Thursday, January 15, 2009

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Best of 2008: Music

Every year, I always figure out what my favorite song of the year was. This year for some reason was particularly difficult. I think this is because much of the "new" music I listened to this year was technically from 2007 or 2006, so those really don't count. On the way back from Memphis, Carrie and I had a discussion about what was my favorite song of 2008 that was either from an album released in 2008, or a single from a 2007 album that was released in 2008 - every time I came up with one, she would tell me, "no, that wasn't your favorite song this year." We decided that I would check the iPod when I got home, and scour over some other people's lists online (yes, even Pitchfork, the website I love to hate to love).

I don't know why, but it took me a solid week to figure it out, and then when I decided on #1, it feels like I was cheating a little, but you will see my rationale below. But because I thought of so many songs, I figured I would rank them and give some links to youtube where applicable. Also, I decided to not do that thing that so many lists do, with only 1 song per artist, like a VH1 list of best hair band songs - seriously, how can you pick just one Skid Row song? So here goes:

Honorable Mentions: We Are Scientists, Ghouls, Let's See It, and Lethal Enforcer; Hot Chip, One Pure Thought; Mogwai, Batcat; and CSS, Rat is Dead.

20) Vampire Weekend, Cape Cod Kwassa Kwassa - OK, in all seriousness, I don't like to admit that I like this song. These guys seem like they are the whitest group of guys in history. Like, they vacation in the Hamptons or something. But the song is catchy, and I enjoy it for some reason. Never really a contender for song of the year, and Let's See It and One Pure Thought are actually better songs, but I just wanted to seperately mention how truly white Vampire Weekend. Really, it is epic.

19) M83, Kim and Jessie - This song is a guilty pleasure for me and would never have made the list, but a bunch of "best of" lists have this song on it, so that was all I needed to include it here. It sounds like those French guys Air from a few years back, but better and less obnoxious. Also, the video has fun roller skating.

18) She & Him, Why Do You Let Me Stay Here? - Zooey's song here, and it is okay, even if her singing style is a bit nasaly. Wait - I take that back - I have this on the list to impress her, because after I saw Elf she was top 5 worthy. Everything about you is awesome! Ben Gibbard doesn't know what he lucked into!!!!

17) Faunts, M4 (Part II) - Totally a song that I alone seem to enjoy. I don't know - probably the whole suspenseful build up feel to the song.

16) Bishop Allen, Click Click Click Click - This song came out around the wedding, and it is about a guy crashing a wedding and ending up in a wedding picture, so it has a special place in my heart. I even put it on the iPod playlist at the wedding. Then, a few months later this song is on and Carrie lets me know that she isn't a fan, and I explained that it was special to me because of the wedding and all. After that, she says that she felt bad about saying that and can't hate it anymore! But I think it is neat and cute, and anything that reminds me of the wedding will always be a keeper. Plus, I think the video is spiffy.

15) Portishead, Machine Gun - A song that I am just really getting into, but it was on most of the critics list for the year. I got some of their old stuff, and am digging it. This song is pretty kick ass if you ask me.

14) Cold War Kids, Something is Not Right with Me - Most of you will and probably should find this song pretty annoying, but I think it rocks. The lyrics are fun and the song makes me want to run through a brick wall.

13) Fleet Foxes, He Doesn't Know Why - Another group here that I am just getting into. I always liked another song by them (foreshadowing), and this song is really chill and all. The CD is really good too, and was on a bunch of critics' lists. Maybe this time in a few months, this song will rate higher. They aren't quite like Band of Horses in that they are more about singing and harmonies and such, but still there seems to be an obvious comparison. You might hear more on these guys in the next little bit.

12) Rihanna, Don't Stop the Music - I didn't actually check, but I think this single was released in 2008. At least, that is my story and I am sticking to it. Would normally rate higher, but I am always hesitant on dance songs.

11) Kings of Leon, Use Somebody - This was a pleasant surprise this year. KoL was always a band that I felt old for not "getting", but they put out a couple of songs this year that changed my opinion. I mean, I liked Four Kicks a few years back, but not enough to get the CD or anything. But they did this song on SNL, and I was impressed.

