Tk’s Song of the Year & Honorable Mention Albums (2014)
2014 was the year that I listened to the most new music in my life (Spotify + lesson planning a lot as a teacher) but have the fewest words to say about it. The music world seemed settled this year–bands content to build upon their successes with straight-forward, solid releases. Not an especially edgy year for music, nor experimental. In fact, the most exciting pop release is also the least exciting pop release. Ariana Grande is attempting nothing new, yet very successful in doing so and being rewarded for her talent (and maybe some other things… though stage presence can’t be counted among them).
So, without a further dude, let’s go.
Song of the Year
Highasakite – Lover, Where Do You Live?
The War on Drugs’ “Red Eyes” was a very close second, but I had to go with the song that I listened to the most times in 2014. Highasakite’s “Lover, Where Do You Live?” is a gorgeous, stirring song sure to send shivers down that spine of yours. Thanks to Brother Shane for pointing out the haunting sonic bliss of 1:50 – 2:20. According to some guy on youtube, the formula for this Norwegian band is “soaring melodies + strange lyrics = skewed pop glory.” I could have said it better myself, but I’m too tired.
10 Honorable Mention Albums
Ariana Grande – My Everything: An Italian-American girl channeling Mariah Carey pop and somehow managing to appeal to Pitchforkers (people who read the popular music blog), New Yorkers, and pitchforkers (people who move hay from Point A to Point B using a pitchfork). She still has some room to improve her stage presence and make her voice more dynamic, but, y’know, she is only 21.
Childhood – Lacuna: A band called ‘Childhood’ that sounds like my childhood (1990’s Buzz Shop radio) on an album in which Track 1 was a candidate for my Song of the Year. In other words, 5 minutes into listening to this English indie rock release, it had already guaranteed its spot on my list.
Robert Ellis – The Lights from the Chemical Plant: 25 year old Robert Ellis moved from Houston to Nashville and is making a name for himself with his nasally, poignant Country-Americana sound. And I might add that he actually pulls off the line, “Oh my god, I love watching my TV.”
Run the Jewels – RTJ 2: I dare you to listen to “Blockbuster Night Part 1” and not pump your fist (it might be fitting that the very next song on the album features fellow must-pump-fist Zack de la Rocha from Rage Against the Machine). Hard-hitting NYC hip hop featuring Killer Mike and El-P.
Sun Kil Moon – Benji: My Honorable Mention often features ‘Woulda been top 10 except…’ albums. This is one of them. Should it matter that Mark Kozelek took the spotlight off of his brilliant 6th studio album by being a relentless bully to fellow artists and fans? Should it matter that he also put out a boring Christmas album with 1 good song? It matters some, because it affects the way I hear Benji. But make no mistake, Benji is a stunning, heartfelt, and raw acoustic album.
Todd Terje – It’s Album Time: Norwegian house/disco/jazz that doesn’t take itself too seriously but has surprising depth and relistenability.
Lydia Ainsworth – Right from Real: Canadian strange-pop with a penchant for the pentatonic. A compelling debut release featuring the stand-out, anthemic track “PSI.”
The Men – Tomorrow’s Hits: Not as impactful as Open Your Heart but packed full of rousing, barn-burning, too-much-fun classic rock designed for the live show. The song “Pearly Gates” reminds listeners of the very reason that rock and roll exists.
Eagulls – Eagulls: Post-punk always has a way of weaseling its way into my Honorable Mention Albums. This is a slightly dingy, sometimes forceful, and thoroughly convincing debut album from Eagulls (not to be confused with ‘Eagles, The’).
Literature – Chorus: A fun album of concise, jangly, Clash-like songs. Rumor has it that Philadelphia is on the rise, and Literature surely will not thwart this momentum.
Wildbirds & Peacedrums – Rhythm: Swedish husband-wife duo that somehow create a gripping 40 minutes of music using primarily (only?) drums and vocals. For people who appreciate the creativity of Tune-Yards but find her music a bit grating…
CK’s Song of the Year and Honorable Mentions are next, followed by our Top 10’s!
Filed under: tk, Year In Review | 1 Comment
Tags: ariana grande, childhood, clash, eagles, eagulls, highasakite, literature, lydia ainsworth, mariah carey, men, rage against the machine, robert ellis, run the jewels, sun kil moon, todd terje, tune yards, wildbirds & peacedrums