My Top 100 Songs of 2009 – 20-11

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

20. Kid Sister – Right Hand Hi

We waited a long time for Ultraviolet, and it was worth it.  Sure, most of the tracks had been previously heard (thank you Internet), but having them all in one cohesive package made for a pretty stellar dance mixtape.  Not to mention it began with this banger, an ode to “stackin’ money and drinkin’ all night.” How could you not get that hand up high?

19. Dinosaur Jr. I Want You to Know

The finest track from Farm is the most confrontational, both lyrically and musically. While Mascis tells someone to “stay with me” and to “think on what you said,” wailing guitar shoves through the already-deafening mix, pleading that the listener take heed of the message that’s being screamed at them.

18. Arctic Monkeys – Crying Lightning

While not as energetic as previous lead singles from the UK group (see “Brianstorm” and I Bet You Look Good On the Dance Floor” for perfect music to jog to), “Crying Lightning” is delightful on its own, probably because of that punchy bass line.

17. Toro y Moi – Talamak

Chazwick Bundick finally dropped Causers of This in January, but before then, we got a taste of the chillwave ringleader through a few standout tracks like “Blessa” and this one. The Brooklynite incorporates looped samples, synth lines, and a lot of reverb into a blissful little love song.

16. Free Energy – Something In Common

The Philly five-piece has a pretty stellar debut record, but unfortunately, this EP gem from 2009 didn’t make the cut.  It’s a damn shame, too, because it’s by far my favorite song from them.  The strutting bass line and casual delivery match the overall nonchalant declaration: “Come on, we can trust there’s something in common between us.” He wants you to see why you belong with him, but if you don’t, whatever.

15. Javelin – Vibrationz

Multi-colored boomboxes are a pretty cool PA system for anyone, but with the Kool and the Gang-style bob of this Brooklyn duo, the aesthetics match the audio they emit.  Consider “Vibrationz” the anthem for Javelin – it’s the perfect introduction to their funky, sample-swamped niche.  And I’ve always said it’s a sing-along; just look at the title, and you know the lyrics.

14. Cold Cave – Love Comes Close

With distorted vocals and noise-inspired synth, Cold Cave has the immediate likeness to that of Joy Division, and the all-black attire and stoic stage presence only serves to strengthen that argument.  What sets this group apart from totally riding on former 80’s waves is the killer hooks, as witnessed on this, their breakthrough track.  A lounge-act croon from Wesley Eisold sounds like the National traded in their drums for drum machines, and it works.

13. Green Day – 21 Guns

At times, the hit single from 21st Century Breakdown is reminiscent of “All the Young Dudes” and the Full House theme (the chorus and the guitar solo, respecitvely), but the arena-rock sheen the punk trio has mastered this past decade is enough to brush those details aside.  Simply put, the song is a fist-pumping dedication to giving up on your hopes and dreams, a statement not as bright as the refrain would lead you to believe.

12. Major Lazer – Keep It Goin’ Louder

The Lazer crew should feel robbed, and if they aren’t, I will be for them – this song should have been a huge summer hit.  It’s radio-ready, but perhaps musicality is not something A&R suits look for when promoting a tune for the FM audience (recent Bllboard chart-toppers prove the point – if it’s dumb, it will be spinning heavily).  Even so, “Keep It Goin’ Louder” is a club-hopping track from the boys who brought you the beauty of daggering.  Adjust the EQ; you’re gonna need some bass  for this one.

11. The Very Best – Warm Heart of Africa

Ezra Koeing lends his soprano to Esau and Radioclit for their album’s title track and highlight.  The song is upbeat, infectious, and frankly perfect under the shade of a coconut tree, though one could probably enjoy it just as much during rush hour in Chicago.  So if you like your Vampire Weekend with a splash of Malibu rum, sip on this jam. Just make sure you’re using an umbrella straw.

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