Before we start, check out P-fork’s Tom Ewing taking a gigantic shit on everyone’s head at his blog, RE: the eventual number 1 track:
I think the middle-agedness of “All My Friends” and “Someone Great” is SORT OF THE POINT Lex! If the average age of P4K staff was 25 rather than 30 (I’m guessing) a different track would have hit #1 I think.
Hmm, that’s actually a good point, Tom, I mean LCD Soundsystem has been around so long (since 2002) that James Murphy is carved into dance punk Mount Rushmore with !!!, Cookie Jesus, Rasputin, and Shaun Ryder, and his favorite Doctor Who is the third one. More appropriate Number 1s include: a bunch of obscure, disposable British pop and R/B that I’m not even gonna bother to make up by X-Factor quarter-finalists. Just to keep you in the know, this lifelong nemesis of old and jealous hatas, Tom Ewing, is the cobag that wrote up “Song 4 Matya” (90-something on the list, a song we even admit to almost liking).
I mean I have to give props here (props=old man speak for respeck), it is true that Miley Cyrus was squeezed out of a lofty position by 50 Springsteen Tracks and a distressingly sad set between 67-62 of Lou Reed, Bonnie Raitt, an unironic Ton Jones rogering, Cliff Richard and Petula Clark. Yes, I think the Top 100 should be all Yelp! style reviews from overcaffeinated, overstimulated 19 year olds. I AM A STABBING ROBOT.
Thiss Song Eyahh Fukkin Ace Best Tune Eva :D: xxxx. OMG she so cutey in the vid wen i get hungry for some awesme music fud yum yum rianna in my ears!!!!!!!!!!!!
PP adds: I’m so old I’ll just say ditto to the above review but you won’t believe me because I’m so old.
9. T2- Heartbroken
SIK TUNEEE. This is my fav song! Very good memory to this song ;] X
PP adds: I’m so old the highlight of my week is when I go poopies! I must be missing how amazing this song is because I have a bat living in my eardrum.
8. Bubble Tea-TAPIOCA GRLS!
I like stickers of cute freaky lil animals. and Bubble tea. I don’t like to drink it. I don’t even like to order it. I like to see it and know it’s there. And I like to say BUBBLE TEA. as long as I’m saying bubble tea I’m not swearing like a sailor. This store is my charm school.
PP adds: I’m so old the above review makes no sense to me and it is not clear whether this song even exists. I won’t be able to fall asleep tonight (sic- 2nite -ed.) because I’m so worried that the song might really be real, and thus a trick so kids with no jobs and extreme amounts of free time with which to create their own exclusive culture will laugh at me because I am so old and fucking stupid.
7. Vung Tau Vietnamese Cuisine
One of the waiters here was a bit clueless and seemed a little loopy but was nice nonetheless. That and, remind me not to drink strong coffee at dinner!? I was up for the longest time. Damn!!!!!!
PP adds:This cuisine is the bomb diggity off the hookity! I’m so old, I just said that!
6 Miley Cyrus-Hannah Montana II
Sorry gal, this girl’s going to be around for a LONNNNGGGGG time. She’s got talent and has everything working for her: good backing by Disney, great parents, music and entertainment contacts and simply put her TALENT. For such a young kid, she’s amazingly balanced.
PP adds:I’m so old I should be killed and eaten.
I will give Tom Ewing some credit- when he’s not curating the NME ringtone chart for unfortunate 10 and 11 year olds, he’s reviewing every UK #1 of all time.
Some thoughts on the list. I’d like to give the ‘fork a little bit of a break, because I honestly realize they are in a hard place. While they should just release their list as a bunch of lists that say “Top 100 Hip Hop tracks around our office so we don’t get criticized as dilettantes for even daring to put out a hip hop list”, and the same for dance and pop. Then they can put out an indie-ish list that kind of digs around and really considers a lot of the great tracks. The problem with diversity is they are gonna get it in every single orifice because there are just too many tracks in all these genres and it is very difficult to consider them in a big pile. We all know these year end lists are silly, but it is a great time to look back and hear some new things, reconsidering initial takes and pubbing some considered criticism, so why not have “Year in Hip Hop” “Year in Dance” “Year in Indies” etc., no rankings just a recap. PFM also had a year end readers poll for the first time that they of course f*** up. They have everyone just list their top 5 albums. Why not just have people rate the albums on their list plus some write-ins?
