Sunday, January 10, 2010

Sonic Sunday: Honorable Mentions

I recently posted my Best of 2009 and Best of the Decade musical lists, which were both very difficult for me because I hate the whole narrowing-down process. You know how artists say they can never pick which of their own songs are their favorites, because that's like picking a favorite child? Well, I'm like Angelina Jolie, just adopting as many of these musical kids as I can and loving 'em all as if they were my own. So, it's just as hard for me, too.

I'm sure if I really sat down and thought about it long enough, I'd come up with 500 more songs that could have made one or both of those lists. But since I have a job and a life and don't wish to drive myself insane, I've just picked out 11 honorees for this week's Sonic Sunday. These were the first tunes that popped into my head when I thought about ones that really deserved to be listed as "favorites," but didn't make the cut for one reason or another (stupid self-imposed rules).

Best of the Decade Honorable Mentions:

1. "Always Love," Nada Surf (2005) - To make a mountain of your life is just a choice/But I never learned enough to listen to the voice that told me/Always love, hate will get you every time/Always love, don't wait 'til the finish line

I-eee-I will always love thi-eee-iiis song. Seriously, what's not to love? Beautiful melody, lovely, crisp vocals, nice's got it all. I kind of want to hate myself for leaving this off of my list, but after listening to the song again, I just can't!

2. "Apologize," Timbaland/OneRepublic (2007) - I loved you with a fire red, now it's turning blue/And you say "sorry" like the angel/Heaven let me think was you/But I'm afraid/It's too late to apologize, it's too late

I don't know how many of you have ever heard OneRepublic's original version of this song, but holy hell did Timbaland ever do them a solid. The original was so whiny and wussy, but after Timabland got a hold of it, it became something completely different - a sexy, soulful earworm that I never get tired of hearing.

3. "Fans," Kings of Leon (2007) - All of London sing/'Cause England swings and they sure love the tales I bring/And those rainy days they ain't so bad when you're the king/The king they wanna see

"Use Somebody" made my decade list because it was a huge favorite of mine when it came out. After it got played to death though, I fell completely in love with "Manhattan," which might be my favorite KOL song ever. It definitely would be if "Fans" didn't exist. I've never been able to pick between the two.

4. "High Wires," Ian McCulloch (2003) - I'm still trippin' on high wires/My mind is frozen, but my soul's on fire/I'm still wishing on the stars above/Just to give you what I'm dreaming of

I don't know what prompted me to buy Slideling (Ian's third solo album) when it came out because I was only a casual Echo and the Bunnymen fan, but I'm glad I did. It's not great by any means, but this catchy song jumped out at me immediately. Even though I haven't listened to the whole album in quite some time, this track usually finds its way onto my iPod on a regular basis, along with the album opener, "Love in Veins."

5. "I'll Be By Your Side," Meowskers (2007) - Let me wipe your tears/Let me clean your eyes/Let me begin to enter into your life/Is it worth all this sadness to hold on to your dreams?/Oh, I could love you with my entire being

I actually posted this song on a random mix a couple of years ago after e-stumbling upon this local Brooklyn band somehow...I don't even remember how. But ever since that day, this song has never left my iPod. There's something very '80s about it, which should help explain why I love it so much. And Meowskers is, like, the best band name ever.

6. "Mona Lisa," Grant Lee Phillips (2004) - You're the last of your kind, Mona Lisa/With a wink of your eye, ya make it all right/Oh there's more left to life, Mona Lisa/Let me take you along for the ride

When Beth was the Queen of the bloggy music mixes, she introduced me to this song and it's one of the many reasons I wish she would get her ass back to blogging. How many more gorgeous love songs that I don't know about is she sitting on?

7. "Pale Moon," Shannon McNally (2005) - I know we'll meet again someday and we'll be very far away/And I'll know you and you'll know me, and we're gonna both agree/That we belong together

Another song that I've posted before, this one showed up on my "Lost Love" mix. So, here's what I said about it then: I've interpreted this tune to be about that moment that everyone either wishes for or dreads - randomly running into the ex-love who you're not completely over. It's hard to tell if Shannon has actually bumped into the guy or if she's just thinking about it, but either way this is a beautiful song.

