Happy New Year! Here are some videos that just “get it”

  • Ring in the New Year with Rilo Kiley’s “Glendora,” a classic song from their The Initial Friend EP (2000).

 

  • Death Cab for Cutie captures the eventual disappointment of New Years “newness” with their song “The New Year.”

 

  • Hardcore/emo band Thursday has a different take on New Years Eve with “Jet Black New Year.” Man, that song is just so early-2000s.

List: Top 5 Postal Service songs

The Postal Service just announced a reunion tour. The original lineup of Ben Gibbard and Jimmy Tamborello will be joined by Jenny Lewis (Rilo Kiley) and Laura Burhenn (Mynabirds) for a variety of tour dates this summer, including Coachella, Primavera Soundwave, and Barclays Center.  

The Postal Service only released one full-length album, 2003’s Give Up, but it is one of the seminal albums of the era.  With a mix of acoustic and electronic tracks, it was a very unique release. Many of the songs enjoyed mainstream success, including a “Such Great Heights” cover by Iron and Wine on the Garden State soundtrack and as part of shows like Grey’s Anatomy and Scrubs.  
In honor of this reunion (which I hope to attend), I made a list of the best Postal Service songs.  
The District Sleeps Alone Tonight
This is the perfect opening track.  It is quiet and lures the listener into the world of Postal Service.  It builds slowly to a breakdown.  It expresses loneliness and ends with a single “And I finally see why I was the one worth leaving.” It is a sentiment very typical to Gibbard’s releases.  It is a great start to an album that perfectly blends Taamborello’s electronica talents with Gibbard’s acoustic and emotional prowess.
Be Still My Heart
Featured on the “We Will Become Silhouettes” single, this track is a story of a post-drunken evening.  It expresses the uncertainty of a one night stand and what it could mean in the morning.  In last night’s clothes, our protagonist leaves the stranger’s apartment. He slowly remembers the the previous evening’s falls, laughs, and conversations.  He is hopeful yet uneasy.  He does not want to overthink last night but cannot help himself.  He asks heart to “be still.” This song expresses another universal sentiment and does so with grace and pizazz. 
Clark Gable 
Everyone yearns for old-fashioned, movie-style love.  Even though that is increasingly difficult to attain, this song tells the story of someone who desires to see each moment in life like a scene from a movie.  He grabs his camera, frames a scene, and then fakes it when things the moment goes arwy. Like many of us who try to plan every moment, this song speaks directly to our soul.  
Nothing Better
One of the hardest part of breaking up is when it is not mutual.  This song is a call and answer type track that features both male and female verses. It goes back and forth between two people who do not agree on a breakup. The man just wants to make her his bride.  And the woman just wants to present charts and graphs on why it won’t work out.  The man apologies and the woman does not accept. It is easy to imagine this song as an actual breakup moment. And as sad as it may be, the melody eases the pain. 
We Will Become Silhouettes:  The lyrics express a desire to venture out into the unknown but finding reasons to stay safe and inside. The synth is greeted by female “la la la”s. The melody creeps into Gibbard’s voice and charms. This light and airy track was covered by The Shins on the Give Up bonus release. 

Best Songs of 2012: Part 2

Here is Part 2 of the best songs of 2012:

“Continuous Thunder” – Japanadriods (from Celebration Rock)
Without a doubt, this album should be on just about everyone’s list for the best of the year.  This song is one of the best.  It is strong like the single (“The House that Heaven Built”), but a bit quieter.  The fuzzy guitars are subdued and wonderful.  Even though Japandriods are just two people, they create a exuberant sound. As this song progresses, its hard not to imagine driving down a road with windows open during the summer.   Its just a great track.

“Heartbreaker” – Walkmen (from Heaven)
The Walkmen are often described as a “Musician’s band” because of their tight melodies and generally strong musicanship.  This album is a great display of all of these characteristics. I was able to see the band perform at Bowery Ballroom on June 6, 2012 and they really dazzled the audience during this intimate record release show. This song is one of the best of the album (although just about every other song is great as well).

“I Never Knew You” – The Avett Brothers (from The Carpenter)
These brothers construct a lush sound in every one of their songs.  This song starts off with piano and draws the listener in.  The harmonies are at the forefront and created a sing-along atmosphere.  This is another strong song from a strong album.

“The Descent” – Bob Mould (from Silver Age)
As mentioned in a previous post, Bob Mould is back.  This opening track to Silver Age sets the stage for a bunch of charming loud songs about growing old.  This one specifically is the most upfront.  The lyrics weigh success over artistic individuality. To answer Mould’s question towards the end of the song, he does make it up to us.

“National Anthem” – Gaslight Anthem (from Handwritten)
I was not thrilled by this album’s single (“45”).  It seemed too overproduced and too obvious.  Instead, I was charmed by “National Anthem.” This song is much simplier and quieter.  It showcases Brian Fallon’s voice and lyrical prowess. He is quiet but strong.  It is similar to other Gaslight gems like “Here’s Looking at You, Kid” (from The 59 Sound) and “The Navasink Banks” (from Sink or Swim).

Honorable Mentions:
“1957” – Milo Green (from 1957)
“Harder Before It Gets Easier” – David Wax Museum (from Knock Knock Get Up)
“This Summer” – Superchunk
“Hey Ho” – Lumineers (from self titled)
“Love Don’t Leave Me Waiting” – Glen Hansard (from Rhythm and Repose)
“Love Love Love” – Of Monsters and Men (from My Head is an Animal)
“In a Big City” – Titus Andronicus (from Local Business)
“Maria” – Justin Townes Earle (from Nothing’s Gonna Change The Way You Feel About Me Now)