I realize you have become bored out of your tiny crystalline skulls of the end of year music wrap up, however this was prior to Phil Collins melting and eating your chocolate hearts. There were actually a number of good tracks in this bunch, so please be to join us. Follow along here.
60: The White Stripes “Rag and Bone”
It is kind of humorous. Certainly they couldn’t have put “Icky Thump,” an actual ultra monster, on this list, that would be too obvious or pedestrian. Still fun.
I love this song. I should have bought the CD. It has just the right blend of blues, garage rock, and EDWS (essence du white stripes). I actually think this song is more fun and interesting than Icky Thump, which is great, but too commercial. This is the kind of song that made me fall in love with the White Stripes to begin with. I love the talkie funsies.
59: Lil Wayne”Upgrade U”
L-dub’s got a creative as shit flow, and he’s playing mentally deranged Baked Fake Jamaican here, but god forbid P-forky say two little words about the unbelievable misogyny. -500 points. Plus 2 points for Maple Leaf shout out. Hoooooooo Rogers Centre!!!!!!!!
Man, Pitchfork seriously needs a “Not work friendly” tag on their songs, so that when I put this on in the microscope room, all the female postdocs don’t give me death stares. I guess this is considered pretty good, and I don’t want to disrespect the man’s artistry, but I did not enjoy listening to this at all. I did not get my groove on, and really wanted this song to just end. Good rhymes, though.
58: Shellac “The End of Radio”
I bet in the context of an album this track could work as something or other, and of course the “Route 128″ shout out (Modern Lovers! Modern Lovers!) is nice. Kind of reminds me of an old Pere Ubu track. It is good when it finally gets going but you feel it is more the prelude to something than the actual thing, thus suggesting that maybe it isn’t quite right for this list. Live version on Hype Machine. And I think it wears out its welcome. I think if you are gonna play with Verizon’s choady “can you hear me now?” you really have to add “motherfucker” for it to sound appropriately ironic.
I don’t know what I’m listening to. But this is pretty interesting. I think this may be the future of talk radio. Enough with the yammering and jibber jabber. Let’s just throw in some heavy-duty guitar chords and make some new art. This track reminds me of Soul Coughing quite a bit, which makes me think that Pinko is going to like it. Yeah, good.
57: Electrelane “To the East”
Thank you, Cookie Jesus for this cool drink of water. It is not even clear what holds up the song, it is so light an gauzy. I feel it shines a bit more when buried up to its neck in this list.
Electrelane, eh? Who knew. This song is really really good. It’s totally like The Concretes, who I like, so this track is a winner from the get go. The singing is fantastic and very interesting. It has a good slow burn, cutesy harmonizing, everything you could want. I love this song. I think it would probably make my top 20 for the year, maybe better. I think I need this CD. Like badly. Like bake-off bribe badly. Anybody? [PP adds, you probably own it but haven’t listened to it. Oh wait, that’s me!]
56: Aesop Rock “None Shall Pass”
Too complicated of a flow for me to follow. Intelligent Hippity Hop. Fine. I’m being broken down by this list. I feel the life force being quenched in inky blackness of unspeakable mediocrity.
OK, a confession before I get into this song. I can’t help but think of Gandalf shouting, “YOU SHALL NOT PASS!!!!!”, when I hear the title of this song or CD. I think this first impression shapes every part of how I view this song. There is no way this song can’t be related to LOTR. Anyway, shockingly, I got really into this song. The rhythms totally imbedded into my neckular motions, and every part of me had to tap and rap and nod while listening to this. The vocal delivery is flawless – kind of reminds me of Busdriver, who I really only know from that one awesome Islands song. The other samples are good as well. I like this as much as any Avalanche song I’ve heard, and I like those guys too. Wow. See kids, this is why you have to keep listening to new stuff. You just never know.
55: Studio “No Comply”
Swedish cheeswad Herb Tarlecking through a bouncy airport lounge, saving me from KILLING myself ONY because of the tiniest of guitar solos with that one sound I so adore. Seriously you are eating the gun and then you back off because it goes from ultrasuck to kind of catchy. Put this at 100, or in UCs case, 1000 on the list and we are all good. It gets better and better towards the end.
Imagine, if you will, pop music school. You’re a student at your little desk and the teacher is telling you about chords, hooks, choruses, and all that stuff required to make a great pop song. You have little pop school history where you study Elvis and Brian Wilson and Stephin Merritt. Are you with me? OK, now you have your big class assignment which is totally going to be 33.3% of your final mark. You spend a while listening to some of the influential pop writers of the day, and try to parse together your favourite influences. No Comply is the title of your midterm exam, and you really hope that you can get at least 75%, because you want your GPA to stay above 3.0. Sadly, the teacher rips into your song for being trite, sophomoric, and wholly unoriginal. But the teacher gives you some good suggestions, and you go back to the drawing board, hoping to finally make her smile. It won’t happen.
