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aarondmiller

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  1. Downvote
    aarondmiller got a reaction from Az4Angela in Married to the Music - 3/25/16   
    Married to the Music is a weekly section where we take a closer look at 4 songs




    For better or worse, we’re all in this together.


    Married to the Music is a weekly section borrowing the ridiculous and enjoyable tradition brides endure before getting married. Each week we feature 4 selected songs:

    Something Old: A song that is at least 20 years old
    Something New: A song that is less than 3 months old
    Something Borrowed: A covered, sampled, or remixed song
    Something Blue: A song that is melancholy, dark, depressing, or just plain sad

    March 25, 2016


    Something Old:
    A Tribe Called Quest | "Electric Relaxation"


    Malik "Phife Dawg" Taylor, founding member of the legendary hip hop group A Tribe Called Quest, tragically died at just 45 years old this week and the mourning was palpable throughout the blogosphere. Obituaries flooded feeds detailing how influential Phife's contributions were to hip hop almost always including a personal note on how it affected the writer. Many had a pivotal experience upon first discovering Tribe's music. They pushed the genre further with bass heavy, jazzy beats and a plethora of samples from all types of music mashed together to form a cohesive cultural statement. The best way to commemorate an artist's passing is to re-examine their art. "Electric Relaxation" is one of Tribe's greatest jams and how can you not want to throw out offhand Phife quotes whenever the opportunity presents itself. This guy knows what I'm talking about.

    Something New:
    Margo Price | "Hands of Time"


    Nashville singer-songwriter Margo Price is the signed to Jack White's Third Man Records and her new album Midwest Farmer’s Daughter has all the elements of an indie pop song without abandoning the earnestness of the country world's lyrical themes or instrumentation. There's something about the album's opener "Hands of Time." It pushes away from your standard country song as the verses build over a sparse high-hat and snare rim until the chorus floats in with a sweeping string section. The lyrics are beautiful and heartbreaking:




    Something Borrowed:
    Sturgill Simpson | "In Bloom" (Nirvana cover)


    Covering Nirvana is daunting. If you're going to try to cover one of music's most audacious, raucous, cultural shifting forces you better have a gameplan because you have no hopes in making a better version than the original, you can only hope to give it a twist. Country weirdo Sturgill Simpson took on the task with a cover of "In Bloom" that is somber but eerie as hell and the video adds an extra level of creepiness with a man in a boat with a cannon for a head floating above a circling sea creature. It is something completely different than the original video where Kurt, Dave, and Krist parody early 1960s variety shows. A subtle difference in Sturgill's version changes "He don't know what it means when I say (yeahhhh)" to "He don't know what it means to love someone."

    Something Blue:
    Mark Pritchard | "Beautiful People" (feat. Thom Yorke)


    UK electronic artist Mark Pritchard teamed up with Radiohead frontman Thom Yorke to create "Beautiful People." The steady beat and flute loop repeat as Yorke's angelic vocals are pitch-shifted, warped, and filtered in different ways throughout the song. "The original instrumental to 'Beautiful People' is a personal song about loss, hopelessness and chaos, but the message is love and hope," Pritchard said in a statement. Pritchard previously remixed Radiohead's track "Bloom" for TKOL RMX 1234567, their remix album of songs from 2011's The King of Limbs.

  2. Downvote
    aarondmiller got a reaction from Az4Angela in Married to the Music - 3/25/16   
    Married to the Music is a weekly section where we take a closer look at 4 songs




    For better or worse, we’re all in this together.


    Married to the Music is a weekly section borrowing the ridiculous and enjoyable tradition brides endure before getting married. Each week we feature 4 selected songs:

    Something Old: A song that is at least 20 years old
    Something New: A song that is less than 3 months old
    Something Borrowed: A covered, sampled, or remixed song
    Something Blue: A song that is melancholy, dark, depressing, or just plain sad

    March 25, 2016


    Something Old:
    A Tribe Called Quest | "Electric Relaxation"


    Malik "Phife Dawg" Taylor, founding member of the legendary hip hop group A Tribe Called Quest, tragically died at just 45 years old this week and the mourning was palpable throughout the blogosphere. Obituaries flooded feeds detailing how influential Phife's contributions were to hip hop almost always including a personal note on how it affected the writer. Many had a pivotal experience upon first discovering Tribe's music. They pushed the genre further with bass heavy, jazzy beats and a plethora of samples from all types of music mashed together to form a cohesive cultural statement. The best way to commemorate an artist's passing is to re-examine their art. "Electric Relaxation" is one of Tribe's greatest jams and how can you not want to throw out offhand Phife quotes whenever the opportunity presents itself. This guy knows what I'm talking about.

    Something New:
    Margo Price | "Hands of Time"


    Nashville singer-songwriter Margo Price is the signed to Jack White's Third Man Records and her new album Midwest Farmer’s Daughter has all the elements of an indie pop song without abandoning the earnestness of the country world's lyrical themes or instrumentation. There's something about the album's opener "Hands of Time." It pushes away from your standard country song as the verses build over a sparse high-hat and snare rim until the chorus floats in with a sweeping string section. The lyrics are beautiful and heartbreaking:




    Something Borrowed:
    Sturgill Simpson | "In Bloom" (Nirvana cover)


    Covering Nirvana is daunting. If you're going to try to cover one of music's most audacious, raucous, cultural shifting forces you better have a gameplan because you have no hopes in making a better version than the original, you can only hope to give it a twist. Country weirdo Sturgill Simpson took on the task with a cover of "In Bloom" that is somber but eerie as hell and the video adds an extra level of creepiness with a man in a boat with a cannon for a head floating above a circling sea creature. It is something completely different than the original video where Kurt, Dave, and Krist parody early 1960s variety shows. A subtle difference in Sturgill's version changes "He don't know what it means when I say (yeahhhh)" to "He don't know what it means to love someone."

    Something Blue:
    Mark Pritchard | "Beautiful People" (feat. Thom Yorke)


    UK electronic artist Mark Pritchard teamed up with Radiohead frontman Thom Yorke to create "Beautiful People." The steady beat and flute loop repeat as Yorke's angelic vocals are pitch-shifted, warped, and filtered in different ways throughout the song. "The original instrumental to 'Beautiful People' is a personal song about loss, hopelessness and chaos, but the message is love and hope," Pritchard said in a statement. Pritchard previously remixed Radiohead's track "Bloom" for TKOL RMX 1234567, their remix album of songs from 2011's The King of Limbs.

  3. Downvote
    aarondmiller got a reaction from Born2Die in Married to the Music - 3/18/16   
    Married to the Music is a weekly section where we take a closer look at 4 songs




    For better or worse, we’re all in this together.


    Married to the Music is a weekly section borrowing the ridiculous and enjoyable tradition brides endure before getting married. Each week we feature 4 selected songs:

    Something Old: A song that is at least 20 years old
    Something New: A song that is less than 3 months old
    Something Borrowed: A covered, sampled, or remixed song
    Something Blue: A song that is melancholy, dark, depressing, or just plain sad

    ? March 18, 2016 ?


    Something Old:
    Soul for Real | "Candy Rain"


    One of the greatest scenes in modern music is mid-90's R&B. We're talking baggy shirts never quite buttoned, a plethora of leather, always crouching, adventurous hair dos. Soul for Real was a band of brothers harmonizing behind their youngest sibling whose amazing pre-pubescent pipes could really belt out hits. A recipe for success if you know how to cook it up.

    Something New:
    Cullen Omori | “Cinnamon”


    Smith Westerns' frontman Cullen Omori released his debut solo album New Misery today and one of the standout tracks is "Cinnamon." On making a departure from his indie rock sound in pursuit of a more pop record he said, "I can’t sit down and say I'm going to write a Sam Smith or an Adele song or whatever. The closest I can get to that is making like this weird hybrid of what I think is a pop song." And hey, aren't hybrids are great?

    Something Borrowed:
    Blood Orange | "Hold On, We're Going Home" (Drake Cover)


    Only Dev Hynes could cover Drake's funked up "Hold On, We're Going Home" and do it justice. Nothing truly compares to Hynes' slappin da bass while he croons "Just hold on we're going home" calming our nerves without losing the intensity of a wild night out that needs to end in just the right way.

    Something Blue:
    Japanese Breakfast | "The Woman That Loves You"


    "You're embarrassing meeee" starts Michelle Zauner's new solo project's beautiful track on her upcoming debut solo album Psychopomp. Submerged in synths and pads, her voice floats up and down, singing about the dregs of a breaking relationship. She's vulnerable, hurt, and heartbreakingly honest. It's that moment at the crossroads of a toxic relationship where you've just had enough and finally found the courage to walk away.

  4. Upvote
    aarondmiller got a reaction from telluwhat in Married to the Music - 3/11/16   
    Married to the Music is a weekly section where we take a closer look at 4 songs




    For better or worse, we’re all in this together.


    Married to the Music is a weekly section borrowing the ridiculous and enjoyable tradition brides endure before getting married. Each week we feature 4 selected songs:

    Something Old: A song that is at least 20 years old.
    Something New: A song that is less than 3 months old.
    Something Borrowed: A cover song.
    Something Blue: A song that is melancholy, dark, depressing, or just plain sad.

    March 11, 2016


    Everyone loves/hates a good pun. It's one of life's few treasures that can make us grin while we groan. When you're young and in a band it might sound like a fun idea to name your band something ridiculous because hey, why not. It's not like it will define your musical identity or anything. It's not like your taste will change or your level of fame will increase. Nah, go ahead and get that tattoo that says "TATTOO" it's a good idea and you won't regret it.

    So go ahead and call your band Salvia Plath or Bleeding Rainbow or Ringo Deathstarr or Joy Orbison or Truman Peyote or Harmonica Lewinsky because it's fun! Wordplay is great!

