2009 Music in Review: The Singles, Part 1

Warning: The next few posts are long and overthought and partly coffee-fueled and partly beer-fueled. Hence the rambling. And I had to split it into three parts because there was so much music I enjoyed this year. I don’t expect anyone to like every single thing that I do, but if someone discovers something new that makes them happy, then I’ve done my job.

My favorite new song from 2005 that I discovered in 2009: “Gravity” by Embrace

We’ve been watching a lot of Gavin and Stacey lately. If you haven’t heard of it, it’s because BBC America played the episodes about a year ago and has been running nothing but Top Gear and Gordon Ramsay ever since, instead of using their resources to introduce America to more brilliant British comedy. This is the song played at the end of season 2, during a very important event which I won’t give away because you probably haven’t seen the show yet, but you should because it’s brilliant.

This is a lovely, moving ballad that still has an anthemic quality to it (like “Run” by Snow Patrol), which isn’t surprising considering that it was written by Chris Martin of Coldplay. It sounds beautiful while you’re sitting quietly in your room, or singing along with thousands of other people in a stadium.

My favorite new song from 2006 that I discovered in 2009: “I Love It When You Call” by The Feeling

We recently upgraded to a high-definition TV this year, about three years after everyone else, but we’re enjoying it immensely. Plus, our reward for waiting was getting a 46” TV at a very reasonable price. Anyway, we now have a new high-definition music channel called Palladio, and we’ve seen loads of European and British music festivals as a result. And on one of those shows, we discovered this song by The Feeling and haven’t been able to stop listening to it ever since. I’ve listened to it over three times today already. It’s the best song Fountains of Wayne never wrote.

My favorite new song from 2007 that I discovered in 2009: “Fluorescent Adolescent” by Arctic Monkeys

I wasn’t really fond of “I’ll Bet You Look Good on the Dancefloor” and it got tremendously overplayed and overhyped. But this is a fun, unpretentious song that sneaks up on you. The introduction gets stuck in my head constantly, and it’s a pleasant thing to have bouncing around in your brain.

My favorite new songs from 2008 that I discovered in 2009: “Love Story” by Taylor Swift / “Oasis” by Amanda Palmer
These songs could not be more opposite in form and content, so I’ll discuss them separately.

In the first half of 2009, I listened to the Taylor Swift album more times than most teenage girls did. I have a bit of a shady past with country, having spent several years in Texas where you couldn’t exactly avoid it, and some of the songs got under my skin. This album is incredibly poppy, but with enough of a hint of country to make me reminisce a little. “Love Story” isn’t Shakespeare, but it wasn’t written for music critics. It’s the perfect girly girl song, with the balconies and pretty dresses and princesses all wrapped up in an extremely catchy melody. All that’s missing is a pony, but she gets to that in “White Horse,” the fallout of the dream “Love Story” creates.

Ever since Clinton from Zombie Fights Shark! posted a link to Amanda Palmer’s video for “Oasis” in April, I’ve had the song in my head. Due to its content, I’ve had to refrain from singing it aloud on several occasions (team meetings, trips to the South, family reunions, and so on). It’s catchy and fun and irreverent and ironic and hilarious.

My favorite new song from 2009: “Never Forget You” by Noisettes

I just get filled with joy whenever I hear this song. I love her vocals, I love the production, and I love the ‘60s soul/girl group vibe.

My favorite song that should have been written in 1978: “Free Energy”“Something in Common” by Free Energy

Free Energy takes all the good things from the late ‘70s, puts them in a blender with a few dashes of the ‘00s, and pours out these enjoyable songs. The keyboard lines and guitar effects that would irritate me in other songs? They completely work here.

My favorite new Christmas song: “Christmas Tree” by Lady GaGa

I played this over and over and over again, much to my husband’s amusement, then dismay. I have a minor GaGa obsession right now. I expect it to last about two months. But her music is poppy, mindless fun that makes you want to dance even if you don’t know how. Oh, and thank you Amazon, for offering this for free during your 25 Days of Christmas.

Also voted best music to serenade your designated driver with. After our holiday happy hour for work, my friend Beth’s husband was kind enough to drive us home, and this is how we repaid his good deed. I think I owe him one or two.

Two of my favorite songs that I didn’t think I’d like, but was pleasantly surprised: “Fallin’ for You” by Colbie Caillat / “The Fixer” by Pearl Jam

Colbie Caillat looks a bit like Jennifer Aniston, if she were actually happy with her life. Colbie doesn’t have that hard, angry, hungry edge to her face, and she always looks peaceful and content. I absolutely hated the song “Bubbly,” but I love this one. It also helps that the opening guitar part sounds like “Dreams” by The Twilight Hours and contains some of my favorite chords.

In our house, we refer to Eddie Vedder as Goat Boy because of his penchant for filling his vocals with vibrato. I actually liked some of the songs from Vs., but really didn’t enjoy anything Pearl Jam had put out since then. In retrospect, I’ve enjoyed some of their one-off singles that sound like ‘60s garage bands (their cover of “Last Kiss,” and their Christmas single “ Don’t Believe in Christmas”), and now they’ve released an album with that guitar sound and more straightforward vocals. It’s an excellent combination. They seemed sort of humorless before, but they seem like they’re having fun with their music again, and I’m having fun listening to it.

My favorite songs I found through the Rock and Roll Geek Show:

  • The Dirt” by Tinted Windows: The band played hard-to-get with this song, only including it on the Japanese import of their self-titled album. It totally worked because it made me want the song even more. I was unaware of its existence until I heard it on Michael Butler’s Rock ‘n’ Roll Geek Show, and I listened to the first five minutes of that episode about 10 times just to hear that tune. I feel lucky that I discovered this song.
  • “Mazel Tov Cocktail” by The Wildhearts: A solid song from a wildly underrated band. This song makes me drive faster. The video is a live recording from one of my favorite places in the world. I haven’t been inside the specific building, but I love the general area.

My favorite retro-sounding songs:

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2 Responses to “2009 Music in Review: The Singles, Part 1”

  1. 2009 Music in Review: The Singles, Part 2 « anitamartini’s lounge Says:

    […] anitamartini’s lounge Something to occupy my time when I’m not in Vegas. « 2009 Music in Review: The Singles, Part 1 […]

  2. 2009 Music in Review: The Albums « anitamartini’s lounge Says:

    […] 2009 Music in Review: The Albums By Michele For Part 1 of the singles, go here. […]

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