Top 50 Remixes of 2014 (25-1)

This truism has no expire date.

This truism has no expiry date.

Here are the heavyweights, my top 25 remixes of the year…

25. Britney Spears – Alien (Nick and Country Club Martini Crew Remix)

Brit Brit’s been remixed a kajillion times over the years, and this reboot is one of the best.


24. Maximo Park – Leave This Island (Mogwai Remix)

Mogwai completely change the amazing source material, yet it remains eminently listenable.


23. Future Islands – Doves (Vince Clarke Remix)

Remixes of Future Islands songs tend to be a little obtuse; this track is not that. It’s a slick, straightforward dance remix of a great tune. Refreshing.


22. Paris Suit Yourself – Won’t K (Sophie Remix)

Sophie’s sound is unmistakable. This remix is too.


21. Noel Gallagher – In The Heat Of The Moment (Andrew Weatherall Remix)

Awesome remix that all but erases Noel’s vocal, but electrifies the melody in stark, crisp ways.


20. Oasis – Wonderwall (Sava and Razz Remix)

Don’t think I’ve ever heard Liam’s voice attached to something so overtly happy. Obviously nothing will ever touch the original, but 20 years later, it’s cool to hear a new take on one of the best tracks of the last 30 years.


19. Bombay Bicycle Club – Luna (Karl G Remix)

An ethereal, space-filling remix of one the two best songs on BBC’s latest record. This track is at peace with calm, an aural balm.


18. Moby – Almost Home (Sound Remedy Remix)

My favourite Sound Remedy remix of the year. His output the last two years has been incredible. There’s something about his sound that greases the emotional wheel, in the process producing all the feels.


17. Tove Styrke – Even If I’m Loud It Doesn’t Mean I’m Talking To You (White Sea Remix)

White Sea construct a complete face-lift of the original, turning an unabashed pop smash into a chilly Scandinavian exploration track. Snow falls in cascading crystals upon this quiet, lonesome white sea.


16. Beyonce f. Kanye, The Weeknd, Jay-Z – Drunk In Love (Remix)

Yeezy and The Weeknd lead and kill this remix.


15. Lilly Wood and The Prick – Prayer In C (Robin Schulz Remix)

One of the more popular remixes of the year. Deservedly so.


14. Tove Lo – Habits (Hippie Sabotage Remix)

Nothing can touch the source material, but this down-tempo remix is a brooding, pulsating banger in its own right.


13. Charli XCX – Boom Clap (Cahill Edit)

Nothing more and nothing less than complete dance-pop decadence.


12. John Legend – All Of Me (De Hofnar Remix)/(Tiesto Remix)

Still can’t decide which remix of the two I prefer. I’ll take both and call it a win.


11. Lykke Li – No Rest For The Wicked (Klangkarussell Remix)

Bangin’ and Klangin’ up and down and all around. A sweaty Swedish night to melt all the ice.


10. Little Daylight – Overdose (Future Islands Remix)

Not only did Future Islands release one of the albums of the year and drop probably the best live tv performance of the year, but they had a few minutes of spare time, dabbled in the remix trade, and nailed the shit out of that too. So the great fire they wrote about for On The Water was an autobiographical prophesy?


9. Royksopp and Robyn – Monument (The Inevitable End Remix)

This will be a beacon when they’re gone, that much is sure. This remix is a monument of considerable light and size, a prize fight throwdown by 3 Scandinavian EDM/Pop stalwarts.


8. Lily Allen – Air Balloon (Digital Farm Animals Remix)

A massive, otherworldly earworm of a remix.


7. Banks – Beggin For Thread (Gryffin & Hotel Garuda Remix)

If Hotel Garuda is as pleasant a stay as this remix sounds, I booked a vacay there yesterday.


The following six remixes are on another level from everything else in 2014.

6. Jose Gonzalez – Heartbeats (Filous & Mount Remix)

The core song that is “Heartbeats” can thrive in any condition. The original version by The Knife is a weird, warbly, synth-pop hit. Jose Gonzalez’s cover is a complete makeover; it’s vulnerable, striking, and rife with a sad beauty. Now several years after “Heartbeats” and its cover were released, this wonderful dance remix drops. Where the cover lives in its sadness, this remix merely alludes to it. No matter which heart it occupies, the lyrics and melody that comprise this tune beat uninterrupted.


5. La Roux – Let Me Down Gently (Sailors Remix)

Simply irresistible. This song is a boat with legs navigating its course by dancing on water. It’s not the most direct way to get from point a to b, but to be a romancer on this level requires one take a tropical chancer.


