Here are numbers 40-31 on my countdown of my 100 favorite songs.
40. The National- All the Wine
“I’m in a state/ I’m in a state/ Nothing can touch us my love.“
There’s an nice double reality going on in this song. In the present, this man is a danger to everybody around him as he drunkenly stumbles his way through the city, but that’s not what’s going through his mind at all. For him this is the point where he’s finally become what he’s always wanted to be, he’s reached a state where he can view himself as the protector for his family, but he doesn’t realize that he’s currently one of the psychos he swears to protect them from. He’s in a state, but his interpretation of that is that “nothing can touch us my love”.
39. Bright Eyes- Take It Easy (Love Nothing)
“Someone might get hurt, but it won’t be me/ She’ll probably feel cheap, but I just feel free, and a little bit empty.”
There’s more meaningful Bright Eyes songs out there, but not many more which you could relate to as easily as “Take It Easy (Love Nothing)”. It goes into the first time that you have a sexual encounter with someone and find out that they didn’t want it to mean anything, and the changes that come from that. You end up doing the same thing to other people because you desensitize yourself to the act when it seems that the only real solution to avoid getting hurt is to love nothing. It ends up just being a phase, but it’s a tough one and I like hearing it be described so well in this track.
38. Beirut- Elephant Gun
“If I was young I’d flee this town.”
I recently made the decision that I wanted to leave New York in order to put myself into a situation where I can actually live, but this song was placed on this list before I’d even flirted with that notion. I like the mindset of wishing you still had youth on your side to afford making a drastic change, and in reality I’m fortunate that I can still claim mine. The whole song is very pretty and paced, and I love the continuous re-introduction of the horns that Beirut does to continuously re-build the energy of the song.
37. Guided By Voices- The Goldheart Mountaintop Queen Directory
“She runs through the night as if nobody cares/ She screams and she cries and ignores all the stares/ She wants me to come, but i’m never going there.”
This isn’t a song where I can really tell you what it’s about, because as far as I’m concerned it’s just about something Pollard imagined. I still love the track so much though because the lyrical choices fascinate me and I feel like there’s a lot of truth in what Pollard is singing about in a very lo-fi aspect. It’s pretty much the entire appeal of GBV for me in that they’re a band who sounds amazing when they play rock which was recorded in a garage, and when the song builds up to the part where the narrator meets the girls running through the night I carry a feeling of awe at what I’m listening to, even if I don’t completely understand it.
36. Of Montreal- A Sentence of Sorts in Kongsvinger
“My mind rejects the frequency/ It’s just verbosity to me.”
This song has so much joy in it because it represents a beautiful moment, the new found hope that an individual has that he may be escaping his depression. The narrator is finally learning how to dictate what goes on in his body so that he can kill the thing which cripples him so consistently, and he’s reached the point where his mindset is that if the depression can’t hurt him it will die. It’s an absolutely amazing victory story which people who have never experienced depression may not understand, but this song is one of the happiest things ever created in my eyes.
35. Broken Social Scene- Anthems for a Seventeen Year Old Girl
“Used to be one of the rotten ones and I liked you for that/ Now you’re all gone, got your make-up on, and you’re not coming back”
I love Broken Social Scene, but this song is almost independent of the band because the sound is so different from everything else that they’ve done. I love “Anthems for a Seventeen Year Old Girl” because of the notion of talking to a younger version of yourself and them being disappointed with where you are now. It’s an incredibly sad thing to go through, and in this instance it’s just a seventeen year old girl pleading you to go back to the way that you were because you used to hate the things you do now. She liked you back when you were one of the rotten ones, but then you just gave in for some reason, and it’s not fair that you’ll never come back because of it.
34. Arcade Fire- Rebellion (Lies)
“Every time you close your eyes/ Lies! Lies!”
Look back to the times when Arcade Fire wasn’t focused on being the gods of the genre but just wanted to create the anthem that sleeping was giving in. Everything that you’ve been told about your need to sleep was a lie, we can exist without it, and if you choose to go to bed then you surrender. I love this mentality and pretty much end up using it whenever real life doesn’t get in the way by giving me a reason to have to wake up the next day, and I do this because I hate accepting the end of a day. I love sleep but I never get to the point where I want to settle for what I did in a day and fold it in until tomorrow, and if I was able to actually function while doing it I’d like to not fall asleep on any night until I passed out.
33. Animal Collective- Guys Eyes
“ I keep it light.”
This was the first Animal Collective song I got obsessed with because it was the first time that I had to treat their songs as a representative of a mindset, and this one fit me really well. I wanted to take so many more risks and pursuit the things I wanted, but I was painfully shy and lacking in confidence so I ended up coasting by day to day without doing much of anything at all. This song didn’t solve that issue for me, but it gave my mindset a sense of beauty and allowed me to relax within it and feel more comfortable, and I think I benefited a lot from that in the long run.
32. Vampire Weekend- Oxford Comma
“Who gives a f*** about an oxford comma?”
Honestly, who does give a f*** whether you use the oxford comma or not? There’s so many rules and technicalities in this world that we could all just go on correcting every mistake we make eternally, but then life would be awful. What this song is saying is that if there’s an easier way to get your point across why wouldn’t you use it, and if the point was understood then why would you question how it was stated? Stupid things like that serve no purpose, and I love that they prove the point that there can be genius outside of technicalities by referencing “Get Low” by Lil Jon.
31. The Flaming Lips- Fight Test
“I don’t know where the sun beams end and the star lights begin/ It’s all a mystery”
For me “Fight Test” is about living a passive life and expecting things to work out for you, and then viewing that not happen. The narrator’s hindsight is filled with disappointment that he didn’t take action because he missed out on a really good opportunity because of it, a chance to get the girl. Coyne ends up looking back on himself as an idiot for the way he approached things with “I thought I was smart, I thought I was right/ I thought it better not to fight/ I thought there was a virtue, in always being cool”, and he ends up being disappointed with what he actually accomplished because he prioritized those things.
Check Airwaves next Monday for 40-31