Two weeks ago my friend John and I got together for our annual “Year In Music Fest” (it’s not really called that, I just don’t know what else to name it right now). At the end of every year we do a “Favorite Songs” countdown along with a discussion of our top 10 albums. This year was epic, as we not only got that out of the way, but then played our 20 favorite songs of the decade and discussed our 100 favorite albums. All told, it was about 7 hours of excellent beer and better tunes. Most people wouldn’t understand the need for two grown men to do this, including my ever-so-patient wife, but it’s one of my favorite nights of the year.

Anyhow, I could spend a lot of time telling you all about my 50 favorite, or 100 favorite, or 500 favorite songs of the last ten years, but I don’t have the energy to compile another list of that size. So here are the 20 songs I played for him, including either their official videos or live clips, followed by the 20 he played for me. I think his list is spectacular - some unexpected choices from some of my favorite artists. Since we alternated on a song-by-song basis we actually heard “Farewell Transmission” twice in a row, so those were 15 pretty awesome minutes.

And I know….no New Pornographers, no Centro-Matic, no Califone, no Iron & Wine, I’m really happy with the way my list turned out, but there were some tough exclusions.

20. Comfy In Nautica / Panda Bear (2007)
(from Person Pitch,
PHW’s #3 album of decade)

19. Black Cab / Jens Lekman (2003)
(from Oh You’re So Silent Jens)

18. Stuck Between Stations / The Hold Steady (2006)
(from Boys & Girls In America)

17. Faraway You / Marah (2000)
(from Kids In Philly,
PHW’s #6 album of decade)

16. Not For The Season (YHF demo) / Wilco (I played this one)
Not For The Season (Tweedy - acoustic)
Not For The Season (Wilco - live)
(released as “Laminated Cat” on Loose Fur)

15. Lloyd, I’m Ready To Be Heartbroken / Camera Obscura (2006)
(from Let’s Get Out Of This Country,
PHW’s #20 album of decade)

14. The Rat / The Walkmen (2003)
(from Bows + Arrows,
PHW’s #41 album of decade)

13. Re: Stacks / Bon Iver (2007/8)
(from For Emma, Forever Ago,
PHW’s #21 album of decade)

12. Neighborhood #1 (Tunnels) / Arcade Fire (2004)
(from Funeral,
PHW’s #4 album of decade)

11. Chariot / Page France (2006)
(from Hello, Dear Wind)

Though this live take is much rougher than the studio version, it only makes me love it more:

10. Hey Ya! / Outkast (2003)
(from Speakerboxx/The Love Below)

9. Paper Planes / M.I.A. (2006)
(from Kala)

8. The Underdog / Spoon (2007)
(from Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga,
PHW’s #11 album of decade)

7. Gimme Back My Dog / Slobber bone (2001)
(from Everything You Thought Was Right Was Wrong Today)

Here’s a video with Slobberbone’s lead singer-songwriter Brent Best playing the song with his new band, The Drams:

6. Shakey Dog / Ghostface Killah (2006)
(from Fishscale)

Ghost crams an entire movie into 3 ½ unbelievable minutes.

5. All My Friends / LCD Soundsystem (2007)
(from Sound of Silver)

4. Biomusicology / Ted Leo & The Pharmacists (2001)
(from The Tyranny of Distance)

3. 3rd Planet / Modest Mouse (2000)
(from The Moon & Antarctica,
PHW’s #14 album of decade)

2. Farewell Transmission / Songs: Ohio (2003)
(from Magnolia Electric Co,
PHW’s #19 album of decade)

1. Abel / The National (2005)
(from Alligator,
PHW’s #18 album of decade)

John’s 20:

20. Set Out Running / Neko Case (2000)
(from Furnace Room Lullaby)

19. Dirty Dishes / Deer Tick (2007)
(from War Elephant)

18. Mississippi / Bob Dylan (2001)
(from Love & Theft)

17. Radio Kaliningrad / Handsome Furs (2009)
(from Face Control)

16. The Trapeze Swinger / Iron & Wine (2005)
(from Around the Well)

15. Land Locked Blues / Bright Eyes (2005)
(from I’m Wide Awake, It’s Morning)

14. The Slow Descent Into Alcoholism / The New Pornographers (2000)
(from Mass Romantic)

13. This Year / The Mountain Goats (2005)
(from The Sunset Tree)

12. For Emma / Bon Iver (2007/8)
(from For Emma, Forever Ago)

11. Thin Blue Flame / Josh Ritter (2006)
(from The Animal Years)

10. All These Things That I've Done / The Killers (2004)
(from Hot Fuss)

9. I Turn My Camera On / Spoon (2005)
(from Gimme Fiction)

8. Certain Songs / The Hold Steady (2004)
(from Almost Killed Me)

7. Come Pick Me Up / Ryan Adams (2000)
(from Heartbreaker)

6. For Real / Okkervil River (2005)
(from Black Sheep Boy)

5. All The Wine / the National (2005)
(from Alligator)

4. At Least That's What You Said / Wilco (2004)
(from A Ghost Is Born)

3. Farewell Transmission / Songs Ohio (2003)
(from Magnolia Electric Co.)

2. Southside Of Heaven / Ryan Bingham (2007)
(from Mescalito)

1. Let There Be Rock / Drive-by Truckers (2002)
(from Southern Rock Opera)

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