When compiling my last list of top music I felt a little bad about leaving out newer songs (it was necessary though). And today I have many photos to retouch and a long text to set so, just to exercise my superpower of procrastination, here comes a follow-up list of 10 songs: Top Songs, part 2. This one includes everything I skipped last time because it seemed too new for me to be sure it would last.
1. The White Stripes “I’m Lonely (But I Ain’t That Lonely Yet).” With the White Stripes it’s very hard for me to pick one song because (like many other artists on this list) I like them almost in entirety and I admire how each new album was more ambitious than the previous one. I’m picking a cover because I’m feeling mischievous, I guess, but probably also because it’s very much in tune with the previous list.
Favorite bit of lyrics: “And sometimes I get jealous / Of all her little pets / And I get lonely, but I ain’t that lonely yet”
Runners-up: To name just a few “Hotel Yorba” | “Seven Nation Army” (yes, I like the hits) | “In the Cold, Cold Night” | “Icky Thump” etc.
2. The Kills “Superpowerless.” Another case of a band that I like almost completely and only pick a song because I follow my own rules. The Kills are absolutely hypnotic for me; they were an instant fascination, even though they’re unlike my usual favorite bands, and I can listen to them forever.
Favorite bit of lyrics: I really don’t listen to the Kills for the lyrics, just for the rhythm. I don’t even know them, a weird thing for me.
Runners-up: So very many, “Rodeo Town” | “URA Fever” | “Nail in My Coffin” | “I Call It Art” (my first the Kills favorite, different from the rest but gorgeous) | “Cheap and Cheerful” and more.
3. Laura Marling “I Speak Because I Can.” I will finally stop repeating that, but with Marling it’s again a whole bunch of songs of which it’s practically impossible to pick the best one. I fell in love with her music after the first album (perplexed as I was with her crazily young age) and heard the first two albums about a million times. I’m less fond of her later work but when I love her, I’m obsessed.
Favorite bit of lyrics: “When you’re running up the highway / Singing I’m the king, the king of you all / When you look back to where it started / I’ll be there waving you on”
Runners-up: “Ghosts” | “Night After Night” | “My Manic and I” | “The Captain and the Hourglass” | “Hope in the Air” | “What He Wrote” (all of these songs are so powerful and atmospheric).
4. Isobell Campbell and Mark Lanegan “Ramblin’ Man.” My listening to Campbell and Lanegan’s first collaboration honestly bordered on obsession, I loved this album so much. This song is particularly interesting in how it makes a more-dimensional dialogue out of a typical manly nonsense.
Favorite bit of lyrics: No particular bit, I like the interplay.
Runners-up: “Do You Wanna (Come Walk with Me)” (too bad it ended up in commercials) | “Revolver” | “Keep Me in Mind Sweetheart.”
5. Ani DiFranco “As Is.” Frankly, Ani can be boring every now and then but when she’s not, she’s awesome. I went through an Ani DiFranco phase and “As Is” is my favorite because of its simplicity and contained bitterness but lots of her songs are so, so good.
Favorite bit of lyrics: “‘Cause when I look down / I just miss all the good stuff / And when I look up / I just trip over things” (wonderful, isn’t it).
Runners-up: “Little Plastic Castle” | “Fuel” (the only rap I enjoy though I know it’s no rap to those who really care about it) | “Marrow” | “Untouchable Face” (awesome lyrics).
6. Emmy the Great “First Love.” While we’re talking about wonderful women songwriters, we might add Emmy as well. I like many songs from First Love but the titular one is my favorite, with its crazy story and Cohen references.
Favorite bit of lyrics: “I remember you like a verse / That I didn’t want to learn” and also “You were stroking me like a pet / But you didn’t own me yet,” such lovely cynicism about romance (I don’t share it but I’ve always enjoyed it).
Runners-up: “Dylan” (no duh) | “On the Museum Island” | “A Woman, a Woman, a Century of Sleep”
7. Deer Tick “Ashamed.” Let’s pick up the tempo for a moment with one alt-country song I dare to enter here. Love the guitar in this one.
Favorite bit of lyrics: Well, I really like the guitar more than lyrics but I guess “oh, what a crying shame, a crying shame / What we became” has certain true-to-life quality.
Runners-up: I like some songs from Born on a Flag Day and “Dirty Dishes” but no other could make it to the list.
8. The Pixies “Here Comes Your Man.” It was R that got me interested in Pixies but they have a similar effect on me that the Kills do: when I start listening to them, time flies. I know “Here Comes Your Man” is shamefully poppy and I should pick something less known but I can’t help loving this one the most, it’s such a good song.
Favorite bit of lyrics: Some of their songs have almost-meaningful lyrics but not this one, sorry.
Runners-up: “Hey” | “Debaser” | “The Holiday Song.”
9. Langhorne Slim “By the Time the Sun’s Gone Down.” The newest addition and my instant love but I’ve already written about it.
Favorite bit of lyrics: “And by the docks we’ll take a walk / and discuss things we have and never wanted”
Runners-up: “In the Midnight” (it could make the list just as well, the two are equally awesome to me) | “Back to the Wild.”
10. Carla Bruni “Quelqu’un ma dit.” This is not-too-smart an album, lyrics-wise, but Carla has so much charm and her French is gorgeous I can listen to her for hours. It started as an exercise in French but easily ended up here.
Favorite bit of lyrics: This is silly lyrics, no doubt about it. But oh, French is so lovely I don’t care.
Runners-up: “Le toi du moi” (possibly the silliest lyrics ever, but kinda funny).
And I still had to eliminate a lot of songs so I’ll just throw it out there: Johnny Flynn “The Wrote and the Writ” | Yeah Yeah Yeahs “Hysteric” | Fiona Apple “Waltz (Better Than Fine)” | Cowboy Junkies “River Waltz” | The Lumineers “Stubborn Love” | something by Mumford and Sons. There, I feel better already.