Anyway, we made it, Happy Holidays and New Year, everyone-
20: Radiohead “All I Need”
I can’t think of the last time Thom Yorke distilled his voice into such a clean and disaffected place. He’s on a slow, relaxed, assured burn. I’m glad P-fork didn’t pick whatever song is being played on the radio now from In Rainbows. I’m only a little sad “Four Minute Warning” (from the B-side disc) wasn’t included on the list as well. Terrific.
This song is a gradient of Radiohead. It starts at a low concentration, say 50mM, with overtones of that sound they perfected in Kid A, and as the song goes on, the Radiohead concentration increases. Once the chorus (OK, a kind of chorus) starts, it is at the 250mM Radiohead concentration. But the gradient increases until we are left with full 1M Radiohead at the epic conclusion. This song is amazing and highly awesome-soluble.
19: The Field “A Paw in My Face”
Fuck, I just read the review first, both Pitchfork and UC’s. Thus during the opening bars I am assaulted with “very long” and “ruined surprise.” I will say that the guitar doesn’t sound like it is anything but something Ritchie-esque. The sad part was that I am just trying to think of a way I can listen to all of this song while starting to listen to #18 at the same time. I’m not sure how that would work. This deos seem super boring but somehow I’m starting to do those little twitches that lead to full on nerd dancing, so I guess it is OK.
Herein is a fine example of why top 100 tracks exist at all. If songs were selected based on merit and artistry, rather than glitz and catch, an open-minded listener could be exposed to some of the best music in genres they are not usually interested in. For example, this incredibly long IDM song would never be something I would approach, yet here we are. And amazingly enough, I don’t hate it. There are interested ideas, even if brutally minimalistic, like in a Steve Reich kind of way. Just whatever you do, don’t read the pitchfork review first, which totally 100% ruins the awesome surprise ending. You are a total cobag, Brian Howe.
18: Chromatics “In the City”
This band is cool and I think they know they are. This band is Dentyne Ice. Thank God Interpol didn’t get this slot. I mean that, because this song is actually good.
OK, Pitchfork listmakers. Was it really necessary to put this track right after The Field. Do you think my tolerance for drony minimalism has no bounds? Can I really fairly evaluate this track after like 2000000 minutes of The Field? It’s not at all fair, because I actually find this track just as interesting, although maybe for different reasons. Even so, I don’t think it is quite as good. Maybe the synth pizzicatos just get to me. Meh + 0.5
17: Burial “Archangel”
Maybe if everyone in the world weren’t pitchshifting/vocodering up my ass I’d definitely consider this kind of muffled underground “dubstep” more interesting than I do. I’m currently having an allergic reaction to almost anything that sounds like this.
This sounds familiar. I think for some reason, I just heard this, and I can’t imagine for the life of my why. The ideas are interesting, but it is kind of annoying. Like some weird gothy house mix designed for people that like their music creepy [PP adds: not house-y or Gothy, but the point stands]. Given how much Pitchfork ejaculated for The Knife, I can see why this would appeal to them. I’ll pass.
16: Feist “1,2,3,4″
Even if overplayed, this single deserved to claw its way up the charts without an iPod commersh, but MTV doesn’t really exist anymore and You Tube doesn’t quite have that power yet, so more power to Feist. Most distressing is the fact that “My Moon, My Man”, both song and video, are equally as good as this exuberant track, and importantly, nothing like a double dip into the same material either. “MM,MM” absolutely should have been on this list, considering the a) horrible b) misogynist c) artists represented multiple times d) mediocre tracks from great artists that litter this trainwreck.
