just like a mini-mall

Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Zach's 20 Favorite Songs of the Year

i wrote a lot

Part 1: Songs 60-51
Part 2: Songs 50-41
Part 3: Songs 40-31
Part 4: Songs 30-21

20. John Legend – It's Over
John Legend – It's Over

A man more discerning than I would probably call this song over-produced. And that man would deserve a butt-whupping.

I don't even know how I know this song. It's not a single and I haven't heard any of the other songs from Evolver. It's just in my iTunes for some reason, and it's worthy of the 20-spot. (I'm not even sure what's going on with the lyrics here: in the chorus, he asks "what do you keep calling for," followed by the first verse line of "In the back of my mind I question why I keep calling." Is John playing the part of both man and woman in this piece? And if so, where does Kanye fit in?)

Like Pamela Anderson's career
Except without the titties

Give Kanye a Pulitzer. That's up there with the "blond dyke" line in "Stronger." Man.

(h8 u kanye)

19. Q-Tip – Won't Trade
Q-Tip – Won't Trade

Now that I know what it is, boy
I wouldn't trade him for nothin'

It's amazing how, over the span of three years, Kanye went from being a pretty good writer/rapper to a complete piece of rapping shit… while Q-Tip, over the span of TWENTY YEARS has remained consistently incredible. My favorite Kanye song, in terms of writing, is "Home"—which didn't make the College Dropout cut in 2k4, but was adapted into "Homecoming" last year—a song that follows the wonderful hip-hop tradition of The Really Big Metaphor That Lasts Throughout The Entire Song. In "Home," Kanye used a woman to represent Chicago; in "Won't Trade," Q-Tip uses SPORTS (all of them) to represent a woman. I love these songs.

I also used the same metaphor throughout eleventh grade, so this song resonates.

Oh yeah, the sample is SPLENDID.

(h8 u kanye)

18. The Metro Stations – Shake It

Do you watch The "N"? The "Degrassi?" DO YOU? Shit, I do. Degrassi, like Kanye West (this is now a Kanye West blog) is now utterly terrible at everything, but christ if I could ever stop watching it, and thus, listening to this song constantly in every commercial for Degrassi, which is now just a big commercial for "Shake It," a song by popular pop-pop band MetroStations.

I'll never get sick of it. Shit, I probably stuck with Degrassi's horrible stories (about hot, controversial teen issues like planned marriage and stem cell research) just so I could keep hearing this song in the commercials (and thereby avoiding all that annoying questioning I get from people who don't understand how I could love a song by Miley Cyrus's kid brother or something OUR LOVE IS NATURAL).

SHIT this song is so good. It's constant build-up. The verses are completely unimportant build-up. The bridge is 100% build-up. The first eighty percent of the damn CHORUS is build-up, all leading towards


The rest of the song is an amalgam of complex, layered electro-pop with all sorts of everything going all over the place, and I can't say it doesn't have a really nice result… but that climax at the end of the chorus, where all the layering falls away and Billy Ray Cyrus Jr. just yelps his ass off with a single guitar and some fake drums… that gets The Metro Stations in the top twenty.

Cyrus is a guitarist and vocalist in the electropop band, Metro Station.[4] He started the band with Mason Musso in early 2006 when their mothers set them up to do a jam together,[4]

17. Wale – The Crazy
Wale – The Crazy

17b. Wale – The Freestyle (Roc Boys)
Wale – The Freestyle (Roc Boys)
Wale is from the District of Columbia, which means that everyone here is required to love him. It sure is a good thing that he's GREAT AT EVERYTHING. Wale's seriously the most relevant performer to come out of DC since Chuck Brown (take that Ian MacKaye, the one other dude!).

So here I include two songs, but in reality I want the 17 spot to go to the entirety of The Mixtape About Nothing (actually just wanted to use both those pics), which is a concept mixtape about Seinfeld. The fact that it's about Seinfeld has basically endeared Wale to the entire hipster community. Entry suggestion for the guy who does StuffWhitePeopleLike: "When Black People Enjoy Traditionally White Entertainment." Or most "white" things, really.

But anyway, most other lists pick "The Kramer" in their songs lists because I suppose it's the most "hot controversial issue"-ish or whatnot, but is it more deserving than anything else on the record? Nah. "The Crazy" is a powerful, heavy beat, and features another Big Musical Moment, and this one's actually a moment: in the first line of every verse, when the beat kicks in. It's just so utterly massive.

But I felt that including a song primarily for its beat wouldn't be, in any way, an accurate representation of the greatness of Wale, so I'm including "The Freestyle" in order to show you all how great Wale is at freestyling. And even with that, we're still skipping over his best quality, which is his writing. Regardless of the beats and the freestyling, when it comes down to it, and I say this without any regional bias (hopefully), Wale is the best lyricist in hip-hop right now.

16. Yelle – Je Veux te Voir
Yelle – Je Veux te Voir
1. I love Je Veux te Voir.
2. Je Veux te Voir wasn’t released in 2008. It wasn’t released in 2007. It was released in 2006, which is about 40 blog years ago.
3. It was included on the album Pop-Up, which was recorded and released, in France, in 2007.
4. Pop-Up was released digitally in the UK in 2007, and physically in 2008. It has yet to be released in America. I think.
5. Je Veux te Voir was re-released as a single in 2008. It was a French #1 hit in 2006. I first heard it about a month ago.
6. Amerie’s album, Because I Love It, was released internationally in 2007. It wasn’t released in America until 2008.
7. We decided not to include Because I Love It in our 2008 lists. If it were included, it would be LYM’s collective #1 record because we love the shit out of that album, and this singles list would be populated with 13 Amerie songs.
8. I really love Je Veux te Voir.
9. Yelle was included in this song:

10. lol

I know you all worry a lot about this controversy. I'm sorry for any confusion, and I hope I don't get tons and tons of emails about this, but jeez, I'm sure I will, what with our devoted readership. The point is, I don't give a shit when this song was recorded, I want it to be here.

