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.

My 31 Favorite Albums of 2013

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In alphabetical order.

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Arcade Fire – Reflektor

 

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Arctic Monkeys – AM

 

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Bill Callahan – Dream River

Stream the record here.

 

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Chance The Rapper – Acid Rap

Download here.

 

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Charles Bradley – Victim of Love

 

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CHVRCHES – The Bones of What You Believe

 

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Daft Punk – Random Access Memories

 

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David Bowie – The Next Day

 

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Dawes – Stories Don’t End

 

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Deafheaven – Sunbather

 

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DJ Koze – Amygdala

 

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Foxygen – We Are The 21st Century Ambassadors Of Peace & Magic

 

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Jason Isbell – Southeastern

 

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John Mayer – Paradise Valley

 

THE 20/20 EXPERIENCE ALBUM COVER AND TRACK LIST REVEALED!

Justin Timberlake – The 20/20 Experience

 

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Kacey Musgraves – Same Trailer Different Park

 

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Kanye West – Yeezus

 

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Kings Of Leon – Mechanical Bull

 

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Kurt Vile – Wakin on a Pretty Daze

 

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Laura Marling – Once I Was An Eagle

 

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Mikal Cronin – MCII

 

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My Bloody Valentine – m b v

Stream the album here.

 

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The National – Trouble Will Find Me

 

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Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds – Push The Sky Away

 

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Of Montreal – Lousy With Sylvianbriar

 

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Rhye – Woman

 

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Savages – Silence Yourself

 

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Sky Ferreira – Night Time, My Time

 

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Speedy Ortiz – Major Arcana

 

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The Strokes – Comedown Machine

 

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Vampire Weekend – Modern Vampires of the 

My Favorite Songs of 2013 (With A Spotify Playlist!)

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Here they are, in no particular order, a Spotify playlist of all my favorite songs of 2013.

Mid-Year Report: My Favorite Songs Of 2013 So Far (Via Spotify)

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So you’ve read about my favorite albums of 2013 so far, now hear my favorite songs of 2013 so far here.

Mid-Year Report: My Favorite Albums of 2013 So Far

2013 has been very kind to the inner rock and roll loyalist in me.

When I’m talking about rock and roll I’m not talking about four dudes playing loud guitars with no electronics, though there was plenty of that in 2013 which I also loved. I’m talking about the idea of an album crafted by your favorite band meeting some sort of expectation or a new band coming out of nowhere with a debut that blows you away. The past couple of years have been great for music, but there were only a handful of true classic albums that’ll stand the test of time, though I’m sure I’ll be eating my words in 2029 when I’m reviewing the reissue of a Yeah Yeah Yeah’s album.

But the first half of 2013 is already full of classic albums that we know now are fantastic. We had comeback albums from classic artist (David Bowie, Daft Punk, My Bloody Valentine, The Strokes), career-peaking albums from established artists (Vampire Weekend, Kanye West), and we’ve heard albums that will finally bring bands from the underground and possibly into long(er) careers (Savages, Deafheaven, Kurt Vile). And even take away all the critically praised albums, there were plenty of other albums that were just great, albums that even if they weren’t life changing were still worth shelling out fifteen buck for.

2013 is already the year of the classic album, and I’m not the only one who is relieved to hear that. Here are my favorite albums of 2013 so far in no particular order:

Vampire Weekend – Modern Vampires of the City

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I could go on all day about Vampire Weekend’s maturity from Columbia lads to adult New Yorkers and how this album comes full circle to their realization of all our expectations of this band destined to make the best popular music not made by Paul Simon. And believe me, I really want to. But I won’t. Partly because it’s too easy to judge Vampire Weekend based on how far they’ve come from Oxford Commas to Diane Young, which most other reviewers (including myself) have done.

But my main reason is simple and innocent enough – Modern Vampires of the City is just a great fucking album. Forget their quirkiness, forget their cleverness, forget their backstory – just focus on the music. Listen to every note, harmony, and lyric and hear how everything is crafted with the upmost care and that these songs are true works of art. Gone is any sense of pretentiousness and instead we have an earnest album from a band finally hitting their stride.

