End Of Year

Backfill: 2014 EOY: Part 3 of 4

I promise much better things in 2014 than before based on just reading this, the gap from 2013 to 2014 is incredible in my writing style, if I do say so myself. As before, bold for albums or songs that should be higher, strikethrough for those that have not held up over time and should be far lower. This is archive writing by myself that I published on Buzzjack and we’re now on 2014, which is I would say the year when I really started to look back at these and think that I had done myself proud in talking about the music that I liked that year. So in all honesty I probably won’t do much editing and putting in extra italic comments (that signifies that’s 2016 me and not 2014 me) unless there is an extra point I want to make.  

Be aware that I have got a line of lyrics from the song after each entry in italics so don’t get that confused with my 2016 comments. And I probably won’t be doing very much of the comments, except where necessary now, I think my writing can mostly stand on its own. I’ll be honest, mostly I just want to put this out and it’s helpful for busy days.

120. Vance Joy – Riptide
I was scared of pretty girls and starting conversations

119. Ten Walls – Walking With Elephants

118. Danny Brown – 25 Bucks (feat. Purity Ring)
Now I’m trapped in the trap and the devil ain’t forgetting, wanna see me dead or locked in a prison

117. Professor Green – Lullaby (feat. Tori Kelly)
Can you sing me a last lullaby?

116. Dapper Laughs – Proper Moist (I apologise for everything)
I’m an expert flirt yeah, I’ll surprise ya

115. M83 – Un nouveau soleil

114. Neon Jungle – Braveheart
Ichi, ni, san, kaesu

113. Foxes – Let Go For Tonight
will you be gone forever?

112. 5 Seconds Of Summer – She Looks So Perfect (I apologise for everything twice)
If you don’t swim, you’ll drown

111. Arctic Lake – How Long Can You Stare (tuneeeeee, if you like dreamy indie epic stuff, listen to this)
Just how long can you stare

This section is a perfect example of why I always stretch to a top 200, doing a top 100 would mean I would always miss out some of the essential songs, as all of these are some of my favourite songs of the year and we still have another 10 to go before the top 100. It does make it a bit longer but it’s worth it in the end. Like, as an example for that, I thought Proper Moist would be way up inside my top 100 and would shock everybody, before I started ranking this.

Okay, let’s talk about that one first. It’s the elephant in the room quite clearly as I’ve seen nothing but hate for this song with a little bit of ironic love from the culprits I’d expect. The thing is, I actually really enjoy it. Not that I’m encouraging the sentiments in the song which are… well they’ve been covered enough already with his media execution recently and they’re questionable at best. It’s just the fast way he races through the track, it’s therefore catchy, no matter its reputation. It’s a tune and I will not hear otherwise. (I mean, I crossed it out but there was a reason it was in, it certainly is very catchy)

Back to the start of this section, a couple of big hits from Riptide, more proof that I’ll just really like anyone who does a lot of guitar strumming, was quite nice seeing this one become big over time, and the chorus always brings a smile to my face. The other one is another ‘surprise’ hit, as I never forsaw Walking With Elephants becoming big. I’m glad it did though, the world needed a song with that title in the top 10 and it’s a lovely 6 minutes chilling out imagining that you really are walking with elephants, Ten Walls has a talent of making his instrumentals really match the title, in a sequel to the obviously very Batman-sounding Gotham.

I quite like the formula of rapped verses/sung chorus and with Purity Ring on duties for one of these I was very interested in what 25 Bucks was offering. The chorus is great but Danny Brown’s ramblings are very easy to get used to, lovely song. And then this is immediately proved again with Lullaby, which is a bit more pop. Professor Green’s voice is the same as ever but as ever, it’s his featured vocalists that are more interesting; there’s something about Tori Kelly’s one that makes me sit up on this one. It’s very full and well-judged. It doesn’t hit me as much as Avalon but it’s very pleasant.

