10. Sufjan Stevens – “Casimir Pulaski Day”: mp3
The more I listen to Illinois, the more trouble I have connecting with parts of it, but this song gets me every time. The melody is beautiful and the words: cancer, a lost love, and questioning one’s faith? That’s pretty powerful stuff.
9. LCD Soundsystem – “Daft Punk Is Playing At My House,” MY HOUSE.
8. Frida Hyvonen – “Drive My Friend”: mp3
Found the album a little disappointing the long run, but this track – a woman with a new romantic infatuation driving the boy in question to the airport, and trying bravely to stay optimistic – offers a realistic perspective that’s hard to find in anything, much less pop music. Great voice/piano playing, too.
7. Mia Doi Todd – “What If We Do”: mp3
My God. This is like the great lost 70s singer/songwriter track that Joan Baez never got around to. Without the schmaltz, even. Just listen to it.
6. Liam Singer – “One Day”: mp3 (now with correct link – sorry!)
This guy has so much potential. “Father I See” was the song that got me into him, but then I discovered this gem hiding at the end of the record. The best song played by anyone on a piano all year. Except the #1. Can’t wait to hear his next effort – hopefully it’s longer than 27 minutes.
5. Richard Hawley – “The Ocean”: mp3
The male equivalent to the Mia Doi Todd song, only Frank Sinatra-style. He almost out-Franks Frank, honestly – the production is more swelling and epic than anything from the real crooner era, with a cinematic majesty that’s almost overwhelming. Hawley’s voice alone could carry this tune, but with that backing it becomes magnificent.
4. Sea Snakes – “A Pall Bearer’s Calendar”: mp3
I don’t care if this came out in 2004. I don’t care if the band broke up. I don’t care if their label, Threegut Records, called it quits. This song is fucking amazing and I like the accompanying album is better than just about anything released this year or last.
3. Of Montreal – “The Party’s Crashing Us”: mp3
Pop song of the year. Infectious beyond belief. I like “Since U Been Gone” and “Hollaback Girl” as much as the next indie yuppie, but if these guys ever got on the radio, heads would explode.
2. Smog – “Drinking At The Dam”: mp3
I didn’t like Smog. I gave him a chance and found him too stark to hold my interest. Then a friend put this transcendent God-given creation on a mix and I listened to it about a million times. “Oh-oh” backing vocals haven’t been this amazing since Palace Music’s “Gulf Shores” way back in the day. From here, A River Ain’t Too Much Too Love rocketed into my heavy rotation and almost cracked the top 10.
And (drumroll) the song of the year?
1. Ryan Adams – “Starlite Diner”: mp3
Oh, like this one was a shocker.
You can see my top 30 albums of the year here. I’ve moved some of the bottom around a bit, but that’s reasonably accurate.
Happy Holidays, gang. Thanks for reading the last few months, and I promise even more awesome songs, witty banter and more importantly, comic book coverage next year. Any requests?
Up next: A 2006 preview with exclusive new tracks, a 2005 Albums I Forgot For My List round-up, and maybe if you guys promise to be nice, a few Dave Greenwald 2005 cover songs.