Top Tracks

SUCKER

Overview | #94: Charli XCX – “Famous” (2014) Top Track | #94: Charli XCX – “Famous” (2014)

I just love what Charli XCX is doing — she’s so ballsy and extraverted, but it’s about expression rather than shock and provocation. Popular music needs more artists like her. The bo...

American Middle Class

Overview | #95: Angaleena Presley – “Ain’t No Man” (2014) Top Track | #95: Angaleena Presley – “Ain’t No Man” (2014)

“Ain’t No Man” is just a delightful tune. After spending the first two and a half decades basically ignoring country music, I’m actually finding a lot of it to like these days....

Morning Phase

Overview | #96: Beck – “Morning” (2014) Top Track | #96: Beck – “Morning” (2014)

I have to admit I was pretty shocked — though still happy for Beck, of course — when Morning Phase took home Album of the Year at the 2015 Grammy Awards; I thought it was just a decent alb...

Ryan Adams

Overview | #97: Ryan Adams – “Feels Like Fire” (2014) Top Track | #97: Ryan Adams – “Feels Like Fire” (2014)

None other than Johnny Depp sings and plays guitar on this track. (He also plays guitar on track 2 on Ryan Adams, “Kim.”) Not every day that an A-list movie star shows up to play on a qual...

St. Vincent

Overview | #98: St. Vincent – “Digital Witness” (2014) Top Track | #98: St. Vincent – “Digital Witness” (2014)

If you are an indie rock fan and haven’t heard St. Vincent‘s self-titled 2014 album yet, go give it a spin. I gave it a very positive review, and the stomping, lyrically fun “Digital...

Rock or Bust

Overview | #99: AC/DC – “Rock or Bust” (2014) Top Track | #99: AC/DC – “Rock or Bust” (2014)

“Rock or Bust” is a pretty typical AC/DC effort: anthemic hard rock with big riffage and the word “rock” in the title. Ever since selling more than 20 million copies of 1980...

G I R L

Overview | #100: Pharrell Williams – “It Girl” (2014) Top Track | #100: Pharrell Williams – “It Girl” (2014)

I thought I’d start off my Top Tracks of 2014 list with one of the better album closers of the year, “It Girl” from Pharrell Williams‘ solid album G I R L. Anchored by a thickl...

m b v

Overview | #1: My Bloody Valentine – “Who Sees You” (2013) Top Track | #1: My Bloody Valentine – “Who Sees You” (2013)

I knew immediately that “Who Sees You” was something special. It’s got My Bloody Valentine’s patented weird, dissonant “drone and churn” shoegaze sound created by using massive amounts of guitar disto...

Same Trailer Different Park

Overview | #2: Kacey Musgraves – “Back on the Map” (2013) Top Track | #2: Kacey Musgraves – “Back on the Map” (2013)

Kacey Musgraves‘ delightful debut is easily one of the best albums of 2013, and “Back on the Map” is so effortlessly good, with Musgraves displaying such an obvious mastery of her cr...

Overview | #3: Daft Punk – “The Game of Love” (2013) Top Track | #3: Daft Punk – “The Game of Love” (2013)

Daft Punk are known as an electronic duo, but Random Access Memories is a rejection of the EDM monster they created; the sounds have been achieved acoustically and, as if that weren’t enough, th...

The Messenger

Overview | #4: Johnny Marr – “New Town Velocity” (2013) Top Track | #4: Johnny Marr – “New Town Velocity” (2013)

There are a lot of alternative acts I haven’t yet given the proper amount of attention, and the Smiths is one of them. When I saw that Smiths guitarist Johnny Marr was (finally) releasing a solo...

Bankrupt!

Overview | #5: Phoenix – “Bourgeois” (2013) Top Track | #5: Phoenix – “Bourgeois” (2013)

When I first heard Bankrupt! and reviewed it, I enthusiastically recommended it, and I also mentioned that “the soaring ‘Bourgeois’ is an early contender for my favorite song of the ...

Sons of the Sea

Overview | #6: Sons of the Sea – “Lady Black” (2013) Top Track | #6: Sons of the Sea – “Lady Black” (2013)

Incubus frontman Brandon Boyd‘s side project with Incubus producer Brendan O’Brien, Sons of the Sea, began its promotional push in the first half of 2013 with the four-track EP Compass, wh...

Overview | #7: Daft Punk – “Beyond” (2013) Top Track | #7: Daft Punk – “Beyond” (2013)

When not listened to in the context of the album, the orchestra section in the beginning of “Beyond” sounds pretty ridiculous, but even so, what comes after in “Beyond” makes i...

Days Are Gone

Overview | #8: HAIM – “Go Slow” (2013) Top Track | #8: HAIM – “Go Slow” (2013)

Even though Days Are Gone has many great tracks, “Go Slow” manages to stand out in a crowded field. It’s a great song, even with its intentionally ’80s production touches, whic...