In terms of beautiful sounds they don’t really get any better than Un Nouveau Soleil. From the first BJSC this year it’s been growing and growing on me throughout the year, M83 rarely let me down these days and this is certainly no exception, the build is one of the best in any song this year, like Walking With Elephants this one sells the impression of a new dawn over a once-darkened land amazingly. I could listen to it over and over again, so thank you Chez for sending this, it was well worth it.

5 Seconds Of Summer are definitely 2014’s McFly as they’re a band not too far removed from the boyband mould, and they make complete tunes that will no doubt will be remembered for years to come. She Looks So Perfect is the epitome of that, it took me a while to get used to it but it’s one of the best hits of the year for me and among the very samey dance tunes filling up the rest of the charts it stood out in a really good way. A similarly good pop group hit is Braveheart, the best thing Neon Jungle have done, for most of it it’s a great if standard pop hit, like Problem if Ariana’s voice was stronger, but my favourite bit is ‘Ichi, ni, san, kaesu’, because we all need a good bit of kawaii in our lives. And not in the way Avril thinks. (for context, this was before I was fully anime-converted, I was only a little anime converted)

The best big single from Foxes, aside from Youth, will probably be Let Go For Tonight, which is a very cute thing to have as a hit. It’s not as emotional as I might have liked from Foxes but the musical things the track is doing are good enough to keep me interested. Finally Arctic Lake take #111 with a brilliant indie-pop song that I know each time is building up to just the title drop, but the journey never gets boring, another great discovery for me from BJSC, and exactly the thing I want to keep discovering from there all the time.

110. The Subs – Trapped (feat. Colonel Abrams)
Like a fool I’m in a cage

109. YOHIO – To The End
Can you see me, can you feel me

108. Sweet California – This Is The Life
Do you believe what I say to you?

107. Ed Sheeran – Thinking Out Loud
Kiss me under the light of a thousand stars

106. Paradis – Garde Le Pour Toi
Et si tu nous laissais ce qu’il faut de temps

105. One-T/Cool-T – The Magic Key
From up here, life seems so small, what’s the meaning of it all?

104. Team Me – Blind As Night (most of this section is about the right place but this is so beautiful I need to highlight it)
I never learn when the fever runs high

103. Marina & The Diamonds – Froot
I’ve been saving all my summers for you

102. Coldplay – Midnight
When I’m rolling with the thunder but bleed from thorns

101. KONGOS – Come With Me Now
I think with my heart and I move with my head

I was very briefly very obsessed with The Subs’ reworking of an 80s hit that I’d never come across before now. Both versions (although I think I prefer this one more) are great songs, very nearly a second BJSC win for Farc although in the long run I think I began to prefer the track that won. This remains fantastic though, it was a lovely discovery.

Just above that are a few ‘less credible’ entries. My 2013 love with YOHIO, who SHOULD have been Sweden’s entry to Eurovision 2013, continues with To The End. He and I may still be slightly bitter about that as he came back with an ‘almost as good’ track for another try and I loved it.. to the end of Melodifestivalen and beyond, it’s one of the few that’s stuck with me although there are a few higher. I can’t really resist Avicii ripoffs having placed Wake Me Up 5th last year and a Spanish girlband’s take on it is as good as any other. Long-live country-dance. Meanwhile, Thinking Out Loud needs nearly no introduction but despite being heard so much recently it is sweet and emotional and that’s what has got it up here, it just needs to be stopped playing for a few months then it’ll be fantastic again.

Garde Le Pour Toi is one of those very good French songs that appear from time to time in BJSC. The instrumental is very well-balanced and the whole track is very very cool. Also incredibly European is the 10 years or so old ‘The Magic Key’ which must have been the ultimate exercise in European cuteness, and it passed the UK right by sadly. Another two songs I’m very glad were entered to BJSC.

