For forty years I’ve been tracking new music I like. For a while, I did mixed tapes of my favorite songs for each year. Since the iPod was introduced, I switched the playlists for each year. For two years now, those playlists are now on Amazon Prime. While my music tastes continue to change, I still seek out new music. Every year I think that the year prior was the best year yet. 2020 was a miserable year BUT some amazing music was produced during the year. Perhaps it’s because artists were forced to innovate like never before.
I’ve been meaning to post my favorite songs of 2020 since mid-January but as always I get distracted with something. Here are my top ten songs of 2020:
Young Buck by Braids
Control by Brooke Bentham
Let Me Down by Oliver Tree
Brooklyn Bridge to Chorus by The Strokes
The New Insane by Counterfeit
People, I’ve Been Sad by Christine and the Queens
Held Down by Laura Marling
Drop Dead by Hilly Humberstone
Nightmares by Alice Glass
Need Your Love by Tennis
In 2020, I revisited Springsteen’s music. While I don’t think I have ever have him on a list, he has continued to get better with age. I decided I wanted to have him on this list as an extra bonus.
New music discovery is still a problem for me, particularly since I refuse to listen to any kind of radio. Regardless, the amount of new music I sampled throughout 2019 was a bit overwhelming. I hear a lot of great innovative music coming from most genres.
I’m starting to listen to more and more R&B lately as this seems to be the most exciting genre at the moment. Having said that I still lean towards rock and pop. I give you my top twelve songs of 2019, in no particular order.
Bury a Friend – Billie Eilish
As of writing this, Billie just won 5 Grammys including the “big four” for Record of the Year, Song of the Year, Album of the Year, and Best New Artist. It’s not every year that something I really like also shows up on the Grammys.
Living Proof – Des Rocs
I love the muddy sound of this song which goes well with the lyrics. The guitar is also on point. It’s modern blues for the uninitiated.
Sad Day – FKA twigs
When I travel for business, I sleep with music on. The first time I heard this was in the middle of the night. I had to wake up and see who it was.
Lo/Hi – The Black Keys
Sometimes listening to The Black Keys is like taking a time machine to sometime in the 70s. I think this is one of those times.
Tokyo – White Lies
Speaking of time travel, White Lies is channeling the 80s. It reminds me a bit of Wang Chung.
Ready To Let Go – Cage The Elephant
Matt Shultz is this generation’s American Mick Jagger. This is such a great record.
Don’t Believe The Things They Tell You (They Lie) – Tegan and Sara
Tegan and Sara consistently put out excellent music. The guitar in this song is fantastic.
Descending – Tool
The long-awaited new album from Tool is better than imagined. It’s the marriage of prog rock, metal, and whatever else people call Tool. It’s hard to pull a single song out, the album should be listened altogether.
She Plays Bass – beabadoobee
Anyone that knows me well, knows I’m a sucker for female rockers. This is a banger.
Error 404 – Suzi Wu
This song came out early in the year, which gave me an opportunity to play it a ton throughout the year. It’s an ear worm.
We’ve Got To Try – The Chemical Brothers
The Chemical Brothers never disappoint and they certainly delivered in 2019.
Arrow- Half Alive
From the band that made my favorite video and song of 2018, it’s another ear worm. Also, it looks like they like Wes Anderson.
Given how frequent I post blogs, see you in 2021 for the 2020 list.
Another year went by and I didn’t write any blog entries all year.I’m back with another top ten songs of the year.I know I said this last year, but it seems to be getting harder and harder to keep the list to 10.With the advent of streaming, the process of discovery of new music and listening to what is out there complicates it all.
Anyway, here is what I think was the best of 2018:
Ezra Furman – The Great Unknown
Ezra’s Transgelic Exodus was one of my favorite albums this year.While I listen to less and less full albums nowadays, Ezra’s music is fresh, edgy, and very comfortable.
The Decemberists – Once In My Life
We saw The Decemberists in concert again in 2018.Their songs seems to be more approachable as they get older.
Bad Child – Bad Child
Canada’s Bad Child’s first single of the same name is ridiculously good.I expect that we’ll hear a lot from him in 2019.
Rhye – Stay Safe
Another Canadian on the list.Mike Milosh’s Rhye had a great year with his album, Blood.This is another full album that I played regularly.
Coco Mamba – Drive
This year I started to listen to a podcast abut indie music,Not 97 .They introduced me to a ton of indie Hip-Hop, R&B, and all other genres.One that stuck out was Brooklyn’s Coco Mamba.
