Headphone Nation’s 100 Favorite Songs Of The Decade (So Far): 2010-2014

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Am I an idiot for thinking that I can only pick 100 songs to share with y’all and not feel guilty about all the other music that I’m leaving out? Is this list completely bias? Am I brain-dead from trying to write about why I love every single song on this list?

The answer is yes.

Reminder: this is a list of MY FAVORITE songs of the decade, not THE GREATEST songs of the decade. There is a key difference. Same rules apply to this list as they did for my favorite albums of the decade so far.

Also make sure to check out the spotify playlist with all these songs at the end of this list.

Alright, let’s begin.

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Playlist: Zach Braff’s iPod

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This new playlist combines many of the songs from the Garden State and Scrubs soundtracks in addition to some other songs that I think match Braff’s great range of taste in music. There are also some songs on here from his new movie Wish I Was Here released in limited release July 18th.

 

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Four Things I Didn’t Expect To Happen In 2014 (From Someone Who Missed It All)

Five months is a long time to be away. Without a working cellphone or laptop, I was blissfully out of touch with the world of music save the few english music magazines I managed to find. Our reliance on the Internet for most of our news is bittersweet; it’s bitter because it feels like at times you either have too much information or none of it at all, but it’s sweet because I can google all the news and music that I missed.

Last year was great for music because it seemed that every popular artist in the world decided to release music all at once (My Bloody Valentine released an album for goodness sakes). Most albums in 2013 were a lot of fun to talk about (how many arguments have you heard or partaken in for or against Yeezus?), but a lot of those albums I rarely go back to and listen for pure enjoyment.

It seems that, for me at least, 2014 has been more about quality than quantity. The War On Drugs made their best album, The Hold Steady are still alive, a few of my other favorites released music (Sharon Van Etten, Cloud Nothings, Beck, The Men) and I’ve become acquainted with Real Estate, Parquet Courts, How To Dress Well, St. Vincent, and other musicians I knew about before but whom all have converted me into true fans this year. This year has been the year of rookies, redemptions, and breakthroughs, and I think this year, more than other years, we’ve all discovered a few new favorite bands.

Of course this could also mean that 2014 is, if nothing else, just more in tune with my personal taste, the taste of a 21-year-old Midwest music lover who has to rely on the Internet for most of his music. The following are just a few particular things that I’ve noticed about the music that I missed in 2014. Many of these things won’t seem like a big deal to you. Maybe because you’ve seen this year slowly unfold and none of this seems sudden, or maybe you just disagree with me. But it’s fun to write about the halfway point of 2014 with a different perspective. Plus, I need to do a “halfway through 2014” post anyways, so here we go!

 

1. Guitar Rock Music Is Alive And Well

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Just to clarify — great guitar music, in all of its wonderful and diverse forms, has never died. There will always be great music made with Fender guitars plugged into Marshall amps with the occasional tremolo and delay pedals. But in 2014, more than most recent years, it seems that guitar music is not only getting by but actually thriving among popular music.

Whether it’s 90’s nostalgia (Cloud Nothings), Alex Chilton approved classic rock (The Men), Paul Westerberg approved melodic punk (Against Me!), 70’s New York City cool punk (Parquet Courts and Thee Oh Sees), or metal that Foo Fighters fans would like (Mastodon), every type of guitar player had an album to like in 2014.

 

And I don’t know if I can categorize the excellent new The War On Drugs album Lost In The Dream. The band’s previous album, the also excellent Slave Ambient, was a unique marriage of Tom Petty Americana with hints of dreamy guitars that aren’t quite shoegazing but just as pretty, and Lost In The Dream is just an overall improvement of that sound.

 

As of now, my favorite album of 2014 is Real Estate’s Atlas. In addition to having some of the best lyrics of the year, it’s also a great guitar album in the sense that any person just learning guitar can learn all these songs fairly easily, which makes the point that you don’t have to be a virtuoso to make excellent music.

 

All of a sudden, a guitar band doesn’t feel retro, and that’s a wonderful thing.

Also, because I love The Hold Steady, I really think the new album got a lot of undeserved panning.  Teeth Dreams, for all its flaws, is worth another listen.

