Every year I make a 2 disc collection of the year’s best music – one disc of new stuff, one disc of reissues.
This year, I’ll be travelling over December so I might not get a chance to make one, so I thought I’d post my virtual one.
Also, every year I rip off a record cover for my own record cover. This year’s a nod to Bob Evan’s Suburban Songbook.
1. Don’t You Think It’s Time – Bob Evans
From the album Suburban Songbook (Capitol)
The album of the year. Simple, heartfelt songs about the biggest things – love, loss, sadness, the future and all that. Everything that makes pop music great and an integral part of our world is here on this record, in spades.
2. When You Were Young – The Killers
From the album Sam’s Town (Island)
The single of the year. I used to hate this band and out of nowhere this impassioned Springsteen rip-off just bowls me over. So confident, so ambitious and so crazy. Great clip.
3. Let It Go – Youth Group
From the album Casino Twilight Dogs (Ivy League)
It’s so obvious for me to like this album, but damn it they did it again. This song in particular took me through hard times and helped inspire me to move on. The power of song, eh?
4. Funny Little Frog – Belle And Sebastian
From the album The Life Pursuit (Rough Trade)
B&S become T.Rex and grab bits of 70s strut-rock and stick their unique view on it. Maddeningly sad, naïve, heartbreaking but also danceable!
5. You Needed More – The Sleepy Jackson
From the album Personality – One Was A Spider One Was A Bird (Capitol)
Over-the-top it is, but moments of great beauty. And to a scale so few Australian bands dare to even look at, let alone climb.
6. Who Taught You to Live Like That? – Sloan
From the album Never Hear the End of It (Murderecords)
They put out a 30 song album, maybe as a nod to their hardcore punk roots. Punk it ain’t, however, but it’s the most fun sounding they’ve sounded in many, many years.
7. Elbows – Darren Hanlon
From the album Fingertips And Mountaintops (Candle)
Dazza’s third keeps with his low key vibe, as he quietly gets better at painting details, such as this masterful work about meeting someone famous.
8. Telecaster – The Crustaceans
From the album I’m Happy If You’re Happy (Popboomerang)
Debut record proper by Sydney popsters. Too clever by half, and so much fun, especially this gem which should be an anthem!
9. By My Own Hand – You Am I
From the album Convicts (Virgin)
What song to choose? You Am I’s first record in ages was a kick to the face, hard rocking classic.
10. Cocaine Habit – Old Crow Medicine Show
From the album Big Iron World (Nettwerk)
Every song by these guys sound the same. And each one of them is great. The only really countryish song on this year’s collection.
11. How Can You Live In The Northeast? – Paul Simon
From the album Surprise (Warner Bros)
Bob Dylan, Neil Young and the Boss all put out records this year and Paul trumps them all. It’s like Yankee Hotel Foxtrot part two… beautiful Eno production with thoughtful, playful lyrics about the now. Surprise indeed.
12. Givin’ It Up – Josh Rouse
From the album Subtitulo (Nettwerk)
This man can do no wrong. It’s perhaps I’m getting older, but this thoughtful songwriter shit really gets to me. And the strings!
13. My Valentine – Rhett Miller
From the album The Believer (Verve Forecast)
He continues to try and crack it as a pop star, and continues to write fine pop hits that don’t threaten any chart. This should have been a radio smash.
14. Love It When You Call – The Feeling
From the album Twelve Stops & Home (Island)
This is what liking Supertramp will get you. Pure cheese, pure fun. No apologies. Sounds like it’s from some 80s teen flick!
15. Who’s Gonna Help Brother Get Further? – Elvis Costello & Allen Toussaint
From the album The River In Reverse (Verve Forecast)
From a groovy but samey album, this duet is a highlight. Again, a politically charged record. It’s about time.
16. Heartland Truckstop – Beth Orton
From the album Comfort Of Strangers (Astralwerks)
This album came out so early in the year and it just smells of late night whiskey and somberness. It’s a beautiful acoustic record. Gosh I love her voice.
17. Mardy Bum – Arctic Monkeys
From the album Whatever People Say I Am, That’s What I’m Not (Domino)
Out of nowhere, these guys played one of the best gigs I’ve ever seen, recalling the rawness of Billy Bragg, the anger of early Costello and the frenetics of the Buzzcocks. And they played this breezy tune late in the set and it was the clouds breaking.
18. Wave Goodbye – Kelley Stoltz
From the album Below The Branches (Sub Pop)
Crazy lo-fi guy makes another great record of pop bliss with old age hum.
19. Take A Chance – The Magic Numbers
From the album Those The Brokes (Heavenly)
The Magic Numbers record isn’t even out yet, but it’s bound to be great right?
20. Still (Reprise) – Ben Folds
From the soundtrack Over The Hedge (Epic)
One of Fold’s best, recalling his epic ballads from the Five era.