The Tough Alliance - “A New Chance (Juan Maclean remix)”
A problem I have with year-end lists is that mine quickly become outdated as I spend the first couple months of the following year playing acclaimed music catch-up. Last year for instance, I ranked M83 as my favorite album but over the past year, I came to appreciate 2008 releases by Air France (thanks Tuneage!), Vampire Weekend and Crystal Castles. Some spoilsports might argue that “such is life” and that it’s futile to fix the present, but an inaccurate list is a time capsule of taste and uh, why the hell not?
Hence this song: my favorite song at the moment and my personal pick for “best remix of 2009”. Those fleeting designations will no doubt change over the next few weeks, but it’s all about the message: Any day is a new chance—a new romance. The line about “a place where diamonds never fade away” is a red herring because the only such place is the here and now. In other words, embrace the present and give the new year and decade your fiercest enthusiasm.
Tristan’s Favorites for 2009:
Also, I’m seeking submissions for my Tumblr-oriented “albums of the decade” poll. Submit a top-ten ballot if you’re into that sort of thing.
Phoenix - “Lasso”
Jaws dropped when Phoenix performed on Saturday Night Live earlier this year. Part of the surprise was the fact that these cult French soft-rockers were on national TV, but the big shock came when this cult French soft-rock band positively nailed it with their impeccable performances of “1901” and “Lisztomania”.
The SNL appearance created a surge of hype for the group’s fourth album, Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix, which delivers plenty of their patented class and polish. “1901” and “Lisztomania” still soar and transfix. “Fences” recalls the sleek electronics of Daft Punk and Air, and the two-parts of “Love like a Sunset” (part II) find the band in krautrock space-out territory. “Lasso” provides the shortest song and builds to a fine britpop resolution. Plus, it rhymes “so pretty” and “diplomacy”.
Phoenix - “1901”
For me, Wednesdays generally come with a side of the doldrums, so upbeat tuneage is the order of the day. If you’re tuned in to the music web, you might have already heard that earlier this week the French pop group Phoenix released the first song from their upcoming album Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix. The song is “1901” (available for free from Phoenix’s website), and it doesn’t stray from what Phoenix does best: music that’s sugary, synthy, and as fun as the day is long. If you’re not tapping your toe or bobbing your head to this song, you’re doing it wrong; this new Phoenix track is exactly the kind of song I needed this morning.