December 21, 2005

Favorite Songs of 2005

Posted by Arcane Gazebo at December 21, 2005 7:04 PM

Everyone's posting their end-of-year lists, and while I was planning to hold off until next week, I figured I'd start with one that I had ready: my favorite 18 songs of 2005. Why 18? Because these 18 songs will fill up a CD-R. (Normally my mix CDs run to 20 songs, but this list contains one 11-minute track.)

I limited myself to one song per album since otherwise a couple of albums would have walked away with half the list between them. (And naturally there'll be a favorite albums post forthcoming.)

18. Get Him Eat Him, "Mumble Mumble" (Geography Cones)
A song about shyness, the frustrating way it shuts down your verbal abilities when you most need them (especially if there's a lady involved). So you can see the appeal.

17. Clap Your Hands Say Yeah, "The Skin of My Yellow Country Teeth" (Clap Your Hands Say Yeah)
Once I got over how weird the singing was, I started to really like this song.

16. The Decemberists, "We Both Go Down Together" (Picaresque)
The heartwarming tale of a spoiled aristocrat committing suicide with his underclass lover. One gets the sense of an unreliable narrator, and hopes for Miranda to push the dude off the cliff and walk away.

15. Sleater-Kinney, "Let's Call It Love" (The Woods)
Sexy lyrics and a sexy 6-minute guitar solo. There are people who claim that women have less aptitude than men for rock music; these people are crazy.

14. Bloc Party, "Helicopter" (Silent Alarm)
I can never understand what these guys are saying through their British accents, so it was a while before I realized this was an anti-Bush song. Fortunately, the song is awesome with or without the political context.

13. Caribou, "Hello Hammerheads" (The Milk of Human Kindness)
It was a bit tough to pick a favorite song from this album, which is consistently good all the way through. "Hello Hammerheads" has the most appealing atmosphere, I think.

12. New Order, "Dracula's Castle" (Waiting for the Sirens' Call)
The actual relevance to Dracula's castle is questionable, but the song is in the grand tradition of excellent New Order songs.

11. The Rosebuds, "Leaves Do Fall" (Birds Make Good Neighbors)
A song that perfectly captures the urgent longing of a long-distance relationship. I love the lyric, "I'm a desperate man/and that terrifies me".

10. Franz Ferdinand, "The Fallen" (You Could Have It So Much Better)
I'm a sucker for songs about the devil, and this is an especially good one.

9. Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, "Ain't No Easy Way" (Howl)
BRMC have been accused of opportunism for their sudden genre-switch to Americana, but if it leads to songs like this I'm all in favor.

8. Spoon, "The Two Sides of Monsieur Valentine" (Gimme Fiction)
This song is just under three minutes long and I am always sort of outraged when it ends. I want to hear more about Monsieur Valentine, dammit!

7. Iron & Wine/Calexico, "He Lays In The Reins" (In The Reins)
I have no idea why there is a dude singing opera in the middle of this song, but the song has one of the best intros I've ever heard and the rest doesn't disappoint either.

6. Architecture in Helsinki, "Wishbone" (In Case We Die)
A love song in a rapid-fire style reminiscent of REM's "It's the End of the World as We Know It". It's like candy.

5. Iron & Wine, "Evening On The Ground (Lilith's Song)" (Woman King)
A bit darker and angrier than a typical Iron & Wine song. They should do more like this.

4. Ladytron, "Destroy Everything You Touch" (Witching Hour)
This is the song that's convincing all the hipsters that Ladytron is actually a good band. Of course, I knew this already, which means... Yes. I liked Ladytron before they were cool.

3. Mercury Rev, "Secret For A Song" (The Secret Migration)
I feel like I should be embarrassed of this pick, with its overly grand musical gestures and slightly fantasy-geekish lyrics. (Two suns?) But I can't get enough of it. Somehow, "I'll sell you my secret for a song" really resonates with me.

2. The New Pornographers, "Stacked Crooked" (Twin Cinema)
I have no idea what this song is about, but the way it builds to its anthemic climax is spectacular. The lyrics just sound good, even if they don't make any sense.

1. The Hold Steady, "How A Resurrection Really Feels" (Separation Sunday)
The title is a line spoken by a character in the song, and also the subject of the song, and finally a description of the song itself. It helps to have listened to the previous ten tracks on the album, to get the full emotional weight of Holly's spiritual resurrection, but it's not necessary. The triumphant guitars in the intro, the joy in the lyrics at an old friend coming back from the darkness, the angelic backing vocals in the fade-out... who needs religion when you've got The Hold Steady?

