I’ve been meaning to write this post for weeks but it just hasn’t happened for a variety of reasons. So today, after sleeping until nearly 10AM in the best sleeping weather we’ve had in months, I figured I better get a post about the songs of my summer done before the ship sails. It’s been a pretty good summer for music in my estimation, and that’s keeping with my general assessment that 2014 is a much better year for the type of music I like than was 2013. It’s not quite to 2012 levels, but hey, I’ll take it. Expect to see at least a couple of these on my year-end list.
There Are No Miracles / Bright Light Bright Light
It wouldn’t be a music list of mine if it didn’t include something by Rod Thomas aka Bright Light Bright Light. From his sophomore album, Life Is Easy, “There Are No Miracles” appealed to me right off the bat. An impossible-to-resist Madonna “Get Together” vibe and self-empowering lyrics proves to be a magical combination.
Fancy (feat. Reba McEntire) / Iggy Azalea
I can kind of take or leave the original “Fancy” with Charli XCX, and when someone mashed up Iggy’s “Fancy” with Reba McEntire’s “Fancy”, it quickly became the definitive version for me. I mostly am in awe at how well the two songs fit together, almost as if that was how it was supposed to be.
A Little More / Eric Hutchison
I enjoyed Eric Hutchison’s first album Sounds Like This, but was very lukewarm to his follow-up, only buying a couple songs from it. His latest album, Pure Fiction, is an improvement and I’ve enjoyed playing “A Little More” in the car with the windows down. When Hutchison gets it right, his music is very hard to resist.
You Don’t Know What To Do / Mariah Carey
The only reason I even give a shit about this song is because of Bright Light Bright Light. When he was interviewed by my friend Steve Sears for Instinct magazine, he mentioned “You Don’t Know What To Do” as being his song of the summer. Well, I had to check it out. It is, without a doubt, the best Mariah song in years even if she did screw it up with a stupid rapper. Hopefully someday there’ll be a version with the rapper excised.
My Silver Lining / First Aid Kit
First Aid Kit’s Stay Gold is my favorite album of the year so far. It surprises me because there’s not a single dance beat to be found. There’s something about Swedish sisters Johanna and Klara Söderberg and their take on Americana that I can’t get enough of. “My Silver Lining” was the first thing I heard of theirs back in February or March. I kind of forgot about it but by the time the album got released in June, I was already in the process of rediscovering it. Do yourself a favor and check it out.
I Walk Alone (Dan Slater Mix) / Cher
Earlier in the summer, Cher unexpectedly dropped a huge set of remixes for her song “I Walk Alone.” Although technically from last year, the remixes came out this year so I’m including the best of the bunch on this list, although all 9 (!!) of them more or less work. Cher knows how to work this kind of shit, and these remixes turned on “ok” song into a thing of greatness.
Set Me Free / Leela James
Every time I see the cover of James’ album, I’m all “Oprah released an album?” The album’s a bit of mixed bag, but I do love “Set Me Free” which marries some old-school soul with a dash of Lauryn Hill.
Fine / Kylie Minogue
I’m still trying to figure out what I think of Kiss Me Once, Kylie’s 12th studio album that was released earlier this year. It’s not as good as Aphrodite and better than Body Language. It’s a little bit like Hard Candy by being less than the sum of its parts – I like all the individual songs enough, but when I think about the album, I feel a vague disappointment. That aside, “Fine” is far and away my favorite track from Kiss Me Once. It’s joyous Kylie and one of the few songs on the album that would be worthy of Aphrodite.
Restart / Sam Smith
Oh, how I’ve resisted Sam Smith. I think it’s the uber-earnestness of “Stay With Me” that turned me off initially. His music is a lot like Adele’s in that I recognize it as being quality music, but damn, it’s just so much WORK. That said, apparently when he kicks the tempo up a bit, then I sit up and take notice.
The Trailer Song / Kacey Musgraves
I’m glad that Kacey Musgraves is getting some notice finally. She’s made appearances on my year-end best-of list for the last two years, and I’m sure that 2014 will be no different with “The Trailer Song.” Somehow both current and retro, it’s Musgraves at her best and proves that she is the real deal. Just wish she had not cancelled her Ames concert last October!
And as usual, here’s a Spotify playlist of all the songs – save the Reba/Iggy version of “Fancy” as it’s not officially released. I put the regular version of “Fancy” on there just so that it was represented.