Well, we take on numbers 38-21 today. I know you haven’t budgeted time for such nonsense today, but I swear to Cookie Jesus that UC makes me laugh so hard, the tiniest of squirts is most likely to result. Also, some meh “meh” jokes. Tomorrow, the top 20!
38: Brightblack Morning Light-“Everybody Daylight”Uh, does it have Rhodes on it (piano/organ thingy not Nick from Duran Duran). It will be hard for this to not be great. Sounds like David Holmes got a band. He’s the guy that scored Out of Sight. This is the unapologetically retro thing that P-fork loves, except the ones that sound identical, which they don’t. Super good, but I’m sad I could use “hey, what label are they on? Meh-tador?” [also, P-fork got in trouble for hot-linking it, way to go internet novices].
UC’s take: This is inoffensively fine. Other things that are inoffensively fine include white lined paper, chocolate chip cookies, and rulers.
37: Jarvis Cocker-“Running the World”Oh nice, he’s eviscerating total cobags! Did this song even chart? Without starting our C-word argument, Jarvis is not f***ing around. I mean he could have written a harmless Richard Ashcroftian top tenner to the exact same music. Yikes. Awesome, maybe he could have used cobags instead of c*nts?
UC’s take: You have to give kudos to anybody that rhymes “it sucks” with “it’s anthropologically unjust”. The music is good, even if it is better suited to Schoolhouse rock than Pitchforkian cobbagery. I take that it’s super ironic. I mean, I hope it’s super ironic. That said the song is catchy, not hideously outdated musically, and one that I actually want to hear again. Without AG’s knowledge, of course. Super good.
36: Love Is All-“Busy Doing Nothing”Sounds like a song about Time’s person of the year. Kind of hints about the masturbatory nature of those of us that spend our free time with our nothing. Good.
UC’s take: I think this song could be made even better by replacing the voice. I hate her voice. It makes me yearn for the slightly repetitive instrumental interludes between words. The beat is really good, though. The song is modest mousy, and perhaps with a little less derivativeness could be very good. I’m sure the kids like it, though.
35: Justice-“Waters of Nazareth”Just an electro-fuzz dancer, starts on a roll, then the syncopation gets a little challenging for a bit (this is just to addle the clubbers) then it starts to bang again. Like a drink of cool water after all the shit Sherburne was spinning. Really good. Even UC will tap his foots.
UC’s take: Pitchfork describes this song as conjuring images of an apocalyptic future. I see a different kind of future where Pitchfork tells us what nondescript techno is good and what kind is bad. It’s worse than the apocalypse. I was ready to totally write this off into land of meh until the organs kicked in. And then I really liked the organs, and then gosh darn I did start tapping my foot a little. But the first three minutes still suck. If it did a little minimalism, I’d rank it very good, but it’s good. I mean for what it is. Which is stupid techno.
34: Kelis-“Bossy (Alan Braxe & Fred Falke Remix)”The ‘fork goes with a remix, so we’ll check the original. Maybe in a year when Myspace (Time’s Person of the Year, yo!) finally loads it. Sounds like AG wrote a hip-hop song. Kelis can’t really sing but she’s got the tude. I know all the Forkers popped boners when she namechecked an 808. It’s OK, but a little cashewy nutlog. It’s not exactly effortless.
UC’s take: I find with Kelis that the musicality depends on the smallest flourish somewhere in the background. With this song, a tiny little well-placed beep of bass and slightly atonal harpsichord-like chords ascend this song from horrific inanity to kind of interesting. Interesting in the way that curry chewing gum would probably be. I don’t ever want to hear this song again, but I give it a solid unwavering OK.
33: Turbulence-“Notorious”Oh yay! Glitchy! And then it is dancehall. Hmm. To quote, with alternative punctuation, Neko and the Pornographers: “what the last ten minutes have taught: meh.”
UC’s take: According to Pitchfork, this song is the most incredible hymn I’ve heard in years. I think they’re right. Except substitute years for seconds, and I can’t think of a better hymn I’ve heard all minute. I see people blaring this song from their boom boxes while walking along a crowded dowtown street. In my head, I am kicking them in the crotch and it makes me smile. It’s worse than meh-diocrity. It’s meh-ritiously meh-tronomically meh.
32: Christina Aguilera-“Ain’t No Other Man”I can’t lie. This song is great. It is a little over the top. Maybe Xtina is would a little too tight. I’m not sure she sounds human. Plus she kind of quotes Quad City DJs “Train Song.” At 3B, this is a plus.
UC’s take: Christin-A has a massive advantage over most of her contemporary divas. Not just a voice, but one that is in tune. She uses her chops quite admirably in this song. Therefore I don’t hate it. I like the Cy Coleman brass blares and the feel of soul. This song could be a classic. I mean one that is played at weddings, bar-mitzvahs and retirement parties. Very good.
31: Matmos-“Steam and Sequins for Larry Levan”UC’s gonna hate at the beginning. The trick here is can it grow, or will he homicide bomb himself before the end? The slowed down vocals al la Yellow’s “Oh Yeah” prolly don’t don’t help. Interesting for a mix tape. Maybe he’ll use the Meh-tador joke. OK.