10) Ra Ra Riot, Ghost Under Rocks - I rank this here at #10, but at one point I decided this was my favorite song of the year. The weak final act of this song and the whiny voice of the guy put it at number 10 though. Still an awesome awesome song. Plus, strings. And a hot chick playing strings. There were a couple of months this summer that this was my favorite song. Probably should be rated higher, but I don't feel like changing it.

9) The White Stripes, Conquest - Really, I love to just belt out "Conquest"!!! Really a fun song, and was definitive for the summer months for us. If this song makes Rock Band, I call dibs on vocals.

8) Fleet Foxes, White Winter Hymnal - I was following the I was following the I was following the I was following the... No, but seriously, this song is incredible. I loved it initially, then forgot about it, then the other song came out, and I got the CD, and then even Pitchfork had this as their album of the year. This song is incredible - I am still getting used to it again, and it was at one point the frontrunner for song of the year. I really just need to listen to it more.

7) We Are Scientists, After Hours - OK, let's just get it out of the way - I am unabashedly a huge We Are Scientists fan. I love just about everything they put out. All of it is high quality pop stuff. Goofy, harmless, fun stuff. I have no idea how these guys aren't huge. They even put out fun videos, like this one - you all should watch it all the way through. The hot chick from 30 Rock is in it. But still - go get these guys' CDs, they are really fun escapist quality stuff. It feels weird having them in front of Fleet Foxes on this list, but it is the same way that I enjoy Wayne's World over Citizen Kane - I can recognize that Fleet Foxes is better technically and all, but I just love this crap! These guys rule!

6) Metallica, The Day That Never Comes - So how does this work, do I get sued for even linking to the youtube video of this song? Look, I know that liking Metallica anymore is like going to see a Tom Cruise movie - you don't want to support them, but they do put out good stuff and all. Still - this song is like old school Metallica - it kicks ass. The first 5 minutes or so are build up, but really - on this youtube video, at the 5:21 mark, it goes from a pretty good song to an absolute mess of kickassitude. The last 3 minutes rock.

5) Coldplay, Viva La Vida - I have written about this before, this song rules because it seems like a bunch of French Revolution imagery and I am a French Revolution guy. Plus, I think I read that they used a producer who worked with the Arcade Fire or something, which makes it okay to like a little bit more. I am not even going to look that up, and just assume it is true. I know they say Coldplay is music for people who don't like music, and Chris Coldplay is all spazzy and douche-y but I just get into this song when it comes on.

4) Hot Chip, Ready for the Floor - How can I not like a group called Hot Chip? This is really a great song and really fun too. It is a little techno and all, but it is also really high quality too. It makes me happy for the future of music that these guys are out there putting out stuff like this. I can't listen to this song without bouncing.

3) Kings of Leon, Sex on Fire - Yeah, I put this song at number 3. Speaking of Rock Band, I would absolutely belt this shit out. Even his squeaky thing he does. This song brought me around on these guys. Carrie would add that he is practically hot now, after he was really mousy on the other stuff we saw by them. Fun song - I like it. My favorite part is about at 2:35.

2) Santogold, L.E.S. Artistes - This was a tough one for me. Really was the favorite to be number 1, but I honestly don't know if I will still dig this song or this chick in a few years. She is very new to me - I heard this song on Subterranean a couple of times earlier this year, and liked it. Then it made all the critics' lists, so I gave it another listen. It really is incredible. I mean, the video is strange, and I think that it may have turned me off initially. But it is actually a really moving song. Listen to the lyrics - it is about all the lower east side folks who say they like her so they will sound cool, even though they never really appreciate the music. Or something. Plus, "I can say I hope it will be worth what I give up" - I don't know, I just really like this song.

1) Band of Horses, I Go To The Barn Because I Like The - You like the what??? Yeah, it is cheating - this was never released as a single and the album is from 2007. But still - my first dance at my wedding was to this song. I am getting teary eyed with it on now in the background. When I think of 2008, I will always think of this song. Thanks to all the others for playing, but this was a slam dunk.

Maybe in 2009 or 2010 I will get into an album from 2008 that I wasn't aware of this past year. Even Sigur Ros, Muse, and Jenny Lewis put out albums that I haven't even heard yet. But this is the list as of the end of 2008. I hope you enjoyed and maybe heard some stuff you haven't heard before, or heard something you think I am stupid for liking. Please comment!