Eli Badra: The Best and Worst Songs of 2009

, Staff Writer

We asked our writers to weigh in with their thoughts on songs from 2009. Here, in no particular order, are staff writer Eli Badra’s thoughts on the best and worst of 2009.

Ten Songs I’d Like To Hear Again in 2010

“My Girls” – Animal Collective: This song is pretty much guaranteed a spot on every top songs of ’09 list out there. After the hype surrounding Merriweather Post Pavilion, and complemented by a phenomenal music video – not to mention the song itself is addictive as hell – it’s no surprise why.

“Two Weeks” – Grizzly Bear: This is another one that might have earned some points because of hype, but “Two Weeks” is a genuinely great song. Grizzly Bear’s acute attention to detail in the studio, as well as a pretty addictive keyboard line, makes it one of the tunes that lingered throughout the year.

“Lust For Life” – Girls: A quick little thing at under 2:30, “Lust For Life” perfectly encapsulates the dissatisfaction of, say, post-graduate life, all the things you wish you had, ready to start over again. This is all done through a filter of hazy pop punk and gooey vocals that slide up and down through registers at times both logical and not. Girls might not have very much staying power in the long term, but this song came at a perfect point in time, a great accompaniment to the sunshine of summer.

“Blood Bank” – Bon Iver: Justin Vernon followed up his highly-regarded debut with the Blood Bank EP, continuing his output of high quality indie folk. The vocal harmonies in this track are tight, and the start-stop motion of the song keeps things interesting. It’s a somber tune, but there’s something almost anthemic that pops up from time to time throughout the track.

“Gentle Sons” – The Pains of Being Pure At Heart: The Pains came out of nowhere with their self-titled debut in February, a collection of punk-flavored noise pop. While “Gentle Sons” isn’t aesthetically in line with the rest of the album, it is a perfect closer, a sleepy, distorted mess of noise and faraway vocals. At the end of the nostalgic party that is the record, “Monday morning comes too fast – it’s a triumphant way to end the disc, and a great tune in 2009.

“Surf Solar” – Fuck Buttons: The UK duo followed up their well-received debut with Tarot Sport, which featured this nearly eleven-minute beast. The song weaves from dense soundscapes to a haunting dance beat, tapping on a number of texture changes and peaks throughout. It manages to be noise and dance at the same time, and is masterfully executed throughout.

“Should Have Taken Acid With You” – Neon Indian: Neon Indian received a great deal of praise this summer – the washed out vintage-ish electronic music proved to be a popular, but brief, phase this past year. “Acid” is a great example of this “chillwave” era – apathetic lyrics, strange shifts in volume and modulation, and basic distorted beats. It was great music to while away the summer hours with your feet dangling in a kiddy pool.

“Ecstasy” – jj: Sweden’s jj took the beat from Lil Wayne’s “Lollipop” and used it as the foundation for what is, truthfully, a hazy, drugged-out tune. Strange noises swirl around, and the lyrics are faraway and drenched in reverb. Admittedly, yes, it’s pretty clearly a drug song, but it’s a really good drug song!

“Warm Heart of Africa” – The Very Best: Vampire Weekend’s Ezra Koenig offers his falsetto for this song, which proves to be arguably the most addictive tune to have come out in 2009. The backing beat is bouncy and happy, and when the vocals erupt in harmony, it’s hard to not start bouncing along.

“Convinced Of The Hex” – The Flaming Lips: The bands’ first album in three years opens with this song, which itself perfectly embodies the sonic changes that have taken place within the band in between releases. It’s still fundamentally a Flaming Lips song, for sure, but things have lost their polish and gotten even bigger in the meantime.

Some Songs I’d Like To Leave in 2009

“I Gotta Feeling” – Black Eyed Peas: I don’t get the appeal of this song. The sentiment is nice, sure, but it started receiving the nostalgic treatment even when it was still topping the charts. Maybe this is a case of overexposure, but I would be very glad to not hear this one again for a while.

“Whatcha Say” – Jason Derula: “Whatcha Say” is the epitome of the AutoTune era: the singing itself heavily uses the stuff, and the chorus features lyrics run through a vocoder. Don’t get me wrong – I really like Imogen Heap’s song. In fact, I like it so much that I don’t want to have to sit through an entire verse of hip hop to get to hear it again.

“Shots” – LMFAO: I spent five minutes trying to figure out how to explain why this song is on the list, but really, just listen to it.

“I Love College” – Asher Roth: This one is even worse, actually. At least “Shots” has kind of a catchy chorus.

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