sand is overrated

all songs posted are for evaluation only. if you hear something you like and would like to hear more, please go ahead and support the artists by buying their music--i will always include links for you to do so. copyright holders: if anything on my site needs to be taken down, please email me and it will be removed immediately.

Monday, December 29, 2008

2008 is overrated : tracks of the year (1-10)

click for tracks 11-20
click for tracks 21-30

1. "lost coastlines"
okkervil river
from the lp the stand ins (jagjaguwar)

maybe it's the mammoth expectations that accompanies every okkervil river release since i heard black sheep boy, but i was sadly underwhelmed by the stand ins. however, "lost coastlines" was it from the first listen. with will sheff's trademark ear for melody and clever lyrics, this vocal duet is a song that marks the transition of jonathan meiburg away from okkervil river, but it also reminded me of an applicable transition in my life and provided inspiration for my favorite post of the year. [more]


2. "backwards walk"
frightened rabbit
from the lp the midnight organ fight (fat cat)

the midnight organ fight had so many great songs on it that it might have been difficult to identify my favorite one. but what might have been never was, because "backwards walk" so clearly struck a chord in my life and, well, provided material for my second-favorite post of the year. looking back on these two songs, and knowing where i am at now, i am so thankful for the path that i have walked--someone was indeed waiting for me, and someone is waiting for you, too. [more]


3. "inní mér syngur vitleysingur"
sigur rós
from the lp með suð í eyrum við spilum endalaust (xl recordings)

of all the different ways that happiness manifested itself on með suð í eyrum við spilum endalaust, the one that surprised me the most was the unabashed expressions of love in "inní mér syngur vitleysingur": "þegar að við hittumst (when we meet) / þegar að við kyssumst (when we kiss) / varirnar brenndu, höldumst í hendur (the lips burning, we hold hands) / ég sé þig vakinn (i see you wake) / ég sé þig nakinn (i see you naked) / inní mér syngur vitleysingur (within me a lunatic sings)". pure joy...


4. "breezy"
conor oberst
from the ep gentleman's pact (self-released)

written by conor about an amazing woman who tragically passed way before her time, "breezy" is simply one of the most beautiful songs i've ever heard. there is a pain in conor's voice that may seem to be too often present when he sings, but in this song and in these circumstances there is no doubting the legitimacy of the quivers of his voice, made all the more haunting by the accompanying reverb. the song is beautiful in any context, but the backstory and the singularity of the subject give it such an added poignancy and sadness--it is absolutely devastating. [more]


5. "3 rounds and a sound"
blind pilot
from the lp 3 rounds and a sound (expunged records)

this one is easy. i think it's safe to say that this song is a primary reason why i'm in the situation that i'm in today. from the opening lines ("they're playing our song / can you see the lights? / can you hear the hum?") to the gentle strums of an acoustic guitar, to the chorus ("blooming up from the ground / 3 rounds and a sound / like whispering you know me / and you know me"); this was the moment we knew we were interested. beautiful.


6. "re: stacks"
bon iver
from the lp for emma, forever ago (jagjaguwar)

on an album overflowing with staggering honesty, "re: stacks" was the final curtain, the circle closing, and the journey completing. having now found the ability to move on from the past, "everything that happens is from now on" for justin vernon. "this is not the sound of a new man / or crispy realization / it's the sound of the unlocking and the lift away / your love will be safe with me". just so.


7. "lover's day"
tv on the radio
from the lp dear science (dgc/interscope)

much like "couleurs" by m83, "lover's day" was notable to me for the eroticism it conjured up. but while "couleurs" is vaguely sensual as an instrumental piece, "lover's day" is blatantly sexual in its lyrics. but like any good lover, the wanton desire and erupting passion are carefully balanced with tender hooks and delicate glances: "yes here of course there are miracles / under your sighs and moans / i'm gonna take you, i'm gonna take you / i'm gonna take you home"


8. "he doesn't know why"
fleet foxes
from the lp fleet foxes (sub pop)

i can't even really identify what it is about "he doesn't know why" that i love so much. maybe it's the beach boy vocal harmonies that open the song. maybe it's the feverishly melodic verses. maybe it's robin pecknold's soaring vocals in the second half of the song. or maybe all of the above give the song such a sunny, lilting disposition that it's impossible not to like.


9. "if only it were true"
the walkmen
from the lp you & me (gigantic)

i guess a lot of my favorite songs have a lot to do with my state of my mind as i near the end of 2008. while there are so many great songs on you & me, "if only it were true" stands out for me simply because of the wistfulness of the closing stanza: "so don't come calling for me / 'cause baby, my dream ain't through / and when, when i've had enough / oh then i'll die in dreams of you"


10. "bixby canyon bridge"
death cab for cutie
from the lp narrow stairs (atlantic records)

without a doubt the standout track on narrow stairs, "bixby canyon bridge" is ben gibbard's discourse on the struggle of seeking and recovering a muse that cannot be sought or procured. the band let loose nearly two minutes of aggression and frustration that threaten to fracture the song completely, only to regroup in a place where the listener realizes that the muse was there all along, and yielding one of the better opening tracks in recent memory. [more]

3 Comments:

Anonymous Agnes said...

Fabulous list! I too was a little disappointed by 'The Stand Ins' at first, but it definitely grew on me with repeated listens. FR had my fave tune of the year with 'The Modern Leper', and Sigur Ros never disappoint. 'He Doesn't Know Why' is also my favourite FF track.

Nice post - you have superb taste!

December 29, 2008 at 8:26 PM  
Blogger G said...

Is there any way I can get a copy of the mp3 for Conor Oberst's "Breezy"?

I didn't get to see a live show, and I'm dying for a copy.

Thanks

January 4, 2009 at 9:49 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Lost Coastlines is absolutely fabulous. great choice, would be mine, too.

January 8, 2009 at 3:10 PM  

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all songs posted are for evaluation only. if you hear something you like and would like to hear more, please go ahead and support the artists by buying their music--i will always include links for you to do so. copyright holders: if anything on my site needs to be taken down, please email me and it will be removed immediately.

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