Oh yeahhh…This is what you all (the 3 of you) have been waiting for… My top picks of the year. Sorry so late but work, and life gets in the way of blog upkeep at times.
2009 – as much as it was pretty crappy – had some of the best music I’ve heard in a long time – and a lot I discovered late in the year.
Below are a list of some of my favorites. The order towards the top is kind of random, but my favorites are saved for last. Enjoy.
Top 20 Songs of 2009
Artist: Miike Snow | Album: Miike Snow | Silvia
When the lights go out, will there be a trace, that I love Silvia? That I loved Silvia.”
Discovered late in the year and I am not really sure WHY I like this song, but I do. Very detailed assessment, I know. Miike Snow by the way isn’t some dude (and yes it is spelled with two i’s) – but an electropop band from Sweden. Thought I’d drop some knowledge to those who may not know. The Swedes make really catchy music hmm? In people terms – this song is a pretty good friend – not a lover.
Artist: Florence and The Machine| Album: Lungs | Dog Days are Over
“And I never wanted anything from you except everything you had and what was left after that too…
Happiness hit her like a bullet in the head -struck from a great height by someone who should know better than that.”
Lots of hype surrounding Florence and The Machine – which I believe is somewhat deserved, although I do think there have been much better music that came out this year. Even still, there are a few memorable tracks from the album. Florence Welch’s voice is different, powerful and haunting – though at times, I’m sorry but she sounds kind of like a dying cat. When she is at her best, coupled with epic drum rhythms – the music is moving and best heard loudly through headphones. Blinding is my favorite, the other a remix by The xx, Cosmic Love, and this – Dog Days are Over. Another pretty good friend here. Heard this again in a winebar recently and my friend Vanessa and I were so excited we both knew it – if that didn’t occur – I would have selected Cosmic Love here.
Artist: The Shivers | Album: In the Morning | Just Didn’t Need to Know
It was wrong from the start – I really got torn apart. Straight into my bed, like a hunter for my heart. And don’t pretend that we were friends – we were never friends. And don’t go crying it was love if you could walk away from everything. “
Sometimes I like music with various elements that usually cause me to despise a song but for whatever reason, it resonates with me. Just Didn’t Need To Know -with its loud guitar rifts, weird male vocalist, and cursing- has all the ingredients for a song I’d immediately turn off upon first listen but I find this extremely catchy. I tap my feet on the subway and silently sing along to the lo-fi track. Perhaps, though, this means my taste is evolving further and expanding. The Shivers -an indie NYC band which recorded the entire album in a windowless room beneath the Queensboro bridge is another friend. The lovers are coming soon.
Artist: Local Natives | Album: Gorilla Manor | Wide Eyes
Oh some evil spirit, Oh some evil this way comes…Could it ever be on earth as it is in heaven?”
I found this LA band charming upon my first listen around April. If memory serves me correctly – I think I posted “Airplanes” during that time (I did). Hmm…lots has changed since then. The album which was released in the UK recently will be released here in February. While technically not an ’09 artist – I’ve listened to them a lot – so I had to put them on the list. I was charmed then swept off my feet the more I listened.
Artist: Lykke Li | Album: New Moon Soundtrack| Possibility
So tell me when you hear my heart stop, you’re the only one that knows. Tell me when you hear my silence-there’s a possibility I wouldn’t know. So tell me when my sigh is over, you’re the reason why I’m closed. Tell me when you hear me falling, there’s a possibility it wouldn’t show…”
I love love love Lykke Li – though some songs of hers are a little hard to listen to (Tonight, Little Bit, Window Blues – basically almost all of Youth Novels) because I first discovered her music during a difficult time in my life (June ’08). I am definitely not at all interested in the Twilight series in any form- but this song is featured on the soundtrack and I stumbled across it in a music blog one day. Beautiful. She wasn’t sure she wanted to write a song for the film, but after an early screening decided to go ahead. I’m glad she did.
