Surprise! Because I couldn’t leave you lost and gone forever, my sweet Clementines, I wrote you THREE BLOG POSTS when I was supposed to be packing. How much do you love me? The most, right? I know. So you WILL have new posts from me today, tomorrow and Christmas day. HUZ-FREAKING-ZAH. Love your faces.
I wanted to write a “top ten songs of the year” post. But nothing with me is easy, really. As you all know. I couldn’t. I couldn’t narrow it down to ten. I had SO MANY HAPPY SONGS this year, seriously. So I went through the new songs I purchased for myself this year, and I made a list of my favorites. Thirty. So I said, ok, rank them, and knock off the bottom 20. But I couldn’t, listen, I couldn’t do that, because yes, the top ten are marginally *better* than the middle ten or the bottom ten, but I LOVE the middle ten and bottom ten, and I want you to KNOW about the rest of them just as much as I want you to know about the top ten.
So I’m doing a three-day song extravaganza. I KNOW. It is EPIC. Don’t even get me STARTED.
However! If you are a music person? You’re totally going to hate this and you should leave right now because I didn’t follow the rules. I’m a musical heathen. I don’t know what’s *good* music; I don’t know what makes a *skilled* musician or band. I know what makes me happy (or, in my case, melancholy, which is what I like, most of the time) and I know what thrills me and so that’s how I pick my favorite music.
Also, and this is going to kill the hoi polloi among you, it doesn’t have to have been released in 2011. It only matters that I heard it for the first time in 2011. If I was on the pulse of music, sure, I might have enough music from 2011 to make up a list. But this is a list of my favorite music I HEARD in 2011. Not that was RELEASED in 2011. One of these is from 11 years ago. If you don’t like that, I’m sure Rolling Stone has a fancy-schmancy list or something. Go listen to that.
Also: I am well-aware that this list makes me look like, alternately, a crazy person, a teeny-bopper, and like I’m in the middle of some sort of major depressive episode. I’m a little of the first (although I’d prefer to say I have eclectic taste, or you can say no taste at all, if you want), I assure you I’m not the second, although sometimes I get sucked into their music, and I’m actually not having the third at the moment at all. Things are good. I’m in a really good place, thanks. I just really, really like sad songs. No matter what mood I’m in. Happy, sad, whatever. Doesn’t matter. I love a moody, sad, depressing song. They’re my thing. So yep, a lot of these are as dark as midnight. But I promise I’m not a secret cutter. I’d suck at that. I’m very clumsy and I’d end up bleeding out instead of making a totally emo statement.
We’re starting today with numbers 30-21, and (duh) moving onto 20-11 tomorrow and 10-1 the next day. I know! Fancy fancy fancy. I’m like the Spin magazine of people who know nothing about music, seriously.
And to make things look OFFICIAL and shit, I even put the name of the song, the singer and/or band, the album, the year the album was released, and one of my favorite lyrics from the song. AND A VIDEO. So you can listen to it! I know. You love me so hard right now, right? You’re welcome.
(Psst, if you decide you love one or more of these and must have them, please for the love of Pete pay for the download. I know, I know, you like to stick it to the man and download shit illegally. That’s so totally black-ops of you! Here’s the thing. These people deserve to get paid for what they do. So pay the $1.49 or whatever on iTunes – most of these are $.99, to be honest – and download them legally. You’ll feel better and you’ll put a little money in an artist’s pocket and karma’s a bitch, you know?)
30. Jar of Hearts – Christina Perri
Album: lovestrong (2011)
And I’ve learned to live half alive
Yes, yes, I’m already making half of you turn up your noses. I know this is some teenager singer and I’d turn up my nose if I were you, too. But have you heard this song? It’s totally pretty. I mean, yes, sure, some of the lyrics are a little silly and emo and “I wrote you this POEM at 2AM when I couldn’t SLEEP because I love you so MUCH.” Also she has pretty annoying hair. But give the kid a break. She has a lovely voice, and it’s a pretty song, and I like it very much when I hear it.
29. Our American Cousin – Molly Lewis
Album: I Made You a CD…But I Eated It (2009)
The war is now in the past/and this play really isn’t that bad…
I was lucky enough to have been introduced to Molly Lewis by a friend who has excellent musical taste this year. Her music is quirky and fun and filled with ukulele goodness and she is just completely adorable. This song makes me so happy, because it’s written from the point of view of three different people inside Ford’s Theater the night Lincoln was shot – a patron, Booth, and Lincoln himself. (In case you aren’t a weirdo theater presidential assassin nerd like me, and like to know things, and don’t already know this, Our American Cousin is the name of the play that Lincoln was watching the night he was assassinated by Booth.) This is a ton and a half of fun. And if you like this, you will love the rest of Lewis’s work. She’s just a gem, and I’m so happy someone thought to say to me this year, “Hey! You know who you might like? Molly Lewis!”
