Monday, March 30, 2020

2009 - "Love etc." - Pet Shop Boys

Just another big and bouncy mid-tempo slice of synth-pop to brighten up the world.

Just another brilliant day at the office from the masters of clever pop. 

Other favourites from 2009: 

"Did You See Me Coming?" - Pet Shop Boys

"Gold Guns Girls" - Metric

"Sweet Disposition" - The Temper Trap

"This Momentary" - Delphic

"Fireflies" – Owl City

Saturday, March 28, 2020

2008 - "We Are The People" - Empire of the Sun

That time I almost got thrown out of the house for playing this 15 times on a loop. 

It was like meeting an old friend after years apart. Widescreen and epic, takes us back to the future, fusing 70s psychedelic rock and 80s style and production. Acoustic verses effortlessly blend into a sweeping falsetto chorus. 

The electro-pop dance-rock of Empire of the Sun's "We Are the People" is David Bowie meets Star Wars. But wait, there's two Bowies.

Seriously, this chorus is one of the best I've ever heard. But more importantly and more relevant these day, this is a message about hope. 

I played this track at least 15 times straight with my new girlfriend at the time; and she didn't throw me out. 

Other favourites from 2008: 

"Walking on a Dream" – Empire of the Sun

"I Remember" - Deadmau5 

"Kim & Jessie" - M83

"No Sex for Ben" - The Rapture

"Being Here" - The Stills

"Mirror" - Supreme Beings of Leisure

Thursday, March 26, 2020

2007 - "Someone Great" - LCD Soundsystem

Although initially cold-sounding, this is a very human song and a grower, written about the death of James Murphy’s therapist. The hypnotic synths are offset by the hearts on sleeve lyrics and a bittersweet melody. Best use ever of xylophone in a pop song. 

A throwback to the early 80s, like tossing Bowie, New Order & The Human League in a blender. 

Other favourites from 2007: 

"Shut Up and Drive" – Rihanna

"Rollercoaster" – Major Maker

"North American Scum" - LCD Soundsystem

Monday, March 23, 2020

2006 - "Sorry" - Madonna

Sorry for taking so long to share music from the material girl. I was just too into the groove, then frozen and hung up on which track to pick.

Surprisingly melancholy for such a fast song, Madonna shows off her multilingual skills  expressing that she's sorry.

Other favourites from 2006: 

"Boy From School" – Hot Chip

"When I Go" – Emancipator 

"Acceptable in the 80s" – Calvin Harris 

"When You Were Young" – The Killers 

"Young Folks" – Peter Bjorn and John

Saturday, March 21, 2020

2005 - "Suicidewinder" - Ridley Bent

2005 top track: Ridley Bent's debut album Blam! is a 'hick-hop' masterpiece, the improbable fusion of country and hip-hop. 

Halifax's genre-bending, guitar-slingin' demon takes us along on his benders with the wrong side of the law. "Suicidewinder" is a tour de force of gritty story-telling with a badass singalong chorus. 

Shout-out to Johnny M in North Van (not on FB) for this find. 

Other favourites from 2005: 

"Dayvan Cowboy" – Boards of Canada

"Tribulations" – LCD Soundsystem

"Feel Good Inc." – Gorillaz

"Here It Goes Again" – OK Go

"Another Nite Another Love" - Jay Jay Johanson

Friday, March 20, 2020

2004 - "Somebody Told Me" - The Killers

New wave came back, baby! The most British band that never was, these lads from Las Vegas are the reincarnation of their 80s influences, a veritable blender of Depeche Mode, Duran Duran, New Order and The Cure. 

The urgent "Somebody Told Me" is a juggernaut, a shot of adrenaline with relentless hooks and an unstoppable, runaway chorus.

Other favourites from 2004: 

"Boulevard of Broken Dreams" – Green Day 

"Alert Status Red" - Matthew Good Band

"Smile Like You Mean It" - The Killers

"Sunrise" – Duran Duran 

"She Will Be Loved" – Maroon 5 

Wednesday, March 18, 2020

2003 - "Clocks" - Coldplay

A dazzling piano riff circles and crests. A short and wistful chorus follows reflective verses. I often sing the lyric: "Am I a...part of The Cure, or am I a part of The Police..."

Soon after I started running in 2002, the mid-tempo and rhythmic "Clocks" became an instant fave. The epic key change in the bridge always gave me an extra gear. A magnificent track. 

Other favourites from 2003:

"Mr. Brightside" – The Killers 

"Weapon" – Matthew Good 

"Seven Nation Army" - The White Stripes

"We Used to be Friends" – The Dandy Warhols 

"The Truth Is No Words" – The Music 

"The Sound of Muzak" - Porcupine Tree

Monday, March 16, 2020

2002 - "Love At First Sight" - Kylie Minogue

Guilty pleasure alert! Even us new wavers slash old ravers need a piece of bubble gum every now and then. This track is so nostalgic yet futuristic; it's Daft Punk meets the disco. 

After the 9-11 hangover, a lot of us needed a bit of optimism. Despite the throwaway lyrics, "Love at First Sight" tosses a little magic in the air and binges on a pulsating groove. A cozy brand of infectious pop perfection.

The video reinforced my love for excel spreadsheets. Kylie, I can't get you out of my head.  

