Monster – Kanye West
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ona42jz8w0k (hopefully this remains audio of the real song; Kanye has most of these taken down)
Not wanting to repeat artists on this list, I had a hard time picking between Monster and Dark Fantasy. Monster wins on its sheer grandeur and impossibility. How is this even pop music? It’s so massive that I can’t even imagine most people listening to it, and yet it reached the top 20 on the Billboard Chart. The chorus, first off, is proof that Kanye doesn’t need anyone to do his hooks for him. Also, the fact that Jay-Z and Nicki Minaj drop their best verses of the year on the track proves to me that most rappers do their greatest work with Kanye at the helm. The Bon Iver led outro is dumb and unnecessary, but still, that he even got in on it is a testament to the range Kanye attempts in this track. Boundaries clearly mean nothing; if Kanye wants something he gets it, even if it makes no sense to anyone else.
Marching Through Your Head – Zeus
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oc4qnM9rcVo (ignore the meh video; skip to 1:00 for music to start)
OK; technically this song was first released on the “Sounds Like Zeus EP” in 2009, but since it also appeared on the 2010 album “Say Us” I think it’s fair game. This song is just one of the gems found on that latter album, and maybe the only reason I like it over those songs is its brevity. It comes and goes so fast, constantly adding upon itself with layered touches that it is hard to keep up. Every trick in the Zeus cannon is used here; the harmonies, the jangling piano, stop start dynamics, all condensed into a neat 2 and a half minutes that makes it hard to wonder why these guys aren’t a significant amount more popular. If you listen to any new band this year, make it Zeus.
Texico Bitches – Broken Social Scene
Oh Broken Social Scene, my one hope for the year. While your album was not necessarily a disappointment, it was definitely not the same band that made my decade-favourites “You Forgot It In People” and “Broken Social Scene”. Still, the new Broken Social Scene could be great, and this song is a good example of that. Cutting down the fat in this case works very well; essentially you’re left with a four minute pop song with a “whoo”-inclusive chorus, and enough of that cluttered sound remaining to keep it interesting. If every song was as light and catchy as this one, the album would be a stunner, but instead it plods with some slower moments. Plus, can I just say Justin Peroff is the hero of Broken Social Scene; drumming here is impeccable.
Odessa – Caribou
I should probably listen to this song more often considering it is incredibly well crafted and fun to listen to. Unfortunately, like most music on this list though I was late to the party. Still, the difference between this and anything on Andorra is jarring, in a good way.
Fuck You – Cee-Lo Green
Sometimes songs are everywhere for a good reason. Yes it’s bordering on novelty; yes you have to look past the vomit-inducing Bruno Mars association, but fuck, it’s so cathartic that it’s hard not to either a) sing along or b) smile just a little bit (at least upon the first listen). Also, on another note, “Forget You” is the worst ever radio edit of a song. Will it win the Grammy? Who the fuck cares. If it doesn’t I’m expecting a Grammy edit heavily lambasting the world’s worst awards show.
All My Hate and My Hexes Are For You—Crocodiles
Sometimes (often) simplicity is the key to my heart, and that’s what happens on the closing song to Crocodile’s solid “Sleep Forever”. The previous song cross-fades into Hexes’ drum machine and organ, and when the vocal melody comes in so innocently, it hits like a brick. This song sounds like it could have been released any time in the past 25 years, and not in the faux-80s produced way employed by some, but in its universal minimalism and its gorgeous chorus that sounds so unworried that it could be hundreds of other songs. I feel like I’ve heard it before, but I can’t place it. All I know is that whatever it sounds like must be amazing, because this song is as well.
Turn Me Away (Get Munny) – Erykah Badu
Compared to my favourite track off of “New Amerykah Part One” (Soldier), Turn Me Away is a complete 180 degree turn for Badu. It’s the funkiness of the song that wins me over; that and the off kilter performance by her that seems like it gets more off key as the song progresses. The political strife of that first album is replaced by the more personal and lighthearted view of this album, and to good effect. Badu hasn’t sounded this easygoing and fun loving in some time (if ever?). Politics is all well and good, but sometimes you just wanna groove; this song accomplishes that.
Famine Affair – of Montreal
I listened to of Montreal’s new album months after it was released; a sin that Mark from 2 years ago would have hit present Mark for. Still, at least I got to it, and that means I got to this song as well. Kevin Barnes seemed to have turned his back on rational song structures with his last album, but this song is so simple and effortless you would wonder why he tries to sound like Prince more often than accomplishing something so fulfilling as Famine Affair. In 3 simple parts the song alternates between a simple bass-drum-guitar riff, a full on disco attack, and a near perfect chorus plucked straight from Pablo Honey-era Radiohead. It’s a shame that the song doesn’t give itself room to repeat some parts, but that’s one of the joys of the song: playing it on repeat is not difficult.
P.S. yeah, ladies sometimes you suck as well.
I Just Want to See Your Face – Serena Maneesh
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I-IPw9mv-J4 (video adds 45 seconds of noise to the beginning of the song)
Wow does this song sound a shit-load like My Bloody Valentine. This is a good thing since it is like MBV at their best (do they have a worst?). The vocals just keep going, and the whole song really doesn’t give the listener a break, but for two extremely short minutes it is a comparative island of pop after album opener and ear-bleeder Ayisha Abyss. I like my shoegaze fast and sweet; and if this isn’t a good epitome of such prerequisites then I don’t know what is.
No Future Part Three: Escape From No Future—Titus Andronicus
Sometimes a song can get ingrained in your head in odd ways. Take, for example, a roommate who really enjoys playing his acoustic guitar and singing a song from a band you’ve never heard of. Well, after a few months of hearing the chorus of “You will always be a loser” without having heard the actual song, I finally took the dive. What I got is something that was very close to what I was promised of Titus Andronicus; some sort of hybrid between Bruce Springsteen and Neutral Milk Hotel. It will always remain attached to that lone voice singing with the acoustic guitar, though, and has a deeper meaning that way. It’s a song that has been adopted into my life through living with someone; quite an odd experience, but still, makes for a powerful song.
Special awesome video inclusion:
Duck Sauce- Barbra Streisand
whoooo-ooo-o-o-o-o-oo-o-o-ooo-oo x 50