I annoy friends and family each Christmas with a mix CD (how quaint!) of my favorite songs from the year that was, so I figure I’ll annoy you with it as well. Please return the favor with your picks in the comments …
1. Grizzly Bear, “Two Weeks” — Off of what was probably my favorite album of the year. Even my 1-year-old likes this jam.
2. Girls, “Lust for Life” — Loved this album too, and “Hellhole Ratrace” and “Laura” may be superior tracks, but this one’s so short, simple, sweet.
3. Avett Brothers, “Laundry Room” (live) — Never listened to them before this year, but am now two albums deep and digging. It’s worth noting that every live recording of theirs I’ve heard towers over the studio version.
4. Animal Collective, “My Girls” — “I don’t mean to seem like I care about material things, like a social status, I just want four walls and adobe slats for my girls.”
5. Kid Cudi, “I Poke Her Face” (featuring Kanye West and Common) — Impossibly catchy, mildly raunchy hip-hop with a side of GaGa.
6. Telekinesis, “Coast of Carolina” — Great power-pop gem discovered via Sirius XMU, my radio station of choice.
7. Phoenix, “Lisztomania” — The catchiest song from the catchiest, most-soundtracked album of 2009.
8. Wale, “Word Play” (featuring Curren$y and Tre of UCB) — With a full-length mixtape and full-length album, Wale gives us plenty to choose from, but this is the one I keep coming back to.
9. The xx, “Crystalised” — A guy-girl duet with almost Velvet Underground levels of cool.
10. The National, “So Far Around the Bend” — A top-notch act with a top-notch effort for the “Dark Was the Night” compilation, which is top-notch.
11. Atlas Sound, “Walkabout” (featuring Panda Bear) — “What did you want to see, what did you want to be when you grew up?”
12. Bon Iver, “Blood Bank” — The standout single from this year’s EP of the same name. Can’t wait for Justin Vernon’s follow-up LP.
13. Raekwon, “Wu Ooh” (featuring Ghostface Killah and Method Man) — Vintage Wu-Tang shit.
14. Neon Indian, “Deadbeat Summer” — A woozy, standout summer song for hipsters.
15. The Tallest Man Alive, “The Gardner” — Think this came out last year, but I didn’t uncover it until hearing about him opening for Bon Iver. Very Dylan-y, quite good.
16. The Love Language, “Lalita” — Theirs was the only show I saw all year, at the Soapbox in Wilmington, NC, and it was awesome.
17. Japandroids, “Young Hearts Spark Fire” — Kick ass.
18. Passion Pit, “Sleepyhead” — Perfect for indie rock dance parties.
19. White Antelope, “Silver Dagger” — There were no Fleet Foxes releases this year, so we’ll settle for frontman Robin Pecknold uploading old folk covers to MySpace under the alias White Antelope.
20. Tunde Adebimpe, “Unknown Legend” (Neil Young cover) — From the excellent film “Rachel Getting Married”, which came out in late ’08. I didn’t see it until recently though, and this scene stays with me.