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My 29 Favorite Songs of 2009

I know, I know – March is pretty late for a “Favorites of 2009” list. But I happened to be busy at the end of the year making a movie. So, here it is, the first of few favorites list. Because I was so busy last year I didn’t have as much time to scour the ‘net for new stuff, so I had to rely on others to find the very best – mainly, my brother Matt, Swedesplease.net, and, most of all, my brother Sean. So, thanks to all of them for helping me put this list together. And, fortunately, there was an embarrassment of riches in music this year; it seems the more the music industry goes to shit, making it impossible for anyone to make money, the more talented musicians come out of the woodwork.  Here we go —

29. Beginner’s Luck – The Eels

This band reminds me a lot of a modern Bay City Rollers. And to me that’s a good thing.

28. Song Away – Hockey

From their incredible album, Hospice, which is all about losing a loved one to cancer. Eerie, sad, and moving.

27. Bear – The Antlers

26. Brother – Lisa Crawley

Awesome Death Cab cover. She’s been playing it live for a while, but it was only released on record this year.

25. I Will Follow You into the Dark – Amy Millan

Every year I seem to pick out one full out mainstream pop song. Last year was Flo Rida, the year before, Aly & AJ. This year, T. Swift. I don’t know a single other song by her, but I dig this one a lot. It’s like a John Hughes movie become a pop song (only without the racist Asian shit).

24. You Belong with Me – Taylor Swift

23. Whiskey Mechanics – C-Rayz Walz (f. Roman e Gripp)

The hippest band of the year are possibly also the greatest band of the year (although Phoenix, The Eels, and Florence + The Mechanics give them a run for their money). I like them a lot more than last years’ hippest, The Fleet Foxes.

22. While You Wait for the Others – Grizzly Bear

This was the first song I heard from the newest Decemberists’ release, which made me excited as hell. Unfortunately, I think the rest of the album isn’t as good as past Decemberists’ albums.

21. The Rake’s Song – The Decemberists

The world’s greatest live performer put out a pretty great album this year – and this is my favorite song off it.

20. I Need to Know Where I Stand – Rhett Miller

19. Tightrope – Yeasayer

I know this is just a few seconds of the song, but it’s all I could find. I strongly suggest you go download it now. I love her voice! When I first heard the song, I imagined the little chubby black girl rocking out. When I was looking up this tune online I found out she looks like this –

I almost moved the song up a few spots, but I’m trying to keep my integrity.

18. Goldenship – Gin Wigmore

Speaking of integrity, I really hate that I dig this song so much. Scarlett Johansson? Really? Ugh. It’s AWESOME.

17. Relator – Pete Yorn & Scarlett Johansson

Mia and I were in a bookstore in Silverlake when we heard this playing on the speakers in the store. We asked the guy at the cash register what the song was. He didn’t know, so he played the song again, and we Shazamed that shit.

16. Hellhole Ratrace – Girls

I think of my pal JP Cabrera every time I hear this song, because he loves robots so much. If anyone knows that “robots need love too,” it’s JP. This video isn’t great, but you can download the song for free at Swedesplease.

15. Robots – Dan Mangan

14. Too Fake – Hockey

The video for this novelty song went viral last year. The real surprise to me is that the rest of the EP is good too!

13. Are You Fucking Kidding Me? – Kate Miller-Heidke

12. Shark in the Water – V V Brown

11. Walkabout – Atlas Sound (w. Noah Lennox)

Holy shit, I love this song. Sometimes, while posting these videos, I think I should move the songs up a few places. Too late now!

10. Home – Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros

I can’t speak Swedish, so I don’t know what Love’s singing about. But I’m hoping it’s something about fucking his sister, which would make this happy song even better. Also, I’m confused by the Asian guy in the video: don’t they kill Asians in Sweden? What’s up? Aw, who am I kidding!? I love the Swedes! (I just wish they put out more great tunes this year, like they did last – I miss The Second Band!)