    Something Old:
    The Beatles | "A Day in the Life"


    George Martin passed away this week at the tender age of 90 and no eulogy I've seen so far has been able to overstate how important his work was for popular music as we know it. He was often referred to as the Fifth Beatle as he worked as their producer for nearly the entirety of their professional career (excluding Phil Spector's misfire putting a needless glossy sheen all over Let It Be). Martin hired a 40-piece orchestra to play over the final 24 bars of "A Day In The Life" to produce a certain grandiose crescendo that John Lennon believed necessary to cap off the song and the Sgt. Pepper's album. Martin's 1979 memoir All You Need Is Ears recounts that request:



    Martin was integral in changing the landscape for pop music and the possibilities of a studio acting as an instrument. His legacy is also an important reason that the actual spelling of "beetles" is somehow more jarring to the eye than the band's punny version.

    Something New:
    The Dandy Warhols | “STYGGO”


    Looking back on the late 90's alternative rock music scene can be at times nostalgic other times cringe-worthy and ultimately a bizarre time. It was the dawn of the internet and music piracy, which paved the way for nearly-free nearly-instant everything as far as music goes, leaving behind the dinosaur bones of the music recording industry as we knew it. The Dandy Warhols jettisoned from being a respected American Brit-pop band into a commercially successful pop-rock outfit eventually opening for David Bowie on his 2003 A Reality Tour. Their 2000 song "Bohemian Like You" was used in a commercial for Vodafone (lol, wut) in 2001 and was re-released hitting number 5 on the UK Singles.

    The Dandy's are back with a disco-pop jam called "STYGGO" (an acronym for Some Things You Gotta Get Over) and they do not seem worse for the wear. Their next album Distortland will be released this year and hopefully choc-full of more tasty licks.

    Something Borrowed:
    Rihanna | "Pour it Up" (R.L. Grime Remix)


    R.L. Grime (a play on children horror fiction author of Goosebumps and master creator of pre-teen nightmares R.L. Stine) remixed Rihanna's strip club anthem "Pour It Up" three years ago, giving it an extra level of darkness we didn't think possible adding heavy bass and wall to wall synths. The drops are out of control and blend perfectly with Bad Girl RiRi's chant "Strip clubs and dollar biiiiiiiiiills."

    Something Blue:
    Elvis Depressedly | "N.M.S.S."


    Singer/songwriter Mat Cothran and multi-instrumentalist Delaney Mills are two halves of lo-fi pop duo Elvis Depressedly, an appropriate name for a band that sings sad songs with all the sentimentality of a lovable goofball. Cothran has desribed their most recent album as "like crying watching Looney Tunes or something." It's another song with an acronym (No More Sad Songs) but an entirely different mood. "N.M.S.S." captures the earnestness of a lonely heart with its catchy albeit somber melody and light string section within the rhythm.



  5. Downvote
    aarondmiller got a reaction from Erreur 2 La Nature in Let's Guess What Kanye West's Album Title "T.L.O.P." Means   
    We have a few guesses as to what Kanye's album title is.


    Looks like Kanye has finally picked an album title!


    On Twitter late Monday night Kanye West sent a snapshot of his studio and a follow up tweet challenging the entire world to figure out the title of his new album coming out this Friday. The winner will receive tickets to Yeezy Season 3 at Madison Square Garden and free Yeezy shoes.


    There's no way we're going to pass this up so below are our best guesses (which include several titles not following the TLOP suit because, let's face it, he'll probably change the name tomorrow anyway).

    1. So Help Me God




    2. SWISH




    3. Waves




    4. The Last One Playing




    5. To Love Or Pretend




    6. The Last Orchestra Played




    7. The Laws Of Power




    8. The Liquid Of Poison




    9. Gods of Calabasas




    10. The Todd Craines Project




    11. Wolves




    12. The Land Of Pussy



    What do you think Kanye's album title is? Let us know in Exhale!


  6. Upvote
    aarondmiller got a reaction from Zeik89 in Married to the Music - 2/5/16   
    Married to the Music is a weekly section borrowing the ridiculous and enjoyable tradition brides endure before getting married.




    For better or worse, we’re all in this together.


    We all have personal, intimate relationships with music. Certain artists, songs, or albums can mean many different things to many different people. Sometimes you fall in love and want to run away and elope with a song, despite the opinions of your friends and family. Other times you thumb through old records and reminisce about the first time you heard that song and how right everything felt all those years ago.

    Our relationship with music is not too different from the dysfunctional marriage(s) we anxiously anticipate. Maybe it will all work out, maybe it won’t. The point is: you should never have a lame wedding. Married to the Music is a new weekly section borrowing the ridiculous and enjoyable tradition brides often endure before they walk down the aisle.

    Each week we will feature 4 selected songs:

    Something Old: A song that is at least 20 years old.
    Something New: A song that is less than 3 months old.
    Something Borrowed: A cover song.
    Something Blue: A song that is melancholy, dark, depressing, or just plain sad.

    February 5, 2016


    Something Old:
    Red Hot Chili Peppers | "Circle Of The Noose"


    Dave Navarro played in Red Hot Chili Peppers from 1993 to 1998 and was only featured on one album, 1995's One Hot Minute. The band was riding high off the mega-success of the seminal Blood Sugar Sex Magik album released in 1991 and guitarist John Frusciante was riding high mostly off of heroin. That's not to say that Navarro was any cleaner, nor singer Anthony Kiedis for that matter. Lots of drugs with the Red Hots. When he disappeared into the nether realm of addiction in 1993, Navarro took time out from his duties in Jane's Addiction to play guitar for one of the most popular bands in the world. One Hot Minute was not nearly as successful as Blood Sugar Sex Magik and Navarro eventually left the band in 1998 due to the oft-cited blanket term "creative differences."

    This week an outtake from that era was leaked online to everyone's suprise, including the band members themselves.
    “Circle Of The Noose” was well known to die-hard Chili Peppers fans for years but never saw the light of day until now. Navarro went so far as to call it "the greatest pop song I’ve ever been a part of," though that honor is pretty subjective.

    Something New:
    Holy Ghost! | "Crime Cutz"



    Electro-pop duo Holy Ghost! are back with the first new music since their 2013 album Dynamics and boy oh boy was it worth the wait. They are dropping a new EP this April entitled Crime Cutz and they shared the title track via Zane Lowe's Beats 1 radio show this week. Their press release noted the song as "an attempt to do something that was sort of rhythm ear candy. Simple. Angular. Funky. Physical. Fun." I. Agree. Completely.

    Something Borrowed:
    Halsey | "Love Yourself" (Justin Bieber cover)


    Australia's Triple J radio station had Halsey on for an interview and a performance this week and she took the opportunity to cover Justin Bieber's smash hit "Love Yourself." The song has been covered by several people including Craig David and Alessia Cara, but Halsey's take changes the lyrics from "Love Yourself" to "Fuck Yourself" which really gives the song that extra snarl that the Bad Boy Biebs would probably have loved to incorporate. As she rocked a fresh Yeezus t-shirt to set the mood, Halsey sang the stripped down, more vulgar send-off so well the Triple J DJ could only respond, "Wow."

    Something Blue:
    Gallant | “Skipping Stones” (Feat. Jhené Aiko)


    Last we heard from LA soul and R&B rising star Gallant was his beautiful cover of Sufjan Stevens "Blue Bucket of Gold." Now he's back with a new song for Red Bull Sound Select and this time he's bringing vocalist Jhené Aiko along for the ride. "Skipping Stones” is a slow, sultry albeit heartbreaking jam that exhibits Gallant's signature falsetto over a funky bass line and live drums. Aiko harmonizes underneath for an interesting contrast before she takes off on her own verse. It's a song about loneliness, confusion, and the pain of the forlorn.

  7. Upvote
    aarondmiller got a reaction from Zeik89 in Married to the Music - 1/15/16   
    Married to the Music is a new weekly section borrowing the ridiculous and enjoyable tradition brides endure before getting married.




    For better or worse, we’re all in this together.
    We all have personal, intimate relationships with music. Certain artists, songs, or albums can mean many different things to many different people. Sometimes you fall in love and want to run away and elope with a song, despite the opinions of your friends and family. Other times you thumb through old records and reminisce about the first time you heard that song and how right everything felt all those years ago.

    Our relationship with music is not too different from the dysfunctional marriage(s) we anxiously anticipate. Maybe it will all work out, maybe it won’t. The point is: you should never have a lame wedding. Married to the Music is a new weekly section borrowing the ridiculous and enjoyable tradition brides often endure before they walk down the aisle.

    Each week we will feature 4 selected songs:

    Something Old: A song that is at least 20 years old.
    Something New: A song that is less than 3 months old.
    Something Borrowed: A cover song.
    Something Blue: A song that is melancholy, dark, depressing, or just plain sad.

    JANUARY 15, 2016

    Something Old:
    Cibo Matto | "Sugar Water"


    This song barely meets my own requirements for the Old song selection as the album Viva! La Woman was released January 16, 1996, so if you reading this after midnight tonight it makes the +20 year cut-off. Cibo Matto is an Italian name (translation "crazy food") for two Japanese women (Yuka Honda and Miho Hatori) in a band based out of New York City. Their lyrics are abstract and surreal: "I'm riding on a camel that has big eyes / The buildings are changing into coconut trees / Little by little / When a black cat crosses my path." Hatori's half-spoken/half-sung lyrics create a dreamlike atmosphere layered over a heavy trip-hop drum loop with a wailing voice sample in the background. The iconic split-screen music video was created by famed experimental director Michel Gondry. Gondry is known for his signature playful, illusory directing style in everything from advertisements (Levi's, Adidas, BMW) to music videos (Daft Punk, The White Stripes, Björk) to feature films (Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, Be Kind Rewind, The Green Hornet). Honda and Hatori are each filmed in a single continuous shot with one moving forward while the other in reverse until their paths cross and their roles in time and space have interchanged.

    Something New:
    Amber Arcades | "Turning Light"


    Dutch musician Amber Arcades (aka Annelotte de Graaf) premiered "Turning Light" this week. The uptempo dream-pop song was recorded on a whim during an impromptu 5 AM restless and jetlagged studio session. Arcades channels the hypnagogia of the recording process through the sweeping synths and relentless, thin drum pattern. Her ethereal voice reminds me of the late Trish Keenan's from Broadcast (who tragically died 5 years ago yesterday) in the way her melodies effortlessly bounce up and around the music like a firefly in the dark. Arcades' album is due to be released through Heavenly Recordings this Spring.

