It is that time of year. The Pitchfork cobags that we so love give us new reasons to fry up a gigantic portion of hater tots. Last year’s entries found amongst this detritus. I decided to go into this year’s Top 100 track list with an open mind. If you believe that, I have several albums for 80’s prog stalwarts Meh-rillion to sell you. UC’s rocking the mic with me as usual, but of course we’d like everyone to chime in- Seitz, Brando? Anyone?
Here we go:
100: Ost & Kjex “Milano Mugolian (A Thrilling Mungophony in Two Parts)”
Intro designed to allow the clubgoer to experience hyperventilation. Creative mishmatch of cinematic and disco samples. Once again P-fork values production expertise over almost any other concern, such as latent anxiety disorders amongst unsuspecting listeners. Oh, it’s 11 minutes long and ends up sounding like a Morcheeba remix outtake, yes I said it. Some of it is OK, and actually catchy and around 8:30 turns into a fun, standard, electro disco jaunt, but I expect I’ll be suing the Fork on behalf of UC’s estate if he listens to this.
I can’t think of any redeeming artistic use for this track, except as a soundtrack to an X-rated version of The Triplets of Belleville. I guess when broken up into its individual components, there are some fun and catchy tunes, but I really don’t see how they work together. Maybe if they had more accordion….
99: Broken Social Scene Presents: Kevin Drew “Backed Out on the…”
I’m not so out of it that I didn’t immediately pick up that this song soudns exactly like Dinosaur Jr. And for good reason, J. Mascis (the heart of Dinosaur Jr) plays on it. It is perhaps a little hard to take that retro now includes Dinosaur Jr., but for an homage it’s pretty decent, but that is really all it is, Matt Lemay, Pvt P-fork 1st Class. The soundtrack for the indie summer indie choads dream about their big brothers having. Still good.
I’ve heard at least three better tracks from this CD, which ranked in maybe my top 375 of the year. The musicianship is good and all, but I don’t see how this makes this track a standout in any way. I generally tune out about halfway through the song and nothing ever brings me back into it.
98: Old Time Relijun “Indestructible Life!”
Like a theatrical Old European kitsch revival crossed with Suicide style yelpings. I mean it is OK for what it is but what it is is what I just said it was, and what is that?
Maniacal squawking is always going to be an iffy proposition. It starts off sounding like it’s going to be like cool music for Pulp Fiction, but then it descends into something more like uncool music that a Quentin Tarantino wannabe composed for his own movie. As sung with his college dorm roommate while totally wasted on alkool. Oh, and air guitaring the whole thing. [PP adds: harsh, bra!]
97: Sir Richard Bishop “Ecstasies in the Open Air”
“Sir Richard Bishop’s status as one of the acoustic guitar’s most intriguing voices hinges on three principles: 1) His eclecticism and enthusiasm for a range of sounds, 2) A technical dexterity that allows him to explore those styles freely, and 3) An indefatigable interplay between curiosity and technicality. The epilogue to Polytheistic Fragments, which casually crosses from modal drone to Chet Atkins country, “Ecstasies in the Open Air” allows familiar elements to sublimate into a peaceful breeze. Notice the smooth Hawaiian steel guitar and glimpses of “Strawberry Fields Forever” that pump from a little organ and twinkle from an electric lead. –Grayson Currin
The sound you hear is the dead Lester Bangs, noted rock critic, shooting himself in heaven, simultaneously with his creation of a time machine with which he will find a way to abort himself within his mothers womb. Grayson Currin outs himself as Josh Treviño’s nom de Pitchfork Cobag. The track itself sounds like a harmless Radar Brothers B-side instrumental.
I love this song. I thought the review was spot on, both lyrically and instrumentally. Musically, though, it is a little questionable as a top 100 track, simply because I don’t think it stands on its own. It needs to be the outro to some dramatic pop masterpiece jointly composed by Iron & Wine’s Sam Beam and The Kingsbury Manx. As the CD ends on this track, it fades to nothingness but longing. I don’t know why Pinko Punko hates Lester Bangs so much.
