I make a long and a short version of the Best Songs of the Year playlist every year. The long version is in 3 parts, roughly by genre. Songs in bold are on the short version. Description / commentary in italics. Sometimes with a quote from the song there's a link to either info about the band or a video if it's good. Talk to me about music! I've probably missed things and will still be editing the playlists a bit.
1. Moonface (a.k.a. Spencer Krug) - Dreamland EP : marimba and shit-drums . It's worth listening to the whole thing. It's the Inception of songs, constructed from Krug's dream journals with minimal accompaniment that kicks in just right. "I'll prove how much I love you with this handstand."
2. Joanna Newsom - Kingfisher . An epic standout on her 3-part album Have One On Me. It mixes times and places, pre- and post-industrial, human and nonhuman. "I had a dream you came to me / said 'you shall not do me harm anymore'/ and with your knife you evicted my life / from its little light-house by the sea-shore."
3. Sufjan Stevens - Vesuvius . Sufjan's introspective "Age of Adz" sounds like him deciding to remove the limits he's given himself before, like seperating electronics and orchestras or pretending he can write like a non-Christian. It's hard to decide which is the best track - that may be the 25 minute "Impossible Soul". "In life as in death, I'd rather be burned than be living in debt"
4. The Knife - The Height of Summer . Experimental Darwin Art Opera "Tomorrow, In A Year" is all about sonic diversity and evolution, so naturally one outcome makes a flitting pop song of Mrs. Darwin's letters. "A thousand years seem to pass so quickly".
5. David Byrne & Fatboy Slim, sung by Santigold - Please Don't . In which Imelda Marcos explains how she convinces world leaders to serve the Philippines' interests. "A woman knows relationships. That's why I take my little trips."
6. Arcade Fire - Ready to Start . There are too many good songs on The Suburbs. "If I was scared, I would. And if I was bored, you know I would."
7. Wolf Parade - What Did My Lover Say? (It Always Had To Go This Way) . Despite releasing a phenomenal third album, Expo 86, Wolf Parade has become the least interesting Spencer Krug project. "I've got a sandcastle heart made out of fine black sand / sometimes it turns into glass when shit gets hot.
8. Black Mountain - Old Fangs . Solidly retro (to the point of weird misogyny in the video, despite the band's core being a married couple) prog-rock, more accessible than "In the Future". Is it foolish to know what you want before you've begun?
9. MGMT - Flash Delirium . Look, you guys. We do a lot of drugs, and we've been touring and getting way too much attention. We really only have okay songs in us right now, plus this freakout. Hope you understand.
10. Klaxons - Twin Flames . Mostly I like that this video looks like my paintings. "Join in our sick second life."
11. Yeasayer - Ambling Alp . It's okay, MGMT, Yeasayer can fill in. I like to think of Ambling Alp as Almond Joy to Madder Red's Mounds. Finger on the Steam does its research on this song. "Keep your fleet feed sliding side to side."
12. New Young Pony Club - The Optimist . "I try not to be disappointed"
13. Autechre - known(1) .
14. The Glitch Mob - Drive It Like You Stole It
15. Holy Fuck - P.I.G.S. Analog electronica like the unholy union of Jam Band and House DJ.
16. Zach Hill - House of Hits . So I've liked the math-rocker's drumming with Marnie Stern for three albums and it turns out he writes good songs. I could not get that pow-pow-pow powPOW! out of my head for ages. What time signature IS this? His last.fm is super geeky.
17. Marnie Stern - Gimme . Combines arcing riffs with frenetic noodling with her trademark art-metal bubblegum pop joy. "Things are different in the body, things are different in the city".
18. Sleigh Bells - Kids . Carries with the childlike vocals (and story, as only a 5th grade teacher can tell it) and high-decibel shreds."Everything was just perfect. I got a nice sunburn, though."