I love this song. I've listened to it about a kabzillion times. INTENSE. I love Yelle's voice. I love Yelle, but especially her voice. And I love how, with foreign music, the voice is allowed to be acknowledged purely as an instrument, which is exactly how Yelle uses her voice.

But really, the reason I love this song most is the breakdown. It kind of slogs for the first 2 minutes, but at 2:20 about, the breakdown begins, and it's beautiful. The climax, beginning, at 3:23, is just plain fantastic noise. It's extremely grimy, but it always sounds clean. <3 u yelle.

15. Alphabeat – What is Happening
Alphabeat – What Is Happening
Alphabeat is like a younger version of ABBA. Or an older version of S Club 7?

And they write great choruses. Amazing choruses. Much like the Britannia High song, it's often the only real high point in the songs. I've found myself trudging through the verses in "What Is Happening"—mostly because, for some weird reason, they decide to repeat everything twice. But the chorus is worth the wait.

Sames with "Fascination," but I first heard that song in 2k7 so it isn't eligible.

14. Fleet Foxes – Ragged Wood
Fleet Foxes – Ragged Wood
"Ragged Wood" is a sandwich, but you like the bread the best. "Ragged Wood" is an Oreo cookie, but you only like chocolate and not white stuff. "Ragged Wood" is an apple that is delicious until you find a worm in the middle, but then the worm falls out and you use the apple seeds to plant apple trees and the core can be used for other arts and crafts. "Ragged Wood" is like when a song starts out really great, and then gets really boring in the middle, and then ends really great. Metaphors!

Lie to me, if you will
At the top of Beringer Hill
Tell me anything you want
Any old lie will do
Call me back to, back to you

This is a great song.

13. Passion Pit - Sleepyhead
Passion Pit - Sleepyhead
Passion Pit has pretty much appeared on every single "Hot Bands to Watch Out For in 2k9" list, even though "Sleepyhead" is already on a bunch of songs lists, etc whatever. I'm guessing this song is gonna make a lot "Best Songs of 2009" lists too (next year's "Skinny Love").

I'm also guessing that this song is their peak and they'll never live up to it again. I hope I'm wrong… but it's the only song they've released so far that hasn't collapsed under its own cuteness (granted, we've only heard like, four songs).

The kids could be contenders though. Sleepyhead is so great because that thumping bass drum is so damn PWRFL, something that shouldn't be so rare in indie/electro-pop. Passion Pit has the balls to go for it. Balls that are too cute.

Passion Pit toured with Yelle! Oh Ye(lle)ah!

12. Rihanna – Don't Stop the Music


There might not have been a more addicting, ambient, SOUL-EMCOMPASSING dance beat. It wraps around you and strangles you (in a good way).

11. Empire of the Sun – We Are the People
Empire of the Sun – We Are the People
The best songs make you wait. I can't explain exactly why… maybe it's because you get to spend that much more time in anticipation, with the hook being dangled in front of you like a carrot on a stick. And if the payoff is good enough, the build-up is more than worth it.

Empire of the Sun makes you wait. Not til the end of the song, or even close… they make you wait a minute and a half, through some really boring stuff, to get to the chorus. According to a Korn music video or something, 99% of all songs get to the "hook" in the first four seconds. "We Are the People" waits a long minute and a half and then beats you with it over and over and over again, because the band knows what you want to hear, and they know exactly how to make me come back to this song over and over and over again.

10. Q-Tip – Life is Better (ft. Norah Jones)
Q-Tip – Life is Better (ft. Norah Jones)
The best songs make you wait.

In this installment, we wait a bit longer. The beat's nice, but it's not Top-Ten-Song-of-the-Year-worthy. So we slog through it, and we slog through like an hour of Norah Jones being boring and entirely unnoticeable.

And then Kamaal the Abstract gets in his one and only verse, and good god, it is worth it. It lasts exactly a minute, and it's largely monotone. Like the chorus of "Womanizer," except Q-Tip's voice is good enough to be expressed in monotone. I'll say it again: Q-Tip has the best voice in hip-hop. This song doesn't need words. It can just be a really long groan. It'd sound like baseball cards in the spokes of a bike. It's a sound I could fall asleep to, it belongs in one of those "ocean sounds" things they used to sell at Brookstone, it can soundtrack entire films.

It's not like the verse is anything to sneeze at either, even if it's just your typical "shouting out every single person in hip-hop" deal. But he breaks the laundry list two times to ask "Where my nigga Dilla at?" There have been a lot of tributes to J Dilla since he died, but none of them hit so hard as that line, because it's just thrown in the middle of everything and Dilla probably worked with Tip more than anyone else. I remember another blogger comparing it to Pimp C unexpectedly throwing "I really miss Robert Davis" in the middle of a verse. Stuff White People Like: rappers being really earnest and heartbreaking.

9. Late of the Pier – The Bears Are Coming
Late of the Pier – The Bears Are Coming
The first minute and thirty-four seconds of this song is great, the next thirty seconds is AMAZING, and the rest of the song I've never heard because I always restart the song at that point and listen to those two minutes on repeat.

Actually that's a lie, the rest of the song is great, too. There's the humorous little call-and-response between the fuzzy synth and maracas/triangle? And then there's the breakdown in the last thirty seconds, which is holds its own next to the other high points. It's just a great song duders.

