The Five Best Fucking Songs Right Now* (Volume 1)

* based on absolutely no criteria whatsoever

Late-fall releases in music are a big deal, as the industry gears up for holiday gift-giving — even if there’s nothing more anticlimactic than gifting someone an MP3.

Yes, digital music taken the wind out of the music industry’s sails in a number of ways, but perhaps worst of all is that you can’t really put a bow on a song from iTunes. And fewer and fewer people are buying CDs, since, what’s the point? You just upload it onto your iPod anyway.


Still, out they come. Rihanna’s Talk That Talk is one of the most high-profile releases to appear fresh for the holiday season (even though any real Rihanna fan will have illegally downloaded the leak well before December 25). And then there’s the Christmas music — my God, the Christmas music. If you know me at all, you know I spend a lot of time at Starbucks. If I didn’t have an iPod, I probably would have jingled myself all the way to an early grave already, and it’s only December 1.

My point? With all the high-profile releases and holiday tunes being played ad nauseam, sometimes we need an alternative. Talk That Talk is okay, but there’s better stuff out there. It might be just a little harder to find. Of course, “better” is relative, because everyone has different taste, including many who have bad taste. To some, Talk That Talk will be the very best album of the year, and we shouldn’t argue that they are wrong, or our taste is better. We should just quietly know, and accept the fact that these people were raised to have low standards, and that isn’t entirely their fault.

So here is a list of The Five Best Fucking Songs Right Now — which is to say, the five songs I am listening to the most. You will find some geographic and stylistic similarities between them; they are vaguely in the same genre, though I hate applying categories to music. Music is a subjective pleasure, which means that these are the five fucking songs I think are the best right now. And you should, too.

They are:

1) “The King And All Of His Men” // Wolf Gang

“Well, you can fight it, but you know that you won’t get your way in the end
Too many people, the king and all of his men
And if you’re dealin’ a line of cards
Won’t you take me to the queen of hearts?”

My newest favorite hails from London. Led by Max McElligott (the vocalist in the video, natch), it combines all of my favorite things — a catchy hook, synth, striking imagery/metaphors, nursery rhyme references, and a vague hint of violence in the lyrics (“stop fighting me”). The single “Lions in Cages” (more striking imagery/metaphors and implied violence!) is also well worth checking out.

2) “Freak” // Urban Cone

“Don’t leave footprints in the snow
‘Cause they will track you like a freak.”

If you know anything about my musical tastes, you know I love my Swedes, because they really do make the best music over there. (But I am slightly biased; I am part Swedish, after all.) My even newer newest favorite is so new they don’t even have a Wikipedia page yet. But they hail from Stockholm and have only been together since last year. Also worth checking out: their song “Urban Photograph.”

3) “Into The Clouds” // The Sound Of Arrows

“I’m gonna work my way out of this town
I’m gonna be someone, and know who I am
But right now, I don’t think that I do.”

Uh-oh, more Swedes! (Told ya.) Comprised of Oskar Gullstrand and Stefan Storm, The Sound of Arrows has been on my radar for about a year, but only released their debut LP Voyager in the States this November. And while I haven’t really looked into their personal lives, based on their videos and music (and the above photograph), well, let’s just go ahead and admit that they’re pretty gay — in a way that only Europeans could get away with. How refreshing. You can hear more from them, including remixes of such artists as Natalia Kills and Lady Gaga, at their website.

4) “What You Know” // Two Door Cinema Club

“I am leaving, and this is starting
To feel like it’s right before my eyes
And I can taste it:
It’s my sweet beginning.”

Like The Sound of Arrows, Two Door Cinema Club has been on my radar for awhile. In fact, I’ve had their album for over a year. They’re pretty popular, so you may very well have heard of them. (Speaking of Lady Gaga remixes, they’re featured on the Born This Way remix album.) Still, in case you haven’t heard them, this song has endured ever since I first purchased it; I still listen to it quite frequently. So get with the program. (Plus, they have the word “cinema” in their band name. An automatic plus.) Oh, and in case you’re wondering, they’re from Ireland, not Sweden. So that’s two points for the UK and two for Sweden, if you’re keeping score.

And last but not least…

5) “Tamer Animals” // Other Lives

“Solitary motion, in the wake of an avalanche
Deer in the headlights, there goes a weaker one
He’s listening in the fast gaze, I don’t care now to see the way
Do you hear the silence? I was far too late.”

Get ready for your mind to be blown — this band is American. Yes, apparently, Americans are capable of producing good music, too. Oklahomans, no less! Here is the album I call this year’s The Suburbs, after Arcade Fire’s Grammy-winning triumph of last year. This is the title track, but Tamer Animals is the sort of album that takes you on a bit of a journey when you listen to it in its entirety. It’s the kind of music critics label “cinematic,” kind of like a film score. I think it’s beautiful. You should, too.

And that’s it — for now. These are the five best fucking songs of the moment, and if you are listening to something else, well, I am sorry that it is not as good.

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