In a world with too many voices, too many lists, and too much music, here are some words I wrote about my favourite songs of the year.
Now obviously I wouldn’t just do this in an ordinary manner, so I’ve done it all in ‘ottava rima,’ a poetic form probably best known by English speakers as having been used by Lord Byron in his satiric narrative poem Don Juan. This is part 1—songs 20-11—and part 2 will follow soon. Unless I lose interest. Enjoy (and read Don Juan).
20: Young and Beautiful by Lana Del Rey
No matter what you think about her lips
(Though they appear to hold more added air
Than any not-yet-opened bag of chips)
One can’t deny she has a sultry stare
To match her glorious voice, that often rips
My spirit clean; she’s more than I can bear.
And in a Gatsby film so ably helmed
By Baz? It always leaves me overwhelmed.
19: Byegone by Volcano Choir
It may not quite be strictly Bon Iver
But Justin Vernon does whatever he
May want to do, and I’ll be waiting there
To buy it if I have a chance to see
His warm, non-threatening face and straggly hair
Promising comfort and security.
Besides, which song would not gain prominence
With lines like ‘Sexing all your parliaments’?
18: Resolution by Matt Corby
When fresh young Matthew Corby first appeared
On Aussie Idol clad with shorter mane
And noticeably less impressive beard
(And much more Christian faith), you’d call insane
A person claiming that kid had long reared
The seeds of ‘Resolution’ in his brain.
It’s also nice to know he’s got another
Song as sublime as that old favourite: ‘Brother.’
17: Dojo Rising by Cloud Control
I hate to be the one that harkens back
To previous albums, but the Cloud Control
Debut was perfect for when skies would lack
A hint of cloud, and time allowed a stroll
Around the block just one more time to stack
Your happiness for days when troubles roll
T’wards you. Yet this song doesn’t need to capture
The first album’s consistent gift of rapture.
16: Royals by Lorde
While some have seen their faith in pop restored
By this sixteen year-old, it’s more surprising
How hastily the masses so deplored
This undeniably fine track, comprising
Of clicks and attitude, when radio roared
Its approval in the form of slowly prising
The public’s sanity away by playing
It ’til “Oh kill me now” we all were saying.
15: You & I by Local Natives
Its intimately private title tells
It all—I feel as though I am intruding
Upon this Local Native’s perfect yells
Towards his lover, leaving me concluding
That normal social etiquette compels
My exit, with this single man left brooding,
Reflecting on the beauties I will miss
Out on without writing such songs as this.
14: À tout à l’heure by Bibio
Pronounce the title? So superfluous!
This is a song to message to a friend
—When they no longer feel impervious
To all the woes vicissitudes may send—
Accompanied by ‘This may seem obvious
But hang in there, keep fighting til the end.’
Of course, this all I’d never do or say;
Sometimes my pen just gets carried away.
13: My Number by Foals
I’ve had tattoos that lasted fewer hours,
But Foals’ ‘My Number’ always, always lingers,
Like that one party guest whose stay devours
Your own recovery period: a thing as
Vital as air. If I had super powers
That let me forget songs, my nemesis
Would be this track. Oh, such film gold this is.
12: Entertainment by Phoenix
While famous folks bemoaning all their fame
Is something no-one ever wants to hear,
I’ll contradict myself and boldly claim
That Phoenix’s new songs do not appear
To trigger anger in my heart the same
Distracting way when other bands adhere
To giving off that stale, ungrateful stench.
I wonder if it’s just because they’re French.
11: Baby I’m a Car Crash by The Starry Field
Who needs a chorus? Not The Starry Field,
A man involved back with The Middle East,
That Townsville band to whom smart listeners kneeled
While offering many a sacrificed beast.
Too much I feel I maybe just revealed;
That ritual is reserved for an old priest.
The Starry Field released (I should be clear)
The best Australian album of the year.
10.5: Black Out Days by Phantogram
It’s hard to know if one should blame the Muse,
Oneself, or even blame the very band
Responsible when one struggles to choose
The right words to explain why this should stand
So lofty in the list with splendid views
Above the many songs on lower land.
Black Out Days is punkish, brash, and ambitious;
Perfect for when I’m feeling quietly vicious.
(Yeah sorry that last extra one is 10.5; my counting wasn’t great and I guess this is now my favourite 21 songs of the year. For Part 2, stay posted)