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Finally, I’m making my list of the best albums of the year.  Admittedly, there are a few more albums from 2009 I’d like to give a listen, but since I don’t have a way to stretch time, unfortunately, this will have to be it.  But it’s still a solid list, I think.  Enjoy!

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Here’s a playlist (complete with links to the songs, as long as I can find them) for your enjoyment.  I’ll arrange a few of the entries by artist, as several artists contribute more than one song to the playlist.  Get ready, because it’s going to be epic.  And let’s just get this out of the way now:  if you can’t get these songs out of your head, I’m not paying for you to get therapy.  So don’t ask.  Even if it is my fault.

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Surprisingly, I listened to a lot of good albums this summer.  I’m usually not an album person; I prefer to make mixes.  However, I’m trying to change that, and it helped that my job allowed me to listen to music while I cleaned.  I listened to a lot of albums that way, and it also helped that I was busy and couldn’t flip through songs.  List behind the cut.

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Song titles are links to the songs on YouTube.

1.) You Are the Best Thing – Ray LaMontagne

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I’ve really been digging Ray LaMontagne lately, even if I can never say his last name right. He’s got a raspy, soulful voice that reminds me of the music of singer-songwriters from the ’60s and ’70s. This is one of his more upbeat tracks.

2.) December 1963 (Oh, What a Night) – Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons

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This song has been a favorite of mine since I was a kid (of course, back then I had no idea what the gender of the high-voiced lead singer could be). Maybe it’s odd to put a song about a December evening on a summer playlist, but it’s such a peppy song, so I don’t care.

3.) Sex on Fire – Kings of Leon

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Yeah, this song seems pretty popular lately, I’ve noticed. I just really love the chorus: “Yea-hea! This sex is on fiy-ah!”

4.) Cello Song – Nick Drake

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I downloaded a bunch of Nick Drake lately, and it was hard to pick just two songs of his that I like. He wrote some very, very beautiful music; he’s got a unique, smooth voice, and the guitar playing is amazing.

5.) Fly – Nick Drake

Ditto for above.

6.) Marry Me – St. Vincent

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Such a catchy song, it’s been in my head all day. It’s got a bit of a story to it: the lead singer has a man named John who she can always depend on to be her lover when she needs him. She worries that one day he won’t be there, so she’d like him to marry her so that she can always have him when she needs him. It’s not a sad song, though (although maybe the John she’s singing to would disagree).

7.) Lisztomania – Phoenix

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This is just a really fun song from Phoenix, who are from France (oui oui). I have no idea what it’s about, honestly, but it makes me happy.  

8.) The Plot – White Rabbits

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A great rock song with a wee bit of pop thrown into the mix.

9.) 1901 – Phoenix

10.) Percussion Gun – White Rabbits

As the title suggests, there is a great drum part here.

11.) If You Want to Sing Out – Cat Stevens

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An inspirational song from an artist that I need to listen more to. This one’s from his brilliant soundtrack to the equally brilliant film, “Harold and Maude.”

12.) She Runs Away – Duncan Sheik

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Most probably know Duncan Sheik as a “one hit wonder” for his song “Barely Breathing,” from the ’90s, and more recently, he composed the music for the wonderful, award-winning Broadway musical, “Spring Awakening.” I really love the music to that show, and the handful of his songs that I’ve heard. So, I was really excited when I found his debut album for $1 at Half-Price Books the other day. I was even more excited to find that it’s pretty good. This was my favorite song, and also the first song on the album.

Just a compendium of awful songs and their awful music videos.  Enjoy.

Rusko Star – “Attention Whore”

Amazingly cheesy.

Millionaires – “Alcohol”

A handful of sorority girls with bad dye jobs attempt hip hop.

Aiden – “One Love”

Ridiculous, weepy, strange emo rock.

Complete – “Hoogie-Boogie Land”

Seems like something that Will Ferrell and John C. Reilly would do in a movie, but it’s all too real.

Chris Dane Owens – “Shine on Me”

A music video for 90s-era, adult contemporary type music, masquerading as a trailer for a fantasy film in the vein of “Lord of the Rings.”  I know it’s complex, so just watch it.

Mark Gormley – “Without You”

Words cannot express how awful this is.  The intro makes it even better.

brokeNCYDE – “Freaxxx”

I think you can tell just from the title that this is going to suck.  And it just goes downhill from there.  Screamo/emo/hip-hop, who would’ve thought such a thing existed?

Yusef Islam (formerly Cat Stevens) has recently come out saying that Coldplay’s “Viva la Vida” takes some huge musical cues from his “Foreigner Suite.”

See what you think:

I think that it seems more like a coincidence.  This Joe Satriani song, “If I Could Fly,” (which he has accused Coldplay of ripping off) does sound a whole lot like “Viva la Vida,” and maybe not just coincidentally so:

A little-known band called Creaky Boards has also accused Coldplay of ripping them off with “Viva la Vida.”

This and the Satriani song are uncanny.  So, what’s the deal?  I think the deal is that Coldplay (particularly Chris Martin) wrote the song without realizing that he was so heavily influenced by these other songs (which he’d probably heard before).  I think that the right thing to do is to give these folks writing credits, and maybe a chunk of cash.  But, I’m sure that Coldplay doesn’t read my blog, nor would they care about my opinion.  Let’s just say that my opinion of them has gone down quite a bit, though.

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On June 23rd, on of my favorite artists ever, Regina Spektor, will drop a new album.  Also, she’ll be going on a world tour, the dates for which are to be announced soon.  Her last album, Begin to Hope was released in 2006.

The new album is titled Far.  I am so looking forward to this, and hope to catch her on tour as well.

This woman’s name is Susan Boyle.  She appeared on “Britain’s Got Talent,” because her dream is to become a singer, even though she’s already in her 40s.  She sings “I Dreamed a Dream” from Les Miserables, and seeing her sing it is like watching dreams come true.  When she first walks out, you will not even begin to expect the singing that is to come.  It’s very compelling and inspiring.

“Id Engager” – Of Montreal

“Mighty Storm” – The Duhks

“I Won’t Dance” – Ella Fitzgerald

“Flyin” – Regina Spektor

“Wraith Pinned to the Mist and Other Games” – Of Montreal

“Myriad Harbour” – The New Pornographers

“Fake Tales of San Francisco” – Arctic Monkeys

“I Turn My Camera On” – Spoon

“One Day I Slowly Floated Away” – Eisley

“Old Yellow Bricks” – Arctic Monkeys

“Sing Me Spanish Techno” – The New Pornographers

“I Don’t Feel Like Dancing” – Scissor Sisters

“Love Letter to Japan” – The Bird and the Bee

“Laura” – Scissor Sisters

“High and Dry” – Radiohead

“Again and Again” – The Bird and the Bee

“California” – Joni Mitchell

“Paranoid Android” – Radiohead

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