1. Fire Island, AK - The Long Winters
There are only a few things that may warrant me to get a tattoo dedicated to it: my parents, my siblings, and this song. It's THAT amazing. John Roderick ties the story of a lost love into an amazingly poignant ode to anyone in one of life's tight spots (at least, to anyone who chooses interpret it that way). Did it reach you?
2. Prom Night At Hater High - The Long Winters
Come on, they had to stick together! This tune perfectly embodies the feeling almost every teenager has had to get the hell out of the place where they feel the least understood: their hometowns. Sample lyric: "These kids are my age/It's strange to say/Look up!/Every star is singing in space/But I am motionless/On this tiny strip..." I could cry!
3. Highschool Lover - AIR
I, unfortunately, can no longer enjoy this song recreationally because I'm saving it for a special occasion (those closest to me know what I'm talking about). But what I can say for now is that it's the most elegant, beautiful, heartbreaking, inspiring, devastating, simple song one could ever grace their ears with.
4. The Crane Takes Flight - Ted Leo and the Pharmacists
A close tie for third was this violin-driven ballad dedicated to the finer things in life: a good heart, a strong will, and an open mind. Mr. Leo mixes the wordplay of a poet with the rhythm of a true Jersey-shore musician, and both coexist perfectly in the intertwining genius of The Crane Takes Flight.
5. You Are What You Love - Jenny Lewis with the Watson Twins
I cannot say enough about this song. The lyrics are thoughtful and heart-wrenching, while still remaining meaningful and all together amazing. Her solo effort most definitely paid off, and we have the boys of Rilo Kiley to thank (among others) for their support of her work.
6. I'm Looking Through You - The Beatles
No list of mine would be complete without a Beatles song. Have you ever had a feeling that the person you're most trusting of isn't being as honest with you as they could be? Has it become a problem? The Fab Four knows how you feel, and you can consider this song written just for that person.
7. Polite Dance Song - The Bird and the Bee
The first song that really makes you want to do what it's instructing you to. Downplay the Macarena and obey Inara George's instructions. You will be rewarded with the time of your life.
8. Attached - Goodbye Ian
What originally stemmed from a recent, yet brief (who am I kidding, it's on-going), love of Ricky Ullman bloomed the love of a simple and beautifully written song about the pleading of a man who asks his lover to change their ways and come back to him. Kinda like rehab for the heart, huh?
9. Midnight Surprise - Lightspeed Champion
You know a song is good when you'll sit through almost ten minutes of it to get to your favorite part... and it's not even the lyrics that get you! Being the sucker for an amazing piano-driven crescendo that I am, the time flies by before I know it. Love you lots, Lightspeed.
Ever tried to give advice to someone who just wouldn't listen? Play them this song and pray to God they wise up... but try not to shed a billion tears while doing so.
11. Doctor My Eyes - Jackson Browne
It seems as though every song on this list so far has been about a deeply personal journey, and this hit from Mr. Browne is no different. Recounting the mistakes he's made and resigning himself to the fact that no one is perfect, but STILL trying his hardest to make it through with a better head is the goal. Listen and love.
12. Munich - Editors
All you have to do is listen to the song for one minute and you'll be hooked. An excellent video often enhances the admiration one may have for a certain song, and when seen, this video will blow your mind. Grab your helmet and head on over to YouTube. (Note: Atomic will not be held responsible for any loss of minds due to blowage. Be safe, kiddos!)
13. O Yeah - End of Fashion
Set over a poppy beat with the accompanyment of young children, "O Yeah" will certainly teach you how to express happiness again - No need for expensive smile school!
14. Florida - Modest Mouse
Never move forward with regrets. Isaac Brock knows this, and now ao do you. Make him proud.
15. Satellite - Guster
This song makes me sad for so many reasons, which are essentially silly (brutal honesty never hurt anyone...ish). We all want to be thought of the way Guster loves their girls, period.
P.S. Honorable mentions go out to multiple songs by Tegan and Sara, TV on the Radio, The Rosebuds, M.I.A. and others!