Here are my top 20 songs of May, 2015:
20. Garbage f. Brian Aubert – The Chemicals
19. Carly Rae Jepsen – I Really Like You
18. San Cisco – Run
17. Grimes – REALiTi
16. James Bay – Hold Back The River
15. Belle and Sebastian – The Party Line
14. Flagship – Life Underwater
13. Unknown Mortal Orchestra – Can’t Keep Checking My Phone/Multi-Love
12. Scott Helman – Bungalow
Bonus: Metric – Clone/Lost Kitten
Revisited Metric’s last LP in May, and played these two tunes a bunch. Synthetica is a fantastic record.
11. Twenty One Pilots – Tear In My Heart
Rare to find this much cheek and fun in a song by an American band. Refreshing.
10. Florence And The Machine – Ship To Wreck
9. Mumford and Sons – Believe
Took me quite to get into this track, and though I don’t love it like I do “Babel” or “”Little Lion Man” or “The Cave”, it’s still a cool tune.
Bonus: London Grammar – Strong (High Contrast remix)
The original is brilliant, so even a passable remix (this is more than that) would sound great.
8. Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds – Dying Of The Light
7. Elliphant – Love Me Badder
Shame this probably won’t break in North America. Super catchy pop song.
Bonus – Jann Arden – Good Mother
Forever and always special to me. The melody, the lyrics, and Jann’s comforting, pleading, heart-piercing vocal.
6. Death Cab For Cutie – The Ghosts of Beverly Drive/You’ve Haunted Me All My Life/Little Wanderer
From what I’ve gathered so far, DC4C’s last record with Chris Walla is pretty dope. The first two singles and this trio of songs are really, really good.
5. Future Islands – The Chase
A new song by Sam T. and co. is always welcome. And, per usual, it’s a banger.
4. Brandon Flowers – Lonely Town
I don’t think any song on Flowers’ quite good new solo record can touch lead single “Can’t Deny My Love”, which is a monumental pop smash. If anything else can come close though, it’s “Lonely Town”, particularly the bridge (2:03-2:30), which I played on repeat. The bridge is a massive hook in an already stellar earworm.
3. Day Wave – Drag
A song to get lost in. Sun meets shade and fun finds fade. I have a feeling this song will linger with me for quite some time.
Bonus: Imagine Dragons – Shots
This tune was #18 in my top 20 from February, but I’ve come to listen to and dig it vastly more than that ranking signifies. “Shots” is a beast, plain and simple. My favourite song from Imagine Dragons’ latest album.
2. The Vaccines – Handsome/Dream Lover
These two tracks couldn’t be more different, and that speaks to how talented The Vaccines are and how varied their songs can be. “Handsome” is frenetic, full of English cheek, with an irresistible melody that on several occasions made me smile from ear to ear. “Dream Lover” plays at a much slower pace but is just as catchy. It’s a haze of distorted guitars and harmonies. I love lead singer Justin Young’s vocal on that song.
1. Metric – The Shade (I Want It All)
I’ve always loved Metric. They were early adopters of a synth-pop sound that blew up in the early 2000’s. Way more substance than style (though they’ve had that in spades since the jump), Metric always came to the party armed with a bevy of hits. Something happened though when they released their fourth studio album, Fantasies. They dropped what I think is a perfect pop song: “Gimme Sympathy”. It’s a song so good most bands would kill to have written something half as good. I was so happy for Metric. I’d felt like they’d become one of the best bands in the world, with an unrivalled ear for dashing pop songs. I thought they’d never come close to the greatness of “Gimme Sympathy”, but that was okay, because they crafted something otherworldly, and they have a shit tonne of other super songs to keep it company.
I may have been a bit early in thinking they couldn’t touch “Gimme Sympathy”.
When I first heard “The Shade”, I thought it was a huge risk to have that video game-ish sound effect feature so prominently in a song — a lead single to boot. By about the third listen or so though, the effect seemed to retreat a bit into the background, and the true beauty of “The Shade” stepped out of its shadow. It’s incredible. The verses, the chorus, the vocal, the music. Everything is wonderful.
Moral of the story: Metric are preternaturally gifted at songwriting, and I’ll never doubt their ability to achieve perfection again. Stars.