The Best Songs in Dallas Music, 2009: The Paper Chase and "What Should We Do With Your Body? (The Lightning)" Scare Us Into Submission at No. 12

[Editor's Note: Over the next couple of weeks, I'll be presenting my favorite local songs of the year, counting down from No. 25 to No. 1, one track a day. Right now, though, we take an in-depth look at song No. 12 on the list--and feel free to click after the jump for a free download of the track. Lastly, keep checking back to see how the list pans out, and, also after the jump, check out songs No. 40-26 in the Top 40 list that will update as it grows...]

No. 12: The Paper Chase -- "What Should We Do With Your Body? (The Lightning)"

The Paper Chase turns its back on television.
The Paper Chase turns its back on television.
Dylan Hollingsworth

2009, without a doubt, proved itself a banner year for one John Congleton. He affirmed his place as a top producer, both in the region and beyond, thanks to his work on St. Vincent's critically acclaimed Actor, an album that already sits atop its fair share of year-end lists and features Congleton's fingerprints over every nook and cranny. But beyond producing an album that appears universally accepted as one of the year's best, Congleton's own band, The Paper Chase, also released its most ambitious disc to date with Someday This Could All be Yours, Vol. 1, the first of two planned concept albums revolving around the idea of natural disaters. It's an epic, painstakingly detailed album and view into the twisted inner workings Congleton's mind. And nowhere else on the May-released disc are Congleton's inner workings more vulnerable and open than on "What Should We Do With Your Body? (The Lightning)."

Bonus mp3:

The Paper Chase -- "What Should We Do With Your Body? (The Lightning)"

Seems there are two things you can expect to hear in a song from Congleton and his cohorts Bobby Weaver, Jason Garner and Sean Kirkpatrick. For starters, the music will be dark and dreary. And, secondly? It will abosultely feature angular, twisting melodies and sonic turns--which has become something of a trademark of the band's over the years.

And while "What Should We Do With Your Body (The Lightning)" boasts both of these elements, it offers them up via perhaps the band's most epic sound to date. This song's almost cinematic in its scope, more score-like than single. Everything--from the emergency broadcast signal test that starts the song to Kirkpatrick's near-spastic piano play, from the recorded background children's voices to Congleton's own grandiose, peacher-like vocal delivery--is placed carefully and deliberately in the mix here.

In the end, it all adds up to an introspective, seemingly post-apocalyptic take one man's relatiionship with God. It seems, for a moment as the song starts coming to its close, that Congleton's finally found Him. Congleton's voice, finally, is sweet, and the melody that the band's performed all along suddenly seems less jarring.

It's beautiful, really. Hopeful, even.

But before the song finally does reach its end, the music darkly falls off, releasing the swell of support that it has offered Congleton along this song's journey. Happiness, the message seems to be, remains just out of reach.

Maybe. But great songwriting isn't.

The Top 40 Local Songs of 2009
(Links to music videos and free song downloads available where applicable; links to streams where neither a download nor video exists.)

40. The Wax Museums -- "Safety in Numbers"

39. Macon Greyson -- "Pushing Strings"

38. The Burning Hotels -- "Austin's Birthday" ( video )

37. The Riverboat Gamblers -- "DissDissDissKissKissKiss" ( video )

36. Salim Nourallah -- "Endless Dream Days"

35. The Phuss -- "Preacher, Preacher"

34. The Southern Sea -- "These Things Always End Badly"

33. Fungi Girls -- "Pacifica Nostalgia"

32. Giggle Party -- "Jason Bought a Hatchet" ( video )

31. Carter Albrecht -- "Country Living" ( stream )

30. This Old House -- "At Risk"

29. Occult Detective Club -- "You'll Follow Me"  

28. Bad Sports -- "Nothing But Agitation"

27. Darktown Strutters -- "Quakertown"

26. The Crash That Took Me -- "Patricia Lynn" ( stream )

25. Red Monroe -- "Pat Mayse Lake"

24. Danny Balis -- "Tethered"

23. Sleep Whale -- "Cotton Curls"

22. PVC Street Gang -- "Cutlass" ( video )

21. Air Review -- "Jura"

20. Xrabit & Damaged Good$ -- "Follow the Leader" ( video )

19. Doug Burr -- "The Righteous Will Rejoice"

18. Seryn -- "We Will All Be Changed"

17. galleryCat -- "Say Say Say"

16. Sunnybrook -- "Waving Hands"

15. The O's -- "You've Got Your Heart"

14. Ishi -- "Pastel Lights"

13. Binary Sunrise -- "Five Minutes"

12. The Paper Chase -- "What Should We Do With Your Body? (The Lightning)"

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...and be sure to keep checking back, as this list will update daily

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