I love the fall. It’s easily my favorite season – the leaves changes, the heat dies down (thank god), and football starts. And this year I got an added bonus: Claire and I started using Spotify, which opened up our (well, mine. She always seems to find the best music out of thin fucking air) new music slots. My So Hot Right Now lists suddenly stopped repeating, or at least, stop repeating the same old songs. I still didn’t stray to the ultra new (I like my music seasoned a few years, mostly) but I did get some balling new artists. And yet, most of the hottest songs of the fall and early winter are songs I’ve known for a long time. Funny how that works, I guess?
September: “Hoist That Rag” by Tom Waits
I get it. Most people will not like this song. Waits’ voice is a huge turn-off, the gravely, screeching, nearly unintelligible hot mess of a voice. But that’s exactly what drives this song forward. It’s a hot mess, and it’s completely on purpose. This song is like a bombed out city in a vast world war, with the citizens under siege but still holding on to that slight hope that they may be rescued. They know they won’t, so they clean their guns for the resistance effort they know will fail. It’s all that and more, set to a samba. And how about that guitar solo?
October: “Constructive Summer” by The Hold Steady
I got to see these guys at the Ottobar in October and they opened with this song. It was inspiring and thrilling, and I’ve never heard so many people shout “Get hammered!” in unison before. Craig Finn is an absolute delight to see perform. One simply cannot take one’s eyes off of him, with his spastic movements and wild gestures and Pete Townsend-esque guitar strumming. The song itself is so big and glorious. I desperately want to cover it, but I don’t think I can command an audience the way The Hold Steady does.
Mentioned in “Top 5 Happy Songs”
November: “Wild Young Hearts” by The Noisettes
Claire found this band first, and I’m eternally jealous. When she played me this song, I told her that this is all I wanted from music ever. It’s like Amy Winehouse meets Metric meets the Supremes. The song is so steeped in music history, you could play it for someone in the 60′s and they may be taken aback by the distortion on the guitar but otherwise fine with it. It also could be played on the radio today and garner massive airplay (why aren’t these guys and gals on, say, Mix 106.5? Perhaps Top 40 station need more time to replay Lady Gaga for the 16th time today). If you have not heard this song before, for shame. Take some time out and listen to the album of the same name. You will not be disappointed.
December: “Maggie’s Farm” by Rage Against the Machine (originally by Bob Dylan)
Every so often you just need some edge in your life, and that’s exactly what this was. I needed Rage something fierce, and I got this song, which is perhaps the only good song on their Renegades album. It’s an excellent cover, something that I think Bob Dylan would probably hate, but see why it works. And if there’s one thing Rage can do well is find a hard groove, and by god, they found it here. I blasted this so hard all month.
Honorable Mention: “I Want You Back” by Jackson 5
This may be the hottest song of the year, at least by sheer amount of times I played it. It’s pretty much the perfect pop song. Funny anecdote: I once put this song on at work and a customer said, “Yeah, it’s ok, but isn’t it a bit girly?”
“Girly?” I replied, “It’s performed by 5 guys and has one of the best bass lines of all time.” I thought for a second. “Wait, so you’re telling me to turn it off? Get out of my shop. Now.”
Ok, that story was a lie, but if someone did say that, that’s what I would do, and my boss would back me up. It’s ridiculous. It’s like saying Al Green isn’t sexy or bacon doesn’t taste good. If you say these things, you deserve all the scorn you get and more.
Mentioned in “Top 5 Intros”