Monday, December 30, 2013

20 Songs I Liked This Year (first installment)

Most of the music I listen to, I listen to because Danice introduces me to it.  This is very convenient for me, because I have very little drive to actually discover new music on my own.  Danice loves making best-of lists at the end of the year.  I made a list of my own this year, and for some reason (likely egomania, but hopefully a drive to share what I love), I want to put it here on my blog.

These are not the best songs of 2013 (some of them didn't even come out this year, and many are guilty pleasures).  Rather, they're the ones that got stuck in my head in 2013, the ones that instantly bring back memories of 2013, and the ones I hope I'll revisit in future years.

Oh yeah, and only five of them overlap with Danice's list.  I am my own person!

In alphabetical order, here are the first 10.


Afterlife by Arcade Fire

Danice bought this album last month right before our trip to visit Lexi and Lindsey in Victoria.  This song stood out for both of us as being the catchiest and most hopeful.  They're right - "afterlife" is an awful word.  I also loved this video, and how it surprised me by breaking the fourth wall.

Again by John Legend

This was the first year I got into John Legend.  No idea why it took me so long.  I had a live performance of this one on repeat for a while earlier this year, just soaking up this guy's sultry vocal poetry and sometimes-sloppy-in-the-heat-of-the-moment broken piano chords.  Love all the dynamics he drags me through.

Can't Hold Us by Macklemore & Ryan Lewis

My sisters, Danice and I had some great discussions this summer about Macklemore and the complexities of privilege and ally-ship and advocacy in the wake of Same Love.  I'm still a little hesitant about being a full-on Macklemore fan, but this song made me want to dance this year, and carries absolutely zero controversy.  Couldn't get the "naa naa na-na naa na-na-na" part out of my head.  The video is a lot of fun, too.

Closer by Tegan & Sara

Yes, I'm a lesbian, and I'm supposed to like Tegan & Sara, but I can't get into their earlier music.  Even this newer more successful album didn't hook me.  But this song was different.  I saw the video, and it made me so genuinely happy, because it reminded me of the best of our dance parties.  I successfully recreated the poofy pink streamer ceiling decoration at our Valentine's Day house dance party.

 Dance in the Graveyards by Delta Rae

I'm a PS22 fan - if you haven't heard of them, google them.  Sometimes I'm introduced to music by watching videos of PS22 singing with bands, and that's how I discovered Delta Rae.  I got hooked on their video of the gritty song Bottom of the River with PS22, but Dance in the Graveyards was the much more hopeful song that I actually downloaded and listened to.  Most of their stuff reminds me of sappy CCM bands, but what can I say - I have a soft spot for sibling harmonies.  Disclaimer: this video kind of sucks.

Drunk in Love by Beyonce

Beyonce's surprise album drop a couple weeks ago meant an absolute derailing of my Friday morning with Danice, as all our plans got pushed back by a video-watching session.  I have since watched them through a few times, and they're pretty incredible, though more explicitly about sex than her previous material.  They have inspired excellent debates in my house about whether Beyonce can really call herself a feminist if she plays into patriarchy by using her nearly-naked body to market her music, and whether she can tell us to love our bodies no matter what when she herself is so stereotypically beautiful, and how she can possibly sustain a healthy monogamous marriage when she lets the whole world see every part of this aforementioned body.  Debates aside, this music is going to be playing on my iTunes for a long time.  And with the exception of the "surfboard" part, I love this song and the way it makes married sex sound sexy.

Electric Lady by Janelle Monae

Here's a woman I can definitely call a feminist, and who regularly challenges traditional ideas of beauty and patriarchy.  Her concert a couple years ago proved to me that she's a freakin genius.  This song will remind me of the drive up to Whistler with Danice last month, where we got engaged.  The riff on "way-ay-ay-ay-ay down" is regularly in my head.

Fam Jam by Shad

I get a little fan-girl-ish talking about Shad because he's the most talented artist who has ever skirted the edges of my world - he goes to church with a bunch of my friends, and I was in a class with him once.  I know, I know, I'm almost famous.  His Flying Colours is the first hip hop album I've actually listened to slowly, looking up the lyrics, delighting over each clever move and double-entendre.  I could have picked many songs off the album (verse 3 of Stylin! seriously!), but this one has the best video.  He is at the top of his game, but he never takes himself too seriously...

Get Lucky by Daft Punk

Most danceable song of 2013.  I know, it's everywhere, but I can't help loving it.  And I especially enjoy the fact that Danice got in hot water for playing it in a DJ set at a youth retreat. 

Green Garden by Laura Mvula

Laura's music is some of the most uniquely beautiful I've heard this year, as is her striking face.  She surprised me especially with her jazzy and sometimes discordant vocal chords.  This album is pretty sleepy, in a good way, with a lot of slower, relaxing, study-to-able music.  But this track gets you moving.  And the video is one of the best I've seen all year.


Next 10 coming soon!

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