In the interest of feeling like I understand and participate in the world around me, I’ve slapped together my 52 favorite songs! (If you listen to one song a week, you’ll be ready for 2015 right on time!) My selections weren’t limited to 2014 releases, it’s meant to be a representation of this year’s discoveries. It’s not ranked either, only organized so it transitions smooth and so that all the trashy radio pop is at the top and easily skipped. 😉

I have some more scattered thoughts below, but I wanted to include a section for some honorable mentions: songs that aren’t on Spotify. They’re also all dance-y.
Cashmere Cat, “Rice Rain (Twinztrack remix)”
If you only listen to one of these separate links, make it this peppy Yakuza-stroll, a remix in the truest sense that flips the entire pacing and tone of the original on its head. Hell, if you only have time to listen to one song from the entire playlist, this would be worth your time. According to my last.fm, I listened to it more than anything else this year. Both cats and dogs are sampled. It’s fresh like cherry blossoms.
Zella Day, “Sweet Ophelia (Marian Hill remix)”
CHVRCHES, “The Mother We Share (Vanic remix)”
Lana Del Rey, “West Coast (Stint remix)”
MassAppeals & Jikay, “100 Million”
UFO!, “Culture Vulture”
Caked Up & Meaux Green, “Thirsty”
Assorted Thoughts
– There was obviously no better intro for Ariana/Selena/Demi than the cautionary tale of “Repeat Stuff.”
– Meghan Trainor’s “Title” is catchier, funnier and sexier than “All About That Bass,” I can’t account for the latter’s success. I do tend to enjoy doo-wop revival shit tho (and, in turn, I’m sad about G-Eazy’s transition to a real rapper).
– You know you’re an iconic musician when other musicians make songs about you. (Chainsmokers’ “Kanye”)
– Charli XCX kills it. All the time. There were three other songs of hers up for consideration here, and “Fancy” wasn’t one of them. I’m looking forward to many years of Xtremely Catchy Xcitemusic (i guess? idk). Tove Lo was also everywhere and she deserves name recognition (pun intended, cool name.)
– The “Mosh Pit” remix out-overwhelmed the rest of the twerk I heard this year to snatch a spot. Representin’ for the best EDM subgenre out there.
– Hitchhiker’s “11” claimed the title of Most Polarizing several months ago. You either love or hate the awawa. And I love.
– If, while listening along, you find you enjoyed Porter Robinson’s “Divinity” as well as Beyonce’s “XO,” boy, do I have a mashup for you.
– Even though their lyrics are tripe and they’re way too overproduced to be rebels and I’d probably hate hanging out with them… New Politics had two other songs I considered including. No self-respecting “rock” band should be so catchy, but here we are.
– The Blood Diamonds remix of Sky Ferreira’s “You’re Not The One” was my favorite song of the year, no contest. The original was fun, reminiscent of the 80s. The remix makes you a cold cyber-badass on a mission in the middle of the night, you’re so gone, guaranteeing he’s gonna want you and not somebody else. An already big chorus meets a flawless up-and-down dirty dutch synthline. Wonderful.
– “Make Those Move” is here solely on the strength of its beat. I can’t understand brits.
– 2014 was the year that we got a sketch of two dudes talking about nip slips and a ridiculous Diplo impression, both in one song. Not to mention “Introducing the Icon” has the lyric “Bill Cosby on my couch out in Nashville,” because Riff is a prophet.
– “Don’t Wait” would be the second best song of the year. Intimate, fun-despite-sad, and well-paced. Chance fits the song’s tone perfectly, creaking sympathetically through his verse. “I’m only back for funerals/ we should throw a wedding/“ Then the bridge confirms: “my brother, my sister, we gonna be just fine.”
– Caribou’s “Dive” is a compelling piece of interstitial music. Like it doesn’t seem like a full song, but it feels cool to listen to.
– A lot of radio-ready hits came off the Hunger Games soundtrack, but “This Is Not A Game” probably won’t make it to the airwaves. It’s too mechanical and chugging. I guess Clearchannel et al haven’t realized that it’s more fun to belt along with Miguel than Lorde (she’s not much of a belter).
– You may hate Iggy Azalea. If any song of hers would melt your heart, it’s “Just Askin,” a coy thought experiment with a chopped-up child’s choir supporting. It’s like Iggy Iggs is trying so damn hard to be, ugh, sweet.
– I dunno who the fuck this Delicate Steve guy is but I listened to two albums and his melodic guitar instrumentals take a page from Animal Collective and, in turn, the Beach Boys.

Mr. Show, “How High The Mountain (Ronnie’s Song)”

This is a scene from the Mr. Show spin-off movie, Run Ronnie Run, in which Mandy Patinkin plays the titular Ronnie in a musical based on his life as a repeat-offender on Cops. (helluva sentence, that one)

Not entirely apropos for juxtaposing with what’s going on around America, but the phrase “y’all are brutalizing me” has acted as a mental ward, reminding me that there is an intersection between comedy and conflict. One can shine a light into the morass of the other, clarifying exactly who has the power by pointing out who looks the most ridiculous wielding it.

November 2014

In case you’re starving for music, here’s a reminder that I compile monthly playlists of all the songs I discover. Tracking ’em like this is also gonna make it super easy to make a year-end best-of playlist (barring the first half of the year before I started my new listening system [yes like a robot i must plan my aural dalliances]), so look forward to that (but whatever you do, do NOT engage in spirited debate with me about it).