Ultimate Mixtape: 60 – 41

At one point, we entertained the idea of rouletting the entire list of 150 songs, forgetting that the process employed to order the 400 all-time favorite albums of the Decades project took several months of card-shuffling in locales all over Northern California. None of us are very good at math, but after postulating some variables and discovering that 150 songs would take somewhere in the neighborhood of thirty hours to complete, we opted for a plan B. The bottom hundred tunes would be ranked by silent ballot, while the top 50 would be subjected to the live bonfire frivolity. With one exception: any song that was ranked number one by an individual on his or her list would automatically be bumped up into the roulette. Enter The Killers, making this mix installment the first to feature an Idler’s favorite song. We also get the first taste of Ted Leo, one of the patron saints of The Institute.

60. “Young Hearts Spark Fire” – The Japandroids
My friends and I saw Japandroids at the Blue Lamp in Sacramento when this album came out. Not a ton of people were there, but we were really too busy drunkenly yelling every single word of their songs to notice. – tyrannofloresrex

59. “Timorous Me” – Ted Leo & The Pharmacists
One of my absolute favorite songs from one of my favorite artists. It’s a tribute to friendship, memory, and the collective experiences that define our lives. I shouldn’t be surprised, considering how great this song is, but it still impresses me that, every time I see Ted Leo live, this is the song that affects everyone in the crowd. We all sing along, and by the time the frenetic guitar trill kicks in at the song’s close, we’ve all added another enduring experience to our life stories. – MMDG

58. “Welfare Bread” – King Khan & The Shrines
Eating government food never seemed so appealing, especially if unconditional love is the dessert. Khan’s voice overflows with sentimentality as the Shrines groove on a 1960’s inspired jam. It’s an honest plea for hopeless romance in an age of modern practicality. – tyrannofloresrex

57. “Come with Us” – Chemical Brothers
A unique and bombastic opening track to an innovative album full of big beats and exquisite sound design. – Vico Vault

56. “The Less I Know the Better” – Tame Impala
Way too much to choose from, but I was so impressed by Kevin Parker’s evolution as a songwriter on Currents, I had to go with one of the more recent cuts. Okay, the video might have helped a little.  – hltchk

55. “Reckoner” – Radiohead
Rhythm, timbre, and resonance shine in Radiohead’s most frisson inducing song. Though nothing particularly complex happens over the course of “Reckoner,” the song manages to show how skilled each member of the group really is. Jonny Greenwood’s delicate strings and Thom Yorke’s hovering voice allow the song an emptiness that most bands would fill if they had superstar vocalist or accomplished string composer. Less is more sometimes, and Reckoner is most least. – IP

54. “Little Secrets” – Passion Pit
Passion Pit are the masters of idiosyncratic bangers.  – hltchk

53. “Gimme All Your Love” – Alabama Shakes
Allowing a moment like “Gimme All Your Love’s” infectious bridge to sit in the center of their album, instead of using it to draw listeners in, shows Alabama Shake’s newfound boldness and how far they’ve come as trendbuckers since their first album. This song will be an all timer from this era, just wait. – IP

52. “ONE” – Yeasayer
Yeasayer have a way of creating music that sounds like nothing ever done before. This song is them flirting with dance music in an interesting way. They claim to be gospel influenced, and “ONE” shows that well in its opening minutes. This is another song that really becomes great towards the end, a reward song if you will. All that weirdness the listener endures at the beginning coalesces into something easy to love by the end. So funky, so catchy, but so odd at the same time. – IP

51. “Inspector Norse” – Todd Terje
Pure synths build upon each other to form this happy funky melodic track. – Vico Vault

50. “Mr. Brightside” – The Killers
The Killers join Arcade Fire as the only bands to feature multiple Mixtape songs taken from the same album. This track was lebronald’s #1 on the silent ballot.

49. “Roses” – OutKast
Huge song on a huge double album that was so good it got lame incredibly fast. Too many old ladies flat-toning Heeey yaaaa for everyone’s liking. This song holds up, though, even with the overplay. And every Caroline I meet gets called a bitch… but musically… affectionately. – lebronald

48. “Latch” – Disclosure
I didn’t nominate a lot of songs from the last few years to this list because it’s hard for me to qualify something as a favorite if I haven’t had the chance to live with it for awhile. Fortunately fellow Idlers like IP, MH, and even MDDG, a.k.a “Bad Matt,” mustered up the gumption to declare some songs in the infancy of their lifespan as their favorite tracks. The list turned out better for it. “Latch” is one of the best pop songs in recent memory, a call to the dance floor that only the truly heartless could resist. This wasn’t one of my favorite songs when this project started, but it’s working its way up. – tyrannofloresrex

47. “Fluorescent Adolescent” – Arctic Monkeys
Too bad the Britrock wars of the 90s are over, because Arctic Monkeys may have swept the field. Imagine Oasis stoking the engine-room fires, and Blur on the bridge steering the ship…plus Alex Turner can write witty, literate lyrics without the painful self-consciousness of Damon Albarn. – holybeeofephesus

46. “Like Eating Glass” – Bloc Party
I got SO MUCH SHIT for picking this song. But you know what, it’s MY favorite. That’s what the draft is all about. Picking favorites. This album is absolutely stacked. Most bands would kill for a deeper cut off of Silent Alarm like “Price of Gasoline” or “Blue Light,” let alone the titanic singles “Helicopter” and “Banquet,” which I was chided for not selecting. Apparently though, everyone does in fact love my pick. Seeing this track revealed on the beach and making the top 50 was one of my personal highlights of the bonfire after enduring a weeklong tarring and feathering on Google chat. – hltchk

45. “Hate To Say I Told You So” – The Hives
There was a lot of deliberation on whether or not this song should be allowed on the list due to conflicting release dates. Luckily, pretty much everyone loves this song, so we let it slide. The Swedish purveyors of punk were one of the first bands to ever take up shop on my mp3 player. They’ve never left and I hope they never will. – hltchk

44. “Chinatown” – Destroyer
Dan Bejar brought about the return of soft rock with “Chinatown” and it was something I long thought dead. With echoes of Fleetwood Mac’s masterpiece Rumours, “Chinatown” gently danced its way into my heart. I still am waiting for more of this kind of music and I will probably have to wait a lot longer. – MeanOldPig

43. “Dancing on My Own” – Robyn
Robyn is as close as we have gotten to a modern day Madonna. A true pop queen in the purest, her songs have both the catchiest and a real weight to the lyrics. With Dancing On My Own, she has created such a modern heartbreak song that makes you want to dance your problems away. The sadness of seeing your former lover with another is hammered in the by relentless synths and drums yet Robyn chooses to defy them all and keep moving. – MeanOldPig

42. “1901” – Phoenix
Fold it, fold it. Not sure what they’re talking about but great song on a great album. The Knife should consult with their compatriots. Also saw a best-in-show performance from these guys at Outside Lands. – lebronald

41. “Float On” – Modest Mouse
I caught Modest Mouse’s incendiary set at the ’05 Sasquatch Festival, where they went on after Kanye West’s lazy, indifferent “performance” and had to work double-hard to win the audience back. Isaac Brock’s heart of darkness can certainly be mined for melodic brilliance. – holybeeofephesus

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