Greatest Songs of 2009, #25 to #21

We’re going to take a break from our “Greatest Songs” countdown for this week. We’d like to fast-forward and give you the Greatest Songs of 2009, according to Rolling Stone. As always, we hope you enjoy this entertainment break in your day. — AWO

25. “Bulletproof” by La Roux

“It usually pays to maintain at least a veneer of aloofness when reviewing a pop single, but on this occasion that would be pointless. Everything about ‘Bulletproof‘ is brilliant. The kaleidoscopic video, which manages to look eighties and futuristic at the same time, is brilliant. The cover art, depicting Elly Jackson as a cool, quiff-rocking Bond villain, is brilliant too. And the track itself? Well, it’s a bright, bouncy slice of Yazoo-ish electropop with a chorus every bit as immediate as In For The Kill. Jackson’s vocals are less shrill this time around, but she comes off just as formidable, informing a useless sod who’s messed her about that she won’t be letting him do it again. (As if he’d dare.) If we had to summarise using a single word, you can guess which one we’d plump for.” (Digital Spy

24. “Hellhole Ratrace” by Girls

“Comprised of two free-spirited San Francisco burnouts (one appearing relatively clean cut, the other greasy haired and disheveled) J.R. White and Christopher Owens go for the Mellow Gold with their take on D.I.Y. California pop. Where the similarly blog-toted Wavves offered a pill-popping, pot-fueled skater’s perspective on fun in the sun, Girls offer up a similarly thrifty and drug-addled ode to the warm climate, but filtered through a pair of green-tinted hippie shades. In their brand of lo-fi, they opt to go against the momentary trend of recording to the red, and instead use an earthy approach, with clean Ariel Pink guitar twang and Spiritualized psychedelic plate reverbs. White plays the producer role, acting as a fly on the wall at times, and at others layering shoegaze swells to fill the backdrop of Owen’s minimalistic, squeaky voiced guitar ballads. Simplicity is the duo’s ally, as is their knack for keen Beach Boys melodies. It’s not anything that hasn’t been tried before, but the two 29 year olds have chemistry, and they deliver a consistent batch of songs that sound at once warm and familiar. As a whole, everything’s relaxed and dreamy, perfectly matching the ’70s aesthetic of their videos: washed out with over-exposed sun streaks, and a Crayola watercolor pallete.” (allmusic)

23. “That Western Skyline” by Dawes

“Out in Los Angeles, where weed grows wild and hair grows long, Dawes are some of the most promising purveyors of new-school country folk. Their debut album achieves the rare feat of sounding so authentically vintage that it’s hard to complain about how much they echo Creedence here (“God Rest My Soul”), Crosby there (“If You Let Me Be Your Anchor”) and the Band elsewhere (“When My Time Comes”). Producer Jonathan Wilson gives the affair a living-room vibe, so that even the boldest songs (the achingly beautiful “That Western Skyline”) sound like they arose in the midst of a jam session. And in fact, they just might have.” (Rolling Stone)

22. “Nothing to Worry About” by Peter, Bjorn and John

21. “Daniel” by Bat For Lashes

“First time around Bat For Lashes charmed the critics, earning a Mercury Prize nomination and two Brits nods, but remained a decidedly cultish proposition, with her debut album topping out at #48 on the charts. However, the press release for her second LP, due next month, claims that she “can turn her hand to pop’s alluring fairy dust should the mood take her”, suggesting her label’s hoping she can widen her fanbase. On this evidence, Parlophone could be in luck. ‘Daniel‘, the album’s trailer single, is probably the most immediate thing Natasha Khan has recorded. Both synthy and mystical-sounding, and filled with poetic lyrics about “Marlboro ruby skies” and “the smell of ash and cinders”, it could almost pass for a lost Stevie Nicks track from the early eighties. Khan’s velvety voice, meanwhile, remains as enchanting as ever, so here’s hoping a few more people get to hear it.” (Digital Spy)