Monday, December 12, 2005

Underrated's Best of The Rest (Part I)

I had this enormous amount of guilt this weekend, knowing I couldn't include all the songs I've loved this past year. Different songs kept popping up, and I couldn't go on knowing I didn't acknowledge them. Perhaps I have too much of a personal relationship with songs, but I can't help it. So here's the first part of the best of the rest, I'll get the other part up by the end of the week. I forgot too many to let it pass me by.

Again, in no particular order:

  • Weezer - Beverly Hills
    Ok, I've always liked Weezer but was never the obsessed fan like many people I know. Apparently this album wasn't their finest effort, I thought it was ok. Apparently this song wasn't loved by the Weezer fanatics. I think it's great. It's supposed to be ironic, right? Well whatever. It's fun.

  • Army Of Me - Going Through Changes
    Army of Me is a DC band that I have only recently discovered. It's nothing immediately special, but there's something about the emotions portrayed in each of their songs that just twist at your heart. I love "Come Down to DC" but this song has the intensity that I hope will be more prevalent in future songs to come.

  • Arctic Monkeys - I Bet You Look Good On The Dance Floor
    Quite the newbie, quite the buzz. If this doesn't get you going, I don't know what will. 2006 may be these young boys’s year. Let's just hope the hype doesn't bring them down. An album would help that.

  • Black Rebel Motorcycle Club - Shuffle Your Feet
    I remember hearing the beginning of this song and being blown away. I just love this opening line, the harmonies are fantastic. Luckily it then shifts into an even more fantastic beat that will most definitely keep your feet, er, shuffling.

  • Doves - Black and White Town
    I feel like The Doves are forgotten too often. This band is doing some remarkable things with their music. Ok, perhaps you can't exactly dance to it, but it's melodic in only the most epic ways. I've heard they are incredible live, and if they can do what they do on their albums in a concert setting, I'm done. "Black and White Town" makes me want to go on a long car ride.

  • Kaiser Chiefs - I Predict A Riot
    I am shocked and disgusted with myself for forgetting to include Kaiser Chiefs. Of all the buzz bands that came over to our side of the pond, Kaiser Chiefs are probably my favorite. I saw them this summer in Dublin and the amount of people singing along to this song and going nuts was a sight to be seen. This song is a gem of a single, and thank god the album is equally as strong. Can't wait to see what their follow-up will be.

  • Bishop Allen - Little Black Ache
    Bishop Allen is one of the many bands here in NYC that I am shocked haven't been more widely recognized. They are in the self-created "quirky rock" category that is inventing some truly memorable songs, just like this one. It makes me happy.

  • James Blunt - You're Beautiful
    Mr. Blunt is blowing up in the UK and I assume it's only a matter of time before all the 13 year olds start swooning. I guess I'm a 13 year old at heart because I've already swooned. The first time I heard this song I was waiting for the tube in London and a "tube performer" was singing this song. I thought it was beautiful and was ready to take him back to NYC with me if he could write a song like this. But then I was informed that it's all over the radio. Shucks. Still a great song.

  • Louis XIV - God Killed The Queen
    I really like this band, but I must say I'm skeeved out just a tad by the lead singer. When I saw them at Bowery earlier in the year I thought it was a great song, but I felt dirty leaving it. The sex-crazed lyrics and antics will make you feel pretty bad-ass, especially this fantastic tune that reinvents the idea of a call and answer.

  • The Head Set - Last Call Doll
    There are many things that will win me over, but having a unique voice is definitely up there. The Head Set know how to wail in all the right ways, and when you back that with a song that is reminiscent of 50's doo wap, it's impossible not to love. This band has an incredible live show that breathes new life in to each song. Watch out for this band if there is any right in the world.

  • Kevin Devine - No Time Flat
    It's hard not to have a crush on Kevin Devine. Okay, so I do. And it's not just because it's a cute guy with a guitar that can sing sweet love songs so well that you think he is standing next to you. No. Because he also has cleverly invented a way to bring politics into music, like in "No Time Flat." Lyrically dark and incredibly curious, Kevin Devine comes across as the boy next door that actually has something to say.

  • Death Cab For Cutie - Different Names For The Same Thing
    I was worried about the latest effort from Death Cab, but not just because it was their major label debut. The albums had never been that strong to me, it was always songs that stuck out. I am almost pleased that it's happened again. Regardless, there are some real gems on there, including "Different Names for the Same Thing" that brings you on a journy from beginning to end, combining everything you love about Death Cab - great melodies with beautiful melancholy.

  • The Teeth - I Love You
    When I saw this band at Pianos about a month ago, I was totally blown away. The recordings do no justice, go see them live. Now. Run. What are you waiting for? Ok, listen to this while you wait for them to come around. But seriously, it's quite a show.

