Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Chasing UPS Trucks on St. Paul Pavements: Top 11 Songs of 2008

(This could end up being my year-end list. Or I might put up a new one)

(I'm aware that my #1 song was first released in 2007 but careful wiki-research reveals that it did not have an official U.S. single release until 2008. A technicality? Yes. But I'm not changing it.)

11. Yeah Sapphire - The Hold Steady

Listen to the song here while it's still legal. It makes the list solely for the following lines:

Sapphire, if Cheyenne's too small/We'll haul it all back to St. Paul
I was just about to call you when you called

or maybe these lines:

Sapphire, if St. Paul don't call / We've always got Aberdeen
'Cause dreams they seem to cost money but money costs some dreams

Yeah. it's the latter.

10. Easy Does It - Bonnie "Prince" Billy

Not sure if this is an "official" video but I like it. The song pretty much describes my life philosophy in 1987, 1993, 2002, and maybe 2009.

9. Cape Cod Kwassa Kwassa - Vampire Weekend
I could pick five different songs from their album for this list but this is the one that I sing for hours after hearing it. I make up new lyrics sometimes. Great song. Annoying/funny video.

8. White Winter Hymnal - Fleet Foxes

Gets more perfect (technically not possible) each time I hear it.

7. Chasing Pavements - Adele

Back in the mid-80s I would go to late, lamented Northern Lights Music in Minneapolis (or sometimes the one in St. Paul, after which I'd hit the White Castle on Lexington). I'd buy well-produced, carefully written "soul" records by British artists like Simply Red and the Style Council. I'd take the records carefully out of their English sleeves and listen slowly/sleekly/collegiately to each song, all the while making a cassette version of the album. Then, I'd put the record away and never listen to it on vinyl again. I'd listen to the tape 10 times, a dozen tops. Then I'd go back to Northern Lights and do it all over again. This song reminds me of those albums. Go here and find the video.

6. All the Lost Souls Welcome You to San Francisco - American Music Club

Yes that is Lois Henrickson from Big Love in the video (or Laura Palmer's mom from Twin Peaks if you prefer). When I saw American Music Club this past summer in Echo Park, she was in the audience, with the guy who plays her grandson Ben on Big Love. I hope they weren't on a date because that would be weird. Anyway, I was in San Francisco recently. The souls there are not nearly as lost as in Los Angeles. That's a compliment. To both cities.

5. Why Do You Let Me Stay Here? - She & Him

If she asked me to, yeah I'd have to marry her.

4. The Old Days - Dr. Dog

There was a time when I'd play this song over and over again on my iPod. It was like I was addicted to it and only further listenings would cure me. Then I listened to the rest of the album and liked it nearly as much. Scroll down the song list here and find the song and listen. You might like it or you might consider it time better spent doing something else.

3. Buriedfed - Miles Benjamin Anthony Robinson

An odd song, a beautiful song, an iPod-on-an-airplane song if there ever was one. The song just builds up and soars and flies and lands and it's unsettling and your brain is rattled but then you're glad you got where you were going.

2. Ask Her For Adderall - The Hold Steady

Why they made this song a not-available-on-iTunes-only-available-on CD "bonus track" I have no idea. It's the only linkless/video-less song on my list. It's also maybe the tightest, coolest, purest, best rock and roll song I've heard since this one and that's saying quite a lot. Some memorable lyrics: "If she wants to help the cause / Tell her we need sterile gauze." And it gets pushed up one spot in the rankings for the final verse which updates all us listeners on what happened to two characters from some songs from two albums ago. That's thorough!

1. Paper Planes - M.I.A.

In the end it wasn't even close. I could hear this song every hour, every day of my life and still not get sick of it. I can't say that about any other song (not Crazy, not Hey Ya, not even Baker Street). And I'd have to marry M.I.A. too. There would have to be a prenup though. And has any song ever started out better than this?

I fly like paper, get high like planes /
If you catch me at the border I got visas in my name

(what's important here is that she has VISAS (plural) in her name. Not just one.)

and two bonus songs from 2007:

Rainbowarriors - Coco Rosie

Sweetheart in the Summer - Ween
(not a video; just the sky)

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