Thursday, December 11, 2008
SCQ's TOP 50 SONGS OF 2008 #50-41
In February, the idea of compiling the year’s individual tracks came to me. It began as a simple exercise for someone who had only worked with full albums in the past, and by May, I was foolishly polishing my song pyramid as if the next seven months wouldn’t change a thing. In September, I considered expanding the feature to covering the top 100 songs… if only to spread due credit. By yesterday evening, I’d given up. Truth is, 2008 turned out to be an exciting year in music and I doubt 100 songs would’ve provided any more closure than I have now.
For some albums, I've included a small write-up or quote from the album's original SCQ review. For the remainder of cases, I've written nothing... which means you should really just listen to it here, here, or here. Stay tuned for SCQ's Top 20 Albums of the year, coming your way Saturday December 13th, but for now, enjoy SCQ’s Top 50 Songs of 2008.
50. Why Can’t You Be (Live) – Third Eye Blind
Live documents are rarely discussed at SCQ, mostly because they’re a sad grey area between the perfected studio version and actually standing at their show. That said, ‘Why Can’t You Be’ offers several hints at what to expect on Third Eye Blind’s upcoming 2009 record. Writing a song about an ex-girlfriend’s true love – a shower-massager – might seem trite, but like Jenkins’ best lyrics, these raw accounts of failing romance get under our skin. Ursa Major can’t come soon enough.
49. Planet – Kyte
With their all-encompassing whirls of echoed guitar and purposeful snare-hits, Kyte earn naming this song after the enormity of a planet. Where this cut walks circles around some of its neighbours on their self-titled debut is its crawling urgency, and a structure at once impenetrable yet indecisive; determined post-rock occasionally flooding in its own reverb.
48. You Remind Me of Something – Bonnie “Prince” Billy
47. Into the Stream – The Tallest Man on Earth
46. Leave This Town – Butcher the Bar
It was quarter to midnight. I sat watching an English movie with Chinese subtitles, the usual array of rice dishes and chopsticks hollowed out and resting on someone else’s desk, in someone else’s apartment. The desk sporting nothing but polish and the floors spotless, I kept eyeing two suitcases, zipped up and loitering by the doorway. My flight wasn’t till sunrise but with foreign time and money to spend, I lugged my appendages down three narrow stories, hailed a cab, and took my last tour of the city. Catching all those strange but familiar intersections from the backseat one last time, I put my headphones on and pressed play.
45. Hercules Theme – Hercules and Love Affair
44. Unforgettable Season/Midnight Runner – Cut/Copy
OK, so I cheated. Two songs, back-to-back from In Ghost Colours, share one ranking on SCQ’s Top Fifty Songs. I find it just about impossible to separate these two highlights, with ‘Midnight Runner’ providing the neon afterglow to ‘Unforgettable Season’s summer anthem. If you’ve heard them together or apart, you’ll understand.
43. Tall Trees – Matt Mays & El Torpedo
42. Slapped Actress – The Hold Steady
“The Hold Steady still rock though, sometimes heavier than we remembered like on the cutting riff of [...] ‘Slapped Actress’s kick-ass climax where the band surrenders to a sole piano, as Finn reflects “sometimes actresses get slapped, sometimes fake fights turn out bad”, before the guitars snap back into action and a vocal choir carries the album to sleep.”
41. Sundays – Counting Crows