I absolutely think Leslie Feist has a unique voice and there is plenty of room for her out there in adult contemporary land. Tonnes of Oprah and The View watchers need to be appeased, and I congratulate Feist for finding her target. Now what about testosterogenic indie snobs? Amazingly enough, there is some appeal as well. But it’s not in the lyrics or the singing, but in the stuff going on in the background: the honkeytonk piano, the blaring Beulah-esque trumpts, the hand claps, and the banjo. Dear god, the banjo. Yeah, I hate to admit it, but this song appeals to me. Maybe I would like it more if it were about Guitar Hero or baseball, but this is damn fine.
15: Jens Lekman “A Postcard to Nina”
More than passable Swe-twee. That’s a 3B! trademark, chundermuffins.
Beautifully produced music will always find a place in my nascent heart chambers. This is kind of like the guy version of the above song. It’s funnier and less sucky. Actually very funny. I like songs that tell stories and actually have dialogue, and this is very well done. The only thing it’s missing is a killer hook, which would have elevated it to the upper 50 of the year. Still, not a bad pick and a fun song. I just bought this CD, which was on supersale at Newbury Comics, so I hope the rest of the songs are as good or better. I love how Jens pronounces his last name!!! [PP adds- just admit that you love it because it is the Swedish Belle and Sebastian]
14: Caribou “Melody Day”
Ultra retro yet newish sounding. Not so perfectly retro as to sound overly affected. I likey. He sounds Elliot Smith-ish a lot here. I think there are better songs on the album, but a very nice listen. If “Golden Skans” were a unit of measurement, this song would be 1 billion of those.
These guys will always be Manitoba to me. In fact, they are so Manitoba, they are practically Winnipeg. I love this track. It starts off with the a full-on attack and doesn’t let up at all. The relentless beat, the hushed singing, and the Grandaddyesque flute line all make this listen absolutely thrilling. Something in the melody reminds me a little of Doves. I wish they made music that sounded like this. Double bonus points for coming to a full-stop and then going on. There is a really cool proggy thing going on as well that I can’t put my finger on. Imagine Jethro Tull on speed or something like that. Anyway, super awesome.
13: Of Montreal “The Past Is a Grotesque Animal”
I was all prepared to admit that Of Montreal had turned from a UC band into a PP band. I still don’t like his voice, but I must admit this song has charms of being almost super awesome. Instead it’s just plain old everyday awesome. So mundanely awesome that it can be on the same list as the pathetic “Pussy’ole”? No, not that awesome, more so.
I still can’t believe that this is the Of Montreal of my precious Coquelicot and Gay Parade. The Of Montreal that was so twee, 5-year olds thought they were syrupy. The evolution appears complete with Hissing Fauna. Except for the unmistakable and indelible voice of Kevin Barnes, I can’t accept this song as Of Montreal. So let’s see what it actually is now. Well, it’s better than The Field and Chromatics. The humour is still there in the music, but it’s much darker. Very emotional. It has some Interpol feel at times, but is still unique. I see why people rave about this CD, even if it isn’t tailor-made for me any more. Good.
12: Spoon “You Got Yr. Cherry Bomb”
Spoon is very difficult to write superlatives about, because it is all about subtlety and tiny things. The undiscerning listener will just not discern, unsurprisingly, what you are trying to convey. I won’t try. Great.
No-brainer awesome track. This is the perfect progression from the tracks of Gimme Fiction. Unyieldingly tight and compact. Spoon flies on the power of their eight notes – relentless and omnipresent. They are a music treadmill that cannot be stopped until sheer exhaustion is reached.
11: Grinderman “No Pussy Blues”
Very very dark. A little scary. You want the rawness in his voice not to equal sexual assault (oh woops, there is a little bit right there) and in a way, it is “Nice Guy Blues”- so as a character study, it’s pretty damn accurate. Perfect for what it is. Basically, a blue-balled Jim Morrisson fronting Crazy Horse, at the end.
Noisy and intense. Not horrible, but yet not rising above the meh-line. [PP adds: I think UC means this song should have been called "Don't Cry for Meh, Argentina" or it should have been on the soundtrack for Christopher Nolan's Meh-meh-nto, etc. There are a lot more in the bag, but songs were either good or terrible this year, leaving no room at the inn for the Meh-ssiah]
10: Jay-Z [ft. Beanie Sigel] “Ignorant Shit”
Some interesting verses here, but the laziness of scooping the Isley Bros’ off Big Poppa, a sample and song (“Between the Sheets” I just don’t dig to begin with. -500 places.
