Top 50 Songs of 2008: 50-41 [You've Got To Spend Some Time, Love]

50) Death Cab For Cutie - "I Will Possess Your Heart"

With the album version clocking in at eight-and-a-half minutes, this was an ambitious start to the year for Gibbard and the boys. The label did manage to "radio edit" the thing down to 4.30 but frankly, that was less fun. And ultimately, what made this song worthwhile was how long it took and the seminal (who is this girl and why aren't we married?) video that accompanied the release. It was a slow burn but eventually, it caught you. Too bad you couldn't say the same about the rest of Narrow Stairs.

49) Pains Of Being Pure At Heart - "Everything With You"

Pains Of Being Pure At Heart and their "everything's gonna get brighter" single, "Everything With You" found a piece of New York City rock that had been missing. One, it's not so serious. Part two, don't worry about how dark it seems or how much you miss The Smiths. Part three, final act, there's room for romance in a world with no feelings. There's room for love in all the wrong places. So as you soar through an ebullient guitar solo in the bridge and into a kiss-you-on-the-mouth, fist-pumping final chorus, understand what you've been missing.

48) Wolf Parade - "Language City"

Wolf Parade was a band in flux. They couldn't wait to get away from Issac Brock and their (worth noting) amazing first album. Which left them in a weird spot: how do you tell people that you can't wait to get away from your first record? How do you tell people you might not be totally down with the one thing they've ever heard from you? Well, you pack them in a car and head for "Language City." It wasn't the first song released off the record ("Call It A Ritual") and it doesn't find itself right away. Around the 2.55 mark, the song discovers an entirely pleasant and profoundly propulsive second act. It's piano-based while Spencer Krug does his yelping over the top. We are not at home. In essence, you tell people, if you're looking for me in the one place you'd expect to find me, try again.

47) Okkervil River - "Singer Songwriter"

Count on Will Sheff to release a stinker of a record (The Stand-Ins) and still manage to end hyper-literate indie-rock as we know it. Sounding more like the Old 97s than anything else, "Singer Songwriter" is a jab in the side of every kid who ever got an MFA, BA, MA, or anything else that is an abbreviation for "I spent a fortune on a brain I barely use." The line of the year might be, "and this film we once saw/was reviled for its flaws/but its flaws were what made us have fun." Critics, whip-smart college grads - dearest parts of the snark machine, listen to the last line: "our world is gonna change nothing." It's a tough swallow but you're still scared it might be true.

46) The Futureheads - "Beginning of the Twist"

This is a bit of a sentimental pick as the best song off the album that cemented the end of The Futureheads career. They were dropped from their label and tried to go it alone and ended up, at one point this year, playing a secret show at Piano's. For a band that once could have sold-out Webster Hall in the better part of a few work days, this was a step down. "Beginning of the Twist" is vintage Futureheads, which, unfortunately, is what makes this song great and this band's future, officially not.

45) Chairlift - "Bruises"

Chairlift can happily join The Caesars, CSS, and a few others as bands who absolutely erupted after being featured in an iPod commercial. A tiny-little electro-pop band from New York, Chairlift ended up being the synesthesia that colored iPod's second-best ad (we'll stick with the Coldplay cross-promotion as number one) of the year. It doesn't make it any less heart-breaking when they say, "I tried to do hand-stands for you but every time I fell for you." As visual similes go, that one is a crusher.

44) Pretty & Nice - "Tora Tora Tora"

Built on a seemingly simplistic platform of three escalating chords, "Tora Tora Tora" is probably a little bit of an underdog to get on this list. But, there's something incredibly infectious about this song. Is it straight-forward? Sure. But that doesn't mean it's bad. And there's always something to be said for a little song that dreams big.

43) The Motion Sick - "30 Lives"

"30 Lives" is a song that spoke more to me than most this year. It uses a video-game metaphor (file this under: risky, extremely) and actually ends up in the poppiest place of anything I've heard in the last 12-months. While the band chants, "up, up, down, down, left, right, left, right, B, A, select, start" you find yourself soaring along with their synths and the hooks in the chorus. Sure, it's a code from Contra. Get over it. Deeper underneath it's about spending 30 lives with the person you love. Hopefully not in a war-zone in Central America. Leave that to Oliver North.

42) The Sound of Arrows - "Danger"

The band's name implies something is both extremely silent and extremely deadly. Fortunately, "Danger" is only one of those two and, hint hint, it's not silent. This is a song that wakes up in the morning and spits triumphant. Based mostly on catchy digital loops and vocal samples, "Danger" was the soundtrack for a drive down the coast of Spain last March. "Danger" then ended up spinning around our CD player as we spun around the round-abouts of Seville. Tonight is danger, baby. I feel so dangerous.

41) White Lies - "Death"

White Lies probably won the title as the band that sounded the most like what people thought the new Killers album was going to sound like without realizing it. "Death" starts slow and finds itself late but the comparisons to Flowers and co. are as valid as they are useless. White Lies probably made more news by having Crystal Castles remix "Death" to death. Which just goes to show where we are today is very different than the summer of 2004; a year when the band White Lies sounds most like took over the universe. By 2008, the bigger news was a small electro-clash band remixing the original. It was a half-truth and people bought it; which might be where this band got its name in the first place.

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