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Class of 2015 – The 100 greatest songs of the year!

18 December, 2015

Once asked in pre-school about my favourite Christmas tradition, the first thing I came to think about was how we always stopped for burgers at a certain restaurant half way into our snowy 10 hour drives up north for the holidays. Maybe not the most logical answer coming from my seven-year-old self considering how long the wishlist posted to Santa Claus was, but obviously what goes on in the mind of a child isn’t always what you expect. These days, much as I still won’t turn down a juicy burger when offered one, I’ve moved on somewhat although my favourite traditions may still be at odds with those of other people. The compiling of the year end list has the past few years slowly grown to become my favourite Christmas tradition. The ever-changing shortlist. The twisting and turning of the running order. The hunt for variation. The risk of leaving something out. Most of all, though, reading what really went on there when magic was made.

Back in the late nineties, when I plowed through Ian MacDonald’s extensive account of The Beatles’ every recorded song, little did I know it would spark this near-obsessive interest in getting acquainted with the way my favourite songs came to be. When I decided to start writing about music some years ago it was clear to me that I needed some sort of input from artists and musicians, not least for the list including the very best songs from the past year. So here we are, closing 2015 before our eyes begin to look forward to 2016. I’m sure we’ll be looking forward to closing 2016 just as much as we loved it this time.

Below you have the 100 songs I just couldn’t get enough of the past 12 months. More than 40 of these performers have been kind enough to exclusively for you and Songs for Whoever tell the tale of how they did it. How they brought to life what tickled my most tender spots. So let yourself sink deeply into their personal accounts of how their songs were created while you listen carefully to the tracks. Don’t rush things, because you’ve got a lot of exciting reading and listening to joyfully combine here. All you have to do is just give in and let it all tickle your tender spots too.

N.B. My deepest gratitude(and apologies for the stalking…) to all the artists and musicians for taking time to contribute the stories told in this list by giving their songs a personal touch, additional dimension and even a new life. You are all number one.

LISTEN TO THE PLAYLIST VIA TIDAL HIFI

100. Julia Holter “Sea Calls Me Home”(from Have You In My Wilderness)

99. Blood Orange “Sandra’s Smile”(single)

98. Chromatics “I Can Never Be Myself When You’re Around”(single)

97. NAO “Bad Blood”(single)

96. Disclosure feat. Lorde “Magnets”(from Caracal)

travellanes

citattecken “I swear the first verse happened as soon as he picked up the guitar. The song is in G and the rest is history.”

95. Travel Lanes “Little Outta Love”(from Let’s Begin To Start Again)

“I was listening to a whole bunch of tunes a friend had sent. His name is Gerry McGoldrick (Napalm Sunday, Solid For Sixty). The majority of them were great and complete. But, he had this one tune that seemed to be in need of a chorus and lyrics. The only thing I could make out was ‘Felt a Little Outta Love’. I told him that I wanted to work on it. It came really easy……the lyrics, the chorus, the bridge. I was really happy with it. I played it to Gerry and he didn’t share my enthusiasm. He had other plans for it……which I truly understand. And yet, I wanted it for the record. It seemed effortless, and I generally go with those kinds of songs.

Recording it was a whole lotta fun. We recorded the basic track for the song as a three piece (John Bicer, Mitch Cojocairu) at Mitch‘s house with no idea who would be playing lead on it. Our guitarist, Derek Feinberg, was on leave and we weren’t sure when, or if, he was coming back. Surprise, surprise, he did come back. And his guitar playing was among the most natural on the record. I swear the first verse happened as soon as he picked up the guitar. The song is in G and the rest is history.”

Frank Brown

94. MONEY “I’ll Be The Night”(single)

93. ANOHNI “4 Degrees”(single)

92. John Grant feat. Tracey Thorn “Disappointing”(from Grey Tickles, Black Pressure)

91. Mikal Cronin “iii) Control”(from MCIII)

90. Courtney Barnett “Pedestrian At Best”(from Sometimes I Sit And Think, And Sometimes I Just Sit)

89. Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats “I Need Never Get Old”(from Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats)

88. The Tallest Man On Earth “Little Nowhere Towns”(from Dark Bird Is Home)

87. CHVRCHES “Clearest Blue”(from Every Open Eye)

86. Tobias Jesso Jr. “Without You”(from Goon)

citattecken “Getting Samantha involved is a pretty simple task for Small Houses. She sings with me whenever we get the chance.”

85. Small Houses feat. Samantha Crain “Seventeen in Roselore”(from Still Talk; Second City)

“A fun thing I like to tell people about this song cites the 3rd verse. ‘Now the ferry way back 88, while John sang Crain and Hearst’. The ‘Ferry’ is in reference to my car, The Cripple Creek Ferry, which comes from a Neil Young song. 88 is a highway that cuts through Illinois. John Davey, a fella that sings on my record, is humming along with songs by Samantha Crain and Cary Ann Hearst (Shovels & Rope). Sort of a loaded couple of lines!

I wrote the song in the wake of moving out of a town in Michigan called Kalamazoo. There are references to places around the area like Water St., and Scio county. Getting Samantha involved is a pretty simple task for Small Houses. She sings with me whenever we get the chance. When we were still recording, Samantha was on her way overseas to do a string of shows with Neutral Milk Hotel. I told her to make sure her layover was in Atlanta so we could fit in a day of catching up. I picked her up from the airport, we went straight to the studio, sang some songs, and within a few hours I was driving back towards the plane.”

Jeremy Quentin

briana

citattecken “There was something with the Casio keyboard beat that I liked.”

84. Briana Marela “Take Care Of Me”(from All Around Us)

“I started out that song with just the chorus, ‘you take care of me like I’m the only one’. I had written the first verse for it, then I felt that I wanted a song with a beat and I had a little Casio keyboard with beats on it. I’d recorded different beats and put them in a computer, then I panned one left and the other right before I put them together and slowed it down a bit. There was something with the beat that I liked. From there I just recorded the vocals I had over it and then started writing chords. There was an earlier demo version that was on a cassette compilation in a magazine called The Believer, a very early version of the song when I just had recorded it. This guy Calvin Johnson from K Records had asked me to put it on the compilation, and I was like ‘okay, it’s not really done yet but I’ll put it out”.

I wrote it about the person I was dating at the time. I’ve really only had two big relationships in my life, I’m kind of flick, I don’t really date people that much. I’m kind of shy and weird. So it was my second big relationship and it was a lot different than my first where I felt like I was the one nurturing the other person a lot, trying to help take care of him. Making sure things were okay for him, he was an artist and kind of unstable. Then the second was almost the opposite, I was the unstable one, frantic and weird and he was always helping me. I felt it was so nice to be helped and have someone who made things right when you were just feeling helpless and distraught.”

