Thursday, December 23, 2010

100 Songs for 2010: 11-16


We're counting down our 100 favorite songs of the year.  Today, 11-15.  Check out previous posts here.


15) Cold War Kids - "Audience"

In which it might secretly be all about Jesus.

“You need a record you can move to? Well, we’ve got one …”

Simple drums and piano. Uncomplicated. And every time I hear it, I want to hear it again.


Cold War Kids - "Hang Me Up To Dry"
Cold War Kids - "Royal Blue"

14) Arcade Fire - "We Used To Wait"

The Suburbs is an album about nostalgia, and the interactive video for “We Used to Wait” illustrates this better than anything else. That’s your house!

The nostalgia of this song isn’t the usual soft-focus longing for the glory day, though. It’s almost a meditation on the impossibility of the past. The concept of the eternal present was a diabolical mind-control device in 1984, but now it’s just a matter of course. Things have always been this way. Things will always be this way. How could they ever be any different?

The narrator seems to struggle with this concept himself. We used to wait. Can you believe that? We certainly don’t wait anymore. We don’t write letters. We don’t waste hours wandering around downtown. Is it really possible that we used to wait?

The title here serves two purposes. Half the time, it sounds like the narrator is trying to talk himself into it, repeating a statement as if to make it true. For the other half, it’s a glorious inside joke that we’re all a part of. We used to wait, you guys. Sometimes it never came. Do you remember that? Were you there? Of course you were there. We all were.


Arcade Fire - "Keep the Car Running"
Arcade Fire - "Rebellion (Lies)"

13) Pains of Being Pure at Heart - "Say No To Love"

The Pains of Being Pure At Heart "Say No To Love" from Slumberland Records on Vimeo.

Jangly. It’s my favorite music-related adjective. If you gave me a list of songs with one-word descriptions and asked me which one I wanted to hear, I would go with the one described as “jangly.” I have little doubt I would enjoy the song I chose.

So, as one would bestow a high honor … I think this is the jangliest song of 2010. Just close your eyes and imagine a world where the Stone Roses became the biggest band of all time.


Pains of Being Pure at Heart - "The One"
Pains of Being Pure at Heart - "Lost Saint"

12) Rogue Wave - "Solitary Gun"

Rogue Wave - Solitary Gun from Rogue Wave on Vimeo.

“We’ve been suffering the six days since he died …”

The consensus seems to be that there was no justice for Oscar Grant. While I’m sure its little consolation to anyone, he sure got one near-perfect tribute song. It’s a song that asks the question, “Shouldn’t protest songs be more heartbroken than angry?” Whether Grant was killed by a racist cop, a negligent cop, a car accident, or brain cancer, the crux of the situation is the same: he’s dead, and he left a hole in both a family and a community. Of course he’s become a symbol of so much more, but if your default emotion here is solely anger, without the requisite underlying sadness, then I guess I question your motives. I don’t question Rogue Wave’s motives at all. As Oakland residents, they don’t speak for the segment of the population who looted Foot Lockers and set cop cars on fire. They speak for that part of the community who felt an overwhelming sadness, both for the death of Oscar Grant and for the inevitable aftershocks of pain that would follow.


Rogue Wave - "Chicago X 12"
Rogue Wave - "Eyes"

11) Scissor Sisters - "Invisible Light"

In which we wait for the Castro to develop a culinary identity.

It’s the gay “Thriller.” If you’re not immediately excited by the sentence, “It’s the gay ‘Thriller,’” then I weep for the lack of joy in your life. Also, if we were making a list of great tension-and-release moments of 2010, the percussion that kicks in at 5:03 would be a solid bet for number one.

Finally, when your girlfriend says, “Just hypothetically, how much do you think it would cost to get Scissor Sisters to play a wedding reception? I think I would spend my whole budget on that” … well, you need to hang onto a girl like that.


Michael Jackson - "Thriller"
Scissor Sisters - "Mary"

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