Monday, December 21, 2009

Listening Post: The 20 Best Singles of 2009 (18 & 17)

18. Doves -- Jetstream

Over the last decade, Doves -- like their Mancunian musical counterparts, the more melancholic and dramatic Elbow -- have very quietly made some of the most surprising, alluring music anywhere. Songs like Catch the Sun, Caught by the River and Snowden are lush pop masterpieces, pure and simple -- so it's no surprise that their 2009 album Kingdom of Rust continued the trend of recording the kind of material Coldplay only wishes they were capable of. While the title track from Kingdom of Rust was the first official single from that album, the band released the record's lead track -- the hypnotic, propulsive, seemingly New Order-inspired Jetstream -- on its website as a free download and the fans, having their say, took over from there. The response was so favorable that alternative radio began adding the song and that, thankfully, brought one of the best songs of the year to the masses.

17. Yeah Yeah Yeahs -- Heads Will Roll

When Karen O shouts "Off with your head!" about fifteen seconds into Yeah Yeah Yeahs' furious dance-art-punk anthem Heads Will Roll, it makes you want to run for cover. The track was the second single off their all-around spectacular 2009 album It's Blitz! and it shows the New York City-based band doing what they do best: delivering a cool-as-hell sonic blast that you can practically feel emanating like a clarion call across a crowded Lower East Side dancefloor -- the kind typically packed with people who try hard to look like they don't really give a shit what they're listening to. Both Heads Will Roll and the single that preceded it, Zero, actually stood out as being the only songs on It's Blitz! that really resonated with punk fierceness, but that's quite alright -- a jolt of adrenaline like the one Yeah Yeah Yeahs regularly provide is the kind of thing you want to be careful not to O.D. on anyway.

Tomorrow: 16 & 15

The 20 Best Singles of 2009: 19. Mos Def -- Quiet Dog; 20. Florence + the Machine -- Kiss With a Fist


Alanna said...

Hell yes on "Heads will Roll"! rawr. The LES faction is just smirking in agreement.

L. said...

I cannot for the life of me understand why Doves aren't hugely popular. I drove out to Philadelphia to see them earlier this year and they blew me away.

Bunche said...

Am I the only person in the world who thinks the Yeah Yeah Yeahs have not one lick of talent? I admit that I've never hjeard one of their studio albums, but I did see them live and it was one of the top three worst live performances I've ever seen. It amazed me that a band that could suck so egregiously had such a fervent following.

I just watched the video and amazed that it's the same band I saw in Central park.