Songs We Love
December 12, 2014 10:44 AM   Subscribe

NPR Music has put together a massive playlist of their best of 2014, Songs We Love.

That link above launches the groovy in-browser app, which lets you listen on shuffle, choose a genre, and gives you artist info, as well as other functionality. You can view the entire list here if you are more eye-curious than ear-curious.
posted by hippybear (40 comments total) 75 users marked this as a favorite
 
Awesome! The first song it played for me was "Sommeil" by Stromae. Love this song. Great post!
posted by Librarypt at 10:57 AM on December 12, 2014


I started out with "Molecule" by Obnox, a Lars Gotrich pick. They know me well. Well done NPR.
posted by The Michael The at 10:59 AM on December 12, 2014 [1 favorite]


Stromae was one of my favorite musical discoveries this year, and I found out about him thanks to NPR's All Songs Considered. His song "Papaoutai" was definitely one of my most played of the year.

I actually haven't listened to much new music this year, so looking forward to catching up now through all the year-end lists.
posted by yasaman at 11:12 AM on December 12, 2014 [2 favorites]


Caribou's Our Love is good, but Sharon Van Etten's triphoppy Our Love is phenomenal; surprised it didn't make the list (though two other SVE tracks did).
posted by Flashman at 11:26 AM on December 12, 2014


There's a genre called \m/ >-< \m/ ?

ooh, and apparently I don't much like it...
posted by Naberius at 11:27 AM on December 12, 2014


There's a genre called \m/ >-< \m/ ?

That is metal. The \m/ are these.
posted by The Michael The at 11:29 AM on December 12, 2014


I've already bought two of the first three songs it played me, the aforementioned Sommeil, and Transgender Disphoria Blues, and paused to enjoy a Tiny Desk Concert by the Danish String Quartet. I have no idea what the kids are into these days and this is a great way to freshen up my running playlist. Thanks for clueing in the unhip, NPR!
posted by Erasmouse at 11:29 AM on December 12, 2014


Whatever to this list and all lists.

Yo have you guys heard Marianne Faithfull's 2014 record "Give My Love to London"
Ho/Lee/Shit y'all.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 11:29 AM on December 12, 2014 [1 favorite]


That is metal.

Well, interpreted very loosely perhaps. This is what I got...

I mean I know what metal is. It's like... Jethro Tull, right? Now get off my lawn.
posted by Naberius at 11:37 AM on December 12, 2014 [1 favorite]


Opened right up to my favorite song of the year, The Both's Milwaukee (Aimee Mann and Ted Leo!).
posted by everybody had matching towels at 11:42 AM on December 12, 2014 [2 favorites]


This post prompted me to finally figure out whether NPR tells people what tracks they use for interstitial music between stories on their programs. They do!
posted by exogenous at 11:47 AM on December 12, 2014


Trying to fine tune this. The "rock" genre seems to stray into pop and electronica, with not enough indie or \m/ for ballast. I wish they had used David Dye's best of 2014 but I don't see it.
posted by Ber at 11:48 AM on December 12, 2014


This post prompted me to finally figure out whether NPR tells people what tracks they use for interstitial music between stories on their programs.

If you look at the full program page for (I think all) NPR programs, they list in-line what songs they use and give you purchase links, if you so desire.
posted by hippybear at 11:56 AM on December 12, 2014


This is excellent; I've listened to a St. Vincent track, a beautiful song in Spanish about immigrants, a couple of classical pieces, and now Andrew Ashong's "Love the Way," which is simple and cozy and perfect for a Friday slowly clawing its way towards sunshine.
posted by jetlagaddict at 12:08 PM on December 12, 2014


Wait a minute, Run the Jewels 2 isn't an iPhone game? I was pretty sure it was an iPhone game.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 12:14 PM on December 12, 2014 [6 favorites]


Well, interpreted very loosely perhaps. This is what I got...

I mean I know what metal is. It's like... Jethro Tull, right? Now get off my lawn.


Well, Jethro Tull is most definitely not metal. It's not even metal-adjacent.

Anyway, Lars Gotrich, one of the NPR Music folks, has done a year-end show for the past several years on All Songs Considered called Viking's Choice, which is a mix of "metal and outer sound", the latter being drone, noise, field recordings, etc. Fennesz fits that category, and so it gets put in \m/ I guess. There's a bunch of other stuff in there that actually is metal (Godflesh, Witch Mountain, YOB, etc), and some metal-adjacent (Against Me, Perfect Pussy, etc).
posted by The Michael The at 12:16 PM on December 12, 2014


Wait a minute, Run the Jewels 2 isn't an iPhone game? I was pretty sure it was an iPhone game.

