Saturday, December 28, 2013

2013 Songs: 81-100

Let's kick off the countdown of our favorite songs of the year. It was a good year for music, as is every year that isn't 1976. As before, the list is limited to one appearance per artist to maximize diversity. 

We've moved the playlist from Grooveshark to Spotify. The latter requires a Facebook or Spotify login (signing up is easy) but its access to tracks is far more stable and, you know, legal.

Song order in the playlist is descending, consistent with the below. Where songs are not available as of today (including two of 81-100), we've included a link to a safe location to stream. Enjoy.

100. "Idle in Kangaroo Court" by The Clash (from Sound System) 
"You've sold your time / but I still got mine"

From a musical standpoint, it is hard to claim that this outtake from the Combat Rock sessions is superior to many of the tracks that just missed this list. But for a Clash fan, hearing Strummer riff over steel drums is a perfect way to -- as the original title of the song suggests -- Kill Time. (youtube link).
99. "Gravity" by Surfer Blood (from Pythons)
"Half a world to cut and paste away"

In what will be a recurring theme of 90's influences on this year's list, "Gravity" is one of several tracks off of Surfer Bloods sophomore effort that is very Weezer-esque.

98. "No. 1 Party Anthem" by Arctic Monkeys (from AM)
"It's not like I'm falling in love / I just want you to do me no good / And you look like you could"

The booziest track from a strong album of throwback singles. Hard to believe Turner and Co. and five albums in already.
97. "We Are Explorers" by Cut Copy (from Free Your Mind)
"Just tell me you're fine"

A big step down in album art from Zonoscope.

96. "Team" by Lorde (from Pure Heroine)
"I'm kinda over being told to put my hands up in the air / So there"

Not that the Billboard charts mean much these days, but it is still an odd fact that Lorde (with "Royals") became the first female solo act to crack the top 10 of the Alternative list since 1999 (Fiona Apple).

95. "Marble Streets" by Hudson (from Undertow EP)
"So take my hand / and lose your feet"

While the track is a bit saccharine at the outset, the crispness of the back half is Pinback-level smooth. Also, this slot may be atonement for having 2011's superb "Against the Grain" WAY to low at #86.

94. "New You" by My Bloody Valentine (from m b v)
<MBV is best when lyrics are indecipherable>

When it takes 22 years to follow-up one of the most acclaimed Indie rock albums of all time, the output is likely to be overpraised or overpanned.  The former seems the case with m b v, but the album still had a couple tracks that reminded listeners why the loved Loveless

(youtube link)
93. "Maria de las Nieves" by Destroyer (from Five Spanish Songs EP)
"Sí, la fiesta terminó /¿o ni siquiera comenzó?"

El gran payaso de Los Nuevos Pornografos regresa con un disco de canciones en espanol y, como siempre, crea musica que vence sobre su propia voz. 

92. "As If It Would Have a Universal and Memorable Ending" by Shane Carruth (from Upstream Color)

In a year where Eluvium released a double album, our favorite ambient track goes to filmmaker Shane Carruth who wrote, directed, edited, scored and starred in Upstream Color. It is one of our favorite films of the year, despite being yet another story of a couple that falls in love via a shared psychic connection with pigs after being hypnotized by an exotic flower toxin.

91. "Introspection" by MGMT (from MGMT)
<Faine Jaide cover>

MGMT continues to show little interested in recreating the pop excellence of Oracular Spectacular, but there are still gems among the weirdness.

90. "Brother Bryan" by Waxaharchee (from Cerulean Salt)
"We are only / 30% dead"

Katie Crutchfield leads off "Brother Bryan" admitting that she is "not well", and her confessional style throughout Cerulean Salt is reminiscent of favorites Cat Power and Neko Case.

89. "History Erasor" by Courtney Barnett (from A Sea of Split Peas)
"We laced the dairy river with the cream of sweet vermouth"

A stream-of-consciousness daydream a la early Dylan, sung by a lo-fi Aussie.  
88. "Tap Out" by The Strokes (from Comedown Machine)
"Don't ask question / 'cause I don't know why"

Comedown Machine is probably a stronger overall album than Angles, but the latter featured our #4 song of  2011 ("Under Cover of Darkness"), whereas the new album is perfectly pleasant but fails almost entirely to sound like The Strokes.
87. "The Walk on By" by Velociraptor (from Velociraptor EP)
"I would do it / I would do it / If that's want you want"

Straight ahead pop-punk from a 12-person Australian outfit. No idea how this stumbled onto our radar.

86. "Lekka Freakout" by Beaty Heart (single)
"He doesn't sing too well / because he has no lungs"

Our favorite batshit crazy circus music track of the year.

85. "Late Night" by Foals (from Holy Fire)
"Empty veins and my plastic broken crown"

Holy Fire's advance release "Inhaler" appeared on the 2012 list in a similar spot, which is a good indication of the album's consistent tracklist of old fashioned rock.
84. "Tall Tall Shadow" by Basia Bulat (from Tall Tall Shadow)
"You're running away / but the shadow is yours"

In the 2011 list, we mentioned not being able to keep Basia Bulat and Lykke Li straight and the confusion continues.  While Basia's voice and delivery here reminds us of Stevie Nicks, it was Lykke that crushed "Silver Springs" on last year's Fleetwood Mac tribute album.
83. "Bourgeois" by Phoenix (from Bankrupt!)
"You lost your mind on a cruise ship / bartending crucial lies"

Phoenix's follow-up to the excellent Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix was one of the more disappointing albums of the year, relative to elevated expectations. 

82. "Hard Out Here" by Lilly Allen (single)
"Forget your balls / and grow a pair of tits"

Welcome back Lilly, to you and your ... you know.

81. "City Rising From the Ashes" by Deltron 3030 (from The Event II)
"For so long the environment said 'fuck y'all'"

The similarities in this track to Gorillaz' best go beyond the funky homosapien on the mic .

1 comment:

  1. HoM's Top annual treat. Getting a bit of a late start on the comments this year, but here goes.

    EPR'S TOP 5 OF 81-100:
    (1) The Strokes - Tap Out
    * good track, though my #1 off the album was "Welcome to Japan" - which has more of the "old" Strokes sound (but less lo-fi filter)
    (2) Arctic Monkeys - No. 1 Party Anthem
    * the "Gallic Shrug" is a close #2 to the "Irish Goodbye"
    (3) Foals - Late Night
    * a great track on its own, and would probably be good hip hop sample track
    (4) Beaty Heart - Lekka Freakout
    * tremendous band name that pairs nicely with their refined circus music sound
    * there's a musical phrase in here that recalls Ambling Alp...a more disorganized Ambling Alp
    (5) Destroyer - Maria de las Nieves
    * you had me at El Gran Payaso. Too lazy to translate the lyrics, but really enjoy those guitar harmonies that are a Bejar staple

    * "We Are Explorers" would be a great track to go running to, if I did that ever
    * Preferred "Demon Dance" to "Gravity", though either way the Weezer influence is welcomed
    * Liked the Deltron track, which led me on a delightful journey of old Hieroglyphics tracks, where I found a new favorite: ( Check out the sample source as well: (