Unlike past years where I’ve just pulled a song from each of my favorite albums, I flipped through my saved music as a whole and picked out some standalones that I really enjoyed this year. Yes, even popular ones. And no, not Adele.
Links *may* be added later. Getting down to the NYE wire here.
20. Honeydripper – Royce Wood Junior
A lot of my one-offs come from podcasts I listen to while I’m running. This Prince-influenced slow jam was one of them. Wasn’t overly impressed by the rest of the album, but this is a damn fine piece of song.
19. Nothing Else to Do – Nadine Shah
When I travel my friends are pretty good about letting me know the shows in their towns. My friend Ollie in Berlin is no exception. Unfortunately my visit last May was pretty jampacked and I couldn’t make a show, but his list did alert me to the talented Nadine Shah. This song is gorgeous and I hope you enjoy.
18. Ex’s and Oh’s – Elle King
Every few years there’s one of those pop songs you hear *just* enough that you Shazam it each time. This was that for me this year. It also made me wonder what the hell ever happened to Duffy. Elle King may be Deuce Bigalo’s daughter, but unlike other celeb kids she’s earned her own fame with this catchy tune.
17. Dunes – Alabama Shakes
While the album didn’t grab me as much as the first one, this song stood out every time. When I saw them live at The Independent it was clear that Brittany Howard is more than just a neo-soul singer…the woman can rock…hard.
16. Trying – Bully
“Praying for my period all week.” Who hasn’t been there? Pretty great song to scream along to.
15. La Loose – Waxahatchee
This song is just so sweet. So angsty. So close to home.
14. Great Peacock – Broken Hearted Fool
A little bit country, a little bit Wallflowers. I couldn’t get into this album as much as my friends all did, but I love me songs about broken hearts and this is a solid one.
13. Sufjan Stevens – Fourth of July
“We’re all gonna die.” I’ll leave you with your Kleenex now.
12. Kendrick Lamar – King Kunta
Without further comment, I’ll link to this NPR discussion which really helped me appreciate this song (oh, and I appreciate the irony). Also, that beat.
11. Viet Cong – Bunker Buster
That opening riff! MY GOD.
10. No Cities To Love – Sleater-Kinney
And we love you, Sleater-Kinney.
9. Love Is Free – Robyn
I was so happy to have dancey Robyn back this year. And oh boy did I dance to this song. HARD.
8. Uptown Funk – Mark Ronson feat. Bruno Mars
I am just as surprised as anyone to have a fucking Bruno Mars song in my top 10. BUT C’MON. This song is so catchy, it really never annoyed me as much as other earworms and the lyrics are wonderfully camp (“too hot/make a dragon want to retire”, “smoother than a fresh jar of skippy”)? Don’t lie, you love it.
7. The Night Josh Tillman Came to Our Apartment – Father John Misty
The best song about hate fucking I heard all year. I debated if it was misogynistic, but realized one could very easily flip the gender on the song and it the meaning would remain the same. Some people are just douchey and awful, but sometimes things just happen.
6. Just Like Blood – Sharon Van Etten
It was a gross oversight that I forgot about this Sharon Van Etten EP when I was making my album honorable mentions. These songs throw back to the SVE I fell in love with and this song is real purty.
5. Kill V. Maim – Grimes
This song is NOT pretty. It is A-G-G-R-E-S-S-I-V-E. I don’t know if something’s sonically assaulted me in such a palatable way since early Bjork.
4. Make You Better – The Decemberists
Love is a lie, but Colin Meloy and the gang can make me believe for 5 minutes that it may exist.
3. Getting Ready to Get Down – Josh Ritter
Maybe it was the autumnal binge watch of “Friday Night Lights” that made me appreciate this song as much as I did or also because it’s just fun and I love the new wave of country singers giving a big middle finger to the Bible Belt.
2. Rock & Roll Is Cold – Matthew E. White
“Everybody likes to talk/everybody likes to talk shit.” This song may be the embodiment of the online music communities I’m a part of. Also, the instrumentals and the background singing is ON POINT.
1. Nobody Really Cares If You Don’t Go to The Party – Courtney Barnett
“I wanna go out, but I wanna stay home.” As an ambivert in a FOMO world, this song became my unofficial anthem of the year.