8. Beyonce – Single Ladies (Put a Ring On It)

Oh god.

Single Ladies is the one song that is on every single blog's year-end list, kind of the official "pop inclusion to show everyone that we don’t discriminate" pick of the year. That song is always real deserving, though (last year was Umbrella!).

When I first heard Single Ladies leaked into Hypey (i get scoops, you see), I honestly didn't think it'd be a big hit. It doesn't sound radio-friendly. I didn't pay attention to the lyrics, really. I knew that "If you liked it then you should've put a ring on it" is an awesome, embraceable line… but the beat, man. It's WEIRD. It's just a weird beat. That's the best word to describe it. It's anything but compact, it's like if you took apart a motorcycle and dropped all the pieces into a swimming pool (i'm auditioning for pitchfork, you see). There are goofy little blips and whistles scattered throughout, with not much of a pattern, especially that little synth-curl that doesn't fit into the beat anywhere.

And then there's the fact that the whole thing ends up sounding, of all things, sinister. In the tail-end of the chorus, when the DARK AS SHIT synth just waltzes into the song and towers over everything else, it sounds strictly villainous. And then there's the final thirty seconds, which introduces the turntable scratch which actually makes it sound like the songs falling into little black holes.

Does anyone actually need to be convinced that this song is great? I should be saving this energy for the Jesse McCartney song.

7. Sons and Daughters - Chains
Sons and Daughters - Chains
The first thirty or so seconds of "Chains" includes just about everything I normally can't stand about indie music, but when I get to the chorus, I just lose my shit. Adele Bethel's belting of There's a river running through me! almost kills me (that's an allusion ;) )

I found this song while searching for covers of the classic King/Goffin track of the same name. That one's still better than this. But it was a pleasant surprise.

6. Lil Wayne – Mrs. Officer

In which Lil Wayne spends an entire song making puns about having sex with a cop.

And all she want me to do is fuck the police

The embarrassing thing is, when I first heard this on the radio, I didn't know it was a Lil Wayne song (Lil Wayne being in a song this summer meant it probably wasn't a Lil Wayne song), and I couldn't remember much, so I had to search:


5. Jesse McCartney – Leavin'


(beat is incredible, was produced by tricky stewart and the-dream, DEAL WITH IT)
also mashes up perfectly w. sexy can i, the other song on this list that needs to be defended the most

4. of Montreal – Nonpareil of Favor
of Montreal – Nonpareil of Favor
The first of Montreal song I heard was "Tim I Wish You Were Born a Girl". I listen to that now and then listen to "Nonpareil of Favor" and wonder just what the hell could've happened in between the writing of both of these songs. They went from cute little acoustic indie pop to this. And apparently the new album was a big disaster or something, I dunno cause this is the only song I've heard. And I've heard it over and over and over again.

There's nothing wrong with the first minute and a half of Nonpareil of Favor. Except the lyrics, but whatever. It all sounds really nice as it goes through its eight or nine shifts and whatnot.

What matters is what happens after the 1:44 mark. You should know that I like noise, a lot. I love bass drums. A whole lot. I LOVE the next two minutes of this song. It's the most beautiful white noise you will ever hear in your life. It's not really possible to describe why I like something so completely aesthetic, so all I can really say is that it's beautiful. It sounds great in my car speakers, somehow, and it makes driving feel like I'm being escorted by a giant vibrating sound box of noise.

I love how there are three legitimate points in this song where you can honestly say to yourself, "this HAS to be the high point, there's no way it gets bigger than this" and you'd be wrong each time.

I love how when it's all over, the sound all dies away and leaves this airy, milky melody that sounds like things sound when you've just left a concert after spending the whole night next to the speakers (like you got cottonballs in your earholes!). I have no idea if it's actually produced to sound like that or if it's just a result of the really loud noise, and I'll never find out, cause for the life of me I'm unable to skip over those two minutes.

3. T.I. – Whatever You Like

Okay, so this is the other "song every blog includes in their year-end lists," even though Pitchfork left it off entirely for some incredibly stupid reason that makes me lose any respect I had left for them (i am dramatic about whatever you like).

Fantasticdan300: best parts are
Fantasticdan300: 1. The joke about the girl that gives such good brain he can tell she went to college
Fantasticdan300: 2. THE BEAT (this should obviously be #1)
Fantasticdan300: 3. THE BEAT
Fantasticdan300: 4. the fact htat TI is offering this girl bentleys and private jets just so he can have sex with her
Lt Mou: the beat is like the most inconsequential and generic part of the song, BITHC
Lt Mou: the best part of whatever you like is the manner in which t.i. raps
Lt Mou: and the fact that he's actually rapping in a full southern drawl
Lt Mou: and all the words lean on each other and it's the most melodious rapping ever
Lt Mou: most singalongable rappin evr
Lt Mou: he literally sings the entire song

what follows is a lot of arguing about a t.i. song. (i won)

2. Lykke Li – Little Bit
Lykke Li – Little Bit
We love Lykke Li around these parts, but really, everyone seems to like Lykke Li… a little bit! Wink! Really though, that's an accurate description of the general indie opinion of Lykke Li. Everyone liked the album a whole lot and she's a female/foreign/cute/not like Uffie, so she automatically appeals to everyone. But you won't find her at any #1 spots, and the album still never got the amount of respect it deserved. So it's kind of poetical that I pick "Little Bit" for the number two song of the year. I didn't catch that when I first made the list.

(I also apologize for not including "Dance Dance Dance," I have no idea why I left it off.)

