Song of the Day #529: ‘1901’ – Phoenix

Best Songs of 2009 – #10

Over the next two weeks I’ll count down the ten 2009 songs I liked best. My ground rules are that I’ll feature only one song per album — no point in listing ten songs spread between two artists — and the albums had to be released this year. I did discover some older music this year, but those songs don’t make the cut.

This year has been rather lackluster for new music, despite some strong albums at the top of my list. The albums I expected to buy mostly lived up to my expectations but what the year lacked was a group of new releases discovered through year-end best-of lists, something I’ve counted on over the past few years.

I did see certain artists recurring on those lists — Animal Collective, Girls, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Dirty Projectors — but listening to them left me cold. Thank god for YouTube, which allows me to heavily sample albums without forking over any cash.

One semi-exception is Phoenix, who have been wildly overpraised but still put out a pretty good album. My wife bought this one so I haven’t bothered to review it. I’ve given the whole thing only a cursory listen and my take is that the first two songs are fabulous but the rest struggles to match the quality of those tracks.

‘1901’ was the breakout song for Phoenix (who have actually recorded three albums before this one, Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix). Most people probably know this song from the ubiquitous Cadillac commercial that features it… if you ever watch football without skipping the ads, you’ve heard it.

Counting all different ideas drifting away
Past and present they don’t matter
Now the future’s sorted out
Watch her moving in elliptical patterns
Think it’s not what you say
What you say is way too complicated
For a minute thought I couldn’t tell how to fall out

It’s twenty seconds till the last call
You’re going hey hey hey hey hey hey
Lie down you know it’s easy
Like we did it over summer long

And I’ll be anything you ask and more
You’re going hey hey hey hey hey hey hey
It’s not a miracle we needed
No I wouldn’t let you think so

Fold it, fold it, fold it, fold it

Girlfriend, oh your girlfriend is drifting away
Past and present 1855 -1901
Watch them built up a meteor tower
Think it’s not gonna stay anyway
Think it’s overrated
For a minute thought I couldn’t tell how to fall out

It’s twenty seconds till the last call
You’re going hey hey hey hey hey hey
Lie down you know it’s easy
Like we did it over summer long

And I’ll be anything you ask and more
You’re going hey hey hey hey hey hey hey
It’s not a miracle we needed
No I wouldn’t let you think so

Fold it, fold it, fold it, fold it

6 thoughts on “Song of the Day #529: ‘1901’ – Phoenix

  1. Amy says:

    I guess it’s been a long time since I’ve watched a football game live πŸ™‚ This song doesn’t immediately grab me, but I can imagine it might grow on me with repeated listens.

    Meanwhile, I’ll nominate my song of 2009, as I doubt it will be on your list. I discovered this musician when he played with the Counting Crows at a summer concert. However, he’s been playing and releasing records for a couple of decades now. In fact, this song was written before 2009 but not released until then, so it counts, right? πŸ™‚ Anyway, here it is… my favorite discovery of 2009:

  2. Dana says:

    On first listen, I like the sound, but not so much the voice.

  3. jonsquared says:

    Saw a Phoenix show in December, and they rocked! Don’t know how I feel about this song, though, since they started using it in adverts. Oh, well. Phoenix still rocks!

  4. Clay says:

    I think the state of the music industry being what it is, you can’t fault artists anymore for making money where they can, whether that’s in TV shows, commercials, movies, etc.

  5. Amy says:

    That’s a good point. It’s not as though we fault music when it is written for a film, though it clearly is “selling” something in such an instance (a love story, an idea, some emotion or other). Is allowing your song to be used to sell a product so much different – especially if it’s a product you like? I wouldn’t want my song (or a song I loved) to sell some product I found morally reprehensible – but a car? Or Coca Cola? Or … (i’m having trouble thinking of what is advertised on televison – wow, how the dvr has changed our lives for the better!) Anyway, that I don’t mind so much.

  6. Kerrie says:

    I never thought about the music from the Cadillac ads being anything other than a “jingle” created for them. I’ve never listened to any of the words (and so few of the lyrics actually get played that I didn’t worry about it) so to learn that this is a stand alone song is kind of strange.

    I can’t listen to this now without picturing Kate Walsh or some other famous face driving a Caddy (not Tiger, but someone else…) and although I like the sound in general, it is too connected to a brand for me to really enjoy it on its own merit. That makes me a little sad…

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