    Something Borrowed:
    Anika | "I Go To Sleep" (Ray Davies cover)


    "I Go To Sleep" was written and recorded in 1965 as a demo by The Kinks' singer/songwriter/guitar player/artistic geist Ray Davies. Instead of appearing on a Kinks album, Davies was willing to sell the song to whoever wanted to record it. Takers included British pop groupThe Applejacks, jazz songstress Peggy Lee with an orchestra, and Cher for her debut album All I Really Want to Do -- all in 1965! The song has since been covered by many other different artists, most notably The Pretenders in 1981 which rose to #7 on the UK Singles chart. British/German singer/songwriter Anika's 2010 self-titled debut album features her take on "I Go To Sleep." Her version utilizes the thud of a synth kick-drum pulsing to keep time while her Nico-esque breathy vocals float in the air like a cloud of smoke.

    Something Blue:
    Courtney Barnett | "Depreston"


    Australian singer/songwriter Courtney Barnett released "Depreston" as a single off her fantastic debut album Sometimes I Sit and Think, and Sometimes I Just Sit last year, landing her a Grammy nomination for Best New Artist. The simple two-chord riff came from Barnett learning the chords of Australian indie rock group The Go-Betweens' 1988 single "Streets of your Town" and transforming into a similar albeit more somber version. It's slow and repetitive, almost painting a gray-scale picture of a boring drive around a sleepy town where not much happens (hence the official music video's triplicated views of just that). While house-hunting in Preston, a small suburb outside Melbourne, Australia, Barnett viewed a home of a woman who recently passed away which sparked feelings of intrusion and curiosity. Barnett walked around the house observing the woman's personal possessions more than the property itself and began to build an idea of who this woman was and the type of life she lived. The house became a home. The hook that repeats, "If you've got a spare half a million / you could knock it down and start rebuilding" is the advice the realtor gave to Barnett during the open house. What a metaphor. The lyrics drift back and forth between Barnett imagining a quieter life outside a major city, her imagined memories of the former occupant, and the crossroads she stands at where her malaise of Suburbia contrasts with life priorities as she gets older.

  8. Upvote
    aarondmiller got a reaction from Zeik89 in Married to the Music - 1/15/16   
    Married to the Music is a new weekly section borrowing the ridiculous and enjoyable tradition brides endure before getting married.




    For better or worse, we’re all in this together.
    We all have personal, intimate relationships with music. Certain artists, songs, or albums can mean many different things to many different people. Sometimes you fall in love and want to run away and elope with a song, despite the opinions of your friends and family. Other times you thumb through old records and reminisce about the first time you heard that song and how right everything felt all those years ago.

    Our relationship with music is not too different from the dysfunctional marriage(s) we anxiously anticipate. Maybe it will all work out, maybe it won’t. The point is: you should never have a lame wedding. Married to the Music is a new weekly section borrowing the ridiculous and enjoyable tradition brides often endure before they walk down the aisle.

    Each week we will feature 4 selected songs:

    Something Old: A song that is at least 20 years old.
    Something New: A song that is less than 3 months old.
    Something Borrowed: A cover song.
    Something Blue: A song that is melancholy, dark, depressing, or just plain sad.

    JANUARY 15, 2016

    Something Old:
    Cibo Matto | "Sugar Water"


    This song barely meets my own requirements for the Old song selection as the album Viva! La Woman was released January 16, 1996, so if you reading this after midnight tonight it makes the +20 year cut-off. Cibo Matto is an Italian name (translation "crazy food") for two Japanese women (Yuka Honda and Miho Hatori) in a band based out of New York City. Their lyrics are abstract and surreal: "I'm riding on a camel that has big eyes / The buildings are changing into coconut trees / Little by little / When a black cat crosses my path." Hatori's half-spoken/half-sung lyrics create a dreamlike atmosphere layered over a heavy trip-hop drum loop with a wailing voice sample in the background. The iconic split-screen music video was created by famed experimental director Michel Gondry. Gondry is known for his signature playful, illusory directing style in everything from advertisements (Levi's, Adidas, BMW) to music videos (Daft Punk, The White Stripes, Björk) to feature films (Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, Be Kind Rewind, The Green Hornet). Honda and Hatori are each filmed in a single continuous shot with one moving forward while the other in reverse until their paths cross and their roles in time and space have interchanged.

    Something New:
    Amber Arcades | "Turning Light"


    Dutch musician Amber Arcades (aka Annelotte de Graaf) premiered "Turning Light" this week. The uptempo dream-pop song was recorded on a whim during an impromptu 5 AM restless and jetlagged studio session. Arcades channels the hypnagogia of the recording process through the sweeping synths and relentless, thin drum pattern. Her ethereal voice reminds me of the late Trish Keenan's from Broadcast (who tragically died 5 years ago yesterday) in the way her melodies effortlessly bounce up and around the music like a firefly in the dark. Arcades' album is due to be released through Heavenly Recordings this Spring.

    Something Borrowed:
    Anika | "I Go To Sleep" (Ray Davies cover)


    "I Go To Sleep" was written and recorded in 1965 as a demo by The Kinks' singer/songwriter/guitar player/artistic geist Ray Davies. Instead of appearing on a Kinks album, Davies was willing to sell the song to whoever wanted to record it. Takers included British pop groupThe Applejacks, jazz songstress Peggy Lee with an orchestra, and Cher for her debut album All I Really Want to Do -- all in 1965! The song has since been covered by many other different artists, most notably The Pretenders in 1981 which rose to #7 on the UK Singles chart. British/German singer/songwriter Anika's 2010 self-titled debut album features her take on "I Go To Sleep." Her version utilizes the thud of a synth kick-drum pulsing to keep time while her Nico-esque breathy vocals float in the air like a cloud of smoke.

    Something Blue:
    Courtney Barnett | "Depreston"


    Australian singer/songwriter Courtney Barnett released "Depreston" as a single off her fantastic debut album Sometimes I Sit and Think, and Sometimes I Just Sit last year, landing her a Grammy nomination for Best New Artist. The simple two-chord riff came from Barnett learning the chords of Australian indie rock group The Go-Betweens' 1988 single "Streets of your Town" and transforming into a similar albeit more somber version. It's slow and repetitive, almost painting a gray-scale picture of a boring drive around a sleepy town where not much happens (hence the official music video's triplicated views of just that). While house-hunting in Preston, a small suburb outside Melbourne, Australia, Barnett viewed a home of a woman who recently passed away which sparked feelings of intrusion and curiosity. Barnett walked around the house observing the woman's personal possessions more than the property itself and began to build an idea of who this woman was and the type of life she lived. The house became a home. The hook that repeats, "If you've got a spare half a million / you could knock it down and start rebuilding" is the advice the realtor gave to Barnett during the open house. What a metaphor. The lyrics drift back and forth between Barnett imagining a quieter life outside a major city, her imagined memories of the former occupant, and the crossroads she stands at where her malaise of Suburbia contrasts with life priorities as she gets older.

  9. Upvote
    aarondmiller got a reaction from spreadmywings in Married to the Music - David Bowie   
    Our Married to the Music weekly feature borrows the tradition brides endure before getting married in 4 songs.




    For better or worse, we’re all in this together.
    We all have personal, intimate relationships with music. Certain artists, songs, or albums can mean many different things to many different people. Sometimes you fall in love and want to run away and elope with a song, despite the opinions of your friends and family. Other times you thumb through old records and reminisce about the first time you heard that song and how right everything felt all those years ago.

    Our relationship with music is not too different from the dysfunctional marriage(s) we anxiously anticipate. Maybe it will all work out, maybe it won’t. The point is: you should never have a lame wedding. Married to the Music is a new weekly section borrowing the ridiculous and enjoyable tradition brides often endure before they walk down the aisle.

    Each week we will feature 4 selected songs:

    Something Old: A song that is at least 20 years old.
    Something New: A song that is less than 3 months old.
    Something Borrowed: A cover song.
    Something Blue: A song that is melancholy, dark, depressing, or just plain sad.

    ⚡DAVID BOWIE⚡


    Many, many people will be eulogizing the great David Bowie far more eloquently than I ever could so, honestly, pressure's off. I won't try too hard. I don't need to tell you that he was one of the most mercurial artists of all time, changing his persona and musical genre whenever inspired to do so, always 10 steps ahead of his audience. I don't need to tell you that he was an amalgam of gender and sexuality while conflating the human condition with other-worldliness. The makeup, the hair, the wardrobe, the legendary recording sessions, the nicknames, the drugs, the celebrity status, the movies. All of that was intrinsically tied to the most important part of David Bowie: his music. This special addition of Married to the Music reminds us why he was who we thought he was, albeit in only 4 songs. Do yourself a favor and just listen to his entire discography on shuffle for the rest of the week and be truly reminded of his half-century output of genius pop, rock, electronic and experimental music.

    "Let all the children boogie"

    Something Old:
    David Bowie | "Queen Bitch"


    "Queen Bitch" is on many levels Bowie's homage to the Velvet Underground and the first master work of Glam Rock he would release on 1971's Hunky Dory. Mick Ronson's guitar comes in thrashing a riff reminiscent of the Velvets' "Sweet Jane" though it was actually lifted from American Rockabilly musician Eddie Cochran's "Three Steps to Heaven," a song that became a number one hit in the UK just months after Cochran died in a car accident in 1960. Bowie employs very Lou Reed-esque lyrics about a transvestite prostitute sweet talkin' and night walkin', known in the darkest clubs and owning the streets like royalty. All attitude with no fear of consequences, Bowie's Velvets-inspired song would soon influence Lou Reed himself to go full Glam by 1972 with his seminal album Transformer.

    Something New:
    David Bowie | "Lazarus"


    It doesn't get much more prophetic than this. Blackstar turned out to be Bowie's final album released this past Friday on his 69th birthday. The video for "Lazarus" was released just a few days before the album and begins with the lyrics "Look up here, I'm in heaven." Bowie is shown laying in a hospital bed, blindfolded with buttons on his eyes, writhing in pain. Until he's not. Halfway through the video a different Bowie appears in all black, dancing, and singing and writing on a parchment before walking backwards into an armoire eerily reminiscent of a wooden coffin. It's harrowing given the context of his death last night, but it does give a sense of closure. Bowie's cancer took him 18 months after his diagnosis, but not before he could give a beautiful bon voyage to planet Earth. "Oh, I'll be free / Just like that bluebird / Oh, I'll be free / Ain't that just like me?"

