I had meant to post this many days ago, but what can I say, it’s been busy But now that that’s done, let’s wrap up this year’s songs. The first CDs have already been distributed. I’m going to try to mail out the rest of them by week’s end. So if you requested one, be on the lookout for it early next week.
Diane Birch / Pretty In Pain
Plays in iTunes: 24
Like I posted when I wrote about the album, the Diane Birch album was the first album in forever to really take me by surprise. This is definitely the most 80s Stevie Nicks song on the record. I wrestled so hard between this song, “Love & War” and “Frozen Over” when it came to which song would make this list, but in the end, it really was no competition. I love the story of how Birch went about writing this song – wanting to write a disco song, but then realizing that they had to write a ballad, because disco songs are “nothing but ballads with beats underneath them.”
Icona Pop / I Love It (feat. Charli XCX)
Plays in iTunes: 51
Wow, you really couldn’t escape this song this year. For me, it was mostly because Anna really loved it. Charli XCX performed this song when we saw her open for Marina & the Diamonds in May, and I don’t even know that I realized it was her until that point. The line “I put your shit into a bag and pushed it down the stairs” was, naturally, turned into “I put my dad into a bag and pushed him down the stairs.” Nothing but love from this kid. It was also one of the many songs turned into a Minecraft parody. In this case, it became “I’ll Mine It.”
Little Boots / Motorway
Plays in iTunes: 10
I didn’t love the Little Boots album like I thought I would – especially considering how much I loved her songs from 2012 – but I did love “Motorway.” The play count number is deceptively low because I played the heck out of it on Spotify. I also think I had the single which I played a lot ahead of the album and then I deleted the single once I got the album. Little Boots will always be a bit of Kylie wannabe, but “Motorway” was a good summer song perfect for driving at night with the windows down.
Capital Cities / Safe & Sound
Plays in iTunes: 20
Believe it of not, this wasn’t the first song I heard of Capital Cities. I have my friend Jason to thank as I saw him listening to the Capital Cities song “I Sold My Bed But Not My Stereo” on Spotify and I couldn’t resist a song with a title like that. From there, I discovered the song that was all over the airwaves but had no idea because I never listen to the radio – “Safe & Sound.” Capital Cities was supposed to play the M-Shop here in Ames this fall, but they ended up playing the significantly larger CY Stephens Auditorium, no doubt due to the success of “Safe & Sound.”
Grits & Glamour / I Know What You Did Last Night
Plays in iTunes: 37
Grits & Glamour is the country music project composed of country legends Pam Tillis and Lorrie Morgan. As Heidi said when I told her about the album they were doing, she said “wow, that was really ‘TAKE MY MONEY’ for you, right?” It was. The first single off the album was “I Know What You Did Last Night” in which Pam and Lorrie trade barbs about who was the most badly behaved cougar out on the town the night before. These two ladies of 90s country put together a pretty strong album and I really love this song, even though it always makes me think of a slasher movie.
Tegan & Sara / Closer
Plays in iTunes: 53
“Closer” was another one of those songs that I heard in January that I knew would be on this list in December. As I said in the last post, a lot of people dissed Tegan & Sara this year for “going pop” but the album really suits them well and opened them up to a whole new set of listeners that might not have otherwise been exposed to their music. I can’t get enough of the “physical/critical/physical/typical” rhyming in the chorus. And as my friend Steve pointed out in his post, it has one of the best bridges of the entire year. Another song that earworms Anna – maybe it’s something about Tegan & Sara?
Cher / I Hope You Find It
Plays in iTunes: 25
I was so happy that Cher did some ballads on Closer To The Truth. While the dance diva thing is pretty fabulous, she also has the vocal chops to pull off ballads that do not rely heavily on autotune. The country-tinged ballad “I Hope You Find It” is actually a cover of a Miley Cyrus song. I listened to Cyrus’ version on Spotify and, not surprisingly, it doesn’t hold a candle to Cher’s version. For one thing, Cher sings the song of letting a lover go and wishing them the best with the conviction that only a mature woman can. Cher, you own this song. I kind of wish this song would chart on the country chart because it’d be awesome for Cher to finally chart there so late in her career.
Lady Gaga / Do What U Want (feat. R. Kelly)
Plays in iTunes: 20
ARTPOP was pretty much ARTFLOP in my mind. Listening to it made me feel like Born This Way was a freaking masterpiece. But fear not, for all was not lost. “Do What U Want” debuted not terribly long after “Applause” and it was a million times better. Gaga’s vocals are strong and her live performances of the song have been top notch. Also, I have to give a shout out to John who, one day on Twitter, said that it was worth it just to mishear the lyric “I could be the green in your blunt” as “I could be the cream in your butt.” Anna, of course, found this hilarious and instantly made her like the song a zillion times more.
Avicii / Hey Brother (feat. Dan Tyminski)
Plays in iTunes: 22
I also owe John a debt of gratitude for introducing me to this song via Twitter. “Hey Brother” which features bluegrass singer Dan Tyminski (“I Am A Man of Constant Sorrow”) makes an odd bedfellow to Avicii’s dance track, but in what is probably the Christmas miracle, it really works. I like to think of this song as my musical tastes come to life, a dance-pop base sprinkled with a healthy dose of country. The video also made me feel like there must be something in my eye. I’m embedding it here because I think everyone should watch it. If you watch it, it won’t take you long to realize why I like it.
The Candle Thieves / Tomorrow Is Another Day
Plays in iTunes: 26
Last song on the list and also the only one that I couldn’t find something to link to for you to hear it. “Tomorrow Is Another Day” may be the last line of Gone With The Wind, but it’s also the first song on The Candle Thieves’ album All’s Well That Ends Well. The album is the swan song for the group, which is too bad because I really loved their brand of piano based pop. But they ended strongly and having a tiny catalog of work will render them in the same category as October Project, another beloved but defunct group.
Hope you enjoyed this! I know that posting it on New Year’s Eve guarantees that no one will see this, but I have sure enjoyed writing it!