top 25 songs of 2009

Well, it’s that time of year again. In the coming weeks, you’ll soon be stuffed full of shortbread, spiked eggnog and best of lists.

To get the ball rolling, here are my top 25 songs of 2009.

25. Jeffrey Lewis & The Junkyard  (‘Em Are I) – Broken Broken Broken Heart

Who would have thought that a broken heart came equipped with handclaps? This tunes wedged itself in my head for most of the spring. I especially loved that lyric “I wondered what would happen if I tested it, and then I tested it again. How strong really is it really? Can I step on it? Can I leave it standing it in the rain?” Go on, I dare you not to tap your foot to it.

24. Silversun Pickups (Swoon) – Panic Switch

It was around this time in 2006 that I was California, and my friend forwarded me a song from the Silversun Pickups saying you have to hear this. So even over dial-up internet I managed to download, listen, and I was hooked, so I was excited for their latest album. Unfortunately, this was one of the only standout songs (I thought) on Swoon, but it’s a good one. It’ll hook ya. Favourite lyric “I still sleep on the right side of the white noise.”

23. Florence and the Machine (Lungs) – Rabbit Heart (Raise it Up)

A new discovery this year for me was Florence and the Machine. I’m glad they’re getting a lot of radio play on the indie stations here. This is one of the only tracks I’ve actually seen the music video for, and fell for because of the Alice themes. The chorus has a bit of an anthem quality, and I’m looking forward to see what this band gets up to in the future.

22. Grand Duchy (Petits Fours) – Come On Over To My House

“Come on over to my house, I’ll make you buckets of tea.” If Frank Black is making tea, I’m there.  I love the urgency in which he sings the chorus on this song and what’s going on in the background.

21. Papercuts (You Can’t Have What You Want) – Jet Plane

Jet Plane is one of those dreamy songs that if you hear at the right (or wrong) moment it can stir up a lot of emotion. I no longer have Papercuts on my ipod while traveling, because customs officers don’t take kindly to sobbing girls at airports. I call it pre-emptive listening. See that jet plane in the sky…la la la la la…

20. The Wooden Sky (If I Don’t Come Home You’ll Know I’m Gone) – (Bit Part)

Toronto indie rockers Wooden Sky, hit the ball out the park with this album. I can’t listen to it without putting it on repeat and listening at least three times. My favourite line “You know I don’t have time to play a bit part in your life, thinking you can change my mind…”

19. White Rabbits (It’s Frightening) – Percussion Gun

I love the start of this track. It reminds me of the summer and walking to work, down dirt roads and I’d always have a smile when I got there listening to this.

18. Tegan & Sara (Sainthood) – Hell

Pow! The Canadian twins are back at it again. This is the first single off Sainthood, and grabs you from go. I love the line “I know you feel it too, these words get overused…” I love listening to this while driving down the freeway on a rainy day.

17. The Antlers (Hospice) – Two

File this song, and album under ones that grip onto that little part of you don’t normally show to others. It’s quite an emotional listen but worth the journey it takes you on.

16. Au Revior Simone (Still Night, Still Light) – All Or Nothing

“Can’t you see we’re in the middle of somewhere?” Seems to be a theme for me this year, and this song reminds me of my nomadic ways, and going in, all or nothing.

15. The Big Pink (A Brief History of Love) – Velvet

Another surprising discovery this year. Feedbacky guitars and British accents, with the right lyrics and I’m sold. This song now reminds me of my road trip from Smithers to Vancouver, where we had but one CD and no radio stations. Without even trying, I can see the setting sun in the valley, “Found her in a dream…”

14. Bob Dylan  (Together Through Life) – I Feel A Change Comin On

“I feel a change comin on, and the fourth part of the day is already gone…” I really took to this track, off Dylan’s latest and it stayed in my stereo for most of the spring. Gotta love that harmonica.

13. Camera Obscura (My Maudlin Career) – French Navy

Camera Obscura’s “Let’s Get Out of This Country” is one my personal anthems and came into my life at the perfect time, so I was excited for this release, and the first lines of this album (and song) had me hooked, “Spent a week in a dusty library, waiting for some words to jump at me…”

12. Wilco – Wilco (The Album) – You and I

I like the simplicity of this song. And as always, it really comes down to the lyrics for me and this song really pulls at the heartstrings. “You and I, we might be strangers, how ever close we get sometimes, its like we never met. But you and I, I think we can take it…” I’m sad the only Wilco concert here is for the Olympics, no chance of braving the crowds for even Wilco.

