Weekly Download 2013 Songs of the Year

Sorry about the delay. Life is happening at an increasing rate here lately. Two things I noticed about this list/CD: (1) Weird religous/heartbreak overtones. A heavy-ish year; and (2) It’s clear that Vamp Weekend not only had the album of the year, but was prolly just generally the band of the year.

Ado

16. Afterlife by Arcade Fire – Greta Gerwig crush, engage…

15. Despair by Yeah Yeah Yeahs – Maybe YYY’s have turned into that band striving to recreate the perfection of one song. That song is Maps, and it’s perfect. This one falls short, but takes a mighty hack doing so.

14. Witness by Indian Giver – First track from an Oklahoma band to make the songs of the year. Homer?

13. Ride On / Right On by Phosphorescent – If Song for Zula is the poetic dirge for Houck and Amanda’s love affair, then Ride On / Right On is him wishing he could get laid one more time. How can you not get behind a song like that?

12. Stoned and Starving by Parquet Courts – Yes, Sonic Youth.

11. Everybody’s Something by Chance the Rapper

My hard head stayed in the clouds like a lost kite
But gravity had me up in a submission hold
Like I’m dancing with the Devil with two left feet and I’m pigeon toed
In two small point ballet shoes with a missing sole
And two missing toes
But it’s love like Cupid kissing a mistletoe

10. We the Common (For Valerie Bolden) by Thao & The Get Down Stay Down – Not getting out of your head anytime soon. I promise.

9. Hannah Hunt by Vampire Weekend – My favorite musical moment of 2013 occurs at the 2:40 mark of this gorgeous song. I get goosebumps every time I hear it. The entire song builds to it, but it’s so grandiose and perfect that the rest of it pales in comparison…, damnit, Hannah.

8. Holy Roller [Hallelujah] by Portugal. The Man – Twitter: @tmattsmith: “Just heard @portugaltheman on a Taco Bell commercial. I hope you guys got paid. Underrated band that everyone should hear. #nosarcasm” (N.B. No response)

7. Arabella by Arctic Monkeys – Closing scene of the biopic of my life, David Lynch cut. Shot of the interior of a greasy diner. The camera finds the short-order cook, Bradley, standing behind an empty bar. He’s wearing a white apron, stained and grimy. His red beard is inconceivable. He’s holding a knife and repeating the phrases: “You can have whatever you want. I’ll get to it when I get to it.” The camera pulls back to find me sitting in a booth alone wearing a yellow suit with a white ruffled shirt eating waffles with my hands. The doorbell rings and a figure walks in. Short, a midget little person waddles up to me. The camera follows him from behind. He’s wearing gator skin boots. He stops at the end of my table, and I quit eating to look at him. I start to cry. Arabella starts and the credits roll.

6. Step by Vampire Weekend

Wisdom’s a gift / but you’d trade it for youth

Age is a number / it’s still not the truth

Say something better about growing up. I dare you. My favorite lyrics of the year.

5. Here Comes the Night Time by Arcade Fire

If there’s no music up in heaven, then what’s it for?

Close second

4. No Destruction by Foxygen – (With the possible exception of Ezra Koenig’s heartbreaking lament to Hannah) no line stuck in my head more this year than:

there’s no need to be an asshole / you’re not in Brooklyn any more.

I don’t really know why.

3. Song for Zula by Phosphorescent – Killamike thinks this is the greatest song WD’s ever reco’d, and considering his previous favorite nominee for that honor was Work by Gang Starr (N.B. Which he himself recommended to WD), I lent it minimal credence. But Zula is a great. Frankly, I can’t believe it’s not the song of the year. It was for quite some time. Then it started to…not collapse under its own weight, but just sag a little, enough for a two spot drop. I still feel like its prolly the centerpiece of the Songs of 2013 Album (i.e. the song you buy the whole record for). Definitely the song I reached back and hit repeat on my iPod the most this year.

2. Ya Hey by Vampire Weekend – I’ve dissected this song. A lot. Thought about it. A lot. Sang it badly. A lot. It’s prolly the most sophisticated song on modern/western (American) faith and religion I’ve ever heard. Trumping some most of Arcade Fire’s densest.

The faithless they don’t love you / The Zealous hearts don’t love you

Ya Hey is Ezra Koenig’s frustration with God.

You won’t even say your name / only “I am that I am”

But the fact that he wrote the song has to mean there’s still faith in there enough for him to question it, to try and organize it, and that’s plenty, because I’m with him, stuck between the faithless and the zealous hearts.

Heavy stuff in a perfect blend of sophisticated message and beautiful song. In short, everything that I love about music. It should have been the song of the year, but this…

1. 2013 WD Song of the Year: Get Lucky by Daft Punk –

See you all around the bend. Much love.

Matt

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