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Friday, December 19, 2008

Foggy Ruins Of Time Best of 2008-Top 50 Songs

Mac Paint program ftw!

I exponentially listen to more and more music each year and this year proved to be overwhelming, but also exciting.

I really tried to get this list down to thirty, but while hacking away arduously I looked up and realized I was only down to around forty-five. So screw it I’m doing top fifty songs.

Some of these fifty songs represent the best song of the respective artists’ release and some represent the song I listened to more than any other. Some overlap. Either way these fifty songs captured my imagination and inspiration more than any other songs this year.

(note: In alphabetical order)

“Anywhere I Lay My Head”-Scarlett Johansson
This is probably the number 1 song I identify with most this year. Its atmosphere was perfect for my walks back and forth from campus in Wellington, New Zealand or the rainy mornings I spent in Tokyo, Japan.

“August 4th”-Madeline Ava
Acapella songs are really hard, but Madeline Ava makes it seem so darn easy. The first line is simply exquisite.

“Bigger Than Yours”-Girl Band
A collective of sweet gals from Santa Barbara (including Watercolor Paintings), this song is so freakin’ sexy, and funny. The harmonies are incredibly sweet.

“A Bird And A Wire”-Morgan Enos
Lyrically this song seems beyond little Morgan Enos’s years, but I hardly think anyone cares. It’s a beautiful piece of poetry and the words sound delightful.

“Campus”-Vampire Weekend
It was hard to pick just one Vampire Weekend song for this list, but I like this one because it's about school and that is basically my life right now.

“Can’t Believe it (Feat. Lil Wayne)”-T-Pain
OMG I love this song. That’s the only way I can describe this tune. T-Pain is at the top of his game and nobody can fuck with Lil Wayne. Slightly melancholy, no joint was hotter this year.

“Careen”-The Diggs
I don’t really know any other songs by them, but this song rocks so much. I can’t even tell if the lead singer is a guy or girl, but that doesn’t really matter. The mood is perfect.

“Cocaine”-Gang Of Virgins
The best version of the song, Rob and Max truly have created an awesome piece of thoughtful psychedelia. The end hits me the most.

“Crazy”-Your Yellow Dress
Carrie has a gorgeous voice and here it truly shines. Alex’s production is top notch. I love everything about this song. It’s catchy and very pretty.

“Forest of Legs II”-Redbear.
Although I am not in love with all of Hollywood Taoism, this song is fucking great. The song froths and bubbles explosively along with changing time signatures and propulsive drumming. Haunting is the only proper way to describe it.

“Geography”-Thao with The Get Down Stay Down
Vivian Thao is like Cat Power only with a sense of humor. I love the way this song bounces along and nobody pronounces “abandon” better than she does.

“Gila”-Beach House
This song is a behemoth. Buoyed along by a dusty organ line and lighsaber-like guitar licks, Victoria Legrand’s vocals are stuck on permanent reverb in this cavern of despair.

“The Greatest Man That Ever Lived (Variations On A Shaker Hymn)”-Weezer
This song is so ridiculous it hurts. This song is so epic it hurts. I know Rivers Cuomo would appreciate these sentiments.

“I Dream Of Antarctica”-Existential Hero
I think this song surprised everyone. I really love it. The song is all about a atmosphere and going to the Antarctic Center in Christchurch, NZ solidified my desire to visit that desolate continent on the bottom of the Earth.

“I Hope...”-James Eric
Leave it to James Eric to make a beautiful song with hope in the title. Really James, you inspire me so much. The ending is hilarious, poignant and really sweet.

“I Tried To Die Young”-Marc With A C
This is Marc’s most well written song. It is so relevant and so telling of this day and age it should belong in museums. However it's probably better that it’s in our hearts instead.

“I Will Not Apologize (Feat. Porn and Dice Raw)”-The Roots
The keyboards are as dirty and grimy as the words themselves here. This song makes me want to fuck shit up. I feel tough when listening to it.

“I'm On a Talk Show”-Chris Zabriskie
This song flows. Initially not my favorite, it has become so thoroughly ingrained in my head I can’t imagine a time without it. I am constantly humming this song. It’s a great song in the pantheon of minimalism.

“I've Been To A City”-Prince Edward Island
Captures the feeling it describes perfectly. One of the most satisfying songs of 2008.

“Just Do It”-A Drum And An Open Window
Although I was disappointed with their new album, this song definitely hits some high marks for me. The drumming is so sure-footed and the harmonies are their best yet. Very inspiring stuff.

“Let Me Love You”-Candle
I love the way the words fly off Kevin Coons’ tongue that work in tandem with the finger-picking acoustic guitar. And when the keyboard line comes in, goddamn what a pretty song.

“Let The Beat Build”-Lil Wayne
This song is so full of joy it’s ridiculous. I love it love it love it. This is why Lil Wayne is the greatest rapper alive.

“Liquid Dance (ft. Palakkad Sriram & Madhumitha)”-A.R. Rahman
I have no idea what’s going on in this song, but it’s probably the best representation of the kind of schizophrenic Bollywood/techno/hip hop music on the Slumdog Millionaire soundtrack.

“living in an abandoned firehouse with you”-Manipulator Alligator
This song is beautiful pure and simple. I don’t know how this song was made musically, but it feels so right. My favorite Magnetic Fields cover.

“Love You Always Forever (w/The Anchorites)”-SFIAS
It is hardly a cover, but it is probably the most amazing thing I’ve heard all year. It swallows me whole and I’m fine with that.

“Monochromatic World”-Secret Owl Society
Secret Owl Society knows how to make a song. This piece is no less than brilliant, brimming with emotion and a fleeting sense of nostalgia. It surprises me again and again.

