I guess I’m sometimes into memes, but I also dropped the ball (no, not really) because I was too busy enjoying my actual real vacation that lasted more than three days, so I’m not putting this out until January, instead of all the other folks who do this at the end of the year. Anyway, I am not a wealthy person, nor am I generally speaking a person who does gifts for the holidays. But I do like gifting things to people I love when I think it’s something they will love, so this is my virtual basket of gifts for my favorite people.
So. The Best Stuff of Last Year for You to Try This Year: Ears Edition.
Music was pretty excellent in 2014, and a lot of my favorite people put out good stuff. And there were a few surprises. I broadened my knowledge of popular top 40 music considerably due to attending lots of fitness classes. It was an interesting education.
- One of the Guys – Jenny Lewis: This music video is the greatest thing of all time, and it (plus a random quote that I can’t find right now) has made me rethink everything I ever thought I hated about Kristen Stewart. Also, the song itself is feminism hidden by stuff that people who think they hate feminism will still listen to, so that’s genius and a huge win. Then Jenny’s whole album dropped, and as per usual, it was perfect and brilliant and also I felt a bit like I’m not worthy or smart enough, but that’s okay.
- Believe in Me – The Pierces: I don’t really understand why I am the only person I know who loves The Pierces, but I wish you all would join me in obsessing so that they wouldn’t take so long to release their albums in the United States. These sisters are amazing, and their new album is pretty excellent, and they do this thing where it’s like they don’t have melodies, because they each sing harmonies and somehow out of the absent space comes a melody? I dunno. This is why I quit being a music major. The percussion in this song makes me happy and so do the very well articulated hmmms. Anyway, all the love to The Pierces and Creation.
- Say You’ll Be There – MØ: WHAT EVEN is this I don’t know but it’s perfect because it’s a Spice Girls cover and the cover of the single says “Remember girl power,” and we should all remember girl power, and I just walked into the spinning studio to hand out towels at the end of class and the instructor had this playing and it was perfection and I don’t know who MØ is but I don’t care just listen to this, okay?
- The Hanging Tree – Jennifer Lawrence/The Lumineers: The morning after I saw the movie, even after only hearing this song once, the entire thing was stuck in my head, because it’s that perfect. That’s all. Well done. Brilliant. But that remix shit on the radio has me creeped out beyond belief.
- Hombres Como Tú – Raquel Sofía: This girl opened (and sang backup) for Juanes when I saw him at Boston House of Blues, and I fell in love. She’s perfect. Watch all of her videos and tell me you’re not in love with her hair, her voice, and her musical style, even if you don’t speak Spanish. I dare you. Now she’s finally starting to release singles, which is good, since her YouTube views are super high, and I will give her all my money when she releases a full album.
- You Got Me – Ingrid Michaelson and Storyman: I have been obsessed with Ingrid Michaelson since college. The way people feel that Taylor Swift reads their diary (and Fearless would have me believe this is true), it’s really Ingrid who reads mine. She was my first voice teacher, by which I mean I constantly played her music and sang along to it, and I’ve seen her live four times. Lights Out as an album is a bit uneven and less Totally Flawless than her earlier ones, but a low bar for Ingrid Michaelson is a very high bar for mortals, so I’ll let it slide. This song was originally by Storyman (and is quite good), but she wrote a new first verse and re-recorded it with them, which is interesting to think about and also makes for a much stronger song as a duet.
- Blank Space – Taylor Swift: Maybe I’m just some basic bitch, or maybe this song is really fucking great. All I know is this is another song I first met in cycling class, and I like that Taylor is acknowledging her haters in an interesting way these days, somewhat agreeing with their assessment of her and somewhat saying fuck y’all. This song takes place in a blank space and echoes in pleasing ways, and I like it, so we’ll just have to deal. The whole album is solid, and I retain some delusional and unnecessary sense of superiority, because I was born in 1988.
- Waitress Song – First Aid Kit: This is another band of sisters, like The Pierces, where I don’t understand where all the other people listening to them are (at least until I go to a concert – at least they actual tour here). This song, on their second album, is in high rotation for me both because it’s incredibly listenable and because it really speaks to my ennui of late.
Single most exciting ears thing upcoming for 2015: I’m really pleased that Deb Talan of The Weepies is in remission from cancer, and I hope that means that they will be releasing some new music, because they’re perfect humans.