Yeah I know. Do I do anything else besides arbitrarily rank music and then put it into a list? Frankly, no. But I do it for your enjoyment, people of the internet. I did this for YOU! I actually really did this for myself, but whatever.
This year I’d like to show you the product of the very painful process of whittling down my favorite songs to just 50 (I somehow went down to 40 last year, of all years. How did I do that? I am a madman.) Despite it being a rather disappointing year compared to the last few, there were some absolutely stellar songs that I’ve imbued meaning into that I’d like to talk about here. I’m giving each one a little award with each one, so I want to ask all the bands in the audience to line up and accept your awards as your names are called… You should have received a certificate in the mail.
A lot of these songs have college semantics added to that. Probably cause I’m graduating in May. Daamn. ALSO: I liked songs other than these, you dingus. I listened to a lot of shit this year. Here’s a Spotify playlist if you really want to get into it.
I’ll pick five songs that were my SOTY. You’ll see them.
Hope everyone enjoys it!
1. Adebisi Shank – Mazel Tov – Best Song For Funky, Muscly Robots
The first time I heard this song I kept getting blown away by different aspects of the song: the funky-ass guitar/bass line, the SAX, the robot voice, the Battles-like guitar line, and the overall feeling of boundless happiness. Like I entered a realm of robots pumping iron.
2. Alex G – Hollow – Sad Boy Alienation Music of the Year
In my sadder, masochistic times, I would listen to this song and whine along to the “I know, I’m hollow” part of the song. Just complete raw emotions here. Angsty guitars too.
3. Alvvays – Archie, Marry Me – Best Windswept, Romantic Song of the Year
Growing up in Michigan, I didn’t really base romantic, windswept moments to happen on ocean beaches or mountains. I grew up imagining romantic moments on the sand dunes of Northern Michigan. So there. I picture it there.
4. Angel Olsen – White Fire – Best Value Ticket To Smoldering Sadness Town
Damn. This song is the definition of smolder – like a stray candle in a dark room.
5. Ariel Pink – Black Ballerina – Best Aeriolas, Baby
With a song this catchy, Ariel Pink was allowed to put in the weird monologue about aeriolas. And look, it won him an award. Here we go.
6. Ava Luna – Prpl – Best Song Least Expected On A Weirdo Rock Record
Ava Luna’s Electric Balloon had some traces of soul and groove hidden beneath the janky rock n roll, but when “Prpl” comes on listeners are like WOOAAHH that voice, those grooves. This is some sexy stuff. And that’s it.
7. Babes – ATMO – The Song I Put On The Most Mixtapes
I seriously put this on at least five different CDs for people this year. I’ve gotten a few reactions, one being “It’s not a song I would listen to all the time, but it’s one that I would sit and read and drink wine to. Not everyone would like it, but I like it a lot, and I’m happy about myself for that.”
8. Crying – Batang Killjoy – Retro Throwback But Future Throttle Award
Good chiptune and righteous riffs make for a lovely little tune. Love this record.
9. Cymbals Eat Guitars – Warning – Most Angsty Rock N Roll Award
I was once listening to this record in my office at WHUS and my friend was like “Yo this sounds like the music that people listened to in middle school.” Which prompted me to think about the music I listened to in middle school.
It was Evanescence.
10. Death Grips – Have A Sad Cum – Song Name I Saw On The Most Shirts This Year
This album also won the “Best Bjork Feature” award. Have a sad cum, bb.
11. Flying Lotus (ft. Kendrick Lamar) – Never Catch Me – Song Most Likely to Air-Bass To
This was the best thing I could think of, but that bass breakdown after Kendrick lights the world on fire on this track is killer.
12. Frankie Cosmos – Sad 2 – Best Ugly Cry Song
He was just a dog. 😥
13. Future Islands – Seasons (Waiting On You) – Triumph Of The Year // Best Dancing
Listened to this song before boarding a plane I wasn’t sure I was going to be able to get on after one of the best weeks of my life. It was one of the most relieving moments of my life, and Future Islands pushed me through it. Highly recommended. Not American Airlines though, fuck them. SONG OF THE YEAR
14. Holly Herndon – Chorus – Song That Made Me Feel Like A Piece Of Software
This is one of those songs that makes me feel intoxicated while listening. Herndon channels some R+7 0PN on this track and it rules. The manic, spaced out groove of the “chorus” is absolutely insane and has had me coming back to it. Also that vocal manipulation, though. SONG OF THE YEAR
15. Hooray For Earth – Say Enough – Most Bittersweet Chorus
Something about this chorus + melodic progression just sticks with me so much. The chorus is so huge and bombastic, but for some reason the last line of it, “Is it going alright?” seems to reach back down to the human level in the thick of a tornado.