I have been following Team Me to an extent ever since Show Me back in 2012, because that was amazing and followup songs have not failed to impress. Including this, a very epic, cinematic song that, had I let it grow on me a bit more before taking a holiday, might have been the song I entered to BJSC instead of The All Time High as (spoilers) I like it just about the same now and this might have been a better-judged one, it would probably have a bit more indie appeal. I’d say it’s a bit of a cross between The All Time High and my other entry Blood, it has the same building feeling as the latter. What can one do now though? Not much aside from say: people, you should listen to Blind As Night, it’s definitely going to be to your tastes. Yes.

A couple of years ago a new Marina song would have probably been in my top 40. Froot falls outside the top 100 though, it’s very good but not quite the perfect song I wanted Marina to come back with, and I know I would be setting her high expectations after two flawless albums. It’s good and comparable to some of her past work, if not up there among the best, I just haven’t been motivated by it to listen to any of the other songs yet. I will do this in the new year I’m sure, when the album comes out, but I’m not quite sharing the excitement that is infecting everyone else right now.

I think we were all rather impressed when Coldplay surfaced with Midnight at the beginning of the year, and it’s stuck with me, slightly less so than their two big singles from this album but it’s comfortably a third-fave on Ghost Stories now, relaxing and chilled, before the lovely instrumental build towards the end, and far more actual indie band than a vast swathe of their material. I can definitely appreciate them doing something so different that works with their production. Probably suitable for New Year’s Eve heh. (this in particular was written on NYE 2 years ago)

The final track to miss the top 100 is KONGOS’ big track that really started to blow up in the States this year. I first heard it about then, it’s a great fast paced rock track with some very nice bits where the music switches back and forth, such that it never leaves you bored. Wish this could be in the top 100 but things have pushed it out, I’ve since obtained their album and while I haven’t really listened I hope the rest at least can provide something that’s half as good as this, as then it will have succeeded.
100a. Kids Of The Apocalypse – Empire
but if you let go are you going to find an empire

100. Team Me – The All Time High
does it burn as bad for you

99. Conchita Wurst – Rise Like A Phoenix
Once I’m transformed, once I’m reborn

98. Sanna Nielsen – Undo
Trouble, baby I’m trouble

97. Pitbull – Wild Wild Love (feat. G.R.L)   (I think I know what you’re thinking, this is one of Pitbull’s better, but yeah, not top 100 good)
For better or worse, a blessing or a curse

96. E.S. Posthumus – Mosane (beautiful classical stuff, of course it should be higher)

95. Colonia – Feniks

94. Albin – Din Soldat (feat. Kristin Amparo)

93. Lushington – Settle Down
don’t get lost in the crowd

92. Meadowlark – Family Tree
If he wakes up before the year is out, he’ll rid his sons and daughters of their doubt

91. Christina Perri – Burning Gold
I’m setting fire to the life that I know

So it turns out I did forget something. Even though I checked my favourites list from BJSC (specifically those I would have missed by never charting them) numerous times, I forgot about Empire until yesterday. Fortunately we’re at the point where I can sneak it in and it would actually be a pretty accurate representation of how I feel about the song, wonderful discovery at the very beginning and a worthy runner-up in that contest.

There is a boatload of BJSC entries in here, one of them my own, a fantastic indie-pop record that didn’t make anywhere near the impact I thought it would in The All Time High. I thought the happy mood of the track, the unusual but stunning vocals and the very upbeat-ness meant I was on to a winner or another top 10 at least, unfortunately it seems like only Jordan agreed (big thumbs-up for that). Still, at least I will probably be never more wrong with an entry, and I still love the song itself.

The others include two great foreign language entries, one clearly the Croatian P!nk or something of the sort that is: Colonia who summons a lovely rock ballad in Feniks, and Albin with Kristin Amparo, who summon together a trashy Swedish dance tune that I wish was played at parties and the like over here, would liven it up no end. And there’s Lushington, whose incredibly rhythmic dance track was a lovely discovery from BJSC 63 and sees that contest’s final bow out at least, the first of the 10 to do so.

