I’m no expert here. I’m simply and honestly telling you the songs that I loved this past year - polls, charts, blogs, magazines aside. I avoided adding/removing songs just to reach some practical number, so there are only 24.
Here we go with the very subjective and biased Top 24 Songs of 2009!
24. ‘This God Damn House’ - The Low Anthem
Ok, so yes this is a 2007 song, but this version is from the August HearYa Live Sessions. I watched Ben Knox Miller perform this live at Bonnaroo, and it involved whistling and two cell phones for some funky reverb and overall amazement. Slow, endearing, and heartbreaking.
23. ‘Devout’ - Islands
To some, Islands’ third album Vapours was disappointing, but this song is a sure highlight. Yes there’s a bit more pop than usual, but that’s not such a bad thing after all.
22. ‘Boys Boys Boys’ - Lady Gaga
I had a love hate relationship with this chick for a while, but we’ve finally come around, she and I.
After incessant demands to play this song from my roommate and best friend Kristen, it dawned on me that this song, in all its clichés and questionable claims about boys and girls, is absolutely fantastic. She’s turned out as many hits as Talyor Swift, if not more. But I can’t really stand Swift’s music, so I say, Lady Gaga for the win.
The Lady’s got talent, there is no denying it - drink a little, dance a lot, listen to this song.
21. ‘Wet Hair’ - Japandroids
Newly discovered by a playlist given to me by a good friend. It’s been a while since I’ve come across a good punk band since… I don’t know, Brand New’s Your Favorite Weapon (yeah, I went there). So, so simple but full enough for me. Plus you got those cutesy lyrics that work so well with gang vocals and angular guitars. “Let’s get to France so we can french kiss some French girls!”
20. ‘Daylight’ - Matt & Kim
I met this couple two years ago at ‘Cuse, and I saw why they have so much fun. Couldn’t have be more enthusiastic to play a show with a 20-person crowd. Doesn’t it sound like Matt is smiling when he sings? It’s because he is. Their sound has certainly matured since then their self-titled, and I love this track off of Grand.
[audio:http://jetcomx.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/12/Matt-Kim-Daylight1.mp3 |titles=Daylight |artists=Matt and Kim]
Bonus: Be sure to check out the Troublemaker remix of ‘Daylight’ featuring De La Soul
19. ‘Lust for Life’ - Girls
Need a little light in your life? Give this song a play, and you feel like you’re in a soft glow photo with a Free People model in the summertime… in the 1920s. Did I mention Jay Gatsby’s there, too? Bottom line: this song is euphoric.
18. ‘My Girls’ - Animal Collective
They’ve finally broken into the realm of mainstream. Did all the acid-dropping hipsters die? No! It pleases the masses: AC’s trademark repetition, a handful of appeal, and free flowing transitions that make me want to do drugs. Just kidding. Fun fact: I once compared this song to Marxism in a philosophy paper and got an A.
[audio:http://jetcomx.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/12/Animal-Collective-My-Girls1.mp3 |titles=My Girls |artists=Animal Collective]
17. ‘Stuntin’ Like My Daddy’ - Lil Wayne & Birdman ft. Okkervil River by Team Teamwork
Whew! That’s a mouthful. Team Teamwork’s Good-ass Remixes took the best of hip hop and combined them with the best of indie rock. The result? A whole lotta wonderful.
16. ‘Heartbreaker’ - John Legend feat. MSTRKRFT
Poppy, a little jazzy and a good beat. In other words, it’s catchy as all hell. John Legend’s voice is like butter.
[audio:http://jetcomx.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/12/Mstrkrft-Heartbreaker-feat.-John-Legend1.mp3 |titles=Heartbreaker |artists=John Legend feat. MSTRKRFT]
15. ‘Goji Berries’ - Rubik
These Swedish rockers took my heart when I discovered this song. Talk about great transitions. From beginning to end, I think this song is masterful - demanding and noisy to cotton candy sweet then a little rag time followed by some intense horn work.
14. ‘Temazcal’ - Monsters of Folk
The beast breathes sweetly and sadly with this ballad. My favorite track of the highly anticipated debut album, and it’s nothing short of beautiful in a heavy sort of way.
[audio:http://jetcomx.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/12/Monsters-Of-Folk-Temazcal1.mp3 |titles=Temazcal |artists=Monsters of Folk]
13. ‘Gifted’ - N.A.S.A. feat. Kanye West, Santigold, and Lykke Li
The favorite track of beat bumpers in outer space. Fast paced and sparkling with the fluidity of boom-pow songbird Lykke Li.
[audio:http://jetcomx.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/12/N.A.S.A.-Gifted-feat.-Kanye-West-Santogold-Lykke-Li1.mp3 |titles=Gifted |artists=N.A.S.A. feat. Kanye West Santigold and Lykke Li]
12. ‘Hoochie Coo’ - Black Keys feat. Mos Def and Jim Jones
Can you say, power trio? I’ve been a long time fan of Black Keys, and this collaboration (along with the many collaborations on Blakroc) makes for a great song. Bluesy pulsing with the oh-so-cool vocals of Dan Auerbach and Jim Jones coupled with none other than Mos Def.
