Here are numbers 80-71 on my countdown of my 100 favorite songs.
80. Fleet Foxes- Helplessness Blues
“What good is it to sing helplessness blues?/ Why should I wait for anyone else?”
The opening message of this song is really true for me too. As I grew up all that people talked to me about how we’re all unique and will have individual lives, but I didn’t really see it like that. I could buy that we were all different, but I always worked towards a goal that benefits the whole anyway. I believe in uniqueness but I don’t feel like that’s overly important. The bad part is that once you take on that line of thinking, there are ways where you’re expected to act which can sometimes be a struggle to actually fulfill. It’s scary, but that feeling is what the entire track and album is about because of how common the feeling is for us but also necessary to state.
79. Bon Iver- Skinny Love
“And now all your love is wasted/ And then who the hell was I?”
I make fun of Bon Iver now for really no fair reason. It’s not his fault that people anoint him as the premier folk artist of the moment, and it’s not his fault that he grew to be an example/joke for the artists that are large in the alternative music scene but unheard of outside it. “Skinny Love” is a track which justifies a lot of For Emma, Forever Ago because it becomes clear that when this girl left Justin Vernon he was still madly in love with her. It was nonsensical to him because he loved her wholeheartedly and she still just decided to leave. Harsh.
78. Death Cab For Cutie- A Lack of Color
“And when I see you/ I really see you upside down.”
There are some songs where the guitar in itself sounds like it’s singing to you. In “A Lack of Color” it sounds as if it harmonizes with Gibbard as they both present a depressingly sad story of loss in a light and pretty way. I end up finding lines like the one above and the later mentioned “And all the girls in every girly magazine can’t make feel/ Any less alone…” gorgeous but I feel awful because of how it hurt the singer to go through it. It’s a weird counterbalance that defines the song for me.
77. Neutral Milk Hotel- Two-Headed Boy
“In the dark we will take off our clothes/ And they’ll be placing fingers through the notches in your spine.”
Incredibly well written track about the life of the a headed boy, from his life until he is left to die in the snow. It’s an upsetting point to reach once you start trying to follow the story of the album because it’s such an easy character to sympathize for, and it’s so easily unnoticed if you aren’t looking for it. You also get an outstanding representation for both the energy of Neutral Milk Hotel as well as the song writing ability during the transition of “Catching signals that sound in the dark/ (In the dark) we will take off our clothes…”
76. Belle & Sebastian- If You’re Feeling Sinister
“Hilary walked to her death because she couldn’t think of anything to say.”
It’s the story of two individuals who committed suicide because they couldn’t find anything in the outside world to give them any comfort. Anthony struggled with how boring his day to day life was, and when he actually went through a thrilling experience it was one that he would receive backlash for, and that was enough to convince him. Hilary actually went looking for help with her fears and turned to the church to save her, but they only talked to her about things she didn’t care for. The song concludes that they both would’ve been better off if they chose to do the things that they enjoyed and didn’t focus on how the outside world would treat them for it, enjoy yourself as long as you can justify it.
75. The Arctic Monkeys- A Certain Romance
“And over there there’s broken bones/ There’s only music so that there’s new ringtones.”
Back when I was a kid this was one of the first songs to hit me on first listen as being genuine. I trusted Alex Turner because I agreed with his accusations about the way things are run from the perspective of the youth, and “A Certain Romance” took it to the level of indifference. These kids around me don’t really get it and I don’t get why they’re doing things the way they do, but in some cases you still love them because you were with them as they developed like the situation described in the last stanza. You can’t get angry in the same way, a well-stated and truthful ending to a song which thrived off of that.
74. The Unicorns- Jellybones
“This is love, so we’ll survive”
It’s so simultaneously untraditional and traditional. We all know the beat that they’re playing for us, but how they choose to set it up and present it is an awesome representation of what they play. It’s a cute song where the narrator gets taken to the hospital because he’s weak in the knees for someone, or has what the doctor refers to as “Jellybones”. A tragic prognosis, but the song ends with a gorgeous outro (especially on the Three Inches of Blood demo version) where the remedy is presented: “But this is love, so we’ll survive”. Incredibly cute and catchy song.
73. The Yeah Yeah Yeahs- Maps
“My kind’s your kind/ I’ll stay the same”
This is one of the few songs where I opted to look for the music video rather than just an album cover for the video. That’s because I don’t usually like confusing videos with the quality of the music present in them, but here it solely exists to capture Karen O singing “Maps” while she’s on the verge of crying. It’s extremely emotional and displays that bit of desperateness that we all have when someone tries to leave you, and it’s beautiful because of that.
72. The Strokes- Hard to Explain
“We shared some ideas/ All obsessed with fame/ Says we’re all the same/ Oh, and I don’t see it that way, I don’t see it that way”
Julian Casablancas was so damn cool in my eyes when I discovered Is This It back in high school. Everything just sounded so relatable and well stated, and “Hard to Explain” still impresses me today for that. I think that’s why so many people today still associate with the band despite the semi-failed influence of their debut on other artists. “Hard to Explain” is entirely about knowing what others tell you to do, but choosing not to do it. Why? It’s hard to explain…
71. Panda Bear- Take Pills
“I don’t want for us to take pills/ Life goes stronger if we don’t need ’em””
This is another one of those songs that really requires your attention when it’s playing. Something tragic happened to this family so that they have to mourn, and work there way past it. That’s what occurs in the intro, when all of a sudden the song picks up and the wondrous realization is reached: we can get out of this. Let’s work together and “take it one day at a time” so we can get back to where we were, and let’s go through the actual pain that we need to. It’s the beautiful point where he pleas to his family to stop taking the medication and just work through it, it’s a great thing to listen to.
Check Airwaves next Monday for 70-61