Tuesday, December 31, 2013

2013 Songs: 61-80


80. "Seven Days, Seven Nights" by The Fratellis (from We Need Medicine) 
"I see all of my dreams ragged and torn"

After "Flathead" and "Chelsea Dagger" appeared in half the commercials of 2007, Fratellis returned with an unloved sophomore album and then disappeared for a while. We Need Medicine shows that their own ragged and torn approach is still in fine form.  
79. "Somebody to Love" by Valerie June (from Pushin' Against a Stone)
"Did they tell you / there are plenty of fish in the sea / but you're drowning and cold / and you're feelin' empty"

The Black Keys didn't release any new music this year, but Dan Auerbach kept busy producing a handful of solid albums, including Tuareg guitarist Bombino, Hanni el Khatib (whose "Penny" just missed the list) and Valerie June's pseudo debut, a strong collection of rootsy blues songs. "The Hour" could have easily taken this spot as well.

78. "Backyard Skulls" by Frightened Rabbit (from Pedestrian Verse)
"Not deep enough to never be found"

This band from the fatherland remains one of the more consistent acts out there.

77. "Disappoint Your Teacher" by The Derevolutions (from Living in the Pop World)
"We don't care about the cold war"

So that happened. (youtube link)

76. "25 Bucks" by Danny Brown (from Old)
"Now I'm trapped in the trap  / and the devil ain't forgettin'"

With a little help from Purity Ring (more on her shortly), the heir to ODB's throne as rap's court jester seems secure, even if other tracks from Old like "Lonely" hint that there is more there there.

75. "I Won't Be Long" by Beck (single)
"We're covered in a secret"

Presumably an advance single off of the upcoming "companion piece" to career highlight Sea Change. The track also bears some similarities to 2012's awesome "Cities", which appeared only in the video game SoundShapes, causing us to miss it the first time around (it would have been top 3o).  

74. "Grammy" by Purity Ring (single)
<Soulja Boy cover>

Purity Ring put out a well-received album last year and hit number 99 on our list. She mostly took this year off and shows up twice, and her vocals on Jon Hopkins' "Breather This Air" didn't miss by much. (youtube link)

73. "For Once" by Ra Ra Riot (from Beta Love)
"And if I want to have it /  I could have gone and had it"

Catchy, but not a lot there from a band that once crafted a gem of a pop song about death. 

72. "Warm in Winter" by Glass Candy (from After Dark 2)
"I'm crazy like a monkey / happy like a new year"

Initially released in 2011 on a Glass Candy EP, the song received more attention when a revised mix appeared on the Italians Do It Better After Dark compilation. Great on a late night drive home (to relieve the babysitter).

71. "Cold Blooded" by Kid Cudi (from Indicud)
"Standing in a monsoon of cool / karma is my armor / was only scared of my father / beyond that I'm / cold"

After the rock mess that was WZRD, Cudi is back on more comfortable ground, even if his mixtape work with borrowed beats("All Talk", "Cudderisback", "All Summer", etc.) has generally been stronger than his album work.  
70. "Tiger Kit" by Sleigh Bells (from Bitter Rivals)
"Oh how sorry life is / like a Hollywood sequel"

You know what you get with Sleigh Bells, and it is all there on the cover of Bitter Rivals (maybe add a little blood on the shoes from the last album).

69. "Dream the Dare" by Pure Bathing Culture (from Moon Tides)
"Speak the words that read in your mind"

PBC's full-length debut delivered on the dreamy promise of last year's EP.  

68. "When a Fire Starts to Burn" by Disclosure (from Settle)

Our suggestion to use Disclosure's (consistently used) facial outline style on the 2013 family holiday card ... not viewed as constructive.

67. "Won't You Come Over" by Devendra Banhart (from Mala)
"Words unforgotten ‘til we sing again / start at the bottom, and then we descend"

This was our favorite Devendra Banhart song of the year, but "Hatchet Wound" had the far better chorus ("yeah, hatchet wound is driving me crazy / and a hatchet wound is truly amazing"). 
66. "Feel the Chill" by Blitzen Trapper (from VII)
"My lover lies down the hill/ she won't get up and she won't say nothing / but baby I fell the chill"

Blitzen Trapper: exactly the right amount of shit-kickery.

65. "To You" by Young Wonder (from Show Your Teeth EP)
"See you / see you in the next life"

As their SoundCloud page points out, these UK natives sound more like Scandinavian electropop than anything else, though with more bagpipes.

64. "#Beautiful" by Mariah Carey w/ Miguel (single)
"And I can't pretend that that doesn't mean a thing to me"

First, the hashtag in the title is incredibly lame and, thankfully, didn't seem to catch on as a thing. Next, we are as surprised as anyone to see Mariah Carey on this list. But the music is the music, and retro soul is a soft spot.

63. "At the Cashier's Station" by Jumbling Towers (from Jungle's Going to Be On My Mind)
"And would have had you pleading for / the renter's insurance that you shoved in Dustin's face"

A very serious-sounding song about walking all the way to the store but forgetting your wallet, featuring an even more random (and fairly lengthy) interlude about kicking Dustin out of the apartment because he doesn't like the countertops. Because why not?
62. "Like a Dream" by Francis and Lights (from Like a Dream EP)
"'Cause I'm ready for the big time / is it ready for me"

It is hard to hear the song without thinking of the sunlight drenched video also used for the album cover. If one has to Riverdance, we suppose doing perpetually at sunset through crops is a solid choice.

61. "I Need My Girl" by The National (from Trouble Will Find Me)
"I was a 45 percenter then"

It's hard to see The National this low on the list (Boxer was our #5 album of the last decade) but it says something when our favorite song by them this decade ("Exile Vilify") is from a video game.


  1. PR'S TOP 5 OF 61-80
    (1) The Derevolutions - Disappoint Your Teacher
    * this was exciting in the same way that StarF***er was upon first listen
    (2) Francis and the Lights - Like a Dream
    * great song, video is distinctive (mostly strange), and the crop-dusting at the end was extra weird. I had to immediately cleanse my mind with the paragon of bucolic dancing videos: http://youtu.be/EyARHscb8mU
    (3) Blizten Trapper - Feel the Chill
    * the Traveling Wilburys might have written this song...can there be higher praise for a rambling parable?
    (4) Young Wonder - To You
    * the vocals are middling, but oh the bagpipe electronica
    (5) Pure Bathing Culture - Dream the Dare
    * doesn't rise to the same level as Ivory Coast for me, but a great track nonetheless. Also delighted to learn that they are a Vetiver-related project, another favorite of the past several years

    * "Grammy" has a very distinctive indie-electro-hip-hop-remake sound. Immediately recalled a higher-tempo "Kills" (JJ)
    * any page where ODB is referenced should include this link for completeness: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wdNHS8b9C7I
    * "I Won't Be Long" was a nice track; the reference to "Circles" was even better. Called to mind both
    (i) another great hidden song and Beck favorite, off of the Japanese cut of Sea Change. So compact it could be a Beatles track (well, maybe a B-side?): http://youtu.be/QWN3zb38RXc
    (ii) the Guero "Gameboy" remixes: http://youtu.be/Q2y23-4z4jc

    1. ugh, typos."Circles" >> "Cities"