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The Music of 2009: Third Quarter

*has found a flaw in dividing the year into fourths* July-September is an awkward period. Very awkward.  Maybe next year it should be bimonthly?  Then I'll want to make it monthly.  Or just have a perpetually-updated sticky post like I do for books & movies.  GAH, TOO COMPLICATED.  *rejects*

But hey, look at that massive infusion of lady singers and practically no bands at all!  MUCH more typical fare than last time.

As always, don't forget to open this backdated post in a new tab/window and stream (most of) the music as you read.

July
50. The Fray – You Found Me
Where were you when everything was falling apart?
All my days were spent by the telephone that never rang
I still like the first minute more than everything else. But because I love that first minute, I forced myself to at least like the song as a whole, and after several dozen repetitions it finally worked itself into that same fold of pretty as “How to Save a Life.’

[List Extra: Sarah McLachlan’s CD “Fumbling Towards Ecstasy,” not available for inclusion of individual tracks because the top 50% are songs I have loved for a long time already and I don’t know if I’d listen to the rest as standalones, but the album as a whole basically made up the month of July for me]

51. Kate Voegele - Chicago [I recommend the CD “Don’t Look Away” in its entirety, but I limited myself to a Top Six here]
I know it’s over, but the hurt’s not
This will always make me think of summer mornings, because I used the CD as my wake-up alarm for six weeks straight.  Great start with attention-grabbing guitar chords/percussion and catchy melody, and the chorus has a kind of bluesy feel that normally I’d hate, but somehow works with the laid-back sound here. Glad it’s the first track, because this is the one that reeled me in and kept me listening.

52. I Get It
Well, well, baby, what do you know
You turned the tables on me, didn’t you?
It may or may not have taken me a week to discern any lyrics in the song beyond this hook (due to my deliberate lack of paying attention to words), but it was enough to draw me in. The fastest of my featured songs, it’s also the one that gets me closest to dancing.

53. Only Fooling Myself
A rose won’t blossom from a ground of desert sand
After the tinkling-bell opening, it reminds me of an Anna Nalick song – Paper Bag or In the Rough, maybe – and it’s another one that symbolizes summer for me. Particularly, inexplicably, summer as illustrated in YA novels? I don’t know. Those are the memories this sparks for me.

54. One Way Or Another
You say that love is blind, well I say open up your eyes
I like the darker, more driving sound of this one. It’s definitely sixth among my choices here, and was a toss-up between this and “Devil in Me,” but I arbitrarily could not get past the latter’s grammar issues. Meanwhile, I’m very fond of the fast-paced multi-syllabic opening verses and the big finishing verse.

55. It’s Only Life
Tears are forming in your eyes
A storm is warning in the sky
The end of the world, it seems…

Possibly influenced by the knowledge that this first single was used in the Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants sequel, this was the first one I fell in love with. I can’t picture it in any other context than applied to young girls leaving high school or college, but I love that. In a way where I feel like I shouldn’t love cheesy encouragement/empowerment ballads, BUT I DO.

56. Wish You Were
I’m still in love with who I wish you were
(I feel like this line could describe all my crushes, ever) Funny how I picked 5 of the first 6 songs, and then jumped randomly to #12 of 13. But I like that this one is just a little faster than a ballad, along with its prominently featured piano, and I’m starting to think it has some of the best lyrics in general.

57. Hayley Westenra – Who Painted the Moon Black?
Did you see the shiny moon?
Turned into a black balloon, just as you walked away from me

Snatching up her CD for the sole purpose of copying “Dark Waltz,” which I couldn’t find anywhere online, it didn’t grab me as a whole but I was determined to find something new on it. This song, thanks to the pretty title, seemed like something I could cry myself to sleep to – which is funny, because even though it’s in first person she doesn’t sound that sad. It’s only soft and sweet and tinged with regret, like a lullaby for other sad people.

August
58. Glee Cast: Amber Riley – Bust Your Windows
Wrote my initials with a crowbar
And then I drove off into the dark

God, this is AWESOME. I don’t even have words. I hopefully tried listening to the original, and it just did not compare at all – the original is languid and pale, and way too calm compared to this girl’s BITING ATTITUDE with just the right blend of hurt and fury. I’m still trying to adjust to the full version, so here, have the short one if you've not seen it yet (why not?). Because the video is incredible. I love her dancing. And the background dancers. It mesmerizes me no matter how many dozens of times I watch it.

59. Jan A.P. Kaczmarek - "Finding Neverland" soundtrack
Apparently this won an Oscar – with good cause!  Unlike Doctor Who, I really can’t identify individual tracks to pull out, so it’s just the one number (besides, they are all equally good and I refuse to separate them).  But I had to mark it down because it’s an hour of utterly gorgeous listening pleasure, all childhood nostalgia and whimsy, full of delicate piano, strings and woodwind themes. Quite possibly the prettiest collection of instrumental work I have heard in years.  Here's the opening number to get you started:

60. Hayley Westenra – Across the Universe of Time
There’s a star calling my name
Its echo is true and its song is not the same
Don’t get me wrong, #57 is good. But THIS is Instant Song Love – I was about to return the CD to the library when I saw the lyrics and went, “There’s no way I didn’t fall in love with this.” I must have accidentally skipped past it the first time, because it’s poetic masterpiece wrapped within her crystalline voice and some very pretty music.

