It seems I have an issue with narrowing things down. My top 40 songs of the year quickly became a joke when my preliminary list had 294 songs. After over a week of culling I have reduced my list to a respectably too high number of 100. I am not normally one for liking the milestone round numbers, but this year it seemed like a good number to stop at. My list is based on songs that I listened to a lot, songs that inspired me, songs that represent the year, and songs that have had significant meaning. I can’t write something about all 100 songs, so sometimes there will be a lyric quote, sometimes a rationale or a commentary, sometimes both, and sometimes nothing at all. Give them a listen when you get a chance, and let us know what your opinions are.
100. Whatever you like – Joan as Police Woman
despite being the lowest song on the list, the lowest song is significant. It represents, the song that beat all the others in contention for the list. It is a statement song. In this case, it is a cover of a popular rap anthem. This version is from a tour album of covers, and was one of my most listened to songs of the last 3 months of the year. It’s an interesting perspective.
99. Thy will be done – Handsome Furs
98. Laughing with a Mouth of Blood – St. Vincent
97. Drowning Men – Fanfarlo
Introduced to me by Kris, this band, album, and song quickly became a big part of 2009
96. We all Wanna be Prince – Felix Da Housecat
Catchy dance song about Prince, sounding like mid 80’s Prince.
95. (If you’re wondering if I want you to) I Want you to – Weezer
This song makes the list because it is unbearably catchy. Is it great? No, is it good? Maybe. But it sure is 2009.
94. Strange Enough – N.A.S.A. Ft. Karen O
Among one of 4 tracks on the list featuring Karen O. This was her year.
93. Fables – The Dodos
92. Jetstream – Doves
91. Oh My God – Ida Maria
90. My Girls – Animal Collective
89. White Socks/Flip Flops – Super Furry Animals
88. Audacity of Huge – Simian Mobile Disco ft. Chris Keating
An early sign of the new direction of Yeasayer.
87. We Were Sick – The Thermals
86. If I had a heart – Fever Ray
85. Dollaz and Sense – Blakroc
“if it don’t make Dollaz, it don’t make sense” – Black Keys + Hip Hop
84. Satellite Heart – Anya Marina
83. Feelings Gone – Basement Jaxx ft. Sam Sparro
82. Supermagic – Mos Def
81. Edmonton – Rural Alberta Advantage
It’s about my hometown. It Rocks.
80. Back from exile – Nickel Eye
79. This Tornado loves you – Neko Case
78. While you Wait for the Others – Grizzly Bear
A Fantastic breakup song.
77. I cut like a Buffalo – The Dead Weather
76. 8th Wonder – The Gossip
75. Run, Run, Run – Joel Plaskett
Discovered this song at the best concert I ever snuck into.
74. Watching the Planets – Flaming Lips
Featuring Karen O of Course. The NSFW Video pushes this song above the others on the album.
73. Relator – Pete Yorn & Scarlett Johansson
72. Louie – Ida Maria
71. The Fear – Lily Allen
70. Island, IS – Volcano Choir
If Bon Iver is too mainstream for you, then this side project may just be for you.
69. Sunny Feeling – Wilco
68. Everyday – Vetiver
67. Nothing to Worry About – Peter Bjorn and John
Children singing, no whistling. A strong departure.
66. Blue Skies – Noah and the Whale
65. No You Girls – Franz Ferdinand
A song that just never goes away.
64. Pretty Wings – Maxwell
A strong return from one of my fav R & B singers
63. At least I’m not as sad as I used to be – fun.
62. It ain’t gonna save me – Jay Reatard
61. All is love – Karen O and the Kids
Where the Wild Things Are!!!!!
60. I Hate people – Jemina Pearl ft. Iggy Pop
59. 10/10 – Paolo Nutini
Paolo kicks up the soul on his sophomore album
58. Dominos – The Big Pink
57. I’m a Pilot – Fanfarlo
56. Say Please – Monsters of Folk
55. Don’t Wanna Talk – Brendan Benson
54. Used to Be – Tigersapien
Dance music from human-tiger hybrids!
53. Live and Learn – Speech Debelle
Mercury Prize award winning hip hop that sounds like a female “The Streets”
52. Day N Nite (Nightmare) – Kid Cudi
51. Bear – Antlers
50. VCR – The XX
“you say you think we are the best thing/But you, you just know, you just do”
49. Casa Bey – Mos Def
48. Graze – Animal Collective
Zamfir pan flute Party!
