As usual, it’s taken me a little longer to get to my second 10 best songs of the year post than I originally intended. Various holiday events and the travel that accompanies them is the primary culprit this year. But wait no longer! For here they are. I’m in the process of getting the CD ready to ship to those who have requested it (and to some who have not.) We see the second appearances of both Kylie and Dolly in this installment, but otherwise, all different artists.
My Silver Lining / First Aid Kit
iTunes Play count: 73
“My Silver Lining” is easily my song of the year, even though it was not my most played song nor did it have a terrible number of bpm like most of my songs of the year do. As I mentioned in my post about First Aid Kit’s stellar album, Stay Gold, there’s a wiseness to the album and especially this song that really touched me this year. Between them not taking the easy road and reminding me that the song is never just sad and that there’s hope – there’s a silver lining, it ended up centering me more often than not when I found myself forgetting that feelings aren’t facts.
Sweat / Toni Braxton & Babyface
iTunes Play count: 72
I remember sending this song to my friend Bess in January and her reply was “Dan, there must be some mistake. If it’s 1995, I don‘t know you yet.” Now, I’d argue that the song is more 1992, but that’s kind of splitting hairs, wouldn’t you agree? The reunion of Braxton & Babyface was one of 2014’s biggest surprises and it was largely a pleasant one. I loved “Sweat” the most on this album, because it’s just a little bit naughty and it took me back to my college dorm room like no other song this year.
Let The Night / Dirty Vegas
iTunes Play count: 54
I’m not sure I would have ever even known about this song had it not been for my friend Jared. It’s another one of those songs from January that survived the year and landed comfortably on the year-end list, although it was largely due to a mid-year renaissance that resulted from it being on one of Heidi’s work-in-progress soundtracks. You probably only know Dirty Vegas by their early 00s song “Days Go By” but this is worth checking out.
More Than Friends / Victoria Duffield
iTunes Play count: 14
If there had been any justice in the world, this song would have been 2014’s “Call Me Maybe.” Alas, it didn’t even get a US release until December of this year. My friend Robbie, who famously predicted the smash success of “Call Me Maybe” when the rest of us were saying “Carly Rae who?” put this song on my radar. All year I listened to a crappy YouTube rip of it since it hadn’t been officially released in the U.S., which is why the play counts are deceptively low. I mean, seriously, if you don’t like this song, you probably hate kittens as well.
The Trailer Song / Kacey Musgraves
iTunes Play count: 47
Good old Kacey Musgraves – this is her third year in a row on my year-end list of songs. She had no new album this year, but “The Trailer Song” was recorded apparently as a one-off. She played this song about a nosy trailer park neighbor live at her Grand Ole Opry debut this year. Kacey is the real deal – if you have any doubts, just listen to her cover Dolly Parton’s “Here You Come Again.” Her voice is so effortless and is a breath of fresh air in country music.
Old 45s / Chromeo
iTunes Play count: 52
I think I have Darren Hayes to thank for “Old 45s” but then again, I tried searching his Twitter and I couldn’t find any reference to it so maybe I’m not remembering accurately. In any event, their album White Women is the first actual album of theirs that I’ve paid any attention to, and “Old 45s” is a stand-out track. It doesn’t hurt that I have a stack of old 45s and I always think of them when I listen to this song. Punctuation nerd alert – this song is actual “Old 45’s” but I refuse to type that unnecessary apostrophe in there.
Sissy That Walk / RuPaul
iTunes Play count: 14
It’s been several years since RuPaul showed up on a year-end list. Frankly, that he is still producing music 20 years after “Supermodel (You Better Work)” is astouding – back in 1994, I figured him to be a one-hit wonder for sure. But “Sissy That Walk” is a more than worthy addition to the RuPaul canon and it also inspired one of the funniest pictures I saw all year.
Blue Smoke / Dolly Parton
iTunes Play count: 70
I was originally going to leave “Blue Smoke” off the list in favor of “Home” but in the end, I had to include both. It was, simply put, one of the best Dolly Parton songs in years. She is so much more successful when she is just being Dolly and not chasing a country radio audience that will have nothing to do with her because she’s over 30. “Blue Smoke” is in the grand tradition of Parton’s trio of bluegrass albums from the late 90s/early 00s, vivid imagery and a train metaphor used to great effect. I especially love her spoken bits in the middle, and the guy with the super low voice that you can hear as the song picks up speed in its final minute or so.
Froot / Marina & the Diamonds
iTunes Play count: 20
I wasn’t sure what to think of “Froot” at first. It was weird, it was more The Family Jewels than Electra Heart. A friend of mine said that he really hated it, and that people liking it was like a religion he just didn’t understand. Well, count me in amongst those that have converted. Marina Diamandis is one of those artists that Anna and I have in common – Electra Heart was our favorite album of 2012. And “Froot” has become another song we have in common. It’s an oddly structured song, really lacking a discernible chorus or bridge, but it really works.
Fine / Kylie Minogue
iTunes Play count: 90
I’ve written about “Fine” many times this year, and I think I’ll just let my post from November of this year suffice. I will say this much, I’ve thought about the chorus of “Fine” a lot this year when I’ve felt defeated or when I have had no idea which direction my life was going.
Fine, you’re gonna be fine
It’s gonna be OK a brighter day will come, come, come
Turn your face into the sun, sun, sun
Finally, here’s a Spotify playlist that I have created of all the songs, minus “Shake It Off” since Taylor Swift no longer has a presence on Spotify.