Friday, January 3, 2014

2013 Songs: 41-60

60. "The Quotidian Beasts" by Phosphorescent (from The Muchacho)
"Yeah the beast came upon me / I guess it wasn't so bad"

Quotidian means something that occurs every day, so apparently this is a 7-minutes shambolic rock song about an online news magazine. No one saw that coming, Matt. "Song For Zula", the strongest track on Muchacho, cracked the top 20 last year as an advance single.

59. "XXX 88" by MØ (from Bikini Daze EP)
"'Cause life is cynical / despite your heart of gold"

Karen Marie Ørsted covers a lot of territory on her debut EP, from this Diplo-produced rave-up of to the doo-wop croon of "Never Want to Know".  
58. "Sirens" by Pearl Jam (from Lightning Bolt)
"The slightest bit of light and I can see you clear"

A friend with occasionally questionable music taste (who is likely reading this in December 2014) seemed certain on the release of Lightning Bolt that "Sirens" would make this list. Our original impression of the song was "what's the point?", but it has grown on us considerably. Hard to believe these guys have been around over 20 years
57. "Feel the Love" by Rudimental (from Home)
<nothing from this song avoids looking dumb in quotes>

It is a toss-up between the original version and the VIP mix featuring Childish Gambino (whose guest verses there, with Chance the Rapper, and with Jhene Aiko topped anything we heard on Because the Internet).

56. "Amsterdam" by Gregory Alan Isakov (from The Weatherman)
"She's easy on the eyes"

Hushed vocals that remind us of the best of Damien Jurado or M. Ward.

55. "Midland" by The Mountain Goats (from All Hail West Texas -- Reissue)
"For three years I lived next to the airport / so nothing you can say to me can get on my nerves"

For the first time since 2007, there was no new music from Darnielle in 2013.  We did, however, get a handful of outtakes from All Hail West Texas (our #1 MG album) on its 10th anniversary. 

54. "Coming Through" by Willis Earl Beat feat. Cat Power(from Nobody Knows)
"Identify yourselves by stating your name / Willis / Earl / Beal"

Nobody Knows starts off very strong with "Wavering Lines" and "Coming Through" but then tapers off quickly. Chan Marshall, not surprisingly, makes a hell of a backup singer.

53. "The Next Day" by David Bowie (from The Next Day)
"Here I am / not quite dead"

Bowie released a highly praised album of new material this year, and yet the video for the title track (Gary Oldman!) got 90% fewer views than a cover of "Space Oddity". Love the album cover. 

52. "Evil Eye" by Franz Ferdinand (from Right Thoughts, Right Words, Right Action)
"I don't believe in god / but I believe in this shit"

A hint of "Backstreet's back, allright!" going on in the chorus, right? We don't really feel great about that.

51. "Old Love / New Love" by Twin Shadow (from Grand Theft Auto V)
"I couldn't speak / you said, I'm listening"

Songs from video games are close to outpacing movie soundtracks on this list.

50. (tie) "Your Life Your Call " by Junip (from Junip) and "Step Out" by José González (from Secret Life of Walter Mitty)
"Stand up or enjoy your fall"

Two very different tracks from José González under two different monikers.  While list rules (which must be followed!) prohibit multiple tracks from the same artist, how do we treat Junip vs. solo work? Let's call it a tie, even if "Step Out" has a bit of that desperate striving-for-epic thing that makes Of Monsters and Men sort of lame.  
49. "Now I'm All Messed Up" by Tegan and Sara (from Heartthrob)
"Go if you want / I can't stop you"

While newcomers Chvrches and Haim got a lot of press this year for releasing good, female-led, synth-heavy pop albums, veterans Tegan and Sara probably released the strongest overall album of the group.

48. "All Eyes on You" by St. Lucia (from St Lucia EP)
"I hope / you'll never have to back / what's said in the night"

A bit of a cheat here, as St Lucia released their debut LP in 2013 with "All Eyes on You" on it, but we prefer the original version from the 2012 eponymous EP.  We also prefer using the word "eponymous" where possible.

