Thursday, January 3, 2013

2012 Songs: 41-60

Halfway home...

2012 songs: 41-60 by David Scott on Grooveshark

60. "Hold On When You Get Love and Let Go When You Give It" by Stars (from The North)
"Take the weakest thing in you / and then beat the bastards with it"

This song marks one the of the rare occasions that our favorite new track from a male/female singing duo (Stars, Submarines, Mates of State, The Weepies, Matt & Kim, etc.) is one sung primarily by the dude.
59. "Love Interruption" by Jack White (from Blunderbuss)
"I won't let love disrupt, corrupt or interrupt me"

Jack White's first solo album cracks the list. In 2010 his now ex-wife Karen Elson made the list. Never on the list: The White Stripes.  Weird.  
58. "National Anthem (Demo Version)" by Lana del Rey (unreleased)
"Red / white / blue is in the sky / summer's in the air and baby's heaven's in your eyes"

The Lana del Rey hype-fest of late 2011 seems pretty deep in the rear view mirror at this point.  The full album never lived up to the promise of "Video Games" and her SNL performance in January was ... not good. But an unreleased demo version "National Anthem" highlights what could have been a stronger debut (note, the Grooveshark version is modestly different from the one that drove this ranking).
57. "The End of That" by Plants and Animals (from The End of That)
"I tried cocaine / just to know what it could do / I had to try it again / just to give it a second chance / but it tore out my soul"

Sounds a lot like a lost Velvet Underground track, except for the whole "drugs are bad" part.

56. "Charmer" by Aimee Mann (from Charmer)
"They don't know that secretly charmers / feel like they're frauds"

Always nice to hear new music from Portland's favorite cleaning lady.

55. "No Hope" by The Vaccines (from Come of Age)
"And I don't really care about anybody else / when I haven't got my own life figured out"

The disaffection here feels more forced than for the Clash in the 70's, Billy Bragg in the 80's or other unimpressed youth of the UK.  It is understandably harder these days with a likable new set of royals, Olympic successes, watching the  Euro mess from the sidelines, a great Bond, even a chance to win Wimbledon. At least they'll always have World Cup disappointment to fall back on.

54. "The Ego" by Nicolas Jaar and Theatre Roosevelt (single)
"let Detroit go bankrupt"

If you ever wanted to hear a chillwave takedown of Mitt Romney by Jabba the Hut, today is your lucky day.

53. "Worship You" by Colleen Green (from Milo Goes to Compton)

This song is so lo-fi, with the fuzz overshadowing the vocals to such a degree, that we can't make out any lyrics for a pull-quote. Nor can the rest of the Internet, apparently.

52. "Genesis" by Grimes (from Visions)
"I am the one who falls"

Claire Boucher, who records under the moniker Grimes, records music that sounds like absolutely no one else ... with the exception of sounding a lot like equally feted label-mate and countrywoman Purity Ring (see #99).

51. "Is it Honest" by Woods (from Bend Beyond)
"As nice as this is / is it honest to you?"

Like clockwork: another year, another Woods album, another appearance on the list (now 4 straight).
50. "It's Only Life" by The Shins (from her Port of Morrow)
"But did you really think I'd shut an open door?"

The Shins: the mid-upper middle class man's Band of Horses.
49. "Unless You Speak From the Heart" by Porcelain Raft(from Strange Weekend)
"We are not enemies / but we don't have to get along"

The opening riff here always brings to mind the intro to "Two Weeks", despite Porcelain Raft and Grizzly Bear having little else in common muiscally.
48. "Parted Ways" by Heartless Bastards (from Arrow)
"In order to live in this great big town / takes a lot / takes a lot / takes a lot"

Outside of the Black Keys, Alabama Shakes and a few moderately successful bands like Heartless Bastards, Southern classic rock revival seems like a woefully underserved genre.
47. "The Mother We Share" by Chvrches (single)
"The way is long / but you can make it easy on me"

Electronic-driven pseudo-80's revival, on the other hand, is not even remotely underserved. Thank god.
46. "Lost" by Frank Ocean (from channel ORANGE)
"Too weird to live / too rare to die"

Let's make our biases clear: Slow Jam R&B is a top contender for worst possible music genre. It is Soul Ballad's creepy cousin, with a pencil moustache and a windowless van. And roughly 80% of channel ORANGE is Slow Jam R&B. All the critical love or the fact that Frank Ocean once deeply loved a man doesn't change that.  "Lost" is a winner though, in part because of the way the accelerated (by comparison) beat and delivery shake off the lethargy of the rest of the album. 
45. "Time to Run" by Lord Huron (from Lonesome Dreams)
"No time to rest / I'm gonna find me a life livin' way out west"

A more melodic, but wussified "Before They Make Me Run".  We prefer the Stones, but no shame in falling short of that standard.
44. "There He Go" by Schoolboy Q (from Habits & Contradictions)
"Chiefin' like a muthafuckin' Seminole"

Simple rule: sample classic Menomena (here "Wet & Rusting"), make the list.
43. "Lenslife" by Fanfarlo (from Rooms Filled With Light)
"We have a better chance on paper so we catalogue our lives"

Reservoir, Fanfarlo's previous release and our #11 album of the prior decade, sounded like a thrilling combination of Beirut, Arcade Fire and Clap Your Hands -- three of our favorite bands.  The new album, not surprisingly, skews much more much in the Arcade Fire direction, putting it dangerously close to Of Monsters and Men territory (fine, but forgettable).
42. "Tomorrow" by Niki & The Dove (from Instinct)
"Oh, if tomorrow comes / I want to waste my love / on you"

So many Swedes. Always so many Swedes.
41. "Adorn" by Miguel (from Confess)
"These fists will always protect ya, lady"

As close to "Sexual Healing" as possible without being a cover.  This is fine because 1) that is an awesome song and 2) apeing Marvin Gaye (our #4 Soul singer of all time) assures Miguel doesn't find himself on the wrong side of a fine line and in dreaded Slow Jam R&B territory.

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