Now, I listen to way too much music, very different stuff, and choosing a few songs as the standouts from this year is basically impossible for me. :o)
I ended up not including quite a few of my favourite artists but they will make an appearance in my next blog about my favourite albums of 2009.
Ulysses - Franz Ferdinand
The lead single from the band's third album "Tonight: Franz Ferdinand" was released right in January and I've listened to it way too many times since then. The brilliant thing is, I haven't grown sick of it yet. The song is quirky, hot, dancy and you can hear Alex Kapranos is a much better singer now than he used to be when the band took to the charts 5 years ago.
If I had to choose one new song I liked the best this year, it most probably would be Ulysses.
P.S. The video for Ulysses must be one of my all-time-favourites as well. Weird rulez.
Zero - Yeah Yeah Yeahs
Yeah Yeah Yeahs changed their sound with their third album "It's Blitz" a little bit and with that they caught my attention. The whole album is pretty much listenable (which I just really can't say about the earlier albums...maybe I'm gonna give them a fifth chance next year) but for me Zero is still a stand out and a song that can wake me up and make me dance basically at any time of the day or night.
Besides the video for Zero must be - again - one of my all-time favourite ones.
Kabul Shit - Lily Allen
I could have chosen basically any song off Lily's second album but I decided the b-side to the lead single The Fear would do here just as fine, if not better. Kabul Shit sounds like what Pet Shop Boys might sound if they were 30 years younger and a girl. The melody is kinda melancholic (especially in the chorus) and the sound of the record probably a little more 'electronic' than we're used to from Lily.
As I shared on this blog earlier I hadn't known this song until Lily sang it on her gig here in Prague - and it was love on first listen that I still haven't fallen out of.
The lyrics of the song deserve a mention, nah, not only a mention, they deserve to be carefully listened to. I think anyone in the late teens/early 20's who at least sometimes uses their brains for thinking for themselves can identify with them.
Sample: Now, you'd think that we'd be grateful/For the fact we've got a choice/Instead we throw it back at people/Who don't even have a voice.
After The Event - Pet Shop Boys
I don't know why some artists don't put their best songs on the albums and instead save them for b-sides and bonus features. After The Event didn't make it on the band's tenth album "Yes", it was among the bonus features on one version of the release and it was later released as a b-side on the second single Did You See Me Coming, yet the album featured two songs that are rather infuriating to listen to.
Even if you don't listen to the lyrics of After the Event describing a typical day full of usual annoying stuff climaxing in a hysteria following someone dying - drama without meaning - you can't stay unaffected by the song when it reaches its come on come on chorus. People keep on describing Neil Tennant's style of singing as expressionless but to me personally his delivery only amplifies the content of the songs.
The lyrics of this song actually kind of remind me of an Andy Warhol quote The movies make emotions look so strong and real, whereas when things really do happen to you, it's like watching television - you don't feel anything.
Dog Days Are Over - Florence + the Machine
Sonically, this song is the closest you can get to a 'fountain of life'. Whenever I listen to it I can't help but visualize people running through grass fields, no kidding. And it's all very colourful. :o)
Uprising - Muse
Well, this song doesn't really have much of a competition on Muse's newest album, does it. A Doctor Who theme rip-off but it still works for me. Sexy rhythm, Orwellian lyrics...what more could a girl with a slight crush on Dom Howard want... The little drummer boy himself, perhaps.
Empire State of Mind - Jay-Z feat. Alicia Keys
Not a fan of hip-hop but this song was love on first listen, I admit mostly because of Alicia's singing and piano playing (her own, just sung, version can be found on "The Element Of Freedom", her newest album) but the rush of energy and sheer joy take over me whenever I listen to it. There really aren't that many songs that can do this. Two huge thumbs up for Jay-Z, Alicia and the city the whole song's about: NYC.
Doesn't Mean Anything - Alicia Keys
Alicia allowed pop to co-write a song with her and the result is just brilliant. The lead single from "The Element of Freedom" is sad and uplifting at the same time: as only the best pop songs can be.
She Wolf - Shakira
I nicknamed the song The Gayest Song Ever. There's a She Wolf in your closet/Open up and set her free. Dancing Queen has just died.
Shakira on the other hand is as quirky as ever and she's back.
Blasphemy - Robbie Williams
So hard to choose just one song off Robbie's latest album but I'm gonna have to go with this one. Great lyrics, great tune (Chambers, after all) and tho the strings arrangement is brilliant the most important thing for me is that you could sing this song accompanied by just the piano and it would still have all its power. So fucking well done.
I Need To Know - Kris Allen
Originally the song that I wanted to write about here was the lead single Live Like We're Dying which I've listened way too many times since its release. But I think I Need To Know is a song that doesn't get nearly enough praize and therefore I'm just gonna sing some myself.
This song makes me feel. It doesn't make me feel for one of my made up characters that keep popping up in my head all the time, it makes me FEEL. And it's not only the power of the lyrics and the melody, it's Kris's weary delivery, the insistance in his voice that can actually take me to what he's singing about or rather to whom he's singing to. You find out for yourselves.
Out of The Blue - Julian Casablancas
Yes, I know I am going to hell in a purple basket/At least I will be in another world, while you're pissing on my casket.
That's a true rocker attitude...
Vulture - Patrick Wolf
Vulture sounds like Soft Cell 2009 - no surprise Marc Almond almost ended up sharing a stage with Patrick in November. It didn't work out this time but I'm hoping it will happen eventually because it's always great seeing your favourite artists collaborating.
Note: if you don't check out the whole album "The Bachelor", at least give a listen to Hard Times, a song that competed neck to neck with Vulture for this spot. It features some 'violin riffs'. :o)
Battle For The Sun - Placebo
Just like the song itself progresses and grows stronger and more intense with every note, the more I listened to the song the more I ended up liking it. Now, 9 months after the release it made it to this list and I think it very much deserves to be here.
Entertaining Thoughts - Tommy Reilly
I really don't know what to say about this song. It's my favourite on Tommy's debut called "Words on the Floor". It starts as a simple piano song and ends up being a big Fucking Brillaint Song and just like with Kris Allen's songs I just wish more people would know about it and appreciate it and love it.