Someone is playing out the string here, but we have got to soldier on. We worry about All Music Guide getting bluish in the naughty bits keeping its powder dry
We’ll make number 1 when this years comes out, so it will be a seamless transition.
40. Bear in Heaven “Lovesick Teenagers”
PP says: I’m told that the sound on this track is intoxicating. I think the sound on this track plus a couple of Long Islands might be intoxicating, but then we have two variables. So on one hand, a mixture of four alcohols, sour mix and cola, on the other vaguely neutered and unaffecting nerd pop ticketed for the most boring and least listened to mix cd ever, save one you give you ex a few minutes before you get dumped. One of these is intoxicating.
UC adds: Teenagers are so melodramatic. I saw one pathetic goth kid yesterday absolutely freezing his ass off in 20 degree weather wearing all that spiky leather that just doesn’t insulate you well enough. I felt it sucks being so young and stupid and thinking that all this sh*t matters. Similarly, I feel sorry for Bear in Heaven, who think they have concocted a meaningful song about love and passion and impudence and all that crap. They probably think their song was really moving. Yeah, like moving me to click the skip button.
39. Lady Gaga “Bad Romance”
PP says:Let’s face it, Gags is a presence as divisive as gangster rap upon the fabric of the indie landscape. Yes, a landscape made of fabric being partitioned by a crazy godzilla of mid-level camp and completely committed electro pop. “Bad Romance” falls under the Def Leppard school of pile up the hooks and let God sort ’em out.
I. Generically huge Euro disco intro.
II. Nonsensical and awesome GAGA gaga.
III. Drunken wine soaked cabaret rock bottom dominatrix
IV. Talky interlude
V. Giant pop chorus where “revenge” is introduced as a desirable trait
VI. Nonsensical and awesome GAGA gaga COMBINED with Drunken wine soaked cabaret rock bottom dominatrix MID SONG INNOVATION!
VII. Drunken wine soaked cabaret rock bottom dominatrix
VIII. One stumbling spot- “stick” is used for the second time this year in Gaga song.
IX. Talky part
X. Drunken wine soaked cabaret rock bottom dominatrix and FRENCH- MORE INNOVATION
XI. Drunken wine soaked cabaret rock bottom fused to giant pop chorus. IMPOSSIBLE!!!!!!
XII Insane robot GAGA gaga.
This is not biodegradable. When the aliens receive this transmission they will send a ship to annihilate us, but when it gets here, there’ll be nothing left but this song. GAGA4EVA!
UC adds: This song feels more corporate than the other Gaga hit singles. More contrived and formulaic. Yet it has the same delight one gets from eating a perfect corn-derived manufactured food product with tonnes of fat and sugar. It is like eating a Twix bar or downing a bag of Cheetos. You can’t help but hate yourself for enjoying it so much. Pinko is totally correct – this song will infiltrate and destroy us all.
38. Dirty Projectors and David Byrne “Knotty Pine”
PP says:Rob Mitchum describes this pairing as possibly dangerous, perhaps because after initial meet and greet lunches, David Byrne likes to seal the deal with swimming, or maybe a 4X100 relay with scissors. Mitchum piling on aside, he makes a reasonable point about the probability of certain collabs being artistically successful in the critical press. This song seems so much its own thing, mere wisps of anything to really dig into that it plays like a committed piece. A piece of what I don’t know because the nature of how it might stand out as excellent is lost on me. Last year’s Byrne track on the list was pretty good.
UC adds: This track is topical – the sound of indie rock in 2009. You might have to yell a little to get heard, not necessarily in any specific harmony, and sound affected and really cool, but this feels about right. I guess it is pretty good, but it is short and sounds like a single idea. It may have made for a good Chapter 1, but without any good character and plot development, it just doesn’t leave much a mark behind.
37. Surfer Blood “Swim”
PP says:Weezer plus The Outfield plus Panda Bear vocal treatment then Vampire Weekend. Then some other stolen bits. Ian Cohen is right to call this “melodic conspicuous consumption” but it’s a good listen, if pretty slight. If I were Surfer Blood, though, I’d drop five to Cohen’s dome for his “F*ck Tim Tebow” intro- they could chalk it up to school spirit.
