Tuesday, July 28, 2009

My Favorite Songs, pt. 5: South - Wild Cards

We all have them. Guilty pleasures, secret indulgences, Spin Doctors on repeat on your iPod (that joke will be lost on most). I am no different, there are some songs that I may not claim to be my favorite, but I secretly love.

That's what this division is for; those songs that you always turn up at a party and pretend someone else did.

Of course, there aren't that many spaces, and some of the songs that narrowly missed spots in other brackets will be getting consideration in this too so somethings may not be like others.

Here we go...

1. Love Song - Sarah Bareilles


8. California - Rufus Wainwright

Alright we're starting off hot. "Love Song" has an outrageous number of plays on my iTunes compared to some of these others and I'll be damned if I didn't learn that piano part. Unfortunately as a side-effect from the airtime burn of the song it really has little endearing qualities left in it to me, and thus makes it hard to see through to the next round. "California" is a similarly poppy number from the ever talented Rufus Wainwright. A little spoiler alert here, this one may be over before it begins.

4. Rich Girl - Hall and Oates


5. All You Wanted - Michelle Branch

Another set of songs that I just can't resist. Hall and Oates is a testament to my nerdy side and Michelle Branch further exemplifies my soft spot for talented female pop artists. This is going to be a really tough match-up, it may require several guilty listens to make a decision.

3. Wouldn't It Be Nice - Beach Boys


6. Anonanimal - Andrew Bird

Neither of these two are really guilty pleasures because I am not ashamed of my adoration for either group of performers. "Wouldn't It Be Nice" just missed on the Classics list, because it is a song that I have enjoyed almost my whole life thanks in large part to my dad. "Anonanimal" is a song that just missed the Current list. It is probably my favorite song of the year thus far because of its beautiful layered violin and guitar harmonies. This might give him an edge though. Right now I can't even pick a favorite (despite ranking) in this match-up.

2. Stay Where You Are - Ambulance LTD


7. Good Man - Josh Ritter

Ambulance really helped me get in to indie music in the same way Sufjan Stevens did, and this song is a magnificent piece of work. "Good Man" is probably my favorite by Josh Ritter, who is one of my more recent obsessions. Both of these songs just missed other lists and are seeing their chance in this auxiliary bracket. This is yet another close match-up regardless of standing.

COMING SOON: First Round Results!!!

Stay Tuned!

Friday, July 17, 2009

You know I'm being emo when...

I've updated my Twitter more than once in six hours and they aren't cheery messages.

Today was one of those days. I got a ton done during the day, but then I went back to work. It slipped from there.

Friday afternoons are notorious for inspiring insipidity within the counselors at the camp where I work. Of course, being within one minor screw-up of losing this job (Bloomington is strict, really strict) I am not one to sit back and phone an afternoon in. I enjoy playing with the kids: the fact that I get paid to do so is just a bonus. So when my colleagues act their age it bothers me more than a little bit.

Today I was one of the last to leave, and my boss's boss was hanging out at the park. This is the woman with whom I have been in trouble, and for all intents and purposes been on probation with. Needless to say I am on edge with her, that alone is enough to wreck a perfectly good afternoon. As if to compound my own problems I commented on how I was impressed that she could "still" make it from one end of the monkey bars to the other. Meaning that she possessed the physical size and strength to do so; size being an issue for me and strength being an issue for almost everyone else who works at the camp. In no way did I mean to comment on her age (which is not that old), but in true womanly fashion (apologies for the misogyny) she accused me of just that. She said it in a somewhat light way, but given our history I have no reason to believe that she took it lightly and doesn't hate me more as a result. Thus pushing me deeper in to this self-loathing spiral of abhorrence.

I don't know if anyone reads this, or if any of those readers realize this yet, but I have a tendency to think far too much. This puts all of my stress on a logarithmic scale, escalating my own levels of sorrow and making me more detached and down. If I started content I ended up despondent.

Of course, I didn't just become so emo (if you will), there were other things this evening that helped me become forlorn. However, it is in my own personal interest regarding the many relationships in my life to not disclose those details in such a public manner.

I suppose I have learned from the past in that way. Perhaps that can make things better for tomorrow, and so on.

Look, a cheerful(?) note to end on. How optimistic of me. But the previous sentence ends in a preposition (ahh, there I am again).

Thursday, July 16, 2009

My Favorite Songs, pt. 4: North - Nostalgia

Oh, to be young again, er, to be in high school again. As mentioned before, I used to be a sort of emo-kid. It's true, hard as it is to believe.

I still did have some good tastes, however, so not all of these songs are going to suck completely. Let's hop on to this train to the old days and get a bit nostalgic.

1. The Sound of Settling - Death Cab for Cutie


8. Grenade Jumper - Fall Out Boy

-Death Cab was one of the bands that got me interested in more indie music; Fall Out Boy was one of the bands that got me interested in punk music. It's interesting now that Death Cab can hardly be considered an indie band anymore and Fall Out Boy certainly can't be considered punk at all. I'm pretty certain I know the winner already, and it's not much of a surprise.

4. God and Mars - Days Away


5. 1400 Things to be Happy About - Troubled Hubble

-Two underrated bands and two songs I still definitely enjoy. This will be a difficult battle and may require several listens before a winner (clear or not) will become evident. TH may have the edge because they were the first show I ever went to...