47. "Slow it Down" by The Dream (from IV Play)
"pants on her / slim fit / lights in the room / dim lit"

As stated last year, Slow Jam R&B is a horrible music genre. Like, the worst. Objectively, no idea why we are making an exception here, just look at those lyrics above. And the album title ... embarrassing. And yet, here we are.

46. "I Will" by Sebadoh (from Defend Yourself)
"And this will be / the hardest thing I've ever done "

We've never given much thought to Sebadoh.  Bakesale is in the collection and is probably the 2nd best album of the early 90's that features a naked baby on the cover. "Brand New Love" is a decent song. So we had modest expectations about Lou Barlow getting the band back together (proper use!) after a decade-plus apart. And yet, "I Will" is a great little lost-in-time nostalgia generator.  
45. "Get Lucky" by Daft Punk (from Random Access Memories)
"we're up all night to get lucky" (not a good quote but it is said LITERALLY over 50 times in the song, so...)

A little under the radar pick for readers looking for some deep cuts from 2013.

44. "Rasberry Cane" by Youth Lagoon (from Wondrous Bughouse)
"Pour the ashes into the cup / mix with wine / here's to sleep /drink up"

The most disappointing album of 2013. Most tracks from The Year of Hibernation would have cracked the top 40 of the 2011 list (Montana ended up at #8). Yes, those tracks were formula driven (muddled vocals -> swirling instrumental -> muddled vocals over swirling instrumental) but it was great formula! Bughouse was just a muddle, with the notable exception of this track and maybe "Dropla" or"Mute".  
43. "Time Rolls On" by Free Energy (from Love Sign)
"Don't wanna talk now / you'd need another dude"

So damned cheesy, but in the best possible ways. If the Kung Fury guys are successful with their Kickstarter campaign maybe this can be the theme song.
42. "The Wire" by Haim (from Days are Gone)
"I didn't go and try to change my mind / not intentionally"

With the number of advance singles Haim released over the past 18 months ("Don't Save Me" was #37 on last year's list) it was a pleasant surprise to hear how many good songs debuted on the album proper. If "Evil Eye" had some Backstreet in it, Haim owes a debt to Shania Twain's "Man, I Feel Like A Woman" for this.

41. "Caribou Hyperbole" by Windmill (from Above Duffle Farm)
"If you had stayed / you would not have stayed for me"

Windmill is not for everyone. Matthew Dillon's makes other singers described as "nasal" seem like baritones. If you don't buy-in, it is brutal. But the man can compose a song and, frequently, turn the emotion conveyed in his voice into a positive. Puddle City Racing Lights was our #28 album of the 2000s and while Epcot Starfields and Above Duffle Farm aren't as consistently strong, their best songs match that album's high points. (bandcamp link)

1 comment:

  1. EPR'S TOP 5 OF 41-60

    Racing to finish before the calendar turns to 2015...

    (1) Gregory Alan Isakov - Amsterdam
    * as poignant and more compact as 2012's #1 "Walking Far From Home", although my reading here is one of a lost daughter
    (2) Youth Lagoon - Raspberry Cane
    * delightful track. Agree with HoM that the formula works. There is also some evolutionary strand of the Beatles that kicks in around 2:15 which would be a welcome addition to the calculus
    (3) Evil Eye - Franz Ferdinand
    * so strong and so consistent with the Franz Ferdinand sound I remember from a decade ago (so maybe they come by the "Backstreet's Back" honestly?). Contrast with The Strokes 10 years later
    (4) All Eyes on You - St. Lucia
    * just a solid track. Probably also could be licensed for use in any variety of clothing/ car/ consumer electronic commercials with the proper agent
    (5) The Wire - Haim
    * good enough to listen through every time, but it's empty calories without the sugar rush

    * "Slow it Down" is just a solid slow jam. Wanted to hate on it but couldn't. The kind of song that you'd hope never comes on at the middle school dance if you have a daughter
    * Stephen Colbert should somehow get an artistic credit for "Get Lucky" (
    * I felt really bad about not digging "Sirens" more, but unlike with Franz Ferdinand, perhaps some of my musical tastes have evolved