Artist: Fanfarlo | Album: Reservoir| Comets
We’ll tear it down- We’ll hold the truth by the neck”
Sometimes songs I have no idea what the actual meaning is are what the lyrics even say turn out to be my most favorite. I liked pretending to know what Fanfarlo was singing – and was disappointed at first when I looked up the words online and it was nothing like I thought. I preferred my version that went something like “If you’re looking through her eyes -there’s always something …catching(?) her attention on the side”. That is not the lyric at all. (“If you look at the horizon there is always something ducking out of sight”). Doesn’t matter now – I felt the song was infectious with good energy. Reminded me of a Summer song discovered late October.
Artist: Bat For Lashes | Album: Two Suns | Daniel
With my arms around your neck, Into our mouths the tears crept. Just kids in the eye of the storm and as my head spun round, my dreams pulled me from the ground. Forever to search for the flame for home again…”
I feel I should like Bat For Lashes more than I do…Don’t get me wrong – I do think Natasha Khan has a beautiful voice – I just haven’t gotten bat sh*t (haha) crazy over her…yet. This song - I was meh about it for some time but it grew on me. I was falling asleep on the train as I do almost every evening – and as it came on, it soothed me into a deep peaceful sleep. It gives me a nostalgic feeling – like a song I would have loved in the late 80s/90s throwing it on a mix tape along with tracks from Kate Bush and Sinead O’Conner. Speaks of infatuation, and longing at the same time. Oh. Her version of “Use Somebody” is beautiful. Check it.
Artist: The Veils| Album: Sun Gangs | Sit Down By The Fire
It’s hard to say but I think you’d better just say you don’t love me-you don’t love me anymore. I been waiting in line now I know I’ll never overcome this madness if I don’t know for sure.”
Anytime I speak about The Veils, nobody knows who I am talking about and it surprises me. I liked this band for a while and Sun Gangs was one of my most favorite albums of the year. Sit Down By The Fire was my second favorite after “The Letter” but one day as I was running at the gym – this song came on and caused me to weep. Because I can be extremely dramatic, it then took over the number one spot. I implore you to listen to their album if you haven’t already. Just listen to that voice – ugh.
Artist: John Frusciante| Album: The Empyrean | Song to the Siren
Here I am, here I am waiting to hold you. Did I dream you dreamed about me? Were you here when I was full sail? Now my foolish boat is leaning, broken lovelorn on your rocks. For you sang, “touch me not, touch me not, come back tomorrow.”Oh my heart, oh my heart shies from the sorrow.”
One of my most favorite songs of my entire life – well, the version by This Mortal Coil. I probably like it so much because I always feel like I am waiting for a lover to finally call to me. Aw. How pathetic. John Frusciante – (former Red Hot Chilli Pepper guitarist) did a good job with his cover, which is why the song made the list. His album got great reviews but received minimal attention out there on the musicblogsphere. I don’t even remember how I came across this but, hey whatever. This description is probably the worst one I have written yet.
Artist: Girls | Album: Girls | Hellhole Ratrace
I’m sick and tired of the way that I feel,I’m sick of dreaming and its never for real. I’m all alone with my deep thoughts. I’m all alone with my heartache and my good intentions.”
Yes. Wish I didn’t relate to this song so much, but alas, I do. That is why, my friends, I love it. This guy is a mess but hey, we all are sometimes. RIIIIIGGHT? ;)
Artist: Neko Case | Album: Middle Cyclone | This Tornado Loves You
Carved your name across three counties -ground it in with bloody hides. Their broken necks will line the ditch till you stop it..stop it -stop this madness. I want you… I have waited with a glacier’s patience …Still, you are nowhere -nowhere in sight. Come out to meet me, run out to meet me…Come into the light.”
