30. “Skinny Love” – Bon Iver: In 2007, Justin Vernon emerged from the Wisconsin wilderness with a large beard and a cathartic album packed with emotion and falsetto. Perhaps the greatest example of these characteristics is the song “Skinny Love.” The song moves through a simple arrangement of a rhythmically strummed guitar, percussions that amounts mostly to tapping, and Vernon’s always-honest voice. It tells the story of the love we all have experienced, and Vernon crafts a song that is not only cathartic for himself, but for anyone who can relate. Then, as he sings “Who will love you? Who will fight? Who will fall far behind?” and the chord progression changes underneath, it feels like the beginning of a new day. Once again, a great songwriter learns how to pull at the strings of the heart, and milk it for every ounce of feeling.
If you’ve never heard of it, check it out here: “Skinny Love”
29. “Young Folks” – Peter, Bjorn & John: That whistling. It doesn’t make the whole track worthwhile, but it almost does. “Young Folks” may be the catchiest thing to come off of the bands sensational Writer’s Block, and it proves that something so simple can be made into something as melodic and great as this track. The song could get stuck in your head for days, weeks, or even months. The back and forth vocals between Peter Morén and ex-Concretes singer Victoria Bergsman can help but bring a smile to your face in a simple and spectacular way.
If you’ve never heard of it, check it out here: “Young Folks”
28. “1,2,3,4” – Feist: If there is anything that will serve as a Reminder (get it?) of Feist’s “1,2,3,4”, it is the multicolored choreographed dance routine that was the song’s music video. Of course it always helps to be placed in an iPod commercial as well; this was, perhaps, the beginning of Apple’s impeccable taste for commercial soundtracks. When an indie song enjoys the popularity that 1234 experienced, it must be recognized for the success that it is. Incorporating great piano runs, high hitting trumpets, and the always well-placed banjo, this song is full of fun and happiness that warrants repeated listens.
If you’ve never heard of it, check it out here: “1,2,3,4”
27. “Two Weeks” – Grizzly Bear: It starts with some simple piano chords, and morphs into the Indie Rock anthem of 2009! The harmonies are lush, the drums are tight, and the lyrics are emotive. Everyone was talking about Veckatimest, (whether or not they were saying it correctly is up for debate) a sophisticated pop album, that manages to sound polished, timeless, and accessible. It’s the perfect music for listening to in a metropolitan landscape while sipping overpriced coffee.
If you’ve never heard of it, check it out here: “Two Weeks”
26. “Kids” – MGMT: How much fun does MGMT want to have? First, they come out with their debut album Oracular Spectacular, which looks like an acid trip gone horribly right. Then the band releases their first single, “Time To Pretend”, which took the music world by storm with it’s melodies and synths. But wait, the band releases “Kids”, a dancy track which could make the hippies dance all night and all day. With this release, the band took a ride on the wave of a lifetime and scored their biggest hit yet, bringing their fame to an all time high (no pun intended).
If you’ve never heard of it, check it out here: “Kids”
25. “The Way We Get By” – Spoon: Now we all know that Spoon was around well before the lives of well-to-do teenagers in Orange County premiered on the Fox Network. But with the inclusion of “The Way We Get By” on the teenage drama-fest that was the “The O.C.,” the masses were introduced to Spoon. Beginning with a simple, Beatles-esque piano melody, Spoon crafted a pop song that was almost guaranteed to be greeted with open arms, and eventually ending up on “best of the decade” lists. It still remains a fan favorite amongst the band’s entire catalog.
If you’ve never heard of it, check it out here: “The Way We Get By”
24. “Hey Ya!” – OutKast: Dance to the hand claps, the acoustic guitar, the funky bass line, and the absolutely infectious chorus—after that, look up the lyrics. Despite the song’s percolating major key, Andre 3000 is making a rather wistful statement about relationships and fidelity. He might sound happy, but Andre’s wondering whether he should stay with the woman he loves even if it makes him miserable. Your mind has been blown—that’s why Hey Ya! is genius.
If you’ve never heard of it, check it out here: “Hey Ya!”
23. “Such Great Heights” – The Postal Service: Before it was on UPS commercials, Ben Gibbard was singing heartfelt lyrics over Jimmy Tamborello’s bubbly synthesizers for hip kids in scarves all over the country. It’s no coincidence that as the song reaches its climax it feels like the singer is floating on a cloud, serenading his lover, after being kept apart for so long. Will the Postal Service ever make another album? Who cares! The first one is as good as pop songs can get.
If you’ve never heard of it, check it out here: “Such Great Heights”
22. “Bros” – Panda Bear: Noah Lennox had a pretty good decade; he released some albums, he moved to Portugal, and he even made a nice song called “Walkabout” with Branford Cox (he was also in some band called Animal Collective, but I don’t think many people care about that). Person Pitch’s best song starts with an owl hoot and ends after twelve minutes. Throughout that time Lennox plays off a repeating sample, changing it and manipulating it everyway thinkable, until he’s created a sprawling portrait of sound. “I know myself and I know what I want to do” Panda Bear sings: this couldn’t be any truer.
If you’ve never heard of it, check it out here:“Bros”
21. “1901” – Phoenix: Cadillac, a luxury vehicle. Nothing but the best for Cadillac owners, and that includes future Cadillac owners. Perhaps this is why Phoenix’s “1901” was chosen to be put into their commercial. Of course, it could also be that some fat cat’s demographics told him that including some Phoenix would make more young people buy Cadillacs. Either way, it can be said that Phoenix deserves whatever amount of money General Motors decided to pay them. If you don’t believe it, go watch the videos of Phoenix performing on almost every late night program they could this fall. With the general attitude of the public shifting ever-towards “I would like to dance right now,” Phoenix has come to fruition at an impeccable time, and “1901” was able to satisfy that masses urge to dance with its incredible catchiness.
If you’ve never heard of it, check it out here: “1901”