Album of the year.
posted by The Michael The at 12:16 PM on December 12, 2014 [1 favorite]


Well, Jethro Tull is most definitely not metal. It's not even metal-adjacent.

Jethro Tull Out-rocks Metallica
posted by octothorpe at 12:19 PM on December 12, 2014


Oh sweet, I love Owen Pallet's new album and am excited to see "The Riverbed" (my favorite track) on there. I bought it from Amoeba Music when I was in Berkeley and seeing it always makes me happy. Also glad to see that a track from Gabriel Kahane's "The Ambassador" made it in--I am seeing a performance tonight! Never before has my musical taste felt so timely.
posted by ferret branca at 12:25 PM on December 12, 2014 [1 favorite]


I'm twelve songs or so in, and every time I click over to see what great song is playing, it's suggested by the same staffer! So, basically, Kiana Fitzgerald, if you would like to come over and have a dance party, let's do it.
posted by missmary6 at 12:29 PM on December 12, 2014


This was interesting to me as I'm always looking for new music. I gotta admit I feel a little bit like a curmudgeon in going through a lot of it and only finding a handful of stuff I like enough to buy/checkout more. But I will say positively even for many of the songs that I was meh on, there are a lot of fantastic music videos out there right now.
Papaoutai is the perfect example, to me it didn't resonate all that much, I didn't hate it or anything and could see how some would like/love it... but I absolutely loved the video.
posted by edgeways at 12:30 PM on December 12, 2014




Sinkane - "How We Be"
is a double win, song and video both great
posted by edgeways at 12:34 PM on December 12, 2014 [3 favorites]


Schmod, you are the hero we deserve.
posted by Fister Roboto at 12:50 PM on December 12, 2014 [1 favorite]


NPR is, as always, killing it with their end of the year music lists.

For anyone interested, I put together a 6+ hours Spotify (yeah yeah) playlist of my favorite tracks from 2014 (and still working on it).
posted by Lutoslawski at 1:06 PM on December 12, 2014 [5 favorites]


This is a great list, but it's getting more and more aggravating to me that nobody's talking about Butler, Bernstein, & the Hot 9's masterpiece Viper's Drag. I mean, there's a whole jazz section on this playlist, but not a single track from Henry Butler and his group appears. Viper's Drag was a stunningly good album with a boatload of New Orleans styles – from very early jazz to stride piano to New Orleans strut and funk. It is by far my favorite jazz album of the year, but it's on nobody's list as far as I can tell.

I gather people discounted this record as a nostalgia release or something like that. But that's a mistake. It's an incredible record that deserves at least a few listens – believe me – even if it's only to hear Henry Butler play and sing "Buddy Bolden's Blues."
posted by koeselitz at 1:29 PM on December 12, 2014 [1 favorite]


I have such a crush on Frannie Kelly. That is all.
posted by Diablevert at 1:39 PM on December 12, 2014


Holy crap! Where on earth did Gabriel Kahane's "Empire Liquor Mart (9127 S. Figueroa St.)" come from??? That's one of the most amazing pieces of music I have ever heard!
posted by hippybear at 2:06 PM on December 12, 2014 [1 favorite]


Isn't it just phenomenal? (also if you like Kahane you will probably like Owen Pallett)
posted by everybody had matching towels at 2:09 PM on December 12, 2014


Thanks to NPR, I am currently chair-dancing to 'Jealous' by Nick Jonas on a Friday afternoon at work.
posted by Asparagus at 2:11 PM on December 12, 2014


I'm successfully drowning out the Xmas radiobot at the local pizzeria with this app (thru headphones of course). THANK YOU hippybear.
posted by Sheydem-tants at 2:20 PM on December 12, 2014


Listening to the title song here finally prompted me to find and listen through the whole Transgender Dysphoria Blues album, and holy shit, I am in love.
posted by ActionPopulated at 2:40 PM on December 12, 2014 [2 favorites]


Why do they limit you to six skips? If I wanted to be forced to listen to songs I didn't like I would turn on the radio.
posted by dephlogisticated at 2:51 PM on December 12, 2014 [2 favorites]


How does Felix Contrearas not have a mustache? How, universe? His voice has all the warmth and richness of the be-mustached.
posted by Diablevert at 3:23 PM on December 12, 2014 [1 favorite]


Why do they limit you to six skips?

