Tag Archives: top 10 songs

Top 10 Songs and Albums of 2014 – Are You Ready?

30 Nov


There is much truth to the musical pendulum of “Sunrise, Sunset” from Fiddler on the Roof; time, like the gold attachment on a grandfather clock, swings back and forth and back and forth and suddenly 2011 turns to 2012 to 2013 to 2014 and now, in one month, 2015. With the perpetual swing of the pendulum is the many moments that make up one’s year. And, within those moments, tucked away like a child in bed, is the music that has stuck with you from the year, nestled comfortably in your mind.

So we have reached the almost-end to another year, and, to stay on the topic of the Music Court, we have seen some transformations. Our kick-ass new writer Zoe Brown has taken an active posting role, and she is doing a tremendous job. Stand up and clap for her; yes, get out of your chairs wherever you are and clap! She has helped establish the Music Court as your source for new, eccentric tunes. Many of those songs might be those nestled in your mind as you reminisce on another year in music. Before we officially kick off the annual top 10 countdown, I thought it might be fun to look back on the winners of year’s past and read a little clip from each post (no 2012).



#1 “The King of Spain” by The Tallest Man on Earth

Before the song ends, Matsson holds out the word “the” in this vocal climax that is shattering. It is also a perfect way for me to end this countdown. There is an animation in Matsson’s croon that is warm, inviting and aggressive. This is a true strength in his music. He is a folk musician who can provide the erupting emotion that Spector’s “wall of sound” does, but with only himself and a guitar. He is a one-man-band who is significantly stronger then mostly all of his five or more band counterparts. That is an impressive feat. Heck, he might actually be the “King of Spain”


#1 “The Afterlife” by Paul Simon

… A hypothetical heaven, though, one scribbled down by the consummate raconteur who knows the meaning of excellent music. “The Afterlife” is a keen, hilarious, zany, unexpected, metempirical, almost practical (I cannot list enough adjectives to describe the song’s utter beauty), take on heaven and dying.


#1 – “Pompeii” by Bastille

“The song begins with a Blue Swede-like vocal rhythm. This rhythmic chanting sets an almost allegorical tone, meaning the melody is representative of intense Roman religiosity. One can almost hear this dark chanting in a temple of worship – overwhelmingly spiritual and subtly lugubrious … While the song is quite literally representative of the destruction of Pompeii, it is difficult not to take it as a metaphorical look at when any unwelcome change occurs in life. Sometimes it is difficult to be “an optimist” and you must “close your eyes” and dream of better days.”


Who will hold the top spot in 2014? You will just have to wait to find out. And, this year, at the behest of Ms. Brown, the Music Court will feature a Top 10 Albums of 2014 list as well, which will directly follow the Top 10 Songs of 2014. Get ready! The list begins tomorrow, and will continue almost every day for the majority of December. You better have your eyes ready for some quality music-related reading. We are counting on you!

The Top 10 Songs of 2013 – Preview

5 Dec


Rejoice! The Music Court is bringing back the end-of-the-year Top 10 song list. Hooray. It’s the highlight of any holiday season! Ok … maybe it’s just some reading fodder that you can scoff at when you binge on holiday leftovers. For the rest of December, the Music Court will feature our list of the top 10 songs of 2013.

Check out the full-song in-review of The Top 10 Songs of 2010 and The Top 10 Songs of 2011 by clicking on those links, or click on the subcategories on the right-hand side of this page to view individual posts. There is no 2012 list (sorry!)

First, some logistics prior to previewing the list. In order to be considered for this list, the song must have been released in 2013. Yes, this seems obvious. But when I say 2013, I mean that the song may have been released as a single in 2013, or if it was not released as a single, it must have appeared on an album released in 2013. Often songs are released on albums the year prior to when the song is released as a single. This simply provides us with more options.

This list is clearly subjective. It is completely biased to the taste of those at the Music Court. That being said, you can certainly berate us for getting everything wrong. That’s the fun part of these lists. Comment on rankings you disagree with. Give us your top 10! We want to hear from you. Also, please understand that I (Matt) am not the biggest rap/hip-hop fan. Thus, the list is skewed towards pop/folk/rock (my beloved genres). There is a rap song on the list, though. I promise.