61. Exterminate! – Donna’s Song
I just can’t remember anything, except this man that haunts my dreams…

My feelings on fandom-inspired music and its incessant references to canon remain conflicted, but this is so lovely that I hardly noticed. Hold on, let me try to get over my paroxysms of glee that a Doctor-Who-related song has also managed to hit on my love of storytelling songs with girl’s names in the title…AND, as a special bonus, it’s a simple arrangement of female vocalist + acoustic guitar. I’ve always been disappointed that Donna’s [instrumental] Theme isn’t very pretty, but this wistful story more than makes up for it. The very catchy chorus helps too.

62. The Doctor’s Daughter - Jennyrated Anomaly
Don’t you see that you’re just like me?
A soldier through and through
Even if we’re fighting for different things

Hauntingly hushed and mysterious, reminds me a bit of a less techno Goldfrapp.  Jenny was a favorite character of mine, so of course I’m tickled that she’s got a story to tell, but for musicality I think I almost like this one better.

63. Ingrid Michaelson – Soldier
And so it goes, this soldier knows
The battle with the heart isn’t easily won


About six hours after I’d finishing staring at a picture of this gorgeous singer in People, captivated by her red hair and entranced by the “folk pop” label, I remembered that she seemed familiar and appealing because she did “Porcelain Fists.” SEE, SEE, I KNOW EXACTLY WHAT I LOVE. Off I went to MySpace, deciding to sample everything I saw before I looked up which one was the new single, and this is the chorus that grabbed me. A lot more movement and less depressing than PF, but despite the ukulele is not so peppy as to turn me off.

64. Ingrid Michaelson – Maybe
I don’t want to sit on the pavement while you fly…but I will
Pleasant and surprisingly light little breakup song. Better than most of what’s on the radio.

65. Sara Bareilles/Ingrid Michaelson – Winter Song
December never felt so wrong
‘Cause you’re not where you belong

What? YouTube suggested things, even if it’s the wrong season at the moment. And, um, not since another Sarah’s “When She Loved Me” have I heard a thing of such instantly overwhelming and innocent sweetness.

September
66. Emilie Autumn – Shalott
And with that the glass above cracked into a million bits
And she cried out, “So the story fits”

Yep, like the Lady Of. Let’s thank Featured LJ Question (“What is your most-played song?”) for sending me in its direction. The singer has beautiful concepts about fictional heroines, but in practice some of her songs are a little too off-kilter off for me. Fortunately this is an exception. Well, even this one’s still a little aggressive and too modern at first, but for the most part it’s a brilliant and lovely interpretation.

67. Haley Bennett – Buddha’s Delight
Oh, shanti, shanti
HEE. This is the best straight-up dance/party song of my year. It is completely nonsensical and possibly sacrilegious; I don’t know, but whatever it is it’s like Shakira mixed with Britney Spears and put into overdrive. And I shamefully love it.

68. Hugh Grant – PoP! Goes My Heart
A twist of fate makes life worthwhile
You are gold and silver
I was just saying to myself, “God, I wish I could discover some fun new 80’s pop songs.” As it happens, 21st century songs written in cheesy 80’s style for movie soundtracks are a more than acceptable substitute. *giggles endlessly*

69. Glee: Lea Michele – Taking Chances
You don’t know about my past, and I don’t have a future figured out
I’m thinking I’d actually have enjoyed the Celine Dion original just as much, but I found this version first, and it’s so pretty and inspiring that looking up said original afterward sent me fleeing right back to this younger, richer and purer alternative. Show, I hope you realize that your cast is destroying popular music for me.

70. Glee: Lea Michele – Take a Bow
Now it’s time to go, curtain’s finally closing
I wish this cover had existed in 2008, before I reluctantly agreed to put Rihanna in my music library. It’s SO MUCH BETTER for shifting the singer’s attitude from mockery to hurt. The resulting song is something much sweeter and more innocent, and I am totally not at all biased by my blinding love for Pretty Rachel, no.

71. Leona Lewis – Take a Bow
The flowers are faded now, along with your letters
They will never see the light of day
Rats. I should have known she’d get to me eventually!  This is not the same song as the one above, but I did (clearly) discover it while cross-checking Rihanna’s lyrics.  LL's songs have never impressed me, but then I went and fell for the...you know, it literally defies explanation for why I like it.  I JUST DO.  LOTS.  Once in a while I need to relax to something that's more about the music and heavy on studio work, but doesn't have completely ridiculous lyrics either.

72. Bear McCreary - Kara Remembers
A couple months back,dollsomementioned this song and my immediate reaction was "OH PRETTY TITLE" as I ran off to look it up.  My second reaction was "ASLDJFALKSDJF INSTANT SONG LOVE" and my third reaction was "NOOOOOO, not fair; why does it descend into terrible noise?!?!" followed by leaving in disgust. 

But it lodged in my brain, and last night when I was putting this together and feeling like I needed one more song to even out September, I looked it up again and decided I could just make myself deal with the electric guitar frenzy, because the piano's too pretty to ignore.  Mysteriously, now I love this gorgeous instrumental in its entirety.  You finally found a loophole into my life, BSG; happy now?
-------------
See you in December to find out just how badly the Glee soundtrack is going to dominate my project for the rest of the year. 

Comments

( 1 comment — Leave a comment )
aries11
Oct. 1st, 2009 03:43 pm (UTC)
"Only Fooling Myself" by Kate Voegle? I like that song a lot. One of these days I'll check out more of her stuff. Over the summer a friend of mine made me a CD of love songs, and she put "The Way I Am" by Ingrid Michaelson on it. I really like that song. The whole CD is good, really.
( 1 comment — Leave a comment )

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