Greatest Songs of 2009, #5 to #1

Here’s the end of an admittedly drawn-out list. Tomorrow we’ll resume the previous daily schedule from the all-time Top 500 list. — AWO

5. “1901” by Phoenix

“It’s hard for artists to teeter on the fence of change between albums– between refining your sound and getting stuck in stasis, between growth and overreach. Unless you’re Phoenix, in which case you make it look really, really easy, and crank out more effortless pop-rock. While there are more pronounced synths on this preview of their upcoming album, ‘1901‘ sounds like a logical extension of It’s Never Been Like That, and is just as smooth and spirited and dementedly catchy as any of their best singles. That last record endeared them to many, and it’s worth noting that they don’t sound especially daunted by following up their last big success. Whatever new touches are added here—the singeing keyboard chords that dominate the first few bars before taking a backseat to that clean guitar, or the percussive marble-down-the-drain echo—it takes effort to pick them out, as this track is as seamless as the top of the peanut butter when you first open the jar.” (Pitchfork Media)   Continue reading “Greatest Songs of 2009, #5 to #1”

24 Days To Go: World AIDS Day

347px-world_aids_day_ribbonOne of the less joyful holidays of this busy season is World AIDS Day—so busy, in fact, that most people usually miss it. If Christmas means anything, though, surely it encourages the kind of generosity and global community that this holiday strives for. So how are we doing this year?

Progress: The Obama administration has lifted the ban on entry into the United States by HIV-positive people. South Africa has decided to offer free HIV treatment for infants under the age 1 and expand access for pregnant women.

Regress: The Obama administration has not been as proactive in fighting HIV/AIDS as the Bush administration was. Uganda is adopting an anti-homosexuality law that criminalizes gay sex.

Obviously, we have a long way to go. Here are a few simple (and entertaining) ways for you to add your vote to the “Progress” column:   Continue reading “24 Days To Go: World AIDS Day”