The Decade So Far: The Top 25 Songs of 2010-2014

So, it seems we have some changes to adress. Firstly, I am not just churning out two obligatory posts at the tail-end of the year and then leaving this blog as dormant as a groundhog that can't see shadows all that well (metaphors are not my strong suit), but actually attempting to blow some life into this empty, cowering husk. Secondly, I have decided to start writing this blog in English. The reasons for this are twofold: a) I have friends who don't speak or read Swedish all that well, and I want them to at least be able to pretend to read this blog in order to fuel my fragile ego, and b) Despite Swedish being my first language, I am better at expressing myself with the English language, as you can obviously see from how charming and funny this blog has become all of a sudden.
So. The first half of the 2010's has come and gone, and the kind of person who likes to say things like "there just isn't any good music coming out anymore" can kindly a) go fuck themselves, and b) read this post to be proven wrong (in whichever order they prefer). Apart from my persistent nicotine abuse and the occasional whisky haze, discovering new, great music is my drug of choice, and so I have compiled a list of the best rushes of the last half-decade. Unlike certain "serious" music publications (*cough* Pitchfork *cough*), I thought it best to actually wait until 2014 was over before compiling such a list. And so, with 2014 receding into a hazy, racially tense memory, here are my favourite songs of the last five years, with an album list to follow soon-ish.
25. Giles Corey, Spectral Bride - 2011
Giles Corey's self-titled debut is a concept album about getting through a suicidial depression (clearly, a barrel of laughs all around), and 'Spectral Bride' is its drunken singalong centre. With its clangy acoustic guitar, barroom piano and multi-tracked vocals, it would be kind of a fun song, if not for lines like "I hope I survive this fucking week alone".
24. King Krule, Easy Easy - 2013
I can't really forgive him for not allowing that fantastic chorus a few more turns, but if your chief complaint about a song is how you wish it just went on forever, it's really not that bad.
23. Autre Ne Veut, Play by Play - 2013
An RnB ballad about (I think) calling someone just to hear their voice mail, this song is basically all climax, with singer Arthur Ashin just going in guns blazing from start to finish.
22. Grinderman, Kitchenette - 2010
The last ten years or so of Nick Cave's career alternates between ultra literate surrealism and ultra literate horny-old-man-shtick. 'Kitchenette' firmly plants its filthy feet in the latter, having Nick seduce a housewife with every trick up his salesman sleeves. His musical backing is appropriately sticky.
21. Markus Krunegård, Korallreven & Vintergatan - 2012

Sure, the melody might be lifted from Radiohead's 'Let Down', but great production, singing and lyrics go a long way to make up for it. Every instance of Markus' slide into falsetto is alone worth the price of admission.
20. Japandroids, The House That Heaven Built - 2012
If you want some "fuck-yeah-I'm-still-alive" rock music, look no further. "If they try to slow you down, tell them all to go to hell" is about as life-affirming as it's going to get.
19. Josh T. Pearson, Sorry with a Song - 2011
A self-pitying modern country song, with a bearded beast of a man desperately apologising for drinking, cheating and everything else under the sun and moon, it might have been grating if he didn't sound so goddamn sincere.
18. Joanna Newsom, Good Intentions Paving Company - 2010
A real road movie of a song, Newsom's off-kilter voice belts out these absolutely gorgeous, wordplay-filled lyrics like a kindergarten teacher with a belly full of wine.
17. Timber Timbre, Hot Dreams - 2014

At what point does devotion become obsession? This song should be a good tipper of scales. It's a balancing act between loving and threatening, and the finishing saxophone flourish makes you not care which way the balance is leaning.
16. Fleet Foxes, Helplessness Blues - 2011

Feeling unsure about your place in this cold, mechanical world? Fleet Foxes have got you covered. How about tending to an orchard? Their harmonies and clear-ringing guitars make it sound like the logical thing to do.
15. Death Grips, Takyon (Death Yon) - 2011

Like all of Death Grips' songs, this is not one for the faint of heart. Or for most other people. The amount of agression and volume that is unleashed in the very first seconds of this song is enough for most sane people to recoil, but if you enjoy your genres bended, then give this hiphop/noise/industrial/hardcore meltdown a listen.

14. Bon Iver, Holocene - 2011
Possibly this decade's most maddeningly beautiful lyrics are found on this song, with Justin Vernon's measured falsetto garbling them into a guessing game of epic proportions. The cycling acoustic guitar-pickings and sparse but powerful backing instrumentation make for an all-round gorgeous song.
13. Cloud Nothings, Wasted Days - 2012

Between the throat-shredding shrieks of "I THOUGHT! I WOULD! BE MORE! THAN THIS!" and the cyclone instrumental that takes up the centre of the song, this is one intense, 90's style rock song. I thought I would be more than this too, so this song is a good remedy.

