20. TV on The Radio "Province" - I like this band. It's one of those where I don't know why. But this song is probably my favorite on their record. Lush layers, some help from David Bowie, just an incredible song.
19. Jay-Z "Oh My God" - Yeah yeah, I was excited when Jay-z came out of retirement. Although his newest album was just decent, this song just sticks with you. One review called this song a new form of hip hop called 'stadium rap.' And that sounds about right. This one is my favorite song on the record.
18. Johnny Cash "God's Gonna Cut You Down" - Man oh man. And I thought the late Cash had a very fine ending with "We'll Meet Again." He admonishes from experience. I don't think I'd trust anyone else more.
17. Jars of Clay "Work" - Every album by these guys is different, and on this one they go the pop-rock route. It's not quite as uniquely them as their other albums, but provides this pretty awesome song. Just don't watch the music video--it's okay, but Haseltine's jolts inbetween his singing is just odd looking.
16. Built To Spill - "Goin' Against Your Mind" - This band sounds oddly like They Sang As They Slew. The intro, from the simplest drum beat to this soaring 8+ minute rock piece doesn't seem to end--and you don't want it to.
15. Regina Spektor "Samson" - When Spektor isn't her upbeat quirky self, she's this masterfully intense singer. This is the perfect example. I'm really sorry I missed the two times she was in
14. Fair "Unglued" - Other than Mute Math, and maybe Mat Kearney, I can't think of any good (or even decent!) new bands to come out of the "Christian" music industry. Partially because there aren't any, and partially because I don't pay that much attention to that industry any more. Fair, however, has been able to stand above the rest--mostly because of veteran producer and now frontman for the band, Aaron Sprinkle. Not only has he been producing about every other Christian artist's music (seriously, get your Christian music in a pile, pick one at random, and there's a 70% chance he produced some or all of it), but he's had some pretty stellar records on his own (Lackluster is amazing). Although I haven't heard all of his album, this particular song is great. The rock sound, Sprinkle's lyrics and voice, and some help from the ladies from Eisley, it's got it all.
13. T.I. "What You Know" - Yeah, I feel yah T.I. Represent the ATL. I'm thinking of becoming a hip-hop artist, but calling myself "T.I.M." Maybe. Okay, just kidding. Anyways, this is probably my favorite hip-hop song of the year.
12. Bright Eyes “Trees Get Wheeled Away” - This song is off of Noise Floor, a collection of rarities from 1998-2005. Although most of the songs show you why they weren’t put in albums, this one shines over the rest. It sounds most like his Lifted material.
11. Cold War Kids "Saint John" - I don't know much about this band. For a while I didn't want to like them because they have a song that's the same title as one of my poems. But this prison tune, featuring ragged percussion and a bass riff, stands out. I hate to compare it to the White Stripes like everyone else, but that's what it kind of reminds me of.
10. Margot and the Nuclear So and Sos “Quiet As A Mouse” - Not only is this the album of the year, but almost all of their songs could fit on this list. You can hear just about every member of this 8 person band. This is the hardest song on the album, defying it’s title, but it is absolutely gorgeous. “Wake up, the sun is rising without you.”
9. Now It’s Overhead “Let Up” - Now, naturally I’m a little biased. But this stripped down, acoustic and light percussion/hand claps is one of their best on their new CD, Dark Light Daybreak (although most of them are pretty close).
7. Yeah Yeah Yeahs “Gold Lion” - First of all, this album Show Your Bones is everything I wished their previous album would have been. This first single of the CD is great. Karen O’s vocal performance is quirky but not chaotic. It’s just great.
5. The Black Keys “thickfreakness” - The Black Keys… the yin to The White Stripes’ yang, this band I swore was some ‘60s blues-rock band. But I later found out they are relatively new. Although this song was recorded in 2004, this is the epitome of their amazing sound. One of my favorite new artists of the year
3. Margot and The Nuclear So and Sos “Talking In Code” - Their best track on the album Dust of Retreat and SO close to song of the year. Similarly to “Quiet As a Mouse,” this song is layered and layered with harmonies and melodies. Gorgeous, gorgeous, gorgeous.
2. The Format “Dog Problems” - Their new album of the same title is amazing. Their first was decent, but their entire sophmore album is BRILLIANT--and this song is the best.. Soft at some points, and others it’s a blaring big band piece. “When I said I hate what I’ve become, I lied—I hated who I was.”
1. Mute Math “Typical” - So what if fourteen year old girls like this band. THEY’RE GOOD. I mean, really good. This is probably my favorite song on the album. It's the typical existential song, akin to Switchfoot's "Meant To Live." It works well. I just haven’t been able to get this song out of my head all year long. And that's what makes it my favorite of the year.