XMAS Mixtape - The best songs of 2014
Continuing the tradition I started well over a decade ago creating a list of my favorite songs of the year, here is the 2014 edition. When I started doing this it actually was a mixtape that morphed into a CD, that migrated into various streaming services (you can pick your favorite below). I simply love this time of year because this list opens up a ton of discussion about what people like and don't like about my lists from people I talk to a lot and some only this time of year - which is of course why I do it.
So why not start with the artist I will get the most hatred for?
Taylor Swift had the best pop record of the year, there I said it. Her work on 1989 is sublime if you are looking for pop ear-candy, unmatched really. The album is exactly what the format needed, when it needed it; Which is why it was the first record in over a decade to go platinum in its opening week. Since she pulled her tracks off all the streaming services to help with that sales thing, enjoy Blank Space below:
On to the rest, 90 minutes of my favorite music from 2014. I hope you enjoy, I hope you hear something you haven't heard before, and if you want to discuss - I would LOVE that.
Or on Beats Music if you prefer
1) Blackbird Song - Lee DeWyze - this year I have played a ton acoustically this year, so you will see this theme come up a lot sonically, but the weight of this song just kills me every time I hear it. It was used to perfection in The Walking Dead and has been in rotation ever since.
2) Uptown Funk - Mark Ronson - Arguably the second best pop record of the year belongs to one of the most interesting men in the format in Mark Ronson with vocals by the best entertainer in that format Bruno Mars. If you like Motown, just a little bit you will dig this one.
3) Fire Squad - J. Cole - The beat is infectious and lyrically, especially towards the end, I think there is a lot of industry inside baseball going on in there that I enjoy.
4) Two Weeks - FKA Twigs - This was a big year for women in music, particularly interesting women doing really interesting music FKA Twigs is currently dating a famous vampire actor, but I will let that slide because of the song
5) Out of the Black - Royal Blood - I LOVE THIS ALBUM so it was hard to pick just one track but this one will do just fine.
6) Sweet Amarillo - Old Crow Medicine Show - The Remedy record has a great sound that is perfectly captured in this track. If you haven't had a chance to get into these guys, make it part of your 2015 goals.
7) Understand - The Roots - You can argue that this might not be the strongest Roots record of all time, but this track is powerful especially in the hook when man asks for God then runs when he show up. This is a topic the Roots have tackled a couple of times I just connected to this one a lot this year.
8) Geronimo - Sheppard - Infectious rock pop that I am surprised not to hear more because each time I heard it, I wanted to hear it again.
9) Candy Man - Primus - In a year that we had a remake of Sgt. Peppers by The Flaming Lips + Miley Cyrus, why wouldn't Primus have a take on the music of Willy Wonka. As you might guess they are the perfect band to take on this sort of a risk and it pays off BIG TIME because it is perfect in every way.
10) Trainwreck 1979 - Death From Above 1979 - I love the build and I love the sound, these guys were a fun surprise this year for me.
11) i - Kendrick Lamar - Kendrick is unstoppable and "i" was a great tease for what is to come next year.
12) Habits - Tove Lo - I debated between this track and "Not On Drugs" but thought this one was just a tiny bit better.
13) Till Its Gone - Yelawolf - If you made the mistake of buying the Eminem Shady project you know that Yelawolf was about the only thing any good on that whole thing, this song is a shining example of why you should keep an eye on him.
14) Gold - Chet Faker - The bass line alone in this song was cool enough to make the list.
15) I Want To Get Better - The Bleachers - Some very fun nerd rock from NYC.
16) Multiplied - NEEDTOBREATHE - this is one of my favorite songs of the entire year and if you have not had the pleasure of seeing them live, you should put that on the list too. The drums layers and lyrics in this song dance over the guitar to create a song that I could not get enough of.
17) Aerosal Can - Major Lazer - Might not be a household name but this song should illustrate why he should be.
18) My Favourite Faded Fantasy - Damien Rice - Hauntingly beautiful, I have not loved a Damien Rice song this much since 9 Crimes.
19) Marilyn Monroe - Pharrell - I know that Pharrell shows up a bunch this year, but he had a good year and from his own project - this was my favorite track, and be honest nobody wants to hear Happy ever again.
20) Cut My Teeth - Dilated Peoples - Another hip hop outfit that might not be sponsored by a soda company, but is one that I like to turn people on to and this year they had a great record drop complete with a collaboration with Aloe Blacc, Cut My Teeth is my favorite from Directors of Photography.
21) When We're Fire - Lo-fang - He opened for Lorde this year and I spent a lot of time addicted to this track before the song and looooooong after. Seemed like a perfect way to close the year out, musically.