Recounting the top 60 songs of 2009 with accompanying blurbs was a far grander undertaking than I had originally anticipated. Like most great comic books and hip hop albums (when is that Nonymous ish going to drop?) this last batch of great songs is finally here… but only after numerous delays.
It’s a common mistake to assume it would be easier to write about songs you like the most. In some ways it is- enthusiasm, whether positive or negative, can definitely push a writer through a dry spot of creativity (whatever THAT means). But in the case at hand , I had so much to say about certain songs (“Brother Sport,” “In the Flowers,” “Bicycle” and “House of Flying Daggers”) it was daunting to condense it into the “come for/stay for” format. In other cases, I felt it would be dangerous to overanalyze songs such as “Wet Hair” or “Are You Still in Vallda?” and I kept things short and sweet.
If I had to assess the year in music I would take the time to bemoan the lack of awesome hip hop LPs: of the three hip hop songs in the top 20 only Raekwon’s was released in 2009 (Clipse’s album wasn’t released until mid-December). Jay-z and Kid Cudi put out complete trash this past year and I’ve yet to hear the Drake or Mos Def albums (the former due to weak singles and the latter due to his atrocious appearances on Bill Maher’s television program). The Cool Kids never wound up putting out their debut album (after a meh mixtape, “Gone Fishin’”) and even Yeezy and Jeezy didn’t give me a solid summer jam.
Overall, I liked what I heard in 2009. Between Japandroids, Fucked up, Mean Jeans, Future of the Left, The Thermals, Titus Andronicus and DC Snipers, modern punk rock is better than it’s been for a very long time while Memory Tapes/Cassettes, Washed Out and jj have all impressed me with their gorgeous, amorphous and hazy pop.
I’m thrilled to be done with 2009 and am already wrist deep in some 2010 releases that will be covered on Averse in the near future. Albums from Vampire Weekend and Beach House have been predictably impressive, Yeasayer’s new album is a welcome departure from their debut and I cannot wait to see what the world thinks of Titus Andronicus’ opus, The Monitor. I’m still trying to sift through the minstrel-infused Midlake album and Four Tet’s latest ode to background mood music, There is Love in You.
As a special gift to Averse readers we’d like to present most of the Top 60 Songs of 2009 as a compressed downloads so you can spend the first chunk of 2010 catching up with everything you missed (after the post).
Posted in 2009: The Year in Music, Thom
Tagged Animal Collective, Atlas Sound, Big Boi, Clipse, David Byrne, Dirty Projectors, Discovery, Fucked Up, Future of the Left, Ghostface Killah, Gucci Mane, Inspectdah Deck, Japandroids, jj, Kanye West, Method Man, Pains of Being Pure at Heart, Phoenix, Raekwon, Think About Life, Volcano Choir, Wu-Tang
You guys! The next batch of Best Song picks! Only two days late!
Click here for part 1!
(Thom’s picks after the cut. Download a .ZIP of all songs here.)
Posted in 2009: The Year in Music, Thom
Tagged Animal Collective, Bear in Heaven, Camera Obscura, Dirty Projectors, Ezra Koenig, Fight Like Apes, Fool's Gold, Harlem Shakes, Health, Jay-Z, Memory Cassette, Neon Indian, Pains of Being Pure at Heart, Phoenix, Real Estate, St. Vincent, Superchunk, The Very Best, Vampire Weekend, Washed Out
Ah! A lesser writer would include the phrase listomania in his introductory paragraph. A true hack would allude to it while pretending he is taking a more respectable stance and get all Charlie Kaufman. But seriously, during this time of year you can’t toss a rolled up magazine without hitting a list of someone’s favourite whatever and hey, chances are if that rolled up magazine was published in December, it contains some kind of list too! Since this is the end of the decade, there is a lot of list double dipping (Best of decade! Best of ’09!). It’s like throwing a rolled up magazine chock full of lists at another item which also contains lists. Complete listomania! Full circle!
A few things: I worked way harder on this list of songs than was necessary and a lot harder than I did the opening paragraph. The fact that there are so many lists didn’t really stop me from making another list, nor did it encourage me to make mine shorter. I do really hope you enjoy reading my list and feel free to argue/agree/disagree with any of the choices. But don’t argue about Grizzly Bear, because you will lose. If you argue with me about Grizzly Bear I will take your contact information and call you in ten years and it will be embarrassing because you will have long forgotten them and also because I will have followed through on something you thought was a joke on the internet from ten years ago. So let’s all spare each other that mortifying experience and admit they have three great songs if we’re meeting them halfway! Great!
A Real Life Story of Teenage Reevaluation Holiday Edition!
So in the midst of watching/listening to some total maniac’s 70 minute rant about why the Phantom Menace is total crap AVERSE staffer and Han Solo-esque ringleader Paulie DeBens asked me if I wanted to write about a Christmas song for the 12 Days of Christmas feature. Boy, did I!
Actually, I did. Plus I knew what Christmas song I could pair up with a Star Wars reference that would succinctly explain why I only kissed about six girls* in my entire high school career (as if that was called into question). That song would be Blink 182’s “I Won’t Be Home Christmas.”
In conjunction with my Ted Leo live review, I am wondering how AVERSE readers feel about a band playing new songs live.
How do you think they should be integrated into a set? In a row? At the beginning? How many are appropriate?
Note that when I say new, I mean unreleased and not from a record that has just been released.
I’d love to get some feedback on this so comment it up!
Apologies for the late reporting but I hope to be all caught up with my AVERSE assignments by day’s end. Paul is not afraid to ride me, hard. Let’s flash back one last time to the CMJ Festival and talk about the Matador Records/True Panther showcase. For the unaware, True Panther Sounds is an imprint of Matador Records that focuses on bands that don’t fit into the Matador Records stable. Which frankly, doesn’t make any sense, since Matador has been home to Liz Phair, Large Professor, Fucked Up, Pavement, the New Pornographers and Dead Meadow. Their roster never made for a coherent label sound, which is part of what makes Matador such a great label. I’m not clear on why, in a time when labels matter the least they ever have, anyone would start a NEW imprint, but Sub Pop has done it too (Hardly Art), so I guess it’s all the rage to start pointless imprints. Coming soon: AVERSE’s sister blog imprint, AVCRSE (“A Veritable Consumption of Records, Succinctly Examined”) where we will do exactly what we do here, except different?
Thursday wasn’t awesome, at least it didn’t start out to be. Financial woe, career confusion and a flat tire on my bicycle (why are there nails in the bike lane!) were mixed into the cocktail that was my Thursday, but it was capped off by getting doored by a cab while riding my bike. For those who aren’t bike savvy, that’s when a door swings open into you unexpectedly as you are riding. And then my friend who agreed to go to this RSVP only show cancelled on me minutes before the show began. So there I was, at the Glasslands, at a great free show, double fisting free Colt 45 while a photographer shot those awful “social photos” where girls mug for the camera endlessly. But by the end of the night, I rode my bike home a little sweaty, very drunk and extremely happy.