Friday, June 05, 2009

List #1: 104 (More) Songs that I Could Have Written About Last Year

Last year I wrote about a song I particularly liked at a rate of one song per week. Now that the 52 Songs in 52 Weeks Essay Project is complete, I'm beginning a new project of 52 Lists in 52 Weeks. As a bridge between the two, I figured I would kick off the List project with a list of 104 More Songs I Could Have Written About Last Year:

1) “TPS” by 10 Sugar Charlie, from the album End of the World
2) “So Alive” by Ryan Adams, from the album Rock N Roll
3) “Promises” by The Architects, from the First Blood Oxblood Records Sampler
4) “Car Underwater” by Armor for Sleep, from the album What To Do When You Are Dead
5) “The Truth About Heaven” by Armor for Sleep, from the album, What To Do When You Are Dead
6) “Invalid Litter Dept.” by At the Drive-In, from the album Relationship of Command
Comment: This song is hardcore!
7) “The Boys of Summer” as covered by The Ataris, from the album So Long, Astoria
Comment: This remake of the Don Henley song makes the list for one reason. Henley sings about the irony of seeing a “Dead Head sticker" on a Cadillac. The Ataris make the irony contemporary by singing about a “Black Flag sticker."
8) “Dammit” by Blink 182, from the album Dude Ranch
9) “Reckless Abandon” by Blink 182, from the album Take Off Your Pants and Jacket
10) “Strangers When We Meet” by David Bowie, from the album 1. Outside
Comment: An extremely weird and disturbing concept album is redeemed by this amazing song.
11) “Girl All the Bad Guys Want” by Bowling for Soup, from the album Drunk Enough to Dance
12) "Cat Like Thief" by Boxcar Racer, from their self-titled album
13) “Cannonball” by The Breeders, from the album Last Splash
Comment: One of the catchiest songs of the 1990s!
14) “Divine Hammer” by The Breeders, from the album Last Splash
15) “Easy/Lucky/Free” by Bright Eyes, from the album Digital Ash in a Digital Urn
16) “Waste of Paint” by Bright Eyes, from the album Lifted...
Comment: This song is so good that it seems like it could fit seamlessly on any of Bob Dylan’s great albums.
17) “I Must Belong Somewhere” by Bright Eyes, from the album Cassadaga
Comment: Forget Bob Dylan. The lyrics to this song seem like they could have come right out of Walt Whitman’s “Song of Myself.”
18) “Fire Eye’d Boy” by Broken Social Scene, from their self-titled album
19) “It’s All Gonna Break” by Broken Social Scene, from their self-titled album
Comment: This is the last track on BSS’s fantastic album. And there is no better way to end the album than with this tremendous anthem.
20) “Backed Out on the…” by Kevin Drew, from the album Broken Social Scene Presents: Spirit If…
Comment: I am a sucker for any song where J Mascis makes a guest appearance on guitar.
21) “Summer” by Buffalo Tom, from the album Sleepy Eyed
22) “Broken Chairs” by Built to Spill, as featured on their Live album
Comment: 20 minutes of epic rock & roll. Now I am going to make up for neglecting so many great BTS songs on the original list.
23) “Big Dipper” by Built to Spill, from the album There’s Nothing Wrong With Love
24) “Cleo” by Built to Spill, from the album There’s Nothing Wrong With Love
Comment: A song that is sung from the point of view of a fetus, which I consider quite imaginative.
25) “Distopian Dream Girl” by Built to Spill, from the album There’s Nothing Wrong With Love
Comment: This song gets special mention for the lyrics, “My stepfather looks just like David Bowie, but he hates David Bowie.” Sung from the point of view of an angst-ridden teenager, this one line sums it all up.
26) “You Were Right” by Built to Spill, from the album Keep It Like a Secret
Comment: I could’ve included every song on this album. I’ve always thought this song was creative for taking lyrical snippets from hit rock songs of the 60s and 70s and then commenting on whether they are true or not. (See #99 below.)
27) “Conventional Wisdom” by Built to Spill, from the album You In Reverse
Comment: Besides being a great song, “Conventional Wisdom” has an amazing video.
28) “The Wait” by Built to Spill, from the album You In Reverse
29) “Glycerine” by Bush, from the album Sixteen Stone
Comment: I’ve always been a sucker for this song although nothing else by the band Bush ever did much for me.
30)“Short Skirt/Long Jacket” by Cake, from the album Comfort Eagle
On the original 52 Songs List it was a toss up between this song and “Sheep Go To Heaven.”
31) “00:15:00” by Chomsky, from the album Onward Quirky Soldiers
Comment: The closest thing ever to a hit single from a great local band from Dallas, TX.
32) “Blood Red Summer” by Coheed and Cambria, from the album In Keeping Secrets of the Silent Earth
33) “Bend and Not Break” by Dashboard Confessional, from the album A Mark, A Mission, A Brand, A Scar
34) “Again I Go Unnoticed” by Dashboard Confessional, from the album The Places You Have Come to Fear the Most
35) “Different Names for the Same Thing” by Death Cab for Cutie, from the album Plans
Comment: I was never sold on this song until I saw the video treatment it received on the Directions DVD.
36) “I Was Once a Loyal Lover” by Death Cab for Cutie, from The Open Door EP
Comment: Recently released, this 5 song EP seems like a last ode to bachelorhood from DCfC front man Ben Gibbard, who recently became engaged to actress and musician Zooey Deschanel. This song includes the lyrics, “All my friends are foreward thinking, getting hitched and quitting drinking.”
37) “July, July” by The Decemberists, from the album Castaways & Cutouts
38) “Crane Wife 1&2” by The Decemberists, from the album The Crane Wife
39) “I Live For That Look” by Dinosaur Jr., from the album Green Mind
40) “Start Choppin” by Dinosaur Jr., from the album Where You Been
41) “Drawerings” by Dinosaur Jr., from the album Where You Been
42) “Fight Test” by The Flaming Lips, from the album Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots
43) “When I grow Up” by Garbage, from the album Version 2.0
44) “Holiday” or “Red Letter Day” or “Forgive and Forget” or “Central Standard Time” by The Get Up Kids, from the album Something to Write Home About
Comment: A tremendous album by these guys from Kansas City. Impossible to pick just one song.
45) “Rock Star” by Hole, from the album Live Through This
Comment: Only someone who spent significant time in the Pacific Northwest can truly appreciate how Courtney Love screams the proper name “Olympia.”
46) “Bridge and Tunnel” by The Honorary Title, from the album Anything Else But the Truth
47) “Why I Like Robins” by Hum, from the album You’d Prefer an Astronaut
48) “The Mixed Tape” by Jack’s Mannequin, from the album Everything in Transit
49) “Starman” by Seu Jorge, from the soundtrack to the movie The Life Aquatic
Comment: How is it possible to beat an acoustic cover of David Bowie’s classic song sung in Portugese?

