Tuesday, 31 December 2013

The Top 20 Songs of 2013

Happy New Years everyone! Like every other music site out there it's time to recap the past year with my own list of the best songs. 2013 wasn't without it's heartache. It's ups and downs. It's celebrations and reservations. Also it's great music, as we shall see. The 20 Best Songs of 2013.

20. Eleanor Freidberger - "Stare At The Sun"

One half of the Fiery Furnaces with her brother, Eleanor Freidberger released her second album Personal Record in June. "Stare At The Sun" has an honest approach, like she hasn't a care in the world while strumming along to it's poppy undertones. Can't wait to see what else is in store from this one.

19. Alice In Chains - "Stone"

Gotta love that grungey, bass growl that rolls along the whole duration of "Stone", Alice In Chain's first single off the 2013 album The Devil Put Dinosaurs Here (how cool of an album name is that?). The band's second release since reuniting in 2009. 2013 also saw the band join Metallica and Ghost BC for this year's Rock In Rio in Brazil.

18. Waxahatchee - "Peace & Quiet"

Waxahatchee is the stage name of new comer Katie Crutchfield and her second album Cerulean Salt has been making waves all over the music scene. She appears on most top 100 lists for songs from this year, but each time a different song is named. "Peace & Quiet" gets my vote, for it's down to earth relatability. Also those guitar strums remind me of The Heartless Bastards, and I like that. Also check out "Brother Bryan" and "Swan Dive".

17. Robin Thicke - "Blurred Lines"

Undeniably catchy and undeniably helped along by the popularity of it's video. Robin Thicke (son of Canada's Alan Thicke) called in a few favours from T.I and Pharrell to craft this peppy, bouncy dance floor anthem for adults. If it wasn't overshadowed by Daft Punk's summer anthem, this one may have gotten higher.

16. Goo Goo Dolls - "Come To Me"

Alice In Chains and Goo Goo Dolls on a best of the year list? What year is it? Magnetic was the Doll's first release in 3 years, and this sweet, acoustic strumming track is a definite ear-opener. With Dylan-esque beginnings the song morphs into a more modern version of the classic love song sung up to a balcony.

15. Bastille - "Pompeii"

"Y'know that song with the eh-oh-ehs at the beginning?" Yep that's Bastille's "Pompeii" a song from their debut album Bad Blood with about as much momentum as the volcano that destroyed the titular city. While it was actually the 4th single released it was the first to make an impact in North America.

14. The National - "Pink Rabbits"

The year's dreamy trip into the ether is brought to you by Cincinnati band The National. "Pink Rabbits" is one of many great tracks from the critically acclaimed Trouble Will Find Me. It might have the lyrics here that won me over "You didn't know it I was falling apart; I was a television version of a person with a broken heart" So divine...

13. Blue October - "Bleed Out"

Blue October had been quietly releasing albums since their breakthrough in 2006. Which came as a surprise to me as I stumbled across "Bleed Out" in the summer...the more I listened to it the deeper it bore itself into my skull. I feel it has much to do with the urgency in his lead singer Justin Furstenfeld's vocals. He definitely nails it in this one.

12. Parquet Courts - "Stoned & Starving"

Parquet Courts came marching on to the scene with their album Light Up Gold and with it they carried the flag of dirty Brooklyn punk rock that's been lacking for many years. "Stone & Starving" not only fires catchy guitar riffs around like litter, but also adds a little humour. Good to hear, we shouldn't be taking ourselves too seriously after all.

11. Thundercat - "Oh Sheit, it's X"

Thundercat is Stephen Bruner from LA and he definitely found the funk. Thundercat is a renown session musician who's worked with Flying Lotus and Suicidal Tendencies, but has also released 2 solo albums of his own. "Oh Sheit It's X" with either make you get up and dance or imagine someone in your head getting up to dance. It was even featured in Grand Theft Auto V.

10.  Sleigh Bells - "Young Legends"

Back with another youthful blast of synth-driven noise pop is Brooklyn's Sleigh Bells. Bitter Rivals is the release that "Young Legends" can be found on and the song almost taunts it's target audience of the YOLO generation with the future classic line "young legends die all the time". Love the fade out too

9. Sky Ferreira - "I Blame Myself"

This what all that teeny-bopper pop music would sound like if those performing it actually had a connection to the "art" they were claiming to create. Sky Ferreira was signed to her label at the young age of 15, with hopes of being the next teen-pop sensation. Perhaps thats the "reputation" she's lamenting on the roaring opening track of her album Night Time. My Time

8. The Internet - "Dontcha"

Syd Tha Kyd and Matt Martian make up The Internet, a soulful, techno group based out of LA. Both originally collaborated as part of Odd Future and they released their second album Feel Good early in the year. "Dontcha" is an effortless yet, ridiculously catchy track that sort of defines genre...much like the group.

7. CHVRCHES - "The Mother We Share"

CHVRCHES (pronounced churches) are a Scottish synth-pop group whose debut album The Bones Of What You Believe has been getting them noticed all over the world. With help from their singles "Gun" and "The Mother We Share" CHVRCHES are a critics favourite.

6. Jake Bugg - "Broken"

What a voice for a cat that was born in 1994! I kept wanting to slide this song in, but it just kept being pushed higher and higher. England's Jake Bugg released Shangri-La this year and has been unstoppable since. "Broken" is the stand out track for me.  It's like his voice was recorded decades ago and is just catching up to the world now. This song is sure to be a favourite for first dances at weddings.

