8. The Bird And The Bee – Interpreting the Masters Volume 1: A Tribute to Daryl Hall and John Oates
Here’s the plan. Your lead singer is preggers and you want to get a quickie album out. You love making pop music so why not do a collection of covers of one of your musical heroes? You break out the Daryl Hall & John Oates sheet music and give the songs your own quirky arrangements, but don’t stray too far from the original. Viola! You now have a set of very entertaining covers. However, you accidently make two original songs that not only fit into the Hall & Oates mold, but one of them turns out to be one of the catchiest tunes of the year. “Heard It On The Radio” is so good that Hall & Oates should cover it. It’s a slice of pop radio lushishness that radio doesn’t play anymore.
Favorite songs: “Heard It On The Radio,” “I Can’t Go For That (No Can Do),” “Maneater,” “4th of July”
7. LCD Soundsystem – This Is Happening
Dance bands don’t get much respect so how is it that LCD Soundsystem has created a third collection of critic’s darling goodness that still sounds fresh, lovely and relevant? The band has again defied the odds and come up with a series of smart, well-arranged songs that are dance floor ready, but also make you think; maybe even feel. Songs include such topics as love, dancing, drunk girls and how shitty the music business can be, but are done with such fineness that you’ll want to check out the big brains on an electronic band.
Favorite songs: “Dance Yrself Clean,” “One Touch,” “I Can Change,” “You Wanted A Hit”
(See the official video for “Drunk Girls” here.)
6. Vampire Weekend – Contra
Remember when Eurythmics was this synth band that made quirky new wave pop music? You know before they went back to their rock bank roots? Here’s a modern day version. Vampire Weekend’s second album builds on their debut with more strange arrangements and instruments you would never imagine to hear on a rock album. The fortunate thing is these songs aren’t odd for the sake of being different. They seem to be made with real love. Contra is full of catchy ditties that keep you singing along. Sophomore jinx: avoided.
Favorite songs: “Horchata,” “Taxi Cab,” “Run,” “Giant”
(You can see official, unembeddable videos here.) Yes, I’m bitter. Top 5 starts Monday.