Parquet Courts – Freebird II
Like most rock bands, Parquet Courts gets their fare share of dummies asking for Freebird during their concerts.So they named one of their songs Freebird 2.It has noting to do with the Lynyrd Skynyrd song, but it’s a funny name for a great song.
Dream Wife – Somebody
UK’s Dream Wife had a great debut with their self-titled album.This is a great song about rape culture.It seems appropriate for the wreck that 2018 was.
First Aid Kit – Fireworks
We saw First Aid Kit at the Newport Folk Festival a few years ago.While I enjoyed them, there was nothing remarkable about them.Their 2018 album Ruins and this song in particular have changed my mind.
Amy Shark – All Loved Up
Another debut but this time from Australia.Amy Shark’s All Loved Up was a go to song when I needed an extra push during training runs.
still feel – Half Alive
The ear worm of the year was this song by far.Not only that but still feel is going after Ok Go’s title of most infectious single take video.I dare you watch this video and not want to watch it again.
Have a great 2019, and hopefully I’ll write something before my next list.
2017 was a stellar year for new music. It was so very hard to arrive to ten songs, but here is my list finally:
Lourde – The Louvre
Lourde is a such an amazing talent. Other great songs from her Melodrama album include “Green Light,” “Homemade Dynamite,” “Liability,” “Writer in the Dark,” and “Supercut.” It is definitely my favorite album of the year, by far.
Jason Bajada – Blondie
Jason is one of my favorite artists. For the past few years most of his material has been in French but for this new effort he’s back at singing in English. His voice is amazing in any language.
Japanese Breakfast – Road Head
Japanese Breakfast is Michelle Zauner’s (of Little Big League) solo effort. Would it be wrong to say that Japanese Breakfast is by far better than Little Big League? This song seems ideal for driving in the dark.
The xx – I Dare You
The xx keep getting better and better. Their 2017 album, I See You, doesn’t have a single weak moment. This song is the big highlight.
Waxahatchee – Silver
I don’t know how I had never heard of Waxahatchee until this year. I’ve caught up, however. Is this not The Breeders for the teens?
The War on Drugs – Thinking of a Place
The War on Drugs’ A Deeper Understanding album is close to perfection. I love Adam’s Dylanesque voice.
Japanese Breakfast – Machinist
I’m not a fan of autotuned voices, but Michelle’s use of it here is so well done. I love the video too!
Depeche Mode – Where’s the revolution
Depeche Mode continues to produce amazing music, and remain my favorite band. My LastFM account proves it:
Beth Ditto – We could run
I’ve been a fan of Beth’s since her Gossip days. Her 2017 album, Fake Sugar, is her best. What a voice!
St. Vincent – Los Ageless
What could I say that hasn’t been said about St. Vincent? She’s probably the best musician of the teens.
I hope this won’t be my only entry in this blog this year. Life happens!
Unlike last year, I’m not waiting until June to put together my list of my favorite songs from the previous year. My favorite songs of 2013, in order, are:
1. Fresh Strawberries by Franz Ferdinand. FF has been the best band of the past 10 years. Their 2013 Album Right Thoughts, Right Words, Right Action was nothing short of amazing.
2. Gravediggress by CocoRosie. I don’t know how I have missed this group before, but CocoRosie is wonderfully weird. This song is addictive despite the horrible fact that there is a clown in this video.
3. I Got You by Jack Johnson. I couldn’t help being all romantic in 2013, with getting married to the most amazing woman and all, so yeah I had this song playing a lot this year.
4. A New Life by Jim James. And when I didn’t play Jack Johnson, I was playing Jim James’s A New Life. To be fair, we caught Jim James at the Newport Folk Festival. Now I get why people are so excited about My Morning Jacket.
5. Les jolies Françaises by Jason Bajada. Jason’s Le Résulta de mes bêtises was one of those albums that I couldn’t stop listening to, and still haven’t.
6. Changeling by Alison Moyet. Call me a child of the 80s, but Alison is back. Her voice is just as great as it was back with Yazoo.
7. All That’s Mine by Depeche Mode. Speaking of the 80s, Depeche Mode is still strong and possibly better. I seem to be biased since they are my favorite band. I was once embarrassed to say it, but there is no denying that I listen to them more than anyone else, my LastFM scrobbles don’t lie, http://www.last.fm/user/BernardLeCroix.
8. We Are Not Cool by Stripmall Architecture. I’m crazy about this band.
9. I’d Rather Be High by David Bowie. Bowie is also back. I don’t know what happened between Scary Monsters and now but this album, and this song, is excellent.
10. Came Back Haunted by Nine Inch Nails. I’ve been a Trent Reznor fan forever, but hide it well. NIN is fantastic for Monday morning commuting.