This year, picking my favorite albums has been a really difficult task. Not so with songs. This list solidified early, and stayed consistent, with the exception of #6, which was a last minute addition because it's just that good. So without further ado...
1. Phosphorescent "Song for Zula"
From the first time I heard this song, I knew it would be on my year-end list. The "Ring of Fire" reference draws you in to the dark lyrics, but the swirling melodies offer a promise of hope only glimpsed in the words. (Can't speak for the video, though. Maybe just listen without watching?) Bonus: the song can incidentally be heard at the end of my favorite movie of the year, The Spectacular Now.
2. Okkervil River "Down Down the Deep River"
I've never really been into Okkervil River. Nothing against them, just never connected with their sound. But when I heard this single, I really liked the catchy chorus. However, the lyrics didn't really hit me until I was listening one day when I was out for a run, and I literally let out a sob. The song is about the moment when you were first confronted with the fragility of life, and how you got through it then, and how you continue to get through it now.
3. Moby featuring Wayne Coyne "The Perfect Life"
The world needs more Wayne Coyne. That is all.
4. Daft Punk "Lose Yourself to Dance"
So, every August since 1997, I've been getting together with a group of close friends at a lodge in Western Massachusetts. We cook and eat and swim, and eat some more, and laugh, and play games, followed by a sauna and a midnight snack. This summer for the first time, we choreographed, performed, and filmed our first group dance. The reason for this unprecedented activity? Daft Punk. We danced to "Get Lucky" because it fit our movement well. "Get Lucky" is a great pop song, that will grace proms and wedding receptions for years to come. But I love "Lose Yourself to Dance" even more.
5. Kanye West "Black Skinhead"
I often dislike Kanye West's music. Sometimes I even hate it. But there's no denying that he is a capital-F force, and when he is good, he is very, very good. I just wish he wouldn't undercut the power of a good song by peddling it to multiple buyers. Put your trust in Martin Scorsese and leave it be!
6. Superchunk "FOH"
This late entry into songs of the year is a super catchy, upbeat song of busted dreams and middle-age depression that wills itself to come around by the end.
Coming soon...favorite albums!