If nothing else, listen to “Hannah Hunt”, which as of now is my song of the year, and just sit back and be grateful that a band in 2013 could make something so great.

Read my full review here.

 

Kanye West – Yeezus

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Here’s something that won’t shock you – I love Yeezus. I love Kanye West being Kanye West at his most Kanye West, I love this anti-pop album that’s both abrasive yet instantly likable, and I love to see haters shake their heads at Kanye simply for being Kanye. Here’s something that might shock you – Yeezus it not the album of the year. Not even close. Well how about Kanye’s best album? Nope, that’s still My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy.

But still Yeezus is so far (and will be) the most fun album to talk about in 2013 and it will still stay fresh in our ears come around December. Whether you love or hate this album you probably already have a strong opinion on it, which makes Yeezus the ultimate pop album and Kanye the ultimate pop star.

Read my full review here.

 

The Strokes – Comedown Machine

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Comedown Machine is my favorite Strokes album. I know that I’m supposed to say that Is This It? is my favorite, but that album has been wrapped up in so much legend that I think we like the idea of that album more than the actual music. Comedown Machine is great because the songs are strong and The Strokes actually sound like a band again having fun playing with each other. If the band decides to split for good, then this wouldn’t be a bad way to end things.

Read my full review here.

 

Justin Timberlake – The 20/20 Experience

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I’ve always liked the idea of JT doing a classic throwback blue-eyed soul album, but at first 20/20 left me uninspired. Now I’ve seen the errors of my ways. The most impressive thing about this album is how JT manages to sound modern yet classic at the same time. This is partly due to some fantastic production, but you have to give credit to JT for being able to appeal to rock fans and pop fans with the same song. The album is very hit and miss and most of the songs are too long, but when JT hits it’s a home run.

Read my full review here.

 

The National – Trouble Will Find Me

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Trouble Will Find Me is the sound of The National becoming the arena indie-rock band they were always destined to be and having nothing left to prove, so of course this is the most National-sounding of National albums – gloomy, beautiful, and depicting every day worries as if they were life or death. Even if it’s too moderate for its own good, a good National album is still better than most albums released in any given year.

 

My Bloody Valentine – m b v

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Radiohead had to follow up Kid A, Springsteen had to follow up Born To Run, and My Bloody Valentine had to follow up Loveless. It’s always a daunting task to make your next record when your last one is already hailed as a classic, which immediately puts a world of pressure upon a band that most of the times proves to be too much.

It’s one thing to release an album that has been in the works for nearly 20 years, but it’s a completely different for that said album to actually be satisfying. m b v sounds like the next logical album for My Bloody Valentine; a little different from Loveless but still capturing that signature swirling guitar sound that helped define modern indie-rock. Don’t worry kids, Loveless is still the band’s masterpiece, but what’s incredible with m b v is how well it stands on its own feet. There are only about two songs that remotely sound like “singles”, but no one goes to MBV for singles but for albums, and this album delivers. And if nothing else, many people will go back to discover Loveless, which is a beautiful moment for any music fan.

 

Daft Punk – Random Access Memories

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Daft Punk’s place in electronic dance music history has never been in jeopardy, but for a while their relevance was. Their last album was made eight years ago and it was a dud and their contribution to the Tron soundtrack was weaker than anyone will admit.

So how does Daft Punk confront their weakening relevance in modern music? They made a classic throwback non-electronic dance album of course. Random Access Memories is full of dance tunes that sound like tributes to 70s and 80s dance music. An incredible list of contributors and some quality production can only do so much, but in the case of Random Access Memories they secure Daft Punk as relevant as ever. And if nothing else, “Get Lucky” is the perfect single for 2013.

Read my full review here.

 

Savages – Silence Yourself

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There were stronger albums made in 2013, but what separates Silence Yourself from every other album this year so far is Savages’s total confidence in itself, and this is their debut album! The album is a ruthless onslaught of post-punk confronting the modern sense of losing touch in a time when we’ve never been so connected. The guitars and drums match the intensity of Jehnny Beth’s vocals who also manages to write lyrics that stand tall among a genre that is mostly known for noise. Expect plenty of great things in the future from Savages.

