Saturday, December 20, 2008

Top Ten Songs On Elbo.Ws Reviewed In 50 Words or Less: 12/01/08--12/15/08

(Photo by C. Davey Wilson)

Since this is a few days late, what you see here may not reflect what's currently on right now. With that out of the way, here they are:

1. The Raveonettes - "Come on Santa"

Download: The Raveonettes - "Come On Santa"

The hazy echo and fuzz-drenched guitars worked to amazing effect on Lust Lust Lust and other less wholesome endeavors. So it comes as no surprise that there's something lost in translation when the Danish duo tackles Christmas. However, the charm of the holidays suites the dual harmonies well enough.

Grade: B-

2. Lady Sovereign - "I Got You Dancing"

Download: Lady Sovereign - "I Got You Dancing"

"You ain't never heard of a girl that could do it like this." M.I.A. might beg to differ, but Sovereign's more aggressive flow and sci-fi futurist production help ensure the rapper's titular promise. Mission accomplished, if only because she followed someone else's game plan.

Grade: B

3. Fleet Foxes - "White Winter Hymnal"
Download: Fleet Foxes - "White Winter Hymnal"

A blogger favorite makes a resurgence just in time for best-of season. There's more than a strong appeal in the impeccable, siren-like harmonies. However, structurally, "Hymnal" grows repetitive upon multiple listens, which allows for monotony to slowly creep into an otherwise celestial folk-pop song.

Grade: B

4. Alela Diane - "White as Diamonds"

Download: Alela Diane - "White as Diamonds"

Though Alela Diane is unquestionably borrowing from past freak-folk progenitors like Karen Dalton and Catherine Howe--and even her contemporary Joanna Newsom--she also creates a compelling folk-rock atmosphere of her own, consisting of a solid stomp of a drumbeat and Appalachian musings.

Grade: B+

5. N.A.S.A. - "Gifted" (Kanye West, Santogold, Lykke Li)

N.A.S.A. - "Gifted" (Kanye West, Santogold, Lykke Li)

Not sure exactly where the South or North American part comes in, as this collaboration between two rappers and a singer sounds a lot dance music that wouldn't be out of place in the European Union. Also, it sounds like Lykke Li is in the song for about two minutes. But these three artists coming together proves to be promising enough to make future ones a tantalizing possibility.

Grade: B+



Making a last-ditch effort to get on the uber-lo-fi movement that encompassed breakthrough artists in 2008 (Titus Andronicus, Times New Viking), Wavves don't have the rambunctious Clash-meets-Springsteen vibe of the former, nor the melodic strength of the latter. So what remains? Here's a hint: peep the song title.

Grade: C

7. Little Joy - "No One's Better Sake"

Download: Little Joy - "No One's Better Sake"

One of the year's most pleasant--and, sigh, yes, joyous--surprises continues to yield more tasty musical fruit, as Strokes drummer Fabrizio Moretti combines the hungover charm of his day job with classic reggae vocal inflections. With more songs like these, this little joy will become bigger and bigger.

Grade: B

8. A.C. Newman - "Submarines of Stockholm"

Download: A.C Newman - "Submarines of Stockholm"

The second single from his sophomore solo LP, the New Pornos frontman finds himself in familiar, quirky territory as his brand of bouncy, la-la-heavy power-pop is prominently displayed. This song has an appealingly off-kilter hook, but after 6 albums--including 4 with the Pornos--you have to question how much Newman can milk this sound.

Grade: B-

9. Twiggy Frostbite - "Lanterns and Stars"

Download: Twiggy Frostbite - "Lanterns and Stars"

This ghostly, piano-based ballad from the Swedish pop trio aches gently, while the vocals warble in and out of tune. The vocals are cringeworthy in the higher register, so it's a great testament to Twiggy Frostbite's sense of songcraft that they're able to come up with something great using a spare, poignant approach to the arrangements.

Grade: B+

10. The Problems of Being Pure at Heart - "Everything With You"

Download: The Problems of Being Pure at Heart - "Everything With You"

Finally, a band that thinks Isn't Anything is as great as Loveless.

Grade: A-



Anonymous Anonymous said...

This post is awesome... It's crazy the last few days I've been looking to find blogs just posting top 10-whatever compilations with links to all of them - and randomly I find yours while not even looking. I'm about to go check if there are top 10 posts because that would be too sweet. Thank you!

7:09 PM  
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