– Briana Marela

83. Låpsley “Brownlow”(from Understudy EP)

82. Ghostface Killah & Adrian Younge feat. Vince Staples “Get The Money”(from Twelve Reasons To Die II)

81. Ezra Furman “Restless Year”(from Perpetual Motion People)

80. Beach House “10:37″(from Depression Cherry)

79. Father John Misty “Strange Encounter”(from I Love You, Honeybear)

78. Protomartyr “Pontiac 87″(from The Agent Intellect)

77. Two Gallants “Some Trouble”(from We Are Undone)

76. The White Buffalo “Last Call To Heaven”(from Love And The Death Of Damnation)

75. Drenge “We Can Do What We Want”(from Undertow)

74. Metric “The Shade”(from Pagans In Vegas)

73. Lady Lamb “Billions Of Eyes”(from After)

72. Ghostpoet feat. Nadine Shah “X Marks The Spot”(from Shedding Skin)

71. Years & Years “King”(from Communion)

70. SOAK “Sea Creatures”(from Before We Forgot How To Dream)

69. Vetiver “Loose Ends”(from Complete Strangers)

68. Novo Amor “Anchor”(single)

67. Empress Of “Water Water”(from Me)

66. Petite Noir “Just Breathe”(from La Vie Est Belle/Life Is Beautiful)

65. Peace “Lost On Me”(from Happy People)

big data

citattecken “We envisioned a character that becomes fed up with all the technology that consumes his life, and his ‘perfect holiday’ is to disconnect completely…”

64. Big Data feat. Twin Shadow “Perfect Holiday”(from 2.0)

“With ‘Perfect Holiday’, as with most of my songs, I wrote the instrumental parts first before getting together with George (Twin Shadow) to work on the vocals. I started with the bassline first, and then built the track around it. Musically, I wanted it to feel menacing but also trancelike in its repetition, and I wanted the drums to punch as hard as possible. Lyrically, we wrote the song around the idea of unplugging. We envisioned a character that becomes fed up with all the technology that consumes his life, and his ‘perfect holiday’ is to disconnect completely and return to his roots.”

– Alan Wilkis

citattecken “To me this song has a vibe to it. It always makes me happy and it is so fun to do live.”

63. OMVR “Up In The Air”(single)

“The song was originally written by Dag and Halvor (also known as the duo Skinny Days). It was our first time meeting and the start of a great relation both musically and on a personal level. We rewrote a little bit of the song and changed some of the structure and just recorded it. Had so much fun doing this track with them and the audience always responded to this song when we did our live shows. 

To me this song has a vibe to it. It always makes me happy and it is so fun to do live. It’s a little bit outside what I normally would do, but I guess that’s what I love about the track. It’s just a fun song!”

– Omar Mohamed Ahmed

62. Ducktails “Surreal Exposure”(from St. Catherine)

61. Birdy + Rhodes “Let It All Go”(from Wishes)

60. Toro Y Moi “Spell It Out”(from What For?)

59. Bop English “Struck Matches”(from Constant Bop)

58. Julien Baker “Everybody Does”(from Sprained Ankle)

57. Van Hunt “Emotional Criminal”(from The Fun Rises, The Fun Sets)

56. Everything Everything “Regret”(from Get To Heaven)

55. The Japanese House “Cool Blue”(from Clean)

54. Elohim “She Talks Too Much”(single)

53. Astronauts, Etc “Eye To Eye”(from Mind Out Wandering)

52. Ben Khan “1000”(from 1000 EP)

ivan

citattecken “…we view those who are smiling all the time, as the most trustworthy. But I have found the opposite to be true.”

51. Ivan & Alyosha  “It’s All Just Pretend”(from It’s All Just Pretend)

“In a nut shell, the song is about letting your true colors show. Being completely transparent to those who are observing your life. So many times we view those who are smiling all the time, as the most trustworthy. But I have found the opposite to be true. The people who have inspired me most, are the ones who are well aware of the troubles in life.”

– Pete Wilson

LISTEN TO THE PLAYLIST VIA TIDAL HIFI

Golden Ticket

citattecken “…the boogie down funk feel made sense. Definitely one of our favorite records to perform live.”

50. Golden Rules “Down South Boogie”(from Golden Ticket)

“‘Down South Boogie’ was one of the last songs we recorded for the album, after we already assumed it was finished. The beat was infectious from the beginning before there was any lyrics or idea meant for it. We both live on the South end of our cities and just representing that with the boogie down funk feel made sense. Definitely one of our favorite records to perform live. The crowd’s reaction as soon as the beat drop is always a gratifying feeling.”

– Eric Biddines

The Charlatans Modern Nature

citattecken “After all, Jon had brain cancer. After he died, there was a real kind of lightness. In some ways everyone felt that he was in a better place.”

49. The Charlatans “Come Home Baby”(from Modern Nature)

“We hadn’t made an album in five years, though we all wanted to, but with Jon‘s illness it was difficult to start. He wanted to, but everyone else thought it wasn’t a good idea for him as he was in no shape. He really wanted to be involved, so we did some jams and stuff like that to keep him as busy as we could but there was never gonna be an album made in that situation. It was just too dark. After all, Jon had brain cancer. After he died, there was a real kind of lightness. In some ways everyone felt that he was in a better place. He was suffering, not having any real medication during chemotherapy and radiation for three years, then the cancer was in remission before coming back twice as much. After his funeral in August we did a concert in October and felt we’d been through it all and went back to the studio to see what could happen. There, we all sat down on sofas, pretty much put a microphone in the middle and started singing and it just came out. It was beautiful and positive and even though it was in the middle of winter it sounded like summer. Like it was recorded in the Caribbean with rays of sunshine, and it was amazing.

‘Come Home Baby’ was an instrumental that Tony brought in, it sounded like a traditional Charlatans song to me and I didn’t take notice at it too much until I was in the car driving from Manchester to Northwitch to go and see my family. I sat there listening to it and suddenly just thought ‘there’s something really good about this’, something that just transcends the traditional us, something a bit more spiritual and I just got the lyrics trying to write about my little boy. As with most of my lyrics they could mean more than one thing, quite dreamy I suppose, and I think a lot of people thought it was about Jon. It’s kind of bizarre. There’s only one song on the album that makes me think about Jon and that’s ‘Trouble Understanding’, but that’s just a song about nature, really. But it’s good with double meanings, isn’t it? Half the time I don’t know what the songs are about, I’m the kind of writer that lets things unfold and if I let it be like that naturally it seems to give more. If you try to rush it or crump its style it’s like nurturing something, really.”

Tim Burgess

lp

citattecken “I was at a place in my personal relationship where we hadn’t broken up but I knew something was off.”

