Monday, December 05, 2005

Top 50 in 05 (Songs)

Some of these are singles, some are just album cuts, and some are from albums that came out in 2004 but the song was released as a single in 2005. Songs I listened to, overplayed, and/or obsessed over in 2005, more or less. Let me know if you'd like to hear any of them.

1. M83 - Don’t Save Us From the Flames (Superpitcher remix) - 10:26
You might know the original mix from the neon/crazy Pontiac spots running lately, but the two versions are hardly recognizable as the same song. Superpitcher manages to take out the heightened sense of desperation of the original and fill his remix with a steady flow of nervous energy.

Favorite lyric: "Out of the flames/ A piece of brain in my hair/ The wheels are melting/ A ghost is screaming your name"

2. R. Kelly - Trapped In the Closet - 3:15
Kells can pee on all the [legal] girls he wants if he keeps doing shit like this. Stretched out beyond the original five parts, it's admittedly losing steam with what, 12 chapters and counting? But for a time this spring, I was hooked, waiting weeks to hear each new part. I'm not sure I more eagerly anticipated any other release all year than the next chapter in the series. It's completely ridiculous, to be sure. But so what? R&B is too serious these days and R. Kelly seems to be the only one doing anything different.

Most tense moment: The end of Chapter 2, where you realize the pastor's partner is a man.

3. Kelly Clarkson - Since U Been Gone - 3:09
This song makes me wish I was a girl. For some reason, dude singers can't get away with songs that essentially say, "Fuck you bitch, I don't need you!" So this song isn't that harsh, but the power chorus that sounds like a dozen Kellys certainly makes the most of the material. Her voice even sounds exasperated with her man during the first verse. I don't know about you, but I want to meet this guy and kick his ass.

Perfect listening environment: Summertime, singing your hearts out in the car with your best girl friends.

4. Kanye West - Gone - 6:02
A relatively unaltered sample of Otis Redding's "It's Too Late" is enough to drive this song up until Jon Brion's massively simple strings'n'drums that bring about Kanye's final verse, which ends the album with authority. Maybe not as strong as "Jesus Walks", but he's certainly at his self-promoting, check-my-roots best. In fact, all three MCs (Kanye, Cam'ron, Consequence) all sound like they couldn't be happier to be rapping on this track.

Steal this idea: "I'm a open up a store for aspirin' MCs"

5. Young Jeezy (ft. Jay-Z & Fat Joe) - Go Crazy (Remix) - 6:13
Jay-Z stops by your studio and makes your hott traxx even hotter. But he does do a good job of picking his projects, lending a voice and a tone that's almost like a lesson for the kids (in this case, Young Jeezy). Some need it for dancing, but I like rap songs I can shout along with: "When they play that new Jeezy all the dope boys go crazy!" I wish this came out at the start of the summer, the lazy horns and claps are perfect for a hot, humid Saturday.

Awesome rhyme: "My favorite hue is Jay-Z blue"

6. Ciara (ft. Ludacris) - Oh - 4:22
If riding around in my car was a hobby of mine, this sound would accompany it. Ciara's vocals are somewhat understated, which is nice because they act is a slowly building bridge to the opposite: Luda's bounce-bounce-bounce guest spot. The song itself is pretty simple, and pretty much any word can and is somehow rhymed with "Oh". But at the same time, I want to rock out. How can such a casual beat do that?

Don't call it a remix: Cadence Weapon's Smart Bomb Remix is so entirely different it's hard to believe that's the same vocal track.

7. Art Brut - Emily Kane - 2:41
The Art Brut song for people who find Eddie Argos' vocals difficult at first. They're not difficult-- they're just very, very British, and he speaks more than sings. But the song is as hilarious and cute as any other Art Brut song. It's catchy and after a few listens, you'll be singing along. It's difficult to understand why songs like this aren't more popular. The great thing about Argos' vocals is that he's very easy to sympathize with. But "Emily Kane" is more endearing and sweet than the band's other songs about relationships, like "Good Weekend" and "Rusted Guns of Milan".

Favorite lyric: "I hope this song finds you fame/ I want school kids on buses singing your name"

8. Juelz Santana - There It Go (The Whistle Song) - 3:00
The first of two hip-hop tracks on this list that proves dense and/or ultra-complicated beats aren't necessary. Aside from the vocals, all you really hear is some click-clack percussion and a cat-call whistle sample. Santana does a nice job of matching his cadence to the whistles. Next time he's in Chicago, maybe Andrew Bird can provide live whistling.

Little known fact: I can't whistle.

9. My Morning Jacket - Off the Record - 5:25
Jim James' vocals carry this thing. Hell, they're really what carry the band. But for maybe the first time, MMJ have found a way to include guitar parts that aren't forgettable. This is the song for drinking beers with your buds at the pool. The one bad thing about the track is that it's twice as long as it needs to be. About halfway through the vocals are gone and the band reminds us that they're still a favorite of the jam band scene. However, the first half is so great that it doesn't matter.

Curious: Is Jim James' real name James James?

10. Babyshambles - Fuck Forever - 4:37
What does Pete Doherty mean when he sings "fuck forever"? I've heard people say it's a response to Oasis' "Live Forever". But I think it alludes to the last song on the second Libertines' album, "What Became of the Likely Lads", which contains this lyric: "What became of forever?" That song seems to suggest that the Libtertines, Doherty and Carl Barat, have reconciled. I don't think Pete gives a shit. I mean, what does it say about a dude when Kate Moss leaves you because you're too out of control?