9. Till Myn Syster – Love Lindblom

8. Lust for Life – Girls

7. That Look You Gave That Guy – The Eels

6. Two Weeks – Grizzly Bear

The first song on one of my top lists that was written on a piano in my home.

5. The Other Man – Terra Naomi

The song I’ve listened to the more than any other this year. While I was shooting SUPER, I’d listen to the Phoenix album repeatedly, and sometimes play Lisztomania 10, 20 times in a row. Though I must admit – the first time I heard the song I thought he was singing “Listomania”, something I obviously suffer from – and felt a non-existent kinship with the band.

4. Lisztomania – Phoenix

3. The Way It Was – Aceyalone (f. Bionik)

Thao’s about the coolest lead singer there is. I loved 2008’s “Bag of Hammers”, and I love this tune even more. Currently the song in most heavy rotation on my iPod.

2. When We Swam – Thao and Get Down Stay Down

Florence + The Machine’s Lungs is another contender for my favorite album of the year. Another five songs or so could have easily made it onto this list. But, alas, they’ll just have to settle for my favorite tune of 2009.

1. Dog Days Are Over – Florence + The Machine

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  • For some reason I tend to avoid your music lists even though I dig much of your choices. I guess because for me music is just an intimate journey and probably because it was forced on me. Out of most of my friends, I was the only one that listened to KNAC, KXLU, Pirate Radio or other music that just never got air play on local stations. Even KNAC wasn’t up to speed on punk rock because it was mostly all metal. Hell, I had to go to a special out-of-the-way joint just to score the music I loved. Sometimes when I read your music blogs I feel like I’m walking in on you naked or something. I realize that doesn’t make sense, but it does in my world.

    But out of the tunes and artists you mentioned here do you listen to Ted Leo and the Pharmacists, Melee, The Weakerthans, The Potatomen, The Oranges Band or Mêlée? They seem to be in your groove.

  • Just Linda

    You guys need to compile a Blip.fm list!

  • Great list, Chris!!

  • Can I get an early shout for the Soft Pack in your best of 2010 list! You will love them, here’s C’mon – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XgU2NhcoqWg

    Nice 2009 list btw, I’m a big fan of Grizzly Bear, The Eels are always reliable. I haven’t connected with the Antlers album yet but I should give it another go. The Decemberists album is good but can be a bit of a chore I agree. Atlas Sound is pretty good, you should check out Deerhunter (same guy), Microcastle is a better album I think.

    The Phoenix album is by far their best, finally they’ve released a consistently good record.

    Here are some of my favourites of the year, in no order.

    Grizzly Bear – Ready, Able
    Animal Collective – My Girls
    Jeffrey Lewis and the Junkyard – Slogans
    Dinosaur Jr – Pieces
    Meat Puppets – Rotten Shame
    Phoenix – 1901
    The Pains of Being Pure at Heart – Come Saturday
    The Future of the Left – Arming Eritrea
    Obits – Pine On
    Built to Spill – Hindsight
    Fanfarlo – I’m a Pilot
    Telepathe – So Fine
    Yeah Yeah Yeahs – Zero
    Au Revoir Simone – Anywhere You Wanted
    Rain Machine – Give Blood
    Modest Mouse – Satellite Skin
    Vic Chesnutt – Flirted With You All of My Life
    Fuck Buttons – The Lisbon Maru
    Tim Hecker – Sea of Pulses
    The Flaming Lips – Silver Trembling Hands
    Carina Round – For Everything a Reason
    Jason Lytle – Brand New Sun

  • I like “You Belong with Me”. Though I’d like it a lot more if it was sang by someone who’s not Taylor Swift. When she does the song live, singing “She wear high heels/I wear sneakers” while decked out in high heels I want to cringe.

  • Bill Pardys Doppelganger

    “You Belong with Me” is total stalker song.

    It’s too bad you didn’t discover Final Placement last year.