Nowadays, it’s difficult to find new songs that I’d want to keep hearing beyond the year of release. These ones I don’t see myself getting tired of anytime soon. Obviously by limiting the list to ten a number of artists missed out who hopefully got their due in my top 10 albums post which you can read here.
True Blue (featuring Angel Olsen) by Mark Ronson
The passionate vocal performance won me over. Distorted vocals can be hit or miss but the experiment works here. My song of the summer.
Seventeen by Sharon Van Etten
A strong melody and relatable lyrics about looking back to when you were young and free.
LPs by Jeffrey Lewis & The Voltage
If you are a music enthusiast, you need to hear this. A tongue-in-cheek tribute to vinyl collecting. The lyrics and music video are so fun!
Listen to the Hummingbird by Leonard Cohen
The chill-inducing lead single Happens to the Heart got the most attention from his posthumous album. I’m going to highlight Listen to the Hummingbird, the final track on his final album, which radiates mystery and, despite very short, ends his discography on a high note. Perhaps Cohen is saying be in touch with nature, the present, and what you love, and don’t get distracted by other voices.
Spinning Song by Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds
The emotional outro “peace will come” gets me every time, could be interpreted as an ode to Cave’s late son who tragically died aged 15. Despite the specificness of loss and healing, there’s an ambiguity on the album, and anyone can immerse themselves in the poetry.
Unbearably White by Vampire Weekend
Relationships are tough but easier if you have this album. Not the most popular track but I think the best written.
Dawn Chorus by Thom Yorke
From the Radiohead frontman’s solo album. The most affecting on ANIMA with lyrics about regrets. The piano version on YouTube is different to the album version.
Red Bull & Hennessy by Jenny Lewis
I like the rock sound, thumping drums, piano, and closing guitar solo. The live version is even better. Her vocal has been compared to Carole King and Stevie Nicks. Suitable for a road trip playlist.
Stand Up (from Harriet) by Cynthia Erivo
Hand them the Oscar statue already. Very powerful.
I Got You by The O’Jays
An unexpected comeback by a group I thought had retired! A catchy single and an empathetic message for our times. If you missed it, Buddy’s Business is also brilliant from the end credits of Brawl in Cell Block 99 (2017).
Still Space by Satoshi Ashikawa (1982/2019)
Exactly the kind of slow, calming, unobtrusive ambient I go for. From new compilation Kankyō Ongaku: Japanese Ambient, Environmental & New Age Music 1980–1990 (2019)
Summon The Fire by The Comet Is Coming
(Euphoric jazz instrumental. Saxophonist Shabaka Hutchings is on fire. Ought to be used in a movie and I think the group have a future in soundtracks.
Town Centre by Squid
A late discovery thanks to Anthony Fantano’s year-end lists. British post-punk band who released a 23 minute EP featuring a very interesting sound with krautrock and jazz influences. I hope Squid keep making music.
What do you think? What are your favorites of the year? As always, comments are welcome