48. LP “Muddy Waters”(single)

“This song came about like a storm really. It was all written in one quick day (except for the bridge) with Josh Record, an amazing British singer/songwriter. We met at a sorta crappy recording studio in the middle of London and talked about wanting it to have an old field recording vibe as far as the tempo and the sadness. We were searching for some good sounds and a vibe but were coming up short at the studio so we took a cab to his house out in Crystal Palace and had a few beers and it popped out pretty quick. I was at a place in my personal relationship where we hadn’t broken up but I knew something was off. That song kind of leapt out of my subconscious onto the page. Like any good collaborator, Josh was right there with me and we built the track with that mood in the room. I had the title Muddy Waters in my phone and knew it would be cool if I could get it right. Not to mention impossible to google!! Well done!

Then Mike Del Rio who later produced it fleshed it out with even more moodiness and when we put some amazing gospel singer friends of mine on it and it really just came together.”

– LP

The-Slow-Show-White-Water

citattecken “…performing the song live I’ve realised it’s an incredibly sad song about a very unhappy time.”

47. The Slow Show “Paint You Like A Rose”(from White Water)

“‘Paint you like a rose’ is a personal account of a tired relationship. It’s a song about taking things for granted and how time can change a perspective, weather an identity. I think the central line in the song sums up it’s meaning perfectly, in a very straight forward way:

‘I’ll paint you like a rose if you’d just stand still
Just like you used to
All those things you know
About me are true
But they’re wasted on you’

I wrote the song in Manchester, in one sitting, very quickly. I didn’t spend much time giving it any meaning or thinking about it’s origin or inspiration. Listening back and performing the song live I’ve realised it’s an incredibly sad song about a very unhappy time. Strangely, I still enjoy performing the song. It’s very cathartic and it still feels very honest. I hope people can relate to this song or at least take something from it.”

– Rob Goodwin

darrenhanlon

citattecken “The day it was recorded, in an old Church in New Orleans, was the first time it was played through properly. I found the double bass player in a club the night before…”

46. Darren Hanlon “Halley’s Comet, 1986″(from Where Did You Come From?)

“This song came whilst I was holed up in the suburbs of Nashville trying to write other songs. The couple upstairs would fight a lot so I’d go out walking the streets in the steaming heat feeling homesick. At night when I feel like this I tend to look at the stars, knowing they link us all, and that if my family looks up in the night sky they might see the same ones as me (the American sky overlaps with the Australian sky at the edges). That’s when the idea for the song hit me.

To attempt to see Halley’s Comet back in 1986 one had to locate the Pleiades constellation. It’s the one I can most easily identify now, mainly because of those cold nights in the front yard. I was heartened to discover it also perches in the American sky like an old friend, albeit in the early morning as the horizon starts to lighten with the sunrise.

This song might be one of the longest on the album but it’s the one that came to me the quickest, fully formed. These are always the most magical for the writer. The day it was recorded, in an old Church in New Orleans, was the first time it was played through properly. I found the double bass player in a club the night before and asked if he wanted to play. Due to such haste I neglected to fact-check and therefore screwed up my astral navigational instructions. I sang, “to the right of the Hyades, to the left of the Pleiades,” when in fact it is the opposite. I realized too late and now, I guess, I’ve lost any Astronomer fans I once had.

The only thing that was added later was the accordion as I was mixing it in Portland, by my good friend Jenee Conlee. Now sometimes when I play it I get tears in my eyes. My parents still live in the same house, and the lady still lives next door. I’ll be seeing them all when I go home for Christmas.”

– Darren Hanlon

billie

citattecken “…it sort of turned into this super sad song I guess about how words can really affect people, and not for the right reasons…”

45. Billie Marten “Bird”(from As Long As EP)

“‘Bird’ was written with Olivia Broadfield and was a last resort sort of song. We hadn’t come up with anything all day until we switched from guitars to piano and I started singing nonsense words way up high and it sort of turned into this super sad song I guess about how words can really affect people, and not for the right reasons; how you can feel kind of trapped/caught in your own space all the time even when no-one is actually with you.”

– Billie Marten

44. Dornik “Drive”(from Dornik)

43. Eliot Sumner “After Dark”(single)

42. The Helio Sequence “Upward Mobility”(from The Helio Sequence)

ALBERTACROSS_ALBERTACROSS-500PIX

citattecken “…earlier on it was more electronic. We used a lot of old 70/80s synthesizers…”

41. Alberta Cross “Isolation”(from Alberta Cross)

“‘Isolation’ was one of the first songs I wrote for the new record. It went through a lot of phases. At one point earlier on it was more electronic. We used a lot of old 70/80s synthesizers etc. We ended up rerecording it again pretty live up in the studio Dreamland in Upstate New York where the whole record was recorded. Dreamland is an old Church that they converted into a music studio. I feel like the room there really captured the vibe of the song and the live vibe mixed with us adding some more modern sounds back in Midtown a few weeks later made the tune what it is. Lyrically it kinda talks for itself. It’s mostly about the feeling of isolation and escapism.”

Petter Ericson Stakee

cduncanarchitect_1437940242

citattecken “…I was listening to a lot of Fever Ray, which definitely influenced the track.”

40. C. Duncan “Say”(from Architect)

“When I wrote ‘Say’ I was listening to a lot of Fever Ray, which definitely influenced the track. I wrote and recorded it in my home studio. I wanted to keep the chord sequence simple and have more rhythmically driven vibe, whilst maintaining the melodic and choral elements used in my other songs. ‘Say’ is about escaping from the city and running away to a distant (almost utopian) place.”

Chris Duncan

django

citattecken “The drum beat is made of live drums mixed with chopped samples.”

39. Django Django “First Light”(from Born Under Saturn)

“‘First Light’ was the first song we finished from the new album. It seemed appropriate to use it first given the title! So it was the first single. The lyrics are all about new beginnings and fresh starts but it has a darker undertone to it. It started with a synth hook that Tommy wrote then the chorus came much later. The drum beat is made of live drums mixed with chopped samples. The vocals are sometimes tracked four times and split. I like 1960s and 70s vocal recording methods to try to emulate that.”

Dave Maclean

surferblood

citattecken “…I was sick with a fever and sleeping out on the couch. I woke up delirious and wandered into the kitchen where I got into a conversation with my father…”

38. Surfer Blood “Island”(from 1000 Palms)

“‘Island’ is one of the songs that’s been in the back of our mind for years, and was considered for our Warner Bros album Pythons. We’ve always liked the chorus and the eerie, dream-like quality, but couldn’t fit the pieces together in the right way. When we started writing for our newest record: 1000 Palms, we decided to use the song in its very first incarnation, the version we preferred before any producers/ label people heard it and started moving things around. In hindsight, I’m glad we waited to record this song on our own terms.

