It's a challenge to communicate one simple emotion in a pop song, let alone two complicated ones. The achievement of "Time to Pretend" is that it's simultaneously detached and wrenching. Brooklyn duo Benjamin Goldwasser and Andrew VanWyngarden mock their own rock star ambitions ("I'll move to Paris, shoot some heroin, and fuck with the stars/ You man the island and the cocaine and the elegant cars") while a space-pop melody with a Ziggy Stardust-worthy keyboard riff builds and swirls around them, gradually overwhelming all the irony until what started as a joke of a song ends in genuine sadness.
Hear excerpts from all the top songs of 2008:
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