    Something Borrowed:
    Nirvana | "The Man Who Sold The World"


    With countless Bowie covers spanning his more than 50 years as a recording artist, it is nearly an impossible task to pick one as "the best" or a "definitive" cover. Seu Jorge's acoustic covers recorded throughout Wes Anderson's 2004 film The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou and sung in his native Portuguese are magical. TV On The Radio recently released a cover of "Heroes" to promote HBO's Game of Thrones as did Janelle Monáe for Pepsi. Beck reimagined "Sound and Vision" with over 160 musicians for a 360° experience to promote Lincoln automobiles. In 2013, Canadian astronaut recorded a cover of "Space Oddity" where he truly is floating in space on board the International Space Station, garnering over 27 million views and counting. Nirvana's version of "The Man Who Sold The World" may be Bowie's highest profile cover. They performed the song for MTV's Unplugged series in November 1993 but the album was released the following November, 7 months after Kurt Cobain's suicide. Nirvana decided to only play several of their own songs that set, instead offering covers of the music that inspired them. These included songs by early blues singer Lead Belly, underground indie-punk band The Vaselines, psych-rockers The Meat Puppets (who accompanied during the live performance), and of course Bowie.

    Something Blue:
    David Bowie | "Life on Mars?"


    Bowie's ballad to escapism through the eyes of a young girl. She is surrounded and distraught by the pains of reality and dives into media for hope and relief. Many of the lyrics are collaged together in a surreal free association that span through American consumer culture, a pun connecting Russian communist revolutionary Vladimir Lenin with working class hero John Lennon, violent sailors, and the cyclical, redundant nature of media repeating itself ad nauseam, ad infinitum. Hopefully, Bowie returns as Lazarus did and finally answers this question.

  10. Upvote
    aarondmiller got a reaction from spreadmywings in Married to the Music - David Bowie   
    Our Married to the Music weekly feature borrows the tradition brides endure before getting married in 4 songs.




    For better or worse, we’re all in this together.
    We all have personal, intimate relationships with music. Certain artists, songs, or albums can mean many different things to many different people. Sometimes you fall in love and want to run away and elope with a song, despite the opinions of your friends and family. Other times you thumb through old records and reminisce about the first time you heard that song and how right everything felt all those years ago.

    Our relationship with music is not too different from the dysfunctional marriage(s) we anxiously anticipate. Maybe it will all work out, maybe it won’t. The point is: you should never have a lame wedding. Married to the Music is a new weekly section borrowing the ridiculous and enjoyable tradition brides often endure before they walk down the aisle.

    Each week we will feature 4 selected songs:

    Something Old: A song that is at least 20 years old.
    Something New: A song that is less than 3 months old.
    Something Borrowed: A cover song.
    Something Blue: A song that is melancholy, dark, depressing, or just plain sad.

    ⚡DAVID BOWIE⚡


    Many, many people will be eulogizing the great David Bowie far more eloquently than I ever could so, honestly, pressure's off. I won't try too hard. I don't need to tell you that he was one of the most mercurial artists of all time, changing his persona and musical genre whenever inspired to do so, always 10 steps ahead of his audience. I don't need to tell you that he was an amalgam of gender and sexuality while conflating the human condition with other-worldliness. The makeup, the hair, the wardrobe, the legendary recording sessions, the nicknames, the drugs, the celebrity status, the movies. All of that was intrinsically tied to the most important part of David Bowie: his music. This special addition of Married to the Music reminds us why he was who we thought he was, albeit in only 4 songs. Do yourself a favor and just listen to his entire discography on shuffle for the rest of the week and be truly reminded of his half-century output of genius pop, rock, electronic and experimental music.

    "Let all the children boogie"

    Something Old:
    David Bowie | "Queen Bitch"


    "Queen Bitch" is on many levels Bowie's homage to the Velvet Underground and the first master work of Glam Rock he would release on 1971's Hunky Dory. Mick Ronson's guitar comes in thrashing a riff reminiscent of the Velvets' "Sweet Jane" though it was actually lifted from American Rockabilly musician Eddie Cochran's "Three Steps to Heaven," a song that became a number one hit in the UK just months after Cochran died in a car accident in 1960. Bowie employs very Lou Reed-esque lyrics about a transvestite prostitute sweet talkin' and night walkin', known in the darkest clubs and owning the streets like royalty. All attitude with no fear of consequences, Bowie's Velvets-inspired song would soon influence Lou Reed himself to go full Glam by 1972 with his seminal album Transformer.

    Something New:
    David Bowie | "Lazarus"


    It doesn't get much more prophetic than this. Blackstar turned out to be Bowie's final album released this past Friday on his 69th birthday. The video for "Lazarus" was released just a few days before the album and begins with the lyrics "Look up here, I'm in heaven." Bowie is shown laying in a hospital bed, blindfolded with buttons on his eyes, writhing in pain. Until he's not. Halfway through the video a different Bowie appears in all black, dancing, and singing and writing on a parchment before walking backwards into an armoire eerily reminiscent of a wooden coffin. It's harrowing given the context of his death last night, but it does give a sense of closure. Bowie's cancer took him 18 months after his diagnosis, but not before he could give a beautiful bon voyage to planet Earth. "Oh, I'll be free / Just like that bluebird / Oh, I'll be free / Ain't that just like me?"

    Something Borrowed:
    Nirvana | "The Man Who Sold The World"


    With countless Bowie covers spanning his more than 50 years as a recording artist, it is nearly an impossible task to pick one as "the best" or a "definitive" cover. Seu Jorge's acoustic covers recorded throughout Wes Anderson's 2004 film The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou and sung in his native Portuguese are magical. TV On The Radio recently released a cover of "Heroes" to promote HBO's Game of Thrones as did Janelle Monáe for Pepsi. Beck reimagined "Sound and Vision" with over 160 musicians for a 360° experience to promote Lincoln automobiles. In 2013, Canadian astronaut recorded a cover of "Space Oddity" where he truly is floating in space on board the International Space Station, garnering over 27 million views and counting. Nirvana's version of "The Man Who Sold The World" may be Bowie's highest profile cover. They performed the song for MTV's Unplugged series in November 1993 but the album was released the following November, 7 months after Kurt Cobain's suicide. Nirvana decided to only play several of their own songs that set, instead offering covers of the music that inspired them. These included songs by early blues singer Lead Belly, underground indie-punk band The Vaselines, psych-rockers The Meat Puppets (who accompanied during the live performance), and of course Bowie.

    Something Blue:
    David Bowie | "Life on Mars?"


    Bowie's ballad to escapism through the eyes of a young girl. She is surrounded and distraught by the pains of reality and dives into media for hope and relief. Many of the lyrics are collaged together in a surreal free association that span through American consumer culture, a pun connecting Russian communist revolutionary Vladimir Lenin with working class hero John Lennon, violent sailors, and the cyclical, redundant nature of media repeating itself ad nauseam, ad infinitum. Hopefully, Bowie returns as Lazarus did and finally answers this question.

  11. Upvote
    aarondmiller got a reaction from Saint Sebastian in Married to the Music - 1/8/16   
    Married to the Music is a new weekly section borrowing the ridiculous and enjoyable tradition brides endure before getting married.




    For better or worse, we’re all in this together.
    We all have personal, intimate relationships with music. Certain artists, songs, or albums can mean many different things to many different people. Sometimes you fall in love and want to run away and elope with a song, despite the opinions of your friends and family. Other times you thumb through old records and reminisce about the first time you heard that song and how right everything felt all those years ago.

    Our relationship with music is not too different from the dysfunctional marriage(s) we anxiously anticipate. Maybe it will all work out, maybe it won’t. The point is: you should never have a lame wedding. Married to the Music is a new weekly section borrowing the ridiculous and enjoyable tradition brides often endure before they walk down the aisle.

    Each week we will feature 4 selected songs:

    Something Old: A song that is at least 20 years old.
    Something New: A song that is less than 3 months old.
    Something Borrowed: A cover song.
    Something Blue: A song that is melancholy, dark, depressing, or just plain sad.

    WEEK OF JANUARY 8, 2016

    Something Old:
    John Lennon | "Watching The Wheels (Acoustic)"


    "Watching The Wheels" was the third single off Double Fantasy, the album released just three weeks before John was murdered in December 1980. The song was released as an official single three months later with cover artwork that bore a photo of a smiling John and Yoko casually leaving their home in The Dakota. The photo was taken by Paul Goresh who also took the infamous photo of John signing an autograph for his killer Mark David Chapman. In 1998 the John Lennon Anthology was released which contained rarities, B-sides, demos, and all kinds of found recordings spanning from 1969 to 1980. The acoustic demo of "Watching The Wheels" swapped the sleek production of the album version with an earlier raw recording of John singing and playing acoustic guitar. It feels much more honest when he proclaims he no longer has the same egotistical drive he once had to be the most famous musician on the planet. "People say I'm lazy dreaming my life away/ Well they give me all kinds of advice designed to enlighten me/ When I tell that I'm doing fine watching shadows on the wall/ Don't you miss the big time, boy, you're no longer on the ball?" could be seen as a callback to "People say I'm a dreamer but I'm not the only one." John continued to proclaim that he was not interested in what others thought of him or what he should do with his life. The difference here is that in this song he's not dreaming about world peace; he's just hanging out at home with his wife and young son playing the guitar, far more content in the shadows than the limelight.

    Something New:
    The Arcs | "Lake Superior"

    If you haven't been watching Netflix's Making a Murderer you are clearly out of touch with America's current obssession with serialized true crime documentaries. This docuseries joins the ranks of Serial and The Jinx with gripping the zeitgeist's attention and turning the national conversation to disturbing murders, police corruption, and miscarriages of justice. So much fun! So addicting! Anyways, Black Keys' singer Dan Auerbach's new side project The Arcs wrote a song about Making a Murderer's protagonist Steven Avery and how "Your alibi, will never do / When the whole town’s got it out for you."