I wrote the lyrics about coming home to my parents house after a long tour, I was sick with a fever and sleeping out on the couch. I woke up delirious and wandered into the kitchen where I got into a conversation with my father, I don’t remember what we were talking about exactly, but it was a very strange experience. I went and jotted down some lyrics afterwards, and didn’t look at them again until weeks later. It was just a few verses, but they ended up becoming the foundation of the song.”

– John Paul Pitts

cyril

citattecken “…she hopped in her car and spent a majority of the day driving between Santa Monica and Ventura. The melody and lyrics clicked in her head while she was driving.”

37. Cyril Hahn feat. Kotomi “Grace”(from Begin EP)

“The song started out as an instrumental early this year. I knew that I would want somebody to sing over it from the start and layed out the song in a pop structure with verse, chorus, bridge etc. I sent it over to Kotomi along with a couple of other demos but she was instantly drawn to Grace. Kotomi told me that when she first heard the demo, she hopped in her car and went for a drive along the Pacific Coast Highway and spent a majority of the day driving between Santa Monica and Ventura. The melody and lyrics clicked in her head while she was driving. With a voice Memo and a notepad by her side, she’d pull over and jot down words as she thought of them. She then recorded the vocals in her living room at home later on.

When I asked Kotomi about the lyrics, she told me the following: ‘I think everyone naturally gets attached to their plans and expectations for their lives, and also to their perception of themselves…and the more attached you are, the more difficult it is to adjust when change inevitably comes our way. So just move…embrace change, and enjoy the process. Maybe the short version of that would be it’s about being fluide, embracing change, and enjoying the process.'”

– Cyril Hahn

sonlux

citattecken “We invited Moses Sumney into the studio to emulate the manipulated flute parts with his voice.”

36. Son Lux “You Don’t Know Me”(from Bones)

“‘You Don’t Know Me’ emerged from a sketch I started on the very first day of work on the record. Playing back a recording of a Japanese flute at different speeds, then layering the takes, I built a series of chords. Later, we invited Moses Sumney into the studio to emulate the manipulated flute parts with his voice. After this, I recorded the lead vocal (while developing laryngitis). Hanna Benn swooped in at the last minute, channeled Mariah Carey, Palestrina and Schoenberg, and wrote and sung all the amazing stuff that closes the song.”

– Ryan Lott

stevenaclark

citattecken “I wanted the song to have a classic soulful rock feel to it, like something from the 70s.”

35. Steven A. Clark “Lonely Roller”(from The Lonely Roller)

“The song started with the beat idea. It was a very simple four on the floor rhythm, then I added the fake guitar melody. The line ‘flew out to Vegas for the weekend’ just randomly popped into my head and the lyrics and melodies developed from there. I was thinking about if I could be anywhere and go crazy where would that be? Vegas was the answer.

I wanted the song to have a classic soulful rock feel to it, like something from the 70s. The song is pretty old and has been reproduced a couple times but once we decided to add the song to the album we took in into to the studio to add more elements. My friend Albert Vargas, who is a great bass player, completely changed the dynamic of the song with the bass line he added. The bass makes the song great.”

– Steven A. Clark

34. The Wombats “Be Your Shadow”(from Glitterbug)

33. Kurt Vile “Pretty Pimpin”(from b’lieve i’m goin down…)

32. Bully “Trying”(from Feels Like)

vvbrown

citattecken “The song is about the gay rights movement centered around the vogueing scene, which took place in Brooklyn, New York.”

31. V V “Shift”(from Glitch)

“‘Shift’ was written in 6 hours and produced in 2 days. It was a very natural process. The song is about the gay rights movement centered around the vogueing scene, which took place in Brooklyn, New York. The song is about empowerment and shifting perceptions whilst eradicating discrimination and homophobia. The song lyrics are about fighting for those rights and empowerment as a collective. This doesn’t have to be directed just at homophobia but at human rights in general. The vogueing scene was very much dipped in house music and we wanted to personify that in the beat and the feel of the track. It needed to feel like a club in the 80’s/90’s of underground New York.

Brutal, aggressive, but powerful but still feminine. It opens with ‘I will be the girl that you will dream about’ – The dream after all is true equality where no one judges anyone and you can be free to be truly yourself. We kept the structure open, but wanted the verses to have an almost medieval quality to the arrangement of the melodies. There needed to be a consistency with the operatic vocal tones very much like the last album but needed to make you feel like you were vogueing and feeling fabulous like the political statement made by the vogueing dancer. Nearly native and I have a lot of musical chemistry and this song was the last song on the album, we didn’t know where it came from but on a Tuesday afternoon it just did. “

– V V Brown

beachslang

citattecken “This was me listening to way too much Jesus & Mary Chain and having a go at writing a loud pop song.”

30. Beach Slang “Bad Art & Weirdo Ideas”(from The Things We Do To Find People Who Feel Like Us)

“This song is for a friend who really needed to hear it. It’s strange how really brilliant some people can be and just never know it. I wanted to remind her. I don’t know, Stephen Merritt said this thing once about there only being two types of Music that matter – pop and avant garde. This was me listening to way too much Jesus & Mary Chain and having a go at writing a loud pop song. I think maybe I even got some of it right. Who knows?”

– James Alex

ghostculture

citattecken “Since the release of Depeche Mode’s song ‘Get The Balance Right’, Detroit artists have been influenced by the more European sound that they had pioneered. I felt inspired to follow…”

29. Ghost Culture “Arms”(from Ghost Culture)

“‘Arms’ came about after listening to Omar S. and other artists on his FXHE label based in Detroit, some tracks of which I like to DJ. Since the release of Depeche Mode’s song ‘Get The Balance Right’, Detroit artists have been influenced by the more European sound that they had pioneered. I felt inspired to follow these footsteps and try to create something with a good middle ground between the two; a strong but ‘bouncy’ and spacious rhythm section, a held but flowing bass line, and a vocal centre-piece.

The bass line and the top line came first, followed by the vocal melody and then the lyrics last. This is a process I used for the whole album, it did make it fairly difficult, in that I then had to fit lyrics into a pre written melody syllable by syllable. Luckily, I had only managed to write one line of melody for this track, but I liked that limitation and felt that the song didn’t need any more than that.

The production took many forms over the course of making the track, I even tried one version with live drums and bass. The end section is a chance for the song to work well live, this moment always works on stage because it is a break from concentrating on the melody and a chance to dance a bit. The lyrics are about a person who you trust and is never wrong, but also who you are unnervingly fixated on, and can’t shake it. The end result works well for me and was worth the experimenting”

– James Greenwood

lowerdens

citattecken “It’s a scenario that’s played out time and time again in my life, as I love quite a few self-destructive, stubborn people.”