OK…I love her voice but this song makes me picture a bunch of lesbians listening to this while sitting around complaining about the women who wronged them – so I start feeling like I am just a cliche. This is the type of a voice sapphic women always tend to like. I have no idea why. All I know is it makes me tap my feet and sing along where nobody can see or hear me. I like her solo work better than the stuff she does with The New Pornographers. I love these lyrics and if I could sing – I would get my guitar and play this for a specific somebody. Wow, that was totally lesbian of me to say huh?
Artist: Washed Out | Album: Life of Leisure| Feel it all Around
You feel it all around yourself -you know it’s yours and no one else. You feel the thought of learning again. It’s all around…You’re tired of all the things you did- You’ll work it out …”
I want to travel back to 1979 with the love of my life and make love on a beach somewhere (clean beach) with this song acting as the backdrop to this fantasy moment. Another lo-fi electro pop tune. I like. Obviously. These descriptions are getting worse and worse.
Artist: El Perro Del Mar | Album: Love is Not Pop| Change of Heart (remix)
Sweet talk for hours about things we’re gonna’ do…And sometimes I lose track of my heart- but this could never work out. Never stop -we will never stop…Your voice in my ear -help me get back home. Why won’t you consider? A change of heart
I played the original way too much a month ago that I couldn’t really bare to listen to it any more. I recently came across this remix and made me appreciate the song all over again. You know that person that you just can’t seem to let go of – and no matter how many times you argue, no matter how unhealthy the cycle is or how empty you feel at times– you just can’t help but keep gravitating towards them? Well, that’s this song.
Artist: Fever Ray| Album: Fever Ray| Keep the Streets Empty For Me
Uncover our heads and reveal our souls – We were hungry before we were born.”
I have loved and been obsessed with The Knife and Karin’s voice since May of 2007 (late to discover but not as late as most people-just putting it out there!). Early this year when I found out she was putting together a solo album under the name Fever Ray – I became so excited and couldn’t wait to hear the tracks. This was instantly my favorite … So dark, haunting and sexy… Right up my alley. The rest of the album kind of disappointed me, but if I had discovered Keep The Streets Empty later on in the year – it definitely would have been my top pick of 2009.
Artist: Sunset Rubdown | Album: Dragon Slayer | Idiot Heart
I hope that you die in a decent pair of shoes…You got a lot more walking to do where you’re going to.”
Ouch. Telling someone they have an idiot heart, hoping they die. Screams of all sorts of resentment to me. I also think this song is about that feeling of restlessness. Seeing someone you care about just settling – or resigning o their fate. Staying still wherever they are – and you want to shake them up…get them to move – be free- DO something. You constantly hint, or tell them this – yet they remain tied to their crappy life as it stands. I don’t know. Whatever. All I do know is that I must have listened to this song a total of 97283 times this year and have yet to be sick of it. Either you love or hate Sunset Rubdown – very rare to find anyone in between….I love them and all their crescendos and epic-ness. That is not a word but I made it up just for this description. Quick fact for you – I have been compiling this blog posting for weeks and I am starting to get cranky now. The quality of my writing in some of these are testament to that.
Artist: Dirty Projectors | Album: Bitte Orca| Stillness is the Move
After all that we’ve been through -I know we’ll make it after the wait. The question is a truth -there is nothing we can’t do. I’ll see you along the way baby – the stillness is the move.”
Oh yes. How sexy is this track? Makes me want to dance and punch a baby at the same time. That made no sense. I am becoming delirious. The theme here is also about DOING something – not staying still. Yet unlike Idiot Heart – the message is more positive. We can move on – together, figure it out – and be OK because we’ll have one another. Like I’ll get a job as a waitress and we’ll move to some bum town in the middle of nowhere if we have to -who cares? Life is too short. Awww… I like songs that remind me of my own idealism which I hope doesn’t fade.
