Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Who Is the Man Who Puts Waves on the Sand?

Last night I posted about ten songs released in 2013 that I liked. However, I think it’s a more accurate measure of my tastes — and my year — to list off ten tracks that I discovered in 2013 that did not come out this year.

Enjoy, I hope.

“I Want Someone to Love,” by Vic Trick

You can’t ignore how big a debt it owes to “Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This),” but I enjoy how it veers off after the familiar-sounding intro. It’s almost wrong. Also, for me it’s a plus that I can’t understand half of what he says. He probably couldn’t either. “I like cigarette tonight [indecipherable] towards the stars.” That’s songwriting people..

“It Came in the Night,” by A Raincoat

A fantastic, mid-70s rock track that has been mostly lost in the pop culture shuffle, this song is one I suggest should be the official theme of Halloween.

“Storm Keeper,” by Culture Club

I’d either never heard it or never noticed it until this year. More pop songs should have flutes, I say.

“Army Dreamers,” by Kate Bush

An admission: Before this year, I actually never bothered with Kate Bush. Her videos always looked nuts, and she just seemed like a lot to deal with, even if she was adored by a good number of friends whose taste in music I respected. This year, I decided to figure out what her deal is. I still don’t know, aside from her being nuts — have you seen her videos? — but now I’ve gone through her entire catalogue, and I can see what everyone else always did. “Army Dreamers” is my favorite track, even though it’s perhaps the least Kate Bushy of her hits. I’m down with any songwriter who writes in triple time and narrates from the perspective of a character who is clearly different from her real-life persona.

“(Hey There) Big Bad Wolf,” by The Sham-ettes

I have written before about how happy I am that this song exists. There should be more songs written in response to pop standards. 

“Happy Station,” by Fun Fun

Because they sing the way Heidi Klum talks. And they dance like alcohol poisoning. That is all.

“Hollywood Cemetery Songs,” by Father John Misty

I know, I know; it’s only a year old. But I missed this song when it hit back in 2012. And I’m recommending it now because it makes me remember when I was in the seventh grade and first discovered this thing called alt rock.

“Right on Target,” by Paul Parker

Bonus because (a) Paul Parker looks like your friend’s hot dad and (b) “right on target” is most likely a reference to an anus.

“Le mannequin,” by Annie Philippe

Every few years, I apparently go through a ye-ye period. This year’s winner happens to be a narrative by a department store mannequin. Despite the rather limited narrator, the song suggests rather emphatic dancing gestures. Out in a field. In the sunshine.

“Oscillate Wildly,” by The Smiths

I learned this year that this was once the music that KCET played on-air when it advertised the night’s line up of programming. I work for KCET now. This made me happy, even if we lack anything on-air that’s half as cool as this. Unrelated but nonetheless relevant: I still say the girl on the album cover is a time-traveling Kristen Schaal.

Honorable mentions: Seriously, it’s just “Crazy Night” by Dorine Hollier. If you haven’t yet watched, please do; you’ll never see an Italian woman bop around onstage in quite so entertaining a fashion. And you can’t lose, 2013 or 2014 or otherwise, with lyrics like “Seems like the moon / Has grown a nose / Dance like a loon / A million shows.”

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