Sean’s 60 Favorite Songs of 2009: 20-1

Songs 2009: 20-1

Alright, the time has come for me to finish off this list of my favorite songs of the year. 20 through 6, I will attempt to sum things up in one sentence or so. For my Top 5, I’ll elaborate a bit more. Hate my picks? Love them? Don’t feel strongly either way? Leave comments, so we know people are reading!

Product Details 20. “Close Every Valve To Your Bleeding Heart” By Ha Ha Tonka — Any band that makes a quality Dostoevsky reference is alright by me. Plus, this alt-country song about love and heartbreak is fantastic.

Product Details 19. “A Fairytale Ending” By The Boy Least Likely To — Twee-poppers get nostalgic for the days of youth, and wonder if it’s possible to recapture that feeling of invincibility. Completely charming and catchy.

Product Details 18. “Someday” By Tegan and Sara — A pseudo-anthem for all us twenty-somethings who plan on making something of ourselves. Or at least want to.

Product Details 17. “Train Song” By Feist and Ben Gibbard — A wonderful collaboration from the Dark Was The Night compilation about heading back to a lost love… on a train. It’s simple harmonies and combination of Gibbard’s and Feist’s vocals are addicting. I just listened to it 5 times in a row today. And I went way over two sentences.

Product Details 16. “My Girls” By Animal Collective — Waiting for the beat to drop in on this gem from Merriweather Post Pavilion is like anticipating presents the night before Christmas. Once it happens, more than 90 seconds in, I can’t help but thoroughly enjoy the unwrapping.

Product Details 15. “Horchata” By Vampire Weekend — Good to know that VW hasn’t lost its Afro-Caribbean flare. There’s so much going on in this song, it warrants repeated listens. I have obliged.

Product Details 14. “Sleepyhead” By Passion Pit — I feel like I heard this song all kinds of places this year. Passion Pit creates such a unique and danceable sound, and they had their record release party on a boat. It’s a win-win, people.

Product Details 13. “Be Calm” By Fun. — An interesting musical journey through the process of avoiding a nervous breakdown. The strings and Nate Ruess’ movement from collectedness to panic and back again — with appropriate musical accompaniment for each — make this song great.

Product Details 12. “Swing Tree” By Discovery — The beats and blips churned out by Vampire Weekend keyboardist Rostam Batmanglij and Ra Ra Riot singer Wes Miles are delightful. I would totally rock this song with the windows down in warm weather. Matter of fact, I did. And got the kind of weird looks you’d expect.

Product Details 11. “1901″ By Phoenix — When the kickass guitar riff and synthesizer hums start this song off with a bang, you know it’s going to be awesome. And the band spends about the next three minutes proving your assumption right.

Product Details 10. “Fiya” By Tune-Yards — Perhaps the most interesting musical artistry I came across in 2009. These found sound clips and Merrill Garbus’ vocals are all woven together into a delicious cavalcade of tunefulness and noise. Oh, and it’s about obsessive love and still manages to be endearing.

Product Details 9. “Sleep All Day” By The Rural Alberta Advantage — This is the perfect example of how the percussion on TRAA’s Hometowns makes the songs 10 times better, even though Paul Banwatt’s pounding drumbeat doesn’t quite fit the song’s message. This is the perfect song for a rainy summer day.

Product Details 8. “Sink Into Me” By Taking Back  Sunday — Wouldn’t you know it, one of my oldest emo-loves sneaks into the Top 10?Few songs kicked ass as well as this one did in 2009.

Product Details 7. “Two Weeks” By Grizzly Bear — While I wasn’t as taken with Veckatimest as seemingly everyone else was, this song was undeniably alluring. The piano riff that bounces through this song meshes beautifully with the wafting “whoa oh whoaaaaaa oh whoaaaa oh” backing vocals.

Product Details 6.”Percussion Gun” By White Rabbits — Was there anything as cool as the badass drumming in this glorious Britt Daniel-produced indie-rock gem? I say no, and I say this song could’ve been even higher on my list. I probably listened to it as much or more than the songs in my Top 5. Speaking of which…

Product DetailsProduct Details 5. “Sweet Disposition” By The Temper Trap — Two album covers for this one because I originally heard it on the soundtrack to (500) Days of Summer, the awesome movie starring Zooey Deschanel and Joseph Gordon Levitt. Oddly enough, they use it at two different points of the movie, but it’s so damn good I didn’t mind. The song is also on Conditions, The Temper Trap’s debut LP, which I immediately grabbed once I heard this song. “Sweet Disposition” is hard-charging from start to finish, a jangly, pulsing alt-rock tune that also (fittingly) can be cranked to 11 and blasted from a car stereo. Basically, I’m admitting that I sang along quite loudly to this song with the windows down on the freeway like a teenage girl. And I’m not ashamed. It rocks that much.

Product Details 4. “Strictly Game” By Harlem Shakes — One of the more interesting finds I made in 2009, Harlem Shakes put you on sensory overload with synths and drums and guitars and ‘oooooooh’ backing vocals before the song really even gets going. And I love that. Plus, it could be the theme for those of us who get fed up with work, love, and just life in general. “This will be a better year. Make a little money / Take a lot of shit / Feel real bad / then get over it.” It’s an anthem for the downtrodden, and a fun, funky one at that.

Product Details 3. “Know Better Learn Faster” By Thao with the Get Down Stay Down — This album, named for this lovely track, nearly cracked my top 10. This song begins with a subtle shake of maracas and moves to some adroit violin-playing and whistling by special guest Andrew Bird. Frontwoman Thao Nguyen sings about wanting more from your jilted ex-lover with wonderfully expressive vocals that portray the heartbreak a song this pretty should. When the drums and violin kick in with full force about a minute into this song, I am taken away. Musical poetry.

Product Details 2. “Laundry Room” By The Avett Brothers — Immediately upon hearing I And Love And You for the first time, “Laundry Room” was my favorite song from the North Carolina band’s latest studio release. It remains so, for its whimsy, its beautifully woven piano, guitar and violin melodies and the breakdown/bridge beginning roughly two-thirds of the way through. A tale of heartache and love gone by, like so many of The Avett Brothers’ songs,  this tune has one of my favorite lines of the year: “I am a breathing time machine / I’ll take you all for a ride.”

1. “Lisztomania” By Phoenix — Five silhouettes enter a darkened stage to raucous applause and hoots from an attentive and appreciative crowd. A simple keyboard riff begins things, then a guitar accompaniment quickly drops in along with an infectious drumbeat. And as the lights brighten and the lead singer begins to croon, you are powerless against the urge to dance and sing along like a fool. Such was my reaction when Phoenix began their recent show in Columbus with “Lisztomania.” It was probably the most impressive set I saw in 2009. They wowed me in Austin, TX in early October, and did so again a few weeks ago in Ohio. It’s no wonder that everyone and their brother attempted to remix this song.

Everything about this song is fun and well-constructed, and as I said in my post about Phoenix’s near-perfect effort on Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix, I don’t think this band gets enough credit for how good they are at putting together all the elements just right to make you fall in love with their music immediately. This song is the best example I’ve got, and it was my favorite song of 2009.

Hope you enjoyed the list, give some feedback, and  as always, check out the box on the right-hand side!

m4s0n501

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The Wounded Jukebox

woundedjukebox@gmail.com

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4 Responses

  1. Matt Argalas says:

    You know, for all of the hype you’ve given them, I’ve never listened to the whole Phoenix record. I should remedy that.

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