Sunday, January 6, 2013

The Playlist: 100 Most Excellent Songs of 2012, 61-80

I'm running down my available blogging time and this list is becoming exhausting, so I decided to skip out on finding a band photo or delightful illustration or music video for every one of these fine entries.  So, if you will: imagine that before every new song there's an accompanying image of approximately one to five people with potentially interesting haircuts leaning or sitting or singing into something and looking generally apathetic or faux-candid.  As you imagine that you should press play on the 8tracks playlist to hear the songs listed.  As you do that, if you really like the song, you should acquire it because here's the thing: Spotify and Pandora are not the same as curating a library of your own tastes.  So, get the song.  Perhaps you're a good and honest person and wish to buy the song and thus encourage and assist the artist you like to continue doing what they're doing while building your music library?  If so, click on the title and it will lead you to one of your many options to do just that.

61. Dirty Projectors / "Gun Has No Trigger"  I'm admittedly not much of a Dirty Projectors fan.  While everyone was fawning all over Bitte Orca a few years back I simply didn't approve.  So, the band's inclusion on this list comes as a personal surprise. There's something about "Gun Has No Trigger" though, and I think that thing may be the back-up harmony...

62. Tame Impala / "Feels Like We Only Go Backwards" Can you tell that this part of the list is entering into a little bit of an indie rock groove? It's for the sake of the playlist, you know, I don't want to be jumping all over the damn map.  The thing in indie rock? 60's throwback. Imagine, if you will, the landscape from Yellow Submarine.

63. Grizzly Bear / "Speak in Rounds" Grizzly Bear is a band I often take for granted. This sounds bad, I know, but I often forget that when I'm listening to them I like them and tend to think things like, oh yeah, Grizzly Bear is really quiet and boring and stuff.  While they're not exactly loud, the sound is a rich one...and one I need to remember to actively appreciate more.

64. Lianne La Havas / "Au Cinema"  Lianne La Havas is here to inherit the quirky, coffee shop singer/songwriter type space.  I don't mean that negatively, though the connotations may open up thoughts of impulse buy CDs at a Starbucks counter.  Lianne could sell a lot of those, I'd imagine, but I like "Au Cinema" because, seriously, did I mention I have a film blog?

65. Cloud Nothings / "Stay Useless" This is the part where I throw down two tracks and then a couple of my friends are all like "WAIT. YOU LISTEN TO THINGS THAT DON"T HAVE ROBOTIC ELEMENTS?" and I am like...exasperated by their overstatement. I enjoy "Stay Useless" though, because despite what they say I've always liked Pavement.  Similarities.

66. Japandroids / "The House That Heaven Built" I'm not thoroughly on board with Celebration Rock as the joyous wondrous thing so many people (at least on NPR) constantly want to tout it as being, but I get the strange nostalgia it seems to dredge up for those folks, and this song, I think, is something kind of special.

67. King Tuff / "Bad Thing"  One of them dancey time rock songs. If so inclined, one could manage the twist and the pogo on this.

68. The Men / "Open Your Heart"  I KNOW, RIGHT? There are so many guitar songs in a row! It's nuts. Also, I KNOW, RIGHT? I totally hear the Buzzcocks there too.  Hits all the right notes.
69. Savages / "Husbands" Right now Savages has only released a couple short songs for download and that's not enough because I need to see some more.  The evidence suggests the post-punk girl group is working to channel all the right influences, Siouxsie, Poly Styrene, and a seriously seriously weird female Ian Curtis/Joy Division vibe.  This is the real shit.

70. Actress / "Shadow From Tartarus"  R.I.P. is an album unhinged, and when a real beat surfaces, it's somehow all-encompassing.  I like to picture giant drunk robots dancing about to this.

71. Grimes / "Genesis"  I just realized that I think the aesthetic of this video was basically the theme of my NYE party.  Also, I've sort of run out of things to say about what Grimes is doing and why she keeps making it onto this list.  I love it. It's witchcraft.

72. Iron Galaxy / "Attention Seeker" House music. The real house, you know, not like that Tiesto shit.  Seriously, though, I know nothing about Iron Galaxy apart from that I enjoy this track a lot.
73. Ke$ha / "Die Young" Oh, that's right. I went there. Ke$ha jumped off the guilty list and onto the main stage.  You know why? Because this is a hedonistic pop song that effectively blends the bad with the good, the cheesy raps with the undeniable hook, the live in the moment anthem with fatalistic pop wreckage.  It doesn't matter if she uses 'beat' twice in one sentence, you only noticed because you sang it to yourself over and over and over again.

74. Chairlift / "Amanaemonesia" Clever lyrics disguised in slick, oddly New Wave trappings. The chorus is built for singing, and the turns are surprising.

75. Marina and The Diamonds / "Primadonna"  Electra Heart is like a 'hipster' Teenage Dream; an album that's all affectation, candy hearts, lip gloss, and sour gummies wrapped in a cotton candy cloud.

76. Major Lazer / "Get Free (feat. Amber Coffman)"  Amber Coffman is from Dirty Projectors, which means they're infiltrating in sneaky, sneaky ways. Major Lazer is partially a cartoon band, a collaborative project headed up by Diplo that brings in vocalists and tends to produce big, mixed up, electrified world sounds.  "Get Free" is a slowed down dance hall track that sways and bounces like a lazy carousel.

77. Rye Rye  / "Boom Boom" Rye Rye was on the scene for a hot minute a few years back and then found her career suddenly sidelined. 2012 saw the release of her first full album, and "Boom Boom" is a killer, wildly exuberant piece of pop hop that manages to rework a Venga Boys sample in a way that makes you pick up infinite extra lives.

78. Frank Ocean / "Super Rich Kids"  A loping, piano backed track that makes you feel like a million bucks even if you aren't near the Gossip Girl levels of living Ocean describes in his lyrics.

79. Jessie Ware / "110%" I don't know how she does it, but Jessie Ware takes a slow jam that should belong to your mother and makes it something light, breezy, and undeniably fresh.

80. Sharon Van Etten / "Give Out" The most beautiful social anxiety has ever sounded. Good lord, this song makes it work in a big way. 

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