Monday, December 8, 2008

Top Ten Songs On Elbo.Ws Reviewed In 50 Words or Less: 11/16/08--11/30/08

Again, a couple of days late, so what you see here may not entirely reflect what's on right now. Apologies all around.

1. The Raveonettes - "Come On Santa"

Download: The Raveonettes - "Come On Santa"

The special holiday treat from the Danish duo has many trademarks of their other work (including the drug-induced harmonies), but is also much more stripped-down, insofar as "Come on Santa" does not have the avalanche of fuzz that marked Lust Lust Lust. As such, "Santa" is reasonably fun, but comparatively chaste, in comparison.

Grade: B-

2. Buffertlibre DJs - "Hit"

Download: Buffertlibre DJs - "Hit"

The Buffertlibre DJs continue to churn out solid mixtape after solid mixtape. This one is certainly no exception.

Grade: B

3. Twiggy Frostbite - "Heroes"

Download: Twiggy Frostbite - "Heroes"

Like the band name suggests, Twiggy Frostbite's music hits somewhere between the cold and the glamorous, with lonely xylophones, sad keyboard lines, and an overall atmosphere of production cool (reverb always helps) resulting in a winter pop confection. A little more sunshine might have made this better listening though.

Grade: B

4. The Prodigy - "Invaders Must Die"

Download: The Prodigy - "Invaders Must Die"

The title track from The Prodigy's upcoming fifth album of the same name, "Die" sees the group musical striving for a decidedly big beat vibe, one that hearkens back to their early releases. Naturally, the sound is huge, and the beats large, which should get the adrenaline pumping. But there's not much else for non-dance fans to latch unto.

Grade: B-

5. Vampire Weekend - "The Kids Don't Stand A Chance" (Chromeo Remix)

Download: Vampire Weekend - "The Kids Don't Stand A Chance" (Chromeo Remix)

The closing track from one of the year's most discussed debuts gets the remix treatment. Dub minimalism and Wes Anderson-style classical whimsy have been replaced by Factory Records-esque keyboards and French House beats, which allow the playfulness of the melody to fully emerge. If this remix details how great Vampire Weekend has been all along, the skeptics perhaps have some re-thinking to do.

Grade: A-

6. Freezepop - "Frontload" (Designer Drugs Remix)

Download: Freezepop - "Frontload" (Designer Drugs Remix)

Another remix that owes some to Daft Punk, but this remix of nu-new wave group Freezpop's song "Frontload" is much more straightforward, with the remixers doing little other than replacing the original music with something more dance oriented. Not bad, but not as interesting as what came before.

Grade: B-

7. Little Boots - "Meddle" (Baron von Luxxury Technicolor Remix)

Download: Little Boots - "Meddle" (Baron von Luxxury Technicolor Remix)

The third (!) remix to appear on this chart (ya'll really like these, don't you?), this re-imagining of Little Boots' "Meddle" slowly draws out its beats and rhythms while steadily incorporating other artistic elements over the course of its six minutes. Ideal listening for walking in the city, but nothing revelatory.

Grade: B

8. Matt Pond PA - "Hearts and Minds"

Download: Matt Pond PA - "Hearts and Minds"

One of the six new songs from a recently released free online EP, "Hearts and Minds" rides romantic synth overtures and chiming guitar lines over a soft wave of insistent, dependable drumbeats. Dually harmonized guitar lines add texture while the vocals would help convince any wallflower girl to seize the day with Matt Pond PA. For once, a song whose brevity suits it.

Grade: B+

9. Franz Ferdinand - "Ulysses"

Download: Franz Ferdinand - "Ulysses" (via)

Uh, oh, looks like someone's going for the adventurous third album route! That said, despite the spare, swing-like verses and the techno touches, this is still the same Franz Ferdinand, with playful innuendo, danceable rock beats, and jabbing guitar lines providing the foundations for a solid pop song.

Grade: B

10. Hot Chip - "Touch Too Much" (Fake Blood Remix)

Download: Hot Chip - "Touch Too Much" (Fake Blood Remix)

Dear God, enough with the remixes! Let's just say that this gets you dancing and be done with it.

Grade: B

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