My Top 100 Songs of 2009 – 50-41

Today I continue my ten-part series showcasing my personal picks for the best songs of last year.

50. The Thermals – Liquid In, Liquid Out

The shortest song from the group’s poppiest album, and quite a singalong at that.  It’s a shame they don’t play this live, but I suppose it was intended as a mere interlude for the middle of the disc.  What might have been unintentional is the song’s surefire infectiousness.

49. Lake – Madagascar

The best track from a new, Caribbean-styled co-ed band who are one of the funnest new acts of 2009 to watch live.  The repetition of “And I wanna give up” may describe sadness and defeat, but the melody is so bright, it feels like you have your toes in the sand, beer in hand, smiling that your cares are miles away.

48. Taken By Trees – Anna

Panda Bear provides background vocals to this exotic chillwave-esque smooth summer jam.  While most of what I’ve heard from this beautiful female singer is exquisite, “Anna” is the standout, a song that literally floats around a third-world chant and handclaps.  It’s like sitting on a cloud above an African village in a warm morning.  Or something like that.

47. Micachu – Lips

A minute and twenty seconds of unusually catchy guitar licks and feedback, while Micachu’s tomboy British monotone chants away.  Probably, like the aforementioned Thermals track, intended as a quick interlude of sorts, but it ends up being a highlight due to its ability to make hipsters rhythmically swivel.

46. Japandroids – Wet Hair

Taking the No Age schtick and adding more singalong flavor, Japandroids are one of the loudest, rowdiest, funnest bands around today.  Post-Nothing is a solid album front to back, and “Wet Hair” embodies the repetitive spirit of the band, yearning for a “ride to Bikini Island” so they “can french kiss some French girls.”  Hell yeah.

45. The Grates – Milk Eyes

While most female-led indie pop groups stick to the old grind, the Grates tease you with semi-catchy hooks, saving the peak for the end.  The final crescendo and “na-na-na-nas” in the conclusion of “Milk Eyes” is the prime example of the Grates’ trick up their sleeve, and the finest song on Teeth Lost, Hearts Won.

44. Dinosaur Jr. – Ocean In the Way

Farm is a consistent album in the sense that it’s constantly loud.  You can’t avoid it, no matter how soft you play it.  This has always been a D-Jr thing, but “Ocean In the Way” fully captures the band’s trademark knack to make even a ballad sound like a fist-pumper.

43. Sleigh Bells – Crown On the Ground

Treats wasn’t released until last month, but Sleigh Bells had already taken the indie world by storm in the fall of 2009 with this song.  Much like the rest of the disc, the EQ is cranked to a level that would shatter glass.  You can either crank it or play it soft, but it still sounds deafening.  When you turn it down, it just sounds like the party’s across the street and you’re missing out.

42. Wavves – So Bored

In the Internet age, you can be the toast of the town one day and a laughing stock the next.  Nathan Williams may be on the verge of a comeback this summer, but when “So Bored” leaked in March of 2009, he was all the rage, mixing the lo-fi psych rock of the new with the Beach Boys croon of the old.  And I can’t wait to see what he’s got to offer us next.

41. Vega – No Reasons

In the spring of 2009, no one really saw the explosion of Neon Indian coming.  It just kind of…happened.  It’s safe to say that Alan Palomo didn’t either, and until that happened, his electro project Vega was his meal ticket.  That’s not to say it isn’t kickass, quite the opposite.  It just sounds nothing like his other band.  But for a decent intro to the dream-wave techno that Palomo cooks up with Vega, “No Reasons” is the way to go.

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