Wednesday, December 21, 2011

2011 BS Awards: Top Cool Out Songs

Cool out songs get their own different category than the regular song of the year list. Usually those songs are not even included on the seasonal sets and are therefore not eligible for consideration. But every year I compile a whole separate playlist of songs that I just think are cool. They can be either songs that make me relax or touch me or make me just want to put on some sunglasses and headphones and feel soulfully enriched. What follows is the top 5 Cool Out songs of 2011. The fact that one of the songs on the list was released in 2000 and one was released in the last century makes no never mind to me. They didn’t find there way to me until 2011.

I shouldn't even include videos here. Cool Out songs are purely are aural experience. Best discovered in a peaceful venue through headphones. Do your soul a favor and check these out in the manner suggested.

1. Polar Opposites – Modest Mouse

Fave lyric: “I’m trying to drink away the part of the day that I cannot sleep away”

I was really hoping for a new Modest Mouse CD this year. Similar to the Black Keys, they keep getting better with every album. Pandora alerted me to this cool, little groover this year. The guitar work here is perfect for a cool out. It is off their 1997 album, The Lonesome Crowded West. That is an excellent album that I really just started listening to in earnest this year. Often, Isaac Brock had a bit of a negative vibe going in his songs, but how much more depressed can you get then the lyric listed at the top. That is brilliant. Modest Mouse is full of gems like that.

2. Exile Vilify – The National

Fave lyric: Does it trouble your mind the way you trouble mine?

The 2010 BS Award winners for album of the year had a couple of excellent cool outs that were released in 2011. They just must not have quite made the cut for the album. This song was released on the soundtrack for a video game, Portal 2. I’ve never heard of it. The other song, Think You Can Wait is from the Win Win soundtrack. (More on that movie in the BS Movie Awards.) I kinda like the fan-made video for this song. That is the saddest looking puppet of all time. The whole stark video and sad puppet so much match the tenor of the song. The violin and piano are beautiful in this song. But as with all National songs, they should be listened to through headphones with your eyes closed. I recommend doing this at work after I get yelled at by the butt-munch who, while discounting my ideas out of hand, still thinks Bush was a great president. Freaking loser.

3. Thank God You Weren’t Thirsty – Fight Like Apes

Fave lyric: “My hair is all blue, my eyes are all green, my heart is all grey…stay away”

This is beautiful song from a band that is typically very high energy and screamy. MayKay does get a little screamy near the end of the song. This song is so much more tender than other songs of theirs, but they do it very well. I love all of the different colors she mentions. I wish I what the whole song was about as I can’t always pick out all of their meanings.

4. Rise to Me – The Decemberists

Fave lyric: “My darling. My sweetheart. I am in your sway….. Let me hear you say ‘I am going to stand my ground. They rise to me and I blow them down’.”

This is a moving song about Colin Meloy’s autistic son, Henry. It is about teaching his son to overcome all of the obstacles in his life. The child does not need to be autistic for the song to be relevant for how you can feel about any son, maybe especially a teenager. Tears well up. This is a wonderfully emotional song when you really get down and listen to it. Great harmonica in this song from the very Americana ‘The King is Dead’.

5. The Mess We’re In – PJ Harvey with Thom Yorke

PJ Harvey is just cool. She guested on a few of the Desert Sessions with Josh Homme. The mixture of her deep and mellow voice with Yorke’s high pitched and somewhat excitable voice is really good. I don’t know what the meaning of the song is, I just know it was cool.

Just missing the top 5 were I Should’ve Known by Foo Fighters, Someone Like You by Adele, Us Against the World by Coldplay, Codex by Radiohead and Rented Room by Craig Finn. All top notch songs, but just couldn’t scratch past the top 5.

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