19. Crystal Castles - Doe Deer . It sure does sound like Alice yells "STEP OFF THE TRAIN, SAY HI TO MY DADDY" but officially the lyrics are 8 deathrays
20. Draculatron - Artmouth
21. Xiu Xiu - Dear God, I Hate Myself. "Don't ask if this line is about you."
22. Wavves - Post Acid . Surf garage pop sarcasm is one of L.A. stoner culture's better progeny. "misery, will you comfort me in my time of need?"
23. Vampire Weekend - Cousins . A Paul Simon punk tribute that is better than Paul Simon. hot brats. "you greatest hits 2006 little listmaker."
24. Thee Oh Sees - I Was Denied . "I got fucked up, suffice to say."
25. Dum Dum Girls - I Will Be . L.A.'s take on the noisy girl group are darker and immersed.
26. Best Coast - Crazy For You . Beth Cosentino brings a ringing voice to California retro-rock. "Even though you are my guy, I always freak when I get high."
27. The Like - He's Not A Boy. Crossroads producer-spawn return with a together girl-group sound and this sharp single. "Even when he lies, he means every word he says."
28. Jenny and Johnny - Big Wave . I spent so long deliberating between this and My Pet Snakes, but Big Wave is current and Social Issue-ey. "My doctor she says they're safe, but I've been sleepwalking down to the lake and waking up in the water."
29. Starfucker (formerly Pyramiddd) - Medicine . "Because as Aristotle said, Philosophy is the expression of man's curiosity about the world."
30. Ratatat - Drugs . The vocal-less, hip-hop-like beats & guitar combo makes my feet explode. The video is like stock photo shoots with some random Cunninghamesque uncanniness.
31. Health - USA Boys . I hadn't loved anything else Health did before this, whose video makes me feel so very old.
32. Delorean - Grow . Joyous spanish rave-pop. "Will we ever understand the sensation of pain?"
33. Matt & Kim - Cameras . Their simple hooks and energy are good enough to forgive the couple's Brooklyn Smug. I see that we’re made of / More then blood and bones / See we’re made of / Sticks and stones
34. Marina and the Diamonds - Mowgli's Road . Like most of the Greek-Welsh siren's songs, it's about Girl Defies The Man in the most Manufactured way, but I really don't know what metaphor exactly Kipling and utensils provide for career decisions. "You say Y-E-S to everything. Do you think that will guarantee a win?"
35. M.I.A. - XXXO . The best of an uneven album about the Internet. "If you like what you see you can download and store."
36. Chew Lips - Toro "Mouth make the word electricity"
37. Goldfrapp - Rocket . This song, and album, made me nostalgic (which is always for something never actually experienced). Video is a goofy sadistic fantasy matching the song's double entendre revenge threat / lesbian subtext: "You're never coming back"
38. Woodhands - CP24 . Smarmy Canadian keytar drums new rave hot nerd duo awesome. "I can't playact disaffected"
39. Future Islands - Long Flight . Baltimore art pop Prodigal Cuckold story. "Who are you thinking 'bout? It couldn't be me."
40. L.C.D. Soundsystem - Drunk Girls . Maybe it's a little bit Cool Dad but I can't get it out of my head. "Honestly, unless it hurts, why do it?"
41. Robyn - Fembot . "The calculator in my pocket got you all in check."
42. Janelle Monae - Tightrope (feat. Big Boi) . The voice of the Obama era. There's so much brilliance in her performance, mythology, THING. "I'm another flavor, something like a Terminator."
43. Cee Lo Green - Fuck You . This is everywhere, and you probably don't mind more of it. "Although there's pain in my chest, I still wish you the best with a 'fuck you!'"
44. Das Racist - hahahaha jk? Those brown hipster stoners from Queens who did Combination Pizza Hut and Taco Bell did a mix tape. It's pretty funny.
45. Die Antwoord - Enter the Ninja . The South African rap-ravers are a complicated, filthy joke. They are the sonic Aristocrats. "I need your production"?
46. Matthew Dear - Slowdance . "It's like every bee sting tries to make my ears ring."
SHORT (20 songs):
download from here.