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.” )
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.
-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.