    Something Borrowed:
    Bon Iver's Justin Vernon | "Inside Out" (Spoon cover)

    Indie rock band Spoon's "Inside Out" is the second track of their 2014 album They Want My Soul. About a year after the album was released, Grammy Award winner Justin Vernon of Bon Iver released a short, stripped down cover filmed in an empty amphitheater where the Eaux Claires Music & Arts Festival would take place later that year in Wisconsin. Vernon's version echoes through the night giving the song a more somber, haunting take.

    Something Blue:
    Gallant feat. Sufjan Stevens | "Blue Bucket of Gold"

    LA R&B singer Gallant toured with indie folk phenom Sufjan Stevens to promote Stevens' beautifully heartbreaking album Carrie & Lowell this past Fall. "Blue Bucket of Gold" is the final track on that album and sticks to the themes of loss, despair, and death. The sparse live version with Gallant singing Sufjan's words was created for Gallant's In The Room web series with Spotify. It's not as uplifting as Gallant and Sufjan's "Hotline Bling" live cover, but Sufjan solemnly playing the melancholy chords on piano combined with Gallant's soaring voice, this track really becomes something special.

  12. Upvote
    aarondmiller got a reaction from DMVofficial in The 30 Best Songs You May Have Missed in 2015   
    Here are 30 songs you could be listening to instead of "Hello" or "Hotline Bling."




    2015 was a year filled with inescapable mega-hits from pop phenomenons like Adele, Justin Bieber, Nicki Minaj, and Drake. The songs that dominated the airwaves always take the forefront of the music conversation. The songs become cultural touchstones. The artists become famous paparazzi-hounded icons. What often gets eclipsed are the diamonds in the rough. There is so much #Content on the interwebz that great songs can often be released to little or no attention, but that absolutely does not mean they do not deserve some recognition. Below is a list of 30 songs that were largely slept on but it's time to wake up and give credit where credit is due.
    30.
    The Weeknd | “Tell Your Friends”

    Abel Tesfaye’s lyrics are at their most blatantly obvious, comically ignorant, and familiarly debaucherous in “Tell Your Friends.” They hit critical mass with the final line of the chorus acting as a declaration of his notorious identity: “I'm that nigga with the hair / Singing 'bout popping pills, fucking bitches, living life so trill.” Kanye West helped produce this bleak soulful burner, the closest thing The Weeknd gets to a romantic ballad.



    29.
    Shamir | “Demon”

    Las Vegas native Shamir’s just-left-of-center pop debut “Ratchet” employs bouncy synths and 808 drum kicks while he gently sings about sins, mistakes, the fast lane, and late night young love. “Demon” bops around telling the story of Shamir and his partner in crime, “If I'm a demon, baby / You're the beast that made me.”



    28.
    Empress Of | “Make Up”

    Empress Of, aka Lorely Rodriguez, has been classified in every genre from indie rock to experimental pop to avant-R&B, which goes to show just how talented and versatile a songwriter she is. Her 2015 album simply titled “Me” highlights her ability to shift through styles while still creating a single cohesive piece. The alternating synths and grand piano keys lined up with the deep percussion on “Make Up” are only matched by the sexiness of her lyrics, “Nothing comes between us/ But a piece of latex/ When you tear my clothes off/ Like I was a paycheck."



    27.
    BEA1991 | “Filthy Believer”

    Dutch singer BEA1991’s single-shot video for “Filthy Believer” is nothing more than the young girl wearing a heavy pink sweater with pink cotton shorts awkwardly dancing in front of a pink backdrop. Over the course of the 3:45 minute video, the dancing feels less like awkwardness than unbridled joy. I think this is what people mean when they tell you to dance like no one is watching.



    26.
    Christine and the Queens | “Tilted”

    French singer and songwriter Héloïse Letissier promises that she’s “actually good” over and over throughout “Tilted” before launching into the original French version’s spoken word lyrics that translate to stanzas about broken arms, bizarre children, and scratching posts. My French is not great (non-existent) but these sparse phrases mixed with her English lyrics about trampling over beauty and mended souls seem to paint quite a picture.



    25.
    Youth Lagoon | “Highway Patrol Stun Gun”

    “Highway Patrol Stun Gun” begins with a steady synth bass, an elegant string section, and bright piano before Trevor Powers begins to sing, “Possessed by something in the wind / They watch me like I'm a threat to them.” In an interview with The Fader he has described the song as his way of dealing with police brutality, corrupt people in high places, and elements of loss.



    24.
    School of Seven Bells | “Open Your Eyes”

    In December of 2013, Benjamin Curtis, a founding member of the synth-pop duo School of Seven Bells, died at the young age of 35 after being diagnosed with T-cell Lymphoblastic Lymphoma, a form of leukemia. Their final album “SVIIB,” which was still being recording when Curtis passed, is due to be released in early 2016 with “Open Your Eyes” as the first single. Singer Alejandra Deheza described it as “a love letter from start to finish.”



    23.
    Mac Demarco | “Another One”

    His self-proclaimed favorite song and off his mini-LP of just 8 songs also titled “Another One” is a bit of a departure from Mac Demarco’s signature twangy guitar sound. For this song Mac decided to pick up a synthesizer and sing about longing for a someone he is in love with but can never fully have because the object of his affection must have someone else he doesn't know about. A sad tale tried and true.



    22.
    Soko (feat. Ariel Pink) | “Lovetrap”

    Enfant terrible bedroom-pop weirdo Ariel Pink is featured on “Lovetrap” where does what he does best: mixing catchy hooks with bizarro lyrics. French singer and actress Soko is the ideal candidate for a Pink duet. “Lovetrap” describes Ariel as “a mermaid man not half a man” as Soko “bursts [his] heart with her laser eyes.” The video features Soko running around imitating Pink in a TMZ nightmare.



    21.
    SOPHIE | “Just Like We Never Said Goodbye”

    SOPHIE is the alias of London-based producer Samuel Long. SOPHIE songs tend to use heavy, powerful synths and a pitch-shifted vocal track sped up to dance up and down all over the place; the drums are an afterthought if even thought of at all. “Just Like We Never Said Goodbye” thuds along like an 80’s bubble-gum pop jam with lyrics that begin, “We were young and out of control / I hadn’t seen you since I was about, hmm, sixteen years old.”



    20. LCMDF | “Fooled”

    The Finnish group formerly known as Le Corps Mince de Françoise is comprised of sisters Emma and Mia Kemppainen. Their sound is a relentless collage of screaming high pitched synths, marching band snare drums, megalith bass kicks, and the sisters’ smiling harmonies.



    19.
    Blood Orange | “Sandra’s Song”

    Dev Hynes penned and released “Sandra’s Song” under his Blood Orange moniker as an ode to Sandra Bland, a woman who suspiciously died while in police custody in Texas this July spurring already fervent claims of police brutality though it was officially ruled a suicide. The bass, drums, and low end horns compliment the multi-tracks of Hyne’s harmonized chorus.



    18.
    Connan Mockasin & Devonté Hynes | “Feelin’ Lovely”

    Dev Hynes once again, ladies and gentlemen. This silky smooth jam features psych-pop singer Connan Mockasin and was recorded for a tiny little EP the two made together in just a few days this March. The aesthetic is when you are a few too many bourbons deep, dragging on a cigarette in a dimly lit lounge, when a beautiful stranger walks in from the outside and suddenly makes eye contact with you. Now what?



    17.
    Tame Impala | “Cause I’m a Man (Haim Remix)”

    For all intents and purposes, this is more of a cover than a remix of the Tame Impala song. Kevin Parker’s voice is nearly irreplaceable, but if anyone can take on the task it’s the sisters Haim. Context is flipped when we hear “Cause I'm a maaaaaan, womaaaaaan / Not often proud of what I choose.”



    16.
    Purity Ring | “heartsigh”

    The video for “heartsigh” is just as spectral and glimmering as the song itself. Amidst the infinite black void we see twinkling stars. Those stars are what hope looks like. This song is what hope sounds like.



    15.
    Mark Ronson (feat. Kevin Parker) | “Leaving Los Feliz”

    Kevin Parker from Tame Impala has been playing guitar with Mark Ronson for years, and even as Tame Impala became one of the biggest bands in the world, Parker still found time to sing and play on three different tracks on Ronson’s “Uptown Special” album. “Leaving Los Feliz” has Ronson’s signature drum sounds that match perfectly with Parker’s hooky guitars riffs and nasal melodies. “Uptown Funk” may be one of the biggest hits of 2015 but “Leaving Los Feliz” is the real hidden gem on the album.



    14.
    Jamie xx (ft. Romy) | “Loud Places”

    Jamie xx’s solo album “In Colour” has an electronic palette that is both similar and dissimilar to his work in his band The xx. “Loud Places” is one of the two songs that feature The xx’s wispy-sultry singer Romy and the resulting effect is all in the title. It’s louder than we are used to hearing from the pair but feels like an xx after-party where the mood has shifted from morose to celebratory.



    13.
    Kelela | “The High”

    L.A. singer Kelela walks the line between pop and R&B on this minimal track. The bass throbs like a heartbeat as she coos, “I’d do anything for the high / That’s what you said.” She told The Fader that the song is, “…about being enthralled. [The EP entitled Hallucinogen] is a cycle—starting on a somber note and going through all the phases of excitement and power and loss to come back around again.



    12.
    Hot Chip | “Huarache Lights”

    If you ask me, this song is ostensibly about Nike’s Air Huarache Light sneakers. These shoes have a trim of what’s known as 3M reflective material that allows them to bounce the night light off and “beam” in the dark. The video features a giant pulsating light installation dancing against a pitch black background.



    11.
    M.I.A. | “Borders”

    In late November, M.I.A. released the first song off her upcoming fifth album “Matahdatah.” “Borders” features an unrelenting trap beat with the ever-provocative politically conscious singer posing questions at a time when the fear-mongering news cycle is focusing on Mexican walls, Syrian refugees, and Muslim immigration policies. It focuses on the relationship between art and politics; what we decide to allow traveling through our borders (“50 million Taylor Swift records to people in Africa”) and what we strategically keep out (“migrants who believed in the aggressiveness of our sale of democracy”).



