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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Week In Review (12/5/14)

Title Fight Reassures Me That 2015 Will Start Off Strong

Be on the lookout for their new album Hyperview in February.

Will Lana Del Rey Get An Oscar For The Song She Wrote For The New Tim Burton Movie?

Probably not, but at least she gets to chill with Courtney Love next year.

 Sir. Mix-A-Lot Takes A Stab At His Own “Get Lucky” With San Francisco Indie Dance Pop Group KiWi Time

And it’s good!

Listen To Au.Ra If You Ever Wished That My Bloody Valentine Sounded Less Noisy

My “Well, It’s Definitely Not Going To Get Warmer Anytime Soon, Might As Well Stay In And Listen To Some Beautiful Atmospheric Music” Song Of The Week

Even the name reminds you of Sigur Ros.

R.I.P. Bobby Keys

Famous rock n roll saxophonist who played with the Rolling Stones and The Who passed away on Tuesday. Also R.I.P. Ian McLagan.

This Week, PSY Literally Broke YouTube

“Gangnam Style” has had over 2 billion (!) views on YouTube, which is above the website’s counting abilities. Watch it one more time just for the heck of it (you know you want to).

This SUNBEARS! Music Video For “Now You’re Gone” Is Super Trippy Man

It’s a great song too.

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My 25+ Favorite Songs of 2014

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Another year, another playlist of my favorite songs of the year. This year’s playlist has a particular mix of random greatness, from gloriously loud guitar rock to jazzy electronics and everywhere in between. This year wasn’t as full of epic pop songs as last year, but there are still plenty of quality songs to hear from 2014.

Enjoy!

 

*p.s., as time goes on I’ll add other great songs from this year to this playlist that I forgot to include, twenty-five is just a good starting point.

 

 

Against Me! – “True Trans Soul Rebel”

Alvvays – “Adult Diversion”

Cloud Nothings – “I’m Not Part of Me”

Flying Lotus – “Never Catch Me (feat. Kendrick Lamar)”

Gerard Way – “No Shows”

Hamilton Leithauser – “Alexandra”

The Hold Steady – “Spinners”

Honeyblood – “Super Rat”

Lana Del Rey – “Brooklyn Baby”

Mastodon – “The Motherload”

Matt Kivel – “You and I Only”

The Men – “Another Night”

Modern Baseball – “Fine, Great”

Parquet Courts – “Sunbathing Animal”

Real Estate – “Had To Hear”

Reigning Sound – “My My”

Ryan Adams – “When The Summer Ends”

Seun Kuti & Egypt 80 – “IMF”

Sharon Van Etten – “Tarifa”

Spoon – “Do You”

St. Vincent – “I Prefer Your Love”

Stephen Malkmus & The Jicks – “Lariat”

Strand of Oaks – “Goshen ’97”

Sun Kil Moon – “Micheline”

The War On Drugs – “Red Eyes”

AND MORE!

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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: 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.

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Music Journal: January Recap – Lana Del Rey Fizzles, Mickey Mouse Teams Up With Joy Division, And More

Well it’s the end of the first month of 2012 (supposedly the last January of our existence?!), and there was plenty going on in the music world.  Here were some notable stories from the past month, along with my favorite album of January.

Lana Del Rey’s Debut Finally Drops…And There’s Nothing Much There.

With an official debut coming out and tons of hype behind her, Del Rey had nearly impossible expectations to meet in January, and of course she failed to meet them.  She bombed her performance on SNL – it sounded like a bad American Idol audition – and her debut album didn’t match the excitement that the hype had created about her.  Looks like we have another victim of the Internet Hype Machine.  I’ll always love “Video Games” though.

 

Disney Starts Selling Joy Division Shirts…Then Takes Them Off The Market

Disney finally started listening to their post-punk demographic and began selling Disney shirts with the famous Unknown Pleasures‘s album cover in the shape of the famous Mickey Mouse head.  However, the shirts created quite a stir among some people, and they were quickly removed.  It’s a shame – now what am I supposed to wear on Space Mountain?

 

RIP Etta James

Etta James left us in January, and she took with her one hell of a voice.  She will be greatly missed.

 

My Album of the Month: Cloud Nothings – Attack On Memory

Cloud Nothings third album, and the first with a proper producer, is a short but sweet kick in the ass.  Much like Yuck’s debut last year, Attack On Memory will take you back to the good old days of the Lo-Fi 90s.

 

The Song I Listened To The Most: James Blake – “A Case of You”

This Joni Mitchell cover was released in October, but it was all I listened to in January.  After hearing James Blake on piano without any electronics, his excellent debut album sounds more like Blue than Kid A.

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Music Journal: Albums To Look Forward To (And To Dread) In 2012

Well 2012 is a go.  Every music publication is now back on the job and looking for the best music of the new year.  To make this hunt a little easier, here are some albums that I’m looking forward to in 2012.  There’s no way to say for sure what albums will succeed and which ones will fizzle, but these are some albums to be on the lookout for.

 

The Big Pink – Future This

This could be the MGMT record of 2012.  Expect good, and trippy, things from this band this year.