I really should start packing for my trip tomorrow, so I don't have time to track down links to all these songs, but they can probably all be found on iTunes. And, as I alluded earlier, I'm planning to make a mix CD of these 18 tracks, and will be handing out copies during my upcoming travels. So if you'd like a copy, it can probably be arranged.

And it goes without saying that I want to hear about your own favorites in the comment thread.

Tags: Lists, Music

"Jezebel," man.

I mean, c'mon.

And "Shuffle Your Feet."

But I'll probably have "In the Reins" on when I pick you up at DFW tomorrow.

Posted by: JSpur | December 21, 2005 7:40 PM

Well, I'm not saying I didn't have to make difficult choices for some of these albums. Before someone else brings it up: "The Mariner's Revenge Song" from Picaresque. (Of course, had I picked that one the mix CD would only have 16 songs...)

Posted by: Arcane Gazebo | December 21, 2005 8:12 PM

I was planning on posting my 05 media list later. I might download a few more new songs before the year is up, after all. :) I also came up with a cool way to do a New Year's resolution (I almost wrote revolution...oops, Freudian slip) this year. Stay tuned...

My favorite song on Waiting for the Sirens' Call is Morning Night and Day, although Dracula's Castle is very cool as well. For my list, I'll let myself pick more than one song per album, but I'm only planning on picking two Depeche Mode songs (unless I hear that new B-side enough times to decide if I should list it, but then only three), so it's not like I'm going to be cheap and put the whole album. Those two tracks are the real standouts, anyway.

Royksopp's "What Else is There?" is definitely near the top of the list too. It goes to show that sometimes one actually hears a new, awesome song while waiting for the movie trailers to start. (Thanks, Laemmle!) The song reminds me of "Running Up That Hill" and "Silence" (by Delerium, with vocals by Sarah McLachlan), and those are two excellent songs for anything to bring to mind.

I don't think I'll have 18 songs to list, though, and I'll probably need to combine my album and song choices.

Posted by: Mason | December 21, 2005 9:05 PM

what "my hump" did nto make this list after your prior post i thought it was a shoo in

Posted by: shellock | December 22, 2005 6:58 AM

I'm planning on posting a longer version of this at my blog at some point, but blogger has been sucking eggs. (Eggs I say, EGGS!)

Best Albums I Should Have Bought in 2004:
Green Day - American Idiot. Absofuckinglutely fantastic
The Killers - Hot Fuss

Best Band Names:
Honest Bob and the Factory to Dealer Incentives
Monkey Steals the Peach

Best Old Music that is Actually New:
Rolling Stones - A Bigger Bang

Best Mashups:
Dean Grey - Dr Who on Holiday
Kleptones - Close to My Girl

Stuff that is old, but my appreciation for has increased in the last year:
Daft Punk - Discovery (especially Veridis Quo)
Aerosmith - Nine Lives (Kiss your Past Goodbye!)

Best "Are you f-ing serious?"
Raffi - Bananafone

Most Emotional for Strange Reasons:
Vanilla Ninja - Tough Enough

Makes you want to dance like a tool:
The Bravery - Honest Mistake (Superdiscount Remix) Toot toot!

Best Soundtrack:
The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou (the actual soundtrack, though the released album has much of the goodness)

Best Mix CD:
*begin gratuitous praise of AG*Some Disassembly Required*end gratuitous praise of AG*

Posted by: Lemming | December 26, 2005 12:41 PM

Oh yeah, and "Song that I can't get out of my head despite losing the files JUST after I purchased it on iTMS:"
Decemberists - 16 Military Wives

Posted by: Lemming | December 26, 2005 12:45 PM

The Route 66 Road Trip edition:

Best song to play at any given moment:
The Jolly Rogers - Pay Me

Best Pirate Song:
The Decemberists - The Mariner's Revenge Song

Best Classic Pirate Song:
Blow the Man Down

Best Pirate Song in a Comedy or Musical:
A Pirate's Life for Me

Best Song to Loop:
Wesley Willis - Birdman Kicked My Ass

Best Song that We Still Need to Make a Road Trip Slide Show To:
Trey Parker and Matt Stone - America, Fuck Yeah!

Posted by: Josh | December 28, 2005 12:27 PM

Wesley Willis's music should neither be looped nor played. His "songs" all sound the same, although he gets points for calling one "Vampire Bat". His stuff is simply awful, though I admit that it has value has Ride chaser fodder.

Posted by: Mason | December 29, 2005 4:27 PM
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