I’m a person who loves year-end lists, but this year it seems like there are lists upon lists everywhere, and even lists of lists. If I were a funnier, more clever person, I would aggregate the best of the best-of lists here. But I’m not. So I’m just going to go ahead and list my favorite songs of the year, the way I did in 2013. And 2012. And 2011.
Sylvan Esso • Coffee
This dreamy electropop song wheedled its way into my life like one of those cockroaches that crawls into your ear while you sleep and burrows inside your head. I didn’t like it at first. And then one day I put my hand on top of my husband’s in the car when he tried to change the radio dial, and it’s been with me ever since.
Glass Animals • Gooey
In contrast to the Sylvan Esso song, this is one I loved immediately. It’s sexy and slinky, and the video is totally freaky and mesmerizing.
The New Basement Tapes • Kansas City (And really all of the Basement Tapes)
So here’s what happened: Bob Dylan had a stack of brilliant lyrics just sitting around, because that’s what happens when you’re Bob Dylan. You wallpaper the house with unused song lyrics. You shine the silverware with them, you wash your face with them, and you stuff some into the toes of the boots that run too big. And then you give some of them to music producer T-Bone Burnett, who rounds up some contemporary musicians, and they create music for the lyrics.
The New Basement Tapes is the result of that. I love it all, in spite of the fact that it includes a Mumford.
Big Data • Dangerous
The song that will certainly be heard in a zillion car commercials. And for good reason — it’s a highly addictive, intoxicating song. I love the fatness of the beat, the way it seems almost too robust.
Clean Bandit • Rather Be
Solid, albeit throwaway pop. Every list needs one.
Blood Orange • You’re Not Good Enough
With a casual synth-soul vibe, Blood Orange makes some of my favorite writing music. It’s like someone took Ready for the World and sent them in a time machine to 2014 — which is, of course, awesome.
Saint Pepsi • Fiona Coyne
I dare you to listen to this and not dance.
I’ve heard it makes some people twirl a hula hoop around the living room and almost knock over a baby swing, NOT THAT I’VE DONE THAT.
Beck • Blue Moon
Beck rarely makes a misstep in my book. I love all the songs off his latest release, “Morning Phase,” which is calm and wistful, and a little bit melancholy. This song particularly resonates with me.
The Knocks • Classic
If you’re not putting this on your next road trip mix, you’re doing life wrong.
Tweedy • Low Key
This actually isn’t my favorite Tweedy song, but the video, directed by Nick Offerman, is the most fun.
Foxygen • How Can You Really
When I was a growing up in Ohio, this is close to what I thought California must sound like.
Future Islands • Seasons (Waiting On You)
This song is this year’s version of M83’s “Midnight City” for me — it builds into something utterly compelling and gripping, which is so rare to find in synthpop.
alt-J • Every Other Freckle
Even though I’ve enjoyed alt-J for a couple years, I thought they might be something of a novelty. But after hearing their second album, I realize I might have been wrong. The sound is utterly unique and fascinating — I often find myself actively listening to alt-J — and the music feels more like a voyage than a song.
The War on Drugs • Red Eyes
I can’t even form a coherent thought when it comes to The War on Drugs. Etherial. Epic. Sweeping. Springsteen. Empty roads. Nostalgia. Cheap beer. Blue nights.
This is probably my very favorite song of the year.