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2012: 15 of the Best. #15 …

December 3, 2012

Ah yes, another year, another countdown. Like the Christmas mixes, I’ve been doing these “15 of the Best” rundowns since 2006 and the one thing about them that never changes is that the following year, I discover some song that was released the year prior and totally should’ve been on that year’s list. Frustrating. Nevertheless, every year manages to make way for at least 15 songs that I think are the particularly fantastic and while other blogs, magazines and websites are happy to tell you what the best albums of the year, I’m happy to tell you what some of the best songs are and even provide ’em for you.

Two changes to this year’s list: First, check the comments. Secondly, if an official video was released to accompany the song, I’ll post that too so you can have an instantaneous preview of what I’m talking about. But this isn’t about ranking videos. Some videos are crap. Some videos are cool. Just remember this rundown is about the songs, not the videos.

15. Donald Fagen – I’m Not the Same Without You

From: Sunken Condos
Released: October 16, 2012
Label: Reprise
Buy it: Here

This song probably won’t change the minds of everyone who’s already decided that they don’t like Steely Dan. For fans of Steely Dan, they might go on a little too much about how genius this is. I like Steely Dan OK, but I’m not going to say this is genius. Of course, if I’m pressed, I argue the genius of Steely Dan was not the common B.S. that everyone spews (The production! The session musicians! The craft, maaaaaaaaaan!), but the fact that they always plugged some pretty funny lyrics and stories into what sounded like some high-brow R&B/jazz fusion. This continues that tradition. Usually with a title like “I’m Not the Same Without You,” you’d expect a tired old love-lost thing, but the old smarty-pants Donald turns it on its head and talks about how positive life in general has been since the split. “I’m evolving at a really astounding rate of speed into something way cooler than what I was before … Since you’ve been gone, it’s like somebody switched the stars back on,” he sings in muted (OK, OK … more smartass than muted) wonderment. Anyone who’s come out thinking more clearly after such a breakup can relate. So then maybe this is genius by my own Steely Dan-rating standards? Well, it’s at least very, very good.

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