Thursday, December 18, 2014

2014 Soundtrack

I do this every year. These songs are what I loved this year, or what reminds me of this year, and are arranged in my preferred listening order. The playlist fits on an 80-minute CD.

Download the zipped folder here. Then, like, unzip it. If the songs get lost in your media library, just search for the ones with the genre labeled "Dan2014".

U2 - Invisible

U2 sprang “Invisible” on us during the Super Bowl commercials. I say “us”, but assuredly I was the only one at the Super Bowl party go gave a rat’s ass that this song was available for free download for the next 24 hours, thanks to a (RED) charity promotion. Honestly, the first thing I did after walking a few blocks home in the cold was fire up iTunes and grab the song. It was the beginning of a year full of U2.

Though their album (Also free via iTunes! Did you hear?) was delayed until Fall, Scott Aukerman and Adam Scott’s “U Talkin’ U2 To Me” podcast filled the gap. The Scotts led me to:
  • Watch a ZooTV era concert on YouTube
  • Watch the Red Rocks concert on YouTube
  • Sing “Bad” loudly at my kids while shaking a rattle, in an attempt to calm their cries
  • Re-evaluate “How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb” on the way to the airport
  • Laugh heartily at the “Stained Glass” podcast episode while waiting for a flight
  • Enjoy “All That You Can’t Leave Behind” on a recycling/Freddy’s Frozen Custard outing
  • Download the tracks I was missing from Zooropa
  • Buy discounted and remastered versions of “War” and “Unforgettable Fire”
  • Download their 2001 Notre Dame concert, featuring an endless Bono speech on third-world debt
  • Download their 1987 Illinois show, featuring Bono saying “Chicago” in a Da Bears style accent during “Bullet the Blue Sky”
  • Create an animated gif where Aukerman looks like Bono’s Macphisto
  • Seriously consider purchasing Fly-style sunglasses from
  • Seriously consider putting Fly-style sunglasses on my Christmas list before deciding I couldn’t live with myself for owning $120 sunglasses shipped from Portugal
  • Perform “One” at karaoke in Nashville
  • Perform “With or Without You” at karaoke in Kansas City
  • Enthusiastically listen to “Songs of Innocence” and post a review on Phil’s Facebook page
  • Receive a CD of lullabye-d U2 songs
  • Watch some of the (RED) concert from Times Square where Chris Martin and Bruce Springsteen subbed in for the injured Bono, but, like, WOOF those guys did not sound great
The first version of this soundtrack had six U2 songs on it. Yikes!

The Pains of Being Pure at Heart - Hey Paul

After the first few days of hearing people say, “Hey, Paul” to my newborn child, I remembered this song existed. I didn’t remember how it sounded, though, until I pulled it out of my hard drive. That’s when I saw that the band had a song called “Anne with an E” on their second album. That’s Lizzy’s middle name! WHOA!

St. Vincent - Digital Witness

Every album, St. Vincent has a song I really love, but I struggle to get into the other songs. 

Blur - Tender

I picked up Blur’s greatest hits this year, and had flashbacks when hearing “Tender”. I completely forgot I knew this song, thanks to repeated plays by Phil during college.

The New Pornographers - Backstairs

I had a fever for four straight days in September, a few weeks after “Brill Bruisers” was released. So I was at that point in my relationship with the album where several songs were getting stuck in my head, and I was worried that hearing the repeating chorus of “Backstairs” while tossing and turning and hoping for the fever to break would cause me to hate the song and the album forever. But it didn’t.

Danzig - Twist of Cain

My peak of listening to this song corresponded with the Royals’ playoff run, wherein Lorenzo Cain was named the ALCS MVP. It’s an amazing coincidence on par with the similarities between Abraham Lincoln and John F. Kennedy.

Weezer - Ain’t Got Nobody

Nice comeback album by Weezer. I listen to a lot of podcasts when I do yard work, and now I’ll probably think about Marc Maron’s interview of Rivers Cuomo every time I plant grass. You will note that this song ends with “doo-doo-doo”s.

