For Pete’s Sake — my 10 favorite songs of 2016

“A Thousand Times” by Hamilton Leithauser

Why I love this track: it captures the feeling of a long walk around New York as the year winds down and regret sets in. The lyrics are unstoppable — “The 10th of November, the year’s almost over… I had a dream that you were mine, I’ve had that dream a thousand times”

“Old Friends” by Pinegrove

Why I love this track: It plays like a random dude at an open mic, plugging in casually and wanting to get something off his chest. The melody floats through dirty chords and tells a mellow story of regret, old friends and acquaintances.

“Staring out the Window at Your Old Apartment” by Jeff Rosenstock

Why I love this track: There are 6 absolutely unstoppable songs on this record. I chose this track because the lyrics are funny “Someone put a decorative surfboard up…” and the chorus just rips when the chords sway and Jeff blurts out “imagining the ‘old you’ stumbling through..” Nostalgia is a mixed emotion and tough to pull off honestly, this track (and much of the album) — nails it.

“Lookers” by The Menzingers

Why I love this track: Speaking of nostalgia… “Lookers” captures that weird moment of catching a glance of an old photo of you and the one you love, back when you were young and free. Is the feeling regret? Longing for the past? Wishing you were still that thin and looked that good? And don’t even get me started on the references to Dean and Sal from “On the Road” and the killer chorus that all the kids are pogo’ing to. Best pop song of the year.

“Monaco” by Public Access TV

Why I love this track: I dig the live version on Spotify. This is one of those tracks that has two choruses, you could say the first is a pre-chorus, but it is just too catchy for that. Killer song for a Friday evening.

“Coming Home” by Leon Bridges

Why I love this track: This is one of those songs that you swear you have heard before. The feeling of coming home and returning to the one you love is universal and Leon brings out that simple longing beautifully.

“Casual Party” by Band of Horses

Why I love this track: It’s a natural follow-up to the song “Weed Party” from their first record. Except now the Horses seem to be stuck at a lame party surrounded by un-interesting people. We’re all getting older…

“Wrestle Yu to Husker Du” by The Dirty Nil

Why I love this track: This is a dirty dropped tuned track about a dude who digs a girl despite her wack boyfriend. So who in this screwed up love triangle has the problem?

“They Want More” by Ages and Ages

Why I love this song: This group nails a mid-tempo head bobber with a simple guitar riff and rhythmic vocals on beat. The too familiar feeling of burn out is captured with a subtle nod. It’s alright….

“I am a Nightmare” by Brand New

Why I love this track: Thank god one of my bands from College can still release decent music. Nice riff, catchy chorus and self conscious lyrics. I kept coming back to his one on the AM walk to the office.

Bonus Song —

“Me & Magdalena” by The Monkees

Why I love this song: When Mike Nesmith sings “we’re driving south through Monterey..” you get that feeling of a by-gone era in California. But as it turns out, California still fulfills the dream it laid out years ago in the American psyche and this track was written by Ben Gibbard from Death Cab and performed by the Monkees 50 years past.

***I hope you enjoy these songs as much as I did in 2016. What did I miss?

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