Turns out that I do like Jay Z after all. I’ll be seeking a support group shortly. Maybe there is a 12-step program for me. Lots of naughty words make this 100% work unfriendly, and probably 100% XX unfriendly, but the electric piano chords and intricate wordplay are unflappable. Fairly awesome.
[Tom Ewing adds "Leaked very close to polling time and I think its freshness - plus a general sense of relief that Jay-Z was making good music - accounts for the high placing. Certainly not bad."
PP responds: The relief was truly palpable on this issue, as the tension of unnumbered sleepless nights between Jigga's releasing of 'fork approved flow equaled or surpassed those of Chuckles up to losing his virginity, the world awaiting the outcome of the Cuban Missile Crisis and myself waiting to open a bag of Oreos in the checkout line.
9: Animal Collective "Fireworks"
I like the bone song a lot more than this. This is the Golden Skans version of AC, and I love AC. UC is trying to make me lose my shit. Actually, if I didn't dislike the first two minutes or so, I might tell you the last 4 minutes are more interesting and listenable. Given the much more listenable Panda Bear album and a possible step backwards from Feels, I think it was harder to feel excited for Strawberry Jam, the album whence this song came. Plus they didn't have it on eMusic.
Could this be any more different than the last Animal Collective song? It sounds like somebody else. Crap, it just hit me. The vocals sound like Okkervil River. Uncanny. This sounds like a track from Sung Tongs with its odd animal yelps and abrupt percussion. This song is absolutely and wholly overwhelming. I think there are 18.5 music ideas, that combine in 40,215 ways to create 38,234,121 textures and fabrics. Possibly if you were on illegal narcotics, you could parse everything, and the music would smell like popcorn. Otherwise, all you know is that there is something explosive and special and challenging.
8: Justice "D.A.N.C.E"
Sucky until the bass drops on your booty. Then pretty booty good. Fab. I can either take this or leave it, and won't involve myself in the Justice sux/rox wars.
OMG, it's like ELO doing super trendy dance music!!!! Until the blood in my circulatory system fully congeals and disintegrates, I am going to be forced to groove to this music TOTALLY AGAINST MY WILL. Damn you, Justice. Once again you demean us both.
7: LCD Soundsystem "Someone Great"
Really good, minimalist without feeling too empty. I wonder how many forkers exposed their naughty parts to the elements to this song during or after the office holiday party. I wouldn't blame them.
That's all there is to it? At first I was wholly unimpressed. I've heard more music fire alarms. But then the vocals started, and I was thinking that this is fine. I expected it to evolve into a complex canon of multiple layers with growing intensity of complexity. But that didn't happen. It just kind of was. The instrumentals didn't get more interesting. The song just kept coming and kept coming and kept coming. It had one idea. One. Not even A-B-A-B-A. It was like A-A-A-A-A. Better than meh, but not better than top 100.
6: UGK [ft. Outkast] “Int’l Players Anthem (I Choose You)”
When did I turn into a whatever, because as good as someone’s flow is, and UGK’s is just meh, I can’t even abide the fag/bitch/ho/fairy blah blah. So tired and boring. Oh, but Outkast is on there. Holla, Atliens! I remain coldly unmoved.
[Insert faint praise here]
5: Rihanna: “Umbrella”
The song has a certain undeniable hittitude. Something makes me feel like the autotune is there to give it a touch of Nelly Furtado-ish sound, like Timbaland’s magic touch last year. This million selling prefab slickness is what makes me hold back with this one, as opposed to my unflinching love for her stomping “S.O.S.” from 2006. She doesn’t need the 3B endorsment, she’s like Tyra Banks+Beyonce x 7, so it seems like she doesn’t really need our, or Pitchfork’s vote. I find the video to be almost the nadir of “hello penises, I am an ultrahot focus group optimised love bot” and it makes me feel a little bit weird.
