2011 Faves: Music

My eleven favorite 2011 releases

Turning Tables, Adele
Next time I’ll be braver / I’ll be my own savior / When the thunder calls for me

Helplessness Blues, Fleet Foxes
Yeah, I’m tongue-tied and dizzy and I can’t keep it to myself  / What good is it to sing helplessness blues; why should I wait for anyone else?

Don’t Turn Out the Lights (D.T.O.T.L.), NKOTBSB
I still got this fire for you, we can get it back again / If you don’t say that it’s the end (the end)


Shake it Out, Florence and the Machine
And I am done with my graceless heart / So tonight I’m gonna cut it out and then restart

Sorry 4 the Wait, Lil Wayne
Hello, goodbye, where are you Wayne? / I’m somewhere in between joy and pain

‘Til the World EndsBritney Spears
If you feel it, let it happen / Keep on dancing ’til the world ends

Modern LoveMatt Nathanson
So we stumble, we disconnect / Over and over again


OtisKanye West and Jay-Z, featuring Otis Redding
They say I’m crazy, but I’m about to go dumb again / They ain’t seen me cause I pulled up in my other Benz / Last week I was in my other other Benz

Highway Unicorn (Road to Love)Lady Gaga
And she’s got rainbow syrup in her heart that she bleeds

Shock to My SystemGemma Hayes
I felt safe walking straight lines / You were a shock to my system / Lighting up a fire so bright

Make a New Dance UpHey Ocean
You make me wanna dance / You make me wanna move / You make me wanna

My eleven most-played in 2011

The Shape I Found You InGirlyman (2003)
But my heart tried to cheat / Building safety nets under my feet / So if I fell I would fall right in / That’s the shape you found me in

ChangesTupac (1998)
I got love for my brother, but we can never go nowhere / Unless we share with each other / We gotta start makin’ changes / Learn to see me as a brother ‘stead of two distant strangers.

Touches YouMIKA (2009)
When you’ve had enough and you need somebody to know / Well, you’re looking tough, but you need a way to let it go

Come Out of the ShadeThe Perishers (2007)
Take a step and come out here in the sun / I can tell it’s already begun / I’m helpless without you, helpless without you / Helpless without your warming smile

http://youtu.be/mjli3hj0ZkM
Digital LoveDaft Punk (2001)
Don’t stop come a little closer / As we jam the rhythm gets stronger / There’s nothing wrong with just a little little fun

In A Big CountryBig Country (1983)
I’m not expecting to grow flowers in the desert / But I can live and breathe and see the sun in wintertime

Sour CherryThe Kills (2008)
I’m a penny in a diamond mine / We could be movers / We could be shakers / If we could just shake somethin’ out of the blue / And get off the ride

I Tried to Rock You But You Only Can RollLeona Naess (2001)
I’ve got a smile that’ll knock you down / I’ve got friends who will follow me / And I don’t own responsibility / And I know what I am / And I know that I’m right / Yeah, yeah, yeah

Hell Yeah, Ani DiFranco (1994)
But in the ‘he said, she said’ / Sometimes there’s some poetry / If you turn your back long enough / And let it happen naturally / Oh, yeah / Hell, yeah

Well-AlrightSpoon (2009)
Don’t mean nothing, just some common sense / Not so much is just the fact we met / Everything’s well-alright / Gonna be well-alright


Young BloodThe Naked and Famous (2010)
The bitter sweet between my teeth / Trying to find the in-betweens / Fall back in love eventually

2009 Faves: Songs

My nine favorite 2009 releases:

Photo credit NYTimes.com

Just Dance by Lady Gaga
I love this record, baby, but I can’t see straight anymore.

Dance Anthem of the 80s by Regina Spektor
They want to be touched, to touch each other, / They want to sleep, they want to be slept, / They want to watch, to watch each other . . .

Knocks You Down by Keri Hilson, Kanye West & Ne-Yo
Every mornin’ I look at you and smile, / ‘Cause boy you came around and you knocked me down, / Knocked me down.

Young and Restless by Pains of Being Pure at Heart
Between the stacks in the library / Not like anyone stopped to see / We came they went our bodies spent / Among the dust and the microfiche.

Don’t Upset the Rhythm by Noisettes
So let me show you / Something super beautiful.

Under the Milky Way by Sia
And it’s something quite peculiar, / Something shimmering and white, / Leads you here despite your destination

This Tornado Loves You by Neko Case
Your rails have always outrun mine, / So I pick them up and crash them down / In a moment close to now.

Evacuate the Dancefloor by Cascada
I’m infected by the sound.

Kings and Queens by 30 Seconds to Mars
We stole our new lives, / Through blood and pain, / In defense of our dreams.

My nine most-played of the year:

Black or White by Michael Jackson
Now I believe in miracles, / And a miracle has happened tonight.

Desire by Ryan Adams
This time I’m speeding with no direction. / Without a reason. What is this fire? / Burning slowly. My one and only.

I’m Burning for You by Blue Oyster Cult
Burn out the day, / Burn out the night, / I can’t see no reason to put up a fight. / I’m living for giving the devil his due

Any Day Now by Missy Higgins
Say you’ve kept some fire away / To set light to me some surprising day.

Battlefield by Jordin Sparks
I guess you better go and get your armor.

I’m Yours by Jason Mraz
Listen to the music of the moment, maybe sing with me / A la peaceful melodies / It’s your God-forsaken right to be love, love, loved.

