Eat, Drink, Be merry, Risk, Walk, Run, Play, Leap, Ask why, Sing, Dance, Make music, Laugh, Cry, Scream, Live, Laugh, Love, Believe, Doubt, Wonder, Wander, Have courage, Stargaze, Stare at the moon, Sleep under the stars, Work, Rest, Nap, Drive, Fly, Create, Learn, Think, Talk, Give, Reuse, Recycle, Save, Occupy, Vote, Tell a story, Dream, Decide, Cook, Confess, Pray, Party, Meditate, Read, Kiss, Hug, Wink, Smile, Share, Make a difference, Watch, Look, See, Listen, Hear, Understand, Feel, Explore, Experiment, Innovate, Instigate, Theorize, Debate, Forgive, Remember, Forget, Fantasize, Dream, Encourage, Hope, Text, Chat, Call, Write, Visit, Tweet, Take a picture, Quit, Start, Try, Rhyme, Make no excuses, Go, Stay, Leave, Plan, Prepare, Execute, Elevate, Engage.
At the risk of repeating myself, because god knows I never do that. It’s been a hell of a year!
I just want to give shout-outs and thanks to those who are in on the joke, in the loop, inside the circle, along for the the ride, get the joke, have my back, held my hand, held my heart, called me on my bullshit, put up with my bullshit, bullshitted with me, bullshitted me, bought me drinks, drank with me, danced with me, sang with me, sang to me, yelled with me, yelled at me, cried with me, laughed with me, laughed at me, lifted me up, kissed me, hugged me, scolded me, listened to me, dared me, double dog dared me, confided in me, trusted me, shared meals with me, made memories with me, kept an eye on me, head banged with me, moshed with me, played air guitar with me, ran with me, picked me up, dropped me off, fed me, ate my cooking, let me fetch coffee, read me, let me sleep in, stayed up way to late with me, encouraged me, poked me, tagged me and generally made life worth living this year.
You know who you are. 2012, we are coming for you!
Peace, love and cheers,
OK, as usual the criteria is simple. It has to be – consider the source. The song had to be released in 2011 and I had to like it enough to pay money for it. I was going to do the traditional Top 10, but the first cut included over 30 songs, so let’s see if I can narrow it down just a bit…
- Lonely Boy – Black Keys
First let me say that I love how divisive Coldplay have become. The band that the critics and the hipsters love to hate. Well, I have a new acronym for you , “FUILCP”… Have we become so cynical that a band that has become successful for recording well crafted pop that makes you smile and you can sing along to on the radio is a bad thing? Sure they’re treacly, but so is pumpkin pie – and I love pumpkin pie! On to the songs! The first two singles off of the new album Mylo Xyloto are a contrast in styles for sure. ETiaW is classic Coldplay. Starting out with a bouncy (yes I said “bouncy”) synth part that is more than vaguely reminiscent of the Eighties, it then proceeds to flow into a guitar sound that would make Big Country proud. I have no real idea what the song is about, but damn if I can get it out of my head. “Paradise”, on the other hand, is rather atypical of a Coldplay song. It wouldn’t completely sound out of place on a Justin Timberlake album, production wise. Chris Martin’s singing of “Para, Para, Paradise” in the chorus makes me laugh and think of Rhianna.
- Stay Young, Go Dancing – Death Cab for Cutie
Death Cab’s lead man, Ben Gibbard’s introduction of this song on Storytellers goes something like this – “being that I’m a happily married man now, I figure I can put a love song on the album.” He and his wife separated soon after. Ironic, huh? That notwithstanding, “Stay Young, Go Dancing” is a lovely, wistful love song.
- What The Water Gave Me – Florence and the Machine
OK, time to gush… I love, love, love, love this girl. I discovered her first album earlier this year and have tried to listen to everything I can find and expose as many others to her and her wonderful song-craft. Think if Kate Bush, Anne Lennox, and Tim Burton had a love child. Yeah, I know! “What The Water Gave Me” is a gothic, melodramatic torch song, or something like that. You just have to hear that voice and you’ll know.
