Music to Grade Exams By (Favorite Songs of 2009)

Like most law professors, I’m always trying to think of ways to make exam-grading as tolerable as possible.  Right now, for example, I’m in the middle of what I like to call a “grading vacation,” in which I combine the monotony of grading with the fun of a vacation by taking my exams with me to visit my friends on the east coast.  By day, I grade while my friends are at work and by night I enjoy catching up old friends.

One other key to maintaining my sanity while reading 150+ essay exams is listening to music.  I find the grading season to be great time to listen to some of my favorite albums or to catch up on some of the new music I’ve been meaning to check out.  So, in that spirit, I thought I might offer a post for all us who enjoy listening to music while grading to share some of our favorite tracks of the past year so that we can all get some ideas for new artists and songs to check.

I’ll kick things off with my 20 favorite songs of 2009 .  All are available either on iTunes or emusic with perhaps one or two exceptions.  I’ve included links to youtube videos for the songs where available.

  1. Ida Maria — Forgive Me
  2. Yeaysayer — Ambling Alp
  3. Justin Townes Earle — Someday I’ll be Forgiven for This
  4. The Avett Brothers — I and Love and You
  5. P!nk — Please Don’t Leave Me
  6. Diamond Rings — All Yr Songs
  7. Clyde Carson (feat. Mistah F.A.B. & Kaz Kyzah) — Smokin’ on Purple
  8. Bon Iver — Woods
  9. Parry Gripp — Jackie Johnson
  10. The Big Pink — Dominos
  11. Frightened Rabbit — Swim Until You Can’t See Land
  12. Lightning Dust — I Knew
  13. Bright Eyes — Papa Was a Rodeo
  14. Weezer — (If You’re Wondering If I Want You To) I Want You To
  15. Neon Indian — Psychic Chasms
  16. We Were Promised Jetpacks — Quiet Little Voices
  17. Camera Obscura — Honey in the Sun
  18. Super Furry Animals — Helium Hearts
  19. Rye Rye — Bang
  20. Cut Off Your Hands — Turn Cold

So, what are your favorites?  No need to list 20, of course.  Comments with even just one or two of the tracks you’ve most enjoyed from the past year are welcome and encouraged.

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8 Responses

  1. Anon Prof says:

    I like Pandora for this–put in one song I like, get back lots that are similar. Anyway, Pandora provided my favorite song so far this year for grading, which is some song by 50 Cent (I think) that has the lyric in it, “There ain’t no business like ho business.” (Remaining anonymous for obvious reasons.)

  2. Ashby Jones says:

    Great songs.

    Few more, in that vein:

    Snow Days, Real Estate
    So Bored, Wavves
    Wet Hair, Japandroids
    Red Tide, Neko Case
    My Cabal, School of Seven Bells

  3. Joseph Slater says:

    Thanks for the fun links! I’m working on my “personal faves of 2009” list right now, so I’ll give you this dozen, in no particular order (sorry, no links):

    You Never Know — Wilco
    Rudie Fails — White Rabbits
    Stranger to Myself — Ubiquitous Synergy Seeker
    It’s Nice to Know You Work Alone — Silversun Pickups
    November Was White, December Was Gray — Say Hi
    Never Turn Your Back on Mother Earth — Neko Case
    Hurrican Party (live version) — James McMurtry
    Closing Time (live version) — Leonard Cohen
    Swans — Camera Obscura
    Ain’t No Rest for the Wicked — Cage the Elephant
    Welcome to England — Tori Amos
    Catapult — Artic Monkeys

    And two songs not from 2009 that I just discovered that I like a lot:

    Birdie Brain — Fiery Furnaces
    Sénégal Fast-Food — Amadou & Mariam

  4. Marc Blitz says:

    Attack in Black — Young Leaves

    Arbouretum — Mohammed’s Hex and Bounty

    Devon Davis — Turtle and the Flightless Bird

    Booda Velvets — Everything Under the Sun
    (No YouTube Video)

    I enthusiastically second Joseph Slater’s Ubiquitous Synergy Seeker recommendation and your own Super Furry Animals recommendation. Anything by those bands is worth listening to.

    I think some of these pre-date 2009 by a year or two. But I didn’t know about them until this year.

  5. Joseph Slater says:

    To follow up on Marc Blitz’s comment, Ubiquitous Synergy Seeker is my favorite new band find of the past couple of years, they have lots of great songs, and their CDs are very much worth owning. Now off to check out Marc’s pics. . . .

  6. Alex Kreit says:

    Thanks all for the great songs! I’ve only had the chance to check out a few so far, but have been enjoying them all–especially the Japandroids, Ubiquitous Synergy Seeker tracks.

  7. Joseph Slater says:

    If you’re enjoying USS, make sure you get “Hollow Point Sniper Hyperbole.”