For those that haven’t read one of my “Best Of” lists before, the reason why I do a tally of the songs I listen to most is because I can’t stop looking for new music, can’t stop attempting to feel the textures, shapes, and movements contained within (new) songs. Beyond that, I really enjoy sharing the music I discover and listen to most because I think these are fantastic songs that I wish to be heard by as many ears as possible. I know not everyone pursues (new) music with the same vigour that I do, so this is my attempt at being a curator, connector, reflector. Music is everywhere, but it’s sometimes in places you wouldn’t expect. To hear it, both in obvious and unfamiliar places, is to breathe sound.
20. Great Good Fine Ok – You’re The One For Me
This sounds like the beginning of summer. This is a good thing.
19. Kyla La Grange – The Knife
So obvious, the sonic and titular ode to Sweden’s finest brother and sister duo, but still, so good.
18. Gypsy & The Cat – Sorry
Fantastic group name. Delectable tune.
17. GRL – Ugly Heart
16. Movement – Like Lust
Music like this inspires movement. Movement comprised of shifting and swaying. At once cooing and decaying. Like taking a photograph of intimacy with a camera clouded by smoke. There’s something about the movement. Something like lust.
15. Beck – Blue Moon
I hadn’t liked a Beck tune since “Lost Cause”. “Blue Moon” changed that.
14. Blondfire – Kites
Pretty straightforward pop, but there’s something about it that draws me in.
13. Massari – What About The Love
His head kind of reminds me of shaved coconut doused with vaseline for ergonomic purposes, but I have to give the man credit, his last couple releases have been pop bangers.
12. Lady Gaga – Artpop
When I first heard her Artpop album, I focused on several other tunes and missed giving this one its due. Mistake rectified. This is another hit from the Haus of Gaga.
11. Tensnake f. Fiora – No Relief
Really, really, really like this tune. There’s something about the reserved but pleading vocal that meshes so well with the uncomplicated beat.
10. Bleachers – I Wanna Get Better
Sounds like a sun-bleached Vaccines song, and there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that. In fact, it’s fantastic.
9. The Horrors – So Now You Know
Extremely impressive effort from the English lads, from which I hadn’t heard anything since (the still great) “Still Life”.
8. Duck Sauce – NRG
Duck Sauce is a duo consisting of electro heavyweights Armin Van Helden and A-Track. Dance/Pop/House doesn’t get much more fun than this.
7. Dum Dum Girls – Too True To Be Good
Dee Dee Penny is a goddess. This is a wicked song from a teflon strong album.
6. Rita Ora – I Will Never Let You Down
Rita Ora’s new tune is a massive juggernaut. One of the best pop songs of the year thus far.
5. Future Islands – Like The Moon/Doves
Like The Moon:
Future Islands are so consistently brilliant that it was tough to give all 10 songs equal attention at first. I quite enjoyed “Like The Moon” from the first listen, I just gave more spins to other tracks. This is by no means representative of this song’s quality, as “Like The Moon” is astoundingly good. It’s sleek and sexy and groovy, and oh yeah, the jaw-droppingly good fan-made video culls together scenes from a 1981 Russian Sci-fi movie. Of course it’s perfect. It couldn’t have been anything else.
My god, the gusto with which Sam T. Herring attacks this performance is incredible. “Doves” is yet another standout track from what I consider to be the album of the year thus far, Future Islands’ Singles.
4. The War On Drugs – Under The Pressure
There is something so endearing and nostalgic about “Under The Pressure”. It sounds like riding a Chevy pickup across the late 1980’s American Midwest. This song is a long-lost cousin of Don Henley’s “Boys of Summer”. That’s a family BBQ I’d love to crash.
3. Sam Smith – Stay With Me/Stay With Me (Rainer & Grimm Remix)
Stay With Me:
I had heard the song before, but I first truly heard “Stay With Me” when Sam Smith performed it on the Louis CK-helmed episode of Saturday Night Live earlier this year. I was immediately floored. Sam Smith is going to be a massive star and “Stay With Me” will be a big reason why.
Stay With Me (Rainer & Grimm Remix):
Amazingly, this remix is as good as the original. I have no doubt it’ll end up one of my top remixes of the year when 2014 is done.
2. Kyla La Grange – Cut Your Teeth
One of the best pop songs of the year, and I firmly believe it’ll stay that way. The come-in of the base-like synthesizer at 1:04 is devastating. The backing vocal that supports the hushed primary vocals is superb. There are hooks galore. The video is super cool too. This is a banger in need of no mashed. Kyla La Grange has a strong collection of tunes in her catalogue, but she deserves to break big on the back of this pop behemoth.
1. Future Islands – Spirit
My Top 20 Songs of March list contained several Future Islands songs. I could’ve made that entire list from everything on FI’s latest album, Singles. But I showed some level of restraint, the kind that a person whose name rhymes with Toranje knows not of, but the kind that a person whose name rhymes with Hay-Z knows all too well. Restraint is good. It allows one to shine a light on other wonderful pieces of music. And to avoid getting arrested for things that rhyme with Bromestic Chiolence.
Everything in its time. And April was the time I played Future Islands’ “Spirit” over and over, combing the track to the over. The song is absurdly catchy, and I love the low register Sam T. sings at in the opening couple verses. This could be a huge hit if given the right push, but then again, so could any song on Singles. I adore the lyric, “don’t cast away, don’t cast away, don’t let them cast a role for you…” In any font, on every front, Future Islands won, so sung the conch.