Artist: Passion Pit | Album: Manners| Sleepyhead
Like stars burning holes right through the dark, Flicking fire like saltwater into my eyes. You were one inch from the edge of this bed- I drag you back a sleepyhead, sleepyhead…”
I don’t even care that this song plays on every other commercial as of recently. I listen to it almost every morning on my commute to work to get ready for my day. It probably sounds funny to people next to me on the train huh? I often think about that if I am listening loudly to something. What the person next to me must be thinking. Seldom ever will you hear loud music emitting from someone’s iPod and think to yourself “Oh man what amazing taste in music” or “I love that song!” Yet, I think we all secretly fantasize about that, at least for a moment. I need to go to sleep. Oh haha I typed that within the description for “sleepyhead” …how…ironic.
Artist: The Temper Trap | Album: Conditions| Sweet Disposition
So stay there, cause I’ll be coming over -and while our bloods still young- it’s so young
it runs and we won’t stop til it’s over. Won’t stop to surrender”
Yes, this is the song that was in 500 days of Summer, but I didn’t even realize that until music blogs started mentioning it all the time. It was one of my most favorite tracks of the year – made my heart beat fast and feel anxious. Anxious in a good way I suppose. You know when you feel a person slipping – and you want to do anything you can to show them the truth of how you feel? You hope them being exposed to the bare bones honesty of your feelings, your persistence, passion, dedication will make them get them back on track, on that same page with you. Hoping that you constantly going after them will work in your favor. That’s this song. And that my loves, only happens in movies…with happy endings. Or OK…maybe in real life too, if you’re lucky and extremely patient and made of stone. Wepa! I still believe.
Artist: Animal Collective | Album: Merriweather Post Pavilion | Girls
There isn’t much that I feel I need – a solid soul and the blood I bleed. With a little girl, and by my spouse
I only want a proper house…”
Animal Collective’s most accessible album to date yet thankfully still has enough weirdness to keep the masses away. I just sounded like an elitist, I know…but it aggravates me when people who don’t have much passion for music start obsessing over a song that those of us who ARE passionate have liked for months, years prior. I doubt My Girls will ever gain popularity like “Use Somebody” did and I like that. Some music -certain songs I hold dear to me. I want to protect them and hold them close to my chest away from those horrible people who jam out to uhh… Nickelback. I love the message in this song – which is why it is so close to my top pick of the entire year. Maybe it’s because I am getting older, and my needs much more simple. All I want is my health, sanity, the love of my life by my side, and a home to build our family. Nothing else matters.
Artist: Grizzly Bear | Album: Veckatimest| Ready, Able
I’m gonna take a stab at this. Surely we’ll be alright – make a decision with a kiss.”
I have featured Grizzly Bear a few times here in the past year because I absolutely love these guys. As I’ve stated before – the album contains gorgeous vocal harmonies and quality production. It’s a record that has to breathe – requiring repeated listens to appreciate certain nuances you might have missed the first few times around. Ready, Able for instance was one of my least favorites – and has now become a top pick of the year. 1:47 on – breathtaking. While so many artists are experimenting with a futuristic sound, I appreciate the dusty library vibe of Grizzly Bear. Tied for number 1.
Artist: The xx | Album: The xx| Basic Space
I’ll take you in pieces -we can take it all apart. I’ve suffered shipwrecks right from the start
I’ve been underwater, breathing out and in…I think I’m losing where you and I begin…”
The xx is worth every ounce of any hype and praise they have gotten. The best new band I have heard in a long time – and I was hooked instantly. The fact that the album is an entire DIALOGUE between two lovers makes me that much more obsessed with them. Their music to me is soulful, sexy, inspiring, intimate, and gorgeous. Their lyrics of sex, love, and the dynamics involved between two people in a relationship are smart and well formed. Surprising for a bunch of 20 year olds.
The xx – Crystalised -“I’ll forgive and forget before I’m paralyzed. Do I have to keep up the pace to keep you satisfied?”The xx – Infinity – “Had I seen it in your eyes there’d have been no try after try. Your leaving had no goodbye- had I just seen one in your eyes”
Little Dragon – Come Home
Antlers – kettering
Taylor Swift – You Belong With Me
Mayer Hawthorne – Green Eyed Love (Classixx Remix)