There’s also two of Eurovision’s very incredible top 3 this year, Rise Like A Phoenix being the stunning Bond-esque ballad that it is (with a stunning title, anything about mythological creatures is exactly what I want), and an excellent winner in Conchita to join the pantheon, is actually just narrowly my least favourite of the 3, with Sanna Nielsen’s lovely ballad Undo coming in two places above it, every time I hear it I’m reminded just how good it sounds, classic pop tune and another example of Scandinavian superiority over pop.

Pitbull… well, I am very much not a fan in the slightest. I only leap on board when he has a killer chorus accompanying his ramblings, and even then I feel slightly guilty every step of the way. Which, as good as Wild Wild Love is, is exactly what I continue to feel. Just a little bit. The G.R.L chorus is so good though that I have to love it for what it is, with a very pleasing melody to go along with it, and on the whole it is a great party tune and I can admit Pitbull’s catchy when he really wants to be. Way better than that take on murdering Cotton Eye Joe.

On one of my ramblings about TVTropes, I came across one about often used music in films and the like (this also started my rediscovery of Nightwish’s epic Ghost Love Score, which I’d passed over a little before), and one of the songs I made a discovery with was E.S Posthumus’ Pompeii, which I recognised vaguely, probably from some action sequence or other. Coincidentally, the very next month, Mosane got entered to BJSC and I started looning for the archaic Latin sounds mixed with the feeling of a high-octane action sequence. Total bliss. Even though it’s a few years old I can’t deny I was obsessed with it this year and, ‘discovery’, so in it goes.

Meadowlark are a bit of a special case for me, my brother has been rather obsessed with them this year, so I’ve heard them quite a bit, and become a big fan as I think I said in the album commentary, and Family Tree is a very wistful look at well.. a family, with some beautiful sounds from Kate McGill to tell the story. Very, very epic song, especially towards the end, one of my favourite BJSC medalists of the year.

Finally Christina Perri’s second single Burning Gold slots in at #91, it’s another typically lovely song from Ms Perri, and helps me continue my love affair with her, in the same vein as Meadowlark really. I do like well-done well-voiced ballads.

90. Ace Wilder – Busy Doin’ Nothin’
And it’s always the night before deadlines

89. Bring Me The Horizon – Drown
What doesn’t destroy you, leaves you broken instead

88. Katy B – Crying For No Reason
I push all my problems to the back of my brain

87. Charli XCX – Boom Clap
Sunbathing on the moon

86. Natural Animal – Who You Are
Come ride with me, back to the stars

85. Donatan & Cleo – My Słowianie (Slavic Girls)
CLEO! DONATAN! (only decipherable lyrics in here, sorry Polskis)

84. Coldplay – Magic
and I just got broken, broken into two

83. Beyoncé – Drunk In Love (feat. Jay-Z)

82. Sebalter – Hunter Of Stars
cause tonight I cannot go hunting for stars

81. Paolo Nutini – Scream (Funk My Life Up)
Hell, I don’t even know her name but yet she sticks to me

There are few things more joyful than a piece of modern pop that works. The Melodifestivalen runner-up, the anthem to laziness that every Eurovision fan worth any salt at all now loves, comes in to start this section off with a bang. Good things come in unexpected packages sometimes and based on Ace’s previous material I would not have predicted the whirlwind of trashy yet polished pop that is this track.

I let Drown into this year, against my normal rules of excluding December-only tracks, normally based on the premise that I need time to let them hit me and they’ll probably be a big part of the next year anyway, that’s definitely what’s happened to Uptown Funk. It’s pretty obvious though that it’ll seem anachronistic by then, but the swift and fleeting success of a metal song was very appreciated by moi, and it’s been a very accessible and enjoyable track over the last month. In the early 2000s, this would have been big for ages, which given the situation for the genre now seems very bittersweet. But at least my kind have had this to be sated by. We’ll just ask for another iTunes #1 scalp about this time next year, yes?