- Walk – Foo Fighters
Dave Grohl is doing his level best to keep guitar based rock music alive. I’d say he’s done a great job with this year’s Wasting Light. The album is chock full of great songs, but my hands down favorite is “Walk”. Listen to the lyrics. If you know me, you should be able to piece it together. It’s also got one of the coolest Foo Fighters’ videos ever!
- Days Are Forgotten – Kasabian
I wasn’t real familiar with Kasabian before I heard this song, but they get my “The Next Oasis” award. There will always be a place in my heart and my cochlea for snarling Brit rock. The Album is Velociraptor, because “Raptors are the glammest of all dinosaurs”. ‘Nuff said? “Days Are Forgotten” is a stomping, swinging rock song full of cheeky attitude. It’s best played with the windows down and the volume up!
A number of others have already declared Adele’s ubiquitous hit the song of the year. It has even been nominated for the Song of the Year Grammy. It’s a gut wrenching tale of lost love, for sure. The Linkin Park cover, recorded live, adds just a bit of Chester Bennington’s trademark anger to the song. I highly recommend adding both to your post breakup playlist. One for sad, the other for mad as hell!
Here we have a trio of bands that made their marks originally in the 1990s and have come roaring back in the second decade of the 21st century. Blink 182’s ode to the worries of adulthood is a slamming piece of pop-punk that’ll get you pogoing for sure. (Dated myself there a bit, huh). Jane’s Addiction’s “Irresistible Force” is a love song about the symbiosis between Creationism and the Big Bang Theory. Seriously. Perry Farrell said so. “Sunset in July” is as an infectious and bouncy Summer dance hit as there was this year, on Alt-Rock radio anyway.
OK, this is where I go off of the mainstream reservation on you. Here are a trio of bands who’ve become the critics darlings, but probably have eluded most everyone’s radar. Wild Flag is a Portland, Oregon/Washington, D.C. based all woman band consisting of ex-members of the bands Sleater-Kinney, Helium and The Minder. U.S. Royalty is out of Washington D.C. and the young lads of the Smith Westerns hail from Chicago. “Romance” is a pulsing rocker with a great win guitar attack. “Monte Carlo” sounds like Rumors era Fleetwood Mac with a gentle fiddle melody. “Weekend” is a Strokes like nugget that will get you itching for some open asphalt.
- Substitution – Silversun Pickups
There’s something about this song that makes me feel like morning. It has kind of a hazy energy that’s pretty irresistible. The video is a game of musical chairs with models, pretty clever.
- Tonight – Seether
Great Big Rock Songs! That’s Seether’s speciality. So here, they crank it back a notch and release an almost sensitive love song. Almost.
- The Adventures of Raindance Maggie – The Red Hot Chili Peppers
The RHCP are back in a big way this year. Flea brings the Funk on this track, with a Bootsy approved groove. Lyrically it’s fairly typical Chili Peppers, not sure WTH Anthony is singing about, but it works.
If I were a lover
I’d love you deep and wide
If I were a singer
I’d sing you a memorable melody
If I were a pilot
I’d fly you to the moon
If I were an alchemist
I’d turn your dross into gold
If I were a poet
I’d write a sonnet to make Will proud
If I were a philospher
If I were a teacher
I’d teach the children the song of life
If I were a sailor
I’d go see the Southern Cross
If I were a priest
I’d build you a temple
If I were an artist
I’d show you the truth
If I were a friend
I’d be faithful to the end
This dates from 2003, thought I’d share it again.
What could I give?
What shall I bring?
Your most holy place
I don’t need their help
Cluttering your temple,
It has become second nature to me
What can I bring?
That’s not of dust and dung
From a manger floor
The angel said,
A star that died
10,000 years ago
Sings of your birth
The star shone
On a crowded little backwater
On the fringes of an empire
On a sad little ball of mud
Covered with souls
Now given worth
Redemption rips through the night
Carried on an infant’s cry
Like a ripple on a glassy pond
Nature and creature sing
Death and hell tremble
A blaze begins with but a spark
Abel’s blood cried out
The streets of Jerusalem ran red
And pharaoh’s heart was hardened
A light shines in the dark – darkest place
Beyond the reaches…
In the hearts of men
Herod’s men ride
Into the night…
What shall I bring?