I enjoyed making my list of favorite albums of the year more than this list, because it’s easier to think of things to say about an entire album than it is a single song, but this list is probably more appropriate for the times in which we live. It also allowed me to include some stuff that couldn’t make the albums list because it is from an EP or an otherwise unspectacular album.
A few notes: If the song was released as a single, I generally used the single’s release date, if only to get some great songs from albums released in 2009 on the list (notably the two Florence + the Machine songs near the top). Also, sorry that this takes a minute to load; I think I’m going to have to start breaking up these video-heavy entries up into multiple parts. As always, this is not a list of the best songs of the year, which I don’t necessarily feel qualified to write, and rather just a list of my favorites.
Remind to listen to some more hip hop in 2011. All that really made the list here is Kanye, and that doesn’t even completely sound like what I think of as hip hop anymore. I miss it.
40) MNDR – “I Go Away”
As I’ve said before, I’m very charmed by MNDR, even though normally someone with as many affectations as she obviously has would drive me crazy. OK, by “many affectations” I really just mean her crazy, unnecessary glasses. That’s pretty much all I know about her. Also, yes, I know it’s technically a duo, but c’mon, you know what I mean. Don’t be that person.
39) Active Child – “When Your Love Is Safe”
I was introduced to this band and several others on this list by this great post over at Stereogum, so props to them. This song sounds like it could have been an outtake from that Holland album Beirut put out under the name Realpeople. You know, falsetto vocals on top of pretty electronic music. Although, in the video below it isn’t electronic.
As I said in my previous post, all of the videos I took at Lollapalooza were pretty terrible. I didn’t have my Flip or anything too fancy, so I was just taking them with my digital camera, which doesn’t allow me to zoom in or out once I start filming, and also doesn’t have the highest video quality. Plus, I’m pretty unwilling to stand with my camera in the air for the entirety of what were, in most cases, my favorite songs by whichever band I was watching. I’d get one chorus recorded for posterity and then turn the camera off and enjoy the rest of the song in the moment.
Some people, however, are much more prepared/professional/devoted than I am. YouTube is awash in Lollapalooza videos far, far superior to my own. For the entry that had all of my personal thoughts on the shows, I wanted to only use my own photos and videos. But as a follow-up, I thought it would be nice to pick out some better representations of the artists I saw.
For the third year in a row Johanna and I attended Lollapalooza in Chicago. It’s become a tradition and a great excuse to return to a city we love. (As I type this, I’m watching My Boys on TBS. Yes, I love Chicago so much that I’ll even watch My Boys.)
I thought I would share my belated thoughts on the festival, along with some photos I took and a few terrible, shaky, fraction-of-the-full-song videos that I took. Because who doesn’t love terrible videos?
Friday, August 6th
4:00 – 5:00 The New Pornographers
During the first act of a music festival I’m always relatively distracted trying to get my bearings and people-watch, so it’s a shame that we started things off on Friday with The New Pornographers, a band that I actually like quite a bit. I don’t remember much from their set. I know Neko Case was wearing a big floppy hat, and I know that they played a nice version of “Challengers.” That’s about it.
5:00 – 5:50 Dirty Projectors
Reviews of this performance were pretty mixed, and seemed to be less about the performance and more about how much the individual reviewer actually likes Dirty Projectors. Well, I like Dirty Projectors and loved Bitte Orca, and I thought they were great. The tempo of the songs was even less stable live, and several seemed just about to collapse before Dave Longstreth pulled everything back together. The erratic nature added a nice bit of tension and seemed to snap me to attention, which was good since I’d been sleepwalking during the New Pornographers.
Johanna and I really enjoy this stage because it’s usually easy to get pretty close to the action, and also because we’ve seen some of our best afternoon/early evening shows here (Sharon Jones, Santigold, Band of Horses).
I debated how to best represent the decade in music in list form. Eventually, I decided on songs over albums; it seemed more fitting in the era of iTunes.
This list shows that my musical tastes, like my politics, are pretty middle-of-the-road. I like the most mainstream and accessible indie rock and I’m a sucker for the occasional pop song.
I should also point out that I think this might be longer than anything I wrote in college. It’s entirely possible that the length of this will make it completely unreadable. But whatever, brevity has never been my strong suit. Here they are, my 150 favorite songs of the decade (music videos when I was able to easily find one that I liked that allowed embedding):
150) Cannibal Ox – “Iron Galaxy” (2001)
This album has such a singular sound that it’s weird hearing Vast Aire rapping over any other production. I think that’s why I could never really get into Look Mom…No Hands. The Vast Aire verse at the end of this song is sort of the end of the golden age of underground hip hop for me, a topic that will definitely be more thoroughly discussed if I ever do a list of my favorite songs of the 90s.
149) Joe Strummer and the Mescaleros – “Johnny Appleseed” (2001)
The best part of John from Cincinnati. Almost makes me want to check out the rest of Joe Strummer’s post-Clash career.
148) Air – “Universal Traveller” (2004)
The only song from Talkie Walkie that holds up for me. Really the only Air song that I listen to on a regular basis. Pops up on the occasional Rick Steves podcast, so that’s a plus.