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Best of 2013: Music Edition, Part 2

You will have to forgive some artist repetition in the top 10 songs this year. The new albums in my life were just too good to pick one song. Here are, completely genuine,  my top 5 favorite songs of 2013!

5. Gillian Welch, “Barroom Girls”

Gillian Welch is the troubadour of her own particular brand of dirt road wistfulness. I picked up her debut album at Cheapo, and it definitely lived up to its successors. No song is as engrossing as the yarn she spins on “Barroom Girls.” Case in point: “Last night’s spangles and yesterday’s pearls / Are the bright morning stars of the barroom girls.” Paints a picture, doesn’t it?

4. Fiona Apple, “Anything We Want”

Probably the sexiest song I’ve heard all year. Sultry is one of the first words that comes to mind when I think of Fiona Apple. The playful rhythms and coy lyrics blend perfectly on “Anything We Want.” As we used to say in the English department, form is content, and this woman knows how to make the music fit her message.

3. Flume, “Holdin On”

Last year’s list featured several songs discovered on The Current, but this year there’s only one. I heard this song on the radio a number of times, and then one day I thought, “This needs to be on my birthday playlist!” It’s a bit of a departure from my usual obsession with lyric-driven music, but there’s nothing wrong with just shaking a little booty.

2. Tegan and Sara, “Now I’m All Messed Up”

Yesterday I talked about Tegan and Sara writing peppy heartbreak anthems, but this song is just plain heartbreaking. And that’s what I love about it. Sara lays herself bare in the vocals. Through a few simple images, the song captures the desperation of imagining the person you love with someone else. “Now I’m All Messed Up” initiated many solo car singalongs in 2013.

1. Patty Griffin, “Don’t Let Me Die In Florida”

The title of this song comes from a comment made by Patty’s father in his later days, and the song itself plays like an unflinching story of his life. Her voice croons, growls, and everything in between. There are many greats songs on American Kid, an album praised thoroughly in a previous post, but I would never skip “Don’t Let Me Die In Florida.” I love when Patty gets into raucous mode. It just makes me happy.

Tomorrow the best book countdown begins!

 

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Best of 2011: Music Edition, Part 1

And so it begins. Prepare yourself for five straight days of the Best of 2011. I’m kicking it off with my ten favorite songs of the year. Here are numbers 10 through 6.

Billy Bragg & Wilco, “Way Over Yonder In the Minor Key”

I have a weakness for alt-country music. I first heard this gem in the movie Love and Other Drugs, then again months later on The Current. The second time around, something resonated with me. It could be Billy Bragg’s voice or the pleasure of joining in the refrain of “Ain’t nobody that can sing like me.” Sometimes a simple song is all I need.

Elliott Smith, “No Name #3”

Good Will Hunting has been one of my favorite movies for years. In 2011 I finally invested in the soundtrack. (A used copy, of course.) The album hinges on six beautiful tracks by Elliott Smith. All are subtle and haunting, but “No Name #3” is decidedly my favorite. There’s something about the way he sings “Everyone is gone / Home to oblivion” that makes it the perfect soothing song.

Ingrid Michaelson, “Parachute”

Okay, I technically heard this song back in July of 2010 when I saw Ingrid in concert. I’m still including it though because I didn’t take much interest in it until 2011. Anyone who has heard her albums knows that Ingrid is a hit-or-miss type of songwriter. Her hits tend to be lyrically simple (like “The Way I Am“) and insanely catchy (like “Parachute”). Supposedly Ingrid didn’t record “Parachute” at first because she thought it was too poppy for her. Something must have changed her mind, and we have this pop confection to show for it.

Gillian Welch, “One Little Song”

Did someone say alt-country? Gillian Welch’s Soul Journey album was one of my best finds this year. That is to say, I found it at a used music store in Uptown. I already featured this particular song once, but it deserves a second mention. I love the way it flows effortlessly between verses. Most of all, I love the message, which is that there’s always a song left to sing.

Robyn, “Indestructible”

My love for Robyn is already welldocumented on this blog. I was familiar with “Dancing On My Own” and “Call Your Girlfriend” when I bought her album Body Talk. Then I discovered a new favorite in “Indestructible.” Like all of Robyn’s best songs, it has real emotion behind the electronic beats. I highly recommend it for rocking out in the car, preferably while driving to happy hour with your coworkers.

Check back tomorrow for the top 5!

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A Song Left to Sing

If you’re feeling at a lack of inspiration, this song is a good place to turn.

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