Favorite lyric: "I'm so clever/ But clever ain't wise"

11. The Killers - Mr. Brightside - 3:42
Seeing a live performance of "Mr. Brightside" was the highlight of my Lollapalooza experience. Didn't hurt that I was watching from the VIP viewing platform and enjoying the Wolfgang Puck-catered buffet.

12. The Game (ft. 50 Cent)- Hate It or Love It - 3:26
The G-Unit flavored remix on 50's The Massacre foolishly replaces some Game verses with other members of G-Unit. 50 may be better than Game, but Game's better than the rest of G-Unit.

13. Gwen Stefani - Hollaback Girl - 3:19
The "bananas" part sounds awfully like a track on the M.I.A. album, but I imagine there are no hard feelings because they just toured together.

14. Gorillaz - DARE / DARE (DFA remix)- 3:41 / 12:02
The DFA remix is neither better nor worse than the original. It is equally awesome.

15. Animal Collective - Did You See The Words? - 5:17
Good to hear these guys singing about something intelligible: love.

16. Fall Out Boy - Sugar We’re Going Down - 3:36
Fuck it, this song is catchy as hell.

17. Lady Sovereign - Random - 3:41
I'd like to see her diss these American rappers to their faces.

18. Kanye West - Heard ‘Em Say - 3:23
Maybe dude from Maroon 5 should stick to guest vocals; he does a great job here.

19. LCD Soundsystem - Daft Punk Is Playing At My House - 5:16
I want LCD Soundsytem to play at my house.

20. The MFA - The Difference It Makes - 7:02
Soundtrack to your European adventures.

21. Mike Jones - Back Then - 4:05
Call 281-330-8004 for more information.

22. Franz Ferdinand - Do You Want To - 3:38
The video makes this song even more hilarious. Turns out these guys aren't as pretentious as you'd think.

23. Lil' Wayne - Shooter - 4:35
Southern rap that's the opposite of Mike Jones.

24. Kano - Typical Me - 4:35
The starting point for those who want to like grime but find the Streets and Dizzee Rascal too abrasive.

25. Ying Yang Twins - Wait (The Whisper Song) - 2:59
The whispering is genius, misogyny notwithstanding. Just make sure you don't find yourself saying "beat the pussy up" in public.

26. Bloc Party - Like Eating Glass - 4:21
Technically speaking, Bloc Party are probably the best of all the new 80s-loving bands. Shit's so clean sounding.

27. Caribou - Yeti - 5:00
The songs ends but it could probably go on forever.

28. Robyn - Konichiwa Bitches - 2:38
Don't fuck with this woman, she owns.

29. Common - The Corner - 3:45
The video for this song perfectly captures the Chicago winter.

30. The Kaiser Chiefs - I Predict A Riot - 3:54
This could be by any number of non-descript British bands, but this song is different because it's actually interesting.

31. Architecture In Helsinki - Do the Whirlwind - 4:39
I dare you not to dance.

32. R. Kelly - In The Kitchen (Remix) - 5:17
If only I could have sex to this song with a straight face.

33. Panda Bear - Comfy In Nautica - 4:00
Panda Bear can do so much with so little.

34. Gnarls Barkley - Crazy - 3:01
Can't wait to hear the whole album from this Danger Mouse and Cee-Lo project.

35. The Futureheads - Hounds of Love - 3:02
One of the new New Wave bands that sounds most authentically of the period.

36. Okkervil River - For Real - 4:42
Pretty dark stuff, if you listen to the lyrics: "Some nights I thirst for real blood"
(Also, song reminds me of Wilco's "At Least That's What You Said")

37. The Juan Maclean - Tito’s Way - 3:43
More songs need party/coach whistles.

38. Jens Lekman - I Saw Her In the Anti-War Demonstration - 3:11
Phil Spector meets Morrissey?

39. King Biscuit Time - C I AM 15 - 3:19
New project from the Beta Band lead singer, which basically just sounds like a Beta Band song. CIA/MI-5, get it?

40. Hot Chip - Down With Prince - 3:19
"I'm sick of mothefuckers trying to tell me that they're down with Prince." Shit rules, obviously.

41. Kanye West - Gold Digger - 3:28
Oh Kanye, you can do no wrong.

42. Wolf Parade - Dear Sons and Daughters of Hungry Ghosts - 3:39
It'd be way too easy to just say that Wolf Parade = Arcade Fire + Modest Mouse + Bowie + Iggy Pop.

43. The Bravery - Honest Mistake - 3:41
The Killers' Brandon Flowers thinks the Bravery are a rip-off of his band. You be the judge.

44. The White Stripes - My Doorbell - 4:01
The White Stripes are best when they keep it simple.

45. Beck - E-Pro - 3:23
The rest of this album is painfully mediocre, but he still had one great track in him.

46. Amadou & Mariam - Coulibaly - 3:18
Mopey indie rock types could learn a few things from African music.

47. T.I. - Bring 'Em Out - 3:36
SpRiNg BrEaK '05 WHAT?!??!

48. Antony & the Johnsons - Hope There's Someone - 4:21
Find me a more heartbreaking voice.

49. Sigur Ros - Glosoli - 6:15
I don't know how these guys can continue to make songs that sound as epic and breathtaking as they do.

50. !!! - Take Ecstasy With Me - 7:41
Who knew that this Magnetic Fields song could benefit from a dance-infused cover?


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