28. Lower Dens “Ondine”(from Escape From Evil)

“Ondine is unique in that the whole band wrote it together in a single day’s writing session (except for the lyrics.) In the demo version we recorded that day, it’s entirely intact. When we worked together on those early sessions, someone would write a bass line (in this case it was me), then Nate added drums, then Will or Walker (in this case, Walker) added guitar, and finally I added my complimentary guitar part. When Geoff played the bass line on his synth, the preset he loaded already had a delay on it. The delay for whatever reason added a kind of timeless melancholy, and from there, it was very easy to complete the song. It was one of those things that feels like it’s writing itself. I wrote the lyrics and recorded them the next day. I still don’t really know what it’s about exactly, but I’ve come to understand that it has something to do with feeling a deep concern for a loved one, trying desperately to help them, and realizing with a kind of futile frustration that they can’t or won’t accept your help. It’s a scenario that’s played out time and time again in my life, as I love quite a few self-destructive, stubborn people.

The song was difficult to record precisely because we already had a demo version of it that felt perfect. We made a more or less faithful studio version of it with our recording engineer, Chris Freeland, and our mixing engineer/co-producer Chris Coady, and finally sent it to Ariel Rechtshaid. He’d liked the song from the beginning and tried adding a lot of rich, dark elements to it to help it keep the feeling from the demo. Maybe he intended for us to just use a couple of things, but we ended up keeping almost all of it. It put the song in a slightly different, parallel universe. I took the recordings Ariel sent, edited them, sent them back to Chris C., and he mixed it.

It’s one of my favorite songs because so much of the band and our favorite producers and engineers all had a hand in it, but it remained a very solid, focused piece of work. To me that says that we were all silently agreed on what it should be, and working together toward the same thing. It’s a rare and precious thing for me for that reason.”

Jana Hunter

moonduo

citattecken “The album Shadow of the Sun was heavily influenced by a lot of dystopian literature that I was reading at the time.”

27. Moon Duo “Zero”(from Shadow Of The Sun)

“I don’t tend to analyze our songs, or think too hard about what they mean until we’re done with a record. The album Shadow of the Sun was heavily influenced by a lot of dystopian literature that I was reading at the time. (The song ‘Ice’ was named directly after the novel by Ana Kavan, for example). So that fed into the lyrics of the album and also the sounds, as we were playing with mixing computer, synthesized, future sounds, with regular old fashioned rock instrumentation. (In good dystopian sci-fi there’s often the old, the ruins, mixed with the new.) The song ‘Zero’ contains all of these elements, with a dash of nihilism thrown in for good measure. I’ll let the listeners interpret the song’s meaning as they will, but listening to it now I hear that I was trying to balance this sense of despair that can be overwhelming at times, with a sort of nonchalance about the whole thing (life, existence). It’s pretty dark, I guess.

Likewise, sonically we were trying to balance a lot of disparate elements that were pulling the song in different directions. We had a hard time mixing this song in particular, getting the groove to balance just right. We wanted it to flow well despite the herky-jerkyness of some of the parts. It has an awkwardness to it that we didn’t want obscured.”

– Ripley Johnson

ryley

citattecken “We had to edit out that jam section in the end. It went on forever…”

26. Ryley Walker “Sweet Satisfaction”(from Primrose Green)

“I came up with that in the middle of winter in a desolate Chicago last year, it gets really cold there, way below zero, three feet of snow, dangerous to go outside. I think it’s kind of a cover poet drunk song, a desperate song. You have seven or eight drinks and all of a sudden you think you’re this poet and can reach into a woman’s heart with this poem. It comes from that standing point. A drunk leaning against the wall poet. We had to cut that song down, because originally it was like fifteen minutes long. Maybe in the box set in twenty years! I like that version better but the label thought there was no room left on the record. We had to edit out that jam section in the end. It went on forever, not in a bad way, I thought it was pretty cool with the strings and that bit that sounded like Terry Riley.”

Ryley Walker

25. Luke Sital-Singh “I Was Low”(from The Breakneck Speed Of Tomorrow)

24. Shearwater “Quiet Americans”(single)

23. Benjamin Clementine “The People And I”(from At Least For Now)

22. Car Seat Headrest “Something Soon”(from Teens Of Style)

21. Amason “Flygplatsen”(från Flygplatsen EP)

bluerosecode

citattecken “…I had been in rehab in Bournemouth, homeless, at the end of a relationship, spiritually bankrupt, without a pot to piss in…”

20. Blue Rose Code “Grateful”(single)

“In the final stages of a six month recording process, deep in the Scottish Borders at Gran’s House Studio, I had driven nearly five hundred miles from Dorset, in England, to prepare for a session with Nashville Gospel legends, The McCrary Sisters. I’d taken a punt and speculatively asked their UK agent, Andy Shearer, whether they’d be available during the Summer to sing on my new record. I knew they were over touring and for the festivals. In truth, I never really expected anything to come from my asking but I’ve learned that if you never ask, you’ll never know. Anyway, I had maybe six songs that I wanted to try with the Sisters and I was very excited to have them in the studio following day. I’d never met them but knew their reputation, having worked with the likes of Stevie Wonder and Mary J Blige.

I was exhausted after spending the whole day driving but, finally, in the studio alone at midnight, in the peak of Summer in the Scottish countryside, I sat and reflected on how lucky I was. Only a short while before, I had been in rehab in Bournemouth, homeless, at the end of a relationship, spiritually bankrupt, without a pot to piss in and now, here I was sat at the piano and at the end of recording an album that I loved with the best musicians I’d ever worked with.

Truly, I was grateful.

I opened the piano and played a refrain, the lyrics and melody just fell out of me, ‘When I wake in the morning, now I try to be thankful. Did you know that I almost died? From a fire that’s in my blood, now I just try to be peaceful. I’ve been burning up endlessly’.

The notion that I’ve continued to write and record in spite of the industry is something that I feel strongly. The live and online support that I receive, the radio play, that’s what sustains me. It’s the listeners with whom I have a love and connection, not the people that make value judgements based on aesthetic saleability, for whom I write. ‘I’ll never be cool, I’ll never be good looking. I’ll never be rich, I know, but, Lord, I am grateful’. A hymn of defiance to the labels and management companies who have the final say on ‘success’. To be honest, it’s a broad theme, one of acceptance and taking comfort in the blessings we have.

I continued writing on for an hour, or so. The song was written almost entirely in that one session. It very rarely happens like that but, when it does, it really is something special. It was the last song written for the record and hadn’t existed at all when we started but it summed up all that I was feeling in that moment. I’m a lucky dog. I put the pen down and went to bed and, in fact, even as the ladies were being driven down from Edinburgh to the studio the next morning, I was emailing a rough demo over to the band and still fine tuning the lyrics. It was quite extraordinary.

