What's More Unbelievable?

Monday, December 29, 2008

Finally Showing Chris Martin Some Love

I've always had soft spot for radio pop but this year, even I was surprised at what I was falling head over heels for. What follows are my favorite singles of the year that did not appear on any of the albums I purchased in 2008:

Coldplay - "Viva la Vida" - For years I've railed against this band for all the reasons you can imagine plus some I made up myself but then I saw Chris Martin's appearance on Extras and I melted. I guess much of my hatred was based on the supposition that he was entirely too self-serious and that seems to not be the case. Anyhow, I was won over by the handmade clothing, the attempt to not keep cashing in on his falsetto and the utter awesomeness of this song.

Viva La Vida - Coldplay

Kanye West - "Love Lockdown" - I've already spouted off about this monstrous masterpiece but I'm still surprised by how easily it was for Kanye to win my heart.

Love Lockdown - Kanye West

Usher - "Love In This Club" - Freeky deeky. My favorite part? At 3:18 when he sings "I don't care who's watching, watching" and the piano gets all tinkly. Brilliantly stupid and stupidly brilliant.

Love In This Club - Usher

T.I. feat. Rihanna - "Live Your Life" - A gorgeous sample, robotic vocals and group chanting on the chorus are all you need to make a perfect song and this one could be 30 minutes long and I'd still want more.

Live Your Life - Feat. Rihanna - T.I.

Miley Cyrus - "Fly On the Wall" - Not the XTC cover I hoped it would be but instead an unholy Frankenstein's monster composed of a few parts rock n roll, a few parts dance pop and the creepiest chorus of the year, possibly sung by actual human flies.

Fly On The Wall - Miley Cyrus

The Dutchess & the Duke - "Reservoir Park" - The kind of effortless song that countless rock revisionists and faux-garage acts try to assemble out of put-on attitude and oversized record collections but still can't manage. Perfect for a breezy autumn day.

Reservoir Park - The Dutchess & The Duke

Wolf Parade - "California Dreamer" - Plaintive and measured at first but then he start singing about radio waves and the song gets increasingly urgent and wild, careening towards and ugly end that never comes.

California Dreamer - Wolf Parade

Shugo Tokumaru -"Parachute" - Built around acoustic guitar and glockenspiel, it's the feel-good, can't-understand-a-word-besides-the-title song of the year.

Parachute - Shugo Tokumaru

Passion Pit - "Sleepyhead" - More dance/disco outrageousness that will have you grooving in your space pants and doing the bump with the constellations. I can't describe this song's magic powers properly but it makes me want to simultaneously cry, giggle and pump my fist. Absolutely (inter)stellar.

Sleepy Head - Passion Pit

Crystal Castles - "Untrust Us" - For me, this is the hands down winner of the year. It's untouchable and gave me heart palpitations the first time I heard it. As always, the music is like attending the coolest dance at Pac Man High School but the crazy, chopped up vocals are prettier and more powerful than you'd expect from these two grubby 16 bit suckers. It still knocks me out every time I hear it but my meds now help to keep my heart from skipping a beat or three.

Untrust Us - Crystal Castles