 

2. No One Seems To Like Jack White Anymore

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Speaking of guitars, I was excited to come home and check out Lazaretto, the newest album from one of rock music’s most dependable crusaders, until I began reading all the mixed reviews on the album which then led to a widespread analysis on White’s legacy (Steven Hyden’s Grantland article is especially good concerning this).

The mixed reviews, along with some interesting interviews in which White attacked The Black Keys and other nice people, made me less thrilled to call myself a Jack White fan. I’ve always liked the idea of Jack White — a musician who takes inspiration from the past and tries to make it new in a way that tributes to the old ways while moving forward. But when I went back to all my White Stripes albums, I realized that most of these albums are, well, just ok. Yes, I know Elephant is a classic album and “Seven Nation Army” is an anthem of a generation and “Ball And Biscuit” is the sound of a guitar having sex, but the rest of the album? This is one of the few times where I 100% agree with a Pitchfork review. As for White’s many side projects — The Raconteurs, The Dead Weather, etc — each band has, at the very most, a handful of great songs that’ll remind you how much you miss The White Stripes.

I’ve listened to Lazaretto a couple of times and I agree with many of the reviews that I’ve read — it’s a more high-maintenance Blunderbuss with a few truly great songs hidden among mostly ok to good songs, much like every album Jack White has made after White Blood Cells.

But with all that said, Jack White is still, and will probably always be, the go to guitar champion for much of our generation. I still say that I’m a fan (De Stijl and White Blood Cells still sound great). Plus, in the end, White might have the last laugh.

 

3. 2014 Pop Music — The Ultimate Hangover Year

2013 was one of the greatest years for music in terms of how many popular and established bands released new music. 2014 didn’t have a chance from the start, and halfway through the year that still stands to be true.

The only major bands I know that everyone knows and loves (or at lest loves to hate) that released music this year was Coldplay and The Black Keys, and those albums are less than stellar. Lana Del Rey and Jack White are also more established names in popular music (for very different reasons), but I wouldn’t consider them in the realm of David Bowie, Justin Timberlake, and Kanye West popular, all of whom released new music last year. EDM and electronic pop still seems to be the dominate genre of throwaway hits on the radio, but it feels like the genre is losing momentum, especially after this and this.

There’s still plenty of time for pop music to figure something out, but until then it seems that the only man putting pop music on his back is…

 

4. Pharrell Williams Is Still Ruling The World

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When I left the states, everyone was still listening to “Get Lucky” every single day. Now it’s “Happy”, another product from the man who pretty much had the best year in 2013. Yes, most of you passionately hate this song by now, but this was the only universal hit that I seemed to missed. Also, G I R L is not a bad album, and I say that because I assume no one else has listened to the album after hearing “Happy” so much.

 

So so far so good for 2014. With the recent news of a new Ryan Adams album later this year, I’m already giddy to think of what my end-of-year best lists will consist of. Below you’ll find a Spotify playlist of my favorite songs of 2014 so far. I’m sure I’ve missed a lot more great music in 2014, so let me know if there’s anything else I need to hear!

 

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Playlist: The Ultimate Spotify Christmas Playlist

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The holiday season is a great time to justify many things, from eating too much, to waiting too long in line at the mall to get a good deal, to drinking a little too much eggnog while your extended family comes over. But there is no such thing as too much Christmas music. I’ve made for y’all a Spotify playlist that contains over two hours of the classics (and hidden gems) of this special genre.

Here is my ultimate Spotify Christmas playlist. Happy holidays!

 

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Eight Music Acts I Would Rather See At The Super Bowl Other Than Madonna

So Madonna is performing at the Super Bowl….and I’m not really excited.  Sure I’m glad the big game is coming to my former hometown, but Madonna isn’t my first choice.  She’ll be better than the Black Eyed Peas, but she won’t come anywhere near Prince (click here to see why).  Here’s my list of acts I would rather see perform in Indy for the big game in February.

Kings of Leon

The band is big enough now with plenty of great hits that they would be appealing for most people.  I just hope they don’t sound like this…

 

Green Day

I realize not everyone loves my favorite band, but they have enough hits to play a Super Bowl set, plus they would do well in a big stadium setting.

 

Arcade Fire

Arcade Fire fans make up about 12% of Super Bowl watchers, but man that 12% would go crazy.  They do kill it live though.