From one of the newest tracks to one of the oldest, Crying For No Reason advances from #110 last year to #88 this year, due to its great success and longevity in terms of appeal, beautiful ballad. On the other side of ‘cool British females’, Charli XCX has had a rocky road to hitting the mainstream, not everything she’s done has turned to gold, but Boom Clap finally gave me a song by her I could truly, absolutely love, exciting and credible in equal measure. I hope this becomes her signature song, or she comes out with something better, which I wouldn’t be averse to either.

It is uncanny how much Natural Animal’s Who You Are reminds me of Gorillaz’ On Melancholy Hill, the track has the same sort of tempo with the same sort of bouncy synths that keep the track floating along. Admittedly I may have first thought of it because one of the Youtube comments points to this but they’re entirely correct. The lyrics are pretty inspiring and as they feature a lovely sampled monologue to go with it (and not the last track in here to feature one of those either), I can’t resist listening to this one over and over again, fantastic BJSC discovery.

I first heard My Słowianie last December in some BBC article looking at the culture of the Slavs which this song talks about, I liked it but sort of forgot about it as something for the Poles and not for me. Therefore when Poland announced it as their Eurovision entry I was taken quite by surprise, I wasn’t used to a song I already knew about becoming an entry. Of course that was when I began loving it, it is absolutely one of the coolest Eurovision songs from this year in sound and musical skill, such that I was actually quite upset when all anyone remembered from the performance was the sexy stuffs, like there wasn’t even a song at all (although I concede that without other, less discerning, heteros, it would have done far worse). It deserved its position on song merit, it deserved far more than that.

Coldplay’s proper lead single from Ghost Stories is a pretty great lead single, and I still really do enjoy it, although there was a point in the middle of the year where I started to get a little bored so that’s why it’s a bit low for a Coldplay single. It’s still very good as are all their songs but there was far better to come from their campaign. Beyoncé’s campaign however, peaked very much with Drunk In Love, the slightly trippy trappy sounds as part of another duet between Bey and Jay-Z, a song that is very tied to the early part of the year for me, and possibly on its way to becoming one of her best for me. I can see how people criticise it, there are a few cringeworthy parts but the sound is good enough for me to ignore those, that trumps above all.

Finally, two pretty slick male singers. I was a big fan of Hunter Of Stars from the very beginning and saw its hit potential when others were ignoring it or dumping it into mid-table, always go for the catchy, charming song with the whistles, and with a bit of an engaging performer to boot. At the beginning I thought it might be my favourite Eurovision entry but that was obviously yet to come. Switzerland had deserved its success for a couple of years and while the last 2 were always a bit on the edge, this was exactly what they should be doing and I was so glad it paid off.

And there’s Paolo Nutini, who has had a brilliant year for me. I had almost ignored him up to this point but the funky rocky sounds of Scream demand attention and as I’ve covered earlier, the rest of Caustic Love was up to scratch with this. If recent events are anything to go by, funk can really produce some moments. But before you all immediately bow at Mark Ronson’s feet, as good as Uptown Funk is (an early indication of its greatness, it had only just come out when I was writing this), take a bit of notice of this one, it took its time to grow on me, but the end result is utterly fantastic.

80. Lana Del Rey – West Coast
Down on the West Coast, they got their icons, their silver starlets, their Queens of Saigons

79. Fall Out Boy – Centuries (always love Fall Out Boy)
We’ll go down in history

78. Anamanaguchi – Prom Night (feat. Bianca Raquel) (this is an incredible chiptune song)
I wanna hold you close like it’s the very first time

77. Ed Sheeran – Sing
Sobering up we just sit on the couch

76. Lindsey Stirling – Master Of Tides

75. Cristina Scarlat – Wild Soul
Mercy, I have no feelings of mercy

74. Olga un Ligo – Saule Riet (ever wanted Latvian folk dances to Avicii-esque tunes? of course you do)

73. The Veronicas – You Ruin Me
I’m your greatest masterpiece

72. Arcade Fire – Afterlife
Afterlife, oh my God, what an awful word

71. Kasabian – Stevie
And all the kids they say, we’ll live to fight another day

It unfortunately seems that the main thing, as of writing that Lana Del Rey has to offer on her new album that’s anywhere near the quality of Born To Die is West Coast, another cool and trippy song that took a few plays to stick with me, so maybe there is hope for the rest of Ultraviolence yet. Good for cool summer evening vibes, as long as you don’t want to feel too happy at the end of it. Honestly though, glad she made this one to go with the gems from the first era.