I'm assuming they have some Pandora-type deal with Those Who Provide Music For Online Listening. Pandora also has limited skips, if I recall.
posted by hippybear at 3:26 PM on December 12, 2014


Somewhat-complete Spotify playlist
posted by schmod at 9:33 AM

NPR's provided its own links to corresponding (albeit presumably only near-complete, as is typical from TWPMFOL) Spotify and Rdio playlists.
posted by progosk at 1:14 AM on December 13, 2014


This is great. I've listened to nine songs so far and the only I haven't much liked is the most mainstream one (the Pharrell Williams track). Very much enjoying finding musicians I haven't heard of before — thanks for posting this, hippybear!
posted by Lexica at 4:00 PM on December 13, 2014


Holy crap! Where on earth did Gabriel Kahane's "Empire Liquor Mart (9127 S. Figueroa St.)" come from??? That's one of the most amazing pieces of music I have ever heard!

Holy shit. I'm obsessed with this track now. How did I miss this record!? Phenomenal.
posted by Lutoslawski at 8:25 PM on December 13, 2014


Okay, so yeah, that Gabriel Kahane album The Ambassador is an incredible album that I'm happy to have discovered via this thread. (Thanks, hippybear.) It's crazy – it's a treatise on architecture and culture in Los Angeles (the booklet apparently contains an essay by LA Times architecture critic Christopher Hawthorne) and lyrically it's filled with these amazing ruminations on pop culture and life that are witty and strange and often sad and also often hilarious. Right now I'm digging "Villains (4616 Dundee Dr.)" which is like a Steely Dan groove complete with Donald Fagen croon except it's as witty and hilarious as Fagen thought he was but wasn't. And it's basically the best song I've ever heard about modern architecture. Live version here, although you're encouraged to look it up and hear the studio version on Spotify since it's much better.
Why do villains always live in houses build by modernist bastards?
Why does Hollywood
Insist on destroying
The city by numbers?
By natural disasters?

An elemental earthquake
A furnace of a fire
A rippling rainstorm
Nuclear bombs or Martians from the future

A dithering police force
A mutant sprung from a cage
A giant half-man
Or some frustrated actor on some spitball rampage

Are you nostalgic for a time?
You could put a face to every crime
And the violence was as hostile
As it was imaginative, baby


How would you feel if we moved into the house where they shot Pulp Fiction?
(Ooh!)
We'll put the nursery
Where Uma OD'd
A reminder of greed
And the dangers of heroin addiction

A cantilevered beach house
With clerestory windows
An open-air sleeping porch
Frank Lloyd Wright built a whole lot of bungalows

Rudy Schindler and Wright, yeah
They had a great big falling out
Two great architects
I'll tell you what that was all about

Is something absent in design
Where the heart is mastered by the line?
And all you've got is the reflection
Of what's on the outside of pure

Say, all these houses look the same
The uniform of steel in every frame
You can think about a lotta things
Waiting for the concrete to cure

I've been thinking a lot about action movies in the 1980s
Particularly Die Hard
Seems to illustrate so many of the anxieties central
To the time and place

Japanese capital
The winning of the cold war
Pride in the downtown
What did they gut it for?

Risen from the ashes
Of a once-great neighborhood
All the ghosts of Bunker Hill
Who needs history? Was history ever any good?

Are you nostalgic for a time
When art and kindness toed the line?
When entertainment had an easy style
As it looked upon you too

Back when Bruce Willis had some hair
He smoked in airports, no one cared
And in the end Alan Rickman
Fell out of a window, boo hoo

Are you nostalgic for a time?
You could put a face to every crime
And the violence was as hostile
As it was imaginative, baby
Man, I love this record. It has been a good year for music, but I didn't even know about this one, and I'm glad I do now.
posted by koeselitz at 12:31 AM on December 14, 2014 [2 favorites]


Anybody else who is in love with that wonderful song "Empire Liquor Mart (9127 S. Figueroa St.)" might like to know that it's about Latasha Harlins, a 15-year-old black girl who was gunned down by the owner of Empire Liquor Mart in 1991.
posted by koeselitz at 5:34 PM on December 18, 2014


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