 

Lana Del Rey – Born to Die

She made a scene last year with her song “Video Games”, and she was dubbed by Gawker as, “the internet’s most hated singer” for her questionable background.  However, if the new album is anything like “Video Games”, then this will be a contender for album of the year.

 

Dr. Dog – Be The Void

I don’t own any Dr. Dog albums, but this might be the first.  The band sounds like a 60s pop band that was raised in the 90s, and I really like the first single off the new album.  This could be one of the bands I rediscover in 2012.

 

Paul McCartney – TBA

Paul McCartney has the right to release anything he wants – he was a Beatle for goodness sakes!  His solo albums have been an uneven mix (Chaos And Creation In The Backyard was terrific, and so were most of the Wings albums), but like I said, this guy can release whatever he wants.  Fuck yeah indeed Sir McCartney.

 

The Shins – Port of Morrow

Everyone’s favorite Beach Boys sound-a-like indie band (this is a compliment) is back with a new album.  This is a very likable band, and I’m sure this album will be great.

 

Bruce Springsteen – TBA

Judging from the picture above, Bruce Springsteen is really excited for his new album.  Same thing with McCartney, The Boss can release whatever he wants – he’s Bruce Springsteen for goodness sakes!  His work will be cut for him though with the loss of Clarence Clemons, who was a huge part of the E Street Band.  Regardless how the album does, a year with a new Springsteen album is better than a year without one.

 

Craig Finn – Clear Heart Full Eyes

The frontman for The Hold Steady has a solo album? Sold.

 

Mumford & Sons – TBA

This isn’t confirmed to be released this year, but be prepared for the sophomore album from the little English band that took the world by storm with their excellent debut.  Hopefully the album is good, or else these lads are in danger of becoming a one-album wonder.  Fingers crossed!

 

John Mayer – Born and Raised

This also isn’t confirmed for this year, but with the way things are looking expect at least a new song from the pop-blues man in 2012.  His throat sugary had many people worried, but I’m sure Mayer has some great things in store for us.  Again, fingers crossed!

 

D’Angelo – James River

I just started to listen to D’Angelo, and if James River is finally released this year, then we are all in for a treat.  Be wary though, this album was supposed to be released years ago but has been pushed back so many times it’s starting to become like Chinese Democracy (and we all know what happened there).  Even if the album doesn’t come out, at least we have Voodoo to comfort us.

 

And here are some albums I will probably not stand in line for on release day…

 

Black Sabbath – TBA

I have a bad feeling about this.  I’m really hoping I’m proven wrong, for their sakes.

 

Adam Lambert – Trespassing

Look at the picture above.  That’s what I thought.

 

Creed – TBA

It’s Creed.  That’s what I thought.

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Music Journal: My Favorite Songs of 2011

Well 2011 is almost at an end, and what a year it was.  There’s a lot to cover from this year, so for my first of three parts of my end-of-year review, I’ll play for you guys my favorite songs released this year.  There’s a variety of song here, from rap, electro, folk, rock, indie, and even cheesy 80s jazz pop (and that’s a compliment). Here are the songs, in alphabetical order by artist, released in 2011 that I listened to the most.  Enjoy.

“Mona Lisa” – Atlas Sound

“Wash.” – Bon Iver

“Swim Club” – The Cave Singers

“LES” – Childish Gambino

“Need You Now” – Cut Copy

“You Are A Tourist” – Death Cab for Cutie

“Kaputt” – Destroyer

“Over My Dead Body” – Drake

“Helplessness Blues” – Fleet Foxes

“Down in the Valley” – The Head And The Heart

“That’s My Bitch” – Jay-Z and Kanye West

“Video Games” – Lana Del Rey

“Midnight City” – M83

“Wonderful (The Way I Feel)” – My Morning Jacket

“Super Bass” – Nicki Minaj

“Taken For A Fool” – The Strokes

“Yonkers” – Tyler The Creator

“Fail Forever” – When Saints Go Machine

“One Sunday Morning” – Wilco

“Cameras” – Wiz Khalifa

Any songs that I left out? comment below or hit me up on twitter @BradyWGerber and let me know your favorite track from 2011.

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You Should Know: Lana Del Rey

Real Name – Elizabeth “Lizzy” Grant

For People Who Like – The National, The Velvet Underground when they had Nico, mysterious sexy women who like to play video games.

Recommended Listen – Video Games EP

Interesting Fact – Her stage name is a combination of the old Hollywood actress Lana Turner and the Ford Del Rey car.

It’s not even 2012 yet, but I think I already know who we’ll be talking about for most of next year.  Her name is Elizabeth Grant aka Lana Del Rey, and she’s made a name for herself in the indie world with her single “Video Games”.  Del Rey, a self-described “gangsta Nancy Sinatra”, has the kind of look and power in her voice to demand your full attention.  When I think of the Velvet Underground song “Female Fatale”, I’m convinced Lou Reed was singing about this girl – she’s mysterious and beautiful, but she could probably kick your ass and tear out your heart.

Below is the music video for the song “Video Games”, one of my favorite songs from 2011.  She plans to release a new album in late January titled Born to Die, and you can check out the first single here.  If Born to Die is as good as I think It’ll be from its first single, then we should be hearing a lot about Del Rey in 2012.

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