96: Times New Viking “Teenage Lust!”
I love how Pitchfork is the arbiter of what is superficial and what is the exact same thing but not superficial. Like the Dinosaur Jr./Broken Social Scene homage above that is not an homage, this affected lo-fi, totally fine indie nugget is instead a capitalization “on the urgency and slapdash charm of the medium.” Thank YOU, Matt Le-Meh, did you write your Meh-sters thesis on this album?
Pitchfork loves this kind of shit. It’s like a demo for The Exploding Hearts, who I would trash far less kindly if they weren’t all dead now. I guess it could also be what happened to The Unicorns after their master tape entered a super-colliding super-conductor noisificamathigamajiggie. Ugh. Utterly unlistenable.
95: Groove Armada [ft. Mutya Buena] “Song 4 Mutya (Out of Control)”
There is nothing wrong with this song, save for its presence on this list, and its plasticky super cheapness. The only thing I can tell you from its affected karaoke-video-level video is that Groove Armada fans, or fake fans maybe sometimes dress up as the Gina Gershon-looking ultrahottie from the “I See You Baby” video. I’ll admit that the inner supertrashqueen in all of us would love to “don’t panic panic Matya” but then we realize the club playing this doesn’t exist because no one would go there. Oh jesus, I wrote all of that crap without this????? SONG 4 MEH-TYA. I should get a meh-dal if I make it to 87!
This song totally rocked Pitchfork’s top 100 smashes of 1987. I think what says it most are the 16 year olds that claim that this song is their jam. Oh, she totally can’t sing either. Get a meh-tronome, baby, because your rhythms needs supple-meh-nting.
94: MGMT “Time to Pretend”
Oh look, you got your Placebo in my Ladytron. Lyrically horrible, but kind of a high school make out song for warm hearted electros. I kind of like it, until I get dumped after 5th period. I hate you all. Fine.
I just think it’s atrocious that Freddy Mercury’s estate didn’t make any money off of this song. Or at least get the chance to decline it. There are some of the worst sounds I have ever heard in this song. The song is kind of slow and dopey as well. You totally couldn’t dance to this either. You’d have to stand on the dance floor and kind of sway just a little, all the while counting down the seconds until the song ends. It can’t come soon enough. Blech.
93: Antibalas “Beaten Metal”
Marching band prog? Sounds kind of like Meh-gwai with horns. I’m interested in UC’s take, but I’d also like to know if he noticed that Grayson Currin might be this year’s Philip Sherburne. A little tasty taste: “””Beaten Metal” is marked by conflict, as when opposing horn sections sound off in stereo or when each new lead instrument (guitar, clavinet, organ, beaten-metal percussion) elbows the other out of the mix. With quick splashes of colorful sound and some slowly building drama, “Beaten Metal” sounds brazen, rhythmic, and powerful– like Edgard Varese coming of age after hip-hop.”” Kind of interesting. I wish I didn’t reflexively hate meh-verything this cobag reco-meh-nded (like how I overdid that? My review is marked by conflict!).
There’s a part of me that actually likes this track, but it’s the part of me that none of you should like. It’s the part that listens to Arnold Schoenberg thinking about how I wish that he composed more 12-tone compositions. It’s the part that enjoys playing my Yamaha Clavinova with my elbows on the organ setting and pretending it is arty. It’s the part of me that thinks Webern was onto something when he decided that each note of a serial line should be played by a different instrument, and in a super harsh range. If you don’t relate to such interests in avant-garde music, you should really not like this track. The rhythms are abrupt and nothing falls quite on the beat. This appeals to me, but only because I’m a snob. So apparently is Grayson Currin.