The final cut features Angus Lyon on keys, Euan Burton on bass, John Lowrie on drums and MG Boulter on pedal steel. Believe it or not, we recorded the ladies’ backs to the rough demo and then when we got the band in to record a few days later I said to them, ‘I want a D’Angelo vibe’, you know, that minimal rhythm section, and a hard kick. The last song written became the first single released and, actually, the song only appears in an abridged form as an intro to the album. I love it.

As a foot note, I feel like I need to address the use of Christian language in the the song. Appropriately, I tried to write my own Scots Gospel song for the ladies to sing. I wasn’t raised with religion and I’m not religious. I would, however, respect and argue for an individual’s right to worship and, frankly, it’s really none of my business.

Following the single’s release, I had a message from a guy who told me he was ‘put off by the use of the word ‘Lord’. He asked me ‘why must being grateful be connected to God’. For me, he was looking for problems where there are none. It’s artistic license and it’s my prerogative as a songwriter to write the song as I feel it.

No offence intended or ought to be taken. Maybe just take a few deep breaths and count to ten. And relax.”

– Ross Wilson

alltvvins

citattecken “…I had about 100 loops all doing different things, it was a bit of a mess really.”

19. All Tvvins “Thank You”(single)

“The bones of ‘Thank You’ was written pretty much in two hours in my house in Dublin, it started from a crazy project in Ableton where I had about 100 loops all doing different things, it was a bit of a mess really. Conor called into my place and had a look through the loops, straight away he picked out one loop and we got working.

I programmed a rough beat to the loop and Conor sat with a bass and microphone, he pretty much sketched out the whole track the way it is now in a couple of runs and had most of the lyrics as well. At the time we wrote ‘Thank You’ we were writing a couple of songs a week. I remember when it was finished we looked at each other and said ‘Cool, see you tomorrow’.

I spent rest of the day doing some additional production ideas on the track and guitar. I think once we both had that version and spent some time with it we both knew we had a good song. We played it live over the next few weeks and tweaked some things but it never really went too far from the original demo. For recording we tracked it in Oxford with Jim Abbiss producing the track.”

– Lar Kaye

haelos

citattecken “…the classic James Brown ‘Funky Drummer’ break suited the mood we were going for. It was raw against the melancholy of the chords and added a touch of nostalgia…”

18. Hælos “Earth Not Above”(from Earth Not Above EP)

“‘Earth Not Above’ was one of the first tracks we wrote together while we were still working in Dom‘s flat. Dom was playing around with some chords on the Fender Rhodes we had just bought and came upon the descending chord line that lies underneath the verses. We did some sample hunting and decided that the classic James Brown ‘Funky Drummer’ break suited the mood we were going for. It was raw against the melancholy of the chords and added a touch of nostalgia which we liked. Those two elements really provided the main body of the tune that we built out from. Dom played around a fair bit with a stripped back version of the groove so we could bring the break in on the chorus for impact. I think the melody for the verses also came pretty early, they have a disco feel which was what we were playing around with a lot at the time. I think a few of the lyrics started to come out around then and an early theme of return and redemption started to emerge. Dom played in some of the synths and strings and we worked in the chorus hook line which now sits at the end of the track: ‘Some people need healing / Some people need love/ Some light for that feeling / From earth not above’. Its about feeling totally alone in the universe with no faith, no love: utterly broken and then being shown a way back from that.

After living with what we had done for a couple of weeks we decided the song needed a new chorus and the soaring melody ‘Oh is this what we have become?’ was added by in Lotti. It was one of those moments in the studio where she just came out with this lick and we all instantly jumped on it. Dom stripped out the drum track underneath so it felt like more of a drop and I wrote in that introspective questioning lyric that spins the whole song into an elegy to coming back from the edge. After Dom and Lotti tracked the chorus Lotti wrote in her diving harmony on the verses over our vocals. We added in the string break before the end as part of the general rearrangement / distilling process each of our songs goes through. We worked hard on the arrangement of the outro gradually reintroducing each element of the song over the blaring arps. We added in the ‘Some people need healing’ vocal over that which turned it into this epic conclusion to everything that the song is about.”

– Arthur Delaney

thelegends

citattecken “Skillnaden den här gången var att jag spelade in allt på väldigt kort tid och skrev texterna samtidigt som jag gjorde låtarna, dessutom sjöng jag in dem samtidigt vilket gjorde att det blev mer känsla.”

17. The Legends “Keep Him”(from It’s Love)

“Hela skivan är ju nästan samma tema, en kärleksskiva. Skillnaden den här gången var att jag spelade in allt på väldigt kort tid och skrev texterna samtidigt som jag gjorde låtarna, dessutom sjöng jag in dem samtidigt vilket gjorde att det blev mer känsla. Ofta när man sitter och skriver en låt är det just då man har grundkänslan. Man mumlar några ord, lägger några ackord och en melodi. Även om man inte har de orden så är det något man vill förmedla just i den stunden och det känns som att man lyckas bättre när man kan göra klart allt på en gång och sätta känslan direkt på pränt. Jag tycker det är ganska svårt att få till sång men den här gången gick det enklare, det kom bara ut så som jag ville att det skulle låta. Annars brukar det vara ett rysligt filande. Egentligen skulle ‘Keep Him’ ha varit en duett med Erika Forster från Au Revoir Simone, något som skivbolaget föreslog, men den versionen ströks av olika anledningar.”

Johan Angergård

natalieprass

citattecken “…the strings, Trey really knocked that out of the park… We referenced Gal Costa and her version of “Baby”, the[Caetano Veloso] song on her 1969 self titled album.”

16. Natalie Prass “Violently”(from Natalie Prass)

“I wrote that song so fast. That’s the only song I wrote by myself in class, I was at college at the time and I wrote the lyrics and the melody in my head. So I had to take a bathroom break and sneak off down the hallway! For some reason I like the echo-y sound in the bathroom when I’m alone, that’s when all the ideas come! Kind of weird, ha ha! Basically it’s about longing and wanting somebody but you can’t have them, you’re tired of pretending that you’re just a friend. There’s just all these reasons why you can’t be with that person. The recording was moving, quite a heavy one. 

Regarding the strings, Trey really knocked that out of the park… We referenced Gal Costa and her version of “Baby”, the[Caetano Veloso] song on her 1969 self titled album. The songs sound nothing like eachother, but the only thing we wanted to capture was the swelling, the building of that song and how the strings kept getting bigger and bigger with this huge release at the end. We were all obsessed with that album. The piano is played by Daniel Clarke who’s in Ryan Adams‘ band. What’s pretty weird with Daniel and me is I didn’t think I knew him when he came in to play on the record. Then I started playing in Jenny Lewis’ band and Ryan and Jenny did a tour together when I found that Daniel was there, he who played on my record. Then it turned into me telling my sister about him and how crazy it was that he was in Ryan’s band, and she said ‘Daniel Clarke? I know him, I had a huge crush on him when he was at your thirteenth birthday party!’, I was like ‘What??’!!! So I have pictures of me, him and my sister from when I was thirteen in my old photo albums! And now we’re sitting here together on tour! Really freaky.”