12. Arcade Fire, The Suburbs - 2010
The opening title track to Arcade Fire's brilliant third album is a classic overture, with all the record's themes firmly established, a crystalline production (a little bit of Beatles-esque bass never hurts) and all the earnestness of the teenagers the band still are at heart.
11. Majical Cloudz, Turns Turns Turns - 2013
Devon Welsh is one the most emotionally intense vocalists of his time. His voice rings like a broken bell, and the level of emotion he invests in every single syllable makes this song impossible to ignore. On a bed of cycling drums, drones and strings, he sells the fuck out of his insecurities.
10. The National, I Need My Girl - 2013

From the first tentative live version released way back in 2011, I was mildly obsessed with this song, and its final studio version only cemented my feelings. 'I Need My Girl' has everything I want from a love song: desperation, longing, regret, devotion and the edges of a larger story, found in the fineprint. In my own way, I have been trying to write this song ever since.

9. Future Islands, Seasons (Waiting on You) - 2014

Perhaps I spoke too soon with Majical Cloudz, for here is an equally intense vocalist, but one who takes it one step further with sheer joyous force. 'Seasons' is Future Islands' ultimate tour de force, propelling them into the status of synth-pop gods forever and ever, amen.
8. LCD Soundsystem, Dance Yrself Clean - 2010
Everything seems so calm and collected, until those synths blow the speakers and any doors in the vicinity off their hinges, and James Murphy crashes into it like a man on a mission (which he is) and steroids (which he was). His kamikaze performance elevates this already great song into an epic party, blowing out his voice in a truly inspiring fashion.

7. The National, Bloodbuzz Ohio - 2010

For such a dour band, The National can still pull off a fist-pumping anthem like nobody's business. 'Bloodbuzz Ohio' might be their crowning achievment, with its solid drums, masterful builds and releases of tension, and Matt Berninger's calm baritone resting above it all.
6. Tom Waits, Hell Broke Luce - 2011

Tom Waits' best song in two decades is one of the most chaotic things he has ever recorded. The off-kilter handclaps, booming drums and dashes of machine guns and bombs set the stage for a military man laying down some harsh truths. Waits' voice has often been described as a bark, but rarely has that been more true than here, spitting out lines like "get me another bodybag, the bodybag's full", "my face was scorched, scorched!" and "left, right, left!" with all the indignation of a starving mutt fresh out of a dog fighting ring.
5. Radiohead, The Daily Mail - 2011
Radiohead is, simply put, one of the greatest and most technically talented bands of all time. With The King of Limbs, their 2011 album, they displayed this immense talent with rhythms, production and loads of soaring falsetto from frontman Thom Yorke. This made for some excellent songs, but some of that off-the-wall intensity they have delivered in the past was still missing. Then along comes 'The Daily Mail', recorded live-in-studio and released as a single. Baffingly not included on the album, this ranks up there among their strongest songs, starting out as an expertly sung, creaking piano piece before an overload of horns and stabbing guitars takes the song into the stratosphere, with Yorke howling over the din like a banshee.

4. Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds, Higgs Boson Blues - 2013

Nick Cave is a storyteller. The story he's telling here bastardises and transcends philosophy, religion, time, particle physics, the history of rock 'n roll and Miley Cyrus. He's also a fucking master entertainer, so he supports his musings with a voice that creaks, pleads and hollers over a rising and falling blues backing. The end result is a perfect mess, the operative word being 'perfect'.
3. Kent, Mirage - 2014

My favourite song of 2014 is five-and-a-half minutes of pure ear candy, with every little sonic detail clicking into place. From the stuttering, unfurling intro down to its final seconds of glorious falsetto, the band just delivers a faultless, flawless pop song.
2. M83, Midnight City - 2011

From the first looped, distorted yelps that set the song in motion, 'Midnight City' is a gorgeous, blissful party, racing to the finish line of that saxophone solo, which is simply one of the Great Moments in music. This is a song to get lost in, a song to get your heart racing, adrenaline shooting our your ears and love for the world shooting out from every pore of your body. 
1. Kent, 999 - 2012

Ten albums and seventeen years into their career, my favourite band released their best song. Like many of their songs, '999' deals with growing up. Missing what was left behind. Realising that you've abandoned your old ideals for new ones. Feeling lost in your own head, your own history, and the small world you've created for yourself. But never before have they tackled these themes with so much clarity and finesse. Never before have they written a song so vibrant, expansive and bursting at the seams. Never before have they combined lyrics and melody into such a powerhouse of a song. Everything just works with '999'. It is everything Kent have ever been capable of, fully realised, and it is my favourite song of the decade.


RSS 2.0