8. "The Bleeding Heart Show," The New Pornographers (2005) - We hunched together in one chair out on the deck/In snow that froze and fell down on the modern set/It looked as if I picked your name out of a hat/Next thing you know you are asleep in someone's lap

This is one of those songs that always gives me goosebumps. It's so brilliantly crafted. I love how it begins slow and gloomy, then gradually builds until it just erupts into an all-out singalong. I couldn't believe when it showed up in commercials for the University of Phoenix. I guess those "hey-las" are pretty irresistible though. I don't think they're enough to make someone go to Internet college instead of a real one, but I don't have the enrollment figures, so what do I know?

9. "Thumbing My Way," Pearl Jam (2002) - I let go of a rope thinking that's what held me back/And in time I've realized it's now wrapped around my neck/I can't see what's next from this lonely overpass/Hang my head and count my steps as another car goes past

I know you're thinking that I already put several Pearl Jam songs on BOTH of my lists, so they really shouldn't get an honorable mention. You're free to think that. But you've clearly forgotten whose blog you're reading. And this song is sad and beautiful and just plain AMAZING, so it deserves a mention. The only reason it didn't make my Decade list is because it wasn't a single.

10. "You Really Wake Up The Love In Me," The Duke Spirit (2008) - Yes I want your token of honour babe/I like to make us both feel the same way/Oh you'll always seek to remember/Don't be too scared away, you only burned your tongue/You taste so good today, you'd get love from anyone

I think I discovered this British band after I had already made my Best of 2008 list last year, so this song unfortunately didn't make the cut. I've really been digging them lately, and this track is a pretty good representation of their sound. And I love all the do-doo-do-dos. Are do-doos better than hey-las? I don't know. Let's just call it a tie.

...and The One That Got Away From the Best of 2009 List:

11. "A Whole Lot Better," Brendan Benson - Take a seat, 'cause there's something I wanna say/Take it easy, don't take it the wrong way/I feel a whole lot better when you're not around

Even though it was released in August, I just discovered Brendan's newest solo record, My Old, Familiar Friend, last week through my roommate. I had never heard of him before he joined The Raconteurs, and just assumed his solo work was similar to their stuff, which I like, but figured there was enough rockin' alt-country in the world that I didn't need to go searching for more. Duhhh. Now, don't I feel stupid! I had no idea this guy was some sort of power pop genius. In a very short time, I've fallen in love with this record. So much so that I had a hard time picking out my favorite song. I eventually picked the lead-off track because it makes me sing along the loudest. But do yourselves a favor and go pick up this record. It's like an explosion of Britpop-meets-American garage rock awesomeness.

Support these great artists by purchasing their music!


Anonymous said...

There's a couple on there that I need to go check out.

words...words...words... said...

I can't believe I've never harassed you to listen to Brendan Benson! You hit it right on the head with power pop genius. His new album is one of those where I can't choose my favorite song because so many are so good. Run, don't walk to your computer and find a copy of Alternative To Love. It's his co-best record along with My Old Familiar Friend, and it's out of print.

Anonymous said...


Doc said...

I feel like a dolt! I don't know any of these songs!


McGone said...

I love the Duke Spirit. I don't know how they aren't a bigger band. Usually when I mention them, people just cock their heads like a dog.

Damn, I'm going to have to give Neptune another spin today. Thanks for the musical inspiration of the day, Beckeye.

red said...

I only know the Nada Surf song (and that dreadful One Republic song) so I'm excited to check these out!

Penny said...

woohoo..Love nada surf!
Thanks for the list darling!

Andy said...

Another quality list... this is like the B-sides to your Best of list. And the more Kings of Leon, the better, I say.

Gifted Typist said...

love Kings of Leon and some others but lots of stuff i don't know in there

Ah, beth, is she bloggin anymore?

And i'm dying to see your reaction to Simon Cowell's news

Grant Miller said...

That Duke Spirit is a sweet song.

Scott said...

I like your honorable mention ribbon. I want to win one.

Dr. Kenneth Noisewater said...

Wow. You listen to a lot of music. I'd like to add Better Living Through Chemistry by Queens of the Stone Age and Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots by Flaming Lips.

Barbara Bruederlin said...

I salute your list making stamina! You are some kinda list ninja.

But now I am all nostalgic for the good old days when Beth used to blog. We should start a FB group to force her back.


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