As we continue our week of Dan Deacon posts, today we discuss his top ten best songs. Over the course of four full length releases, he’s excelled at making music that is thoughtful, radiant, and a stark contrast to overwhelmingly simplistic ideas of other electronic musicians. He’s Daft Punk level good, except currently you wouldn’t know that unless you actively sought it out. Anyway, I present to you the Top Ten Best Dan Deacon songs. Enjoy!
10. Feel the Lightning, Gliss Riffer
Everyone keeps saying this is a return to form. In some ways it most certainly is, but in other ways it’s a natural progression. The opening beat quickly gives way to a more elaborate, and densely structured sound, but it’s all in service to the music. Dan also has a way of layering his vocals to both sound like someone from a Crystal Castles track, but also himself. These sections weave in and out, but it always works great. The video is also really fun and imaginative, and finds the basis for it in the theory that our household objects coming to life, ala Toy Story. It’s a solid track, and it kicks off our list of the Top Ten Dan Deacon songs.
9. Get Older, Bromst
Like a computer short circuiting, this track bends and folds into a mass of energy that quickly reaches it’s comfort level. The amount of things going on in the intermediate section before the big explosion is exciting, but it’s that explosion that really sends the song to where it needs to go. It’s dance worthy in almost every way, and it perfectly exemplifies how thoughtfully insane and brightly lit Deacon’s music is. The underlying symbol beats are a nice touch too, and although it’s impossible to follow the complexity of everything going on here, you get the impression the song would be radically different and not as amazing if even one thing was changed.
8. Red F, Bromst
“Bromst,” released in 2009, is probably his most well rounded album at this time, and it’s a track like “Red F” that helps to give the listener a unique experience. It’s a high intensity track, and the movement is constantly propelled by an ever growing change in dynamics. The track goes from robust and full, to quick and manic, and everything in between. Things really get interesting around the three minute mark where all the mad experiments explode upon each other and Dan is heard in the background keeping everything in order. It’s probably one of his most intense songs, but it’s worth every section of enjoyment, especially in the capacity of a concert, which is where he thrives.
7. Lots, America
Another one that has a tiny bit of intro but descends into a dance fueled meltdown that is impossible to resist. It’s one of the stand out tracks from “America,” and it’s not hard to see why. Quite simply, there are entire bands that could learn from Dan Deacon on how to make exciting music. He gives it his all consistently, and it really shows. One of my favorite parts of this track are the little chants prevalent in the background of the song. It’s almost joyous and holy in the way it’s presented, and while I think organized religion is a detriment to society, if it’s all about the experience and the dancing, I’d likely join Dan’s religion, if he had one. Although I guess in a musical way he already does..
6. the Crystal Cat, Spiderman of the Rings
One of his earliest hits, if you'd call it that, finds us at number six on the Top Ten Dan Deacon songs. “The Crystal Cat,” is a highly explosive, frenzied song that barely slows down, even initially. It’s frenetic in ways many artists couldn't even compare with. The uptempo track is a staple at his live shows, and transforms even the tamest of audiences into a full fledged dance machine numbering in the hundreds. It’s also one of his most verbose tracks, but the lyrics only add to the fun, and as you can imagine,they inspire fantastic chants at live shows. An early sign of greatness.
5. Snookered, Bromst
Maybe the track that broke him in a bigger way? I’m not so sure of that, but plenty of people have been moved by this gradually great track. I’m easily one of them. It always reminded me of “With or Without You” by U2 in the way it’s able to slowly build layer on layer until it’s so involved and thoughtful you just can’t even imagine something better. The bells, and slow beats that open the song eventually give way to a solemn, but glorious reflection of what life is, struggles and achievements alike. For me this was the moment where Deacon become not only someone who deserves a bigger audience, but also one of the most emotionally talented musicians I’ve ever had the pleasure of experiencing.
4. When I was Done Dying, Gliss Riffer
A newer track sure, but one the Top Ten Dan Deacon songs, “When I was Dying,” stands out as a sign of both where he came from as a musician, but also how he;s grown over the years. The lyrics are eye opening to say the least, but the message is one that remains hopeful, at least to me. The composition of the music is also brilliantly balanced and layered, which gives added weight to the central theme of the song, which to me is the greatness of living a life for all it’s worth, and never being guided by anger or hostility. Musically it’s not the most in your face upbeat track he has in his arsenal, but you don't have to always go that route to make an impact.
3. Paddling Ghost, Bromst
Even as the song starts, you can sense this is going to end up being a dance anthem, and within
thirty seconds it ends up being true. It’s a chaotic song that makes the listener think of a world filled with brightly lit rooms, laughter, and never ending happiness. It’s probably one of his most sonically heavy tracks, and the chants, breakneck beats, and everything in between only help to make a song that is truly fit for moments where all baggage from your everyday life needs to be pushed aside, even if for a moment.
2. Wham City, Spiderman of the Rings
This track, off his first official release is a epic journey full of blasting electro beats, tales of mots, bridges, and wonderful images. It’s a slow build up of knobs and experimental beats, but it’s all in preparation for the dance party that takes over at around the three minute mark. The lyrics are great and mythological, but if you are familiar with Dan you know it’s all in service to the overall foundation of the song. I’ve seen this song performed a few times, and it’s amazing how much dancing you can get through in twelve fun filled minutes. For me, there’s little else in his discography that reaches this soaring and awesome song. On the Top ten Dan Deacon songs, “Wham City,”(which is what Baltimore is often known as in this circle) finds us at number two.
1. Build Voice, Bromst
This insanely brilliant, eye opening song slowly grows over cold, distant beats, like a astronaut looking for life on alien worlds. “Build Voice,” our number one Dan Deacon song, finds the strength build and build as Dan’s voice and normal mythical lyrics reach places few others are capable of. It’s lyrically not a super long track, but what is said is masterfully done and perfectly sets the stage for the explosion of power that finds the listener shortly after the three minute mark. Since being exposed to this song, it’s remained not only one of the best songs I’ve ever heard, but it’s also his best song, at least in my opinion. Even the piano keys towards the end before the last little upbeat section work in a way you might not expect them to. The only bad thing is the fact this it’s maybe only been played two times at most in it’s existence. Hopefully someday that will change and the world will get to experience this truly marvelous track in a live setting.
See you Friday, Thanks for reading!
Landon Murray is a published writer and an avid lover of music, books and films. He's also a lover of the New Orleans Saints. He was born in 1982 and has a chainsaw tattoo on his arm.
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