4. Ed Sheeran – I See Fire (Kygo Remix)

The sound of serenity. Kygo put in a lot of work in 2014, but no remix of his was better (or bigger) than this one. Ed Sheeran’s warm, pleading vocals are married perfectly with the pop-indebted track. Kygo insulates the vocals with gorgeous sounds at every turn. If Ed Sheeran is the creator and seer of this fire, Kygo is its protector, its guardian in a galaxy where streaks of red-orange heat are strewn across every conceivable world, a place where life must be hot in order to unfurl.


3. Jessie Ware – Tough Love (Cyril Hahn Remix)

I wrote this at the beginning of October and not a damn thing has changed:

“Sourcing an impossibly sexy and slow-tempo’d original, Hahn takes this remix somewhere else entirely. He makes the song scoot in its boots, turns the pensive vibe of the original into a celebration of hard work. He makes tough love seem like a joy. What an accomplishment.”

This remix was, is, and will remain an incredible track. Only one or two remixes per year achieve this level of brilliance. Cyril Hahn should be forever proud he’s done that with his “Tough Love”.


2. Sam Smith – Stay With Me (Rainer & Grimm Remix)

Sam Smith has a voice that can do anything. That said, I think his incredible talent is best suited in ballads and dance songs. He’s delivered tremendous moments with both types already; his “Nirvana” and “Stay With Me” prove his mettle with ballads, while his power to make people dance was proven on Naughty Boy’s “La La La” and Disclosure’s “Latch”. We can add the Rainer & Grimm remix of “Stay With Me” to that list straight away.

The Toronto duo take the heart-wrestling ballad and turn it into a slinky, sexy, dance-pop gem of the highest order. Hands down, one of the catchiest remixes of the year.


1. Sufjan Stevens vs. Signalrunners – Chicago (Club Mix)

Something kind of odd happened as I was working on this list; I realized my favourite remix of the year was not from 2014.

I’m not exactly sure what year this remix is from, though a cursory search on Youtube seems to suggest its from 2007. For as much as I love “Chicago”, I didn’t hear this remix in 2007, or any other year, until this one. And my non-denominational deity, what a mark it left in 2014. When I say I love Sufjan Stevens’ original, I really mean it; when I think about compiling a list of the best songs from 2000-2009, “Chicago” would be near the top. Its tenderness is incomparable, its melody is indefatigable, and its heart is bigger than the sun.

When I first heard this Signalrunners remix some weeks ago, I was immediately walloped by a searing sense of nostalgia, taken back to a time when I first heard Stevens’ masterpiece, to my life at the time. The direct train to Nostalgia Land that certain songs give us free tickets to is one of the very best things about music.

Make no mistake though, this track’s brilliance does not begin and end with the fact that it brought me back to the original, and to another time in my life. This remix is absolutely sensational musically. The flourishes are fantastically timed, the build-up is a bonanza, and the entire offering is an escape to elation. It’s like gliding weightlessly and without worry through clouds, oscillating between being taken on a tantalizing trip and becoming a cloud itself. This atlas is entirely comforting, shrugging off any concern that the flightpath is wrong.

I’ve made a lot of mistakes, but going to Chicago — remix, original, or any other suburban destination, interpretation — was not one of them.

On a whim, we’ll sell our clothes to the state, drive all night, revel in the passionate spontaneity. We might fall in love. We’ll probably fall out of it. But in the end, we’ll come back. To Chicago — whether we’re from there or not. We made our minds up. You had to find it. All things go, all things go.


I couldn’t help but link the original:

Top 20 Songs of May 2014

May was absolutely absurd. The top 8 (!) songs listed were all worthy of being number 1. The rest of the top 15 could easily be top 3 songs in another month. In short, I heard and loved a bunch of stunning songs in May, and it might go down as the best music month of the year.

20. Bear Hands – Giants

Sweet chilli heat, the groove, the beat.


19. John Legend – All Of Me (De Hofnar Bootleg)/All Of Me (Tiesto Remix)

I’m not sure which remix I prefer more. I think it’s the De Hofnar one, but I can’t be sure. Tiesto came to play here.

De Hofnar Bootleg:

Tiesto Remix:


18. Eagulls – Possessed

Static electricity caught by a lint-remover.


17. The Subs f. Colonel Adams – Trapped

A bone-rattling house bang-show.


16. Lykke Li – No Rest For The Wicked/No Rest For The Wicked (Klangkarussel Remix)

The more I hear from Lykke, the more I listen. She’s got it.


15. X Priest X – Enemy Mind

I adore the bass-y house undertones in this pop marvel. Keep your friends close, keep Enemy Mind closer.


14. Manic Street Preachers – Walk Me To The Bridge

A forceful re-emergence for possibly the most underrated band around.