11. Yeah Yeah Yeahs (It’s Blitz!) – Skeletons

I love Karen O. I hope the YYY’s keep doing what they’re doing, because they keep topping themselves. This is one of their softer, slower tracks on It’s Blitz! but it’s not without bite. I love around the 1.45 mark when the drums tap in and everything just swells and then is soothed by Ms. O’s voice as she tells us to “Spin the sky…”

10. Eels (Hombre Lobo) – Prizefighter

I debated between Fresh Blood and Prizefighter, but ultimately this song one out, and was my song of the summer and got me through some rough patches. I cannot wait to see what Eels has in store for us next year. And if you haven’t already, do check out Mr. Everett’s autobiography Things the Grandchildren Should Know.

9. The Flaming Lips (Embryonic) – See The Leaves

I’ve made it my goal for 2010 to see The Flaming Lips live. I am willing to travel to finally be able to see Mr. Coyne and Co. onstage. I’ve been a fan for far too long, it’s time, and what an album to see live, eh? A truly sensory experience, you have to listen to this song, and Embryonic on 11 and through headphones. Trust me.

8. Great Northern (Remind Me Where The Light Is) – Story

A song that got me through this last cold winter, and is a staple driving CD now. The chorus always gets stuck in my head for a few hours after listening. “It’s in all those things we won’t ever say, and it’s in all those things we won’t ever be…”

7. Great Lake Swimmers (Lost Channels) – Pulling on a Line

I don’t think this was a single for Lost Channels, because they keep playing track 9 on the radio but this one is my favourite. Ah, that voice. Those lyrics. Perfection. “The line it inks across the freshly drawn snow…”

6. The Mountain Goats (The Life of the World to Come) – Genesis 30:3

Who doesn’t love a good story, and John Darnielle tells it best, when he’s not singing along to Ace of Bace that is (I heart that clip). I almost picked track 3 Genesis 3:23 because it admittedly hooks you, but this track (Genesis 30:3) really grew on me and soon became a favourite.

5. Metric (Fantasies) – Gimme Sympathy

I love when questions are asked in song (really, who would you rather be the Beatles or the Rolling Stones…seriously). I’ve been loving on Metric for many years now, and seen them in many transformations, so it’s great to see them get a lot of commercial success with this album. “Got no time to take a picture, I’ll remember someday…” Still, I’d be lying if I didn’t scream a bit inside when Combat Baby comes on the radio though…

4. The Pains of Being Pure at Heart (The Pains of Being Pure at Heart) – Young Adult Fiction

Speaking of songs that make you scream inside, this one had me tapping my foot, hands and any other free moving body parts. Reminds me of the summer I spent in England at the library writing my  dissertation, and the moment in my day when I got to leave, cross the motorway and head to the pub.

3. Handsome Furs (Face Control) –Radio Kaliningrad

Oh come on, did you think we’d get this far without seeing some WP spin-offs? Do you know me at all? I have to play this song loud and repeat at least twice. Whilst doing the Molly Ringwold, but only during the chorus. “We’re all just waiting for it. The future is uranium and sleeping on an orange sky…”

2. Sunset Rubdown (Dragonslayer) – You Go On Ahead (Trumpet Trumpet II)

I almost picked Idiot Heart. Almost. I really do love them both, but for different reasons. I would make my second goal for 2010 to see Mr. Spencer Krug & Co. in concert, but I think I missed their west coast tour whilst up north, so I will wait. One day. Anyway, this song, it’s the lyrics really. I first heard it sung in the back of a black cab and was sold. “And I’d like to watch the white flash of your heels as they take turns breaking the desert heat to beckon me in languages I’ve never learned…” I especially love the second part of this song when Camilla joins in.

1. Woods (Songs of Shame) – Rain On (Acoustic)

The non-acoustic version of this song is fabulous as well, but I heard the acoustic first (I think) and it just spoke to me more. The lyrics really hit home on this track as well, and if you can swing it make sure it’s raining and put this on a CD whilst driving. Or just move to Vancouver and you won’t have to worry about the weather part.

