Playlist of the Week: Marquee’s Underplayed Wonders

Hundreds of musical “best of” lists pop up at the end of every year, whether they be Top 10’s or Top 100’s. Most of these countdowns hash out songs you’ve heard more times than you blinked last year. Here at the Marquee desk, we don’t like stating the obvious and redundancy is a big pet peeve. After listening to the many music countdowns over break, we made mental lists of our favorites as well. Here’s a playlist of the hidden gems of 2009. These tunes are good to begin with and only became better when they weren’t overplayed.

Heart Skipped A Beat – The xx

We weren’t quite sure how to pronounce this band at first, but we figured it out (The Ex-Ex). The xx hail from London and a couple of their singles have already been picked up for commercials in the UK — so you know they’re going be big. To put it simply — this song is damn seductive. Get a guy and a girl to sing verses, add some not-too-mushy but still vulnerable lyrics, top it off with a drum machine and you can’t help but fall in “like.”

French Navy – Camera Obscura

When done well, retro can be so cool. This song sounds like it could have been recorded in 1962. It’s perfectly catchy and great to play when strolling to class, cleaning your pie-slice of a dorm or getting ready to hit the town on a Friday night. Basically, there is never a bad time for this one. If you get sick of 2010, listen to “French Navy” and trick yourself into thinking you’re in another era.

People Say – Portugal the Man

Your first listen to this song gives off a laid-back vibe and leaves you humming the melody long after it ends. Now press repeat — you know you want to — and listen closer to the lyrics. Behind this catchy tune lies a more serious message. The lyrics are frontman John Baldwin Gourley’s way of calling attention to the human cost of war. It’s a clever combo of upbeat music and lyrics that describe something that is anything but.

Don’t Believe a Word – Third Eye Blind

Third Eye Blind was one of the hottest bands of the ’90s, but when they ended their six year hiatus this summer with “Ursa Major,” they didn’t jump up the charts the way they’d always used to. The bright side: the lack of attention meant their lead single, “Don’t Believe a Word,” didn’t get murdered by overplay and is still as tolerable to listen to now as it was when it came out, unlike Third Eye Blind’s ’90s hits like “Jumper” and “Semi-Charmed Life.” We’re sure the band would have appreciated a little bit more attention, but we’re certainly not complaining.

New in Town – Little Boots

Sung by another Brit — this time the electropop songstress Little Boots — “New in Town” is a catchy, colorful tune that’s almost impossible to keep from dancing to. The song, from her debut album “Hands,” is about what it sounds like — being the new kid in town and getting taken out by a friend to get to know the place. The album’s not out in the States yet, but “New in Town” is starting Little Boots’ British invasion early, slipping onto the “Jennifer’s Body” soundtrack and an EP designed to pave the way for her official American debut later this year. If you’re looking for a secret 2009 single that’ll pay off in 2010, this might just be it.