– Natalie Prass

!!!

citattecken “A disco odyssey of sorts, in the way that only disco songs can odyssize. starting as a ballad and ending as a full on disco jam session.”

15. !!! “Freedom ’15″(from As If)

“A disco odyssey of sorts, in the way that only disco songs can odyssize. starting as a ballad and ending as a full on disco jam session. It references the days when disco session groups could stretch out and lay in the pocket for the whole sides of disco 12″ singles. We really stretched out on this one in fact and cut it down to as much as we could possibly bare. A shining example of what we can do live.”

– Nic Offer

torres

citattecken “…Adrian Utley added some blue light saber energy magic.”

14. Torres “Ferris Wheel”(from Sprinter)

“‘Ferris Wheel’ is a song I wrote when I was in college. It’s the only one on the new record (Sprinter) that was written before my debut was even recorded. I recorded it to tape with the intention of putting it on my self-titled record, but it was out of place with the rest of the songs and I shelved it. Then when I was writing my second album, I ended up reimagining the sonic palette of the song and falling in love with it all over again. It took on some space-western, John Carpenter-esque characteristics when I re-recorded it, especially when Adrian Utley added some blue light saber energy magic. The new direction resulted in the song being a surprisingly cohesive choice for Sprinter.”

– Mackenzie Scott

crocodiles

citattecken “We wanted the rhythm to sound like Tito Puente playing with Einsteurzende Neubaten.”

13. Crocodiles “Crybaby Demon”(from Boys)

“‘Crybaby Demon’ was our first experimentation with latin rhythms. We took a percussion sample from a salsa record and basically wrote the song around it. The title was pinched from a Charles Plymell poem and the words were sort of stream of consciousness, although a story eventually took shape. The demo of it had much more traditional latin percussion on it but when we got to Mexico City to record the album for real our producer Martin Thulin challenged us come up with something more unorthodox. What we eventually came up with was replacing the congas with trashcans. We wanted the rhythm to sound like Tito Puente playing with Einsteurzende Neubaten. We were trying to write our ‘lowrider’ and this is probably the closest we’ll get.”

Brandon Melchez

onlyyou

citattecken “‘Let me burn’ is sort of my way of accepting that I was losing my grip.”

12. Only You “Let Me Burn”(single)

“‘Let Me Burn’ was written after a fall out with a band I was in at the time. I’d moved from Oakland to Los Angeles wounded and wound up. I’d just been turned onto Charles Bradley, I really wanted to pour some soul into my own music, so I started writing a batch of heavy songs that conveyed what I was going through. This song in particular is about being so down and out there with my depression, I turned to smoking a lot of wax for a while. I had fallen in love with this nice guy, he was leading me on, I was looking for a way to erase wanting him, erase missing my old band. I didn’t want to feel what I was feeling, I knew things were kind of falling apart etc. ‘Let me burn’ is sort of my way of accepting that I was losing my grip.

Originally I recorded it with Tim Green [Fucking Champs] in Grass Valley, we had a stellar line up, but that recording never got picked up so I tracked it again in Los Angeles with John Alagia [producer to John Mayer, Dave Matthews]. Eventually I asked friends here in LA if they would release it, my friend Mark Roe helped me direct my own video for the song, it was super cathartic.”

– Rachel Fannan

nodisco

citattecken “We broke up in her car, and this song tells the story…”

11. No! Disco “Your Orange Car”(from Just Visiting)

“We wrote this song about a year and a half ago. The song is mostly autobiographical about a relationship I had with a girl. We broke up in her car, and this song tells the story of the break up. The break-up was mostly amicable, but the line ‘i know, you know and we know our best is not enough, when it comes down to being us’ tells of how we tried to make it work but it wasn’t meant to be.

We wanted it to be the first single because its really catchy and really good fun to play. We felt it showed off a number of styles and were glad that people like it.”

– Jack Cross

laurastevenson

citattecken “…I decided to confront those feelings and kick my own ass about it…”

10. Laura Stevenson “Jellyfish”(from Cocksure)

“This song came out of a time in the past year when I was full of anxiety about what I was doing, I was getting really caught up in measuring my own achievements up against those of my peers and it was fueling this depressive spell. First of all, it was really shameful to even do that in the first place and that was making me feel so bad that it was keeping me from making anything and I was just really becoming a waste of space in my own home. So, I decided to confront those feelings and kick my own ass about it and, even though I continue to struggle with it, writing the song definitely helped me a lot. Also it’s really fun to play.”

Laura Stevenson

baio

citattecken “It was a test for me to do something catchy but still sounded exciting. I came up with phrases like ‘it is what it is until it was what it was’.”

9. Baio “Sister of Pearl”(from The Names)

“I just wanted there to be a throw-back, old-school pop song, sort of an exercise trying to write one. It’s one of those things when a turn of phrase pops into your head. Something simple, with three words, like ‘sister of pearl’. This can be some sort of character. A reference to ‘Mother of Pearl’ by Roxy Music, which is one of my favourite songs of all time. And I thought ‘that could be a title of a song from 1963 or the late fifties’, I think it’s evocative in that way. Then I tried to write throw-back lyrics, the opening line was ‘Think I might forget it, gonna write it down’, that was like something from another era. Whenever I try to remember stuff I never write it down, I put it in my phone. I wanted there to be more organic instruments, I played acoustic guitar on it, I wanted it to have very straight-forward lyrics basically saying ‘be who you want to be, don’t let other people get you down’. That’s a classic songwriting trope, I think.

It was also meant to have modern production flourishes but that could have been a song in the sixties or the seventies. It was a test for me to do something catchy but still sounded exciting. I came up with phrases like ‘it is what it is until it was what it was’. What I’m trying to say there is that you can try to accept your situation, time will pass and that’ll be that, or you can do what you want to do or be who you want to be if you don’t have that attitude of ‘it is what it is’. Be yourself.  This was a little pop nugget in the middle of the first half of the album to not make it too dark, I wanted it to feel a bit romantic in the delivery. It’s weard, some songs are like a wrestling match, but ‘Sister of Pearl’ came about really quickly, I wrote it in a day. It would be cool if I could write a song like that every day, but so far that’s the only one in my whole life!”

Chris Baio

flomorrissey

citattecken “…it is about my first time away from home on my own when I went to California, I had just turned 18.”

