Sometimes I get this weird fear that there won’t be any new, sweeping songs to discover.
Like: “There’s already such unimaginably gorgeous sonic diamonds in the world…how could it ever get better?”
And every year, my weird fear is proven wrong, and I fall on my knees, weeping. (Because my weakness is that I’m easily moved. I refer to it as being extra-human.)
The following songs were played from a plane, my motorbike, my bed.
They were with me in rice fields so lush and vast they cradled me terrified and ecstatic.
They were with me atop towering skyscrapers overlooking cracked, obsidian cityscapes.
From NYC to Bali, these were the songs that ruled my year. Step into their Queendom.
1. London Grammar: Hey Now. (JOBE Edit)
That back beat. That voice. This is an epic sonic orgasm best heard while moving fast through dramatic terrain.
2. Nicolas Jarr & Will Epstein: Never Have I Ever
Someone’s playing the wooden floor like a drum above your aching bed, and saxophones lap at your blood.
Someone slaps you, then kisses you.
The backdrop to post-post-modern Casablanca, this one.
3. Glass Animals: Golden Antlers (World Premier Remix)
This song slams down at just the right cusping moments, with samples sounding like sharp, shattering stars. Rotund and deep, it’s a great jam to create paint to, fuck to, or take the edge off.
4. Ginger & The Ghost: One Type of Dark (Taku Remix)
Deceptively slow and delicate at first, this baby does everything right. It’s a dive into an underwater subway crossed with a harpist on the moon. Dare you to listen without shaking.
5. London Grammar: Wicked Game (Layzie Edit)
I never thought there could be a better version then the original. And then this happened.
6. Filastine: Shanty Tones
Underground post-apocalyptic swing-dance transnational drum & bass circus party. With red lipstick and sneakers. This Indonesian band stole all of me on a black night. Ok, I lie, I lie. When I saw them live, I gave them my cells. It was the best I could do; that is how hard I fell in love.
7. Lana Del Ray: National Anthem
I choose to believe the lyrics are tongue in cheek. A tongue with an American flag tattooed on it. But oh, what a tongue this woman has. What. A. Tongue.
8. Beck: Morning.
A sister album to Sea Changes, Beck lulls us with sunshine slants through stained glass and rich, layered vocal awakenings. This song is the wind-swept beachgrass you smell after a night of fighting — with your shadow, with your lover — knowing that as long as you can touch it with the soles of your feet, you can still feel some fragment of happiness.
9. Phosphorescent: Song for Zula
Every single one of us lives with a heart that’s been cracked, and if you don’t, you will soon. It’s songs like these that help in the mending of things. The video: minimalist/powerful.
10. Alt J: Taro
The potent tendons of mandolin-flavored instruments is enough to make you drunk. It’s not unlike a crisp desert night of red sand beneath and raging stars overhead. Nearly flawless, undeniably profound—this is the kind of song that makes you deeply grateful, not only that you were born with the ability to hear, but that you were born at all.
Two footnotes (because how would the note walk if not for two feet?) – The music video, while not all original footage, is breath-stealing. The song is based on this true tragic love story.
11. K.T. Tunstall: Feel It All (Radio Edit)
This whole album is bones strewn across American desert with the blue wind whipping them white.
It traverses the cemetery of grief, of human vulnerability, of grace. This song in particular is what it means to let someone else hold your heart in their teeth — as in — falling in love.
The music video was inspired by this Marina Abramovic performance art piece.
Happy Belated 2015, Friends. May this turn around the sun rock your core.
P.S. Doesn’t this playlist seem like it’s happening quite…late? It is. I got attacked by internal space invaders. Here’s the scoop.