To see out 2014, I put together a (short) playlist containing some of my favourite tracks of the year. Some are cool, some definitely aren’t, but I liked them all.
Postpartum – Taylor Mcferrin, from the album Early Riser
This intro track from a great rainy day album sets the mood to “cool” from the get-go.
Time Will Wait – The Submotion Orchestra, from the album Alium
The sort of music I imagine proper grown-ups listening to, all atmosphere and subtle brass (it is possible!). The album is all this good by the way.
Sound of a Woman – Kiesza, from the album Sound of a Woman
She does belt them out, our Kiesza. She reminds me of a less timid Lisa Stansfield; if you like early 90s divas, you’ll like this.
Monument – Röyksopp & Robyn, from the album Do It Again
Hands down my favourite saxophone solo (a baritone sax, to boot) exhales its way into a brooding track about legacies and statues or something.
Love XYZ – Luke James, from the album Luke James
Luke, Luke, Luke. Your whole album should have been this good: great harmonies, beats, synths. Sadly it’s downhill after this (until I Want You, his best song but disqualified from this list as it dates back to 2013) but still, this is good.
V. 3005 – Childish Gambino, from the album because the internet
I haven’t listened to because the internet as much as I’ve listened to Camp, but crikey this song is catchy.
Blood – Patterns, from the album Waking Lines
Pleasantly melodic indie-pop from Manchester. Not groundbreaking, but it all works. Words that come to mind include “tropical” and “hopeful”. I don’t know what the lyrics are about because I can’t make them out.
Up We Go – LIGHTS, from the album Little Machines
Concluding the synth-pop section of the playlist, it’s LIGHTS’s ode to friendship and togetherness and never, ever giving up. Had a bad year? Give this a listen.
Panic Tree – Jimi Goodwin, from the album Odludek
I could have included Oh! Whiskey (the aspirational/deluded “One of these days I’m gonna give myself a real good talking to/And recover some youth, maybe give up the booze” got me through a great many long, slow runs) but there’s something about the honky-tonky piano that makes this yarn about chopping down a tree a real knee-slapping good time.
You Go Down Smooth – Lake Street Dive, from the album Bad Self Portraits
Speaking of good times, here’s 3:29 of pure musical enjoyment. It all skips along effortlessly, and produces two moments that still get my hairs standing on end. Crank it up for the choruses and hear those harmonies and brass really glisten: I have never once made it through this song without tapping something in time with the beat.
Rental Love – Lake Street Dive, from the album Bad Self Portraits
My final track of the year is the final track from my album of the year. Sounding like a long-forgotten blues standard, sung with precision and purpose by Rachael Price, it’s just lovely, lovely music.