Sunday, 14 December 2014

Best Songs of 2014

Happy list week folks! I haven't posted for a while but I have two mega-posts to compensate (with my best albums of 2014 coming shortly). What a year it has been, this was an incredibly difficult list to write and there were a lot of last minute shuffles (hence the mess that this the spotify playlist). But I've finally got my s#!t (and incidentally, my list) together, so without further ado I present my favourite songs of the last year...

OK so like I said I am insanely indecisive so I felt it necessary to create a sub-list with a few special mentions (in no particular order), I am aware that 15 is a weird number and there is very little justification for it besides the fact that I had ran out of trendy adjectives by number 15. 


Special Mentions

  • Taylor Swift (see what I did there) - New Romantics (seriously though what a chorus)
  • Holly Herndon - Chorus
  • Lady Lamb The Beekeeper - Billions Of Eyes (as this only dropped a couple of days ago it would have been a bit unfair to put it in my main list)
  • St Vincent - Huey Newton (tough call but there can only be one track per artist in my elusive top 15 *hint*)
  • Daughter – Winter (Warpaint Remix) (same as before)
  • EMA - When She Comes (albums list makes up for it)
  • Jessica Pratt - Back, Baby (same as Lady Lamb)
  • Rosie Lowe - Water Came Down (again, a little too fresh)
  • AlunaGeorge - Supernatural 
  • My Brightest Diamond - Lover/Killer
  • Panda Bear - Mr Noah
  • Lykke Li - Gunshot
  • SOPHIE - Hard
  • Avey Tare's Slasher Flicks - Little Fang
  • Lyla Foy - Feather Tongue
  • How To Dress Well - Repeat Pleasure
  • White Hinterland - David (such a beauty)
  • Kyla La Grange - The Knife
  • Little Dragon - Klapp Klapp
  • The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart - Until The Sun Explodes
  • Fatima Al Qadiri - Szechuan (Bloody love this one)
  • Shunkan - Dust In Your Eyes
  • Lily & Madeleine - The Wolf Is Free

15. Mac DeMarco - Passing Out Pieces
What a man...and what a track; Mac DeMarco was always somewhat of an unlikely hero but his ascension from Canadian goofball to a cult hero is remarkable and well deserved. Don't get me wrong, he is still very much a complete clown but his audience has certainly grown much larger than your bog-standard kids party, so to speak. This track, with it's hazy melody and driving horns/synths made 'Passing out Pieces' a premature summer jam. 

14. Caribou - Our Love
The first of many obscure choices on my list; Although it would have made a lot more sense to have featured the certified IDM monster that was 'Can't Do Without You', I can't help but prefer this track, which I feel was unfairly eclipsed by the lead single. The groove feels a bit off, but that only adds to the charm of this track. 

13. Screaming Females - Wishing Well
A late entry to my list; Screaming Females have certainly pulled it out of the bag with this track, which is easily their most straight-forward and accessible to date. Though it must be noted that any of the pre-released tracks from Rose Mountain could have made it onto my list, this one is still my favorite by far. 

12. Hockeysmith - But Blood
One of my favourite iplugtoyou 'Ones To Watch' alumni; Cornish sisterly duo Hockeysmith have undergone a serious level of artistic progression since they first came on the scene. 'But Blood' feels miles away from their ambient alt-pop routes but equally entrancing, and these riffs could've easily belonged to Slowdive or MBV in their prime. 

11. Perfume Genius - Too Bright
It would've been all too easy for me to feature the massive 'Queen', but I for one much prefer the more ethereal title track from Perfume Genius' breakthrough record Too Bright. The simple yet completely glorious melody, flourished with masterful synth-work exemplify Mike Hadreas' ~journey~ from his low-key 2009 debut to a cult hero in 2014. 

