My 2009 songs

Last year, I didn’t create a list of my top songs of the year.  I really don’t know why not.  Just never got around to it, I guess.

Well, this year I’m going to almost give you such a list.  This isn’t a list of my top songs of 2009.  Hell, most of these songs didn’t come out in 2009.  At least one of them came out more than ten years ago.  Instead, this is a list of the songs that were important to me this year, the songs that got me through a really shitty 365 days.  They appear in no particular order and contain a sample lyric just for shits and giggles.

1) “Two Words, Mr. President: Plausible Deniability” by Driver F.  This high energy and goofy as hell Austin band delivered a very infectious record with Chase the White Whale.  This, the lead track, is one of the best, most pure pop rock songs since Buddy Holly and the Beach Boys were recording. “Hey Angel, won’t you shed your wings and stay a while?”

2) “Call of the Playground” by Shudder to Think.  Back in 1997, Shudder to Think released 50,000 BC.  To date, I’m the only person I know who loves that record.  “Call of the Playground” blends wonderful melodies with quirky dynamics and tempos.  Craig Wedren’s soaring, trembling vocals just make things perfect. “Is that a bruise or a kiss?”

3) “Summer, Man” by Taking Back Sunday.  I’ve dug Taking Back Sunday since their first record, and their latest continued to impress.  “Summer, Man” is the highlight.  From the tripping guitar intro to the thundering chorus, this could be TBS’s best song to date.  “The summer is over, and I doubt I’ll be seeing you around.”

4) “Word Forward” by Foo Fighters.  After a record so disappointing I can’t be bothered to look up the title, Dave Grohl and company recorded one of their best songs ever for their greatest hits collection (ironic, no?).  “Word Forward” isn’t just a semi-poignant meditation on growing old and up, but also a rock song that starts quiet and then builds into something just… amazing.  “Goodbye Jimmy, farewell youth….”

5) “The Bitch of Living” by the cast of Spring Awakening.  Sure, this song may be a rather coy discussion of masturbation, but there’s also a lot of lines in there that really ring true about just how fucking hard life can be.  In a year when I lost both parents and spent most of my time hating myself, it really meant a lot to me. “It’s the bitch of living and living in your head.  It’s the bitch of living, just getting out of bed.”

6) “Learned to Surf” by Superchunk.  I’ve been hoping for years and years that Superchunk would put out another disc.  Well, that wish came true this year with Leaves in the Gutter. This song is everything a Superchunk song should be: poppy, rocking, funny, and sung up high. “I can’t hold my breath anymore.  I stopped sinking, learned to surf.”

7) “Spread Like Fingers” by Cruiserweight. I’ll end on a more upbeat note and with another Austin band.  I’ve long been a fan of Cruiserweight, and when their record Big Bold Letters came out, I found myself listening to it for months on end.  This was my highlight, a slightly sad, slightly sweet take on love and friendship.  “Thank God we keep our roots close together, and I promise to keep your name where I go in big bold letters.”