Top 30 Songs of Summer 2014 (30-16)

As I mentioned in my previous list (, music carries a special weight in the summer. It can whisper with the wind, lay and linger with the light, and kiss ears like the sun kisses skin.

For many, the warmth of summer brings a certain type of hope and happiness (especially to those of us living in a 4-season part of the world), and songs have a singular capacity — unlike any other art form — to soundtrack the season and the moments therein.

That said, I’ve decided to do another Best Songs of The Summer list. Here are my favourite 30 songs from the summer of 2014:

30. Sir Sly – Gold

Sounding like one of The Neighbourhood’s better tracks, “Gold” is a valuable metal.


29. Anna Graceman – Words (Glastrophobie remix)

Words, words, words… piano, gitch, and melody. The original is pleasant too, but this version has a particularly attractive zest about it.


28. Tiaan – Devil’s Touch

Breezy, fresh, and relatively minimal pop, “Devil’s Touch” is a spritely summer song.


27. Spoon – Do You

Spoon’s comeback single is a winner. It’s a spork to save the day when you’ve neither the time nor the inclination to decide which utensil is most appropriate.


26. Rdgldgrn – Turn

Really got into this jam. A little 311, a little Sublime, a little bit of an earworm.


25. Seether – Words as Weapons/Same Damn Life

These two songs are the cleanest, most polished I’ve heard Seether. This might not do it for some, but I’m down with it. Shaun Morgan’s voice sounds great with strong supporting melodies.

Words as Weapons


Same Damn Life


24. Sia – Elastic Heart

Sia’s voice is a weapon. An elastic one with a heart as strong as a diamond. Possibly the best track from her latest album.


23. Sophie – Lemonade

“Lemonade” doesn’t just push and prod the boundaries of pop in 2014, it obliterates them. What a fantastic “is this really happening” track.


22. Twenty One Pilots – House Of Gold

Already huge, or getting there, I’m not sure. What I am sure of is whatever attention it garners is well deserved.


21. OK GO – The Writing’s On The Wall

OK GO always make amazing videos. “The Writing On The Wall” is no exception. What they’ve added to the formula is the best song they’ve ever done. (Seriously, watch this video if you haven’t already — it’s awesome.)


20. La Roux – Kiss And Not Tell

I would’ve chosen another tune as the 4th single, but that’s no slight to “Kiss And Not Tell”. This is a super stylish ditty and one of the better songs on La Roux’s sensational second album, Tropical Chancer.


19. Charli – Boom Clap (Cahill Radio Edit)

Almost as excellent as the original, the Cahill Radio Edit achieved an impressive level of ubiquity for a dance remix. This is because it’s really, really good.


18. Iggy Azelea f. Charli XCX – Fancy

Didn’t fall head over heels in love with this track when I first heard it, and frankly, I don’t think I have to this point. But I can’t deny its power. It’s a massive banger with a simple beat, slick rhymes a wicked hook from Charli XCX. Oh, and I can’t count the number of people I’ve annoyed and possibly offended deeply by “singing”, ad nauseam, “first things first, I’m the realest.”


17. James Arthur – Recovery

It’s the massive chorus. And Arthur’s vocal delivery. And the verses. And how it gets distorted near the end. But that chorus. That sprawling, loopy, heart-racing chorus.


16. Duke Dumont – Mumble Man

Mumbling has never sounded so catchy. And the bass at 1:32 is killer. This is house music that needs no introduction. It just needs a dancefloor and some speakers. The victims will reveal themselves. They’ll have no choice.





Top 10 Songs of Summer 2014 That Are Not From 2014

Part of the joy of summer is listening to music, whether it’s outside on a sunny day, by the water, at the cottage, or out for a jog. And often times, the summer songs that give us pleasure aren’t necessarily new. Listening to old(er/ish) songs during summer has a unique power: it can place us in a memory from the distant past, make time seem to stand still, and fill a moment with pure, unencumbered peace. It has the power to conspire with the elements, warm, sun-filled air, whistling trees, and roving clouds, to make one smile. That’s some kind of experience.

I’ve decided to issue a list of the “oldies” that helped make my summer a special one. Here are the top ten songs I listened to this summer that are not from 2014.

10. Pablito Ruiz – Oceano

Thanks Daniel for this one. I was linked to a story that suggested Tame Impala’s “Feels Like We Only Go Backwards” ripped off the melody from this old South American pop song. I think the assertion is a steaming pile of bile, but one good thing came of it: I was introduced to this awesome pop ditty. So Menudo. So Melody. So my main man, Pablito.


