Here's a short list of my favorite tracks from the year that was:
1. TV on the Radio - Golden Age
This track reminds me of the 1950’s and 60’s not only in its effortless funk and active horn section, but also in its contagious enthusiasm in anticipation of a political era under an Obama presidency, and without George Bush.
2. MGMT - Kids
This song, in many ways, was the soundtrack of my freshman year, and it wasn’t only because it was damn near ubiquitous. It’s fun, bouncy, and all too easy to sing along with.
3. Wolf Parade - Language City
As anthematic and engrossing as Wolf Parade has been.
4. Miwon - A to B
Pretty electronic ambience gives way to the best use of Fleetwood Mac ever.
5. Bon Iver - Flume
A perfect start to a great record. After all of the build up about For Emma
’s emotional vulnerability, I was hooked by the time Justin Vernon intoned, “I am my mother’s only one/It’s enough”. Cathartic, really.
6. Hilotrons - Caught on Video
A slow churning, bluesy little pop song whose yelpiness recalls the Cure, and which I couldn’t help but keep on mental repeat.
7. Young Jeezy - My President
“My president is black/My Lambo is blue/And I’ll be goddamned if my rims ain’t too”. What could be more fun than this? Plus, Nas kills it.
8. She & Him - This Is Not a Test
A nice little country-twinged pop song fronted by an endearing female voice. This is straight up my alley.
9. Fleet Foxes - Mykonos
Speaking of Fleetwood Mac , Fleet Foxes sound more and more like a remarkably talented Rumours era cover band as you make your way through “Mykonos” from their Sun Giant EP
, and it couldn’t be more satisfying.
10. The Mountain Goats - Lovecraft in Brooklyn
John Darnielle’s greatest lyrical moment on Heretic Pride
, and a hell of a tense ride. In my mind, “Woke up afraid of my own shadow/ Like, genuinely afraid” is pretty untopable.
11. De Novo Dahl - Shout
What a great pop song. Lots of fun.
12. Wale - The Kramer
In a year where Nas released an album which basically adopted the “n-word” as a theme (and which predictably transcended into masturbatory self-congratulation and circular commentary), it’s only fitting that one of the most thoughtful inspections of the word’s use and meaning in recent history could be found on Wale's Seinfeld-themed Mixtape About Nothing
13. Okkervil River - Calling and Not Calling My Ex
With its passing melancholy, tight arrangement, and detailed storyline, this track is an enjoyable encapsulation of everything Okkervil River does right.
14. Lykke Li - Little Bit
A desperately beautiful little love song that’ll gradually sink into your psyche.
15. PAS/CAL - We Made Our Way, We Amtrakked
Each cut on this album is absolutely packed full of sugary pop hooks, and “We Made Our Way” is no exception. Bonus points were awarded for use of the word “Amtrakked”.Bonus!
Five older songs that were constantly on my mind this year:A Change Is Gonna ComeI Will Be There When You DieDoo Wop (That Thing)HummingbirdColor in Your Cheeks