Sunday, January 25, 2009

My Top Songs of 2008 (The Top 10)

10. Akon – “Right Now (Na Na Na)” (Video)
I’m not a “club kid” but if I was, I’d definitely break out some glow sticks for this one. Lyrically weak, “Right Now” is a song you can sing along to when you’ve got a cold, due to its nasally vocals. A nagging chorus, cheesy synth sounds and the bonus of having two choruses keep you interested.

9. Chairlift – “Bruises” (Listen)
I was introduced to this tenaciously catchy song by way of another iTunes commercial and it has really really grown on me. It’s the perfect song to sing in the shower – complete with “ooohs” and “doos.”

“Bruises” starts out very Feist-like and develops into a lovely duet. The lyrics are slightly silly yet endearing, “I tried to do headstands for you but every time I fell for you” and “I grabbed some frozen strawberries so I could ice your bruising knees.”

8. Coldplay – “Viva La Vida” (Video)
Whether or not Chris Martin ripped of guitarist Joe Satriani remains to be proven (I can see it). But “Viva La Vida” is buoyant and triumphant. There are strings, flashes of electronics, a driving beat and all sorts of Biblical references.

The question though is if “Viva La Vida” strike Grammy gold, does Coldplay share the award with The Satch?

7. MGMT – “Kids” (Youtube)
More synthy disco-pop. The first time I listened to MGMT’s debut album, Oracular Spectacular, “Kids” immediately stood out. The riff is reminiscent of old Nintendo games. It was only a matter of time before it was selected as a single (their third on the album). I love the sound: synthesizers, ’80-ish vocals and its anthem feel.

6. Blitzen Trapper – “Furr” (Video)
I may be wrong but I think that this was an iTunes Free Download of the Week. If it was, it’s by far the best track featured there. It’s impossible to hear this song and not immediately surmise that these indie rockers are from the Pacific Northwest (Portland, Oregon to be exact).

With obvious Neil Young/Bob Dylan influences, “Furr” is quirky, tuneful and fun. It’s perfect for any Fall soundtrack. The song tells the story of a man who matures into a beast and loses “the taste for judging right from wrong.”

“Furr” interested me so much that I went back and sampled some of Blitzen Trapper’s previous albums. Wild Mountain Nation is great. It’s so diverse it is ridiculous.

5. The Flobots – “Handlebars” (Video)
This is definitely cheating. “Handlebars” is actually a few years old but only recently got radio play. It’s my list; I’m adding it. It’s a meaningful hip-hop track, embraced by alternative fans. This isn’t just any old hip-hop track. We got horns and violas. The way it crescendos from innocence to a thundering apocalyptic holocaust gives me chills.

4. Bon Iver – “Skinny Love” (Listen)
Tip of the cap to Evan for introducing me to the genius of Bon Iver. His album, For Emma, Forever Ago is mellow and brilliant. “Skinny Love” stands out. If you like acoustic, high-pitched, Neil Young-esque folk, you’ll love this. If it doesn’t bring out the weepy folkster inside you, I don’t know what will.

“Come on skinny love just last the yearPour a little salt we were never hereMy, my, my, my, my, my, my, myStaring at the sink of blood and crushed veneerI tell my love to wreck it allCut out all the ropes and let me fallMy, my, my, my, my, my, my, myRight in the moment this order’s tall”

We’re never told who Emma is but she must have been quite a treat to inspire such agony.

3. Vampire Weekend – “Oxford Comma” (Video)
Vampire Weekend’s follow-up to “A-Punk,” “Oxford Comma” is a fantastically fun little ditty. With tinkering keyboards, light-hearted drum beats and metaphor-laced lyrics, “Oxford Comma” might not be the catchiest single on the album but it’s the best. This is pop music at its chirpy best.

Is there a stranger hook than “Who gives a fuck about an Oxford comma?” But what is an Oxford comma?

The Oxford comma is the comma used immediately before a grammatical conjunction (nearly always and or or; sometimes nor) that precedes the last item in a list of three or more items. The phrase "Portugal, Spain, and France," for example, is written with the Oxford comma, while "Portugal, Spain and France," identical in meaning, is written without it. -- Wikipedia

2. Beck – “Gamma Ray” (Video)
“Gamma Ray” is the second single off Modern Guilt. The first time I heard this I thought it sounded a bit like Gnarls Barkley then I heard that Danger Mouse produced the track… I have such a refined ear.

The blazing guitars and cymbal rhythm drives the track and gives it a very go-go-dancing feel. All this excitement is tempered by Beck’s trademark laid-back vocal delivery.

1. The Killers – “Spaceman” (Video)
I’ve already professed my love for The Killers. “Spaceman” is ridiculously, addictingly catchy and demands that you drop what you’re doing and bust a move (even if you’re driving). It’s a throw back to Hot Fuss, only pepped up caffeine and Mormon fervor. Brandon Flower’s vocals, a great drum solo and David Bowie-esque subject matter, all make for my favorite song of the year.

Emily found the video for this song today. Regrettably, it’s atrocious. Her take:
“What’s with the Brandon Flowers meets Mad Max meets a peacock costume choice? What the hell happened here?”

In related news… this morning I bought tickets for The Killers show at the Mohegan Sun in May. I had missed out on their Boston and New York City shows and that really pissed me off. When I heard they were adding more shows, I did my “Spaceman” dance. This will be my third time seeing them and I can’t wait.


So this concludes my Top 40 Songs of 2008 list. Hope you enjoyed it.


  1. Jeff Schaible writing ably about "Of Now" music? Somewhere Steve Sears just won a body building title.


    Jeff Schaible writing ably about "Of Now" music? Somewhere Zach Hosseini got a job.


    Jeff Schaible writing ably about "Of Now" music? Somewhere Jeff Schaible had a hobby of more than 9 days.

  2. Hahaha.

    Thanks for reading Zach and good luck with the job search.

  3. i really dig that Vampire Weekend track.

  4. Yes, that Spaceman video was ...uh ... bad. They are very hit and miss with their videos.