Already posted: Introduction, Albums
Just missed the list (alphabetical):
Beware of Darkness “Howl”
The Boxer Rebellion “Diamonds”
The Civil Wars “The One That Got Away”
The Features “This Disorder”
Foals “My Number”
Moon Taxi “The New Black”
Portugal. The Man “Purple Yellow Red and Blue”
Switchfoot “Who We Are”
If you describe your group as a “paranoid electronic pop music duo,” you have immediately caught my interest. “Dangerous” is a catchy tune over a distorted bass line that drives the song, and as you might guess from their name (and certainly the “facehawk” video, which I recommend trying), technology is the driver of that paranoia.
The live video will give you a sense of all the percussion going on in this song. The vocals are just OK to me, but it’s still incredibly catchy as a whole.
This song is bound to end up on a guilty pleasures list at some point, but it definitely belongs in the top 40 for me this year. It’s one of those hands-in-the-air-clapping type pop/rock songs.
There are at least three, or maybe four or five, albums among the 2013 Mercury Prize nominees that I preferred to Blake’s eventual winner Overgrown, but “Retrograde” is still a pretty excellent song. His voice is excellent—I just prefer singers who attempt to limit the runs and other things that distract from the melody.
36. The Almost “Fear Inside Our Bones”
Album: Fear Inside Our Bones
Videos: Official lyric video
The title track from The Almost’s 2013 release builds to a soaring, screaming conclusion for the chorus. We all feel that fear inside our bones, but how will we respond to it?
“Elevate,” and most of the St. Lucia album in general, feels like some kind of reggae/latin cross. Generally this might not be my style, but the strong rhythm and bass is what keeps this song interesting for me after multiple listens, since the lyrics are kind of light.
34. White Denim “Distant Relative Salute”
Album: Corsicana Lemonade
Videos: Live version (camera phone)
There is so much going on in the song that the drummer sounds like he is half a beat ahead of everyone else, but in a good way. It’s exactly the kind of song you’d expect a jam-oriented band to release for a single, although they haven’t released it yet to my knowledge, or even performed it for any kind of studio-quality live recording (like most of what is linked in this post). Regardless, it certainly hits all the right notes. I’m hoping White Denim will get more alternative airplay in 2014—they certainly deserve it for this song and album, which places another song higher on this list.
Arguably the most creative song on the Modern Vampires album from a lyrical standpoint, “Step” doesn’t pack quite enough punch for me musically to be among the very best overall.
The line that always strikes me in this song is the first line of the second verse, about the “Blackpool bright light.” I’ve never been to England, so I have (perhaps dangerously) relied on my Premier League fandom for what little knowledge I have of English cities. Blackpool is a tourist trap–type town in the English northwest, so I guess you could substitute in the name of any number of similar US beach cities to understand the idea.
“Mercy” was a one-off single from between-albums TV on the Radio, and it has proven to be one of their more accessible songs for me. The video for this one gives some excellent visuals to the conflict described in the song. Live? Not so great, although Letterman is clearly a fan in the clip I’ve linked.
Next up: Songs #30–21