    10.
    Frankie Cosmos | “Young”

    “Young” is light, short, and full of hope despite perpetual melancholy. It sounds like singer Greta Kline is singing to herself, sliding her finger on the inside of her steamed up window, looking at the great big moon from little old Earth. The keyboards shimmer behind steady drum loop. “I just wanna be alive, that’s it.”



    9.
    Majical Cloudz | “Control”

    Majical Cloudz songs tend to be very bare bones and vulnerable and “Control” is a perfect example. They pack such an emotional punch with the sparse synths and simple snare essentially just keeping time as singer Devon Welsh sings about wanting to change to the dismay of the person he is singing to. Their fantastic 2015 album “Are You Alone” came out just as they finished a tour opening for Lorde.



    8.
    Chairlift | “Romeo”

    Last year, Chairlift contributed to Beyoncé’s self-titled album by producing the song “No Angel.” This year they came back strong with their own album “Moth” and their second single “Romeo” is one of the many dance floor highlights. In a press release, the synth-pop duo stated this song was from the perspective of Atalanta, a Greek mythological character who was a virgin huntress, unwilling to marry, and loved by many men.



    7.
    Lower Dens | “To Die in L.A.”

    This song just feels like you’re running away from something, anything, and heading West where the sun sets behind the infinite Pacific and the past can be washed away. The chorus is just a repeated mantra, “Time will turn the tide” like a meditative affirmation that everything will be just fine even if it won’t.



    6.
    Tobias Jesso, Jr. | “True Love”

    Tobias Jesso, Jr. seemingly appeared out of nowhere with this heartbreaking song aptly titled “True Love” about two real people trying to make ends meet and just barely getting by because they truly, truly love each other. Jesso’s self-recorded singles quickly garnered him Internet fame, a record deal, and the opportunity to co-write the ballad “When We Were Young” with Adele on one of the biggest albums of all time.



    5.
    Peaches | “Dumb Fuck”

    The most straightforward pop song on Peaches’ 2015 album “Rub” has a thumping bass and heavy synths that slowly build until the chanting chorus “You Dumb Fuck!” It has all the veracity of “sucking on my titties like you wanted me” without losing any of the provocative catchiness that can only be mastered by the one and only Peaches.



    4.
    Chromatics | “Girls Just Want To Have Fun” / “Girls Just Wanna Have Some”

    Ok, it might be cheating to throw two songs as a single entry on this list, but really these two very different covers of Cyndi Lauper’s legendary bratty pop masterpiece are companion pieces and really should never be too far apart. The cover art of the Chromatics’ single is has split photos of model icons Kate Moss & Cara Delevingne as the song was originally created for a Mango fashion ad. The ad features the upbeat version, which is true to the original, but the alternate version is a downbeat sultry cover that is throws the song into an entirely new context. I’d say the former is Cara’s and the latter’s is Kate, but hey, maybe that’s just me and my fantasies.


     



    3.
    Chvrches | “Leave a Trace”

    The lead single from their 2015 album “Every Open Eye” is evokes the power of many an anthemic Chvrches song. The bridge refrain’s only two words are “I Know” repeated as if singer Lauren Mayberry is shaking her head at herself in the mirror, angry but not hopeless. It’s freeing, it’s liberating, it’s leaving the past behind and leaning forward.



    2.
    Grimes | “California”

    Grime’s latest album “Art Angels” is being heralded as one of the best releases this year. For such a happy, upbeat song she sings about California only liking her when she looks sad. In an interview with siriusXM she explained that part of this song is about how indie music journalists will obscure her narratives and misinterpret her lyrics and write about how she has less control of her aesthetic and art than she really does… which is all of it.



    1.
    Tame Impala | “The Less I Know The Better”

    No song has better encapsulated the “ignorance is bliss” mantra better than this one. Psych-pop virtuoso Kevin Parker told Under The Radar earlier this year that “The Less I Know The Better” shouldn’t be on a Tame Impala album because it has this “dorky, white disco funk." That funk is exactly the sound that propelled his band’s latest album “Currents” to the number 4 spot on the Billboard 200.




  13. Upvote
    aarondmiller got a reaction from DMVofficial in The 30 Best Songs You May Have Missed in 2015   
    Here are 30 songs you could be listening to instead of "Hello" or "Hotline Bling."




    2015 was a year filled with inescapable mega-hits from pop phenomenons like Adele, Justin Bieber, Nicki Minaj, and Drake. The songs that dominated the airwaves always take the forefront of the music conversation. The songs become cultural touchstones. The artists become famous paparazzi-hounded icons. What often gets eclipsed are the diamonds in the rough. There is so much #Content on the interwebz that great songs can often be released to little or no attention, but that absolutely does not mean they do not deserve some recognition. Below is a list of 30 songs that were largely slept on but it's time to wake up and give credit where credit is due.
    30.
    The Weeknd | “Tell Your Friends”

    Abel Tesfaye’s lyrics are at their most blatantly obvious, comically ignorant, and familiarly debaucherous in “Tell Your Friends.” They hit critical mass with the final line of the chorus acting as a declaration of his notorious identity: “I'm that nigga with the hair / Singing 'bout popping pills, fucking bitches, living life so trill.” Kanye West helped produce this bleak soulful burner, the closest thing The Weeknd gets to a romantic ballad.



    29.
    Shamir | “Demon”

    Las Vegas native Shamir’s just-left-of-center pop debut “Ratchet” employs bouncy synths and 808 drum kicks while he gently sings about sins, mistakes, the fast lane, and late night young love. “Demon” bops around telling the story of Shamir and his partner in crime, “If I'm a demon, baby / You're the beast that made me.”



    28.
    Empress Of | “Make Up”

    Empress Of, aka Lorely Rodriguez, has been classified in every genre from indie rock to experimental pop to avant-R&B, which goes to show just how talented and versatile a songwriter she is. Her 2015 album simply titled “Me” highlights her ability to shift through styles while still creating a single cohesive piece. The alternating synths and grand piano keys lined up with the deep percussion on “Make Up” are only matched by the sexiness of her lyrics, “Nothing comes between us/ But a piece of latex/ When you tear my clothes off/ Like I was a paycheck."



    27.
    BEA1991 | “Filthy Believer”

    Dutch singer BEA1991’s single-shot video for “Filthy Believer” is nothing more than the young girl wearing a heavy pink sweater with pink cotton shorts awkwardly dancing in front of a pink backdrop. Over the course of the 3:45 minute video, the dancing feels less like awkwardness than unbridled joy. I think this is what people mean when they tell you to dance like no one is watching.



    26.
    Christine and the Queens | “Tilted”

    French singer and songwriter Héloïse Letissier promises that she’s “actually good” over and over throughout “Tilted” before launching into the original French version’s spoken word lyrics that translate to stanzas about broken arms, bizarre children, and scratching posts. My French is not great (non-existent) but these sparse phrases mixed with her English lyrics about trampling over beauty and mended souls seem to paint quite a picture.



    25.
    Youth Lagoon | “Highway Patrol Stun Gun”

    “Highway Patrol Stun Gun” begins with a steady synth bass, an elegant string section, and bright piano before Trevor Powers begins to sing, “Possessed by something in the wind / They watch me like I'm a threat to them.” In an interview with The Fader he has described the song as his way of dealing with police brutality, corrupt people in high places, and elements of loss.



    24.
    School of Seven Bells | “Open Your Eyes”

    In December of 2013, Benjamin Curtis, a founding member of the synth-pop duo School of Seven Bells, died at the young age of 35 after being diagnosed with T-cell Lymphoblastic Lymphoma, a form of leukemia. Their final album “SVIIB,” which was still being recording when Curtis passed, is due to be released in early 2016 with “Open Your Eyes” as the first single. Singer Alejandra Deheza described it as “a love letter from start to finish.”



    23.
    Mac Demarco | “Another One”

    His self-proclaimed favorite song and off his mini-LP of just 8 songs also titled “Another One” is a bit of a departure from Mac Demarco’s signature twangy guitar sound. For this song Mac decided to pick up a synthesizer and sing about longing for a someone he is in love with but can never fully have because the object of his affection must have someone else he doesn't know about. A sad tale tried and true.



    22.
    Soko (feat. Ariel Pink) | “Lovetrap”

    Enfant terrible bedroom-pop weirdo Ariel Pink is featured on “Lovetrap” where does what he does best: mixing catchy hooks with bizarro lyrics. French singer and actress Soko is the ideal candidate for a Pink duet. “Lovetrap” describes Ariel as “a mermaid man not half a man” as Soko “bursts [his] heart with her laser eyes.” The video features Soko running around imitating Pink in a TMZ nightmare.



    21.
    SOPHIE | “Just Like We Never Said Goodbye”

    SOPHIE is the alias of London-based producer Samuel Long. SOPHIE songs tend to use heavy, powerful synths and a pitch-shifted vocal track sped up to dance up and down all over the place; the drums are an afterthought if even thought of at all. “Just Like We Never Said Goodbye” thuds along like an 80’s bubble-gum pop jam with lyrics that begin, “We were young and out of control / I hadn’t seen you since I was about, hmm, sixteen years old.”



    20. LCMDF | “Fooled”

    The Finnish group formerly known as Le Corps Mince de Françoise is comprised of sisters Emma and Mia Kemppainen. Their sound is a relentless collage of screaming high pitched synths, marching band snare drums, megalith bass kicks, and the sisters’ smiling harmonies.



    19.
    Blood Orange | “Sandra’s Song”

    Dev Hynes penned and released “Sandra’s Song” under his Blood Orange moniker as an ode to Sandra Bland, a woman who suspiciously died while in police custody in Texas this July spurring already fervent claims of police brutality though it was officially ruled a suicide. The bass, drums, and low end horns compliment the multi-tracks of Hyne’s harmonized chorus.