13. La Roux – Let Me Down Gently

I had fears La Roux missed the boat. This teaser release assuaged those fears at once. Don’t call it a comeback, even if it’s been five years.


12. Bear’s Den – Sahara Pt. 2

In a bear’s den,

you must watch your yen.

For if not, you will lose,

Something hairier than your shoes.


11. Manchester Orchestra – The Mansion/Cope

If this is Manchester Orchestra’s mansion, it’s replete with standards of fear and bushels of beards.

If this is how Manchester Orchestra cope, they’ve steel reinforced what it is to hope.

This is rock music.

This is bloody fantastic music.


10. Ask Embla – Legion

I asked Embla, and she said she must pop. (And lock in hits, like this song.)


9. Naughty Boy f. Sam Smith – La La La

Heard it. Then was Ricked it. Then listened some more. Then got on page with all else who’ve heard. This track is absurd.


8. Betty Who – Lovin’ Start

I had a lovin’ start with this Betty Who track, which then progressed into a lovin’ middle. The end is out of sight, but I’m positive it’s lovin’ too.


7. Robyn & Royksopp – Every Little Thing

“Every Little Thing” is, for my money, the best song on the EP from Robyn & Royksopp. There’s groove, there’s pulse, there’s a move, a protruding pulse. The singles from the EP, “Do It Again” and “Sayit”, don’t hit nearly as hard as this track. This song is blood and beats and mud from cleats.


6. Paloma Faith – Only Love Can Hurt Like This

Only a piece of pop dynamite as explosive as this could place this high in a month so strong. The music is irresistible and Paloma Faith lays down a mammoth vocal.


5. Beth Jeans Houghton & Samuel T. Herring – Pelican Canyon

This? From a random road trip?! I’d hate to see what these two could come up if they had endless time together. (Huge lie. I’d love to see, hear, and feel more from them.) Beth Jeans Houghton lulls like a luscious lullaby, while Sam T. Herring is the base to which the melody abides. I believe this is what the best kind of collaboration looks/sounds/feels like.


4. Marc Anthony – Vivir Mi Vida/Khaled – C’est La Vie

Is this Marc Anthony’s best ever song? It’s a legit question, and I think it might be. I really dug “You Sang To Me”, but the passion in “Vivir” exudes a freedom that I haven’t heard in any of his previous tracks. The song’s sun is so strong it leaves a full-body tan even if fully clothed, which this song makes sound completely ludicrous. This is the type of heat that never brings sorrow, only the excitement of tomorrow.

As good as Marc Anthony’s version of the melody/song/idea is, (Cheb) Khaled’s is equal to the task. This is exactly what euphoria sounds like. It’s what frolicking looks like. It’s what the the World Cup feels like. Is it too late to change this year’s official song?


3. Allie X – Bitch

“Prime” and “Catch” were the first two releases from this new artist, but I think “Bitch” is the best of the bunch. The distorted chorus is just tremendous.

“Bitch” is neither male nor female. “Bitch” is no dog. “Bitch” is of a moment, a moment where pop is transfused by electronics, enthused by histrionics.


2. La Roux – Uptight Downtown

I’d thought for quite some time that La Roux really dropped the ball by waiting so long to release a follow-up album, after all, 2009 (when they debuted) was eons ago. The duo built up so much momentum, with majestic stompers “Bulletproof”, “In For The Kill”, “Quicksand” (a.k.a. the hits) combining with “As If By Magic”, “I’m Not Your Toy”, “Cover My Eyes” (and more) to form what I felt like (and still feel now) was one of the best pop records of the decade. I thought it was a huge mistake to let that buzz dissipate — music fans can be fickle, and five years between albums is an eternity in this day and age.

Oh ye of little faith.

La Roux (now apparently just singer Elly Jackson) rendered all of that concern a waste. I can’t prove that La Roux travelled via wormhole, but it can’t be dismissed. When your comeback single is as sensational as “Uptight Downtown”, a song so current, yet so of another time, it’s hard to think about why it took so long between efforts.

“Uptight Downtown” sounds like a wave, and the wave is warm and unrelenting. Some may find this track repetitive. Some might not see its utter, complete, eargasmic dominance. Some may be in tune. Some may be before the zoom. Some might be after it. Whatever to some, here’s the sum: this track is one that sounds like it’ll battle the test of time with conviction.

La Roux knows the streets are lined with people, people who want to move, move, move.

The people always want to dance, even if they’ve changed their shoes, shoes, shoes.


1. Manchester Orchestra – Trees

Rock. Song. Of. The. Year.

That riff. That fucking wall and plaster and stone and foundation shattering riff. That attention to melody and rock out to the point of felony. Those insurmountable mountains of hooks. Those shadow stealing nooks.

This is why I love music.