I don't have much to really say about "Little Bit." I just plum love it. Best moment, besides the chorus, is the second verse: there's a little dramatic beat/cymbal hit after half the lines (I would do it/push a button/pull a trigger/climb a mountain), kind of like she's catching her breath, until the end, where she just gets so flustered that she ends the line halfway through with a "Ha hm!"

love u a lil bit lykke li

1. Pink – So What
Pink – So What

I feel like everyone's gonna give me shit for this. But that's okay. Well, it isn't. This is a list of my personal favorites, I won't try to argue that So What was the GREATEST SONG OF 2008 (you can't do that with music anyway, silly!), I can only say that it's the one song I came back to the most, the one song I looked forward to listening to the most when my time was occupied by something else, the song that sent my heart all a-flutter when I listened to it for the first twenty-or-so times.

I love the HOLY BALLS out of So What.

If you've read the rest of this list up until now, you've probably realized that I have a nasty tendency to tear apart songs into different aspects and just concentrate on the good stuff. I don't think it's a bad thing. I try to treat people the same way: love the good parts and forgive the bad parts. With music, if you ever want to get really get an appreciation for pop music, you've got to learn to forgive, babies.

But if you have to forgive a song for anything, you can still have trouble treating that song as your favorite of the year, right?

Not in the case of So What. I'll admit, the hook in the beginning, the na-na-na's, they're pretty annoying—and without the fantastic percussion that backs it up, it'd be unbearable. I'd still give that part, I guess, a 70%. I'd give the verses a 90%, just because the beat is still so great. And I'll give the chorus as high a rating as you can possibly get. On a Pitchfork scale of 0.0-10.0, the chorus gets A ZILLION. It is undeniably infectious, ejaculatory, orgasmic, other words that can relate it to sex. The guitars in the beginning of the chorus, that's enough. That'd still get it to a 10.0. But when the synth comes in? Oh, holy shit. I first heard this song on a radio station that was far away and filled with static, and through all of that, the chorus still sounded incredible. It was love at first radio.

And the thing is, I don't like Pink! I've never enjoyed her songs, she has a personality that gets in the way of any quality the song might have. Even the fact that she calls herself a "rock star" when she's the very definition of a pop star, it's pretty silly. But I still have an appreciation for these lyrics, especially.

It isn't often that a pop star is willing to write lyrics in the first person. Even if it's just a song about a breakup or a new crush, the "I" will never be the pop star, because the pop star will never admit to being a pop star. It isn't relatable. If the pop star DOES write a song from the perspective of his or her rich self, it'll be in the extremely annoying "I'm so sick of the paparazzi ruining my lunch!" mode.

Here's a song in which Pink admits to being filthy rich and famous, and indulging in it. "So what, I'm a rock star" takes on a double meaning: in a standard pop song, this is the anthem, this is what teenage girls are supposed to sing along to after they break up with their boyfriends. But it's also meta-pop, in which a girl has the gall to admit to being a star in an obsessive American society that feeds on the insecurities of its rich female icons. This, in itself, is much more feministic than any of the "I hate girls with breast implants!" songs Pink has written in the past.

That's not even it, either. You can still sense the insecurity in this song: it's in the tail end of the chorus, when she's just SCREAMING, "I'M ALL RIGHT/I'M JUST FINE!" There's such an earnest sense of pure insincerity here, and the song suddenly shifts from a half-serious breakup anthem to a multi-dimensional emotional outburst which, compared to the rest of the Top 40 canon, is as confessional and authentic and true as I've ever heard. She sets out to write a song about getting over her ex, and shares with the world the fact that it's killing her. The song could've been a ballad about her pain, and it would've been terrible.

At this point you should realize that I'm not joking about this being my favorite song of the year.


That's it. Here's what we've learned (because what I say matters): give in to pop music. Sweden is great. Rest in peace Stylus Magazine, my popspiration. Eat more trans fat.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Still Great in 2008: Part II

Part I

22. Black Milk feat. Royce Da 5’9 – Losing Out

I’m a sucker for this track. I can’t help it. It’s not the sample (lol Kanye). It’s not the beat. It’s not even the verse (summary: Detroit = #1/don’t mess with Royce). It’s the transitions. There’s just something about how Cross cues up his intro (“Who’s the most underestimated/Plus underrated city in this hip hop game…”) with the drop, the way Royce syncopates his verse perfectly with the bass, and the way the beat changes to the lub-dub heartbeat bumps in the verse that makes this song so damn catchy. This track is more a testament to Milk’s production than it is to his rapping, but oh well. Still gives me chills.

21. Janelle Monáe – Many Moons

I have the biggest crush on Janelle Monáe. Maybe it’s the pompadour. Maybe it’s the white tux. Maybe it’s her dancing. Maybe it’s the fact that she recorded the perfect companion piece to “Hey Ya” and this time white people haven’t ruined it (yet). Who knows. The important thing, though, is that Many Moons is one of the best pop songs to grace radio waves this year. Monáe crafts perfect PnB (pop n’ blues to those uninitiated) magic, with a shake rattle n bang drumline (complete with requisite gong), a church organ hook that sounds like it was recorded by Charles Earland on coke, and a chorus that won’t leave your head for daaaays (trust me). Plus, the video (I've watched it at least 1000 times and have no plans to stop anytime soon) features a cameo by that dude from Heroes, Big Boi from OutKast, and the masks from The Knife (the holy trinity – mainstreamers, hip hoppers, and indie rockers). Janelle sure knows the way to my heart. Call me!

