10 songs? No chance. 15? Way too tough on my psyche. I recently broke up with my lightning insurance provider (he wanted to be more — including coverage for thunder, limb loss from trampolining, and rashes stemming from excessive koala cuddling — I thought we were good as is), so my mental stability is currently a tad tenuous. Any other traumas and I’d be off a bridge. To make sure that doesn’t go down, I had to expand this list to 20 songs. Really, I’d no choice. May left me no options. May right be done by this list. May was the best month of music I’d experienced in as long as I can remember. Maybe, definitely.
So much awesome tuneage. So little 31 days. Here’s what I listened to/loved the most…
20. Phosphorescent – Song For Zula/Muchacho’s Tune
“Song For Zula” is still in my brain. I can’t shake it. I have a feeling I won’t be able to for quite some time. “Muchacho’s Tune” is similarly beautiful. Phosphorescent are legit.
19. The Belle Game – River/Wait Up For You
A pair of pretty, catchy tracks from two Chicago siblings.
18. Isle of Rhodes – Shoulders/So In Love
Brooklyn never sleeps.
17. Churchill – Change
The chorus is a beast of a sing-a-long.
16. Rilo Kiley – Runnin’ Around
I can always count on Jenny Lewis and company.
15. Daft Punk – Giorgio by Moroder
Bad. Ass. Everything about it.
14. London Grammar – Wasting My Young Years
My god this song is exquisite.
13. Lilly Wood and The Prick – Where I Want To Be (California)
Ever wonder what Lady Gaga would sound like if she sung Indie/Alternative/Pop? Play the track.
12. Charli XCX – You (Ha Ha Ha)
Really good use of fantastic source material, even if the sentiment has been bastardized.
11. Vampire Weekend – Diane Young
Love the lyrical double entendre. Love the track. Vampire Weekend are as big as they should be.
10. Valleys – Hounds/See The Moon
Montreal, raise your head up out of the (electro, pulsating, ominous) shadows. Valleys, you’ve crafted a marvellous debut. These two songs are exhibits A and B. Impressive stuff.
9. Slowriter – Silver Spaceships/April 8
Weird. Wacky. Wonderful. I hope Bryan Taylor and this band get the recognition they deserve for Trailblazer.
8. Frank Turner – Recovery
A little Noel Gallagher. A little Streets. A little Ed Sheeran. A lot of fantastic. This is a hit.
7. Paramore – Hate To See Your Heart Break/Last Hope
Frankly, I didn’t know they were capable of songs like these. “Misery Business” and “That’s What You Get” were and remain sensational emo/pop/alt songs. But I can’t suggest for a second that I thought they had something like “Hate To See Your Heart Break” in them. It’s pretty, demure, vulnerable, honest. Emotionally bare. It could be the best song they’ve ever done. “Last Hope” is also a beast of a song. Hayley Williams and Paramore have jumped up about 63 levels with their latest, eponymous album. I’m taken aback. Wow.
6. Mariah Carey f. Miguel – #Beautiful
Too bad the video sucks, because this is the best song Mariah’s done since “We Belong Together”. And what can be said of Miguel? His vocal is outstanding. He never drops the ball. He kicks ass. I’ll stick my neck out and hope not to get hurt by the assertions.
5. Cold War Kids – Bitter Poem/Bottled Affection
Simply put, “Bitter Poem” gives me chills. It did after the first listen. It did after 5. After 10. It still does. I think it might always. I’d be okay with that. “Bottled Affection” tells my ears that Cold War Kids can mold song form into whatever they want. Dear Miss Lonelyhearts is the most consistent — and best, front to back — album CWK’s have ever done.
4. Ambassadors – Unconsolable
Don’t recall how I found this track. Boy I’m glad I did. It’s frickin’ awesome. If you like AWOLNATION, this track is for you.
3. Biffy Clyro – Folding Stars
“Folding Stars” is from 2007, but I’ve only recently discovered it. I think I spent a solid 88 hours in May (shy guesstimate) singing “Eleanorrrrrrrr, Eleanorrr” at all levels of inappropriateness. 360p for life.
2. Best Coast – Fear Of My Identity
Can. Not. Stop. Singing/Humming/Blasting/Tapping Feet To/Robbing Banks To. This.
1. Haerts – Wings
Hailing from Germany, England, and the U.S., Haerts bring together all manner of influences/eras on this absolutely soaring track. It sounds like 1983. The video looks like it was shot then too (I’ve linked the original video they released several months ago. They’ve a newer one, in 1080p, on Vevo, but there’s something about the former that’s more charming). But Hearts are tricksters. That melody — my god, that melody — is timeless. Nini Fabi’s vocals (with a seasoning of Susanna Hoffs peppered in here and there) are beyond ethereal, majestic — they’re abracadabra magic.
I don’t exactly know why I think of Chvrches when I hear Haerts, but I do. They don’t really sound like each other, and it’s clear their influences lie in different areas. It’s just that Chvrches have released about 4 perfect (I really mean perfect) pop songs this year, the kind that a band is lucky to have one of in their careers, and I thought they’d remain peerless in that regard for ages. I didn’t think anything or anyone could touch them. I was wrong. They have a friend now to play with high atop Mt. Poplympus. The St. Lucia (of course, it all makes sense) produced “Wings” is nostalgia, recollection, fondness, anchored in its multiple pounding, blood-driving, healthy, huge haerts.