20.7 million views for that video is impressive. This was clearly a monster hit of the kind of ubiquity, where even I had seen this on TV. Now if we were doing a top 50 pop countdown of the year, as sponsored by Jeffery Mike Joe FM, I have no qualms with this being the top song. It’s not quite as good as comparable top 50 songs of previous years, thinking of Beyonce’s Crazy in Love here, but whatever. It’s perfectly fine. What makes me mad, though, is that this is Pitchfu*kingfork’s list. They have a slightly deeper playlist than Jimmy Jack John FM, and there is no reason why this song should be in the top 100. It’s just simply not that great. Pleasant. Yes? Nice to look at? Uh huh. Catchy? Sure enough. But this is the equivalent of giving a Hershey bar the top chocolate of the year.
4: M.I.A. [ft. Bun B and Rich Boy] “Paper Planes (Remix)”
Holy fuck. This song is a revelation. I never completely went for Arular- I thought it was too monochromatic sounding. This is the number 1 song of the year for me, having just heard it twice. It is like Sri Lankan dancehall Banarama Strawberry Fields+Indescribable agony and joy. The remix is great, but the original is great and it’s all M.I.A. no need for any guests, even though they slot in perfectly. I am totally blown away. [Five times in a row now, still awesome. Unshakeable. Bowie "Heroes" epic]
I don’t love M.I.A., but I can accept this on the list. It doesn’t suck and I’m sure everyone else in the world thinks it is super awesome. For once I will defer to them.
3: Panda Bear “Bros”
I imagine the chump star chamber of Schreiber’s inner circle trading votes like figure skating judges, giving Panda Bear album of the year, but dropping Bros to give favors to the LCD Soundsystem bloc, allowing Battles to sneak in between the two. I love this song unabashedly and I still think M.I.A. should have been number 1. Also, everything that UC says goes. I put the transition at about 6:27, save I like the first half better.
As far as Indie music goes, I think this is a huge megahit. This is pretty much as lyrical and poppy as an Animal Collective offshoot can get, and way way way more accessible than anything in Young Prayer. It really transcends the usual pop boundaries. Bros is a long track and it is important to listen to the whole thing. Because about 60% of the way through the song, something magical and unexpected happens. Initially, you are lulled into a sense of peace and warmth, but soon chaos enters. It is unsettling and urgent, but does not last long. The song changes direction rhythmically into an interesting variation that is similar and fresh-sounding at the same time. This whole track is epic. Oh, I actually liked the description by Tim Finney. It was apt, apt I say. This is one of my top 5 tracks of the year.
2: Battles “Atlas”
I realize this is like Tool for dancing nerd hipsters. I’d call it “Intelligent Jam Band” instead of Math Rock. However, this does not stop it from being massive. I hate myself for loving you, Battles. This is one of the first songs I’ve heard in awhile that I could imagine an American Festival crowd actually being won over by and causing the Euro-style 100,000 person bounce dance.
Battles shmattles. If this is the “forward” direction of music, as implicated by Messr. Mark Richardson, then please cancel my reservation for the future express. No thanks. Tedious.
1: LCD Soundsystem “All My Friends”
Before I get into this track, I need to comment that this can’t be number one already, because I don’t remember reading about St. Vincent’s “My Lips Are Red” or Stars “Bitches in Tokyo”, that being said, I can see why the Fork went for this, it kind of has this creeping epic-ness to it, even though it is just a New Order track (Temptation/Ceremony with a little Love Vigilantes) crossed with a sedated Okkervil River or something. By “just” I mean a distillation of the great elements of a basic New Order meditative ramble, with some Stephen Morris drum action sprinkled in there to let us know, if we weren’t picking up on it already, coupled with some tightly reined/throttled Killers/Bravery electronic emo. Awesome song, but I am kind of blown away at a list so audacious in its embrace of crap as an artistic statement would pick something so conservative or as emotionally transparent as this. I think this is a great tune, every generation needs their Temptation.
Not bad. It’s a little repetitive and got a little boring for me. See comment above for Someone Great. This is typical Pitchfork cobaggery. It’s an utterly predictable and relentlessly disappointing choice. This song is so peak of the bell curve, it doesn’t have a standard deviation. Bros should have been their #1 track.