Other favourites from 2002: 

"Brother Down" – Sam Roberts 

"Here Is Gone" - Goo Goo Dolls

"Easy" - Groove Armada 

"Trains" – Porcupine Tree 

"Hella Good" – No Doubt 

Friday, March 13, 2020

2001 - "Wish You Were Here" - Incubus

The atmospheric intro grabs my attention, the acoustic and electric guitar interplay create texture, the sprinkling of old school scratching a little razzle-dazzle. Add dreamy verses and a dramatic singalong chorus and voilĂ , repeated plays.

relaxed drum arrangement helps express complete contentment, and the alternating mellow verses provide the yin to the more intense yang that is the yearning in the chorus. 

Other favourites from 2001: 

"Lady" – Modjo

"Imitation of Life" - R.E.M.

"Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger" – Daft Punk 

"Short Skirt/Long Jacket" – Cake 

"The Other Man" - Sloan

Thursday, March 12, 2020

2000 - "Everything In Its Right Place" - Radiohead

Radiohead trades in the guitars for synths to kick start the new millennium. Mesmerized by those opening melodic synth chords in the opening scene in the underrated "Vanilla Sky" film, this hypnotic track is still a trip worth taking.

"Everything In Its Right Place" also opened Radiohead's "Kid A" album, signaling their foray into electronica.

This is a headphones kind of tune. A strong, hypnotic melody mixes with a paranoid vocal samples and electric piano; it's the collision of warm and cold.

Everything about this track is amazing. Everything in its right place, indeed!

Other favourites from 2000: 

"In A Beautiful Place Out in the Country" – Boards of Canada

"One More Time" – Daft Punk

"Sour Girl" – Stone Temple Pilots

"Beautiful Day" – U2 

"Porcelain" - Moby

Tuesday, March 10, 2020

1999 - "One Man Army" - Our Lady Peace

Lead singer Raine Wilson shows off his vocal and emotional range as he howls, yodels and utters random utterings (twitch!) all the way through "One Man Army".

While the driving bass hooks and the guitar melody rocks, it's the high energy chorus that makes this track for me. A perpetual running fave, best saved when I need an extra gear to grind through the middle miles. 

Other favourites from 1999: 

"Steal My Sunshine" – Len

"Praise You" – Fatboy Slim

"Learning to Fly" – Foo Fighters

"Les Nuits" – Nightmares on Wax

Sunday, March 8, 2020

1998 - "I Think I'm Paranoid" - Garbage

Grungy electronica me likey. 

Near the top of the list of groups I've always to want to see live, I've been a fan of Garbage since they debuted in 1995. Their trademark fusion of rock and electronica is epitomized on this track with its big production and a fat chorus.

Shirley Manson's versatility and vulnerability are on full display.

Other favourites from 1998: 

"Angel" – Massive Attack

"Frozen" - Madonna

"I Think I'm Paranoid" - Garbage

"Push It" – Garbage

"Ava Adore" – The Smashing Pumpkins

"La Femme d'Argent" – Air

Friday, March 6, 2020

1997 - "Song 2" - Blur

For everlong I went around the world looking for a bittersweet symphony. Wait a min...woo-hoo! Two minutes of glorious mayhem.

It is ironic and hilarious that a parody a grunge by a Brit pop group ends up being the song Blur is most recognized for. 

"Song 2" is a blast of adrenaline and one fun tune. The bass guitar shreds while the "woo-hoo" vocal hook ensures a visceral rush and audience participation. This left me wanting more heavier offerings than pop from Blur.

The volume just doesn't go high enough. 

Other favourites from 1997: 

"Everlong" – Foo Fighters 

"Around The World" – Daft Punk

"Bittersweet Symphony" – The Verve 

"Get Busy Child" – The Crystal Method 

"Torn" - Natalie Imbruglia

Wednesday, March 4, 2020

1996 - "1979" - The Smashing Pumpkins

The 80s influences are obvious with the dreamy, spacey atmosphere. Corgan's hushed vocals and nostalgic lyrics evoke carefree and reckless emotions you felt while growing up.  

I massacred those high notes before getting pulled off the stage during karaoke, before even reaching the second chorus. 

A great year in music paying tribute to another great year. This one falls in the top 10 of all time.

Other favourites from 1996: 

"Midnight in A Perfect World" – DJ Shadow

"Where It’s At" – Beck 

"Virtual Insanity" – Jamiroquai 

"Everything You Do is a Balloon" – Boards of Canada

"Fast Love" – George Michael 

"Stupid Girl" - Garbage

"Ready to Go" - Republica

Monday, March 2, 2020

1995 - "Insomnia" - Faithless

Club music exploded in a decade best remembered by the sheer diversity of genres. House, techno and euro dance played incessantly in the clubs.  

"Insomnia" is two tracks for the price of one: the tense atmosphere and paranoia of the first half contrasts with the pulsing sensory rush of the second. Strobe lights flash and joyous exhilaration flood back when the iconic synth arpeggio kicks in at 2:16. 

This is the quintessential club anthem of a decade filled with them.

Other favourites from 1995: 

"Machinehead" – Bush

"Wonderwall" – Oasis 

"Missing" – Everything But The Girl 

"Hand In My Pocket" – Alanis Morissette

"Born Slippy" – Underworld