UC’s take: I really like this song. It is great at what it does, which is sound like a cartoon music soundtrack outtake. It’s just interesting and keeps the good beat the whole way. My name-brand censors betray me, though. If this were a Beck song, I would rave about it. Therefore I have to give it an awesome rating. I think if Pinko Punko actually reviewed the correct song instead of reviewing Roses and Teeth for Ludwig Wittgenstein, he would agree as well.
30: Cat Power-“Lived in Bars” Pretty good. Haven’t heard this album yet, it’s in the pile. Can we rip them for not picking a better song? Anyone?
UC’s take: How come nobody has mentioned that this song morphs beautifully into the Jackson Browne song Stay? It’s super awesome without sounding precious and an unassailable entry in this list. The high brass flourishes are so amazing. I think I need to listen to this whole CD now.
29: Beirut-“Postcards from Italy” Reviewer Chris Dahlen takes this as a chance to rip Rufus Wainwright (I call that the P-fork shiv). Very listenable. Decent. Maybe a little formal. Somewhat sounds like a band wearing a costume, but of themselves. Good.
UC’s take: This song makes me nostalgic, but only for better top 30 songs. It’s totally fine, but indistinguishing. Maybe it would make for good movie music in some super ironic Quentin Tarantino scene. That would be awesome. Like for Kill Bill part 3. Please? Good.
28: Man Man-“Van Helsing Boombox” These guys are fun for your bar band. Kind of sounds like the Walkmen’s first, with a little more hoarse Randy Newman-esque. This is good, but not special. Maybe that is the point.
UC’s take: Pinko Punko is totally right. This music belongs in a Pixar movie really desperately. That said, I really like it. In the year of M. Ward, this totally deserves attention. There are parts of this song that border on awesome. I want it to do a little more wordplay and tempo changing. Some of their other songs are also fun, but this is the best choice for the P-fork list.
27: Sally Shapiro-“I’ll Be By Your Side” More disco? Sounds like it should be Irene Cara or her nemesis Laura Branigan. And then the vocals start and it is really like NRG Isobel Cambell from Belle and Sebastian. Like a misbegotten attempt at a college application essay. What is the point of this? To peanut butter and chocolate two genres? How about this for an add: “Hey! You got your meh in my peanut butter! NO! Your meh is in my chocolate.” Upon reflection, not meh, ass.
UC’s take: Pitchfork would totally make fun of this song if it were played on the radio thirty years ago. Because it deserves to be made fun of. Just because college girls like to dance to this song in their undies [p-fork wishes-Ed.] doesn’t mean it’s anything but meh.
26: Camera Obscura “Lloyd, I’m Ready to Be Heartbroken” A great song from a great album. CO succeed because of their effortless sincerity, and no matter how retro their arrangements it never feels derivative because the songs exist for reasons other that to be in a certain style. Not even close to the best song on the album. Awesome.
UC’s take: Best song on the album. Awesome. Should be a top 10 for the year. The instrumentals always send me into chills of anticipation.
25: Guillemots-“Trains to Brazil” ELO-style 70’s Beatlemania is the rightly cited antecedent for this entertaining pop gem. Like Camera Obscura, rises above derivativeness through sincerity. Really good.
UC’s take: Guillemots are one of those bands I keep meaning to listen to but forgetting. I keep thinking that I will remember the band name because of the fine scientist Francois Guillemot, who knockouts out neurogenic transcription factors, but I forget. Having listened to this song, I now remember why I keep forgetting Guillemots. They sound good and seem interesting, but their songs are like teflon. They just don’t stick to my psyche. Good, but truly nothing more.
24: Califone-“The Orchids” Super. Duper. Good. Short of amazing. But quaility. What gives? I got all these “meh” jokes stacking up.
UC’s take: This song is really sweet. It has the sense of a Simon and Garfunkle song wrapped up in a modern shell. Kind of like a delicious musical Beard Papa eclaire. Really really good. Maybe even Kingsbury Manx good.
23: Phoenix-“Long Distance Call” This may take awhile to grow on me, but it feel like it has a certain zing, it sounds like an actual song, not a self-concious exercise in either reference name-checking or trend-surfing. Really good.
UC’s take: The only thing that keeps this song from slipping into middle-of-the-road-classic-rock-goo is a better than average chorus and a few killer hooks. I penalize it for appealing to 30-something unhipsters, but it’s still pretty good.
22: Luomo-“Really Don’t Mind (Radio Edit)” Reviewer Tim Finney says this is as good as a Kylie smash. I wanna smash his foul mouth. I can’t make a “meh” joke here because this is worse than meh.
UC’s take: I wanted to kill myself halfway through listening to this song. The only reason why anybody is reading this review is that I knew it was more imperative to the well-being of the planet for me to share with the world how ass this song is than to end my own personal misery.
21: The Pipettes-“Pull Shapes” They just sound exactly like Bananarama. I’m sorry, it’s fine, but since the extra special claim about this list was that it could be any song, here’s 500 you could try instead of a second Pipette’s dress-up show. I’m forced to quote Phil Collins in that my rating is “coming down, coming down like a meh-nkey.”
UC’s take: [editor’s note: BONER!] My only criticism of this song is that the intro has the group being called The Pipettes with the ‘i’ sounding like pip instead of pipe. My criticism of Pinko Punko’s diss of this song relates to his fluidless cardiac vessel. This song is awesome beyond the sizzling violins within the wall of sound[there is no wall of sound-Ed.]. Mega awesome.