47. Zero – Yeah Yeah Yeahs
Yet more Karen O
46. You and I – Wilco ft. Feist
45. Airstream Driver – Gomez
44. Low Rising – Swell Season
Van Morrisonesque track from the dynamic duo of “Once”
43. Lust for Life – Girls
42. Gifted – N.A.S.A. ft. Kanye West, Lykke Li, and Santigold
The best track on an album that didn’t live up to it’s hype. The trio work magically together.
41. Warm heart of Africa – The Very Best ft. Ezra Koenig
40. Dreams Come True Girl – Cass McCombs
A beautiful love song, from a beautiful album
39. So Far around the Bend – The National
38. Minstrel Show – Barry Goldberg
OK, so this is a reissue. But I don’t care. I had never heard of him, and this song rules.
37. Fresh Blood – Eels
Best howl of the year (sorry Shakira)
36. Stillness is the move – The Dirty Projectors
I still don’t understand the hype over this album, but I have fallen for this song.
35. Aeon – Antony and the Johnsons
34. Colonized Mind – Prince
Prince rediscovers his guitar. It isn’t his best work, but it’s his best in the last decade or so. And it’s great.
33. Daniel – Bat for Lashes
32. Dog Days are Over – Florence & the Machine
The amazing opener on the amazing debut album
31. Evangeline – Handsome Furs
30. Shark in the Water – VV Brown
Killer Voice, Killer Song.
29. Reverence for Fallen Trees – The Black Atlantic
This Dutch Band’s album is this year’s “For Emma…”
28. To Lose Someone – Taken by Trees
“I wish I would have told you/that no one can take your place” – Indian influenced ballad that jumped up the list late in the year.
27. Lions – The Features
26. Rubik’s Cube – Athlete
“Oh I’m like a kid who just won’t let it go/Twisting and turning the colours in rows/I’m so intent to find out what it is/This is my rubik’s cube/I know I can figure it out”
25. Don’t Upset the Rhythm – The Noisettes
A departure from their debut album, this track hits hard… just in different ways.
24. Never had Nobody like you – M. Ward ft. Zooey Deschanel
Sweet song with Zooey
23. Little Pieces – Gomez
22. 1901 – Phoenix
21. Kandi – One eskimO
A great take on the infidelity song. Another late jumper.
20. Song Away – Hockey
19. When I grow up – Fever Ray
18. Fitz and Dizzyspells – Andrew Bird
The best “Noah and the Whale” song not by “Noah and the Whale”. The last half is one of my favourite half songs of the year. Whistles and violins.
17. Crystalised – The XX
The first song that hooked me on the XX. The rest followed shortly.
16. When I go – Slow Club
A very cutesy song that just works in every way.
15. Empire State of Mind – Jay-Z ft. Alicia Keys
Jay-Z Anthemry at it’s finest
14. Generator ^ First Floor – Freelance Whales
13. Percussion Gun – White Rabbits
The percussion at the beginning hooks me every time.
12. Tightrope – Yeasayer
Old school Yeasayer finally gets a studio release on the great “Dark was the Night” Compilation.
11. Daylight – Matt and Kim
This song was deservedly everywhere this year.
10. Heavy Cross/Heavy Cross (Burns Remix) – The Gossip
“Whatever you want/The choice is yours/So Choose”
9. Velvet – The Big Pink
“I found her in a dream, looking for me”
8. Be Calm – fun.
“I know it gets so hard some times. Be Calm.”
7. Two Weeks – Grizzly Bear
“Save up all the days/A routine Malaise”
6. I and Love and You – The Avett Brothers
“What you were then, I am today/Look at the things I do”
5. Lisztomania – Phoenix
“Think less, but see it grow”
On an album full of standouts, this song stands out.
4. Rabbit Heart (Raise it Up) – Florence & the Machine
“This is a gift, it comes with a price/Who is the lamb and who is the knife”
On an album that warrants repeated listens, this song gets repeatedly repeated.
3. Frank, AB – The Rural Alberta Advantage
“And under the rubble of the mountain that tumbled/I’ll hold you forever”
A song about love surviving the greatest of tragedies.
2. The First Days of Spring – Noah and the Whale
“But like a cut down tree, I will rise again/And I’ll be bigger and stronger than ever before”
This song features one of the greatest swells in a song this year. A song that gave me goosebumps the first 5 times I heard it. A song that’s beauty and sadness make me smile.
1. Blood Bank – Bon Iver
“Ain’t this just like the present/To be showing up like this”
Released in January. This song has stuck with me, month through month. This song live at Sasquatch was one of the clear highlights of the festival. Lyrically and sonically one of my favourite songs of the decade.