This list was way more difficult than it should be, but truth be told there were just a ton of great tracks this year. This lists attempts in part to cover multiple genres and pick not so obvious choices, so hopefully in that regard I succeeded. Anyway, a few of these songs are from albums that won't be appearing on the Year End Albums list, so there’s not a lot of repeat. Enjoy!
10. Dan Deacon, Shattered Wings, Gliss Riffer
The song opens with a typical whirlwind that you’d expect from Deacon, but in this “typical” sounding song is the key to the universe. It’s a healthy dose of adrenaline intertwined with his furious programming and subdued lyrics. That’s a great aspect of DD as an artist. He’s not too self involved. He let’s the music and the scope of the songs speak for themselves, and on this totally danceable track he explores all of his best actions while making up new ones as he goes along.
9. the Weeknd, the Hills, Beauty Behind the Madness
More or less I think the Weeknd is good, but not amazing like everyone else seems to think. This song though, was the hit of the summer and one of the overall sexiet tracks I’ve heard in awhile. Abel Makkonen Tesfaye’s slow burn and his super fucking seductive voice come in over a somewhat laid back initial tracking, but the song oozes with desire, and the beats only serve to turn up the heat. This might be not all the time music, but if you want music to get down to, you have to go with the Weeknd.
8. Ryan Adams, Style, 1989
Don’t roll your eyes, but this entire record is one of the coolest, most well laid out ideas I’ve ever heard of. This song especially showcases how a signature pop song can be turned into a rough rock n roll track full of teen angst and fist pumping. I especially like the little nod to Sonic Youth when Adams switches the chorus to “Daydream Nation.” It’s these littles changes that help to make the tracks his own, and for what it’s worth, this is the best track on his Taylor Swift 1989 covers album.
7. Desaparecidos, Radicalized
So I’m not a huge Conor Oberst fan, but for some reason this single song has been a very popular song in my world this year. It’s a pretty straight forward track with Punk musings written all over them. It’s the type of song that would work perfectly in a hot, tightly packed club where everyone was dancing and having the time of their lives. It’s not going to change the world, but it has marginally changed my opinion on Oberst, and it remains a song that very much speaks to my teenage years.
6. Passion Pit, Lifted Up, Kindred
So let’s be honest here, “Kindred” isn’t a good record overall. It’s just not. Thankfully though, a few tracks are good enough, while one track is actually amazing. The song, “Lifted Up,” opens up the record and has all the normal high notes you’d find in the best Passion Pit songs. The track is high energy, open and honest, and Michael’s high notes are just as good as they were on earlier records.
5. CHVRCHES, Never Ending Circles, Every Eye Open
For a band on only their second album, Scotland natives Chvrches sound remarkably like a well oiled machine on their Sophomore record. Multiple songs are amazing, but the way the record starts with the thumping, high energy opening of “Never Ending Circles” plays so brilliantly it’s hard for the rest of the album to not be awesome. Lauren’s voice is crystal clear, and the beats are formatted so piercingly accurate that it enthralls you for the duration of the track.
4. Tame Impala,Let It Happen, Currents
Upon first hearing this track I was concerned that Parker had gone the way of a soulless musician doing something that was merely accessible to the public to get ahead. Thankfully, I was super wrong. “Let It Happen,”which is a vast departure from the earlier efforts, winds and burrows its way through seven minutes of elaborate vocals and even more intricate instrumentation. It’s a long song full of unknown turns, but once you get the gist of the track you’re locked into it’s perfection.
3. Mumford & Sons, the Wolf, Wilder Mind
Many songs end up being important to you because they reach you at a certain crucial moment in your life. This is one of those tracks. While much of the band's catalog can be ignored this song hit me like a sack of much needed feelings when I was trying to hold it all in the best i could. The song is great because of how varied it is from the rest of the tracks on their albums, but the message of love in a hopeless and dark relationship help to make the themes of the track easy to understand and relate to, which in turn makes for a heartfelt song people can latch on to.
2. Eagles of the Death Metal, Save A Prayer, Zipper Down
This song has such a bigger, more profound effect on the people it reaches since the band was momentarily crippled during the vicious attacks of those Daesh assholes, but anyway, I digress. The song, which is a cover of a long forgotten Duran Duran song, is one of the best songs the band has ever released. It’s a different type of song, but it shows Jesse Hughes and company really stretching their wings to make a slower, but equally danceable song about love and hope when the band and the world need it desperately. It’s an eloquent song that reaches our number two spot on the Best Songs of the Year.
1. Courtney Barnett, Pedestrian at Best, Sometimes I sit and Think and Sometimes I just Sit.
Sometimes you just know, and when I heard this song the first few times I knew this was my number one song of the year. Barnett swept the indie music scene with a brilliant record full of spunk and attitude and on the album's best track she wraps all the sarcasm and bravado into one nicely tied bow. The lyrics are utterly brilliant and flow with the urgency of a busy person word vomiting as she urgently tries to get her message out. The rhyme scheme is magnanimous and bitter, unrelenting even. She reaches into the heart of anger and resentment with no line of sight. When Barnett growls about “Pedestals and disappointing You,” you feel the bruises of a damaged relationships, but even if Barnett is in the wrong here, you don’t really care because the song is so fucking catchy.
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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