20. Pwrfl Power – Alma Song

Yep, this is the guy from those eSurance commercials. Shut up. It's good. Same deal before (twee as fuck croonin' with only an acoustic guitar as accompaniment), but this time he talks about love and money and other important stuff. Gives hope to all the "not that attractive" girls with small boobs. This is the feel good song of 2008.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Still Great in 2008: Part I

Since Zach is having a mid-blog crisis and may never actually complete his Top 50 Songs of 2008 (what a tease), I’m going to take the opportunity here to post a little list I like to call:

25 Songs We Missed On the First Roundup
Lets get started

25. Arthur Russell – I Couldn’t Say It To Your Face
I guess it’s cheap to start a ‘best of’ list with a song that wasn’t even technically recorded in 2008, but I don’t care. This song is terrible and awesome and just all kinds of mean. Damn, Arthur.

I needed a place, so I walked in the door,
I couldn't say it to your face, but I won't be around any more.
It's my world, it's my song -

Didn't ask you to sing along.

In my arms, you girl, you won't be here to say I'm wrong.

I couldn't say it to your face but I won't be around any more.

Like P4k said, though, “getting dumped via song probably stings, but it beats a text message.” Always gotta look on the bright side, yall. This is by far the saddest song on my list, and also probably the one I’ve listened to the most. Still luv u Arthur.

24. Busy Signal feat. Rye Rye & MIA – Tic Toc (Remix)

This is a perfect example of how an amazing beat can save an otherwise mediocre song. Although Rye Rye (born and raised in Baltimore yall!) has the voice of a 12 year old and I love it, her verse along with MIA’s are both pretty forgettable. Thank god for Busy’s production. The trip and stutter of the chorus (tic tic tic tic toc…), Busy’s own (absolutely unintelligible) shouting, and that effing awesome dulcimer (???) sample are exactly what makes this song so memorable. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had this song stuck in my head over the past year. Take a tic yall.

23. Metronomy – A Thing For Me (Breakbot Remix)

If I had to give one example of how indie pop has survived into the 21st century, this would be it. “A Thing For Me” just OOZES sunshine, lollipops, ice cream, and walks in the park. While Metronomy’s original track is pretty mediocre, the Breakbot remix really cuts to the song’s core, bringing out the Saturdays=Youth vibe (more on THAT later!) and cutting out that godawful electro beat in favor of a lazy bumblebee bassline and some big ol sloppy pastel synth blurps. If this song doesn’t give you butterflies, there’s no hope for your soul.

Tonight she'll take my heart home with her
But I'm not ready to let it go now,

Oh how long have we got?

Saturday, December 27, 2008

h8 u web sheriff

First and foremost I think a ‘thank you’ [via HRO] is in order to those dopey dudes from Baltimore that just increased our site’s hit count by approximately a kajillion percent over the course of 24 WILD hours.

Now that that’s all over with, though, we can finally get back to what’s important over here at LYM: gettin all misty-eyed about top blogosphere songs from 2008 that nobody actually cared about except for us.
LYM = 2008 THE BLOG.

FantasticDan300: we are going to do best songs of 2008 for the entire year
Lt Mou: lol ya
FantasticDan300: like our blog will only be about the best songs of 2008
Lt Mou: best blog evr

1. The finale to Zach's "Top 50 Songs of 2008"
2. Dav's Top 25 2008 Trax
3. A lot of neato videos (we've been collectin' em)

Here's a little somethin to hold you over till then (complete with claymation fish n gross dancing):
[video may not be viewable in some RSS feeds!]

Friday, December 26, 2008


edit: welp, looks like that letter to quietus was a fake. fun while it lasted! this got us a LOAD of traffic that we haven't had before (mostly because we didn't get any traffic before). and web sheriff sure is polite.

HI HI HI I only see three of these songs on hypey so far, so we're gonna assume that LYM is BREAKING THIS SHIT YEAH. Which is awesome cause we're infants in blog years. And we also really hope that this'll show the hype machine how awesome we are and let us on. right?

Here are the songs listen to them quick cause web sheriff is gonna kick our butts real quick.
Edit: Geologist called last week for a full-album leak, so no prooooob


1. In the Flowers
2. My Girls
3. Also Frightened
4. Summertime Clothes
5. Daily Routine
6. Bluish
7. Guys Eyes
8. Taste
9. Lion in a Coma
10. No More Runnin'
11. Brothersport

Full Album

Enjoy! Briefly!

Friday, December 19, 2008

Zach's fav songs of 2k8 pt 4: Don't Make Me Whup Your Butt in Front of a Church

Note: imeem tracks won't show up in some RSS feeds!

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3

30. Rick Ross – The Boss (ft. T-Pain)

Let's not fool ourselves into thinking Rick Ross "The Boss" Springsteen is by any means good at rapping. Most of the time, he's kind of annoying. He was by far the worst part of "Blow," which, thanks to the heaviest beat ever, was also one of the best songs of whatever year it came out in. "The Boss" is also saved by the beat, given to us by crosseyed Italian "Bachelorette" contestant J.R. Rotem (who also gave us Rihanna's "S.O.S." and all the good Sean Kingston beats). This song isn't saved by heaviness, but the heavenly, ethereal synth that runs through it. I think this one legitimately gave me chills the first few times I caught it on the radio, namely thanks to the low-high two-note elevation during the chorus. It's also great because "I'm the biggest boss that you seen thus far." Rick Ross might not be good at rapping, but he is good at making sure no one's gonna be able to say "I told you so" when they inevitably locate a boss that is bigger than he.

