This song

December 18th, 2007

This is not the sort of blog that does end of year lists, and I don’t really apologise for that. I’ve felt the need, though, to put out there and write about some of the stuff I’ve completely fallen for this year. So in the spirit of one year ending and another one beginning, here is a list of some of the songs I got swept up in in 2007. You’ll notice they weren’t all released this year. I’m okay with that. I think the wonderful thing about music is that you can be discovering and rediscovering music your whole life.

And sometimes I’m a bit slow on the uptake with these things.

As another preface, I have been exposed to more new music this year than I have in possibly my whole life. 2005 was the birth of something, 2006 was the growth of the monster, but in 2007 music has become not only all encompassing, but something to share with another person just as, if not MORE passionate about it than I am. And that’s a wonderful thing.

Also, they’re not ALL here. Given that I buy maybe an average of an album a week, listen to an amount of radio in the car, and anywhere from 2 to 8 hours of music a day on top of that, there’s no way I could write about them all. These are just some of the main ones that grabbed a hold of my heart and wouldn’t let go.

Another Radio Song – Okkervil River

I was going to be predictable and include something from The Stage Names here, and really, I love so much of that album is could have been one of maybe 6 songs. But I’ve chosen Another Radio Song, because I think it is the one that took me from over-zealous like of this band to out and out love. Kansas City sparked the interest, Red suckered me in, Blanket and Crib cemented the fangirl, but Another Radio Song is something else altogether. From the moment he starts with the ‘Bless this tiny alley…’ I am honestly puddles.

Apartment Story – The National

There once was a girl who lived in suburbia. She walked, pretty happily, through a life filled with work and occasionally music and art and Beautiful Things, but she more or less walked it alone. And then, amongst darkened rooms filled with wonderful music, and in a little apartment in the city, something grew. And this song somehow worked its way to being the story of that.

From TG&Y – The Mountain Goats

This song automatically gets cool points because JD himself put it up on the Mountain Goats forums for download. It didn’t make the cut for the new album, but there was so much love for it on the forums and amongst the fans generally that he thought it was a shame to let it go to waste (or to the fate of only ever being heard and/or traded on badly recorded bootlegs). Much love, forever, to JD. It’s a beautiful song, with (as expected) amazing lyrics.

Out behind the Safeway
Just before the flood
Puffed some cans of spray paint
And began to vomit blood

One more night in this town’s
Gonna break me I just know
Hang on to your dreams
Till someone makes you let them go

Atlantic City – Bruce Springsteen

In an email recently I said, about Bruce, that I’d been subconsciously turned off his music until very, very recently. After having a good long think about this, trying to figure out exactly why this is, I decided it’s all about what the song Born in the USA came to mean to other people. I didn’t really get a chance to make up my own mind about him or his music, because Born in the USA was being sung by guys driving utes and wearing wife beaters all over my tiny inland NSW world. So I wrote his music off along with all that chest beating, posturing what not, which is not at all fair. And then the song Atlantic City turned up on a mix CD from the boy, and holy moly – it was love love love. There is something about his voice that makes honey of my insides. I quickly picked up a copy of Nebraska and love the album too. But wait, that’s another post, right?

I’ll Believe in Anything – Wolf Parade

You know, I’m not going to write a lot about this song here. I have much bigger plans for it. I will say, though, that I have not been so profoundly effected by a song since, I don’t know… a really long time. I was obsessed for many weeks and I’m at the point now where I can sing it word for word. Usually very, very loudly, in my car, when no one else is listening or looking. I will also say that you would be stretched to find a more beautiful and well-written love song anywhere, by any song writer, on any album. This song has come to mean a lot to me for a lot of reasons. Genius? Yes.

What Light – Wilco

You know, I really get why some reviews of the album Sky Blue Sky were a bit meh. Sometimes people forget that it’s okay to make and/or listen to just straight up good music. And honestly, has there ever been a more upbeat SUNSHINE song then What Light? It makes me happy. And honestly, regardless of ANYTHING else, that makes it okay. So there.