Gardener by Rebecca Riots
I have got to be more conscious / Of the things I do and don’t do . . . / It’s about perceiving what’s happening / In this very moment / And deliberately choosing to extend love.

Friends and Family by Trik Turner
‘Cause alls I need / Is the air that I breathe / And my friends and family / To believe in me.

Divorce Song by Liz Phair
I would have stayed in your bed / For the rest of my life / Just to prove I was right.

“We stop existing and start living.”

So, Michael Jackson died.

Say what?

I know, right?

That was my reaction, too, when I got home from work last night and flipped on NY1 to see crowds of people gathering not in Azadi Square in Tehran, but outside Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center. I descended on to the futon and sat there staring at the TV and wearing my doubleyoo-tee-eff face—the one I use to bait instant assistance in hardware stores and auto service stations.  One eyebrow up, one eyebrow down, nose wrinkled a little bit, mouth quirked up on one side and mouth dropped open (the degree of openness depends on the extent of my confusion).

Like Michael himself, my grieving process was unconventional.  In lieu of anger, bargaining, and depression, my emotions hopped from yeah right to uhhh, for serious? to this is super freaking weird and then I had to call my dad and ask him why so many bad things are happening in the world.


My Cool Aunt gave me Dangerous on cassette tape for Christmas when I was eight years old and I lllllloved it. I just listened to iTunes’ 30 second preview of each song and I recognize only five: Heal The World, Black or White, Who Is It, Give In To Me (sort of?), and Will You Be There. Those are tracks 7-11, and from that I deduce that Black or White and Will You Be There were my favorite songs, and I learned to like the ones in between them (and the one right before Black or White because I had to hear some of it every time I rewound my tape to play through again—and again and again, for weeks straight).

It was the first mainstream album that ever captured me (previous fixations included the soundtrack to The Little Mermaid and the greatest hits of Sharon, Lois, and Bram). It’s hard to understand retrospectively exactly what it was, but there was something about the music—and to a lesser extent, the lyrics—that I really felt. It sounded beautiful and interesting and emphatic in a way that I hadn’t yet realized music could sound.

2008 Faves: Songs

My eight favorite 2008 (or late 2007) releases


Circus by Britney Spears
I feel the adrenaline moving through my veins. / Spotlight on me and I’m ready to break.

As long as you’ve got my crazy, Britney, I’ve got your back!

This Town by O.A.R.
It’s better that we keep this close, / Keep you close to me. / Walking under every sky, / Over every sea. / You can be my modern girl, / And I can be the one you found.

But, Honestly by Foo Fighters
And all the words I gave to you, / Something borrowed, something blue, / If you want them back, / I’ll give it to you.

Many The Miles by Sara Bareilles (Live at The Fillmore)
I do what I can, wherever I end up, / To keep giving my good love.

Setting Forth by Eddie Vedder
This I will recall, / Every time I fall.

Live Your Life by T.I. (featuring Rhianna)
Some move away to make a way / not move away cause they afraid.

Mercy by Duffy
You got to understand that I need a man / Who can take my hand, yes I do.

She’s Like A Star by Taio Cruz
She’s my star, my light, starry night. / Aviator shades, ’cause she shine so bright.

My eight most-played of the year

Red by Sara Bareilles
I am fading in and out, / What are you gonna do save me now, / From all of this danger, you don’t know how, / And I’ll find my way out.


Hide and Seek by Imogen Heap
Oily marks appear on walls / Where pleasure moments hung before / The takeover, the sweeping insensitivity / Of this still life.

And So It Goes by Billy Joel
And this is why my eyes are closed, / It’s just as well for all I’ve seen. / And so it goes, and so it goes, / And you’re the only one who knows.

Running by Evermore
You don’t need a broken heart / To know a heart can be broken, / You just need to open your eyes. / We don’t need to be deceived / To know a lie can be spoken, / We don’t have to learn everything twice.

Always Midnight by Pat Monahan
A way to get back to you, / A way to get outta here. / I don’t want to be alone / At midnight anymore.

This Ain’t A Scene, It’s An Arms Race by Fall Out Boy (featuring Kanye West)
And I don’t really care which side wins / As long as the room keeps singing.

Just Like Heaven by Charlotte Martin (The Cure cover)
Spinning on that dizzy edge / I kissed his face, I kissed his head, / And dreamed of all the different ways / I had to make him glow. / “Why are you so far away?” he said, / “Oh, won’t you ever know that I’m in love with you?”

Party Generation by Dar Williams
It was the kind of party that you hope never ends / . . . There was a lot that you could learn if you lay near them, / Like if you listened you could hear them and he could hear them.

Britney hasn’t done a Christmas album so I’m mixing up the tunes

Last night I sat on the train next to a guy studying the pages of what must be the “textbook” for a taxi driving school.  It was a bound book of pages and pages of hotel, hospital, and museum addresses and mnemonics for figuring out where a particular street address falls between avenues.

Here I am, thinking I’m such a genius with the “traffic travels east on the even-numbered streets and west on the odd-numbered streets in Manhattan” rule (with seven exceptions, I think).  And I’m all impressed with myself when I inform my father that Penn Station and Grand Central are not, in fact, directly across the island from one another.  Haughty amateur!

I scored 66% on this Hack License NYC Taxi Test, and only because most of the questions concerned the geography of city parks.

This is what I’ve been listening to at my desk and not in my cab this week:
Circus by Britney Spears
Circus by Britney Spears
Circus by Britney Spears
O Little Town of Bethlehem by Sarah McLachlan
Oh, Holy Night by Tracy Chapman