The video also has Snoop and Slim from The Wire, which I guess makes it THE GREATEST MUSIC VIDEO OF ALL TIME

29. Brazilian Girls – St. Petersburg

it's really hard to find pictures of brazilian girls (the band) on google

Everything about the instrumentation in "St. Petersburg" sounds great, with the whistling and the samba drums (I'm going to assume that's what samba drums sound like), and the little guitar twinkles in the chorus. But I love this song so much for one reason, and it's another Big Musical Moment. It occurs right after the first chorus and before the second verse. It's a little 10-second break that imitates the secondary melody of the verse, and it sounds like the most fragile, loopy theremin there ever was. I've listened to this song dozens of times, often on repeat, only to get to those ten seconds of glorious theremin.

26/27/28. Kanye West – Streetlights/Coldest Winter/Robocop

I knew these three songs would all be on the list, but when it came time to construct the list and separate everything into these different tiers, I found myself constantly juggling them around each other. I really just couldn't figure out which ones I like more. So they're all tied.

I'm a pretty decent 808s and Heartbreak apologist, at least compared to the legions who seem to loathe it. I was honestly considering adding Love Lockdown, which I loved at first and got quickly tired of (thanks mostly to a dorm neighbor blasting it on repeat for days and days and days and days), as well as "Paranoid," and "Amazing," and "Heartless." Strangely, given all of that, I still wasn't TOO crazy about the album. Dawwwww.

The version of "Robocop" is the "demo" version, or whatever you call the first one that Kanye leaked. The studio version completely covers up (with doofy strings) the best part of the song – the verse beat, which sounds kinda like a song you'd hear in the level of Mega Man when he's jumping on clouds and crap like that (I don't remember Mega Man).

I think this is also the first version of "Coldest Winter," which sounds a lot more like a disintegrating demo tape than the official version. I love that. The chorus has such a great melody and is so filled with genuine passion, it's probably the best reason for Kanye to not go back to just producing (this is too self-referential for a blog no one gives a shit about). Also, I think we all miss Kanye's mom. I'm not being ironic here, Hey Mama has always been one of my favorite Kanye songs, and now I just can't listen to it the same. It's another reason I'm forgiving to 808s: it's Kanye's own For Emma, Forever Ago, his completely passionate, messy burst of post-tragic coping. Except… his girlfriend didn't dump him, his mom died in a freak accident. Come on, man.

"Streetlights" is basically Kanye doing his best impression of Keane.

25 . Department of Eagles – In Ear Park

Sometimes lyrics just creep up on you, long after you've given into the music of the song itself. This song was placed at #25 a while before I actually gave the words a real listen and realized just how much more tender the song is when you put the sounds in context.

All of us walk alone, steady line
And now that you're gone
I have nothing but time
To walk with your bags
Down to the docks
And sit in the grass
Right in your spot

I dunno man. I'm about to cry. Department of Eagles is a side project of Grizzly Bear, sort of, or Grizzly Bear is the side project, I dunno. But apparently this was the stuff that was "too personal" for the G.Bears, and it kinda shows.

Oh, live edit: according to SongMeanings.net, the ultimate authority on truth in music, this was written about lead singer/songwriter Daniel Rossen's father, who died last year. He should do something with Kanye.

The original reason I was turned onto "In Ear Park" was, of course, another little moment: the climax of the song, that kind-of-sinister-but-still-pretty piano lick. So check that out.

24. The Roots – Birthday Girl

What's the best way to follow up two songs about the death of your parents? A song about girls turning eighteen so you can finally have sex with them!!! ^_^!!!

Patrick Stump sings the chorus here and it's awesome. Except there's a bit of confusion with the whole age thing. Old enough to see the R-rated show? That's 17, sir. Old enough to buy a gun? That's 18. Age of consent? ROOTS DON'T KNOW AND NEITHER DOES PAT STUMP AND THEY DON'T GIVE A HOOT

23. Walter Meego - Forever
Walter Meego - Forever
Yeah. This is the song from that beer commercial.

And it was an annoying beer commercial, wasn't it? It was horrible. I don't even know what was happening, something about beer, and a girl with a gap in her teeth. I hereby distance myself from that commercial entirely.

The crazy thing is, though… the commercial contained precisely the first thirty seconds of "Forever." And "Forever" becomes a really good song JUST after that thirty second mark. I couldn't tell until I listened to it in my car, and the bass came out, and, somehow, it sounded wonderful in my crapass speakers. It's a bit soft at times throughout, but the chorus? This song is a BANGER. It's incredible. Just gotta listen to it when it isn't coming out of a TV set.

22. TV on the Radio – Crying

TVOTR doing what TVOTR does best, makin real fuzzy funky music that sounds incredible in cars. Really, you can't comprehend how important it is to my subjective ears that a song sounds good in a car.

This song is basically a string of great moments that all work to lead up to this great climax that's entirely magnificent and dramatic, but in a relatively low-key, restrained fashion. Everything that's going on, these complex lines of melody, are still being drowned out by the percussion, and the full array of sound never really attacks your ears. Everything that happens from about 3:05 on is entirely too much for my poor little heart; the synth line and the horns are so wonderful I just listen to it over and over again. And it's one of those cases where, when you try skipping to that point, it just doesn't carry the same weight. So I've listened to this song a lot. In my car.

21. Ray J – Sexy Can I (ft. Yung Berg)

Oh, Sexy Can I. I've read, I think, every year-end songs/singles list that Large Hearted Boy posts… and I'm pretty sure I'm the only one to include Sexy Can I. Which baffles the crap out of me. Even the MTV/Rolling Stone lists, the lists with all sorts of pop, skipped it.

