I can’t believe 2013 is half done. The first half of the year has been so good for music, if I had to cull everything together to make a top 100 list right now, I’d have trouble doing so. I have no earthly idea what I’m going to do come year’s end. I’ll worry about that later though. Here are the songs I listened to/liked most in June:
10. Chvrches – Gun
Maybe it doesn’t quite reach the dizzying heights of “Lies”, “The Mother We Share”, “Recover”, and “Now Is Not The Time”, but the more I listen to “Gun”, the more I dig it. I really like the way Chvrches employ a double chorus/hook-hook song structure on many of their tracks. “Gun” is a shot of pure pleasure. Chvrches are on bloody fire. And apropos of nothing, Lauren Mayberry is adorable.
9. The Besnard Lakes – People of the Sticks
This is The Besnard Lakes at their badassest (say that 10 times quickly). The song is transfixing. The video is highly unusual. I’m down with all of it.
8. Phosphorescent – Muchacho’s Tune
This is gorgeous music. Melodic and melancholic with a sliver of sunlight in the dark, distant sky.
7. New Politics – Harlem
This song is a mischievous, cockroachian pest. Once it builds a home in your brain, good luck getting rid of it.
6. Preatures – Is This How You Feel?
This song reminds me of about 472 other songs. It has the soul of an old rock/blues song, yet somehow, it sounds unwaveringly fresh. I call that magic.
5. The Belle Game – River
That voice. My oh my, that voice.
4. Cold War Kids – Loner Phase/Lost That Easy
I love “Loner Phase” and “Lost That Easy” equally. They’re two of the several phenomenal songs from what I think is Cold War Kids’ most consistent album, Dear Miss Lonelyhearts. The media linked below is one of the coolest lyric videos I’ve seen yet. Cold War Kids just keep getting better.
3. Paramore – Still Into You
Paramore’s latest (eponymous) LP is, quite frankly, a revelation. I had no idea Hayley Williams, Taylor York, and Jeremy Davis had this in them. They tackle seemingly every subgenre of pop/alt, and they do it with such ease and vigour. The album is a confluence of many factors that (luckily) clicked at the same time. I’m not sure they’ll ever top it, but I’ mustn’t dwell on such things. I’m just going to continue to enjoy the hell out of a gobsmackingly good record. “Still Into You”, the second single from the album, is a downright juggernaut. This is takeover music.
2. Robin Thicke f. Pharrell and T.I. – Blurred Lines
I liked “Blurred Lines” at first, but I don’t think it really hit me until I was bludgeoned over the head with it — that’ll happen when a song is played on every format in existence on a loop for months. If there can be such a thing, it was an enjoyable bludgeoning. “Blurred Lines” is, by light years, Robin Thicke’s best song ever. In fact, I would argue he never even had a good song until he made this. I also believe that Pharrell is probably the sole reason why this song is so catchy, such is his power/ability. Alan’s kid has a great talent at nicking stuff from Justin Timberlake, and a good voice, but considering how many albums he’s released with nary a song worth remembering, I’d say he’s extremely lucky Pharrell decided to let him sing on this behemoth of a beat. But I digress. The song is a bloody monster, and it may or may not (read: may) have been made even more seductive by the unrated version of the video (google that ish and you’ll see why).
1. Yeah Yeah Yeahs – Despair
A couple weeks ago, I watched the video for Yeah Yeah Yeah’s new single, “Despair”, and I was overcome with emotion. Here’s how I described it at the time…
Honesty: I heard YYY’s “Despair” today, and I shed tears. I love music so much because occasionally, overpowering moments like that happen. Music is the art form that marinates my heart, beckons for it, keeps it tender, nurtures it. And in turn, my heart beats for it. As for YYY’s “Despair” itself, it couldn’t espouse a feeling further from its title. It’s the power of 1000 suns. It’s brighter. It’s a revelation. The video only heightens the feeling. The ebullient faces of Karen O & drummer Brian Chase make my soul stir, my pores goosebump, me live.
I still feel that way and I don’t think it’ll change any time soon. Music The All-Powerful.