UC adds: In another time, this song might be considered sounding kind of emo. It has that same trendy feel of yelling really hard to try and hit a note almost in tune, and I think that bothers me. I also think the ’80s riffs are boring. I feel like this track is interchangeable with any other number of songs on this list that evoked just as little positive response in me. It isn’t worthy of derision, but it isn’t worthy of praise either. Like much of this list, it is a Swim to reach the meh.
36. Fever Ray “When I Grow Up”
PP says: If the criteria for this year’s list are generally boredom or a lack of excellence, I’d say this Fever Ray song is where it should be. If it is about me ripping them an increasingly large and impossible bedroom laptop chillwave gargantuan dangerous unofficial summer jam asshole, then it is inferior to the previous Fever Ray track from this year or any of The Knife tracks from earlier years. It is highly likely that this song is paired with an interesting/disturbing video that very much would enhance its stature.
UC adds: Hmm, didn’t know that Tegan and Sara started covering even worse songs than their own. I can’t find anything interesting or notable about this track. All I could do to pass the wretched time it took to listen to this track was to systematically pluck my arm hairs one by one. This song almost made me cut myself.
35. Micachu and the Shapes “Golden Phone”
PP says: Coldish art gallery math pop. Not shit, but the eventual K-tel style comp of the 2009 Pitchfork one hit wonders is not going to fly of the shelves. Once again the only reliably crowd pleasing songs on the list have to come from pop or hip-hop, the rest of us hangers on prolly should just STFU and squeeze our Panda Bear dolls and bow to our contrarian overlords.
UC adds: When I composed music like this on my Yamaha keyboard by randomly hitting different buttons, I never thought that I could have been foretelling a new artistic movement. If young people today are all ADHD and psychologically aberrant, this is their musical calling. It is dada as music. Awful.
34. Atlas Sound [ft. Noah Lennox] “Walkabout”
PP says: I don’t know what it says about how the kids think of the new Atlas Sound that the two collabs are the tracks the made the list. I like everything about this track but I don’t want to have its babies, regardless of the guester from Animal Collective’s Noah Lennox (Panda Bear). A little bit of a letdown.
UC adds: Well this was a major letdown to me in that I don’t think it is any better than the last three tracks. I like the sound, but I don’t feel like it makes a strong statement. The hooks are kind of dilute and there is lots of sounds that seem to exist just to be different sounds. I think this track is probably exactly what they were aiming for, but me no likey.
33. DJ Quik and Kurupt “9x’s Outta 10”
PP says: Hypnotic, unrelentingly inevitable spiral of flow. Happy that the internecine and obscure beefs Kurupt’s wiki page tells me about don’t enter into this, because if it sounds like K’s just yelling at some guy on the street, it’s hard to really get into it, unless it’s 3Bulls beefing with Clipse or Jonah Goldberg. Pretty good.
UC adds: I had to double-check the link I clicked to make sure that I was wasn’t listening to the P-fork list from 1999, but then again some genres never change. I guess the lyrics are probably kinda fun in that you can hear whatever you want to. For example, near the end, I swear that I heard “lox, flox, stop”, which would be a beautiful homage to conditional genetics. Somehow, I’m guessing that it isn’t what he was rapping. Oh well. That never really matters.
32. The Very Best [ft. Ezra Koenig] “Warm Heart of Africa”
PP says: Really enjoyable, and an ante-upper to the Vampire Weekend slammers for “appropriation.” I won’t get into that here. Well put together track.
UC adds: It’s Architecture in ummm.. Niger? I was pretty sure I was going to hate this, but it is playful and once it gets into its groove is pretty catchy. I did an experiment and waited ten minutes after the song was over to see if it is lingering, and sure enough my mental singing voice keeps echoing, “please tell me where to go”. So well done, TVB, you have created a mutant ear worm!!!
31. Lily Allen “The Fear”
PP says: Lyrics and slick electronic production are there, doesn’t really dominate with its melodic choices, and Lily Allen really killed with her super old school ska and related samples on her debut album but opting here for a more generic and modern sound. The song is better than you think it is but not as good as it should be. I’m just glad Tom Ewing didn’t go cube to cube in the Fork offices pushing Song4Matya2DaSQL this year.
