Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Top 40 Songs of 2014

Casey Kasem passed away this year, so in his honor, I decided to go ahead and make my own Top 40.  I even put together a Spotify playlist, so if you have Spotify, it makes a damn good mix.

The Top 40 Songs of 2014

40. Kevin Drew - "Good Sex"
"Good sex, it never makes you feel hollow / Good sex, it never makes you feel clean."  True dat.

39. Foster the People - "Best Friend"
A deceptively dark song, like their smash hit "Pumped Up Kicks."  This one pairs lyrics of drug abuse with a feel-good disco vibe.

38. Jeremy Messersmith - "Ghost"
A country stomp pervades this tune, which deserves a prime spot on your road trip mix tape.

37. Robert Ellis - "TV Song"
A love song about TV that's somehow actually quite heartwarming.

36. King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard - "Hot Wax"
Honestly, I first clicked on this because the band name was so ridiculous.  The song is too, but just like wax, it sticks in your ears.

35. Stars - "From the Night"
Like a cocaine-filled night at the roller rink (I suppose that's a thing for some people, right?), it perfectly conveys the image on the cover.

34. Miniature Tigers - "Oblivious"
Captures '80s production brilliantly, but still feels fresh.

33. Jon Langford & Skull Orchard - "Lil' Ray o' Light"
No matter how extreme the actions of Langford's egotist character get, you can't help but sing along.

32. Foo Fighters - "Something from Nothing"
The best song from Foo's grand experiment.  There's a reason this song was chosen as the theme for HBO's Sonic Highways.

31. Giant Panda Guerilla Dub Squad - "Steady"
Combines three of the most popular reggae themes (love, weed, and sunshine) into one slinky ditty.

30. Fancy Colors - "Infinity"
A Talking Heads-style groove attempts to ground a series of minor hallucinatory trips.

29. G. Love & Special Sauce - "Nothing Else Quite Like Home"
G. Love enlists Ben Harper to help pile on the coal for this barreling locomotive of a song.

28. The Black Keys - "Gotta Get Away"
Turn Blue sounded more like a Broken Bells album than a Black Keys record.  This closing cut, however, is straight-up rock & roll.

27. Saun & Starr - "Hot Shot"
Sharon Jones' backup singers dropped this catchy, soulful single early in the year.

26. Delta Spirit - "Language of the Dead"
The pummeling bass and Matt Vasquez's screams cut through the electric sheen that hampers many of the songs on Into the Wide.

25. Mike Doughty - "Light Will Keep Your Heart Beating in the Future"
Mike makes the case for banjo in hip-hop.

24. Graham Colton - "Another Night"
The stream on Spotify isn't the EP version featuring Wayne Coyne that I mean.  Favorite thing Coyne did all year.  You can download it for free here.

23. Mad Caddies - "Little Town"
Never afraid to try on new genres, the Caddies take a peppy, African-inspired melody and combine it with lyrics about death.

22. Mark Ronson - "Uptown Funk"
Bruno Mars finally proves his worth on this Kool & the Gang-meets-Zapp funk fest.

21. Cookies - "July Seventeen"
Essentially an extended intro for "Crybaby," but it's just so fucking smooth.

20. Mogwai - "Remurdered"
Instrumental track.  Put it on and walk through a crowd of people.  You'll feel like a drone at first, and then you'll break through, fully realizing your potential as an individual.

19. Rx Bandits - "1995"
The Bandits let their Fugazi influence shine through on a song that could've been released in the year of its title.

18. Mike Gordon - "Yarmouth Road"
Cactus tries his hand at reggae and succeeds.  One of the few Gordon solo songs to find its way into live Phish shows.

17. Speak - "Be Reasonable, Diane"
An incredibly layered pop song.

16. Gordon Voidwell - "First Time"
Gordon deftly combines old and new, merging '80s synths with '90s R&B crooning with today's trap beat.  This isn't available on Spotify, but you can check it out here.

15. Desert Noises - "Shiver"
Despite heaps of tribal percussion, it's the serpentine guitars and gang vocals that push this one forward.

14. Phish - "Wombat"
The bomb goes off just before the 2-minute mark, followed closely by a female choir and horns.  It's a side of Phish we haven't seen since "Julius."

13. Faded Paper Figures - "Breathing"
A building block song where each time a new sound is introduced, you wouldn't have predicted it, but realize that it makes perfect sense.

12. The New Pornographers - "Brill Bruisers"
Try to listen to this without smiling.  I dare you.

11. The Barr Brothers - "Love Ain't Enough"
Rock songs don't often view love in a realistic way.  They also don't often utilize a harp.

10. Jack White - "Lazaretto"
Fuzzy, funky, fiery, fearless.

9. Hozier - "Someone New"
Hozier borrows the choir from that church he's always singing about to assist him in this ode to falling in love with strangers.

8. Penguin Prison - "Calling Out"
Glover's sophomore album didn't drop this year as expected, but he did bless us with this sliver of crystalline pop.

7. Chris Mills & the Distant Stars - "Alexandria"
It gallops along at a brisk pace, but not so fast as to miss the ingenious lyrics.

6. Cody Chesnutt - "Gunpowder on the Letter"
Cody teams up with Gary Clark, Jr. for the toe-tappingist tune about PTSD you've ever heard.

5. Kishi Bashi - "The Ballad of Mr. Steak"
A song about a steak that's sure to make your "booty booty shaky shake."

4. St. Vincent - "Huey Newton"
Never mind the explosive riffage in the song's latter half; Clark's vocal performance, which ranges from orgasmic to malevolent, is the real star here.

3. Vacationer - "The Wild Life"
Positive vibes.  My most-played song of the year.

2. The Majorleans - "Real Bad"
Nicky Francis is full of clever turns of phrase, but it's the straightforward, honest yearning of the refrain that really gets me.

1. Animal Liberation Orchestra - "Blind Tony"
Lebo wrote this acoustic song about the character from my Instagram because I enrolled as a two-year member of ALO's Hot Tub Club.  
You won't find this on Spotify.  If you want to hear it, you've got to come see me in person.

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