“Nine Cocktails (before we set sail)”-Jacob Borshard
The black humor in Jacob Borshard’s songs is so adorable and it’s in full force here. I always smile when he sings, “A little bit crazy is all right.”

“Nom De Guerre”-The Lonesome Architects
This song is so folky, bluesy, soulful and truly joyful. This song is a classic already.

“Now Thats What I Call a Circuitous Conversation”-Jaw-Zizzle
This song brings a smile to my face. Seriously, this guy has an unpretentious flow and great beats. The sampling is hilarious, well; the whole song is so much fun.

“Poor Directions In Rabbits Blood”-Adam Faucett
I played two shows with Adam this year and this song is just so pretty and the ending cuts right through me.

It’s only a demo, but I think it was meant to be this way. I really love this song. It makes me feel miserable, but I don’t care.

“Rest”-Patrick Ripoll
This might be the saddest song of the year. I don’t know how one can feel more despair than Patrick does here. It’s almost painful to listen to, but I listen anyway.

“Robocop”-Kanye West
Probably the “happiest” song on 808s & Heartbreak, the strings are so happy for what Kanye’s singing about. It is weird, but I really like how silly it is on one level.

“The Sea In San Diego”-Iamb
Ross says he doesn’t think this works live, but here it feels really real. I can imagine this as part of a film soundtrack and once the banjo kicks in, it’s a really inspirational number.

“Shower”-Watercolor Paintings
For a while I was afraid Rebecca’s lyrics were getting too cute and distant. Then she had to go and prove me wrong. This is probably the most emotional song she has written and I can’t get enough of it.

“Souled Out!!!“-Conor Oberst and the Mystic Valley Band
The title itself is worthy of praise. Conor decided to ditch the Bright Eyes moniker this year and make a set of songs filled with lots humor and heart. This song is the best of them.

“Spaces Between”-A Kit Fox
There is so much earnest desperation in this song. He reminds me of me back in the day. I really dig this song a lot the more and more I listen to it.

“Start A One Man Band!”-Mexican Kids At Home
This song rocks harder than anything else this year. Stomping rhythms, steady marimba and fierce guitar, Mexican Kids At Home know how to bring it.

“Strawberry Swing”-Coldplay
Another disappointing album, but in the ashes this song shines through. Breezy, whimsical and romantic, it’s very sweet.

“Temporary Tattoo”-One Happy Island
I know the metaphor is silly, but the music is so melancholy and the melody so perfect I have become obsessed with this One Happy Island song.

“This (old) House”-Linguistic Banter
I love this song so much I covered it. Written at fifteen by Grace Noel Glasson, it is smart and melancholy and whimsical all at the same time. And if I am correct this was her first song!

“Thus Always Horses”-Tinyfolk
Can everyone just tell me to shut up now? This is probably my favorite song of 2008. I’ve listened to it way too many times it isn’t funny. It is the best Apocalyptic R&B-tronica song released this year.

“What Do We Do Now?”-The Just Joans
This song is one of the other saddest songs of 2008. The samples reinforce the general feeling and at this point in my life the sentiment is all too real.

“Whatever You Like”-T.I.
Sorry I live in a vacuum. I know lots of people find this song annoying, but fuck you I like this song a lot. The beat is hot, the bass engrossing, the tone chill and T.I. is totally coasting in a good way.

“When It Breaks Our Bones”-Jon Crocker
This song is amazing live and is no slouch on The Dust Will Settle. It is Jon at his most passionate. The album version has these great circus interludes that really add to the atmosphere of the experience.

“A Wonderful Year”-Let's Whisper
I’ve been throwing the word “sweet” around like there’s no tomorrow, but seriously Let’s Whisper have it in spades and this number is catchy and great. No cynicism allowed here.

“You Can Do Better Than Me”-Death Cab For Cutie
This song is over the top, ridiculous and really great. Never has there been a better use of sleigh bells in music than here. It’s saccharine, sarcastic and awful, but feels very true.

“Your Ghost”-Ryland Bouchard
Hushed and slightly off-kilter, former Robot Ate Me dude gets even quieter. This song is not of this world; ethereal and fleeting.

“14 Forever”-Stars
We’ve always needed a rallying cry for immaturity that didn’t involve the words “fall,” “out” and/or “boy”. This is it.

“123456 Pokemon”-Lemon Demon
The creator of Potter Puppet Pals apparently makes music. This song is random and silly, but with just enough feeling to get stuck in my head and make me laugh.

Phew! That was a lot of work. I wish I could give you a link to every song, but that’s a little unfeasible at the moment. The links below should help for the not-so-mainstream artists and DIY musicians.

Join me sometime next week for the top 20 albums of 2008.

CLLCT for most of your DIY/Lo-Fi artist needs


Anonymous said...

Where's of Montreal?

Steven Ray Morris said...

I've tried listening to them on occasion, but they haven't quite gotten through to me yet.

grace said...

Whoah! This is so cool! Thanks for putting mine in with all of these...and yes, twas my first song! :)

Marc With a C said...

Thank you for your kind words, good sir.

Kyle said...

I agree with "123456 Pokemon", but I can't help but feel that "Dog Days, Chicken Nights Pt. II" got snubbed.

alex t. said...

who ya gonna vote for?
barack obama!

James Eric Laczkowski said...

Reading that quick little comment, practically brought a tear to my eye, in the best way possible. YOU mean a lot to me, Steven. Thanks so much. I hope we hang out at some point next year. Seriously, thank you. And this is really a great list all-around, even if I weren't included :)