Sexy Can I was the summer of 2k8's silver medal winner, and by extension, the forgotten child, the Jan Brady of 2k8. It was all over the radio, played nearly as much as Love in this Club, and everyone loved it. But it still never hit #1, and it never felt like a #1, like LitC and Single Ladies and Whatever You Like did. So while every reputable and non-reputable list includes those obligatory Top 40 hits, they always forget the silver medalist (and Jesse McCartney).

And it sucks, because this song is really irresistible. It's pure bubblegum pop… even if it's about sexing a stripper or whatever, this is 100% bubblegum. I could listen to the beat for days. I could listen to Ray J's chorus for days. How can anyone not fall for that melody? Or that totally weird horn crescendo at the end of every chorus? Love in this Club got tiring really quickly, because it was absolutely everywhere for a few weeks, and it just didn't have the same staying power/immediate palatability as Sexy Can I, a song I will NEVER get tired of. And Love in this Club (Marsha) ain't making my list, jerks. The underdog wins.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Zach's fav songs part 1 AGAIN.

Hi! The first time I posted this entry, it got deleted by the man. So I'm posting it again, now hopefully without any copyright infringement. or the copyright infringement is youtube's/imeem's fault. they can't get me for that, right?
So here’s the first installment of my favorite 60 songs of 2008. I think this is what I was meant for in life.
There were some stipulations that might separate this from some other song lists. If I heard the song in 2007, it doesn’t count. A lot of people are listing Skinny Love and Kids… I first heard both of them on Best of 2007 lists. Yall crazy!! Also, if a song was released in 2007 but wasn’t released as a single until 2008 (and assuming I hadn’t heard it in 07), it’s eligible. Here are some of the big songs that weren’t eligible and where they would’ve placed:
Bon Iver – Skinny Love (top 15)
MGMT – Kids (top 10)
MGMT – Time to Pretend (top 40 ish)
Alphabeat – Fascination (top 20)
MIA – Paper Planes (everyblog knows this isn’t an 08 song but if it were it’d be top 5)
Amerie – anything from her last album (all over the damn place)

And here were some runners-up!
Lloyd – Girls Around the World (ft. Lil Wayne)
Neon Neon – Dream Girls
Okervil River - Lost Coastlines
Mates of State – The Re-arranger
Paramore – That’s What You Get
Lykke Li – Breaking it Up
Sean Kingston – There’s Nothing
Ne-Yo – Closer

LET’S BEGIN, and keep in mind that I listen to top 40/R+B radio like it’s my job.

yeah that's how we're gonna start things out
60. Mystery Jets - Bleeding Love [Leona Lewis]

There was a point in mid-summer when this song was entirely unavoidable. Malls, grocery stores, Chinatowns, ballparks—on July 20th, every ballplayer was required to use it as their at-bat song, until they eventually just stopped playing and repeatedly watched the video (the one where Leona Lewis has an intrusive face) on the Jumbotron—and then there were the ringtone commercials, in which you could text “BLEED” to 56756 to have the song play every time someone calls you to talk about Leona Lewis and her face.

But for a brief period, I really liked this song and was gleeful when it popped up on the radio.

Now, there’s no way I’m downloading it because I never want to hear it again. So here’s a version from a bunch of white guys in scarves and hair. They were a band who, up until a few minutes ago when I actually uploaded their song and saw their name, I called “The Flaming Jets.” Whoops yall.

59. Craig David – Where’s Your Love (ft. Tinchy Stryder)
Craig David – Where’s Your Love (ft. Tinchy Stryder)

My love for this song exists entirely within that beautiful sample of “Hold On” by Colours, an old 90s UK garage song. (“Craig David is thought to be paying homage to the genre that made him a star. The original UK Garage track was made by a group called Colours & its called Hold On.” [citation needed])

Anyway, I really don’t care about anything but the beat, and I’m not really sure if there is anything more than a beat cause I never listened that hard.

58. Sigur Ros - Gobbledigook

In which Sigur Ros does their best Animal Collective impression.

Honestly, I don’t really listen to Sigur Ros, but David told me their last album was basically just AC, and there hasn’t been any AC LPs this year, which made me sad and lacking in hyperbole. So here’s this. More tolerable than a good deal of AC songs, because you can’t tell what they’re saying. And the drums in the last 22 seconds are delicious etc.

and the music video has a ton of naked people!!!!!!!!

Also worth mentioning is “All Alright,” a song I got into very recently, after I finalized my list (it’s a grower). It’s their first English-language song and you still can’t tell what he’s saying but it’s the most heartbreaking thing.

57. Beyonce - Radio
Beyonce - Radio
In which Beyonce romances and beds a piece of mechanical equipment (it’s implied).

Most of what I like about this song shows up in the first second:
1. This is the first time in which I’ve given a damn about Beyonce’s voice. It’s noticeable and sort of… over-dialectical, which I love (radi-OWWW). This is going to sound clichéd, but it makes her sound like a real person and not singer/songwriter/actress Beyonce Knowles (Austin Powers, The Pink Panther i think, 2Fast2Furious). Or maybe it’s just SASHA FIERCE, in which case I wouldn’t mind if she just adopted SASHA FIERCE as her base personality.
2. That sprawling, sharp, TRASHY synth. It’s beautiful.

This was produced by Jim Jonsin, who also did “Whatever You Like,” but he also did “Lollipop,” and I guess this song is somewhere in between. Jim Jonsin is also a very rich man.

Also there is no way in hell this song won’t eventually be a single, so HEARD IT HERE FIRST, FOLKS, unless you actually bought that album. FIERCE

56. Radiohead – Nude (Hipster Runoff Remix)
Radiohead – Nude (HRO Remix)

There’s absolutely no doubt in my mind that Hipster Runoff (NSFW ever) is the blog of the year. It basically does everything Stuff White People Like tries to do, except with more self-awareness and hilarity and less anger (most of the time), and it has single-handedly impacted the way David and I speak to each other on AIM more than anything else has.

