As the new year draws closer, we’ve decided to take a look the music that’s gotten us to where we are today. So in an effort to broaden our musical horizons and our understanding of contemporary artists, we’re counting down 2012 by counting up from 1952, taking a look at a handful of songs from a different year every day until January 1st. You can find the full list here. Today we’re heading back to 2005!
Bright Eyes – “At The Bottom of Everything”
Like many others, this song was the entry point to my ubiquitous Bright Eyes phase. It’s an existential hootenanny with lyrics that are either clever as an enigmatic old man’s wink, or trite as a high schooler’s poetry journal, depending on who you ask. Either way, it’s fun as hell. So is the music video, which stars Evan Rachel Wood.
M.I.A. – “Bucky Done Gun”
M.I.A. makes her startlingly fresh debut with Arular, named after her Tamil activist father’s codename. On “Bucky Done Gun,” which she wrote with her old lover Diplo, M.I.A. drags her atonal speak-sing-rap overtop a baffling and original blend of dancehall, electronica, and hip-hop, winding up with something wholly unique and damn addictive.
Sufjan Stevens – “Chicago”
For Illinois, the second effort in his fifty states project (which, he has since admitted, was only ever a joke), Sufjan apparently recorded with only the most rudimentary equipment. It’s hard to believe, because the record sounds anything but lo-fi. Between beautiful, sweeping orchestration and gorgeous melodies, Sufjan’s trademark falsetto gives us a tour of a state that he spent a great deal of time researching. I’ve never been, but this record is a pretty good sell.
Rihanna – “Pon De Replay”
This was the jam of 2005, but now it’s almost just a footnote in Rihanna’s pop dynasty. You gotta admire the simplicity of her image back then – just a girl with a big forehead and a great body getting busy on the dance floor. Simpler times, RiRi.
Broadcast – “Tender Buttons”
Broadcast’s third and final studio album is pretty much a masterpiece, full of strange sounds, cryptic lyrics, and warm production. Listening back to this record is a reminder of how much we lost when singer Trish Keenan passed away last year from pneumonia at a mere 42 years of age. But a very enjoyable reminder nonetheless.