    18.
    Connan Mockasin & Devonté Hynes | “Feelin’ Lovely”

    Dev Hynes once again, ladies and gentlemen. This silky smooth jam features psych-pop singer Connan Mockasin and was recorded for a tiny little EP the two made together in just a few days this March. The aesthetic is when you are a few too many bourbons deep, dragging on a cigarette in a dimly lit lounge, when a beautiful stranger walks in from the outside and suddenly makes eye contact with you. Now what?



    17.
    Tame Impala | “Cause I’m a Man (Haim Remix)”

    For all intents and purposes, this is more of a cover than a remix of the Tame Impala song. Kevin Parker’s voice is nearly irreplaceable, but if anyone can take on the task it’s the sisters Haim. Context is flipped when we hear “Cause I'm a maaaaaan, womaaaaaan / Not often proud of what I choose.”



    16.
    Purity Ring | “heartsigh”

    The video for “heartsigh” is just as spectral and glimmering as the song itself. Amidst the infinite black void we see twinkling stars. Those stars are what hope looks like. This song is what hope sounds like.



    15.
    Mark Ronson (feat. Kevin Parker) | “Leaving Los Feliz”

    Kevin Parker from Tame Impala has been playing guitar with Mark Ronson for years, and even as Tame Impala became one of the biggest bands in the world, Parker still found time to sing and play on three different tracks on Ronson’s “Uptown Special” album. “Leaving Los Feliz” has Ronson’s signature drum sounds that match perfectly with Parker’s hooky guitars riffs and nasal melodies. “Uptown Funk” may be one of the biggest hits of 2015 but “Leaving Los Feliz” is the real hidden gem on the album.



    14.
    Jamie xx (ft. Romy) | “Loud Places”

    Jamie xx’s solo album “In Colour” has an electronic palette that is both similar and dissimilar to his work in his band The xx. “Loud Places” is one of the two songs that feature The xx’s wispy-sultry singer Romy and the resulting effect is all in the title. It’s louder than we are used to hearing from the pair but feels like an xx after-party where the mood has shifted from morose to celebratory.



    13.
    Kelela | “The High”

    L.A. singer Kelela walks the line between pop and R&B on this minimal track. The bass throbs like a heartbeat as she coos, “I’d do anything for the high / That’s what you said.” She told The Fader that the song is, “…about being enthralled. [The EP entitled Hallucinogen] is a cycle—starting on a somber note and going through all the phases of excitement and power and loss to come back around again.



    12.
    Hot Chip | “Huarache Lights”

    If you ask me, this song is ostensibly about Nike’s Air Huarache Light sneakers. These shoes have a trim of what’s known as 3M reflective material that allows them to bounce the night light off and “beam” in the dark. The video features a giant pulsating light installation dancing against a pitch black background.



    11.
    M.I.A. | “Borders”

    In late November, M.I.A. released the first song off her upcoming fifth album “Matahdatah.” “Borders” features an unrelenting trap beat with the ever-provocative politically conscious singer posing questions at a time when the fear-mongering news cycle is focusing on Mexican walls, Syrian refugees, and Muslim immigration policies. It focuses on the relationship between art and politics; what we decide to allow traveling through our borders (“50 million Taylor Swift records to people in Africa”) and what we strategically keep out (“migrants who believed in the aggressiveness of our sale of democracy”).



    10.
    Frankie Cosmos | “Young”

    “Young” is light, short, and full of hope despite perpetual melancholy. It sounds like singer Greta Kline is singing to herself, sliding her finger on the inside of her steamed up window, looking at the great big moon from little old Earth. The keyboards shimmer behind steady drum loop. “I just wanna be alive, that’s it.”



    9.
    Majical Cloudz | “Control”

    Majical Cloudz songs tend to be very bare bones and vulnerable and “Control” is a perfect example. They pack such an emotional punch with the sparse synths and simple snare essentially just keeping time as singer Devon Welsh sings about wanting to change to the dismay of the person he is singing to. Their fantastic 2015 album “Are You Alone” came out just as they finished a tour opening for Lorde.



    8.
    Chairlift | “Romeo”

    Last year, Chairlift contributed to Beyoncé’s self-titled album by producing the song “No Angel.” This year they came back strong with their own album “Moth” and their second single “Romeo” is one of the many dance floor highlights. In a press release, the synth-pop duo stated this song was from the perspective of Atalanta, a Greek mythological character who was a virgin huntress, unwilling to marry, and loved by many men.



    7.
    Lower Dens | “To Die in L.A.”

    This song just feels like you’re running away from something, anything, and heading West where the sun sets behind the infinite Pacific and the past can be washed away. The chorus is just a repeated mantra, “Time will turn the tide” like a meditative affirmation that everything will be just fine even if it won’t.



    6.
    Tobias Jesso, Jr. | “True Love”

    Tobias Jesso, Jr. seemingly appeared out of nowhere with this heartbreaking song aptly titled “True Love” about two real people trying to make ends meet and just barely getting by because they truly, truly love each other. Jesso’s self-recorded singles quickly garnered him Internet fame, a record deal, and the opportunity to co-write the ballad “When We Were Young” with Adele on one of the biggest albums of all time.



    5.
    Peaches | “Dumb Fuck”

    The most straightforward pop song on Peaches’ 2015 album “Rub” has a thumping bass and heavy synths that slowly build until the chanting chorus “You Dumb Fuck!” It has all the veracity of “sucking on my titties like you wanted me” without losing any of the provocative catchiness that can only be mastered by the one and only Peaches.



    4.
    Chromatics | “Girls Just Want To Have Fun” / “Girls Just Wanna Have Some”

    Ok, it might be cheating to throw two songs as a single entry on this list, but really these two very different covers of Cyndi Lauper’s legendary bratty pop masterpiece are companion pieces and really should never be too far apart. The cover art of the Chromatics’ single is has split photos of model icons Kate Moss & Cara Delevingne as the song was originally created for a Mango fashion ad. The ad features the upbeat version, which is true to the original, but the alternate version is a downbeat sultry cover that is throws the song into an entirely new context. I’d say the former is Cara’s and the latter’s is Kate, but hey, maybe that’s just me and my fantasies.


     



    3.
    Chvrches | “Leave a Trace”

    The lead single from their 2015 album “Every Open Eye” is evokes the power of many an anthemic Chvrches song. The bridge refrain’s only two words are “I Know” repeated as if singer Lauren Mayberry is shaking her head at herself in the mirror, angry but not hopeless. It’s freeing, it’s liberating, it’s leaving the past behind and leaning forward.



    2.
    Grimes | “California”

    Grime’s latest album “Art Angels” is being heralded as one of the best releases this year. For such a happy, upbeat song she sings about California only liking her when she looks sad. In an interview with siriusXM she explained that part of this song is about how indie music journalists will obscure her narratives and misinterpret her lyrics and write about how she has less control of her aesthetic and art than she really does… which is all of it.



    1.
    Tame Impala | “The Less I Know The Better”

    No song has better encapsulated the “ignorance is bliss” mantra better than this one. Psych-pop virtuoso Kevin Parker told Under The Radar earlier this year that “The Less I Know The Better” shouldn’t be on a Tame Impala album because it has this “dorky, white disco funk." That funk is exactly the sound that propelled his band’s latest album “Currents” to the number 4 spot on the Billboard 200.




  14. Upvote
    aarondmiller got a reaction from DMVofficial in The 30 Best Songs You May Have Missed in 2015   
    Here are 30 songs you could be listening to instead of "Hello" or "Hotline Bling."




    2015 was a year filled with inescapable mega-hits from pop phenomenons like Adele, Justin Bieber, Nicki Minaj, and Drake. The songs that dominated the airwaves always take the forefront of the music conversation. The songs become cultural touchstones. The artists become famous paparazzi-hounded icons. What often gets eclipsed are the diamonds in the rough. There is so much #Content on the interwebz that great songs can often be released to little or no attention, but that absolutely does not mean they do not deserve some recognition. Below is a list of 30 songs that were largely slept on but it's time to wake up and give credit where credit is due.
    30.
    The Weeknd | “Tell Your Friends”

    Abel Tesfaye’s lyrics are at their most blatantly obvious, comically ignorant, and familiarly debaucherous in “Tell Your Friends.” They hit critical mass with the final line of the chorus acting as a declaration of his notorious identity: “I'm that nigga with the hair / Singing 'bout popping pills, fucking bitches, living life so trill.” Kanye West helped produce this bleak soulful burner, the closest thing The Weeknd gets to a romantic ballad.



    29.
    Shamir | “Demon”

    Las Vegas native Shamir’s just-left-of-center pop debut “Ratchet” employs bouncy synths and 808 drum kicks while he gently sings about sins, mistakes, the fast lane, and late night young love. “Demon” bops around telling the story of Shamir and his partner in crime, “If I'm a demon, baby / You're the beast that made me.”



    28.
    Empress Of | “Make Up”

    Empress Of, aka Lorely Rodriguez, has been classified in every genre from indie rock to experimental pop to avant-R&B, which goes to show just how talented and versatile a songwriter she is. Her 2015 album simply titled “Me” highlights her ability to shift through styles while still creating a single cohesive piece. The alternating synths and grand piano keys lined up with the deep percussion on “Make Up” are only matched by the sexiness of her lyrics, “Nothing comes between us/ But a piece of latex/ When you tear my clothes off/ Like I was a paycheck."



    27.
    BEA1991 | “Filthy Believer”

    Dutch singer BEA1991’s single-shot video for “Filthy Believer” is nothing more than the young girl wearing a heavy pink sweater with pink cotton shorts awkwardly dancing in front of a pink backdrop. Over the course of the 3:45 minute video, the dancing feels less like awkwardness than unbridled joy. I think this is what people mean when they tell you to dance like no one is watching.



    26.
    Christine and the Queens | “Tilted”

    French singer and songwriter Héloïse Letissier promises that she’s “actually good” over and over throughout “Tilted” before launching into the original French version’s spoken word lyrics that translate to stanzas about broken arms, bizarre children, and scratching posts. My French is not great (non-existent) but these sparse phrases mixed with her English lyrics about trampling over beauty and mended souls seem to paint quite a picture.