Lt Mou: r u dumb
Lt Mou: it's SINEFELD
FantasticDan300: no i get it but wtf
FantasticDan300: Y SINEFELD ZORCH
FantasticDan300: also I'd say the firstone
FantasticDan300: more recognizeable u kno
FantasticDan300: altho the second one is coolar
Lt Mou: did you not listen to it?
Lt Mou: omg
Lt Mou: dizz dawg
Lt Mou: u gotta listen to it and then edit yr list thusly

HRO is basically the best thing ever and I’ll spend the rest of this list referencing it and making it less cool.

Anyway, “Nude” was the only song on In Rainbows that I really liked, and that’s only because it was actually written in like 1996. CRLS’ remix gives me the laffs. It’s basically just a standard HRO blog post being recited over the song. The remix itself isn’t bad either.

Sometimes when I close my eyes I see the music video to “Karma Police.”

55. Britannia High – Changing Man

Every time I look at my list, I wonder why in the balls I’m including a song from Britannia High, which is THE BRITISH HIGH SCHOOL MUSICAL, except it’s in t.v. show form. And then I listen to it and I remember: holy balls, this song is incredible.

This is one of the several discoveries I made from Pop Jousteece, a great pop-centric music blog. This is what they said about Britannia High, and it certainly applies 1000% to “Changing Man”:
Britannia High happily revels in songs with terrible intros, terrible first verses, terrible bridges and then AMAZING CHORUSES...

That’s all there is to it. Everything about this song is terrible and annoying until you get to the chorus, which makes everything better. Literally: the horns in the verses sound corny and jarring, but they sound beautiful in the chorus. Same with the vocals. I’m pretty sure the dancing gets better too. That’s the power of a sweet melody.

Other observations:
-I’m guessing that Britannia High is almost exactly like High School Musical except with accents and a plot primarily concerned with Britain’s rigid class structure.
-what the fuck is happening at 1:56, were they paying too much attention to leona lewis vids (lol that was a ref to a previous statement get it )
-I hope kind-of-cool-but-down-to-earth-and-probably-artistic guy (named “Fuschia”) and feisty-but-cool-and-probably-kind-of-cynical girl (named “Bella”) stay together in the end.
-Girl-with-egg-beater finally makes her star turn!
-so do they like, all try to hide the fact that they’re singing and dancing from the adults or something?

One day I will actually listen to the High School Musical soundtrack, enjoy two or three tracks and never tell anyone about. For now, I’m allowed to talk about Britannia High cause it’s foreign and thus at least somewhat cool.

54. Stephen Colbert and Elvis Costello – There Are Much Worse Things to Believe In

This is from the very recent Colbert Christmas Special, and I’m including it primarily because it made me, a guy with Jew horns, all teary-eyed. I think comedy writers are just generally better at moving people in general. Tears and laughter are really just two sides to the same coin etc.

Call me silly, call me sappy.
Call me many things, the first of which is “happy.”

53. Kings of Leon – Be Somebody
Kings of Leon – Be Somebody

Kings of Leon is one of those bands that have kind of been trying to make everyone forget their beginnings as a pseudo-bar band with long greasy hair and leather jackets, and the shift into “palatable indie” was pretty harsh and… obvious. I’ve still liked most of what I’ve heard from their past few albums. But at worst they can still sound like a rich man’s Nickelback.

“Be Somebody” kind of suffers from that. Actually, in most part, the song IS that. But, for some reason, I gave it enough of a chance to get to the chorus, and that was enough to win me over. Lead singer whatever-his-name-is throating “Given the chance, I wanna beeeeeee somebodehhhhh, if for one dance, I’m gonna beeeeee somebodehhhhh” is just so earnest and completely lacking in irony, I love it. If they were actually good at being an indie band there probably wouldn’t be that earnestness and the song would suck.

52. Late of the Pier - Heartbeat

I guess Late of the Pier can best be described as a British rock band that’s really obsessed with American electronic music. At least I think so, I don’t think I can think of many British electronic/synth/dance-ish bands that have guitars and stuff. And at their worst—they’re really British, with annoying, grimy rockist melodies and lyrics, reminiscent of bands like Jet and the Vines (neither of which are British but still). They switch back and forth between being that band and being an MGMT-ish art band that is extremely enjoyable to listen to (we’re #1). The two modes don’t really mix as much as they alternate. “Heartbeat” epitomizes this: 35 seconds of synth, 20 seconds of rock, 25 seconds of really great synth, 30 seconds of rock, 45 seconds of synth, 25 seconds of rock.

51. The Streets – Everything is Borrowed
Streets – Everything is Borrowed
I remember, in the summer of 2004, when A Grand Don’t Come For Free was released and Pitchfork loved it (so I loved it natch), talking about The Streets to a couple friends… and learning that I was the only one that actually took him seriously. Back then “British rapper” was still a punchline to most people. I was all like “but he writes really nice and he spins a good narrative (p4k said so)” and they were all like “shut up zach you’re fucking stupid” and I never brought it up again. And now The Streets has been accepted as a legitimate human being (I guess?) and now everyone hates him anyway cause he’s become a cool dad or something. The new album is peaceful and happy and it has lines like “This life is the best” as opposed to being poor and conscious of the British class struggle and I DON’T GIVE A SHIT this song is so great.

Just when I discover the meaning of life, they change it.

I still got yr back mike.