Centuries is another fantastic rock tune from one of the better pop punk bands in the game, it’s a little bit emo, it’s a little bit geeky, it’s all parts amazing. Like all rock songs with any form of success these days I was pleased with how long it managed to stay around. I’ve been exploring the older things from this genre a lot and so any and all new stuff is likely to find its way into my good books.

Hmm, Prom Night, a track that pretty much dragged me into loving an chiptune song, which I was probably prone to already with the interests I have going on, but there’s something about the way this works that really lifts my emotions, I’m ashamed I didn’t pay as much attention to this in BJSC as I should have done, it’s become one of the most lasting discoveries, probably because it sounds nothing like anything else I’ve loved this year. It is awesome.

Sing… is Sing, it’s big, obviously a hit, a great Ed Sheeran song and my favourite of his big three from X. We aren’t quite done with him yet, but it was excellent to see his first #1 be a song like this and let the likes of Thinking Out Loud come later, shows he’s not giving up being interesting just yet. Like all big hits it becomes more normal as we get used to it but on its own this is actually a rather unusual hit, even if obvious, and he deserves credit for that at least.

Master Of Tides was an instant highlight from Shatter Me, and I clearly pick singles well, as it was chosen as the third ‘single’ a few months after Shatter Me, complete with swashbuckling music video featuring Lindsey playing violin in costume in a fountain, never has there been a violin-dubstep-nautical-shanty more energetic, another brilliant piece of music from Lindsey.

Wild Soul was clearly a victim of my tastes in lyrics not really matching up with most sane people’s taste in lyrics, as while I absolutely loved the dark emotional rocky vibe of the song and even more so when Cristina came dressed as Daenerys for the contest, the nihilism clearly didn’t get many people voting, and it came last in the semi, as well as last overall, unfortunately even behind that tragic Belgian wailer. At one time, like Hunter Of Stars, it was my absolute favourite song of ESC 2014, which would have been an interesting opposition had it stayed that way. I still maintain it’s incredible and everyone else just missed everything about it. Also, Moldova are my kind of country.

Latvia aren’t really. I’m admittedly more sympathetic than most to the half-hearted things they send, and I loved Cake To Bake this time around, but of course they had something better to send in their NF and it was this: Wake Me Up on speed and folk fiddles. Which naturally works excellently, and it just got better as the year went on.

You Ruin Me I never expected to be a ballad, my main experience with The Veronicas being about the same as many people’s, Untouched, 4ever and nothing else. With only a few listens it did the job though, I loved Tegan & Sara’s I Was A Fool last year, and this is pretty much this year’s version, a few more vulnerable-sounding vocals, and an incredible number of different ways to sing the title; it just gets more poignant each time.

The highlighted lyric on Afterlife starts off the track brilliantly and like Reflektor last year, it just keeps going and going and getting greater all the time. Inflated by my new-found love for them in their entirety, it’s hung on from being denied a place in last year’s EOY for being too new, and now it’s up here. A beautiful anthem to anchor in the second-half of the album. Stevie is similarly good, from the first listen of 48:13 I knew it was a highlight, and then the single release helped me to adore it more and more. It has one of the best choruses Kasabian have ever done, and with the improved production from this album overall its steadily working its way up my list of their best songs.

