TOP 10 SONGS OF 2014

#10: “Ben’s My Friend”/ Sun Kil Moon

Benji’s closing track seems utterly out of place but is a welcome change of pace and arguably the album’s greatest triumph. Between nonchalant discussion of ordering crab cakes in a bar full of “sports bar shit”, lead singer Mark Kozalek lets us down easy with lifted saxophones reminiscent of Destroyer’s Kaputt and a song presumably about seeing a Postal Service concert, all after an album otherwise full of heavy material.

#9: “XMAS_EVET10″/ Aphex Twin

A fascinating essay in electronic build reminiscent of what Boards of Canada might sound like if they ever attempted a ten minute track this ambitious, as it expands and switches between its ethereal electronica and eerie, haunting keyboard lines.

#8: “Never Catch Me”/ Flying Lotus featuring Kendrick Lamar

On what is essentially the only proper track on Flying Lotus’ experimental fourth LP You’re Dead, a jazzy, catchy piano loop find the perfect match in the laid back delivery of Kendrick Lamar before the track shifts into some classic FlyLo space-age lounge grooves.

#7: “Drunk In Love”/ Beyonce

The darkness embodied in this track shows a shocking evolution from the (albeit catchy) silliness of songs like “Single Ladies” to the point that it’s almost hard to believe that this is even the same artist; this is so far and away the best track of her career that it isn’t even funny, as a deep, foreboding bass beat and trip-hop snares roll beneath her soaring vocals.

#6: “Talking Backwards”/ Real Estate

Perhaps the perfect pop rock song, delivering the catchiest hook of the band’s entire catalog (suck it, “It’s Real”) but adding elements of bittersweet defeat that anyone that’s been in a relationship with an actual human can most definitely attest to- “Well I might as well be talking backwards/ Is this making any sense to you?/ And the only thing that really matters/ Is the one thing I can’t seem to do.” This is so simple and so true, but wouldn’t have been believable on their self-titled debut, and that’s what makes this effort feel like a step forward.

#5: “Close Your Eyes (And Count To Fuck)”/ Run The Jewels

The indisputable standout from Killer Mike and El-Ps’s second collaboration as Run The Jewels brings the energy to an insurmountable level, as the duo conveys a prison riot/ break out tale over a franticly repetitious sample. It’s the best rap song of the year, and there isn’t a close second.

#4: “Go”/ Grimes

It will be interesting to see how Grimes’ turn towards a poppier sound will play out in its entirety, but the first single from her as yet undetermined next album was pure pop perfection, as her spot-on vocal is a thing of beauty, gaining traction while shifting between a contrasting synth line.

#3: “Come Down To Us”/ Burial

In what is easily the greatest, most ambitious track to date by the experimental electronic producer Burial, “Come Down To Us” begins with a heart-wrenching keyboard loop and ghostly reverb vocals. He employs complete stops at times as the tone switches to more atmospheric tension and eventually shifts into a stunning, dare we say, “bright”coda unlike anything we’ve ever heard before from this artist, discovering an exciting new musical territory over the track’s thirteen minutes.

#2: “Oxygen”/ Swans

I heard this completely rejuvenated and re-arranged version of the old Swans’ punk song “Oxygen” two summers ago at the Pitchfork Music Festival in Chicago, and it was one of those stunning live concert movements that you never forget, and one that only raised my excitement for the upcoming album To Be Kind when its inclusion there was confirmed. Explosive bursts of guitar sprawl beneath propulsive percussion and leadman Michael Gira’s maniacal ravings as he gives a fearful, frightening account of a time he had difficulty breathing during a severe asthma attack.

#1: “Red Eyes”/ The War On Drugs

This is not only the best song of the year, but it may very well be the best American rock song of the entire century. Everything is executed and timed perfectly without excess, from the whooping vocals, brilliant melody, pounding percussion and gigantic riffs which eventually overlap and collapse upon the verses into an all out onslaught of a coda.

Explore posts in the same categories: Tunes

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