    25.
    Youth Lagoon | “Highway Patrol Stun Gun”

    “Highway Patrol Stun Gun” begins with a steady synth bass, an elegant string section, and bright piano before Trevor Powers begins to sing, “Possessed by something in the wind / They watch me like I'm a threat to them.” In an interview with The Fader he has described the song as his way of dealing with police brutality, corrupt people in high places, and elements of loss.



    24.
    School of Seven Bells | “Open Your Eyes”

    In December of 2013, Benjamin Curtis, a founding member of the synth-pop duo School of Seven Bells, died at the young age of 35 after being diagnosed with T-cell Lymphoblastic Lymphoma, a form of leukemia. Their final album “SVIIB,” which was still being recording when Curtis passed, is due to be released in early 2016 with “Open Your Eyes” as the first single. Singer Alejandra Deheza described it as “a love letter from start to finish.”



    23.
    Mac Demarco | “Another One”

    His self-proclaimed favorite song and off his mini-LP of just 8 songs also titled “Another One” is a bit of a departure from Mac Demarco’s signature twangy guitar sound. For this song Mac decided to pick up a synthesizer and sing about longing for a someone he is in love with but can never fully have because the object of his affection must have someone else he doesn't know about. A sad tale tried and true.



    22.
    Soko (feat. Ariel Pink) | “Lovetrap”

    Enfant terrible bedroom-pop weirdo Ariel Pink is featured on “Lovetrap” where does what he does best: mixing catchy hooks with bizarro lyrics. French singer and actress Soko is the ideal candidate for a Pink duet. “Lovetrap” describes Ariel as “a mermaid man not half a man” as Soko “bursts [his] heart with her laser eyes.” The video features Soko running around imitating Pink in a TMZ nightmare.



    21.
    SOPHIE | “Just Like We Never Said Goodbye”

    SOPHIE is the alias of London-based producer Samuel Long. SOPHIE songs tend to use heavy, powerful synths and a pitch-shifted vocal track sped up to dance up and down all over the place; the drums are an afterthought if even thought of at all. “Just Like We Never Said Goodbye” thuds along like an 80’s bubble-gum pop jam with lyrics that begin, “We were young and out of control / I hadn’t seen you since I was about, hmm, sixteen years old.”



    20. LCMDF | “Fooled”

    The Finnish group formerly known as Le Corps Mince de Françoise is comprised of sisters Emma and Mia Kemppainen. Their sound is a relentless collage of screaming high pitched synths, marching band snare drums, megalith bass kicks, and the sisters’ smiling harmonies.



    19.
    Blood Orange | “Sandra’s Song”

    Dev Hynes penned and released “Sandra’s Song” under his Blood Orange moniker as an ode to Sandra Bland, a woman who suspiciously died while in police custody in Texas this July spurring already fervent claims of police brutality though it was officially ruled a suicide. The bass, drums, and low end horns compliment the multi-tracks of Hyne’s harmonized chorus.



    18.
    Connan Mockasin & Devonté Hynes | “Feelin’ Lovely”

    Dev Hynes once again, ladies and gentlemen. This silky smooth jam features psych-pop singer Connan Mockasin and was recorded for a tiny little EP the two made together in just a few days this March. The aesthetic is when you are a few too many bourbons deep, dragging on a cigarette in a dimly lit lounge, when a beautiful stranger walks in from the outside and suddenly makes eye contact with you. Now what?



    17.
    Tame Impala | “Cause I’m a Man (Haim Remix)”

    For all intents and purposes, this is more of a cover than a remix of the Tame Impala song. Kevin Parker’s voice is nearly irreplaceable, but if anyone can take on the task it’s the sisters Haim. Context is flipped when we hear “Cause I'm a maaaaaan, womaaaaaan / Not often proud of what I choose.”



    16.
    Purity Ring | “heartsigh”

    The video for “heartsigh” is just as spectral and glimmering as the song itself. Amidst the infinite black void we see twinkling stars. Those stars are what hope looks like. This song is what hope sounds like.



    15.
    Mark Ronson (feat. Kevin Parker) | “Leaving Los Feliz”

    Kevin Parker from Tame Impala has been playing guitar with Mark Ronson for years, and even as Tame Impala became one of the biggest bands in the world, Parker still found time to sing and play on three different tracks on Ronson’s “Uptown Special” album. “Leaving Los Feliz” has Ronson’s signature drum sounds that match perfectly with Parker’s hooky guitars riffs and nasal melodies. “Uptown Funk” may be one of the biggest hits of 2015 but “Leaving Los Feliz” is the real hidden gem on the album.



    14.
    Jamie xx (ft. Romy) | “Loud Places”

    Jamie xx’s solo album “In Colour” has an electronic palette that is both similar and dissimilar to his work in his band The xx. “Loud Places” is one of the two songs that feature The xx’s wispy-sultry singer Romy and the resulting effect is all in the title. It’s louder than we are used to hearing from the pair but feels like an xx after-party where the mood has shifted from morose to celebratory.



    13.
    Kelela | “The High”

    L.A. singer Kelela walks the line between pop and R&B on this minimal track. The bass throbs like a heartbeat as she coos, “I’d do anything for the high / That’s what you said.” She told The Fader that the song is, “…about being enthralled. [The EP entitled Hallucinogen] is a cycle—starting on a somber note and going through all the phases of excitement and power and loss to come back around again.



    12.
    Hot Chip | “Huarache Lights”

    If you ask me, this song is ostensibly about Nike’s Air Huarache Light sneakers. These shoes have a trim of what’s known as 3M reflective material that allows them to bounce the night light off and “beam” in the dark. The video features a giant pulsating light installation dancing against a pitch black background.



    11.
    M.I.A. | “Borders”

    In late November, M.I.A. released the first song off her upcoming fifth album “Matahdatah.” “Borders” features an unrelenting trap beat with the ever-provocative politically conscious singer posing questions at a time when the fear-mongering news cycle is focusing on Mexican walls, Syrian refugees, and Muslim immigration policies. It focuses on the relationship between art and politics; what we decide to allow traveling through our borders (“50 million Taylor Swift records to people in Africa”) and what we strategically keep out (“migrants who believed in the aggressiveness of our sale of democracy”).



    10.
    Frankie Cosmos | “Young”

    “Young” is light, short, and full of hope despite perpetual melancholy. It sounds like singer Greta Kline is singing to herself, sliding her finger on the inside of her steamed up window, looking at the great big moon from little old Earth. The keyboards shimmer behind steady drum loop. “I just wanna be alive, that’s it.”



    9.
    Majical Cloudz | “Control”

    Majical Cloudz songs tend to be very bare bones and vulnerable and “Control” is a perfect example. They pack such an emotional punch with the sparse synths and simple snare essentially just keeping time as singer Devon Welsh sings about wanting to change to the dismay of the person he is singing to. Their fantastic 2015 album “Are You Alone” came out just as they finished a tour opening for Lorde.



    8.
    Chairlift | “Romeo”

    Last year, Chairlift contributed to Beyoncé’s self-titled album by producing the song “No Angel.” This year they came back strong with their own album “Moth” and their second single “Romeo” is one of the many dance floor highlights. In a press release, the synth-pop duo stated this song was from the perspective of Atalanta, a Greek mythological character who was a virgin huntress, unwilling to marry, and loved by many men.



    7.
    Lower Dens | “To Die in L.A.”

    This song just feels like you’re running away from something, anything, and heading West where the sun sets behind the infinite Pacific and the past can be washed away. The chorus is just a repeated mantra, “Time will turn the tide” like a meditative affirmation that everything will be just fine even if it won’t.



    6.
    Tobias Jesso, Jr. | “True Love”

    Tobias Jesso, Jr. seemingly appeared out of nowhere with this heartbreaking song aptly titled “True Love” about two real people trying to make ends meet and just barely getting by because they truly, truly love each other. Jesso’s self-recorded singles quickly garnered him Internet fame, a record deal, and the opportunity to co-write the ballad “When We Were Young” with Adele on one of the biggest albums of all time.



    5.
    Peaches | “Dumb Fuck”

    The most straightforward pop song on Peaches’ 2015 album “Rub” has a thumping bass and heavy synths that slowly build until the chanting chorus “You Dumb Fuck!” It has all the veracity of “sucking on my titties like you wanted me” without losing any of the provocative catchiness that can only be mastered by the one and only Peaches.



    4.
    Chromatics | “Girls Just Want To Have Fun” / “Girls Just Wanna Have Some”

    Ok, it might be cheating to throw two songs as a single entry on this list, but really these two very different covers of Cyndi Lauper’s legendary bratty pop masterpiece are companion pieces and really should never be too far apart. The cover art of the Chromatics’ single is has split photos of model icons Kate Moss & Cara Delevingne as the song was originally created for a Mango fashion ad. The ad features the upbeat version, which is true to the original, but the alternate version is a downbeat sultry cover that is throws the song into an entirely new context. I’d say the former is Cara’s and the latter’s is Kate, but hey, maybe that’s just me and my fantasies.


     



    3.
    Chvrches | “Leave a Trace”

    The lead single from their 2015 album “Every Open Eye” is evokes the power of many an anthemic Chvrches song. The bridge refrain’s only two words are “I Know” repeated as if singer Lauren Mayberry is shaking her head at herself in the mirror, angry but not hopeless. It’s freeing, it’s liberating, it’s leaving the past behind and leaning forward.



    2.
    Grimes | “California”

    Grime’s latest album “Art Angels” is being heralded as one of the best releases this year. For such a happy, upbeat song she sings about California only liking her when she looks sad. In an interview with siriusXM she explained that part of this song is about how indie music journalists will obscure her narratives and misinterpret her lyrics and write about how she has less control of her aesthetic and art than she really does… which is all of it.



    1.
    Tame Impala | “The Less I Know The Better”

    No song has better encapsulated the “ignorance is bliss” mantra better than this one. Psych-pop virtuoso Kevin Parker told Under The Radar earlier this year that “The Less I Know The Better” shouldn’t be on a Tame Impala album because it has this “dorky, white disco funk." That funk is exactly the sound that propelled his band’s latest album “Currents” to the number 4 spot on the Billboard 200.