Wednesday, December 22, 2010

100 Songs for 2010: 16-20


We're counting down our 100 favorite songs of the year.  Today, 16-20.  Check out previous posts here.

20) Wolf Parade - "Little Golden Age"

I still haven’t come to terms with my college experience. Honestly, I don’t expect to anytime soon. I know I sound bitter when I talk about it, and probably I am, a little bit, but that’s not the whole story. When it was good, it was good, but when I was gone, I was glad. Maybe someday I’ll find the words. In the interim, this song is absolutely the most accurate description of college I’ve ever heard. So let’s just use this as a placeholder. You don’t ever have to visit St. Cloud, Minnesota. I don’t ever have to talk about it. It felt like this.

You lived in a place long, long ago
Where nothing moved and time went slow
And someone sang about a Golden Age
In Cenetaph Park, drinking in the dark
This place was the machine that put the iron in your heart

So we hung around and we hung around
and we hung around for days
In the parking lot stoned, stars shone out of phase
And the rain came down, cassettes wore out, Oh No!
Then you left town feeling pretty down
With your headphones and your coat and
your dirty graduation gown you were
In the bedroom singing radio songs
Sing them loud
Sing them all night, Emily
You need something to help you along
Freeze, freeze, freeze Little Golden Age

I don’t miss my Little Golden Age
‘Cause the body takes the heart, takes the heart
around from place to place
And this place still stands, this place remains unchanged
And you can’t go back
Oh, who would want to anyway

You were in the bedroom singing radio songs
Sing them loud
Sing them all night, Emily
You needed something to help you along
My Little Golden Age


Wolf Parade - "Shine a Light"
Wolf Parade - "You Are a Runner and I Am My Father's Son"

19) Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin - "Sink/Let It Sway"

Here’s my story about Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin. Somewhere around 2004, maybe 2005, I stumbled across a few decent MP3s from these guys, right about the same time they were selling their debut album and this awesome t-shirt:

as a package deal for something like $10, maybe $12. So I bought it. And the CD, sadly, turned out to be pretty boring. So did their follow-up record a couple years later. But I kept wearing the shirt because, well … look at it. It cannot be denied. So I had to tell people, “Yeah, it’s a band … they’re actually not that great, but I really love the shirt.”

Invested as I was, it was quite a pleasant surprise when, out of nowhere, Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin released one of my five favorite albums of 2010, Let It Sway. I mean, I already had the shirt. Now I can drop the disclaimer. “Oh, this? Yeah, they’re a band. They’re really good.”


Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin - "Banned (By The Man)"
Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin - "House Fire"

18) Robyn - "Hang With Me"

Robyn - Hang With Me official video from Robyn on Vimeo.

Pay no attention to the lyrics. That chorus is absolutely the soundtrack to falling recklessly, headlessly in love with someone.


Robyn - "Hang With Me (Acoustic)"
Robyn - "Get Myself Together"

17) Iron and Wine - "Walking Far From Home"

The list was done. It was done. I finalized it on Monday, November 29, after a weekend of tweaking and editing. I felt good about it. This single came out sometime Monday afternoon, and I thought, “Well, there’s the first song fighting for a spot on 100 Songs for 2011.” Then I listened to it. Then I listened to it again.

Then I listened to it twenty-one times on Monday. Then I literally listened to it on repeat for over an hour. I live inside this song now. There’s no other way to say it. It has become my home.

It’s my favorite yearly tradition, that one song that comes out after my Top 100 list is all but finished, that one song that demands inclusion. “Dinosaur on the Ark” by The Very Best in 2008. “Ambling Alp” by Yeasayer in 2009. And now Iron & Wine. Let’s just contemplate the lyrics while we listen to this song ten or twelve more times in a row.

I was walking far from home
Where the names were not burned along the wall
Saw a building high as heaven
But the door was so small, door was so small

I saw rain clouds, little babies
And a bridge that had tumbled to the ground
I saw sinners making music
And I dreamt of that sound, dreamt of that sound

I was walking far from home
But I carried your letters all the while
I saw lovers in a window
Whisper “want me like time, want me like time”

I saw sickness bloom in fruit trees
I saw blood and a bit of it was mine
I saw children in a river
But their lips were still dry, lips were still dry

I was walking far from home
And I found your face mingled in the crowd
Saw a boat full of believers
Sail off talking too loud, talking too loud

I saw sunlight on the water
Saw a bird fall like a hammer from the sky
An old woman on the speed train
She was closing her eyes, closing her eyes

I saw flowers on a hillside
And a millionaire pissing on the lawn
Saw a prisoner take a pistol
And say “join me in song, join me song”

Saw a car crash in the country
Where the prayers run like weeds along the road
I saw strangers stealing kisses
Leaving only their clothes, only their clothes

Saw a white dog chase its tail
And a pair of hearts carved into a stone
I saw kindness and an angel
Crying take me back home, take me back home

Saw a highway, saw an ocean
I saw widows in the temple to the Lord
Naked dancers in the city
How they spoke for us all, spoke for us all

I saw loaded linen tables
And a motherless colt then it was gone
I saw hungry brothers waiting
With the radio on, radio on

I was walking far from home
Where the names were not burned along the wall
Saw a wet road form a circle
And it came like a call, came like a call from the Lord


Iron and Wine - "Passing Afternoon"
Iron and Wine - "Belated Promise Ring"

16) Los Campesinos! - "We've Got Your Back"

In which you came all the way from Wales and no one showed up.

In which we soundtrack the King of Beers.

This is, I’m pretty sure, seven Los Campesinos! songs in three years of Top 100 lists. By now, you all know how I feel about them. I will absolutely defend this band to the death. I think they have unlimited potential. If I had to pick which of my favorite bands was most likely to do something perfectly unprecedented and original, I would pick Los Campesinos! Nothing left to do but sit back and wait for them to actually do it.


Los Campesinos! - "Sweet Dreams Sweet Cheeks"
Los Campesinos! - "We Throw Parties You Throw Knives"


  1. I had a long post about why I agree with you to a point about SCSU: St. Cloud as a city is awful; why it would be cooler to say I went to a Big 10 school or wherever; on a positive note the people we met were life-changing, etc.

    But I deleted it save for these few graphs below. I think that really sums it up:

    When I went to college I was a hyper-sensitive, self-conscious mess of a person that had a sense of entitlement. Eventually, I grew out of that, not because of the location, but because of the people I met.

    I've come to terms that without those people, it wouldn't have mattered where I went, because I wouldn't have had nearly the same experience.

    I would love to tell people that I went to the U of M, but if I went to that school or anywhere else, I'm positive that I would be left telling that to a lesser-group of people.

  2. 1. Nice post, Mann.
    2. Great songs today. I'm really glad I haven't been cheating and looking ahead.
    3. Iron and Wine is the perfect "Well, time to stop being angry" band.
    4. There is no 4.
    5. I cannot stress how much I hate Titus.

  3. Curt really staying on message with the TA hate.

    And I am also glad you haven't looked ahead. Really keeps the comments fresh. Though now I really wish I had a TA song in the top five just for the reaction.

    And Elliot ... yes. Pretty much exactly that. I guess. Basically, however I feel about myself *right now* is how I feel about my college experience. The more I want to change who I am now, the more I blame the past and want to change it. But I guess that phenomenon goes way beyond choosing a crappy school.