5. Coheed & Cambria - "Dark Side Of Me"

Coheed released the second part to their two disc opus The Afterman in early February. Much like Ascension the second part Descension has a myriad of songs that could have been included on this list. "Dark Side Of Me" seems like a typical woe-is-me type alt-rock song, but the way Claudio belts it out makes it a more personal affair and the character in the song is preparing to make some big choices based on what he has to live with.

4. Daft Punk - "Get Lucky"

2013 was definitely the year of Daft Punk.  After they dropped "Get Lucky" it seemed there was nothing that could get in their way. You couldn't even travel the world, to non-English speaking countries without hearing this everywhere. And why not? That funky guitar work, that snap-along beat and Pharrell (he seems to be this year's Timbaland) was the perfect choice to sing it. I still think of one of the first times I heard this song at an Ultimate tournament's final dance bash with pretty young girls on their teammates' shoulders shaking and gyrating to the grooves.

3. Haim - "The Wire"

Haim (rhymes with crime) burst on the scene this year with their debut album Days Are Gone. Admittedly I wasn't sure about them at first, but this song's careless cadence and underwhelming vocals got stuck in my head and I was done.

2. Lorde - "Royals"

The ladies have really been a force to be reckoned with this year and here we have their queen. New Zealand's Lorde has been the name on everyone's tongue since Heroine was released. "Royals" is that type of song the is forgettable at first and then becomes that one song you crank up. Like a rap song, slowed down and ironed out. Still very easy to rock to.

1. Avenged Sevenfold - "Hail To The King"

Speaking of cranking it up. There is no way I can listen to this song without testing a few speakers or eardrums.  Really what is there to say about this that the song can't say for itself? From the album of the same name. Hail to the king, baby.

There ya go! My picks for the 20 best songs of the year!

Here's a few honourable mentions that almost made it
- "I Love You" - Said The Whale
-"Sex" - The 1975
-"Chamakay" - Blood Orange
-"Keep You" - Wild Belle
-"When A Fire Starts To Burn" - Disclosure
-"Mind Your Manners" - Pearl Jam
-"Not My Day" - Head Of The Herd

Thanks again for reading!

See y'all in 2014!


Saturday, 14 December 2013

10 Great Songs About Streets & Roads

Yes it's been a while since i've updated and yes this is not a very inspired topic. It is the holiday season however, and my time is being stretched thin. Hey if you want to check out a list of Christmas songs for the upcoming holidays check out last year's list here! For now though, here are 10 Great Songs About Streets or Roads.

1. "The Golden Road (To Unlimited Devotion)" - The Grateful Dead

The first track off of the first Grateful Dead album, which was a self-titled release. It's a acid-trippy, quick little ditty that really sets the tone for The Grateful Dead's typical care free style. That same style that would earn them a legion of devoted fans for decades to come

2. "Allison Road" - Gin Blossoms

Some songs about roads are inspired by actual streets and laneways. Such is the case with the Gin Blossoms' 1994 single. Lead singer Robin Wilson was traveling with a friend through Texas when they passed an exit sign for Allison Rd. His friend's sister was named Allison so they took a picture. That picture would serve as inspiration for Wilson when writing songs for the 1992 album New Miserable Experience.

3. "Grey Street" - Dave Matthews Band

This song has become a staple at DMB live performances. It was originally recorded in 2000 for the band's upcoming 4th studio album. The band decided to not release the songs recorded during that time, which were produced by Steve Lillywhite and instead recorded a new batch of songs with Glen Ballard at the helm. That album became Everyday and produced such singles as "I Did It" and "The Space Between". Even in the early days of the internet though those initial songs were leaked and the fans dubbed the collection as The Lillywhite Sessions. "Grey Street" has since been officially included on one of Dave Matthew's albums: 2002's Busted Stuff.

4. "Across 110th Street" - Bobby Womack

A song written for a movie of the same name, Bobby Womack would go on to be known for his life outside of music more than in it. He had his struggles with drug addiction and has been diagnosed with colon cancer. Perhaps his most public scandal was when he married Sam Cooke's widow just three months after the soul singer's death.

5. "Baker Street" - Gerry Rafferty

Perhap's one of music's most famous saxophone stings is in Gerry Rafferty's "Baker Street". It was even used at the end of a Simpsons episode. Rafferty started his career as part of Stealer's Wheel who had in the 70's with "Stuck In The Middle With You"

6. "Copperhead Road" - Steve Earle

From famous saxophone stings to perhaps even more famous bagpipe swells, here we find "Copperhead Road" Steve Earle's biggest hit. Copperhead Rd is a real road in East Tennessee where moonshine was made and eventually became a place to grow marijuana. The song follows a Vietnam vet who winds up in the smuggling business after coming home.

7. "Emerald Street" - Alexisonfire

Taken from the 2009 album Old Crows/Young Cardinals "Emerald Street" paints a not so flattering picture of a real street in Hamilton, Ontario.

8. "Warwick Avenue" - Duffy

Warwick Avenue is in Maida Vale, West London. Though Duffy is from London, she claims to have only been to the area by accident and the song itself is in fact about a few of her ex-boyfriends. One of many great songs off her 2008 release Rockferry.

9. "Love Street" - The Doors

Jim Morrison wrote this song about the street he lived on with his girlfriend in Laurel Canyon, California. Though the address was 1812 Rothdale Trail, they called it Love Street because of all the hippies who also lived in the area.

10. "53rd & 3rd" - The Ramones

This one is actually about 2 streets that intersect. Dee Dee Ramone claims this one is quasi-autobiographical about his time as a young prostitute on the corner of 53rd & 3rd trying to score drugs. The titular corner is in New York City in a part of town called the bowery, which was once known as a dangerous and seedy part of town. It has since been cleaned up, along with most of the city, to attract tourists.

Thanks all again!

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