Sunday, 5 January 2014

On the 12th Day of Christmas...

...this blogger have to thee...
...twelve drummers drumming...
...eleven lovely lacquers...
...ten bugs and beasties...
...nine feather sculptures...
...eight bits of telly... shoes to choose from...
...six fancy dresses...
...five gold rings!..
...four fancy fish...
...three granulations...
...two bits of wood...
...and a calendar made of tea.

So, that's it again for another year. How in hell is it 2014? When did that happen? I swear it's only five minutes since 2013 began!

Anyway, as the song says it's time for twelve drummers drumming, so I've got a mixture of the songs I've been obsessively playing throughout the year, most of which are new for last year, some of which may be a bit older, but I've played more than any other tracks.

I know not everyone has Spotify, all of these songs are on Youtube, but I'm going to try and add some clips from Soundcloud for you, as it's unfair is you can't play this either...

 Hopeless Wanderer by Mumford and Sons

The first time I heard this song, I will admit, I kind of ignored it. I thought it was good, but I didn't get hugely excited, that is until I saw the video. Mumford and Sons made the marvellous move of having actors Jason Bateman, Jason Sudeikis, Ed Helms and Will Forte perform their parts, and it's hilarious. They mime the song throughout know what, watch it! It's just up it!
 Closer by Tegan and Sara

This song is kind of ridiculously eighties, in a great retro way that has had me playing it all of last year and it is the kind of song that you need to have on, really, really loud as you bounce on your bed or dance around the house like a mad thing. It's that kind of song.
Strong by London Grammar

I had a confession. I didn't start listening to London Grammar until the latter end of the year, but I just think that Strong is beautiful...which is why it's slightly annoying that on the playlist I embedded above, it's not them, but someone else covering the song, thus explaining the video above. That said, there is something even more beautiful about this song and Hannah Reid's voice when you see it alongside the music video and a man dancing in a firework suit. 
Fineshrine by Purity Ring

Fineshrine was used in a clothing advert last year. I kept hearing it and the line, 'come a little closer, let fold, cut open my sternum and pull, my little ribs around you', it lodged in my brain alongside the beat. I kept hearing it and thinking I've got to remember and search for this song, which I never remembered. Eventually I found the clip on YouTube and mentioned it to my sister and she exclaimed it was a band she loved. Typical she was never in the room for me to ask before that!
I Can't Make You Love Me/Nick of Time by Bon Iver

Oh god I love Bon Iver. This song has been out for a couple of years, but I just couldn't stop playing the Bonnie Raitt cover. Adele also covered of this song in 2011/12 and it's great, but Bon Iver...ugh, my heart breaks every time I hear it. There are a few songs in the world that I can only describe as feeling in my chest, like my breathing and slows down and I can feel my heart beating clearly. Small Hours by John Martyn, with its ambient guitar echoes is one...this is another. Even writing this is hard because it's playing and I just want to listen. I could listen to Bon Ivers voice forever.
Tennis Court by Lorde

Royals was probably Lorde's biggest song of the year, which was in contention for this list, but I figured it would be everyones choice. However, Tennis Court is my favourite track I think, at least from the few lists I've given the album, plus, I find the video fascinating. There's something really fascinating and alien about Lorde wearing brown contact lenses over her blue eyes and that strange electronic distortion they add over the word 'yeah'. Again this song won because of its video.
 Hey Little Bruiser by Ed Harcourt

Ed Harcourt's album The Beautiful Lie (2006) has some of my favourite songs on it, but this song, I have played it over and over again and can't quite get over. I love the repetitive piano throughout and the pain in his voice. I've been saving this one for you all for this list, it's been that much of a favourite...if only I'd had the forethought to do the same with James Blake.
 Tessellate by Ellie Goulding

Last year I rediscovered my love of Ellie Goulding, I also found my love for ∆ (Alt-J)  This could probably be my favourite cover of the year and also the perfect way to get two artists I've been playing a lot in without sacrificing something else. I also love her interpretation.

 Biblical by Biffy Clyro

'Baby if you could  would you go back to the start?' Okay, so the start with Biffy for me is 2003. Biffy were one of the best things to come out of my final year at school, they released their first album that year and it actually became one of the albums which we played over and over again in the common room, despite everyone's varying tastes. It is the sound of that year for me, the good parts and the bad, and while everything changed, that album has followed me through the next ten years. As have their subsequent ones such as this. I love Simon Neil's voice and the fact that his Scottish accent doesn't disappear or become comical like the Proclaimers.  Doesn't hurt that he's damn handsome either!

Unbelievers by Vampire Weekend

This was the CD that was in the car stereo for pretty much the last six months. Not that I could decide on a track to pick with all that listening time. In the end, I let my sister hear a couple of minutes of both and made her choose.
 To Your Health by Keaton Henson

In March last year, the BBC showed In The Flesh, a drama which centred on the reintegration of Keiran, a re-animated ex-zombie teenager, to his life in a small town, devastated by the zombie apocalypse. Now, I don't know if Keaton Henson's songs were the only ones used for the soundtrack to this drama, but they certainly were the most prominent and the most heart wrenching for this particular subject matter. Make mine a pain in the neck, here's to you, you old wreck, and mine is a thorn in the side, drink up so we can both finally die. This is becoming another feeling in my chest song.

Pure Imagination by Fiona Apple

We all know this song. Anyone who has seen the original Gene Wilder, Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, knows this song. But, for the Chipotle ad, Apple has re-imagined the song to fit in with the dystopia which mass production and industrial farming has created. It's beautiful and haunting and a lot of that is to do with Apple's voice. I'm already a huge Fiona Apple fan - I waited for years with baited breath for her third album to be released, but her fourth studio album still hasn't grabbed me, this song however did.

Dance Apocalyptic by Janelle Monae

So, we've just finished 2013, so I though I'd give you a bonus track, number thirteen. Dance Apocalyptic, which is a bonus for me because it meant me keeping in Bon Iver and for you because Janelle Monae goes insane her video Tina Turner style. This, like Tegan and Sara's Closer, is another bounce on the bed, dance around like a moron kind of song. We all need those sort of songs.

And there is absolutely nothing wrong with dancing around like a moron, in fact, one of my favourite memories is singing and dancing around our kitchen at home, with my mum and my sisters, when we were still little enough to have no shame, to Wings of a Dove by Madness.

If only I could get the house to myself I'd probably still do it.

Well that's it, the Christmas decorations have come down, the lights are off, the festive season is over and normal life will resume. I hope you all had lovely festive seasons, ate, drank and were merry and that 2014 is good to you all!

Listening: Wings of a Dove - Madness


David said...

Hi Emily,

Thanks so much for including Soundcloud & Youtube (I don't have Spotify).

"And there is absolutely nothing wrong with dancing around like a moron...If only I could get the house to myself I'd probably still do it."

I do still do it. And it feels fantastic. Good exercise too :)

Best wishes for 2014.

Emily Boyd said...

All the best for 2014, to you too.

And I still dance around the house like an idiot when it's empty. Just doesn't happen that often, there's always someone around and dancing in my bedroom involves everything bouncing off the shelves!

Spotify's great, but I didn't think it was fair to penalise those who didn't have it. So I'm glad you got to listen to the clips. Though I keep thinking of songs I should have included!

Hindsight's a pain!

Happy New Year once again.

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