Thursday, January 05, 2006

The nine singles you should have bought in 2005. (Skip the albums. You'll live!)

A theme quickly emerged as I was working on the companion to yesterday's album list. I think it's a sign of the particular generation that is driving the recording industry now, but the 80's and early 90's are being revisited in subtle and not-so-subtle ways in the songs that we're hearing. If you grew up on a steady diet of new wave and punk, it makes sense that it would influence your musical aesthetics.

So, here's my list of songs I'm truly glad I didn't miss. Unlike yesterday, where the sum was often greater than its parts, I see today's entries as solitaire gems.

Keane • Somewhere Only We Know

Feeling sad and self-indulgent? Crank it up and cry it out as loud as you can. Remember when you used to stand in front of the mirror and belt out "True" by Spandau Ballet? And you felt it in your heart. You really, really felt it. Oh crap, I just revealed too much.

Herbie Hancock (w/ John Mayer) •• Stitched Up
I swear that this one is the long lost track from Sting's Ten Summoners Tales. That's a huge compliment.

Fort Minor • Petrified
Frothy hip hop. Beck meets Beastie. Whoops. I guess there is a white-guys-rapping cliché.

Kanye West • Gold Digger
I loved College Dropout, but I'm not sold on the Late Registration track list. But you know you have to have Gold Digger. It's the "Mo' Money, Mo' Problems" of its time. Wanna have some fun? Ask the DJ to play this at your friend's wedding. (Mwa-ha-ha!)

Franz Ferdinand •• Do You Want To
There's something about this band that reminds me of the 1980s. Some of the 1980's were cool. Sometimes I listen, and I'm happily taken back to the age of The Fixx, Wall of Voodoo, and The Knack. I know the album made it onto a lot of critics' lists, but I just can't imagine that you're missing much if you just cherry pick this one.

The Small Stars • Small Stars Theme
The perfect punky jazz anthem for common man. "Small stars. We're merely small stars./We still need to shine." Full of bitterness, irony, and hope. If you're over 32 and remember the Jazz Butcher Conspiracy, raise your hand. You, the guy over there in the corner who has had too much to drink. You'll especially like this.

Kaiser Chiefs •• I Predict a Riot
I'm having flashbacks of The Clash & The New York Dolls. A perfect, punky, pop hit.

Black Rebel Motorcycle Club • Shuffle Your Feet
A nice little rocker for foot-tapping or doing that little I'm-groovin' head bob. Liked the Replacements in 1988?

Rock 'n' Roll Soldiers •• Funny Little Feeling
I'd like to reintroduce you to something you may have forgotten about. It's called rock 'n' roll, and it sounds exactly like this. You loved it then, and you'll love it again. It so belongs on your iPod that they used it an iPod ad.


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