Mike’s Favorite Tracks of 2014

1) Bleachers – Rollercoaster

This song chokes me up because it makes me think of my wife Jenny and I when we were first dating. She was such a, and still is, a wild spirit and brings out whatever spontaneity my poor heart can muster. The energy, the reckless speed of the song gives you the feeling like you’re going off the rails, and that’s exactly what falling in love with her felt like.

 

2) Shovels & Rope – The Devil Is All Around

This song captures perfectly the feeling of desperation following a profound failure. I heard this song and felt like it was written about me. The imagery of feeling like a stuck pig, backed into a corner, and having few people that could relate to your experiences is a special hell that I invite you to by reading the lyrics along with the song.
“When the devil is all around and got you crawling on the ground / On your hands and your knees with an apple in your mouth 
/ You will know how far you’ll go to make your peace with God”.

Ugh. Hurts.


3) Jungle – Busy Earnin’
 

Some mornings, the pressure is just too much, and the only way to cope is to roll into work feeling like a badass. That’s where this song comes in.

4) Beck – Waking Light

Beck came out of the gate swinging this year, and I really felt like Waking Light was a good book-end to his prior album ‘Sea Change’. Listening to these two records back to back sets this song up to leave you with the most amazing feeling of renewal and hope. I’m a sucker for artists that put an uplifting song as the final track. The entire album is a homerun, but this track in particular really made me smile.

 

5) Sia – Burn the Pages
 

A musical answer to the emotions that I feel with the Shovels & Rope song. I know personal and professional failure, and this Sia song caused me to emote much more than I expected. If ‘The Devil is All Around’ is about being in the gutter, moments away from self-destruction, “Burn the Pages” is about allowing yourself to walk away from what’s in the past, move on, and rebuild. “Yesterday is gone and you will be OK / Place your past into a book, burn the pages
Let ’em cook”. The major/minor/major pedal tones that plod through the entire song always resolve on major chording, so it’s hard not to feel positive about it.

 

Honorable Mention) Eliza and the Bear – Upon the North

From 1:45 to the end of this song makes me want to retreat to the mountains with a bottle of rye, build a fire, and scream along at the top of my lungs.

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