrated Out of the Vein) had me believing Jenkins and the boys were back to their old late 90′s charms. Sadly, the rest of the new album pretty much sucks. But god help me, this song is too reminiscent of “London” for me to resist. Long live the 90′s!
98. Dan Deacon – Paddling Ghost
Even if its no Spiderman of the Rings, Deacon’s 2009 disc Bromst is pretty awesome in its own right, showing maturity in an artist that I had written off as a one-album indie wonder. This track, early in the album, sets the tone for Deacon’s progression. Instead of the regular buildup, Deacon jumps right into it, providing a more conventional structure to this song than he did previously with others and blowing the listener’s mind with a layer of catchy sounds. It’s similar to the masterpeice “Wham City” but shorter and more spastic, if you can believe it.
97. The Very Best – Chalo
An amazing track from an amazing album, Radioclit and Esau pick up where MIA and Diplo left off, delivering the best collaboration in the third-world vs. Western electro genre in recent memory. I can’t say that I care too much what Esau is saying, because that hook is undeniable, in an international kind of way.
96. Fever Ray – If I Had a Heart
The lady from the Knife got creepy in 2009. The first track from this self-titled debut is, without a doubt, the scariest thing I heard all year, and it’s easily the definite highlight. Watch the acclaimed video for maximum effect (if you’re like me, you’ll watch it on high volume in the dark).
95. Dent May – College Town Boy
A semi-private day performance at the French Legation Museum during SXSW 2009 won me over, and this song has pretty much been the lyrical summarization of my life for the past year. “College town boy/Get off your ass and do something/College town boy/How does it feel to be nothing?” My theme song by a dorky bespectacled white guy with a ukelele. Needless to say, I can relate. Yes, I’ve never been to Paris or Prague, oh my god.
94. Wavves – Cool Jumper
Nathan Williams quickly turned into one of the most divisive figures in indie rock, with his drunken hot/cold live performances and his simple lo-fi production and songwriting. The breakdown in Barcelona didn’t help, either, so Williams retreated and sought the help of respected drummer Zach Hill for this Internet-only track, a wise decision. The catchy melodies are still there, the Beach Boy-channeling “whoos” are in full swing; this is still good ol’ Wavves. But the intricate drumming, smoother production, and electronic layering show a young songwriter – who probably became too popular too quickly, thanks, Internet – growing musically. With this song, he assures us, “I’m not gonna waste your time.”
93. Pictureplane – Goth Star
As far as I can tell, this guy’s motif is taking old songs, chopping them up, and re-creating them into an electro-dance party. Kind of like a DJ or mash-up artist, but slightly more inaccessible. Sometimes it works for Pictureplane, sometimes it doesn’t. This time, it works. Of course, it never hurts to dig through Fleetwood Mac’s back catalog to put together a piece of gold.
92. A.C. Newman – Like a Hitman, Like a Dancer
I hope this year’s New Pornographers disc isn’t in the same melodic vein as the solo effort from Newman last year; he did not bring his “A” game for Get Guilty. This one’s the lone goodie from that disc, not in the vein of a solo great like “Drink to Me, Babe, Then” but more of a Twin Cinema scrap that shouldn’t have been ignored.
91. Dead Weather – Treat Me Like a Mother
God, is Jack White bad at ANYTHING? This new project ruled it when I saw them at ACL in October, and Horehound was pretty rocking. This is definitely my favorite track, probably because of the “showdown with machine guns” video; it fits so perfectly with the mood of the song – a prodding, angry thud that slowly morphs into multi-instrumental hysteria.