 

Other great albums to check out:

Kurt Vile – Wakin on a Pretty Daze

 

Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds – Push the Sky Away

 

James Blake – Overgrown

 

Deafheaven – Sunbather

 

Mikal Cronin – MCII

 

Albums to (hopefully) look forward for the rest of 2013:

Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros – Self Titled (July 23)

John Mayer – Paradise Valley (August 13)

MGMT – MGMT (August 20)

Nine Inch Nails – Hesitation Marks (September 3)

Arctic Monkeys – AM (September 9)

Drake – Nothing Was the Same (September 17)

Kings of Leon – Mechanical Bull (September 24)

Justin Timberlake – The 20/20 Experience Part 2 (September 30)

Against Me! – Transgender Dysphoria Blues (?)

Arcade Fire – TBA (?)

Playlist: 25 Of Kanye West’s Most Recognizable Samples (via Spotify)

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As you can probably tell, I’m very excited for the new Kanye West album to come out.

As one who will admit to have not invested a large amount of time into rap and hip-hop music, my love for Kanye West has always come from his production. His ingenious sampling of classic and obscure R&B and rock tunes has won me over along with other countless rock loyalist who freaked out the first time they hearing Kanye sampling Ray Charles on “Gold Digger”.

In honor of tomorrow’s official release of Yeezus (though I’m sure you’ve already heard it by now), I present to you a Spotify playlist of Kanye’s most recognizable samples. I narrowed the list down to songs that are recognizable on their own and within the songs in which they’re sampled. I didn’t put any songs on here that I couldn’t find on Spotify, which unfortunately excluded a lot of great songs (sorry “Iron Man”).

Hear the playlist here.

And for a reference, here are the songs on the playlist divided by its album appearance from oldest to most recent.

The College Dropout (2004)

“I Just Wanna Stop” – The Jimmy Castor Bunch [“We Don’t Care”]

“Mystery Of Iniquity” – Lauryn Hill [“All Falls Down”]

“Distant Lover” – Marvin Gaye [“Spaceship”]

“Spirit In The Dark” – Aretha Franklin [“School Spirit”]

“Through The Fire” – Chaka Khan [“Through The Wire”]

“Man In The Mirror” – Michael Jackson [“Family Business”]

Late Registration (2005)

“Move On Up” – Curtis Mayfield [“Touch The Sky”]

“I Got A Woman” – Ray Charles [“Gold Digger”]

“Wildflower” – Hank Crawford [“Drive Slow”]

“Home Is Where The Hatred Is” – Gil Scott-Heron [“My Way Home”]

“Rosie” – Bill Withers [“Roses”]

“My Funny Valentine” – Etta James  [“Addiction”]

“Diamonds Are Forever” – Shirley Bassey [“Diamonds From Sierra Leone”]

“It’s Too late” – Otis Redding [“Gone”]

Graduation (2007)

“Kid Charlemagne” – Steely Dan [“Champion”]

“Harder Better Faster Stronger” – Daft Punk [“Stronger”]

“My Song” – Labi Siffre [“I Wonder”]

808s & Heartbreak (2008)

“See-Line Woman” – Nina Simone [“Bad News”]

My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy (2010)

“Cinderella” – Roald Dahl [“Dark Fantasy”]

“21st Century Schizoid Man” – King Crimson [“Power”]

“She’s My Baby” – The Mojo Men [“Hell Of A Life”]

“Avril 14th” – Aphex Twin [“Blame Game”]

“Comment #1” – Gil Scott-Heron [“Lost In The World”/”Who Will Survive In America”]

Watch The Throne (2011)

“Try A Little Tenderness” – Otis Redding [“Otis”]

“The Makings Of Your” – Curtis Mayfield [“The Joy”]

Playlist: 20 Songs From May 2013 (Via Spotify)

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In May we said goodbye to a legend from the 60s, we all listened to new albums from Daft Punk, The National and Vampire Weekend (and they were all good!), and I listened to a lot of Brit-Pop (more specifically I listened to a lot of music from the Brit-Pop era).