Ironically, this song isn't available anywhere except spotify so 'Queen' it is then:

10. Robyn & Foyksopp - Do It Again
Ok time for a banger, well, a conventional banger. Robyn is hands-down the best pop star on the planet and to hear her ~slaying the airwaves~ with this tune was a complete joy. This is the perfect summer anthem, it's punchy, fun and relentlessly dance-able. It would probably be a little higher if it wasn't winter and I wasn't in the midst of a horrible cold, but there you go.

9. Warpaint - Son
I bloody love Warpaint, me. 'Love Is To Die' is still on heavy rotation and is quickly becoming one of my favorite tracks of all time, but as it was technically released in 2013, it cannot be featured (according to the tragic set of rules I set for myself before I wrote this list, sad but true). Anyways, this track is pretty damn great too and makes perfect driving music. 

8. FKA Twigs - Kicks
iplugtoyou - doing things differently since 2013; when all other lists glorify the (admittedly amazing) lead single 'Two Weeks', it was the closing track which really caught my attention back in August. I mean, what a breakdown (Portishead realness) and a not-so-subtle lyrical theme of masturbation is always welcome. 

7. Angel Olsen - Windows
I'm sure this comes as no surprise to any of my regular readers (I know you're out there somewhere), Angel Olsen is 2014 for me (*Spoiler alert*). 'Hi-Five' might be great but as an ~original fan~ I will always have an infirmity for her ethereal folk stuff. Yes, it's all a bit melancholic and sad but then again so am I, hence my love for her discography. This track acts as a perfect bookend for a rather bleak and reflective record, you can truly feel her ~letting go~ as the song progresses.   

6. The War On Drugs - Red Eyes
Now it wouldn't be a best of 2014 list without The War On Drugs making their obligatory appearance now would it? I honestly tried avoiding them this year (this song in particular) but back in July I caved in and consequently fell in love (with this track anyway). The shimmering melody and mostly incomprehensible make it the musical equivalent of late-summer afternoons, which are now distant memories for us Brits. 

5. St Vincent - Psychopath
I originally wasn't going to feature album tracks from record which rank highly on my best albums list but I couldn't resist this one; often overshadowed by 'Digital Witness' or 'Prince Johnny' (which, yes, are still very wonderful), this track really ought to get a lot more recognition for how lovely it is in every possible way. The chorus in particular is orgasmic, seriously, well done Annie.   

4. Alvvays - Archie, Marry Me
The concept of 'a perfect pop song' is wholly subjective, for some it's a huge EDM banger in the way of Ariana Grande and Zedd's admittedly huge 'Break Free', while for others it's the jingle-jangle pop of The Smiths' classic 'This Charming Man'. For me pop perfection is personified by Toronto outfit Alvvays, with this track in particular being an absolute clanger. It's almost 3 minutes and 20 seconds of pure hook, from the bird-chirping intro to the perfectly arranged and delivered "Hey, Hey"s in the chorus, this song is pretty-much immaculate.

3. Lone - 2 is 8
Following his seminal album Galaxy Garden, Nottingham producer Lone would have a mammoth task in releasing a follow-up to equal the standard he had set so early on in his discography, but fortunately he came through with the euphoric Reality Testing. The uppity '2 is 8' is a definite highlight, along with 'Jaded' this acts as a key access point for the stream of conscious that is this record with production which not only lends to the golden age of the Manchester dance scene but looks towards the future in equal measure.

2. Real Estate - Talking Backwards
If you trace your minds back to late February you may recall me badgering on about this track; half-way in between a late autumnal jam and a premature summer anthem 'Talking Backwards' was an important track in 2014 by an equally important band (having produced some of my favourite records of all time). This is jingle-jangle pop at it's very finest - with a hint of melancholy in the chord progression for good measure.

1. Arca - Thievery
As you are probably aware, I have listened to a hell of a lot of songs this year, but not one of them has even come close to this one; the beat, the guttering synths, the schizophrenic pace and of course, that video. Even though Xen as a whole was kind of underwhelming the fact that this track is on it is enough to make it one of the best releases of the year. I now wonder if there will ever be a moment where this track will not be ingrained in my head (nor the weird big-arsed creature, for that matter). 

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