Top 10 Songs of 2014: Honorable Mentions 

A bunch of bands I like a ton put out new albums in 2014. A few of them will show up over the course of the list, but many of them show up here. In fact, I think all of these artists (maybe save one) have been on a previous list.

Fanfarlo—“A Distance”

Over their last two albums, Fanfarlo has shifted from Belle and Sebastian/Camera Obscura-style orchestral folk/pop into electro-tinged folk/pop. Their songs still have that driving back end, propelling the song along with beats that will have you tapping your foot, but they’re slightly less accessible than they once were (2009’s Reservoir might would rate highly in my favorite albums of the 2000s, with four or five amazing tracks).

“A Distance” bridges the gap nicely between their older folk and newer electronic sound. It uses synths to really make the song feel warm, rather than harsh, and blends in some great percussion and horns to really fill out the sound. It’s my favorite track off of this year’s Let’s Go Extinct, which was completely overlooked.

Jenny Lewis—Slippery Slopes

I liked Jenny Lewis’ last album (Acid Tongue), but it felt a bit like an extension of her former band Rilo Kiley’s least essential album, Under the Blacklight. On “Slippery Slopes”, it feels like she’s back. This is straight up 70s glossy rock, but it is unmistakably Jenny Lewis. This could have shown up on almost any Rilo Kiley album and felt right at home. It’s glossy, but it is not happy (like most of her songs), and it’s one that’ll stick with you once you hear it.

Sylvan Esso—Coffee

So, 2014 was the year of Sylvan Esso. We were lucky enough to catch them (with about 100 people) when they opened for Minor Alps at The Sinclair. A year later, they played their own sold out show at The Sinclair.

Amanda Meath’s voice is mesmerizing. Mesmerizing enough that you won’t even mind the silly “hanky panky” interlude at the end of the song.

Walk the Moon—Shut Up and Dance

Gosh, this song is just ridiculously catchy. Like the best of Walk the Moon’s stuff, you’ll be singing it next to your 8 year old niece and 55 year old aunt after Christmas dinner.

This song pushes all of my buttons. Hand claps, sing along chorus, and it’s just over 3 minutes long. That’s a recipe for success. For example …

Weezer—Lonely Girl

Here’s a very Weezer-y 3 minute song. I’m not one of those folks who thinks everything Weezer has put out since Pinkerton has been crap. But, the hit to miss ration on some of their later albums has trended in the wrong direction. Everything Will Be Alright in the End flips that in the good direction. It’s not Weezer at their peak, but it’s good Weezer, with crunchy guitars, and it’s all chorus.