54: Joanna Newsom “Colleen”
I like her more when she is harpity crazy cat screecher, not Yee Olde Pitchforckiane Country Faire, as she is here. I find that I tuned it out, as I am wont to do with her longer pieces, until it waged an insurgency campaign and forced me to declare my allegiance to it.
The very first time I heard the songs of Y’s was during a live performance that Joanna Newsom gave with the Y’s Street Band. This group of musicians were fantastic and helped create some of the most magical music I have ever heard in my life. I was transfixed, and let’s be honest, totally in love. It was therefore somewhat shocking when I opened my Y’s CD, and heard something totally different, with a backing instrumental presence that kind of sounded like the Warners Brother animated short division. Still amazing, but extremely different. Anyway, I was really psyched when I heard that she was coming out with an EP from her touring band. This song is stellar. It sounds like a madrigal from mediaeval times and is very clever and verbose. Joanna’s little yelps on the and of her 4th beats are heavenly. I just listen to this song anticipating them, and giving a little smile each time. This song isn’t quite as good as Emily, but then again, 99.99999999999999999999999% of songs aren’t as good as Emily. This would easily make the 2nd best non Milk-Eyed Mender song. So amazing.
53: Bat for Lashes “What’s a Girl to Do?”
Fanboys love accents. Also the Battlestar Galactica font on the sleeve. Kind of sounds like a cross between Mono (Ethan Hawke and Gwyneth Paltrow in Great Expectations and Enigma, but with better taste in production. Seems like this could be a boner pick, but it’s not terrible. It seems like it could be a lot better.
The narrative in this track is quite good and interesting. I thought I was going to really like this, but then the chorus hit. Didn’t like the chorus. Everything mysterious and interesting ends when the singing starts. I think that’s a bad sign. More speaking, more eerie poetry, less singing. Kay?
52: The Clientele “Bookshop Casanova”
Certainly an acquired taste, but 3B! love the Clientele. I kind of see this song as a song AC Newman would write if he were an impossibly effete and tasteful Englishperson. The women would leap instantly into his convertible and they would cavort through Mod London.
Bookshop Casanova? Really? That’s the track you pick? After you totally diss this incredible CD on your top 50? C’mon Pitchfork, you’re killing me. In fairness, this song is another big departure from the usual Clientele sound, and is fantastic in every respect, but it’s not one of my top 3 picks. It reminds me a little of Belle & Sebastian doing Your Cover’s Blown – totally different from what you expect, and still quintessentially them in every way. Amazing.
51: Kanye West [ft. T-Pain] “Good Life”
What sucks about this track is that the genius of the unstoppable chipmunk hook, I mean literally unstoppable, is not wasted because of the aforementioned unstoppableness, but it certainly has been blown on a lazy ass rap, A Disneyland video prefabbed for a Microsoft commercial and yet another guest shot by the execrable T-Pain. 3B is putting out a million dollar hit and ultra fatwa on T-Pain’s vocoder. We are forced to say the song is awesome, but it should have been awesome^3.
Honestly, I expected more. The title lyric is sung in a really sucky way, which puts me off right off the bat. Instead of being something artistic and risky, it sounds like music you try to bed your honey with. Maybe it’s really ironic in a way that I’m just not getting. Is that it? Because if it’s not, then Kan-meh West should be ashamed.
50: Dude ‘N Nem “Watch My Feet”
I grow a little tired of P-fork’s act. If X percent of the best tracks of the year are hip hop or house, why aren’t X percent of the reviews for those genre? I understand there are tons of singles and mixtapes for each of those and perhaps less albums of note, but it sure makes the Top 100 Trackmos seem like a big suck up of reviewers trying to supercalibrate their cobag frontin. This song’s pretty fun, but if all your reviewers get to pick songs you’ve never upfronted all year, why not have an editorial policy change and start really working in those genres? You don’t want to be considered dilettantes, so don’t dilettante.
Oh. You have got to be kidding me. Really. Is this the secret inside joke where you put in the most terrible track you’ve heard all year long and then amuse yourself when people actually listen? Is this a secret Pitchfork mind f*ck? It’s not funny, Tim Finney. Not funny at all. I could have dusted something in the duration of this song, which would be more fun and more redeeming.
49: Yeasayer “2080”
A great tune, the guitars here are straight out of Chameleons UK’s Strange Times until it gets chantwagon. A fine selection, but I think there were better songs on the album (“Worms” I’m looking at you), so I can still slam Forkburgers for being lazy.
First off, +100 points for use of clarinet. I freaking love the clarinet. Why has it always been relegated to oddball Elephant-6 music? Anyway, this song is one of the more interesting on the list. I don’t think it’s uniformly fantastic, but it offers plenty to listen to, and at least half sticks quite nicely. Think of the 2nd CD that Circulatory System never made, and then imagine track 4. That’s 2080 for you. All round very good stuff. Pitchfork didn’t blow this. Wow.
