12. Superchunk - “Me and You and Jackie Mittoo”
It begins and ends with a lapse in belief that plagues all self-aware listeners: “I hate music / What is it worth? / Can’t bring anyone back to this Earth.” In the intervening two minutes of “Me & You & Jackie Mittoo”, Mac McCaughan and his band of indie rock lifers do everything short of raising the dead in convincing themselves—and us—that music can be worth everything. Stitching together a song out of could-have-been choruses, the band reinvigorates clichés like loading up the van and sweet summer breezes, and hangs its title line on an inspirational figure a few genres over. It’s a perfect encapsulation of how both communal experience and unlikely, treasured record store scores can silence the pesky naysaying pragmatist lurking in the heart of music fans everywhere. And, as the members of Superchunk know well, a killer sing-along refrain never hurts, either.
Here’s the one entry I wrote for PopMatters’ singles list, up today. It hasn’t been a rich year of discovery for me, since stay-at-home parenting a toddler (even part-time) takes a huge chunk out of your listening time. Started a great, full-time library job two weeks ago, complete with some headphones-friendly responsibilities and bus commute, though, so 2014’s ballot may look a little more interesting (if not necessarily better, because I stand by these choices) than this year’s:
1. Superchunk – “Me & You & Jackie Mittoo”
2. Okkervil River – “Down Down the Deep River”
3. Paramore – “Still Into You”
4. Kanye West – “Bound 2”
5. Chvrches – “Gun”
The Chvrches’ tune is the only one that didn’t end up fairly high on the PM list, but “The Mother We Share” (2012, guys!) did.