Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Best Songs of 2014

I have to confess that in 2014 I struggled to understand and appreciate new music. I've begun to feel chewed up by the indie music machine. I think we all romanticize the music that was released as we became adults and learned what it meant to be human, what it is to be real and to exist alongside everyone else— to feel ourselves and to begin to understand what we are so the music released between 2002 and 2010 is very romantic and nostalgic for me. These days, I watch my coming-of-age get repackaged and resold as reunion tours and vinyl “10th Anniversary Edition"s and festival headlining tours and “the first new release in 7 years” and it’s only been a few years since it all happened and in a lot of ways it makes me sick. I was a devoted festivalgoer for many years, but these days the thought of loading up my car and going to Coachella to spend four days in a drunk, drugged haze sleeping on a flattened air mattress in a hot tent just makes me feel used up. I used to do anything to see a band at a free show locally or in a residency gig before they hit it big, but these days, I feel like everything new is a rehash of something I once loved, or hardly music at all. Nothing is what it used to be, and I guess that’s what it is like when you get a little older and a little wiser.

Case in point: I hate FKA Twigs, I love The War on Drugs, and maybe my music taste isn’t what yours is, but I have the tinnitus to prove that I’ve spent years listening, absorbing, feeling and learning. Sun Kil Moon divides me because of his cynicism and sarcasm; If I admit I align with it then I admit my own defeat my own "old man from the porch" attitude— but at the same time, I admit that The War on Drugs IS "beer commercial rock". That doesn't mean I love it any less. My cynicism is probably what now attracts me to acts like Father John Misty, LCD Soundsystem and Courtney Barnett, and what in the past attracted me to acts like Bright Eyes. There is nothing as easy / lucky / free

All this being said, I struggled to comprise a list of songs that I truly loved this year when I first sat down to write it, but as I listened my attitude shifted and my heart opened and I found that even though I'm getting older, there’s a lot out there to hear. Maybe I don't have the energy or the stamina to explore it all, but I’m happy to share with you here what I've loved, and I hope you have an ear for some of it, too. So here we go, in no particular order, my favorite songs from 2014.

tUnE-yArDs – Water Fountain
The War on Drugs – An Ocean In Between the Waves
Father John Misty – Bored in the USA
Ray LaMontagne – Ojai
Damien Rice – My Favourite Faded Fantasy
Real Estate – Talking Backwards
Amen Dunes – Splits are Parted
Sun Kil Moon – I Watched The Film The Song Remains The Same
Allah-Las – No Werewolf
Pure X – Starlight 
Cloud Nothings – I’m Not Part of Me
Perfect Pussy – I 
Broncho – Class Historian
Future Islands – Seasons (Waiting on You)
Elbow – Charge 
Hozier – Take Me to Church
Fink – Looking Too Closely
TV on the Radio – Happy Idiot 
Lana Del Rey – Brooklyn Baby
Jungle – The Heat
Mr. Little Jeans – Good Mistake
Caribou – Can’t Do Without You
Sylvan Esso – Could I Be
Kero Kero Bonito – Sick Beat 
Shamir – On The Regular
Captain Planet – Un Poquito Mas
Zero 7 – U Know
Flight Facilities – Merimbula 
Slow Magic – Girls
Prince – Funk n Roll

And for those of you still without Spotify (or those taking a moral stand against it, I understand), here's a YouTube version of the playlist in its entirety (excepting my Slow Magic selection, which I've replaced with a remix that I don't like as much, but what can you do?).