2008 is merely two months and some change old but I have already registered some serious playcounts on my iTunes for a couple of tracks (I reset the playcounts on January 1 every year by the way). In the spirit of giving and since some of these are probably not on your iPod, I thought I’d post my top 11 played so far this year and offer them up to download. Hopefully the artists won’t mind because I honestly just want you to hear this stuff and become fans yourselves.
So. . .
“Everyone Nose” by N.E.R.D.
This is the first single off their upcoming third album and anybody who knows me will find it no surprise that this is getting so many spins. I fucking love these guys and every time they come out with something new, they manage to sound totally fresh to me. Let’s not forget they are the ones who gifted the world with the dope beat behind “Drop it Like it’s Hot”. Who else in hip hop besides Kanye West would make their entire chorus just yelling out “All the girls standing in the line for the bathroom!”
“The 59th Street Bridge Song (Feeling Groovy)” by SIMON & GARFUNKEL
This is a song off their third album, Parsley, Sage, Rosemary & Thyme that I probably just came across on shuffle and fell in love with. Amazingly, I had only known it by the super lame Harpers Bizarre cover, which can’t hold a candle to the original. It’s so simple and like so many of their tunes really illustrate how little you need for a song to be amazing. Melody, harmony and late 60’s archaic slang. Unfortunately, I recently saw Bad Timing and can no longer disassociate Art Garfunkel from his pasty, white ass.
“Eden Was a Garden” by ROMAN CANDLE
At some point in 2008, the world will be blessed with Roman Candle’s sophomore album Oh Tall Tree in the Ear but in the meantime there are a couple of new tracks on their myspace and this isn’t one of them. It’s filled with everything that is quickly becoming their trademarks- beautiful lyrics, driving guitars, outstanding instrumentation and some good old fashioned southern hospitality. Give it a listen and let them put a tree right in your ear.
“I Can’t Do Without You” by DORIS DUKE
Apparently Missy Elliott got all her clothes from a garage sale by Doris Duke, a super promising soul singer in the early 70’s who released an album called I’m a Loser, which makes me like her already. Unfortunately her label went bankrupt and she drifted into obscurity but Aaron, Brendan and I have plans to change all that by making this song the centerpiece in a knockout scene from our upcoming stoner comedy, Sun Baked. Also, Aaron declared this the best album he’s heard since Astral Weeks.
“8:05” by THE DOWNTEMPO
Keegan’s probably gonna hate me for posting this since I think he views his early recordings the same way most of us view our yearbook photos from freshman year, but I don’t care. This song is sooooo good that I don’t even mind if I look like a teenage girl for adding extra o’s into my praise. It’s lo-fi to be sure and he recorded it onto a shitty computer when he was probably 18 or 19, but the music is pure genius. If someone wrote this song for me I would fuck or marry them on the spot.
“Sun Arise” by ALICE COOPER
Any preconcieved notions of what Alice Cooper music was like went out the window when I got a hold of this album. I had been brought up to avoid his devil music and aside from his Wayne’s World cameo where he schooled me on the origins of Milwaukee, I pretty much did. The reason I’ve listened to this particular track so much is because I also had plans to include it in Sun Baked but now I’m not so sure. Still, it’s undeniably great and has opened up a new world of devil worship for me.
“Cape Cod Kwassa Kwassa” by VAMPIRE WEEKEND
You probably don’t need me to tell you about Vampire Weekend because if you use the internet at all, you’ve already heard of them. The definitive buzz band of early 2008 is worth all the hype to me and this song has become the standout. I don’t even know what it’s about aside from high end clothing store references but Tara loves it too so I put it on her Valentine’s mix for cheap brownie points and she actually knows one of the guys in the band, which makes their success all the more surreal.
“Voyages” by MICHEL POLNAREFF
It’ll maybe give you an idea of how much I’ve thought about this stoner comedy that this song is also high because I envision it on the soundtrack. A delightful French instrumental from the early 70’s, it would play during an elaborate animated opening credits sequence like the ones in the original Pink Panther films or It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World. I won’t say anything more so as not to spoil it. You’ll just have to wait until 2012 when the movie comes out.
“June: Brooklyn, NY (Sadness to Relate)” by KEEGAN DeWITT
The very latest from Keegan serves as a nice comparison to that track from seven or eight years ago above. He’s certainly traded up for some crisper production and received a helping hand from some other musicians on backup, but one thing is still the same. He’s still a genius and this song starts off like it could be on a Phil Spector record from the 60’s and ends with a pounding refrain coming down on you like a hailstorm. That photo of him is kinda gay though. Sorry bro.
“Paper Planes” by M.I.A.
I had written off M.I.A. after her first album. Didn’t like it. Just a lot of internet hype and some silly outfits. I didn’t even bother to listen to some samples from the new one since I was so uninterested in hopping onto that train. But then the Pineapple Express trailer hit the net and I must have watched it twenty times in two days. I’ve already seen the movie so it’s not out of anticipation. It’s because the damn thing is put together so well and that’s 95% due to the use of this song. It’s genius. I’m converted.
“To Sing for You” by DONOVAN
A few weeks ago I saw the Bob Dylan documentary Dont Look Back for the first time and thought it was an absolute masterpiece. It made me want to listen to more Dylan, which I did, but it made me want to listen to Donovan even more. Donovan makes a cameo in the film and comes off as a sheepish kid in the presence of his idol in a scene where he plays this song. He’s only finished the first verse when Dylan chimes in, “Hey, that’s a great song” as if to cut it there and reclaim the attention of the room. But Donovan finishes the song and I have listened to it constantly since.