  • The National - Murder Me Rachael
    Not only does this song have my name in it, but they actually spelled it right. Thanks National! But no, I know this song didn't "come out" this year, but I listened to it this year, so that's just how it's going to count. When they aren't fighting with Clap Your Hands (just kidding), they are tapping into whatever genius they hold and writing songs like this. They know how to create the best kind of moody.

  • Sia - Breathe Me
    This song was played during my final goodbye to one of my all-time favorite TV series, Six Feet Under. It couldn't have worked better in that odd montage, so thank you music supervisor Gary Calamar for bringing this song to me. I must have listened to it at least 42340 times following the show, and it still brings an eerie comfort to me. Other than that, Sia's voice is just stunning.

  • Gorillaz - Feel Good Inc.
    I heard this song an insane amount of times this summer in London. But you know what? I'm not sick of it. I don't know why, because part of me feels like I should but I still love making a fool out of myself dancing along to it. The Gorillaz are perhaps the coolest concept band of the year and just shows you that genres and influences can mesh together to create something that all people can enjoy.

  • Stars - Romantic Comedy
    I was late to jump on the Stars bandwagon. But once I heard this song, I was hooked. Who would have thought that Canada could create some of the best music of the past two years? Not me. But if you have to move up north to understand what dreamy pop should sound like it, I will. And then I'll call Stars and they can be the gurus.

  • Autolux - Here Comes Everybody
    Yes I know this album was released last year, but I purchased it in January so I still count it for 2005. I missed them when they opened up for The Secret Machines but I made up for it by listening to the album obsessively for months afterwards. And this song, I don't know what it is but it makes you feel cool. I would put this song on every morning on my walk to school and somehow I had a better day because of it. Mixing electronics and fuzzy guitars with the simplest of melodies is what you'll get with Autolux, but once you listen, you'll never be the same.

  • The New Pornographers - Sing Me Spanish Techno
    I kept hearing backlash of the new album because of this song. What's your beef people? Do you not like songs that you can easily sing along to? Do you not like songs a little bit crazy? You've got an array of instruments, unclear song meaning, and my mantra: listening to one song for too long. And you still don't like it? What's wrong with you?

  • Matt Pond PA - Brooklyn Stars
    You know what I love? Flashbacks. I use them in every play or short story I write. I love cheesy montages in movies that remind you why character A really loves character B and I love a show that is entirely based off of flashbacks (ahem, Lost. So what does this have to do with "Brooklyn Stars?" Somehow, when I listen to this song I have my own flashback to every song I've ever listened to. It just makes me incredibly nostalgic.

  • M.I.A. - Sunshowers
    I didn't initally like M.I.A. When everyone was buzzing about her, I didn't really get it and I wasn't inclined to voluntarily listen to her. But somehow, I decided she deserved another listen. Perhaps my tastes have changed or have just become more sophisticated, but I think I get it. I know nothing at all about matching beats, using clever rhymes, or incorporating word music into contemporary sounds, but M.I.A must be on to something if I pretend like I know what I'm talking about.

  • Spoon - I Turn My Camera On
    We couldn't forget about Spoon right? And of course not this song! Curses on me for letting it slip by. I've loved Spoon since I first heard "The Way We Get By." Nothing will ever live up to that song for me, but this one comes pretty damn close. And the rest of the album is equally as fantastic.

  • Marjorie Fair - Waves
    Sometimes I have to acknowledge that bands can exist in the US in places other than New York. And sometimes that place has to be LA. And sometimes bands like Marjorie Fair come along and I am glad. And sometimes I listen to a song like "Waves" and wish I was sitting on a beach contemplating the meaning of life. Sometimes.

  • Tegan and Sara - Walking With A Ghost
    Forget the White Stripes cover, Tegan and Sara owned this song. I wish I could write songs like this.

  • The Boy Least Likely To - Be Gentle With Me
    My Jessica Simpson loving boss adores this song. Why? Because it's impossible not to. One of the bands of this year that is completely worthy of acclaim is The Boy Least Likely To. They are the underdogs of all underdogs. Buy Best Party Ever now and find out why.

  • Beat Radio - Ancient
    Beat Radio is taking on NYC quickly but not quietly but it's songs like "Ancient" that let me slow it all down. Incredibly personal and beautiful, the lyrics first caught my attention. But when there's that ever so slight voice crack in the chorus of this song, I think my heart breaks a little bit. Every time.

  • Kelly Clarkson - Since U Been Gone
    You know you love this song, don't be afraid to admit it. The guilty pop song is guilty no longer. It was embraced by pretentious indie kids all over because we all have to admit there is a certain genius to a catchy pop tune. So come out of your hiding and don't pretend you like it just because Ted Leo covered it. There's no shame, no shame.


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