50) “Ragoo” by Kings of Leon, from the album Because of the Times
Comment: Besides “On Call”, this is the only other song on the album I really enjoy.
51) “Molly Chambers” by Kings of Leon, from the album Youth & Young Manhood
Comment: This may be the single that everyone recognizes from this album, but it is a truly solid and enjoyable album from top to bottom.
52) “Awake” by Letters to Cleo, from the album Wholesale Meats and Fish
53) “Here & Now” by Letters to Cleo, from the album Aurora Gory Alice
54) “Acid Tongue” by Jenny Lewis, from her album Acid Tongue
Comment: Chris Robinson from The Black Crowes sings backup vocals on this song.
55) “Honk & Wave” by Limbeck, from the album Hi, Everything’s Great
56) “Wishing Heart” by Lisa Loeb, from the album Firecracker
57) “Garden of Delights” by Lisa Loeb, from the album Tails
Comment: Go ahead and take a close listen to these lyrics. Who would have imagined that Lisa Loeb could have released something like this?
58) “My Best Girl” by Lucero, from their self-titled album
59) “Wolves at Night” or “Golden Ticket” by Manchester Orchestra, from the album Like a Virgin Losing a Child
Comment: Taking a listen through this album, I’m struck by how solid it is from beginning to end.
60) “Lady Fingers” by Luscious Jackson, from the album Electric Honey
61) “For the Actor” by Mates of the State, from the album Bring It Back
62) “Someday I Suppose” by The Mighty, Mighty Bosstones, from the Ska-Core, The Devil, And More EP
63) “Our Love” by Rhett Miller, from the album The Instigator
Comment: You have to give credit to a song with lyrics that gloss the amorous correspondence of 19th Century German composer Richard Wagner and writer Franz Kafka
64) “I’m Totally Not Down with Rob’s Alien” by Minus the Bear, from the They Make Beer Commercials Like This EP
65) “3rd Planet” by Modest Mouse, from the album The Moon & Antarctica
66) “Fake Empire” by The National, from the album Boxer
67) “Slow Show” by The National, from the album Boxer
68) “A Brand New Low” by National Fire Theory, from the Ending With White Lights EP
69) “Failure Forever” by National Fire Theory, from the Blackout Days EP
70) “Sucker” by New Found Glory, from their self-titled album
71) “Lonely Holiday” by The Old 97’s, from the album Fight Songs
Comment: Did you know that this band got its name from a famous train crash that was later turned into a song by Johnny Cash?
72) “Elderly Woman Behind the Counter In a Small Town” by Pearl Jam, from the Album Vs.
73) “Never Said” by Liz Phair, from the album Exile in Guyville
74) “By the Bed” by Phantom Planet, from their self-titled album
75) “Wave of Mutilation” by The Pixies, from their Best of… greatest hits album
76) “Strange Currencies” by REM, from their album Monster
77) “Portions for Foxes” by Rilo Kiley, from their album More Adventurous
78) “My Life After Death Pt. I & II” by Roman Numerals, from their self-titled album
79) “Consent to Dissent” by Roman Numerals, from the First Blood Oxblood Record Sampler
80) “Mistaken” by Save Ferris, from the album Modified
81) “Every Man has a Molly” by Say Anything, from the album …Is a Real Boy
82) “No Soul” by Say Anything, from the album In Defense of the Genre
83) “Inbetweener” by Sleeper, from the album Smart
84) “Delicious” by Sleeper, from the album Smart
Comment: Sleeper has to be one of the most underrated bands of the mid 90s. Perhaps, I am biased because of the crush I had on singer and guitarist Louise Wener a dozen years ago.
85) “Hands Open” by Snow Patrol, from the album Eyes Open
86) “Miss Misery” by Elliott Smith, from the soundtrack to the movie Good Will Hunting
