Hold On We're Going Home by Drake ft. Majid Jordan
I don't actually know why I like this song. I'm not a big Drake fan, though I guess this song is pretty different from most of his stuff anyway. Maybe because Danice has played it so much and it's just worked its way into my heart. It was released just before Danice & I came out publicly, and I found it calming in that chaotic time. Hold on, we're going home.
Lisa Baby by Walk the Moon
Walk the Moon is another example of a band I discovered through PS22, and a good example of a band I like that Danice is fairly indifferent towards, but she came to their concert anyway, with me & Cara, and had a relatively good time, except during the one song she hates (I Can Lift a Car - the one I linked to above - because, as she says, who can actually lift a car all by themselves? I told her it's a metaphor, but she still doesn't like it.) I feel too old to like Walk the Moon, as evidenced by the average age of people at their concert, but I think they write good hooks, play tight, sing a good falsetto, and put on an energetic show.
Only Love by Ben Howard
I think I first heard Ben Howard this year through a roommate's influence, but I can't remember which one (Sharlene? Britney? Cara?), and ended up downloading his whole album. His album is great particularly for chill times, like when I was doing a puzzle with my family last week. This is a simple, repetitive song, but it's so beautiful and entrancing. I recently looked up a video of him playing the song, in an attempt to learn it myself, and discovered (after staring at his strange fingerings in confusion) that he is a lefty guitarist. So that's another point in his favour.
Pilot Me by Josh Garrels
I first heard this re-worked hymn at Britney & Jordan's wedding, during the signing of the registry, so it carries instant memories of that beautiful May day. It was also what forced me to finally listen to this Josh Garrels that everyone had talked about. Remember my love for falsetto? This guy has falsetto. Ulysses is another favourite of mine, but I can't sing it because it goes too high and too low for me. His concert at St. Andrew's Wesley church was not only a hip-Christians-of-Vancouver reunion - it provided breathtakingly beautiful acoustics for a gorgeous voice.
Retrograde by James Blake
This might be my favourite song of the year, and I discovered it randomly on my Facebook feed. I then played it at my office desk literally 20 times on repeat. That flighty and plaintive hummed riff... the alternately faint and punchy vocals... the sparseness on either side of the big synth part... the moment when the synth drops, and the moment when it disappears... I have no idea what he's singing about, but I'm hooked. Can't convince Danice on this one, either, but at least Cara is with me - it's GOOD.
Suit & Tie by Justin Timberlake ft. Jay-Z
This one takes me back to our Grammy party, when we first heard the song and saw it performed with JT and those snazzy, jazzy dancers. I remember Jenny Toews, Jacquie and Danice going crazy. I remember thinking that I could maybe finally legitimately like JT's music, a couple decades after most of my peers. This has become a dance party favourite, and Danice and I also splurged to see JT & Jay-Z do it live with thousands of other Vancouverites at BC Place this summer. Here's the equally impressive SNL performance.
Unbelievers by Vampire Weekend
Vampire Weekend seems like a pretentious band to like, but I can't help it - their music makes me instantly happy. Who else could make such a profound reflection on the reality that most Christians think most people on earth are going to burn in hell forever, and do it to such a peppy melody and beat? For some reason I can't handle the whiny background melody on the equally profound Ya Hey, so this track is the one I've listened to instead.
Where's the Fun in Forever by Miguel
I think Danice first played this for me on our road trip down to Los Angeles to visit Kat, as a break from all the West Coast hip hop she wanted me to be exposed to on our drive. I was struck by the awesome bass line in this song, and asked her to write it down on the list of songs I wanted to steal from her once we had access to our computers again. It's smooth R&B at its best. And it's much better than the one with a hashtag where he sings with a very scantily-clad Mariah Carey. What's the deal with the girl-on-your-motorcycle trend in pop music?
The Wire by Haim
This is a late entry on my list... One day, a few weeks ago, Danice said, "I think you'd like Haim. You should check them out." She knows me well. I have been liking the tight sound of the drum-machine/hand-clap trend lately. This one puts that to good use, and has a very singable chorus, and an over-the-top but funny video. And they've got the sibling thing drawing me in again. But I gotta say, their live performance on SNL left a lot to be desired. I think I like them only after their sound has been well-produced. :)
You Ain't Alone by Alabama Shakes
A good way to end the list. As we head into the new year, you ain't alone. And if you ever feel alone, or like you don't fit in or belong, check out a video of Brittany Howard, lead singer of the Alabama Shakes. She is one of the most surprising human beings I've encountered this year. She definitely doesn't "fit in" in terms of traditional pop star proportions or personalities, but she is so, so, so wonderful and talented and humble and unabashedly herself. At their concert back in March, I couldn't take my eyes off her. She blew my socks off - I felt like I was watching a living legend. And she's only 23.