9. The National – Bloodbuzz Ohio

Still so poignant. Still so frothing with everyman hurt. Still amazing.


8. New Pornographers – Bleeding Heart Show

I come back to this song pretty often, but this summer, I spinned it a few times, and its magic awoke something wonderful in me. It’s how it’s divided in two, AC Newman’s plaintive croon in the first half, and the most pie-in-the-sky thing the New Pornographers have ever done, the second half, where the music takes off, and Neko, dear Neko, soars. There is no end to the enjoyment I get from hearing, mouthing, and singing, “We have arrived, too late to play, the bleeding heart show.”


7. Morrissey – Every Day Is Like Sunday

A little embarrassed and a little miffed that I just discovered this gem over the summer. “Every Day Is Like Sunday” is a tune that represents what I love most about Morrissey, on his own or with The Smiths: rainy, gloomy, gutterific lyrics buoyed by sun-drenched music and coruscating melodies.


6. Daniel Lanois – The Maker

HOW!? How in the world!? How in the world had I not heard this treasure before this summer? No answer I can proffer would be a justification, so I simply shrug my shoulders and say, I missed it. But on the bright side, at least this gorgeous song, a classic by any definition, with its indelible guitar riff and fantastic lyrics, is new to my ears. Speaking of the bright side, the reason I came to this song was by way of The Killers. As they’re wont to do, they typically perform at least one cover song during each of their shows, and said cover typically has some special meaning to the city in which they’re playing. When they visited Quebec City in July, they performed this piece of magic by Daniel Lanois, who was born in Quebec. (Aside: The Tea Party have also covered this song in the past, and awesomely, are including a version of it on their new album, The Ocean At The End.)


5. The Temper Trap – Love Lost

If “Love Lost” was lost on me before, it isn’t any more. It’s not as if I didn’t like the song when I first discovered The Temper Trap, it’s probably more of a case where “Sweet Disposition”‘s star was so enormous and bright that it cast shade on every other song on Conditions. So I missed connecting with “Love Lost” at the time. This has been rectified. It’s a wonderful song with great keyboards, guitars, and of course, as always, a smouldering Dougy Mandagi vocal.


4. Manchester Orchestra – I Can Feel A Hot One

I think “I Can Feel A Hot One” is one of the best 10 songs of the past 10 years. I feel quite strongly about that statement. The song absolutely slayed me the first time I heard it, and time has not loosened its grip on my ears, my heart. “I Can Feel A Hot One” is one of the most spine-tingling, powerful, sad, destructive, instructive, songs I’ve ever heard. It is, without a shadow of a doubt, one of the best songs I’ve ever heard. I keep coming back to it. I always — always — will.


3. Matthew Good – Born Losers

“Well there ain’t nothing to this but your daughter, and the life you would not give her, break your plans.” This line gets me every fucking time. It’s the lyric itself, but the way Matthew Good sings it is incredible. There is no confusing Matthew Good’s intent as he sings it; it’s all he’s saying — it’s all he means. Fully. Whatever comes of it. It’s been said. I wonder what this song means to him, seven years after its release. It still means so damn much to me. My favourite song by Mr. Good. His best, I do believe.


Bonus: Non Populus

I came across a song I’d never heard by Matthew Good this summer, “Non Populus”. What a track. An epic sprawl of guitars, the song had me by the throat after one listen. “Let it be done to you…” No problem, I’m down.


2. La Roux – As If By Magic/I’m Not Your Toy

La Roux’s self-titled debut album, five years later, remains incredible. “Bulletproof”, “Quicksand”, “Reflections Are Protection”, “Colourless Colour”, “Cover My Eyes”, et al were amazing the first time I heard them, and they’ve remained so. What’s become clear to me too, is that there are two songs that should have been huge hits, but for reasons unknown, were not. “Bulletproof” is a classic pop song, of this there can be no debate. But I firmly believe “As If By Magic” and “I’m Not Your Toy” are right there with it. Played both of these tracks ad nauseam this summer.



1. The Tea Party – Psychopomp

As I played “Psychopomp” over and over and over and over this summer, a thought dawned on me: it could be the best song The Tea Party has ever done, the best song by a Canadian band ever. I’m not saying this as an incontrovertible fact, but it can’t be ruled out. It’s the unparalleled musicianship. It’s, of course, the melody. It’s clearly, utterly, the lyrics. It’s how the indomitable Jeff Martin begins the track admonishing the listener with some kind of dark peace. It’s how the dominating Jeff Martin sings the second half with a raucous rage, a fiery belly embedded with a ferocious beauty. It’s not as if by magic. It most definitely is.