Here are my 20 songs from May 2013.

Daft Punk – Random Access Memories [In 3 Words]

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If you have any access to the Internet, then you know who Daft Punk is. You also probably know that these French EDM kings are responsible for “One More Time”, an irresistibly fun classic that has made hundreds of EDM haters say, “Ok, some EDM is good.” Only Skrillex is the other internationally recognizable face of EDM, and Daft Punk has been around since EDM was actually “Electronic Dance Music” rather than Dubstep, which only the latter is famous for. You probably also know that Daft Punk has a new album out. Random Access Memories to be specific, and it has become one of the most talked about releases in a year full of big releases (Vampire Weekend, My Bloody Valentine, and now Kanye West just to name a few).

So Random Access Memories is another EDM party album that’s full of songs that are as fun as “One More Time” right? Wrong. Random Access Memories is a 70s and 80s dance influenced record made with minimal electronics and all living musicians. Depending on your perspective, Random Access Memories could be seen as a rejection of the current EDM scene, which both Guy-Manuel de Homem-Christo and Thomas Bangalter (those are the robots by the way) have openly criticized. But what is probably happening here is that the album isn’t so much a rejection of modern EDM as it is an educational or tribute album to the origins of EDM; on Random Access Memories the robots don’t want to make you dance so much as they want you to know who Giorgio Moroder is.

Is the latest by the legendary French duo a well-marketed gimmick, or do they still know what they’re doing, and is there anything on here as timeless as “One More Time”? Read on.

Giorgio – The big elephant in the room is “Giorgio By Moroder”, the nine minute talking bit by legendary Italian dance producer Giorgio Moroder (he collaborated on classics such as Donna Summer’s “Love To Love You Baby” and Blondie’s “Call Me”). Throughout the track Giorgio discusses his beginnings of his career and his success with dance music, and the track evolves to include more styles of music to accompany Giorgio’s evolution of his career. If anything, Daft Punk has reintroduced the legendary producer to a new generation and has nicely showcased the evolution of dance music from the 70s and 80s. It’s a good history lesson, but it’s an awkward bit that goes a little too long too early in the album. It also doesn’t help that “Giorgio By Moroder” is followed by the album’s weakest track “Within”.

Collaboration – Including Giorgio, Random Access Memories may possibly have the great collaboration team of any album of any genre in recent memory. The list includes Panda Bear (“Doin’ It Right”), Pharrell Williams (“Get Lucky”, “Lose Yourself To Dance”), and Julian Casablancas (Who absolutely kills it on “Instant Crush”, my favorite track off the album). If Random Access Memories is one of the best sounding albums of 2013, it’s because they had some of the best help available.

Uneven – There are some fantastic songs on Random Access Memories, but they are all spread out and seperated by songs that either go on too long (“Within”) or are unforgettable (“Touch”, “Beyond”). Every song sounds great, but not all of them are memorable. The songs work together to form a coherent album, but because this feels like an educational album there is a lack of urgency to make you want to dance, which is what these guys are known for.

Overall: Daft Punk’s overall goal for Random Access Memories could be summarized by Giorgio on “Giorgio by Moroder”: “I wanted to do an album with the sound of the 50s, the sound of the 60s, of the 70s and then have a sound of the future”. Random Access Memories is a well crafted tribute to the origins of EDM music that sounds modern, created by the most recognizable faces of EDM. In the end this actually makes sense, because you can’t spell “Electronic Dance Music” without “Dance”.

Essential Tracks: “Give Life Back To Music”, “Instant Crush”, “Get Lucky”

Playlist: 20 Songs From April 2013 (Via Spotify)

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Well April marked the final days of winter – we still had snow in Indiana at the beginning of the month – which means I was on my annual National kick during the ugly transition between winter and spring (and because they have a new album coming out!). There was also plenty of great new music from James Blake, Kurt Vile, Daft Punk, Fall Out Boy, Iron And Wine, and Phoenix.

Here are my 20 songs from April 2013.