ck’s “best of 2009” mix
Every year since 2006, I’ve been making a “Best Of” mix at the end of the year to give to friends and family members around the holidays. This year, I was not able to see most of my friends, so I decided to make the playlist and stick it online instead.
Below, I’ve listed each song and given a little bit of my rationale in selecting it. If you’re too lazy to read through my top ten albums of 2009 list (slacker), this is a great primer. Make it through the analysis, and you’ll be rewarded with a link to the playlist.
- Animal Collective – My Girls
Starting out strong with Pitchfork’s 2009 song of the year. I’m not even sure if this is the best song on Merriweather Post Pavilion, but it epitomizes the new direction that Animal Collective seems to be going.
- Atlas Sound – Walkabout (feat. Noah Lennox)
Noah Lennox is all over this track, which sounds more Animal Collective than Deerhunter. Lennox asks repeatedly, “What did you want to see? / What did you want to be when you grew up?” Good questions, brought to a positive, poignant place by Panda Bear.
- Girls – Lust for Life
The joy in the opening guitar line belies the tenor of most of Girls’ ridiculously-titled Album. But the melancholy of the lyrics definitely falls right in.
- Adam Lambert – Music Again
Co-written with Justin Hawkins of The Darkness, “Music Again” is a barnstormer that brings the best of what The Darkness does with the timeless voice of the best American Idol winner of all time. (What’s that? Kris Allen is still the winner? You’ve gotta be kidding me. I thought they recified that by now)
- Weezer – Tripping Down The Freeway
A deep cut from Raditude, this song isn’t particularly strong… except for that chorus. That chorus gives me hope that Weezer is still steadily on their way back (a journey they began with last year’s red album), and it helps me realize that Rivers did at least some of the songwriting on the blue album.
- Tegan & Sara – Hell
After further review, I’m not sure Sainthood is one of the 15 best of 2009. But I stand strongly behind this song, which makes the most of the twins’ respective musical abilities.
- Basement Jaxx – Raindrops
Midway through the year, the Jaxx returned in a big way. I’ve never wanted to dance outside in the rain more. (Okay, maybe once)
- Yeah Yeah Yeahs – Zero
This isn’t your older brother’s Yeah Yeah Yeahs single. While they’re not leaving their guitars in the dust, “Zero” is a great example of their shiny new electropop sound.
- Phoenix – 1901
“Ohhhhhh! THAT’S what this song is! Thanks, CK!”
- Passion Pit – The Reeling
An absolute blast of sonic joy that leaves you shaking your tush and your head at the same time. The “oh nooo-oo-oo”s in the chorus are provided by New York City’s own PS22 chorus.
- U.S.E. – River of Love
This song earns coveted the title of “most plays-at-max-volume-while-driving-with-the-windows-down of 2009” for me. “River of Love” may even edge “K-I-S-S-I-N-G” as my favorite U.S.E. song.
- Discovery – I Want You Back
Not the best song from Discovery’s debut album, but I would be remiss in not choosing the cover that pays tribute to the late King of Pop, Michael Jackson.
- Dirty Projectors – Stillness is the Move
The best song from the best album of the year. Not much else to say here.
- Grizzly Bear – Two Weeks
A pure pop song that isn’t available to listen to on lala for some reason. Come on, G-Bizzle! Get your act together!
- Metric – Gimme Sympathy
Maybe the best song of the year, this gets your blood a-pumpin’. Which, of course, is what I said about the album.
- Matisyahu – One Day
This is like John Lennon’s “Imagine” if it had been written by a Hasidic Jew. And also, y’know, if it was a good song.
- The Books – Cello Song (feat. Jose Gonzalez)
A cover of the original by Nick Drake, this gorgeous arrangement comes from the stellar, packed-to-the-gills Dark Was The Night compilation.
- Beck – Sunday Morning
An improvement on the Velvet Underground original? Of course not. But it’s the best track Beck’s Record Club has done so far, and it shows why he’s still an important artist. Also, I think it’s worth noting that while I have never put a cover on a “best of” mix before, there are three in 2009. Great year for covers, I guess.
- The Antlers – Two
Maybe the most mixworthy song from Hospice. The lyrics to this one are devastating – make sure to have a box of tissues handy.
- fun. – Barlights
I had trouble deciding between “Barlights” and “All the Pretty Girls” as the song to represent Aim and Ignite, but “Barlights” won out because it’s such a joyful ending. 2009 was a great year; let’s celebrate it as we move into 2010!
Listen to (and download) the mix here at lala.com. All songs available there except Beck’s “Sunday Morning,” not yet available commercially, and Grizzly Bear’s “Two Weeks,” which is just mind-bogglingly stupid.
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Tags: 2009, 2010, adam lambert, animal collective, antlers, atlas sound, basement jaxx, beck, books, dark was the night, darkness, deerhunter, dirty projectors, discovery, fun, girls, grizzly bear, john lennon, jose gonzalez, justin hawkins, kris allen, matisyahu, metric, michael jackson, nick drake, passion pit, phoenix, ps22, record club, rivers cuomo, tegan and sara, u.s.e., velvet underground, weezer, yeah yeah yeahs