UC adds: The first time I heard this song, I thought it was a complete 10.0 TKO. I think I have revised my enthusiasm for the track somewhat, but it shouldn’t be over-looked; I think it’s catchier than Gaga. The chorus is killer, but I think misses out on an electronic shimmering that could have transcended this further. The subject of the song is kinda low-hanging fruit, which is fine. This is Lily Allen after all, but the lyrics get sloppy. It needs the hand of Aimee Mann to turn mere words into poetry.
30. The Pains of Being Pure at Heart “Young Adult Friction”
PP says: Unabashedly derivative but undeniably ebullient. The Official Summer Jam. That that Major Lazer! Suck it, autotune nation! Sensitive indie jangle pop pulls off credentials coup. Totally phenomenal. In the top 10 for my year, Taylor Swift is stuck in study hall the way these guys/gal dominated the most romantic and angsty college library stacks of our minds eye. And “the Tenure Itch” is even better.
UC adds: Probably the best track on a pretty good CD. I don’t love POBPAH as much as Pinko or Pitchfork, but I know a good track when I hear one. I think if you worship a certain ’80s and ’90s sound, love the Smiths, and idolize the Stone Roses, this is probably one of the best songs you have ever heard. But I would take any Camera Obscura or Belle and Sebastian song over this. Easily worthy of the list, though.
29. jj “Ecstasy”
PP says: A novelty, headphone track. Ultra-smooth production. A little too on the nose lyrically. Could have been more. When I’m in the club, and I hear this dub, and I want to chug, a drink from poison jug, Meh-cstacy.
UC adds: This song was so forgettable, I didn’t realize that I had actually listened to it until I heard the sweet croons of Neko Case. It has left no trace in my psyche, so I think the most positive thing I can say about this track is Mostly Harmless. Unlike ecstasy.
28. Neko Case “This Tornado Loves You”
PP says: Her voice and the sound here is excellent as always and the track flows but some of its noodly musings and active avoidance of a hook make it hard to embrace as easily as her pre-Fox Confessor work, although the last 15 seconds are pretty great. I do prefer “People Got a Lotta Nerve” as the stand out obvious pick from this album that I haven’t really heard.
UC adds: The criticism I can think of about Neko Case tracks is that you don’t necessarily feel compelled to hear new ones, because they offer so little that is different from what you already know and love: that voice, more of that voice, and hearing that voice with other instruments and singing different words. The banjo is pretty rocking’ and the few repetitive moments stand out as holy sh*t moments of raw awesomeness, particularly the title lyrics at the very end.
27. Four Tet “Love Cry”
PP says: Pretty effective because actually builds to what some might consider compellingly danceable all the while the listener can’t really discern anything happening at all. I’m not up on whether there were dozens of other club tracks equally as facile with their sleight of hand, but it seems to be trying harder to impress than really get the floor banging. OK.
UC adds: If I’m on the dance floor listening to this, I’m probably wondering if anything is going to happen and whether the song will ever end. However, I would probably have a couple of drinks in me, maybe some adrenaline, and hopefully interesting company. Listening to this on my cold sterile laptop in the absence of external stimulation, all I can think about is whether this song will end before my life does. 2:00 – I am starting to lose my mind. 3:00 – I have noticed that different pages on my desk have yellowed at a different rate. Is some paper acid free and others not? Are there environmental components not intrinsic to the paper? 4:00 – Do you know that if you try to click your teeth together, there are no more than three upper teeth that can be clicked by any bottom tooth? 5:00 – If you listen to your heart from inside your ears, you only hear whooshing sounds, not beating. 6:00 – Shapes moving. But why are they in black and white? 7:00 – Who is that? What are you trying to get? Why won’t this song stop? 8:00 – Red. 9:00 – I hope that blood isn’t mine. 9:02 – Asystole.
26. Bon Iver “Blood Bank”
If a song like this is good enough to be at 26, wouldn’t the list also be full of M. Ward, Andrew Bird, Clientele and perhaps many other thoughtful, sensitive, creative indie types? No, it would be full of forgettable shit novelty ass. Oh, this song is great.
