So as much as I hate to admit it, I’m really into all of the Top Ten Lists at the end of every year. This being the end of a decade, I get even more lists to consume. From feminism to film, I’ve been spending much of the past week dissecting these lists and catching up on the many things I apparently missed these past 10 years.
Still, my favorite lists are those that are music-related. There’s no better way to look back on this ridiculous year than to examine its soundtrack. And so, my contribution to the deluge of lists.
10. In the Flowers – Animal Collective
I’ll break from convention here and put Animal Collective at the bottom of the list. While they remain one of my favorite bands, Animal Collective’s Merriweather Post Pavilion didn’t last me through the year. Soundtrack to January + February? Sure. Still, an epic album, with its first track, In the Flowers, remaining my favorite.
9. Forever and Always – Taylor Swift
Let’s be real: I have some problems with TSwift, but none too large to deny her a mention on my top ten. Which songs were blasting on repeat this summer as I drove the Beltway? Taylor’s. I also spent the better part of my vacation in San Francisco in the back of a van with my cousin singing Love Story. Forever + Always has a message that everyone can relate to, and it’s so damn catchy! Also, I’m pretty sure Taylor Swift will be the only person to mark this year in the “positive” column, overall.
8. French Navy – Camera Obscura
My Maudlin Career is a great album, and French Navy is its standout track. A timeless melody with a modern, sort of lo-fi twist. Great stuff.
7. Bad Romance – Lady GaGa
I couldn’t possibly write anything regarding 2009 without mentioning Lady GaGa. I think she’s fantastic. How wonderful to have a pop star writing songs that combat heteronormativity (and also taking a real stand for gay rights). I love that she plays into all of the hype and puts on a ridiculous show wherever she goes. She’s the best role model we’ve had for a long time in pop music. Keep on keepin’ on, gaga.
6. Blood Bank – Bon Iver
This song has such a chillingly romantic message, underlined by somber instrumentals. Justin Vernon knows how to write songs for fall/winter, and this one was playing with frequency on blustery days.
5. Chillin’ – Wale ft. Lady GaGa
“PG Chillin’, DC Chillin'”
“Yeaa, they keep sayin’ WHALE but the name’s Wal-ayy, [girls] call me Mr. Never-Wear-the-Same-Thang.”
Yea, that’s pretty much it. Reppin’ DC hard, this was a summer anthem for sure. It touched those of us in College Park, especially.
4. Daylight – Matt & Kim
From the Bacardi commercial, by way of Brooklyn. Matt & Kim rock hard and basically don’t give a fuck. Student Entertainment Events @ UMD brought them to campus in late October, and they put on a fabulous show.
3. Sleepyhead – Passion Pit
From some other commercial, by way of synthesizers. Passion Pit single-handedly kept me awake on my daily commute this summer on Metro. I will never tire of “Sleepyhead.”
2. Stillness is the Move – Dirty Projectors
The Dirty Projectors are one of the most rightly-hyped bands out there. Their combination of stunning vocals and syncopatic instrumentals makes for one hell of an album. Bitte Orca is a classic. I saw the Dirty Projectors at the Black Cat this fall, and their live set did not disappoint. I love this track especially because it really showcases the female vocalists (Amber Coffman, you are epic), but please, do yourselves a favor, and check out the entire album.
1. Rome – Phoenix
There was absolutely no question that Phoenix would top my list. Power pop at its absolute finest. There are a lot of stellar tracks on Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix, but “Rome” was my go-to.
1. Best I Ever Had – Drake
2. Girls and Boys in Love – The Rumble Strips
3. Heads Will Roll – Yeah Yeah Yeahs
4. The Calculation – Regina Spektor
5. Classic Rock in Spring/Freeway in Mind – Kurt Vile
6. While You Wait for the Others – Grizzly Bear
7. Party in the USA – Miley Cyrus
8. Cookin’ Up – Cam’ron
9. Now We Can See – The Thermals
10.Animal – Miike Snow