48: Liars “Plaster Casts of Everything”
Kind of like last years The Knife but abrasive guitary. What I mean by that is repetitive spook rock. Meh plus.
Ugh. Umm, yeah. Pass.
47: T2 “Heartbroken”
I didn’t realize Cassie’s marginally more talented English counterpart covered Daniel Bedingfield’s “Gotta Get Thru This.” This track is as equally cutting edge as that. Also that was a boundary compared to this leg before wicket.
When I first listened to this song, the lyrics sounded like “I’m broken … without your love”. I give it really is “Heartbreaken”, because duh, that’s the title of the song. At any rate, the lyric I heard sounded like the perfect way to sum up this track. She’s broken. She doesn’t know what to say. She realizes she means nothing to us. She realizes that we realize she’s our fool. It’s all about perspective ya see.
46: Deerhunter “Wash Off”
I liked Deerhunter’s breakthrough Cryptograms although I never listen to it, except the one track I remember that I love (“Octet”). This is compellingly good, swelling to a a raucous climax that seems organic to actual tension as opposed to crappy fake house music kinds and deserved instead of affected. Too repetitive and focused for fulsome’s taste, I’m downloading the EP as we speak.
OK, let me make sure I have the right Deer band. Deerhoof? Deerhoover? Deerhunter? Deerhunted? The Dears? How do you keep these straight? Doesn’t Pitchfork love every band that begins with deer? This is a Deer band that I actually like. This song is really cool and sophistimacated. It also gets really noisy, but except for annoying my neighbours, it just creates aural energy. I have no reference point for this band. They really don’t sound like anything else I know, and points for that. The incessant repetitive alarm in the song keeps propelling my interest. Super good.
45: The Honeydrips “Fall From a Height”
Sounds like a bassier, Swedish Postal Service. Indie headphones porn.
I guess this is pretty good. Lots of sparkly sound effects, and occasionally interesting sound bites. I’m not entirely sure how all of the different ideas come together lyrically, but the track flows well enough. Interesting but not compelling.
44: Pantha du Prince “Saturn Strobe”
Pantha du Prince (aka Hendrik Weber) assumed the mantle of Dark Lord of Dial with his moody, opalescent album This Bliss, and “Saturn Strobe” is the record’s most serious moment, thanks largely to a melody borrowed from Howard Skempton’s 1990 composition Lento, an Arvo Pärt-like meditation for strings. Weber injects the passage with muscular drums, walking sub-bass, and bells that bristle with uncontrollable overtones, turning lento to allegro without sacrificing a lick of gravitas.-Philip Sherburne, ladies and gentlemen. Denizen of a different world, one where grown adults suck binkies, where cat in the hat hats and take enormous amounts of drugs. Wait, that was Madchester. Scratch that- impossibly fit bodies mainlining viagra and ecstasy on a likely piss-soaked Spanish beach thinking that the above paragraph makes any sense whatsoever.
This song goes through a lot of different phases, some of them more successful than others. I like the part that isn’t house or annoying. The strings motif is beautiful and sweeping. I think if I could remix this song, I could make something really beautiful that Pitchfork would totally totally hate. Then they would review my track and rip on it for being overly meh-taphoric. Take that, me.
43: Deerhoof “The Perfect Me”
Too much going on for me, but tiny facets of Hello Kitty-esque yet goodness reside amongst the insanity. For fulsomes and their ilk.
Ah yes, the other Deer band. Wowee Zowee. This is pretty crazy interesting. I think I like it alot. It’s almost symphonic in a strange way, which I guess makes this music totally wanky, and therefore up my alley. Ah yes, the meter keeps changing. Oh and the crazy organs. Man, this song has everything but the kitchen sink. Wait, is that a faucet? No way!!!! I’m so impressed.
42: Spoon “Black Like Me”
An excellent album that never sounds extraordinary. It’s all about the tiny, inexplicable things. Thus, it is hard for me that Spoon has two positions in the countdown. “Don’t You Evah” is better, too.
This is the part where I get in trouble. You see, I love Spoon. I love Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga. I love every single song that Spoon has written. Oh, except this one. Not sure why, but it doesn’t work for me. It’s almost not minimalist enough. It’s like Spoon trying to be like Deerhunter. Sorry, I mean like Deerhoof. There are lots of ideas going on here musically and kind of symphonic sounding stuff going on like the end of A Day in the Life. Wait, who am I kidding, I love this song!!!!!
41: Los Campesinos! “You! Me! Dancing!”
Pretty harmless fun dancy stuff. I like the mallet percussion throughout. I’m worried, though, that others might think this sounds a little like Architecture in Helsinki, and the analogy will sour the fun for them. Then again, if it’s catchy on the first listen, imagine what would happen if you heard this on endless loop?