Rather than do a Top Ten for the year, I decided to create what would essentially equal a CDR mix. You can hear a variation of this mix on iTunes, though I had to swtich out several British songs not available in America. The songs below are in no oder, except for # 1 and #2. Happy holidays!
Keane “Your Eyes Open” (#1)
The chorus is like an orgasm that never subsides. I still have the same reaction – I'm breathtaken! – months after first hearing this song. Discovered in a hotel room in London (yes, someone left this song lying under the bed), it reminds me vaguely of Ultravox in their "Reap The Wild Wind" era. Translation: it will cause you to swoon.
Nancy Sinatra: “Let Me Kiss You” (#2)
This wrenching song Morrissey wrote for her is totally timeless, like something Dusty Springfield could have sung. My favorite part is the truly plaintive bridge: My heart is open ? My heart is open to you..."
John Frusciante “Carvel”
Even with the one-minute prog rock art intro, this 6-minute song soars. It is filled with great moments, like the vocodered snarly bit at 3:35. It's uber-rock genius from a great guitarist and a underdog who cheated death during many years of addiction. As an aside, the lyric "Sending the dummy to my God" reminds me of George Bush!
Divine Comedy “Our Mutual Friend”
Neil Hannon’s genius distilled in one song, ten years into his career. Don’t usually love the narrative songs, but this story is good and the moment of “discovery” in the song, especially the note held at 3:40-ish, deserves a special award for Best Chill-Inducing Moment.
The Cocteau Twins are alive in one boy singer. One of many bands this year that channeled worthy influences. Also love the hook: “Can you hear the knocking in your soul? I know you don’t listen”
Rufus Wainwright “Waiting For A Dream”
One of most beautifully produced songs of the year. Everything is right – arrangement, lyrics and vocals. And this one was an outcast from my favorite album of 2003!
Morrissey “I Like You”
There should not be a year without Morrissey. He picked up better than he left off. The vocals in the last minute 0f this perfect single (that was never a single) are also much more emphatic than usual for Moz.
Morrissey “My Life Is A Succession of People Saying Goodbye”
A Classic Moz example of a track being relegated to b-side that was better than most of the actual CD. Best line: “All the best things in life are behind glass: money, jewelry, flesh” (love the emphasis on the last word).
Kings Of Convenience “Misread”
Bossa nova loveliness, light as a cool Norwegian summer breeze, counteracting an angsty lyric. Love the line about “the ones who made a difference by withstanding the indifference.”
Finn Brothers “Won’t Give In”
A masterpiece that doesn’t want you to understand that it’s a masterpiece when you first hear it. Some of the finest lyrics of the year and Neil Finn’s career. And that’s saying something.
Honeymoon “Passive Aggressive”
Like the hip children of The Sundays. The title of this song is revealed in the angsty lyrics. It’s airy, poppy and contemporary. Great album too. This year’s Frou Frou – meaning they deserve more attention than they will receive.
Beyonce watch out. Javine, a cheesy reality show cast off, has the legs, the hair, the horns and the sass to take Bee’s now-incorporated ass on! So much better than any of the new Destiny's Child songs.
Girls Aloud “The Show”
Classic British girl band pop, but slamming – guaranteed to take weight off you in 4 minutes. Best line “I should have tried a little bit harder / Shoulda hung around the kitchen in my underwear"
Bjork “Who Is It”
One of my favorite lyrics (and hooks) of the year: “Who is it / that never lets you down? / Who is it / that gave you back your crown? / The ornaments are coming around / Handing it over” The most accessible song from her difficult all-voice album.
Gwen Stefani "What You Waiting For?"
A song that makes me purely happy, In fact, it's 3 songs rolled into one. Hyperactive, yes, but kickass and cool. Gwen's still a Super. Hot. Female.
Scissor Sisters "Filthy/Gorgeous"
I could have chosen any one of several songs by the Sisters, but I feel this one encapsulates a certain joie de vivre and decadence that I support wholeheartedly! How can you not love this chorus: "Cuz you're filthy (filthy) / Oooh, and gorgeous (gorgeous)/ You're disgusting / Oooh, and you're nasty / And you can grab me / Oooh cuz you're nasty!"
George Michael “Precious Box”
Sexy night-driving music about a man who needs to get out of the house more.
The gorgeous, sad closer from her great album "Tasty." Yes trolls, I know this came out in 2003, but it came out in late December and I started playing it in 2004. This is more emotional and elegant than most of Kelis' songs. It was produced by Raphael Saadiq and I love the "marathon" vocal effect in the last two minutes; it's one of the most moving "moments" of pop music this year, despite there being no words. Kelis, like Bitchin' Gwen, is a super hot female (with a lollipop in her mouth)!