Thursday, December 23, 2010

and now...the moment you've all been waiting for!!!!!

I know it's not Wednesday, but today, I present to you....(drum roll please) THE TOP 20 SONGS OF 2010!!! Here they are in order from 20 to 1:

20. "New Morning" - Alpha Rev
19. "In the Sun" - She & Him
18. "Anchor" - Alejandro Escovedo
17. "Father's Son" - Fistful of Mercy
16. "Sick of You" - Cake
15. "I Should Have Known It" - Tom Petty
14. "Just Breathe" - Pearl Jam
13. "Dog Days Are Over" - Florence and The Machine
12. "Take Everything" - Greg Laswell
11. "Crossfire" - Brandon Flowers
10. "Do You Love Me?" - Guster
9. "Dead American Writers" Tired Pony
8. "Song Away" - Hockey
7. "Little Lion Man" - Mumford and Sons
6. "Home" - Edward Sharpe and The Magnetic Zeros
5. "Angel Dance" - Robert Plant
4. "Radioactive" - Kings of Leon
3. "The High Road" - Broken Bells
2. "Laredo" - Band of Horses

And the number one song of the more drum roll, please)...


Enjoy!! See you all next year. Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, and Happy New Year, too :)

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

new songs for Dec. 22nd, 2010

here they are:

"Discoverer" by R.E.M.: It seems as though when R.E.M. have caught peoples' attention the most within the past couple years is when they just rock out! "Supernatural Superserious" was a surprisingly hard-rockin' song for the Georgian alt-rock group, and it was the first one that got noticed of theirs back in '08. It seems as though the same case can be made with "Discoverer", another rockin' tune that bears similarity to their '87 song "Finest Worksong". "Discoverer" has a bit of a steadier beat than the rather loose one of "Supernatural Superserious", but it's still very much of an attention grabber. As a big R.E.M. fan myself, I'm proud to say, welcome back, guys!!

"Louder Than Ever" by Cold War Kids: Cold War Kids have been around for almost 5 years by now, and have received their fair share of attention through the "edgier" alt-rock stations with songs like "Hang Me Up to Dry" and "Something Is Not Right With Me". So my question is, how come it's taken until now for adult alt radio to catch up with Cold War Kids, a band who has a rather indie-fied take on U2's sound?! "Louder Than Ever" really doesn't sound that much different from CWK's other material. It still has the same U2-ish sound as their other material. Personally I would have thought "Hang Me Up to Dry", with its piano dominated sound, would have made it to the adult alt airwaves successfully, but it didn't. Well, enough griping and wondering. "Louder Than Ever" is still an awesome tune with a great melody and fresh guitar sounds!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

New songs for Dec. 8th, 2010

Here they are!

"Boots" by The Killers: Is it just me, or does it seem a tad weird to call a Christmas song "Boots"?!? It's such an enigmatic title!! (Though there have been other Christmas tunes with odd titles - Joni Mitchell's "River", The Pretenders' "2000 Miles", and The Pogues "Fairytale of New York" among them). I like this song, but I do have a couple complaints about it. First of all, come on Brandon, you could have picked a better title!! The Killers already have THREE Christmas songs in their catalog with more obvious associations with the holidays in the titles - "A Great Big Sled", "Joseph Better You Than Me" (as in the Biblical Joseph), and "Don't Shoot Me Santa". "A Great Big Sled" is probably my personal fave in The Killers' Xmas catalog. But getting back to the review, my second complaint is that Brandon Flowers really seems to have softened his music more than usual as of 2010. All of his most recent songs (including "Boots", with The Killers), seem to be on a level that sounds like a cross between Coldplay and U2, better than the former, but worse than the latter! The release Flowers put out the earliest this year, "Crossfire" at least had some nice electric guitar riffing, but "Only the Young" and "Boots"?! These songs seem to rely more on keyboards. I dunno, something about that just puts me off. But the lyrics are nostalgic (with the mention of things like "snowball fights" and "the smell of cinnamon" in the chorus), and thankfully, I COULD hear some acoustic guitar strumming towards the end of the song, which I liked.

"Fixin' to Die" by G. Love, and featuring The Avett Brothers: Not to be confused for the Country Joe and The Fish song of a similar name ("I Feel Like I'm Fixing to Die Rag"). It seems as though the artist formerly known as Garrett Dutton and The Avetts are both trying to add a little down-'n'-dirty country-blues into their catalog. This song marks an especially welcome return for G. Love, who seemed to stray from his eccentric take on blues he had in the '90s and go more into being a Jack Johnson clone in the '00s. As for The Avetts, it took me awhile to get used to them. I'm still not fond of the "sleepers" (slower, more polished piano-pop style tunes) in their catalog, like "I And Love And You" and "Head Full of Doubt/Road Full of Promise"), but songs like the melancholy, vaguely Robbie Robertson-esque (his '60s/'70s era material) songs "January Wedding" and "Yard Sale" were both great songs that I warmed up to circa the summer of this year. Speaking of which, their more punchy tune, "Kick Drum Heart" is also being reviewed in this week's blog! "Fixin' to Die" is a really gritty, catchy, gutsy, bluesy tune for both Dutton (G. Love) and The Avetts, though! Highly recommended!

