Music to Listen to in 2015. From 2014.


What’s the statute of limitations on when you can post your favorite music, books, or movies from a given year? I know we’re a month into 2015, but good music is good music. Although maybe that’s not true, because last week I read a Marc Ronson quote that was something like: “the only thing you don’t want to sound like is last year’s music.” Well, whatever Marc Ronson.

At the end of 2014, like at the end of every year, I asked my friends for music recommendations. I also compiled my own list. Now I’m sharing these recommendations here. I have also embedded my favorite videos of the year.

Here are some selected favorite songs of mine from 2014.

  • Come Around, by Bernhoft. He’s Swedish Norwegian (so close).
  • Under the Pressure, by War on Drugs. The album has so many influences that it’s almost hard to understand how it came together: Bob Dylan, Paul Simon, Bruce Springsteen, Dire Straits. Really interesting to me. Other good songs on the album include In Reverse and Eyes to the Wind. Nick from Tacoma likes Red Eyes.
  • Coming of Age, by Foster the People. I have three general rules when reviewing music which are 1) don’t be negative, 2) don’t be embarrassed, and 3) never quote lyrics. So I won’t do number 3, but I will say that the second verse/stanza of this song is an absolute favorite.
  • Do You, and Rent I Pay, by Spoon. Great album!
  • Laredo and Need a Little Help by Streets of Laredo.  To me, this is the perfect mix of Texas folk rock and Americana, and I’ll bet they’re from like Connecticut or Wales. Anyway, I feel like I was waiting for some music like this all year.
  • Chandelier, by Sia. So good! That voice! As for the video, Sarah from Boston says: “This was my favorite video of the year, with that creepy and incredibly talented 11-yr-old in a Sia wig dancing around a derelict apartment. Just the right amount of disturbing.”
  • Busy Earnin’, by Jungle. My wife does not like the Sia video. She does like this one.
  • Bad Self Portraits and Rental Love by Lake Street Dive. A little bit of jazz, a little bit of soul, a little bit of blues, and a whole lot of voice.
  • A tout a l’heure, by Bibio. Bibio to the max. He’s always Bibio-ing.
  • Odyssey, by No Wyld. Easily the best New Zealander hip hop song featured in a McDonald’s commercial of the year.

And here are some song recommendations from friends:

    • Shut up and Dance, by WALK THE MOON. Recommended by Brett from LA and Cameron from SF. Cameron said it makes him want to dance.
    • Head Underwater, by Jenny Lewis. Recommended by Nick from Tacoma, who says this song is from his favorite album of the year.
    • Black Out Days, by Phanotgram. Recommended by Lesley from Tacoma. “A good song to drive to.”
    • Lazaretto, by Jack White. Recommended by Josh from Santa Clara. Even though the album was so-so, “this song proved that Jack White is the most talented and innovated person doing music today.”
    • Take Me to Church, by Hozier. Recommended by numerous friends, including Sarah from Boston, who says: “It’s cinematic and epic sounding, has subversive religious references, and is sung by a tall gorgeous Irish poet who isn’t even really into all that stuff (you can tell because he didn’t fix his beautiful crooked teeth).”

  • Coffee, by Sylvan Esso. Criss from New Jersey says: “This song has a great beat that is equal parts relaxing and catchy.”
  • Latch, by Disclosure. Brian from the Cupertino says it’s catchy.
  • Happy, by Pharrell. Blake from Austin says it made him happy.
  • Turn Down for What, by DJ Snake and Lil Jon. Christina from Sacramento says it’s a great club banger.
  • Timber, by Pitbull and Kesha. Jenn from SF says, “It’s a good song for running” and “Pitbull is stupidly catchy.” Dale!
  • Other popular songs included Shake it Off by Taylor Swift, Thinking Out Loud by Ed Sheeran, All About That Bass by Meghan Trainor, Uptown Funk by Marc Ronson with Bruno Mars, and Stay With Me by Sam Smith.

And here are some of our favorite albums:

  • They Want My Soul, by Spoon. Plenty of favorites, including Do You, Rent I Pay, and the title track. Josh from Santa Clara says Spoon is the most consistent band going.
  • Mind Over Matter, by Young the Giant. Not sure why I like this album so much, but I do. It’s earnest. In My Home and Anagram are my favorites.
  • rose ave., by You+Me. Sarah from Boston says, “it’s folky and rocky and has awesome harmonies between two great voices.” She recommends Capsized and No Ordinary Love.
  • Most Messed Up, by Old 97s. Josh from Santa Clara says this was the best album of the year.
  • Queen of the Clouds, by Tove Lo. Mina from San Jose/Boston recommends it.
  • I’m not sure that I really loved any album in 2014. But I am looking forward to some in the coming year.

Happy Listening in 2015!