16. How To Dress Well – Words I Don’t Remember – Song I Do The Diva Hand Motions To
You know what I’m talking about, that thing that singers do with their hand when they wiggle around with the pitch on certain parts? I hate that. But for some reason this song makes me do it. It also wins the Sassy Head Shake award.
17. Hundred Waters – Cavity – Best Song I Said “Oh Shit” To When I Heard It Live
I heard this song on the sound system before I saw St. Vincent and I said “Oh shit I love this song” out loud to my friend. It’s so damn good. I also said it when I saw them live, because the depth of the bass surprised me. One of those “rattle everything in your pockets” bass booms. Dope.
18. Iceage – Abundant Living – Best Use of Mandolin in a 2014 Punk Song
I love when there’s a melody in a song that you just start singing without realizing you’re singing it. That’s the case here. That fuckin’ mandolin. Having a folky upbringing, I have endless respect for the mando. It makes it have a retro feel to the song as well. This album also had a rusty violin solo, which is beyond dope.
19. ILoveMakonnen – Tuesday (ft. Drake) – Song for the Squad (.づ▣ ͜ʖ▣)づ
When I first heard this song, I didn’t like it. I thought it was a dumb song. But after having the phase “goin’ up on a Tuesday” stuck in my head for months, I had to accept it into my life as the song to define my newer friends and the parties I’ve been going to. Cool way to end college.
20. Jessica Lea Mayfield – Pure Stuff – Best Guitar Tone to Bite Lower Lip To
Are you serious, though? This guitar tone is bonkers. So low and dripping with sludge, the slow, bright vocals shouldn’t fit as well as they do, but it’s perfect. This song rules.
21. Kero Kero Bonito – Sick Beat – Best Use of Super Mario 64 in 2014
The minute I heard this song I said “Damn that’s from Super Mario 64. Wow.” The mix of video game sounds and Japanese/English lyrics makes for a weird, nerdy, boss tune.
22. Luluc – Without A Face – Best Fall/Winter Morning Song
I tuned into this album late, unfortunately, because it has some of the best melancholy, delicate music of the year. Also the people are angels. Just so lovely and makes me want it to start snowing.
23. LVL UP – DBTS – Best Rock Song That Makes Me Think of Senior Year of College
Probably the song on the newest LVL UP record that goes the hardest, which is also my favorite. Badass guitars, etc. For some reason it makes me think of my college experience.
24. Mac DeMarco – Chamber Of Reflection – Makes Me Feel Like A Groovy Wizard Award
This song also gets the award for “Introducing me to Yellow Magic Orchestra,” but Groovy Wizard is obviously better. I’m a groovy wizard, gonna put a spell on ya.
25. Merchandise – Green Lady – PUT THE TEAM ON DA BACK THO Award
In my opinion, this song single-handedly carried the Merchandise album. There were some other pretty good songs, but this one, along with “Telephone,” added some much needed dynamics to the album that seemed to be all one tempo & key.
26. Mitski – Carry Me Out – Best College Catharsis Song
This song is like the sonic equivalent of the webcomic Octopus Pie which deals with twenty-something feelings and all that. I highly recommend it. This song is half the feeling of wanting to be alone despite being surrounded by friends and half using those friends as emotional support to “carry you out” into the world. The whole record is great. BUY IT.
27. Mr. Twin Sister – In The House Of Yes – Hottest, Most Laid Back Groove To Dance To
Any song that makes me dance through campus is a good one. Why just walk through when there’s no one around when you can shimmy-sham back to your apartment. The lyrics play out an internal monologue of someone at a party, with “I’m fucked up” and “I feel good” sang in a drunken slur while an alluring disco beat plays. It’s a great song to just put on and let some inhibitions go.
28. Perfect Pussy – Interference Fits – Song You Could Punch People & Cry To
It’s all about functionality. You could mosh and punch the shit out of people, or you could take it out on your emotions and cry about your changing relationship with your friends.
29. Quirke – Break A Mirrored Leg – Made My Calf Muscles Pulsate The Most of 2014
I know when a song makes a part of my body move involuntarily, it’s real. This song has such a rapid beat, the only thing that can move fast enough without destroying anything are my calf muscles. Such a great song.
30. Radiator Hospital – Blue Gown – Most Romantic Song That Still Leaves Me With Heartache
This song is about a breakup… Or maybe it could be about someone getting married… Or maybe it could be two best friends seeing if they could work as a relationship. Or it’s two exes seeing if they could be friends again, without the concept of love. Either way, this song is about love at its core and it makes my heart burst and hurt at the same time. SONG OF THE YEAR
31. Ratking – Canal – RRRAT
RRRRAT. Dope song.
