Top Ten Songs of 2009

December 22, 2009 by  
Filed under Music

the eternal sonic youthMusic critics are compiling their Best Of Lists for 2009 now, like the critics over at The New York Times. Sunday`s edition saw lists from Jon Pareles, Ben Ratliff (Jazz), Nate Chinen and Jon Caramanica. I`m reviewing their picks to see what they most value. I was surprised by the number of bands that I have still not experienced yet. The Grizzly Bears look interesting. As do the Dirty Projectors and Animal Collective. I`ll need to get with it!

Nevertheless, I did experience around a million other projects this year, so I`ll give you my Top Ten Songs of 2009 for now.

10. Party in the USA-Miley Cyrus This Bubblegum Ditty has been careening through the circuit board of every dude or chick that stomps the sacred soil of Mother Earth. Our Miley-Songbird has pipes that shatter champagne glasses and rattle subway platforms. Everybody is all the way with this one!

9. The Fixer-Pearl JamWhen Somethings cold, Lemme put a little fire on it. Backspacer easily had the best art work, by Tom Tomorrow. The Fixer, along with a strong cup of Java, will blast you out of the sack, and give you a shot of adrenalin to wrestle a bear with and maybe even take out the trash.

8. Baby Boomer-Monsters of Folk I picked this one up at Starsbucks as a freebie on itunes. Very catchy! I keep listening for the line about Vietnam. The way they exchange vocals here reminds me of The Travelin` Wilburys.

7. Hang You From The Heavens-The Dead Weather-Good vocals by Allison Mosshart and great guitar by Dean Fertitta. I Cut Like A Buffalo will blow you off your computer stool too!

6. Poison Arrow-Sonic Youth-Yes, I`ve included two Sonic Youth cuts. The Eternal is a must have!

5. Tomorrow Never Knows– Revolver-The Beatles-John`s reading on The Tibetan Book of the Dead along with a little pill that Timothy Leary use to promote. Simply the most original and influential Beatles song! I think of it as a new release with the re-masters! That`s not cheating. It`s not really a reissue since it`s completely remastered with new pics and documentary features. Revolver is one peak too.

4. Scumbag Blues-Them Crooked Vultures-Rock is resurrected from the dead with Them Crooked Vultures! Discover and nurture these 15 cuts.

3. Anti-Orgasm-Sonic YouthThe Eternal is maybe the best album for 2009. The return of punk is consummated. Not in an incubator, fully realized Art-Punk. Love the cover, a swirling ball of fire, right out of an astronomy textbook.

2. Bad Romance-Lady Gaga-You must include the video with this one. Arty and commercial in the same breath. Nice music, great dancing and she`s helping the economy too. Gaga is a compilation of disco, pop and avant garde art, but she`s totally original. Gaga is our Rubik`s Cube for the 21st Century!

1. Wild Horses-Susan Boyle-I would skip this track when playing The Stones` Sticky Fingers. But it`s one of Jagger/Richards best songs, really. When Susan sings it you can hear the lyrics clearly. It`s just unusual to hear Susan Boyle sing it. You immediately hit replay to see if you can figure it out this time. Highlight of the year.

Sonic Youth`s ‘The Eternal’ Has No Weak Links!

June 29, 2009 by  
Filed under Music

sonic-youthSonic Youth released its 16th album, “The Eternal,” on Matador Records on June 9th. They left Geffen Records after four albums and are indie once again. I purchased a copy of “The Eternal” at Waterloo Records late yesterday afternoon, and I am scoping out the tracks right now. The cover is a painting by John Fahey, Sea Monster, and looks like a swirling ball of fire. The back cover by Kim Gordon is a photo of four clocks, all at 11:40, on a very bleak plaster wall. All of the songs flow along nicely together, and are smooth and bumpy in places, yet seem to land safely back to their No Wave roots.

I don`t have any beef about any of the songs so far. Very original, I could not detect any borrowing from classic pop riffs. “Malibu Gas Station” reminded me of the sound of Velvet Underground`s “Loaded,” but this is a good thing, very pleasing to my ears. The last one, “Massage The History” is a mellower tune and longer (9’:43”), and features some whispery vocals by Kim Gordon. The first song, “Sacred Trickster,” really punches off the starting line, and “Anti-Orgasm” has nice vocal play between Kim Gordon and Thurston Moore. It morphs into a dissonant guitar affair, then calms down, I guess after the orgasm thing is over. Okay, this must be the anti-orgasm part-cool!

There arn`t any weak links in this chain fence. “Leaky Lifeboat” is jangly guitars, an anti-pop piece with an anti-hook and vocal harmonies, very clever. Looks like Sonic Youth is on tour now, and will be coming to Austin in October for Austin City Limits. Hopefully, I will be able to see them. They have been together for twenty-eight years now! “Eternal” uses all of their experience and influence and is accessible, but still retains the original vision of No Wave. Do not ask me to explain that, though. Favorite song so far, “What We Know,” with the scrappy guitar assault in the middle.