28. Elaborate Lives – Adam Pascal
Album: Aida Original Broadway Cast Recording (2000)
I wish I had the courage/to tell you face to face/but I could wait forever/for the perfect time and place
I saw Aida for the first time this year. I knew nothing about the show, and honestly, wasn’t all that excited, because (and I know, yell at me if you must) I really don’t like Elton John. But it was spectacular. I loved every minute of it. I came home and immediately downloaded the whole album. This is one of my favorite songs from the show. (The plot, in very brief – Aida, the princess of Nubia, is taken prisoner by an Egyptian warrior. They fall in love. His fiancée is the Pharoah’s daughter, and there is a heartbreaking love triangle.) So, Elton John! After 2011, I’m grudgingly cool with you. At least when it comes to musicals. I still think your popular music is shouty and jangly.
27. Hannah – Freelance Whales
Album – Weathervanes (2010)
And if you’re partial to the night sky/if you’re vaguely attracted to rooftops
I have no idea what’s happening in this song but you can’t listen to it and not be cheered, and then kind of sad, and then cheered again. It’s got this tinkly cheerful part, then this soaring kind of melancholy part, then this tinkly part again. It’s kind of like me, only in a song? It’s got ALL the emotions and it runs through them in like a three-minute time span. So now you know what it’s like to be friends with me. Exhausting! But pretty. With fun parts.
26. Down by the Water – The Drums
Album – The Drums (2010)
If you fall asleep down by the water/baby I’ll carry you all the way home
This is kind of almost a fairy-tale creepy song. The beginning part is like a romantic stalker singing it. I kind of love it and fear it at the same time. It’s pretty, though. It’s one of those driving-late-at-night songs that you listen to that sets the mood. Dark and a little creepy and a little sexy and a little romantic.
25. Missed the Boat – Modest Mouse
Album – We Were Dead Before the Ship Even Sank (2007)
Well, we know we had the good things/but those never seemed to last/oh, please just last
I don’t know what it is about me and hipster music. Like, I feel like I should hate it? But then I hear something like this and it makes me sad and happy and I love it so, so much. So it’s probably uncool to love Modest Mouse? And I know it’s from four years ago? Suck it, this song is totally pretty.
24. Maps – The Front Bottoms
Album – Maps (2011)
And you’ll be thinking: how did I get here? Where the hell am I?
This song makes me irrepressibly happy. I love the “but you are an artist, and your mind don’t work the way you want it to” part so much. “Washing yourself with handsoap in a public bathroom.” But whenever the lyric I have quoted above comes on I shout it out in my car or my home or wherever to the top of my lungs. It reminds me of the joy I feel whenever I hear “This is not my beautiful house! This is not my beautiful wife!” comes on. This is a song about sad things? But it is SO DAMN CHEERFUL. I love it so much.
23. Firework – Katy Perry
Album – Teenage Dream (2010)
Come on, show ‘em what you’re worth
Shut it right now. Just shut it. Sometimes? I need a totally shouty teenage anthem. I have two on my list this year. This one and another that’s a lot, lot higher on the list. So, you have that to look forward to, now, don’t you, Chumley. I like this song. Is Katy Perry annoying? Sure. But this song makes me happy, and I like to bop around to it, and sometimes a person likes things that are happy.
22. When I Go – Slow Club
Album – Yeah, So? (2009)
I’ll fashion you a letter and I’ll send it to your house
The first time I heard this I was totally hormonal so it made me cry. Then I listened again and I wasn’t hormonal and it made me sniffle. It reminds me of someone I loved that is no longer in my life. There are a couple of these on here, actually. There’s nothing wrong with that. I think songs and poetry that remind us of times gone by are good things. Also, it reminds me a little of the message of The Beatles “When I’m 64.” It’s sad. But it’s sweet.
21. Try Too Hard – Common Rotation
Album – Keep an Open Gallery (2011)
Still, you try too hard
This, honestly, isn’t my favorite Common Rotation song of the year? But I can’t FIND my favorite one. I KNOW IT IS TOTALLY A TRAVESTY. I don’t know a single lyric so I can’t even Google that sucker. It’s the worst. Anyway, I blogged about Common Rotation – they were the opening act for The Indigo Girls and starred (squee!) Warren from Buffy! – and have since downloaded a lot of their music. I like this song very much. It’s my favorite from their most recent album. They seem to have a lot of fun with what they do, and that makes me happy.
There’s my 21-30! Tune in tomorrow for 11-20. What other musical fun will I introduce you to? WAIT AND SEE MY PRETTIES.