32. Ricky Eat Acid – In My Dreams We’re Almost Touching – Song That Most Accurately Captures My Christmas List
“My only wish is that I die real, my only wish is that I die real, my only wish is that I die real.”
33. Run The Jewels – Blockbuster Night Pt. 1 – Anti-Fuckboy Anthem
This was the first taste of new Run the Jewels since last year and it was clear that these two dudes came to WIN. This sounds like if Bowser and King K. Rool came together and destroyed everything.
34. Saintseneca – Blood Bath – Best Song to Sing Along To Live of 2014
If you’ve seen my Fav Albums of 2014 post, you’d know that I saw Saintseneca in 2013 and was interested, but not totally into it. They played this song last and I was pretty into it. Here’s a Vine to prove it. But I saw them again and it was an incredible release of fun and magic.
35. Shabazz Palaces – Forerunner Foray – Best Song To Enter The 5D To
The second song on Shabazz Palaces’ second record is a slowly vibrating track that has some sort of momentum, unlike a lot of the other songs on the record. It really reminds me of a lot of the songs on the first record. Real cool. Find me in the internet 😉
36. Sophie – Hard – Song That My Mom Would Probably Get The Least On This List
“Clanging machinery, cute vocals, mosquito-like electronics… what’s the deal?” – My mom, probably.
37. St. Vincent – Prince Johnny – Song To Justify St. Vincent Goddess Status
I mean, it’s pretty obvious at this point, right? I wasn’t too interested in the first few singles from this record, but this one… oh baby.
38. Swans – Just A Little Boy – Actually Makes Me Feel Like An Ugly Little Boy Award
I wonder how Michael Gira would be as a babysitter.
I also just started playing The Binding Of Isaac and it reminded me of this album, but especially this song. It’s like you’re just sitting around in some sort of hellscape vision.
39. Sylvan Esso – Hey Mami – Song That All My Girlfriends Reblogged Award
I loved showing my girlfriends this song/album because they all would be instantly into it. Everyone else was into it, but the perspective is clearly female. Pretty great stuff.
40. Tacocat – Crimson Wave – Most Fun Song About Periods? Award
I don’t really know too many songs about periods, though, so there might be one that’s better. But for 2014, it’s pretty damn good. Terrific lyrics.
41. Tennis – I’m Callin’ – Best Song To Listen To In Grand Central Award
I listened to this song in the middle of Grand Central in the heat of rush hour and just leisurely strolled around the main terminal like I was in a movie. Then I went down an escalator into the food area and felt like I was in a movie. It was awesome.
42. Todd Terje – Delorean Dynamite – Best Driving Down The Highway Song Award
I listened to this song on the highway at night and I felt like I was in a video game.
43. TOPS – Way To Be Loved – Best Fuckin’ Guitar Line Ever Goddamn Holy Shit Award
I saw TOPS twice in the same week and was blown away both times they played this song. It’s perfect. The guitar line, the chorus, everything. It’s a perfect song. SONG OF THE YEAR
44. Trust – Are We Arc? – Best Song For Floating Up A Sci-Fi Spaceship Chasm Award
I’m a very visual person, so when I listen to songs I usually picture a scenario to accompany the song. This conjured something like floating up a giant, dimly lit neon chasm (something like the cover) with lights slowly pulsating with the beat.
45. Twin Peaks – Making Breakfast – Best Song For Making Breakfast Award
I’ve never actually made breakfast to this song, but it’s a fun-ass song that’s a much needed pick-me-up for mornings.
46. Ty Segall – Feel – Rawest, Song Length Guitar Solo + Percussion Breakdown Award
I immediately knew this would be a fav of the year the first time I heard it. That fuckin’ guitar solo, man. Too good. SONG OF THE YEAR
47. Viet Cong – Structureless Design – Best Breakdown Into Chaos Award
This is a rather normal post-punk song until about halfway through, where the song just opens up and skin-ripping guitars, murky bass & paranoid vocals take over and the song becomes something totally unique and loveable.
48. Wampire – The Amazing Heart Attack – That Bassline Though Award
This song was also nominated for “Best Cackle,” but lost to “Just A Little Boy.” Plus it was a non-televised award But that bassline, though.
49. White Lung – Face Down – Fist Clench//Head Bang Award
The rest of this album would have fit into this award as well.
50. Wildhoney – Soft Bats – Best Song By A Band I Interviewed in 2014 Award
White Hinterland’s “Ring The Bell” is a close second. I’m such a sucker for shoegaze.