15. “Love and War (11/11/46)” *******– Rilo Kiley. “All is fair in love and we’re in love” opens this danceable song about war veterans dying a sad death. Didn’t see the hand claps coming. 14. “Float On” *******– Modest Mouse. Modest Mouse stops making great indie rock and decides to write radio-ready pop songs with an edge. Somehow I don’t hate them as much as I first did.
13. “I Went All Over Town” ********– The Magnetic Fields. The best song ever written about sad clowns walking the lonely streets at night.
12. “Mississauga Goddam” ********– The Hidden Cameras. Anybody who has ever had to pretend that they were someone else will appreciate this song about leaving one’s hometown.
11. “Slow Jamz” ******– Kanye West with Jamie Fox and Twista. This is almost too tight for words.
10. “(I Don’t Know What’s Going) On” ********– The Cure. The Cure shows signs of their better years. Robert screams and “doo doo doo”s over a great poppy Brit tune.
9. “Hoist the Rag” ********– Tom Waits. Is it the great lead guitar line, the trashcan lid percussion or the gravely distorted lead vocals? Try all of them.
8. “Float On” ********– Ben Lee. Where Modest Mouse’s version seems like a rally cry to the masses, Ben’s quieter piano and acoustic driven version sounds like he’s telling a lover that they will float on.
7. “Theologians” ********– Wilco. More perfect pop roots rock from the guys that are quickly becoming the best thing to happen to music in the last 20 years.
6. “Your Belgian Things” *******– The Mountain Goats. A great intimate portrait of a man watching people move out his lover/friend’s stuff.
5. “Suitcase Calling” *******– The Polyphonic Spree. This song is a sonic trip over eight minutes long. This is a perfect slice of an amazing album.
4. “Leaving New York” ******– REM. This song shows that REM is back from a two-album slump. Contains the best lyric of the year: “It’s easier to leave than to be left behind.”
3. “Builds the Bone” *******– The Hidden Cameras. The melody is amazing, the lyrics are great: “if I fall, I’ll aim my feet at you.” And the strings are so lush you could kiss them.
2. “Leave an Open Door” *******– Roger Clyne and the Peacemakers. Roger and his band have done amazing songs before, but only one other song compares to this (“Buffalo” from “Sonora Hope & Madness”). I can’t decide what the best part is, but it doesn’t really matter. This song is a masterpiece.
1. “It’s Only Time” ********– The Magnetic Fields. Stephin Merrit opens singing “Why would I stop loving you/ a hundred years from now?/ It’s only time.” Over amazing piano, acoustic guitar and brushed drums, it culminates in the beautiful lines “I walk your lands/ And swim your seas/ Marry me.” Glockenspiel is added and silvertone guitar takes the lead and raises this love song to a height that means it will stay ahead forever. Anytime I will fall in love in the future I will think of this song.