As the year is ending I thought I’d list my favourite new singles that came out this year (or at least gained attention this year). Bear in mind this isn’t a definitive list just my personal top singles. As I find most ordered list are never totally right and I would need hours on just ordering it alone, I’ve decided to forgo any particular order so I can get this out before the New Year.
Foals – Inhaler
This peculiar song from British alternative band Foals is one of those rare songs that manages to jump between rock and dance pop all while floating in soundscapes. While initial listens through laptop speakers or earbuds may leave something to be desired, a pair of good headphones make this song sound amazing.
Franz Ferdinand – Evil Eye
Franz Ferdinand hasn’t lost their knack at pumping out amazing singles even when their albums may have some dry spots. The strange sounding (and even weirder video) “Evil Eye” gets catchier with each listen all while sounding eerie and dark.
Chvrches – The Mother We Share
This synth-pop song just stuck with me after my first listen. From it’s weird syncopation, washing soundscape and Lauren Mayberry’s cutting vocals I just couldn’t lose it.
Icona Pop – I Love it Ft. Charlie XCX
I usually don’t listen to much party-dance-pop but this year provided me a few exceptions. Besides “Get Lucky” and “Gentleman” Icona Pop’s hit “I Love It” hit every note I wanted out of it. The heavy bass and the feeling of the pitch drop on proper headphones or speakers make it unmissable.
Yeah Yeah Yeahs – Despair/Under The Earth
Despite a somewhat disappointing new album this year (although their live show is still amazing), Mosquito gave us two amazing songs. “Despair” offers the weirdly drummed and dreamy soundscapes that the Yeah Yeah Yeahs have been moving towards. “Under The Earth” proved that bass can be present in a Yeah Yeah Yeahs song without ruining it, although from my memory Nick Zinner traded his guitar for it live to avoid cluttering the song. It’s one of those songs that just carries a feeling with it and is too intriguing to miss, Karen O’s live performance with a headlight makes it a spectacle to see.
Calvin Harris – Sweet Nothing Ft. Florence Welch
One of the few other dance songs to catch my attention this year. “Sweet Nothing” provided an amazing build and chorus and it’s slower verses are kept alive with Welch’s incredible vocals.
Haim – Don’t Save Me
Catchy vocals on voice track that just keeps going makes for one of the few new songs this year that I can embarrassingly probably recite most of.
Austra – Painful Like
Her amazing vibrato and minimalist electronica makes Austra’s new song stand out from the heavier dance songs this year.
BOY – Little Numbers
It’s not very often I fall in love with a song that charms me like this. From the Hannah Georgas like vocals, the bare catchyness of the piano hook or even the texture of it’s tone. The whole song just has a magical quality to it that makes it’s charm take you.
Lorde – Team
Kiwi singer Lorde’s minimalist style and brutal lyrics are what make her stand out, and while many think “Royals” to be her masterpiece, I find “Team” more intriguing musically and lyrically.
Vampire Weekend – Step (Honourable Mention: Diane Young/Ya Hey)
Vampire Weekend’s latest album proved the band could still make an entire album worth listening to. “Step” just has that right mixture of hypnotizing hook + memorable chorus line + beautiful vocals that it hit me as something special. While “Diane Young” and “Ya Hey” both present their own share of unforgettable parts that all come together to make some of my favourite songs of the year.
Queens Of The Stone Age – My God Is The Sun
From what is in my top 3 albums of the year (see both surrounding albums) Queens Of The Stone Age’s …Like Clockwork gave song after song that never skips a beat. “My God Is The Sun” even after blasting on repeat, still manages to top every song on the album from it’s rushing feel to Josh’s grunts to kick every bridge into gear it. From the eargasmic sound of it’s maraca intro to it’s last grunt it holds you.
Not to be overlooked is the Bond-theme-esque “Vampyres Of Time And Memory” that proves QOTSA can make a serious piano ballad. The song’s ending explodes into a layered mass of guitar solo, drums and chanting that impresses me every time.
Arcade Fire – Reflektor
Reflektor is hands down one of the best tracks released this year, taking Arcade Fire’s style and sounds, throwing in disco, James Murphy’s sound work, some amazing soundscaping and the surprise Bowie cameo and throwing it all together. While Arcade Fire usually sound their best when they are free and loose, the attention put into Reflektor has the same result as it’s Haitian beat allows the control to keep it’s swing.
I’ll be posting my favourite and most disappointing albums of the year soon!