8. Flo Morrissey “Wildflower”(from Tomorrow Will Be Beautiful)

“I had the guitar part, slightly Spanish influenced and then put the lyrics to this. I guess it is about my first time away from home on my own when I went to California, I had just turned 18. It was for a new/old friend I had made there and then had to say ‘farewell’. I was thankful for the experience as it taught me how ‘through the pain we emerge, with so much more power’. It is nice because this one is about someone else from the rest of the record, ha ha!”

Flo Morrissey

basia

citattecken “Sometimes I think there is a confusion between love and attention.”

7. Basia Bulat “Infamous”(single)

“That song is about seeing the potential in a relationship and what it could be. Sometimes I think there is a confusion between love and attention. I actually wrote it on the autoharp, tried to play it on guitar and then sent Jim(James) the demo which was very slow. It was one of the first songs we recorded for Good Advice when I went down to Kentucky for a few days to try things out, just me, Jim and the drummer Dave Givan. We started playing it fast and loud, and it was so fun trying to play it in many different ways. I wanted it to be a fun song, it’s almost like an ‘I dare you’ kind of song.”

– Basia Bulat

6. The Chemical Brothers feat. Q-Tip “Go”(from Born In The Echoes)

5. The Internet feat. KAYTRANADA “Girl”(from Ego Death)

destroyer

citattecken “I wrote it as a come pick me up song for a sick generation, ha ha!”

4. Destroyer “Dream Lover”(from Poison Season)

“I think it really stands out and doesn’t sound like a typical Destroyer song. I like it, but I’m not sure of it being much for a song that represents the record, ‘cause it doesn’t feel very indicative of the rest. You’ve got to get past it to see the rest or it draws you in and then exposes you to something quite different. I just wrote it really fast and the band played it once or twice before we just knocked it off very casually in the studio. For some reason it just had it own special sound. The engineers were surprised by how loud we started playing all of a sudden, which I think is the secret to the sound of that song. And then it came down to layering all these squelching saxes and stuff like that. It just came together really easy.

It definitely had this bombast that I wasn’t really expecting it to have, which is cool, I like those kinds of surprises. I wrote it as a come pick me up song for a sick generation, ha ha! All I really remember from writing that song is the middle part that goes ‘You’re sick in bed, you’re sick in the head, you’d love a dog to play dead…’ ha ha! Really boneheaded and simple! First it has that line about the dog playing dead and then it goes ‘oh shit, here comes the sun’. It’s supposed to be a positive reinforcement song for very negative people.”

Dan Bejar

umo

citattecken “Love isn’t really about the specifics of what people’s race or sexuality is, it’s irrelevant.”

3. Unknown Mortal Orchestra “Multi-Love”(from Multi-Love)

“My brother had this gospel kind of chord change and I was in New Zeeland touring with the band. We were messing around, he had some songs he had been working on for his own record and then he started to play these chords on the piano so I started singing to them. It wasn’t the intro yet, more like plain chords. It was the same chord change as on the record, but we hadn’t stumbled on that yet. I started singing on top of it, like this weird, twisted gospel idea, and then it stuck in my head. So when I flew him out of New Zeeland to play on the record, I was like “do you remember that thing we were doing?”, and he started playing it. We wrote it as a piano and singing kind of song, then I had a chorus for it that I had written earlier. Another thing, a weird mistake, was that as we were getting ready to do the piano and he started playing this weird, and I went “What’s that? That’s it! That’s way better!”. And he was, “What do you mean? What?”! He played something really amazing and didn’t even know what he was doing! I told him he was arpeggiating the chords so he kept doing it and that was it.

I sat on these lyrics and didn’t really know what they meant. It started to become more clear over the year, but I just wanted it to be a modular love song that could apply to a lot of different scenarios but you could rearrange it yourself. ‘Cause I was thinking that a lot of people could be listening to the song, some of them gay, some of them straight, some are in happy relationship and some had broken up. What if I wrote a song that moved around that, so if you were in a bad or a good place in a relationship it could apply to both and you could listen and relate to it in different ways. I wanted it to be about what love’s really about, which doesn’t really have to do with the specifics of what people’s race or sexuality is. Love isn’t really about those things, it’s irrelevant. So I stumbled through trying to say something that I didn’t know how to say.”

Ruban Nielson

susanne

citattecken “I wanted a femme fatale song for the album…”

2. Susanne Sundfør “Delirious”(from Ten Love Songs)

“I wrote ‘Delirious’ in bed. I wanted a femme fatale song for the album, and also quite ‘poppy’ lyrics, and also big vocal arrangements. So those were the ideas behind the song. I made most of the arrangement that day, combining very efficient working with laziness!”

Susanne Sundfør

bc

citattecken “In fact I then scrapped all of the string orchestration in favor for a real sampling mellotron that probably cost my entire budget.”

1. BC Camplight “Love Isn’t Anybody’s Fault”(from How To Die In The North)

“I have two guidelines for my writing: care only about yourself and never give a shit about what people will like or hate. Pretty much one rule. Sounds pretentious, I know, but I get bored very easily listening to and creating music, so record making for me is a constant game of keeping myself on my toes. That’s probably why many of my songs have that schizophrenic quality, a sense that they could shoot off like a deflating balloon in any random direction whenever I feel they have made their current point. However, with ‘Love Isn’t Anybody’s Fault’ I wanted to keep the format a bit more traditional…..at least for a while. It was originally intended to set up the album as an opener. I wanted the album to start off completely sane and wander from there. It ended up going second. It was recorded over two three month sessions. Because I can’t record anything like a normal person, we recorded the whole song completely dry and then re-recorded the whole song again over the second three months with deep plate reverb. So you actually hear a clean/verb double track of every instrument.

The song had a lyrical theme that I liked, so I wanted that to be the star. Whenever myself or the irreplaceable Hattie Coombe is singing I wanted the music to support us I guess like a Gainsbourg track without ever being distracting. Halfway through the song she and I have a call and response bridge. After I wrote that I thought ‘the song has been normal long enough’ and I tried to think of what I could do that’d be hilarious but not goofy…again something that’d keep me on my toes. In the end I decided on a ridiculously out of place drum solo followed by a soft breakdown which features some soft glissando noodling on an old electric piano. This piano was meant to be a place holder for some orchestral stuff I had written for those bars. When I listened back though the piano part just sounded so amazingly cheesy. So funny. Especially juxtaposed with the earnest lyrics. In fact I then scrapped all of the string orchestration (there was 2 months down the tubes) in favor for a real sampling mellotron that probably cost my entire budget. So in the end we have a good song with production values that set a precedent for the making of the rest of the album. It never made it to being one of the singles but I’m proud of it. If you don’t like it, beat it.”

Brian Christinzio

LISTEN TO THE PLAYLIST VIA TIDAL HIFI

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