Handsome Furs Hate This City – Handsome Furs

I could have put any number of songs from Plague Park here. It’s the beginning of this song that gets me though – the methodical keyboard, then Dan’s voice, with all that crazy staticy stuff in the background, and then that beautiful, beautiful drumming. I’ve never really been a fan of drumming machines, but honestly, the drumming in this song is just perfect. And when Dan sings OOOOOOOHH, I really gotta sing it too. And it’s really pretty as well, with all the ding donging noises and what not. And that tempo and melody change in the middle?!? Holy crap. Aha, anyway.

Us Ones In Between – Sunset Rubdown

I’m not sure I have my head around the idea of Spencer Krug just yet. And you know what? I am honestly okay with that. I think, with some things, the mystery is a good thing. It’s not that he’s purposefully ambiguous or ridiculously allusive – not at all. It’s just that I’m not sure we’ve seen the whole Spencer Krug thing play out yet. There’s a lot more there, and to be honest the idea of it is a little intimidating. But in that good way.

I could have put a few songs from Random Spirit Lover here, but in the end I went with something from Shut Up I Am Dreaming. I’m a sucker for lyrics, particularly lyrics that are poetry with a bit of ambiguity about them. And this –

You are a waterfall
Waiting inside a well
You are a wrecking ball
Before the building fell

Well, I just happen to think those are some of the more beautiful opening lines to a song ever. One girls opinion, of course.

Intervention – The Arcade Fire

This is one beast of a song. There was so much anticipation for Neon Bible, and I was a little apprehensive to be honest given my love for Funeral, but when I first heard Intervention I was cleanly blown away. I mean, when you start a song with organ like that it really has to be a winner, right? And it’s also a song for shouting out in the car, when you’re on your own. I, myself, am hoping and wishing and even praying to the indie gods for a Wake Up/Intervention encore in January. Although, if that actually came off, my head might explode.

Pittsfield – Sufjan Stevens

I’ve already written about this song here. And I reread it just now, and for once I don’t hate what I wrote. So you’re not getting anything else from me on this song for now :) Except to say that every time I think of seeing him at the State Theatre next month my heart stops for a tiny second.

Another Day Full of Dread – Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy

You know those musicians you mean to get around to? Those ones that are constantly bought up in conversations, or on blogs, or on your Last.FM recommendations or whatever, but you just never get there. Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy was one of those artists for me. And then one weekend (I think it was a weekend) in SO Music in Newtown there was a copy of I See A Darkness and I thought what the heck.

And it’s honestly music that changed me. And changed the way I listen to other music. And I think that in itself is the biggest compliment music can receive, right? It hasn’t so much set a mark for everything else to follow – it more stretched me out to a place where I have room now for so many more things. If that makes any sense at all. And this song is my favourite on I See A Darkness. It’s the chorus, mainly. Smile a while, forget the bile, and watch it all come down.


3 Responses to “This song”

  1. wayne on December 27, 2007 3:02 pm

    Just thought I would tell you that I love all of these songs. It is a strange world we live in where none of these amazing song writers are not household names. And I just found out today that The Band covered Atlantic City, I need to find that. Also, I quite like this Spencer Krug fellow.

  2. eltigre on February 18, 2008 3:02 pm

    I googled ‘Another Radio Song’ to see if anyone else is as blown away by it as I am. None of my friends really get why I love that song so much, even less do they understand my music. So, it is refreshing to see that you enjoyed it also!
    great list, by the way. Two other songs from the CDs you listed that I find to be very powerful are ‘Green Gloves’ by The National and ‘(Antichrist Television Blues)’ by Arcade Fire.

  3. Karen on February 19, 2008 9:40 pm

    Eltigre this is my favourite sort of comment. Part of the reason I started writing about music on this blog is because there was no one in my life who listened to the music that I do. Most hadn’t even heard of the bands I loved. It’s always really great to come across someone who just GETS it.

    And it’s truly an amazing song, right?? I honestly think the line ‘I could sigh into your hide and say I hope I’m here forever’ are some of the most beautiful lyrics ever written.

    Green Gloves is a great song – it’s a bit of a sleeper though I think. And Neon Bible was one of my favourite albums from last year – I love The Well and the Lighthouse too.

    Thanks so much for your comment!

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