Okay, wow that was a lot of writing. Hope you made it through. I was going to link the tracks…but I got lazy. I’m adding the mp3 as I get time today. So check back later on for a full listing.



Filed under list it, music

15 responses to “top 25 songs of 2009

  1. f

    Oh crap, I forgot about Great Northern and Handsome Furs! That’s what happens when so much good stuff comes out at the beginning of the year. Hope Spoon doesn’t get lost in the 2010 shuffle.

    Good list, and I’ve only heard about 2/3rds of these. Too bad no linky, suppose I can hunt ’em down easily enough myself. Eels, Wilco and White Rabbits almost made my list, lucky for Eels they have another album coming out next year and might make that list.

    Of all the blogs I have seen, Rain On is the clear winner this year, eh?

  2. I know it’s amazing how many good releases came out this year. Andrew Bird didn’t make this list, peaked too early.

    I might put a zip file up, as I’ve had a few emails. I just didn’t feel like linking 25 files and figured people already had the tunes…guess not. A lot of the stuff on here that you haven’t heard of is probably more of the folk, which you might not like, but you should check out The Antlers if you haven’t.

    Yes, it’s nice to see Rain On at the top of people’s lists! It’s rare everyone agrees. :)

  3. I am impressed that you are already working on your lists! I have not yet begun to sort through the best-ofs but agree that it has been a stellar year. Which makes it both harder and easier to compile a list, of course.

    I have to admit there are a few songs I am unfamiliar with on there. Which is how a good list should always read.

  4. iduality

    Well, I leave next week and then I won’t be spending too much time around the computer so figure best get it done now. You’ve already gotten your holiday cards out of the way though, so handclaps to you!

    I have decided to create a zip file tonight, so people can download tracks they haven’t heard. :) It’ll be in two parts, but you can just put into the bin those tunes you have!

  5. f

    Thanks, looking forward to it. Panic Switch will definitely be going in the bin, I don’t know about up there, but down here it’s a law that they have to play it every 7 minutes on the radio.
    I’d like Silversun Pickups more if they put more than 1 good song on each album.

  6. Well that’ll ruin it quick. I’ve never really heard it on the radio here, a bit too mainstream for our indie station here. This is true, it’s the only song I enjoy from Swoon.

    I’ll either zip or link tracks individually later on tonight!

  7. (Let’s try this again… WordPress is apparently quite hungry and eating well-worded, thoughtful and inspiring commentary ;) )

    I just love this Allison. Your list is original and thoroughly you. I really like how you injected a personal anecdote with the significance of each song. These obviously impacted you in a lot of ways.

    I am really pleased to see the Antlers, Papercuts and Woods included in your list. All of which are on mine. Well done with this and nice to include the download as well. Always a great thing to share the best music.

    Great post!

  8. Bad wordpress! It hardly ever eats comments.

    Glad you enjoyed the list. It was a great year for music, wasn’t? So much to talk about. I’m looking forward to seeing your list. If I remember correctly you did 100 albums last year? Quite the task. Very intrigued to see what tops your list. :)

  9. bloody awful poetry

    You’re fast! And I’m proud to say I know (and love) a little under half of this list =)
    Florence + The Machine are amazing, by the way. Lungs is probably by most frequently played album of ’09. And I listened to “(Bit Part)” about 7 times in a row last night before going to bed. Once just never cuts it.

  10. 2009 almost marks the year I gave up on music. Not that it was all bad, I just didn’t give anything a chance. Music blahs. Hopefully your list will help me rekindle what’s been lost.

  11. BAP: I know, Florence and the Machine were one of my favourite finds this year. So good. (Bit Part) really gets stuck in your head doesn’t? Speaking of, I need to go listen again. :)

    John: I hope so, it was a great year for music. Stellar in fact. Hope you find something on this list for you!

  12. great list, i struggle to find the good stuff, but am getting more of what i like in CBC2

  13. CBC radio 2 is good. I don’t listen to it nearly as much as I should these days, as a new indie station emerged here and has been occupying my listening time. Wherever we can get the tunes, right?

  14. Cheers for the great page – I had fun reading it! I always love browsing this blog. :)

  15. Growing old is getting old is my personal favourite from Swoon! Nice list

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