Here we are, at the end of all things.
Or rather, just the end of my music column. I had a lot of fun writing this throughout the semester, forcing my music taste onto the readers of Xpress Magazine. I learned a lot writing this bi-weekly romp: coming up with themes for playlists is lots of fun, Soundcloud is not entirely reliable in finding specific songs (as there are quite a few songs I had to leave off of this end of the year playlist, solely because I could not find them), and at last I learned the most valuable lesson of all: I am not that good at writing about music. Sorry guys.
Alas, for my final playlist for Beats n’ Stuff, I chose the obvious theme of “~*~best songs of 2014~*~,” which are my picks for the best tracks of the year. It is a supersized playlist of 20(!) songs, but I will spare y’all the boring details and only talk about the top ten, and how they made the year of 2014 so much brighter.
So, thanks for bearing with me, thanks for listening, thanks for reading.
20.) “Her” by Block B (블락비)
19.) “Fiona Coyne” by Saint Pepsi
18.) “Star” by Meishi Smile
17.) “Pop It” by Anamanaguchi
16.) “Yume No Hajima Ring Ring” by Kyary Pamyu Pamyu
15.) “Mr.BEER” by Charisma.com
14.) “Video Girl” by FKA Twigs
13.) “I’ll Fall (feat. COR!S)” by bo en
12.) “Tuesday (feat. Drake)” – ILOVEMAKONNEN
11.) “Hello” by Giraffage
10.) “I’m Coming (Avec Avec Remix)” by Pa’s Lam System
Pa’s Lam System, of Japanese netlabel Maltine Records, has consistently created some of the most fun House music over the past few years. While the original track “I’m Coming” is great, Avec Avec’s (half of Sugar’s Campaign) remix of the track is it at its most realized.
Recommended if you like: Being sweaty in a club
Ryan Hemsworth’s had a pretty busy year. His Soundcloud “Shh Secret Songs“, which started in May 2014, focuses on little-known producers and musicians worldwide, and has garnered a following, culminating in its first free compilation “shh#ffb6c1.” He just released his second album, Alone for the First Time, which is the perfect record to play on a rainy day sipping hot cocoa. This single “Cream Soda,” not from that album, is precisely the opposite. Collaborating with Japanese producer Tomggg (or Tatsuya Fujishiro), the two meshed sampling and endearingly cheerful melodies, and the result is one of my favorite songs of the year.
Recommended if you like: Cream soda, pop
8.) “Flicker” by Porter Robinson
Recommended if you like: Anything?
7.) “Jamn” by George & Jonathan
“At your most vulnerable moment, we released George & Jonathan III. You were blind-sided. Since then, nothing has really felt the same.” And that it has not George & Jonathan, thanks album bio. At the Beyoncé-esque release of G&J’s third album, my friends’ hearts swelled… and I sat not even knowing who these folks were. But now that I have been educated, I suppose my heart swells too. G&J also have a really cool interactive music video to go along with each song on the record, making the experience that much sweeter.
Recommended if you like: Colorful interactive things, etc.
6.) “Yule” by Yukari (유카리)
I discovered Yukari completely on accident, and her dreamy pop music won me over immediately. I have not really ventured all that much into the Korean music scene outside of major K-Pop acts, but Yukari makes me want to explore more. Her record ECHO is full of the same euphoric-pop as “Yule,” and is one of my favorite overall albums of the year.
Recommended if you like: K-Indie, girls whisper singing over synths
5.) “Don’t Stop the Music (feat. Chisato Moritaka 森高千里)” by tofubeats
This song technically came out in 2013, but tofu beats’ follow-up to lost decade, First Album, came out this year, with this track on it, so I will give it a pass. Tofubeats, fresh from Japan, creates beats seemingly inspired by 80s and 90s J-Pop, collaborating with rappers and even the likes Noko of popular J-Rock band Shinsei Kamattechan. First Album is full of diversity, and I personally feel it is accessible enough to be a good starting point for diving into underground Japanese electronic music.
Recommended if you like: Tofu and chill beats
4.) “Truly (feat. Sarah Bonito)” by Spazzkid
Spazzkid is just as spazzy as his name implies. I got the chance to catch him open for Daedelus about a month ago, and his performance was so energetic and fun that it was impossible not to dance and sing along with him. “Truly,” featuring the whimsical Sarah Bonito of Kero Kero Bonito, is easily his most delightful song yet, (well, maybe behind “40 Winks” and his Kero Kero Bonito remix of “Small Town”).
Recommended if you like: Purikura!
3.) “Maximum wind speed movement 瞬間最大風速 (feat. Yura Sakura さくらゆら)” by PARKGOLF
PARK GOLF, yet another Maltine alumni (sorry, there is a bunch on here), collaborated with singer Yura Sakura for this drab-synth pop track. Instead of describing this track, just go listen to it. Trust me.
Recommended if you like: Ridiculously oversized sweaters like what Sakura wore live
2.) “Pocket Crocodile” by Kero Kero Bonito
Kero Kero Bonito burst onto the scene this year with charm and sass. Rapper-singer Sarah Bonito’s lyrics are filled with angst and blunder, as she croons about everything from her video game hobby to women being reduced to “child-producing-machines.” With such a strong, fun debut, I am so excited to see what Sarah, Gus, and Jamie of KKB do next.
Recommended if you like: Sass, video game samples.
1.) “200%” by Akdong Musician (악동뮤지션)
South Korean brother-sister duo Akdong Musician are an anomaly among other K-Pop acts. Lee Chanhyuk and Lee Suhyun happen to be young as heck, only 18 and 15 respectively, which is insane and makes me feel talentless and lazy. Their acoustic-laden pop paired with Suhyun’s incredible vocals (she is really only 15? seriously?) makes Akdong Musician the duo to watch in pop music worldwide right now. With their debut album PLAY, Akdong Musician crafted one of the best pop albums I have heard in a long, long time.
Recommended if you like: Springtime, pop music.
And with that, I’m out. Good luck on all your finals everyone!