Comment: I was never a big Elliott Smith fan until I read Ben Nugent’s wonderful biography of the Portland-based singer-songwriter. To answer any questions you may have: Yes, this is Smith’s most commercially successful song. Yes, I do also own 5 other Elliott Smith albums besides the movie soundtrack. Yes, I do actually like his entire body of work. However, reading Nugent’s account of Smith performing the song at that year’s Academy Awards reinforced for me that it is perfectly acceptable to like popular stuff.
87) “Fidelity” by Regina Spektor, from the album Begin to Hope
Comment: I repeat, it is perfectly acceptable to like popular stuff and this song is one of the catchiest songs I’ve ever heard.
88) “Later that Year” by Straylight Run, from the Prepare to Be Wrong EP
89) “Who Will Save Us Now” by Straylight Run, from the album The Needles In Space
Comment: Straylight Run’s first single from their debut album was entitled, “Existentialism on Prom Night.” As a music fan, I think you had to have diminished hopes for an experimental emo band that gives its songs such pretentious titles. However, Prepare to Be Wrong is an amazing EP and while the follow-up full-length The Needles In Space is spotty, it does have some gems like this one.
90) “Divine Intervention” by Matthew Sweet, from the album Girlfriend
91) “Freewheel” by Team Dresch, from the album Personal Best
92) “‘Til My Head Falls Off” by They Might Be Giants, from the album Factory Showroom
93) “You’re Not the Boss of Me” by They Might Be Giants, from the Dial-A-Song anthology
Comment: This was the theme song to the TV program Malcolm in the Middle.
94) “No Depression” by Uncle Tupelo, from the 89/93 anthology.
Comment: I once sung this song in church with a member backing me up on guitar.
95) “Oxford Comma” by Vampire Weekend, from their self-titled album
Comment: Just in case you were wondering, there is such a thing as an oxford comma. This song raises such important and insightful questions as why we should care about such a thing. The video for this song is cool and the song is brilliant.
96) “El Scorcho” by Weezer, from the album Pinkerton
97) “Undone (The Sweater Song)” by Weezer, from their self-titled Blue album
98) “The Greatest Man That Ever Lived (Variations on a Shaker Hymn” by Weezer, from their self-titled Red album
Comment: If you’ve never heard this song it is hard to imagine. It is a true rock anthem that is also a mash-up of different genres, from Hip-Hop to metal to punk to alternative rock to an imitation of Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody.” The song is arrogant, sarcastic, schizophrenic, and completely over the top. What’s more, the song is loosely based on the Shaker hymn “Simple Gifts.” Confused yet?

99) “Heart Songs” by Weezer, from their self-titled Red album
Comment: The third verse, an ode to Nirvana’s Nevermind, gives me chills.
100) “Last of the good Straight Girls” by Susan Werner, from the album Last of the Good Straight Girls
101) “Time Between Trains” by Susan Werner, from the album Time Between Trains
102) “Petaluma Afternoons” by Susan Werner, from the album Time Between Trains
Comment: This was Werner’s last guitar-driven folk album before she branched out into piano-centric Jazz and early 20th Century popular music. This song is a wonderful ode to Northern California. Although she puts down Oregon and Washington, she does so beautifully. “Portland is nothing but a downspout / Seattle is only sailboats in the rain.”
103) “Lyric” by Zwan, from the album Mary Star of the Sea
104) “Honestly” by Zwan, from the album Mary Star of the Sea