 

Coldplay

Everyone would love to sing along with their arsenal of big hits such as “The Scientist”

 

Dave Matthews Band

Why these guys? BECAUSE IT’S DAVE!

 

Pearl Jam

These rock vetrans still kill it live, and it would be hard for anyone not to sing along with “Even Flow” and “Alive”, even if nobody understands what Eddie Vedder is singing about.

 

Eric Clapton

A guitar God performing songs everyone knows?  Sounds good enough for me.

 

Jay Z

Songs like “99 Problems” would be perfect for a Super Bowl halftime show.  He could even bring Kanye with him for a couple of songs.

 

So if the commissioner for next year’s Super Bowl is reading this, here are your options.

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Extra! Extra!: Confirmed Album Release Dates From Ryan Adams And Coldplay

Also confirmed titles!

As of this morning I am very excited for October.  Ryan Adams will release his new album Ashes & Fire on October 11th.  Coldplay will also release Mylo Xyloto (pronounced my-lo zy-lotoe) on October 25th.  For both these artist this will be their first album in three years (Both Cardinology and Viva La Vida Or Death And All His Friends came out in 2008).  I’m especially excited for Ryan Adams’s new album since it will be his first proper album full of new music in what seems like a very long time.  I also like all of Coldplay’s albums, Viva La Vida especially, and from hearing the album’s single “Every Teardrop Is A Waterfall” I’m confident this will be another great album.

Below is Ryan Adams performing a solo acoustic version of “Dirty Rain”, one of the confirmed tracks off the new album.  Also below is “Every Teardrop Is A Waterfall” for all you Coldplay fans.

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Music Journal: Miscellaneous Music Awards For 2011 (So Far!)

Because I couldn’t get enough of these awards, here are some more!

BEST ALBUM ARTWORK

Fleet Foxes – Helplessness Blues

MOST OVERPLAYED SONG

Adele – “Rolling In The Deep”

Terrific song, but I heard it once too many times.  There are even better tracks off of 21.

BIGGEST DISSAPOINTMENT

Radiohead – The King of Limbs

I love Radiohead, but this album wasn’t as good as it should have been.  It didn’t take me too long to get into Kid A, but after staying with the album for awhile I still found it boring.  Maybe the problem is that we expect too much from this band?

BEST MUSIC VIDEO

Radiohead – “Lotus Flower”

Even though I didn’t care for the album, this music video is perfect.

ALBUMS TO LOOK FORWARD TO FOR THE REST OF THE YEAR

Wilco – The Whole Love

Red Hot Chili Peppers – I’m With You

Kanye West & Jay Z – Watch The Throne

Lil Wayne – Tha Carter IV

Blitzen Trapper – American Goldwing

Das Racist – Relax

Blink 182 – Neighborhoods

Coldplay – TBA

Any other awards I forgot to mention?  Hit me up on Twitter @BradyWGerber

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Playlist: Songs To Help You Cheer Up

Music that heals the soul and gets you back on your feet.

Some days just suck.  Nothing you can do and nothing you can tell yourself can make your day better, and we can get lost in our sadness.

We need music for those sad times, but we also need music to help us get back on our feet.  It seems that these songs are harder to find, especially when we need them the most.  These five songs are the songs I go to when I’ve done all my crying and need something to lift me up.  I hope these songs do the same to you.

Please note that these songs aren’t necessary cheery, but rather the lyrics and the emotion of the song is what heals.

Ryan Adams – “Words”

“If everybody is grateful, how come nobody’s satisfied? / Don’t worry up your mind / People are sick and mean sometimes / They’re only words”

 

Gary Allen – “Life Ain’t Always Beautiful”

“Life ain’t always beautiful / but it’s a beautiful ride”

 

Coldplay – “Fix You”

Yes, I picked the most obvious and cheesiest pick for a song to cheer you up. Yes, you will feel a little better after hearing this song.

 

John Legend – “Ordinary People”

“We’re just ordinary people / we don’t know which way to go”

 

The Beatles – “Hey Jude”

C’mon, you know all the words. Sing this one out loud.

 

The kinks – “Waterloo Sunset”

“People so busy, make me feel dizzy, taxi light shines so bright / but I don’t, need no friends / as long as I gaze on Waterloo Sunset, I am in paradise”

 

And after you’ve kicked the sadness out of you, this song will get you out the door feeling awesome.

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