2014 Favorite Songs
Future Islands: “Seasons (Waiting On You)”
Probably my favorite song of the year. Everything about this song exudes emotion: happiness, longing, nostalgia, hope, cowboys. The usual. That performance on Letterman too. There are a handful of songs on this album that are almost as great as this one too (such as “Back in the Tall Grass” and “Fall From Grace”). The frontman of Future Islands is a joy to watch and has inspired Maren, me, and various unnamed in-laws to try and duplicate his dance in the privacy of our homes.
Mr. Little Jeans: “Good Mistake”
What a fantastic tune. Thanks Brig for this recommendation. Monica Birkenes’ voice could melt cancer. The video adds a fantastic melancholy to it as well that deepens my appreciation. I love a track that simultaneously makes me want to dance and reflect.
RubbleBucket: “Carousel Ride”
This bizarre track grips me from its opening and keeps me in its grasp for its four-minute ride. More songs need to combine horns and guitars. My buddy Casey White and I were going to see these guys once in Ames and then didn’t. I don’t remember why. We should have.
Gerard Way: “Juarez”
If you can listen to this and not find yourself singing “I can’t swim don’t run it in” all day then you are a stronger human than I.
St. Vincent: “Digital Witness”
This is Annie Clark at her creative height. This song is incredible and highlights everything that makes her incredible. I just wish she could translate that energy across an entire album, which I don’t think she’s done yet. She’s still writing four great singles and filler. But with singles like these…
Taking Back Sunday: “Nothing At All”
If you weren’t paying attention, Taking Back Sunday released what may have been their best album since Tell All Your Friends this year. With original lineup in tact now for a few years, the magic that many of felt in 2002 has been slowly creeping back in and “Nothing At All” amalgamates that into one EMOtional track with the maturity of a decade under the influence.
Royal Blood: “Ten Tonne Skeleton”
This is easily the best Foo Fighters song I’ve heard in a long time–it’s just too bad it wasn’t written or performed by Dave and the gang. Ten tracks of straight rock and roll just like this dwarf the Foo’s mediocre-at-best offering this year. All is well though because the Foos have these guys touring with them. At any rate, this track is rock and/or roll with absolutely no trimmings or waisted seconds.
Charlie Simpson: “Emily”
As my amigo Brigham put it, Charlie Simpson sounds like Bon Iver only not sad. That’s a great way of putting it. This song in particular strikes me for its beauty. Just lovely. Beyond lovely really.
The Gaslight Anthem: “Get Hurt”
The Gaslight Anthem is a rocky marriage between Social Distortion and Bruce Springsteen. I think they’re at their best when they channel more Bruce. Their latest album did much more of that and was their strongest yet–it just had too many tracks. But “Get Hurt” was one of the finest.
Field Report: “Pale Rider”
This one’s kind of a cheat because I literally just heard it a few days ago (January of 2015), but I love it so much I have to include it. Haunting, tightly constructed rhymes, loose harmonies, steel guitar, beauty, death. This song is incredible. It’s like Sun Kil Moon with melody. What a fantastic song from a great album.
Other Great Tracks:
Kendrick Lamar: “I”
Sunny Day Real Estate: “Lipton Witch”
Echosmith: “Surround You”
Kongos: “Take Me Back”
How to Dress Well: “Face Again”
Augustines: “Cruel City”
Panopticon: “The Long City” trilogy
Shovels and Rope: “Ohio”
Ingrid Michaelson: “Over You”