UC adds: I think this song is mostly about snow, which means that it should become the official anthem of DC. It is obviously dripping with sincerity, or an aspartame-like dipeptide that tastes like sincerity. Either way, I can get used to drinking this song, but maybe it is healthier to just have water. I don’t think this is great, but it’s not bad. Improves towards the end when it acquires distortion and atonality.
25. Cass McCombs “You Saved My Life”
PP says: Immaculately clear and spacious production, this could actually be an Air Supply song if you do it the right way. Surprisingly sincere considering the cynical dreck surrounding it. Would not obviously get you dumped if you used it for mixtape magic, and maybe a few backrubs. Meh plus, or decently executed cheese fondue.
UC adds: This starts off sounding like The Microphones, which made me throw up just a little in my mouth. Putting the song through my mass spectrometer, I can see that compositionally it is only barely different than The Microphones pt. 4.1341. I call shenanigans. David Bevan thinks this song is so clever for avoiding a hook. I say that if you are baking a chocolate dessert and forget cocoa, one deserves only admonishment and not some praise for making an alternate kind of dessert. This song is white chocolate. Beware!!!!!!!
24. Basement Jaxx “Raindrops”
PP says:Typical Basement Jaxx. I love how Chemical Brothers are incredibly dated and any review of any of their last 7 years of output has to snarkily remind us that their oeuvre is a washed up wasteland of tired ideas. BJ can drop perfectionist disco house velveeta until the velveeta cows come home and they’ll be able to run a Pitchfork tab as long as the Earth turns. Not as fun as it should be but exactly what it is. If I criticized it, I’d be asking it to be something that Heaven would not allow.
UC adds: To keep the food analogies flowing, I would like to point out that if you are making a dish from a recipe that consists entirely of disparate but delicious ingredients, it will in fact taste like ass and not like Pad Kee Mao. This song has the consistency of cookie dough, which is kind of tasty, but instead of chocolate chips, there are strips of pastrami, smoked gouda, mushrooms, and roasted garlic. Not such a good cookie now, is it?
23. Animal Collective “Brother Sport”
PP says: Matthew Perpetua writes some incredibly emo crap that seems like a novelization of release note talking points. We’ll stipulate that it’s all true, and it would all add to the weight of the song. “Brother Sport” is the most traditionally Animal Collective song on this list, and in that it illustrates the contrarian nature of the entire affair. Animal Collective released an absolutely monster track that is possibly its most broadly accessible- “Summertime Clothes”- a song that is designed to just kill live and be filled with the simplest emotion, and a song that would have been too easy to include here somewhere in the top 25. Perhaps it was too accessible, or perhaps it seemed too cynically targeted to big city bloggers living in un-air-conditioned 3rd to 5th floor walkups, or maybe everyone on the staff got dumped this Spring or Summer and therefore didn’t feel like relating to a populist emotion-on-sleeve ode to wishing you could get soaked on a hot summer night with someone you’re crushing on. Either way, “Brother Sport” is really good, but it is less of s stretch for the band, and kind of an easy way out for Pitchfork.
UC adds: Grumble. Grumble. I didn’t think this was a particularly strong track from an album that I didn’t love, but did enjoy quite a bit in parts. The inclusion of this track is a sad indictment of the P-fork love-fest it has for Animal Collective esoterica. They love this, especially because it wasn’t accessible and enjoyable, but fits the mold of a giant inside joke. Cobaggy.
22. Delorean “Seasun”
PP says: The intro is pretty much John Tesh pulling a Benjamin Button or maybe doing some drugs. I do think if the outro went for another 5 minutes it would be improved. Memorable at least. Fine at 70+.
UC adds: Meh. If you kill the entire intro, it is actually 2 minutes of pretty decent dance music. It would also be improved by 120343274972834X.
21. Raekwon [ft. Ghostface Killah, Inspectah Deck, and Method Man] “House of Flying Daggers”
PP says: Pretty dense flow lacking any sort of Cliff Notes chorus or hook that gives you the scoop or reiterates some sort of condensed punchline. If this was the rap album of the year, I guess this song is OK. It doesn’t really pander and you can’t say these MCs don’t know their way around a mic. Good.
UC adds: Plays like a bad video-game commercial. I don’t care if this is an exceptional outing for a tired genre, it still sucks. Why hasn’t P-fork given us the best alt-polka song of the year on this list as well?