#50 – 41
#40 – 31
#30 – 21
#20 – 11
Prinzhorn Dance School – “Crackerjack Docker”
Prinzhorn Dance School keep to an approach so simple that it threatens to obscure the fact that this Brighton duo has done that rare thingâ€”come up with a sound of its own. But with non-sequiturs as ripe as these (Hobnail boots/on the escalator/Beeswax beeswax/Down the radiator!) it’s probably only a matter of time before PDS edges toward the next musical level. Let’s hope not. – D. Klein
Animal Collective – “For Reverend Green”
Motorheads and experimental rock fans rejoice! Crunchy, growling, heavy-duty rated and delay-enabled guitars loop through the entire five-minutes of this brilliant song. Revving like a gas-hungry muscle car puttering in idle. In a mutually exclusive, industrial way, both types of sounds elicit fawning as things of beauty. Avey Tare’s rantish comments are hurled specifically at Brooklyn hipsters, but work just as easily referencing anyone from our entitled times, from boomer to Gens X through Y. Accentuated by ceiling-busting, primal screams, each subsequent shriek blows past the scratchy boundaries that would otherwise ground Tare’s playfully adaptive, chameleon voice. Lucky us. M. Swankster
Of Montreal – “Suffer for Fashion”
The first rush of greatness from Hissing Fauna. It seemed like those of us who take Eno’s pop records really seriously in spite of their silliness were finally vindicated by this record, and this song specifically. It’s got those glam guitars entwined with the intellectually oddball phrasing, but damn if it all doesn’t seem like it means something. – J.Klingman
Rihanna – “Umbrella”
Another (seemingly obligatory) mailed-in Jay-Z performance. Chris Brown trying to fuck up my entire summer, (“Cinderella?” Are you kidding me?). Yankovician remakes, (“Salmonella”, anyone?). Coincidental, even deadly, inclement weather in England, New Zealand, Spain, Greece and Mexicoâ€¦ but none of it mattered because, driven by blistering turns of fuzzed-out feedback, this ode to kinky friendship was all ella ella eh eh eh eh eh eh. – R.M.
Deerhunter – “Fluorescent Grey”
In which Bradford Cox– blood stained, frock wearing, rock(y) horror– makes you tingle with anticip…. Before that neutron bomb feedback hits you though, you’ve got to appreciate the dark literacy and itchy diction. Cox (and his critics) threw the name Dennis Cooper around a lot this year, but this meditation on how a fleshy shell of guts and gore can inspire overwhelming, unfair devotion is where he earned and transcended the comparison. – J.K.
Justice – “D.A.N.C.E.”
It was Thriller that was released a hair over 25 years ago today, but Justice’s self-evident, nonstop party banger owes a whole lot to the entirety of Michael Jackson’s career. Direct lyrical references are made to MJ classics like, “PYT”, “ABC”, “Black & White” and “Working Day and Night”, but it’s the sonic allusions that interest me more. The vocal tone is vintage 5, the keys, drum and strings are Off the Wall, the bass is freakin’ Bad. Nowadays, most people know MJ only as the no-nosed, child molesting freak. Glad to see his legacy hasn’t been completely soiled. – R.M.
Of Montreal – “She’s a Rejecter”
Missing new Franz Ferdinand output this year was mitigated by several songs, none more so than this dip by Of Montreal into the jagged, angular pool of dance-rock . The best Hissing Fauna… track, and more quantifiable, the most prototypical song of the scorned man cum glam conqueror storyline. Most/More importantly – its damn danceability. – M.S.
LCD Soundsystem – “All My Friends”
Trading sentimentalized grief for a sentimentalized stock taking of life, James Murphy takes bronze plated hardware by penning the year’s best chance for lasting anthem. By providing a first person account through the prism of a world-shaker, it presents superficial glitz wrapped in a ribbon of staccato keys. Ultimately ending with rationalized nostalgia typical in these clarifications on the lack of regrets. Terrifically reflective in that respect, also about death in terms of grown-up awareness of an end versus the sorrow of “Someone Great”. Always the entertainer, jet-setting around the world yet finding a strong pining for the special allure of friends. Anthemic, yet terribly sad. Murphy grown up, the sad clown. – M.S.
M.I.A. – “Paper Planes”
A song stitched together from so many parts that it’s baffling there aren’t more seams showing. It loops the first 20 seconds of the Clash’s “Straight to Hell,” making that song seem like it never lost its early propulsion. It takes the chart shaking chorus of “Rumpshaker” but swaps out that song’s vapidity for wordlessly sinister cartoon effects. It even throws up that cloying old staple of the children’s choir, but cuts the sugar by giving the little bastards a taste for your blood. Just relentlessly good. – J.K.
LCD Soundsystem – “Someone Great”
James Murphy fashions his scratches, sirens, and blips like a jeweler, dotting his work with transcendent glockenspiels. I never realized how dark a tale “Someone Great” tells until I sat down and read the lyrics; to me it was always the sound of triumph. For my money, the song of the year. – D. Klein