Song of the Day #3,517: ‘Mystery of Love’ – Sufjan Stevens

Due to the Winter Olympics, this year’s Academy Awards are ridiculously late (March 4), which buys me a little time to sneak in some pre-Oscars blog posts. Specifically, I’m going to spend the next ten days featuring this year’s Best Original Song nominees as well as five of my favorite Best Original Song winners.

Michigan indie artist Sufjan Stevens is this year’s unlikeliest Best Song nominee. The eclectic multi-instrumentalist will seem as out of place on the Kodak Theatre stage as Elliott Smith did performing ‘Miss Misery’ from Good Will Hunting in 1997.

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Song of the Day #3,516: ‘Zak and Sara (Live)’ – Ben Folds

I’m surprised I haven’t already featured Ben Folds’ ‘Zak and Sara,’ either its studio version (from Folds’ 2001 solo debut Rockin’ the Suburbs) or the live version posted today.

This song is a perfect example of Folds’ gift for quick character sketches. I’ve always said that at his lyrical best, his songs are essentially short stories. Short stories sung with sticky melodies over exuberant piano music.

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Song of the Day #3,515: ‘Today’s Teardrops’ – Fountains of Wayne

Fountains of Wayne followed up the success of its 2003 album Welcome Interstae Managers, and surprise hit single ‘Stacy’s Mom,’ with a double album called Out-of-State Plates, filled with odds and ends they’d amassed over their career to that point.

Albums like this are usually quick cash grabs or contract fillers, and this one is no exception. It is entirely unremarkable, featuring songs that were B-sides for good reasons.

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Song of the Day #3,514: ‘If We Were Vampires’ – Jason Isbell and The 400 Unit

My final day covering this year’s Village Voice Pazz & Jop poll takes us right to #20. We’re skipping #17, Dua Lipa’s ‘New Rules,’ because I’ve already posted it. I recently downloaded Lipa’s debut album and I’m loving it. You’ll hear more from her on the blog soon.

At #18, we have a three-way tie. One of those songs is the excellent ‘Feel It Still’ by Portugal. The Man, also previously featured here. That song would be on my personal 2017 top ten, no question.

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Song of the Day #3,513: ‘Chanel’ – Frank Ocean

Tied for the 14th spot on Village Voice’s Pazz & Jop poll are two very different songs I’ve already featured on the blog: Kesha’s ‘Praying’ and Migos’ ‘Bad and Boujee.’ I’m a big fan of the former; the latter, not so much.

Frank Ocean claims the 16th spot with ‘Chanel,’ a single the elusive singer dropped as a surprise release earlier this year.

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Song of the Day #3,512: ‘Sign of the Times’ – Harry Styles

Happy Valentine’s Day! And, more important, Happy Birthday to my daughter Fiona, who turns 12 today!

Fiona should be reasonably happy to have a Harry Styles song featured on her special day. She would have been similarly happy to have the Village Voice Pazz & Jop #12 song, Lana Del Rey’s ‘Love,’ posted as well, had I not written about it last March.

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Song of the Day #3,511: ‘Hard Times’ – Paramore

Paramore claims the #11 spot on Village Voice’s Pazz & Jop poll with their sprightly single ‘Hard Times.’

Despite the calypso beat and pop art video, this is song was inspired by a bout of depression suffered by lead singer Hayley Williams. The juxtaposition of music and lyrics makes for a pleasantly disorienting experience.

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