Last year Pitchfork did a Top 50 Singles of 2004 list that I thought was just awesome. When they released it in late December, I scrambled to make sure I was familiar with as many listed as possible (i.e. downloaded them via the internet in one way or another…). And thanks to that list, I ended up buying great albums by groups/musicians such as Annie, LCD Soundsystem, Franz Ferdinand, and The Go! Team. Checking out Pitchfork list really did broaden my musical interests.
So this year I am going to do my own “Top Singles of 2005” list. And actually, these aren’t singles, but rather songs from albums that came out in 2005 (and I do intended to do a “Top Albums of 2005” and I am considering a “Top Remixes of 2005”) that I rated 5 stars on iTunes. To be honest, there isn’t anything too interesting about this list. Most of the songs are from fairly high-profile albums, so it’s not like I’m revealing any hidden gems. Nonetheless, it’s cool to look back on the new songs that I thought were cool.
At this point, it doesn’t look like there are albums coming out within the next month that I am interested in, so I am pretty confident that this list is final. I may have missed a few songs that I liked, and there may be some four-star songs that really should be five-star songs (and likewise, five-star songs that should be four-star songs).
- “Anniemal” by Annie from Anniemal
While I still like “Heartbeat” and “Chewing Gum” better, “Anniemal” is the third-best song on Annie’s debut American album, which came out this year. I like the weird synth-sounding “da da da da da” or whatever goes on in the chorus.
- “Hell Yes” by Beck from Guereo
Molly re-introduced me to Beck, and pointed me in the direction of the 8-bit “Ghettochip Malfunction” remix of “Hell Yes,” which really endeared me to this song.
- “She’s Hearing Voices” by the Bloc Party from Silent Alarm
This is one of the few “alternative” or “indie” songs that have made it onto my “Gym Songs” playlist. The fast beat certainly helps keep me focused on the treadmill. Otherwise, I love the (I think it is safe to assume?) Matrix reference during the “red pill/blue pill” chorus. Plus the reverb on the guitar totally rocks. What the song is about, I’m not so sure, and why she gets to hear voices I’m not sure of either. I’m jealous, nonetheless.
- “Luno” (Bloc Party vs. Death From Above 1979) by The Bloc Party from Silent Alarm Remixed
I’m still not sure whether this is a cover or what exactly Death From Above 1979’s involvement with the song is, but this version is much faster and harsher sounding than the original, which I probably wouldn’t always like. Funny story: when I first heard this remix, I thought it was a remix by the DFA and that the DFA and Death from Above 1979 were the same thing. No no no. Not the case. The fact that this isn’t one of the DFA remixes makes me like it a little less, but it’s still one of the best songs from 2005.
- “Close Your Eyes” by the Chemical Brothers from Push the Button
The lyrics on this song are so beautiful — both aurally and lyrically. I love the phrase, “In your eyes I can see that you’re cracking up / In your eyes I can see that you’ve had enough.” I loved the song so much that I bought the Magic Numbers’ self-titled album (they did the vocals for “Close Your Eyes.”) Unfortunately, The Magic Numbers wasn’t my thing, but I still like the song.
- “Talk” by Coldplay from X&Y
I’m surprised that this hasn’t been released as a single. It’s far better, I think, than “Speed of Sound,” though it is somewhat similar to their award-winning “Clocks” (my favorite song from A Rush of Blood to the Head). The song is also great for sampling Kraftwerk’s “Computer Love.” If you like the sound of this song, checkout the Kraftwerk original.
- “Human After All” by Daft Punk from Human After All
My favorite part of this song is how, toward the end, it deteriorates into a chaotic repetition of “human after all.”
- “John The Revelator” by Depeche Mode from Playing the Angel
I pretty much like any contemporary song that redoes or reimagines any sort of old or “traditional” song from the past. Although I’m not familiar with the original version of this song, the dark Depeche Mode version is an interesting listen.
- “Nothing’s Impossible” by Depeche Mode from Playing the Angel
This is the most haunting song on Playing the Angel and therefore my favorite. Plus, I tend to hold to the theory that “nothing’s impossible,” especially when it comes to dark, brooding relationships that Depeche Mode loves so much.
- “Get Him Back” by Fiona Apple from Extraordinary Machine
This song was my immediate favorite from the “bootlegged” version of Extraordinary Machine that leaked last summer. While I don’t like the more produced-sounding version on the official release, the song is still great. I love the lyrics, “I’m going to get him back / and he won’t have a back to scratch.”
- “Tymps (The Sick in the Head Song)” by Fiona Apple from Extraordinary Machine
By far, this song was the biggest surprise from Extraordinary Machine. It was released on the bootleg under the title “Oh Well,” and that’s pretty much how I felt about it back then. The official version is a bit faster and adds more quirky instruments and a very dramatic movement in the middle. Lyrically, “The red isn’t red we painted it just rust” (complete with Fiona’s dramatic pauses) stands out the most for me. It’s like when you want to paint something all bright and red and exciting, but it comes out dull and aged. For me, that lyric represents the idea of having the best intentions for something (i.e. a relationship) and then having things turn out totally different and a bit disappointing. Or that despite making an effort to start things fresh and new, they return to the same, old rusty ways.
- “Feel Good, Inc.” by Gorillaz from Demon Days
Not only was this a killer single, but it’s also a killer song. How could this song not make you feel good? Like most of the songs on Demon Days (and I’ll give you a hint: if this isn’t my #1 album of 2005, be very, very surprised), the song goes from one genre to another. In a way, “Feel Good Inc.” is three songs in one: a poppy alternative skeleton, a shoegazing “windmill windmill on the ground…,” and a slamming rap by De La Soul.
- “O Green World” by Gorillaz from Demon Days
This song reminds me of the summer, reading Mysterious Skin and waiting in line at SIFF movies. More than the lyrics, I like the sounds in “O Green World,” including that grating scream in the background.
- “All Alone” by Gorillaz from Demon Days
For the “May I” mix CD I made some friends in May, I wrote the following about this song: “I think one of the reasons I love this song is its randomness â€” itâ€™s almost like three or four songs all in one. My favorite part is the change that takes place about 2:00 into the song and then at 2:29 when the speed picks up a little bit. For some reason this sound haunts me and touches me. It also reminds me of the book Mysterious Skin which I read at the time I got the CD.” Pardon the second reference to Mysterious Skin in relation to a song from Demon Days. For me, the two are inextricably linked in my head.
… do not fear, Part Two of my “Top Songs of 2005” will be coming soon. In addition to the conclusion of the big list of songs, I also have more extended thoughts on what I think is the best single, the guiltiest pleasure song, etc. Stay tuned!