2. This is not an Exit - Saves The Day


7. Chicago - Sufjan Stevens

-Saves The Day used to be one of, if not my one favorite band. Sufjan rode in on a wave of indie music and never really left. I don't really think that Saves The Day stands a chance, though I think I'd still enjoy listening to them. We'll see how this turns out.

3. More Adventurous - Rilo Kiley


6. Checkmarks - The Academy Is...

-Honestly, I would put Rilo Kiley as the dark horse to win the group. I still listen to their music regularly and I still find "More Adventurous" to be one of the most beautiful songs I have ever heard. TAI on the other hand I don't really get in to so much these days, but I did love it back in the day.

Results soon, feel free to tell me what you think.

Friday, July 10, 2009

My Favorite Song, pt.3: West - Current

This is what's hot right now, what's been blowing up on my computer and in my car stereo. Right now this is what I want to hear and this is what I've been digging.

1. Lisztomania - Phoenix


8. Akron/Family - River

-These two have been hot recently, and it's really a much closer race than the rankings would indicate. Phoenix burst on to my iTunes after being hyped up by the blog MusicForAnts.com, I don't regret the decision to get this album at all. The French band puts together some incredible dancy-tunes and "Lisztomania" is certainly my favorite. "River" was almost gifted to me by the local record store, and since this song has been making the rounds in my car's CD player. This one is going to be heated.

4. My Friend - Dr. Dog


5. Two Weeks - Grizzly Bear

-Dr. Dog's album Fate is getting a bit old now, a year or so, but it never lost it's appeal to me. "My Friend" has such a fun guitar riff and vocal styling that I couldn't, and still can't stop listening to it. "Two Weeks" is the most accessible Grizzly Bear song, and my favorite from Veckatimest. The only thing holding the Bear back is that "Two Weeks" is tied for my favorite off their newest with the song "Cheerleader."

2. Sweet Talk - Dear and the Headlights


7. Ragged Wood - Fleet Foxes

-Dear easily could have made it on the Classics bracket because of my affection for the AZ band. But "Ragged Wood" has such a great guitar and such incredible vocal harmonies that I ca hardly resist it's allure. Tough match-up.

3. Cannibal Queen - Miniature Tigers


6. Coma Girl - Joe Strummer and the Mescaleros

-Little pop gems from these new comers and the king of punk. This one may come down to a coin flip as well.

Comments are appreciated!

Thursday, July 9, 2009

My Favorite Song, pt. 2: East - Classics

In this bracket are the songs that I typically call my "favorite" songs. A wide variety of tunes from many bands were considered, but here are the top eight

1. Anything You Want - Spoon


8. Spoils of the Spoiled - The New Amsterdams

-This match up seems a bit lopsided, as I don't often claim to be a huge NA fan. "Anything" is a song that I discovered at a point in my life when I really needed it, and it has remained a favorite for a long time. "Spoils," on the other hand, is a catchy little number from a solid album. This is really the David and Goliath match-up, but as with all songs in the competition, they will be listened to equally and further judged.

4. Gamblin' Man - Limbeck


5. Dance All Night - Ryan Adams & the Cardinals

-As the rankings would indicate, this is the closest match up of songs in this bracket. On any given day either of these two artists could be counted as number one in my pantheon of music. I'm going to have a hard time picking between the two, and it may come down to something trivial like a coin flip.

2. Heavy Metal Drummer - Wilco


7. Your English is Good - Tokyo Police Club

-Another seemingly lopsided clash of songs. Both are poppy up-tempo numbers that make me happy inside. The advantage that "Drummer" has is that it launched what can only be described as a torrid love affair with Wilco. They will be given equal opportunity to advance, but I can almost call this one now.

3. Janet - The Format


6. July! July! - The Decemberists

-If there was going to be a Cinderella from this bracket "July!" may just be the best candidate. Very frequently I cite "Janet" as my favorite, but the more I grow to love the Decemberists, the more "July!" sticks out to me.

Let me know what you think about these match up's and how you would pick them.

Stay tuned for the other three regions, and the results next week.

My Favorite Song, pt. 1: Introductions

Everyone gets asked the question, it's almost a mandate when you tell someone that you are really interested in music that they ask you. It's not often that I have an answer though. It seems to me that I give a different answer each time, depending on my mood or what I just heard. So let's lay this one to rest once and for all:

What is my favorite song?

The best way to figure this out is, of course, by entering each song into a pool for a single elimination "March Madness" style tournament.

There will be four divisions of eight songs each that will be pitted against each other in a head-to-head fashion. The four divisions will be:

East - Classics: these are the songs that I traditionally answer with. It will be a tough division and only one will be able to emerge as the top.

West - Current:
These are the songs that have been blowing up my iTunes lately. Since these usually have a big impact on the way I answer they are getting their own bracket.

North - Nostalgia: These are the songs that I would have claimed to love five years ago. Warning: I was a bit emo, but still awesome, so no worries.

South - Wild Cards: I don't even know what may end up in this category. It could be songs that I haven't listened to in years or just a song that I really dig but didn't make another category. We'll see.

I'm going to start in on making the brackets now and I should have a post up sometime in the next day or two. There may even be some mp3's to go with them, who knows.

Please comment and let me know what you think of the songs!