92: Air “Mer du Japon (Kris Menace Remix)”
If they played this kind of house music at say the dentist’s office instead of say morning DJs talking, it would be viewed as a more than marginal improvement. They almost fooled me at the fake climax in the middle (clue: they didn’t). I’m not convinced making any song sound more like some generic house song is anything to write home about, KRIS MEH-NACE. Oh fuck, what is wrong with me- I missed that the first time around (and sadly, the track is actually OK).
I don’t really know from house music. I don’t know what makes something house. But I do know that this is house music. It is the essence of house in the same way that chocolate is the essence of the brownie. Exactly like that. Did any of you guys have this old program for the Macintosh that let you make little sound effects that mimicked, for example, record scratches or that electronic crash sound? There were only like four total sound effects, yet still I feel like I could have remixed what was probably a great Air song using that 1988 software, and it would sound exactly like this. Except for the beginning with the wave crashing, which I guess is the homage to La Mer (du Japan), the rest of this plays more like La Meh-r. (and sadly, the track is actually OK). (Wait, how did that happen?).
91: Menomena “The Pelican”
A spazmo gurgitation of an indie rock emo secretly playing Brian Wilson. I don’t love it, but it is interesting. Even though it is very straighforward, I think it has some secret wank in there. Good, I think.
This is exactly the kind of thing that Pitchfork loves to death. They will give the CD version of this track an 8.6. It won’t deserve it. The band will have some member that played with someone from Arcade Fire collaborating with someone from Wolf Parade, who was dating the drummer from Frog Eyes. In the end, it’s better than forgettable, with moments of actually good ideas. But somehow it sounds whiny and pompous in a way that lets you know that it was written specifically for a mopey 23-year-old.
90: Miranda Lambert “Gunpowder & Lead”
Meh-randa Lambert. This slick country processed trash is the country version of “Complicated.” Have fun singing along and hating yourself. Welcome to Applebee’s, meh I take your order?
There’s nothing empowering like blowing the brains off some dude with a shotgun. That’s what real justice involves. This song demeans Miranda Lambert, it demeans the creepy 64-year old record producer that wrote it for her, and it demeans Pitchfork thinking that it belongs anywhere near this list. That little bit of Lynyrd Skynyrd at the end was the perfect icing on the cake. After listening to this ditty, I’m kind of hoping for some gunpowder and lead of my own.
89: Air France “Beach Party”
“Hey, what’s your name? Mine’s Marc. With a “c”. I write for Pitchfork. Wait, where are you going? I haven’t used Balearic in a sentence yet! Alone again. Sigh.” Oh, the track, a mellowed out club cut sounding like I already forgot.
Life’s a Beach. And then you die. And then you go to hell. And then you listen to Beach Party. While in hell, all music sounds like Air France. Meanwhile on earth, on an actual beach, people listen to music that doesn’t totally suck. Lucky them.
88: The New Pornographers “Myriad Harbour”
A quite fine Dan Bejar song from Canadian+Neko Case supergroup and 3B faves, NPs. I like “Spirit of Giving” from the same album better, and I expect this was laziness from le Pitch.
Finally a song that I love. It probably isn’t the best song on this very good a Pitchforkly maligned CD, but I’m willing to bet that statistically, this is almost everybody’s 2nd favourite track. It’s great from the get-go and keeps getting better. The fact that this is probably the 2nd worse NP song that Bejar has written is just a slap in the face of every single detractor of his.
87: Sophie Ellis-Bextor “Me and My Imagination”
Harmless disco pap. Two things: she should not be wearing an odd green burlap sack in the video, and the mutlitracking on the “me and my imagination” part makes you wish for one second that the song were a lot better, because there is some feeling that it could have been Goldfrappian in its guilty pleasure. Disposable pop (or country or disco) that no one in America listens to should not automatically receive ironic hipster cred.
Dammit dammit dammit. I love this song. I love the way that “baby” sounds with her accent. I love the synthy strings and all the production. I am sooooo ashamed. I even love that green dress that makes her legs look like delicate stilts. I love the stylized neon outlines. I’m sure Pinko can explain this, but I can’t. I love love love love love this song. This is horrible. [PP adds: it is like the Annie effect!]