So … what songs almost made it on to the list but couldn’t quite supplant any of the top 10 songs? Here is the list leading up to the top 10:

19. “A Song about Love” by Jake Bugg

18. “Afterlife” by Arcade Fire

17. “Southern United States” by Leif Vollebekk

16. “Winter Road” by Bill Callahan

15. “New” by Paul McCartney

14. “Blurred Lines” by Robin Thicke

13. “Get Lucky” by Daft Punk

12. “365 Days” by ZZ Ward



But, how? “Get Lucky” and “Blurred Lines” were arguably the two most popular songs in 2013. They should most certainly appear on the top 10 list. You must have something against Pharrell Williams, who is featured in both songs. Credit to Pharrell, by the way. What an amazing year! In June he became the 12th musician in history to hold the #1 and #2 spot on the Billboard Top 100 at the same time … and for two COMPLETELY different songs. Incredible. But, while both songs fall close to the top 10, I do not just go by mainstream success. Both songs are as infectious as chocolate-covered pretzels, but, to me, the top 10 songs all have more enlightened qualities.

And … just missing the top 10. The #11 song of 2013:


Know the lyric? It is “Demons” by Imagine Dragons, which many of you know because of it was overplayed on mostly all rock stations since it was released as an official single in October of this year. The lyric of the song is powerful; a clear depiction of a protagonist with pernicious flaws. It is somewhat hidden behind the crashing melodies and dramatic harmonies, but the music is just so good. Imagine Dragons certainly knows how to intertwine a catchy melody with hard rock sentiments. It’s a great song. Can you imagine the excellent stuff on the top 10 list?

Be Tuned in on Monday, Dec. 9 for the #10 song on the list! 

The Top 10 Songs of the 2011 – The Countdown Begins Tomorrow!

19 Dec

As the title of this post suggests, the top 10 songs of 2011 countdown begins tomorrow. I am pumped. Last year was the first time I counted down the top 10 songs of the year (the previous year I did a decade in rock round-up poll – “Smooth” took the crown of best rock song of the 2000-2009 decade, but I chose “Devils and Dust” by Bruce Springsteen and I defended that choice here).

I had an excellent time compiling the top 10 songs of the year and profiling each of them in a daily (except Sunday) format. Every post category takes a back seat to this countdown. Interestingly, but not surprisingly (I guess then it really isn’t that interesting), it was quite tough to put together this list. Before I did my research, I had a preconception that this year in music was weaker than 2010. While 2010 saw such releases as “Home” and “King of Spain,” 2011 has songs like – NOPE! You are going to have to wait for the top 10. Patience is a virtue.

Inevitably, though, some songs missed the top 10 list by a smidgen. Last year I did a top 11, but, come on, that’s just an excuse for not being able to choose. This year I got the list down to 10 excellent songs ranging from electro-psychedelic to jazzy throwback (only clue I am giving out). But like I said some songs missed the cut. I am going to post these songs with a brief statement in this semi-preview post. And, as you will see, these are strong songs and, given some more time to think about the list, one or two of them may have been on it.

Remember, this list of 10 is completely based on my personal discretion. Yes, I admit, I am not a fan of most rap. I tend to favor Indie/Rock. These genre preferences do impact my decision making. If you think that Nicki Minaj’s “Super Bass” is the song of the year, you will most likely dislike this list. I am not discounting the song. It is #1 on many end-of-the-year lists and an enjoyable song for individuals with different musical inclinations. I do, however, urge you to follow this list. There are some gems that are universally enjoyable – in my opinion of course. If you want a little basis on how this is done please take a look at last year’s Rundown where I outlined the entire 2010 countdown.

Now, on to the songs that missed the cut.


“Shell Games” by Bright Eyes

“Shell Games” by Bright Eyes is track two on The People’s Key, which was released in February of 2011. Bright Eyes, of course, is the brainchild of singer/songwriter extraordinaire Conor Oberst. The album, Bright Eyes’ eighth, was the definition of a solid release. The best song on it is “Shell Games,” a fast-paced lyrical tour-de-force (with even a mention to Sisyphus!).

“At the architect who imagined this
For the everyman, blessed Sisyphus
Slipping steadily into madness
Now that’s the only place to be free”

The song features a Bell X1-like 80’s style chorus, staccato piano chords, and Oberst’s passionate voice. Well done.


“Shake it Out” by Florence and the Machine

Every Teardrop is a Waterfall” by Coldplay

I’m grouping these two songs together because I share similar feelings for both. Supposing I had a little more time with these songs and their respective new albums, they both may have found a way onto the list. These singles are classic releases for both of the bands and both songs are good. I enjoy them both. They are just not top 10 worthy, in my opinion. If I was doing top 10 albums of the year, though, both of these new releases would have found there way onto that list.


“Black” by Rome

And leading the best album of the year list would be Rome. This superior collection of songs from odd supergroup Danger Mouse, Daniele Luppi, Norah Jones, and Jack White is a mix between modern production, spaghetti western, and pure, unadulterated awesomeness. “Black” is one of the better songs off of the album. The album as a whole is wonderful. It is a true listening experience. Taken independently, though, the songs are either instrumental wonders or cool singles. Cool but not top 10 worthy

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