Spoon - Do You

You will note that this song begins with “doo-doo-doo”s. I saw Spoon live at Liberty Hall on September 21, and it was much more impressive than the last two times I’ve seen them. (And I had liked those previous shows!) The stage setup was pretty neat. There was a big mirrorball dreidel thingy hanging from the ceiling that was put into use during this song. Like this:

Best Coast - I Don’t Know How

I use year-end best-of lists to sample a lot of artists’ songs, and this one came up in a 2013 list. It grew on me. I bet this song would be terrible if a dude sang it.

First Aid Kit - Heaven Knows

Sometimes a podcast will end before my commute, and I won’t want to fumble with my phone to start another, so I switch the stereo over to CD mode. This CD spent a long time in the chamber as I waited for new music to buy. No matter what track it was playing when I switched over, I made sure I heard “Heaven Knows” before I pulled into the parking lot.

Hospitality - Last Words

This is a good album, and I feel bad that my main memory of this song is hearing it in my headphones as I deplaned in Kansas City and hit the restroom.

Talking Heads - Swamp (live)

Stop Making Sense was another stop in my YouTube concert series, watching stuff via Roku in the living room while the infants just kinda laid around and wished they could sit up. I hadn’t seen it before, and it was good, but I expected a bit more from the inflatable suit gag. (Molly was shocked to hear this, and explained that she and Casey used to restage the concert with action figures. Weird childhood, ladies.) I’m still a little confused about my education in the Talking Heads - there are probably some great less known songs of theirs that I’d enjoy, but I’m not going to buy all their albums to figure out what those songs might be.

We Were Promised Jetpacks - Peaks and Troughs

I am glad the title to this song tells me part of what’s said in the chorus, because those Scottish accents can be tough. I do enjoy how the Scots can rhyme “been” and “clean” precisely.

Ghostface Killah - Be Easy

As I mentioned above, I deplaned with headphones like, twice in 2014. Oh, that’s not interesting at all? Well, that’s true. Anyway, I took a flight to Tucson for Jeff’s wedding, and I was pretty sleepy when we landed, but this song pumped me up. It was definitely the most pumped up I’ve ever felt while watching yokels struggle with overhead luggage bins. Later, I was rocking Sleater-Kinney’s “Jumper” as I descended an escalator, and for the first time ever saw my last name held on a placard. By MY DRIVER. Oh, the luxury! (It was the same price as a cab, but still, that’s a quality start to a vacation.)

So, back to the song. It’s my favorite rap song of all time, even though I don’t know the words, and I haven’t heard any other songs in Mr. Killah’s solo oeuvre. I wish people would clue me in on more rap with this kind of bounce. I’m not into wearing headphones around while walking about town, but this experience showed me why people choose to do that.

Kishi Bashi - Philosophize In It! Chemicalize With It!

I listened to this album stream on NPR for one reason: to hear what type of music came from the winners of 2014’s worst indie rock press photo contest.

Even if you ignore the look that bushy beard is giving the camera, there is a lot to dislike about this photo. Too much extraneous clothing, for sure. The woods - bands really love to take these pictures in the woods. Just go live in the woods, why don’t you? And boy oh boy, that mirror. As Gav pointed out, the mirror is there to show us a reflection of PART OF A TREE. We’re already in the woods, guys! We see the trees!

So, I was somewhat conflicted to find that I enjoyed the first half of this album.

Stars - Turn It Up

This is everything I want from a Stars song.

The Pains of Being Pure at Heart - Simple and Sure

Normally a High Fidelity-type rule would prevent one from putting two songs from the same band on a playlist like this, but I am kind of a rebel who plays by his own rules. This was in heavy rotation for me all year, and it was also in a Hershey’s commercial that was in less heavy rotation for me.

Valley Lodge - Go

This song, also the theme song to John Oliver’s “Last Week Tonight”, was written and sung by comedian and podcaster and musician (doy) Dave Hill. I fell head over heels for  Dave this year, beginning with his amazing tale of performing stand-up in Sing-Sing prison. That led to listening to other podcast appearances and his own new podcast, The Goddamn Dave Hill Show. He frequently plays guitar riffs on his show, primarily Danzig’s “Mother” and Kansas’ “Carry on my Wayward Son”, but somehow that never gets old, and leads you down a pretty neat path to more Danzig (see above). I anticipate much of next year’s soundtrack to be inspired by Dave’s good taste.

Rose Windows - Native Dreams

After listening to over 200 Uhh Yeah Dude podcasts, I finally liked a song they used as intro music.