"Hey Ahab" by Elton John and Leon Russell: Much like "If It Wasn't For Bad" (see my late August/early September reviews on this site), it seems as though despite the fact that Elton is taking most of the vocal parts here, that Leon Russell is clearly the man when it comes to the instrumentation of the songs on his latest album with Elton John! Elton's melodic piano-pop sound isn't quite evident on "Hey Ahab" (and "If It Wasn't..."), but Leon plays a mean boogie-style piano a la The Band and Van Morrison on both of 'em. "Ahab" is a bit more of an adventurous and energetic track. Its length is almost five and a half minutes, it features R & B/gospel style female singers in the background, and its very fully orchestrated. Way to go, guys!

"Kick Drum Heart" by The Avett Brothers: I already made my opinion about these guys clear when I reviewed "Fixin' to Die" in this week's blog. "Kick Drum Heart" is a surprisingly punchy tune for the normally mellow neo-folk act. It's still mellow, but it's more energetic than most of their material. It's also one of their more piano driven tunes (like nearly everything they've done so far that's hit the airwaves). Perhaps it was the dreary (in my opinion) keyboards of "I And Love And You" and "Head Full of Doubt/Road Full of Promise" that put me off about those songs, but the keyboards in "Kick Drum" are quite lively and stomp-y. Not bad for a country-rock influenced band!

"Terrible Love" by The National: A good word to describe this song?! "Fuzzy"!! Yes, "fuzzy". It sounds funny, but of course I'm not talking "fuzzy" as in "Fuzzy Wuzzy Was A Bear", more as in "that song's got a fuzzy sound". In other words, somewhat muddy distortion on the recording (and guitar). For a band I've just come to know this year, I must say, The National is pretty cool!! Whether it's the pseudo-goth-rock vibe of "Bloodbuzz Ohio" (and "Anyone's Ghost"), the orchestral '60s-ish pop-rock of "Lemonworld" (my fave of theirs so far), or "Terrible Love", it's all good!! "Terrible Love" almost reminds me of a Beck song with its purposely old-sounding distortion and dark, yet still entertaining sound. Even the lyrics sound a bit Beck-ish ("It's a terrible love and I'm walking with spiders" - what is THAT supposed to mean?!) Beck would be proud!!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

New songs (kind of) for December 1st, 2010

Here they are - enjoy!

"Dilly" by Band of Horses: "Dilly" - just the NAME of the songs sounds so...well...cute!! (Like that Disney song, "Lavender's Blue, Dilly Dilly"). Band of Horses return to their indie roots on this song, the third one I've heard off their latest CD, "Infinite Arms". And yes, "Dilly" does have a very cutesy sound, in an indie sort of way. It's bouncy, melodic, and just plain fun! Even the YouTube comments for this song seem to be more positive than the ones for the CCR-ish "Laredo", and the vaguely Three Dog Night-ish "Compliments". No late '60s/early '70s classic rock influence here, just good times and great music!

"Holiday" by Vampire Weekend: This song has been circulating on (some) adult alt stations since January of this year, yet it's taken many others until just about a week ago to add it on to their playlists. And why?!? Well, because there is a commercial using this song, simply because the word "Holiday" is in its title ('tis the season, folks!) It's silly, really, that it's being put into commercial use for this reason. Although I adore "Holiday"'s bouncy, Police-y rhythm and harmony, I really think people should take a listen to what this song is about before they add it to their Christmas playlists. IT'S ABOUT A PROTEST AGAINST WAR, PEOPLE!!! And it's not even about Christmas (or any holiday, for that matter), for goodness' sakes!! (sample lyrics, in the bridge, "A vegetarian since the invasion, she'd never seen the word 'bombs'/She'd never seen the word 'bombs' blown up to 96 point Futura/She'd never seen an AK/In a yellowy Day-Glo display/A T-shirt so lovely it turned all the history books gray"). At least songs like John Lennon's "Happy Xmas (War Is Over)" were ABOUT Christmas, while simultaneously getting across a political statement/commentary. This is going to go down in history next to Green Day's "Good Riddance (Time of Your Life)" and The Police's "Every Breath You Take" as being one of the most misinterpreted songs in rock history!

"We Used to Wait" by Arcade Fire: The hits just keep on comin' from Win Butler and co! Like the title track from AF's latest CD, "We Used to Wait" also makes fine use of the piano. Like the other two tracks ("Ready to Start" and "Modern Man") I've heard from "The Suburbs", however, "We Used to Wait" is also a track that evokes more feelings of intensity than it does jauntiness (which makes me think the title track from "The Suburbs" might have been a fluke as far as the rest of the CD is concerned!) The first three tracks I reviewed from "The Suburbs" all came in succession! The first in June, the second in July, and the third in August, so it's kind of odd that "We Used to Wait" didn't hit the adult alt airwaves until around mid to late November. Better late than never, though!

"You Can't Buy My Love" by Robert Plant: Is it just me, or does it make sense that a song called "You Can't Buy My Love" would sound a little like The Beatles' "Can't Buy Me Love"?! The happy, but still rocking mood of this song makes me prefer this much more than the previous single Led Zeppelin's mighty frontman had, a cover of Los Lobos' "Angel Dance". The excessive airplay "Angel Dance" got is probably what spoiled its appeal, so hopefully "You Can't Buy My Love" will have enough airplay to become a song I can memorize, but not one that loses its flavor like chewing gum. Hopefully Plant will churn out more material like this - it's what made his 2007 duet with country singer Alison Krauss, "Gone Gone Gone (Done Moved On)" so memorable!