70. Banks – Beggin For Thread
I know my actions, they may get confusing

69. Outtrigger – Echo
When the whip comes down like fire

68. Oonagh – Gäa
Gäa, Gäa, Gäa

67. I.D.A – Fight Me If You Dare (so much Melfest with this and Echo but I don’t care, it was excellent this year)
My future’s bright, won’t give up without a fight

66. Tove Lo – Timebomb
We could be the best thing ever

65. Alcazar – Blame It On The Disco
Come out and play with Alcazar

64. Kyla La Grange – The Knife
All things wither and break

63. Within Temptation – And We Run (feat. Xzibit) (most excellent symphonic metal + rap track)
and I crush every motherf***ing thing I touch

62. Walk The Moon – Shut Up And Dance (awesome track that would do far better for me in 2015)
Oh, don’t you dare look back, just keep your eyes on me

61. Owl City – Tokyo (feat. SEKAI NO OWARI)
I stare up at the stars, and wish they all aligned

Let’s call this the Melodifestivalen section then, as my incredibly close top 3 from there all go out in this set of 10 and that wasn’t even intentional. They are really really close in quality. To start off, hard metal track Echo from Outtrigger is nothing if not invigorating. Superb vocals from the clean vocalist and I’m into harsh vocalists in accompaniment status a lot these days. Still rock, but closer to my true comfort zone, is the fiesty Fight Me If You Dare, which was basically forgotten by everyone except me from the instant they stepped off stage. Obviously it made an impact on me, and for a while I felt very close to the lyrics of the song, which are ’empowering’ rather than violent okay. Finally, my favourite one turned out to be Alcazar’s latest offering, a great slice of camp pop that just gained more joy with being performed live. A great sequel to Stay The Night for me (they might have had one in between but I’m not that up on their movements ok).

With the other tracks, we have a incredible softly-voiced midtempo from Banks that keeps getting better and better each time I listen, and in a similar vein, Kyla La Grange’s The Knife, her best track from Cut Your Teeth, which sounds incredibly happy considering it’s her and the fact it’s about a KNIFE (that and lost love but it’s more about that poor knife that someone fell against, yes). Fine piece of lyrical dissonance there Kyla.

Oonagh and Gäa was an unexpected case of Celtic and German sounds meeting in the most glorious way possible and I still am in debt to Lex for this. Oh looksie it’s ended up above Mosane, that was unexpected. Shows how close it all is really. Meanwhile, Timebomb is a track entirely here on the hype surrounding the leakage release of Queen Of The Clouds, it was out there ahead of the album and continued to be a highlight even after I got the album, fantastic pop song.

And We Run is a very unique track, I think it is the only symphonic metal song to feature a rapper. At least that I’m aware of and I’m sure that was a talking point when Hydra was released. Xzibit actually does an incredible job here, I’m always chanting along with his bit, and I’ve listened to this song a LOT. Sharon also does a great job with her singing but what elevates this above all but one of the other songs off Hydra is the novelty of a rent-a-rapper. Yep, you read that last phrase entirely right. It’s sort of like Numb/Encore but if you had Evanescence instead of Linkin, for those who want some form of allegory. Let’s not make it a common occurrence but there’s something to be said for doing it once or twice for the artistry. Just get Xzibit in touch with a few more people, he’s safe.

I imagine Shut Up And Dance being here will make a couple of people very pleased, it has been just getting better and better and better. Alt-rock dancefloor anthems are irresistible at their worst and this is pretty damn good. As well as being so cheery and likeable, I can’t imagine it outright annoying anyone. At least not before its been exposed for a few months because it should by any rights be going stratospheric. Although to a point it gives me Smallpools vibes and they never went anywhere so this could be the same, I do hope not though.

I think anyone expecting there to be no Owl City songs here at all… well that’s silly, no one would. He collaborated with a J-rock band in the latter part of the year, producing this anthem about somewhere they probably know about a whole lot more than him. It’s a typically great and engaging Owl City track, he continues to go from strength to strength as an artist and his collabs this year have been mostly excellent (although I was a little underwhelmed with the Britt Nicole one), good to see he’s keeping himself on the radar to an extent. (i.e. no one’s but my own)


Final 2014 one out soon, and then only 4 more before I start on 2016’s. Which will be at least like the middle of December.

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