And on the second installment of the Year End editions, we cover the Top Ten songs of the past year. included among these tracks are deep thoughtful songs, upbeat party anthems, and perhaps tracks you've never even heard. i hope you enjoy!
10. RADIOHEAD, TRUE LOVE WAITS, A MOON SHAPED POOL
For years this song was among the best b-sides from the band, until one day it shows up on a new record. Reworked from the liver version, this version is a more somber track that features Yorke’s haunting vocals dangling over an even more melancholy piano piece with distant soundtracks further in the mix. It’s a brilliantly haunting song about lost love that yet again proves that Radiohead is a band of many flavors, nearly all of them delicious and moving.
9. FLUME, NEVER BE LIKE YOU, SKIN
I never got into producer Flume before last year, but this poppy, atmospheric song quickly became one of his best tracks. Accompanied by Kai is a more slow building electro track that takes the best parts of the current EDM craze but rightfully abandons most other properties of the doomed genre. It’s a song you can dance to with a special someone, while singing to the precisely layered vocals that offer a new insight into how good electronic music can be.
8. NICK CAVE AND THE BAD SEEDS, JESUS ALONE, SKELETON TREE
Easily the most haunting song on this list, Cae and his bad seeds yet again manage to sound distinct not only among their contemporaries but also compared to the other records the band has produced in their long storied career. It’s a eerily slow song with minimal production backing it, but it’s in those moments that Cave shines. Perfect for a person lost in the wilderness surrounded by fog, “Jesus Alone” starts the record on a super somber note filled with death, and those feeling persist through the rest of the album.
7. BANKS & STEELZ, GIANT, ANYTHING BUT WORDS
I only just recently heard this song, but clearly it had an impact on me. At first glance a pairing of Interpol and Wu Tang members sounds downright awful, but the strength and intensity in this lead track is enough of a reason to give this band a chance. The beats are great and immediate, and once the song actually gets going it doesn’t stop. Featuring Rza and Paul Banks, the two worm and snake their way in out of verses and choruses to deliver a song that fans of either band could dig on.
6. ANGEL OLSEN, SHUT UP KISS ME, MY WOMAN
What a year this lady has had. In my opinion a big part of her success this year has to do with this down and out love song. Olsen’s vocals are atmospheric without trying to be, and the upbeat nature of the guitar and drums give the song the oomph it needs to be memorable. It’s just a fantastic rock song that carries its message to a rousing successful point. If she keeps up with quality like this, expect to be seeing much more of her as time flows.
5. CHANCE THE RAPPER w/ LIL’ WAYNE, NO PROBLEM, COLORING BOOK
Among the many great songs on this album, “No Problem” is easily the best. Hip-Hop at it’s finest, Chance the Rapper has exploded in the last year in an undeniable way. From the early moments, “No Problem” bounces proudly and joyously in it’s attempts to entertain, which it does in spades. Chance for me took time to appreciate, but with this track as the centerpiece of his excellent new album, it’s hard for me to understand just what exactly took me so long to understand how awesome and jubilant he is.
4. THE AVALANCHES, FRANKIE SINATRA, WILDFLOWER
Welcome back boys! For years news of a potential Avalanches album floated around, and then out of nowhere, we get a first, actual single from the long in gestation sample wizards. And thankfully our first introduction to the new record was a great sneak peek at what lay ahead. Nestled in a realm where Danny Brown raps over South American music while various beats and other samples cascade over the speakers. Independently the song works well but it also fits into the overall free flow of ideas and inspirations that the band is able to pull from. One of the best of the year.
3. MIIKE SNOW, GENGHIS KHAN, iii
First things first: Watch this great video, which offers a genuine twist on the evil men tormenting his enemies until he realizes all is not what it seems. Getting to the song though, it’s more of the same of what we’ve come to expect over the course of the band’s previous efforts. Also though, it genuinely showcases that the band can make an upbeat rock song that Pop lovers can also get behind and support. The drum synthesizer beats are solid, but it’s Andrew Wyatt is more than able to do even more wondrous things with the use of his smooth, sultry man vocals.
2. BECK, WOW
For over a month i heard only snippets of this song, and honestly didn’t think much of it. I also had no idea that this was a Beck song. In fact it wasn’t until I saw Beck live that i found out that not only was that Beck Hansen himself, but the song was dope as hell. Fixed firmly outside of the rock world but firmly planted in the weird, all over the place eclectic nature of who Beck is as a person, “Wow” is a gentle day swimming and cavorting while drinking fancy colored mix drinks with silly names. The song is another testament to the chameleon nature of Hansen as a person, but I mean it’s Beck. You never quite know what to expect.
1. DJ SHADOW w/ RUN THE JEWELS, NOBODY SPEAK, THE MOUNTAIN WILL FALL
There was simply no other song this year that insisted on forcing you to experience the force of the song. To hear shadow say it there was no other person or group of people better to provide vocals over this track, and well, he was absolutely correct. Hearing El & Mike rap over this song makes it impossible to imagine anyone doing anything even half as good as what they brought to the table. From the jangle of the opening beats to the powerful, confrontational styling from Run the Jewels, “Don’t Speak” is a giant fuck you to all the naysayers and also to the people who would have you think you must abide by their set of rules. Also referencing our next President in such a deliberate and insulting way is a treasure I wish most artists had the balls to present to the world. Easily the best song of the year, “Don’t Speak” is the song that many others in the rap world will be compared to for some time.
Come back next week for the TOP TWENTY ALBUMS OF THE YEAR! Thanks for reading!
Landon Murray is a New Orleans native, who thrives on painting the world he interprets through the useful forms of all types of art he feels connected to. He's seen over 1000 bands, and had loved mostly every minute of it. He has an amazing 10 year old dog, and is loving life.
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