[audio:http://jetcomx.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/12/07.-Hoochie-Coo-Mos-Def-Jim-Jones1.mp3 |titles=Ain’t Nothing Like You (Hoochie Coo) |artists=Black Keys feat. Mos Def and Jim Jones]
11. ‘Make Her Say’ - KiD CuDi feat. Kanye West, Common, and Lady Gaga
A little raciness is best justified with cleverness. This song is quiet and slow but gives us all a big boom. It’s a little amazing in that nature. The sample of Lady Gaga is taken from her acoustic version of ‘Poker Face,’ which is one fierce display of her musicianship.
10. ‘Knotty Pine’ - Dirty Projectors feat. David Bryne
Short, sweet, and upbeat. Angel Deradoorian’s voice is phenomenal. Not the best example of their usual amazing harmonizing skills, but still lovable.
9. ‘Best I Ever Had’ - Drake
Jimmy? Last time I knew you were in a wheelchair! It’s hard to drop your child star rep, but Drake has earned himself respect in the realm of music. Sometimes I get Degrassi flashbacks when I listen to him, but that’s going away. Fan favorite, also my favorite.
8. ‘So Insane’ - Discovery
Who knew that the synthesis of Ra Ra Riot and Vampire Weekend would actually involve synths? Well, it’s love for me, and this song particularly is a sort of anthem for the spirited youth with big hearts. Uplifting and fun, not too fast but quick enough… like a college hookup.
7. ‘So Far Around the Bend’ - The National
Yes, another one from _Dark Was The Night. _Nostalgic meets a folky march to make for one hell of a song. I like how he seems to really have the girl pegged in this song. It’s personal, but thankfully not too delicate.
6. ‘Foreground’ - Grizzly Bear
_Veckatimest _took flight this year, and undoubtedly there were some gems on this baby like ‘Two Weeks’ and ‘While You Wait for the Others.’ But, this song is quite possibly one of the most beautiful songs I’ve heard in some time. It’s a subdued side of the Griz, but still has a low growl that separates it from the saps.
[audio:http://jetcomx.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/12/Grizzly-Bear-Foreground1.mp3 |titles=Foreground |artists=Grizzly Bear]
5. ‘Soft Shock (Them Jeans Acoustic Remix)’ - Yeah Yeah Yeahs
I do really love the original, but there’s something about this remix that has me 100 percent hooked. The timpani, the bongos, the strings. They soften the song, which sort of make the shock bigger. It tugs at my heart a bit, but keeps me smiling.
4. ‘Little Secrets’ - Passion Pit
This was my ringtone for the whole summer and then some… even my mom was dancing when I got a call. Falsettos and synth riffs reminiscent of an old Sega game, who knew it would sound so good? Passion Pit did. Good job, fellas, Boston’s proud!
[audio:http://jetcomx.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/12/02-Little-Secrets1.mp3 |titles=Little Secrets |artists=Passion Pit]
3. ‘1901’ - Phoenix
From one of my favorite albums of the year! Yeah it’s in a car ad now, but what can you do? Kings of Leon’s ‘Molly’s Chambers’ was featured in a car commercial about 4 years ago, and they didn’t die and go to mainstream hell… just purgatory (we’re praying for you, Aha Shake Heartbreak was phenomenal!). It’s well composed, brilliantly repetitive, and with just enough pop to keep it up. Fun fact: when Phoenix performed on SNL this year, they were the only band to play three sets besides U2.
2. ‘What Would I Want? Sky’ - Animal Collective This was a late comer in the running, so I apologize for the double Animal Collective, but they are my favorite. I was somewhat disappointed with Merriweather in its entirety, so this song was a great surprise off of their Fall Be Kind _EP. _I’m no Dead head, but it’s noteworthy to mention that this track is the first ever to have a licensed sample from the Grateful Dead (‘Unbroken Chain’). It’s dreamy, swirly and floaty, what else would you expect from these crazies?
… Drum roll (thanks for sticking with me)…
1. ‘Dominoes’ - The Big Pink A bit of an underdog, but I couldn’t stop playing it since I first heard it. I would sing it around my apartment without knowing more words than, “These girls fall like dooominoooooess.” What is it about this song? I can’t really point it out, even though I feel like I should have more justification, being my favorite song of the entire year and all. It’s sort of like my girl crush on Zooey Deschannel. She’s above average but not drop dead anything, yet I love her more than a straight girl should ever love a girl celebrity. There’s my analogy, because I don’t have real words for this song.
OK, So there you have it. I’m sure you will disagree (and hopefully agree a little, too). Happy New Year!