86: Rekid “Next Stop Chicago”
Fine mid mix techno track that is described: “Its emphasis on tension, though, is pure Radio Slave. Focusing on hissing hi-hats and ragged guitars, Edwards effects a moon-stomping glide that’s rare for house music; even his vocal samples– soulful and tortured refrains which begin “I feel like” and quickly spin into a guttural blur– seem to point away from the body and toward a realm untethered by gravity.” Philip Sherburne, we meet again! Let me define “tension” for you. You, me, and UC in a room together, not pure, 100% unadulterated Colombian Radio Slave.
This song has so many false starts that I actually thought for a second that Mr. Rekid had something very important to say, or at least articulate musically. It turns out that “Well ……” is the most profound thing in this song. Why so much house, Pitchfork? The song gives us the correct answer: “I don’t know why”. Indeed.
85: BARR “The Song Is the Single”
King Missile crossed with Pavement. They’re making fun of you, Adam Moerder. Skip.
“The song is the single and the single sucks”. Yes, exactly. Bad. Wait, this song perfectly rips itself. Pinko and I are totally dispensible for rating this song. Why with each new listen to this song, it trashes itself in a different and subtle way. This song sucks so many different ways, it deserves credit for sounding bad so diversely.
84: 50 Cent “I Get Money”
Trust me, the rumored 3B Jonah Goldberg diss-rap allows irony to live the high life compared to this, wherein Curtis Fiddy pops irony in the head with his gigantic penis gatt, and f***s the brainhole. In the age of the producer, as long as the beats are there, MC Smokeydog Butt Squirt could cover a track with more deserved bravado. Why didn’t P-fork put this at number 1?
The only thing that can make this track more suitable for the Pitchfork list would be a house remix. Seriously, this song is unlistenable. Not in the way that it’s not my cup of tea, but in the way that my house plants are dying before my eyes.
83: Sonic Youth “I’m Not There”
I had to dig this up on Hype Machine because P-fork didn’t link a stream. Sounds exactly like Sonic Youth implying a Dylanesque aura. Very restrained. It is good, but I think would benefit from a video of some sort- it seems like it needs a cinematic accompaniment to escape a certain restraint. What they couldn’t find some more disco list filler? I’M SO DISILLUSIONED!
This is the exact right voice for the song. The super reverby guitar is just right as well. Yet, the lyrical sense of the song is totally lacking. It would be like ELO doing a cover of Für Elise. Everything they have to offer is moot because the tune is just meh.
82: Tinariwen “Matadjem Yinmixan”
A well produced world musicy thingy. Actually sounds like it could be in Battlestar Galactica or Sideways something. I can’t explain that, except it seems like some nice, tasetful insta-exotic. It is a good tune, but sounds maybe too tasteful. You’d hear it on your local “world’s best rock” station.
While sipping my chai vanilla tea and eating my lovely spice cookie, I thought that Starbucks picked a particularly apt track. Except I’M AT FRICKING LEMONY AND NOT STARBUCKS AND I DON’T WANT MY MUSIC TO SOUND LIKE SOME LAME-ASS GENERIC WHY CAN’T WE ALL GET ALONG PIECE OF SH*T WORLD MUSIC SUCKARAMA. Oh my god, the title translates to “Why can’t we all get along”. You’ve got to be kidding me.
81: Modest Mouse “Dashboard”
Highly underrated, great radio song. It is a song I might never buy, but revel in turning up, wishing it would come on more often.
Even though I really liked Modest Mouse so much more before they had a radio-friendly sound, I have to say that from the first listen to this track, it was obviously a top-100 single of 2007. Really no question about it. I think I’ve heard this about 200 times, and I don’t think it has worn its welcome one bit. Wow, I totally just paraphrased Pinko while using at least three times as many words.