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Music

CHVRCHES’ “The Bones of What You Believe,” the Force Majeure of Brooding Poptronica

(original published on Music Meet Fans)

An irresistible song called “Lies” by a Scottish band named Chvrches appeared on the internet one day in May 2012, as if conjured from the ether. Vacillating waves of synth and playful electronic effects supporting an anonymous female vocalist. Released on the Neon Gold website and accompanied only by a picture of nuns in masks, “Lies” rocketed to number one on the MP3 aggregate blog The Hype Machine and received a tremendous amount of organic, blog-based buzz after regular airplay on SoundCloud and BBC Radio 1. “Lies,” alongside “The Mother We Share,” “Gun,” and “Recover,” fueled the immense pre-release anticipation for the band’s debut full-length The Bones of What You Believe.

“There was this democracy on SoundCloud at the time… where you could use it as a very pure form of marketing. It was about whether people were interested in what you had to say musically, and nothing else,” Martin Doherty said about the early days recording and releasing the first Chvrches songs that would comprise the bulk of their debut record.

Strong Hand

The album’s title derives from a lyric in “Strong Hand,” a song that was ultimately cut from the original track list only to be reinstated on the 2014 Special Edition release. According to frontwoman Lauren Mayberry, the lyric refers to the raw “creativity and effort” that fueled the months of sweat and preparation leading up to the album’s release.

Once labeled merely a blog-band, Chvrches’ The Bones of What You Believe cemented the band as a force in the independent music landscape.
Chvrches – Martin Doherty, Lauren Mayberry, and Iain Cook

Chvrches, the trio of Doherty, Mayberry and Iain Cook, became a viral juggernaut because they made instantly accessible electronic music, but they attained indie omnipresence because that accessible electronic music also contained a human pulse and lyrics that transcended the escapist natter of contemporary, manufactured pop music.

Some of that crossover appeal might be explained by their outsider status. None of these artists had ever produced music that sounded like this in any of their other projects. They had all cut their teeth working with guitars and angst, traditional tools of the indie-rock trade. Doherty’s longest-tenured job came as a member of post-punk Scottish shoegazers The Twlight Sad, a band best known for their dense, “ear-splitting” live performances. Mayberry still looks to Nirvana for inspiration. Attend a Chvrches show and you’ll see glimmers of those origins more readily than in their polished studio recordings.

“It might be difficult to tell,” Cook said in an interview with The Scotsman, “but I think there are still elements of what we’ve done before in the music we’re making now. But the arrangements and the instrumentation, and the focus on catchy melodies and stuff, I guess that’s new for us.”

The Mother We Share

In an era where buzz for synth-pop bands expands and bursts in the time it takes to blow an unimpressive bubble, Chvrches’ spire stands taller because they backed those “catchy” melodies and immaculate hooks with explosive catharsis. Iain Cook’s finely tuned production on The Bones of What You Believe hasn’t strangled the album of individualism; rather, he’s given each song a chance to breathe, creating a rollercoaster of processed effects and synth-pad cadences, thereby emulating the ebb and flow of human emotion.

“And when it all fucks up, you put your head in my hands / It’s a souvenir for when you go-o-o-oh,” Mayberry sings on “The Mother We Share,” the album’s deceptively nuanced opening volley, a song that might have been classified as a disposable confection if not for her willingness to embrace fragility. She calls attention to a darker side of euphoria – the pain of consciously and irreparably discarding an essential part of your whole. This naturalistic alliance between levity and despair runs throughout The Bones of What You Believe. Cook and Doherty’s pulsing and atmospheric throwback musicality balanced by Mayberry’s grounded sincerity. Cook even shouted out 1980’s horror movie scores – Charles’ Bernstein’s The Nightmare on Elm Street in particular – as a primary source of inspiration.

We Sink

At the height of her powers on a peppy but vengeful track like “We Sink,” Lauren Mayberry possesses a relatable range that empowers her simple, emotive lyrics. In the ideal soundscape, her shortcomings as a songwriter attain potency beyond the burnished letters on the page. Depeche Mode’s primary wordsmith Martin Gore, who once called happy songs “fake and unrealistic,” serves as a direct antecedent.

Having opened for Depeche Mode early in their career, Chvrches serves as an extension of that same dual-minded ambition: anthemic and orchestral electronic music. And even though you might occasionally mistake catchy for “happy” on The Bones of What You Believe, Gore likely approves of the album’s scarcity of bliss. Mayberry has even credited Depeche Mode frontman Dave Gahan for teaching her how to command a stage – something she struggled with early on, as her initial presence failed to rival the self-assurance of Chvrches’ recordings.  

On “Gun,” “Recover” and “By the Throat” the band displays an outsized confidence in pacing and patience. This ability to dial back the cacophony before reaching a swelling dénouement would become more apparent on tracks found on their later records such as “Clearest Blue.” Here, however, the results feel less deliberate – each successive element inspired by the urgency of the individual moment.

Tether

The greatest example of this occurs on the lesser celebrated “Tether,” a song about emerging scarred but unbroken from a destructive relationship. It begins with a repetitive, understated guitar riff backing Mayberry’s lyrics.

“Trade our places / take no chances / bind me ‘til my lips are silent” she sings as the song’s urgency increases. Just beyond the two-minute mark, when you expect the individual components to unify, the bottom falls out for thirty seconds, leaving little more than a static hum. “I feel incapable of / Seeing the end / I feel incapable of / Saying it’s over,” she repeats. Synth and drum machine ascend and merge into one. The guitar returns, creating narrative agency and releasing the burden of hopelessness. It’s a moment perfected in the best work by a complex sonic craftsman like M83 – hardly territory covered in a self-produced debut record.

While Chvrches has often been hailed as a band made by blogger hype, the description often suggests condescension, as if success fell into their lap. All three members paid industry dues before their instant chemistry forged a creative partnership that’s proven that they’re more than just another ephemeral synth-pop sensation. Bands toil throughout their entire careers to produce one song as resonant as the twelve on The Bones of What You Believe. It takes a lot of work to be that lucky. Chvrches may not have blazed new trails, but they resuscitated the beautiful, soulful heartbeat within electronic music. That singular sound, an assemblage of discarded elements, breathed new life into an increasingly droll independent landscape. 

Categories
Best Of Music

Best Songs of 2021

We did this once before. This isolation, this watching through the windows as life carried on, sometimes without us. For some of us it was a big year. Others don’t have anything to show for another 365 restless nights and wary days. I find myself in the latter camp. I vow to not let myself be afraid in 2022, to be pro-active and productive, to take my writing seriously, but not let the distractions cripple me. I vow to complete something important to me.

Other than another list of my favorite 101 songs from the year that was 2021. I seem to be able to check that box every year. Here’s every year: 20202019 / 20182017201620152014201320122011

On second thought, there was that #365Songs project that I helped shepherd to completion as a tertiary supplier of words and sonic epiphanies. That was one hell of a ride. Preacher Boy, BSidesNarrative, and I picked one song per day for the entire year. The playlist is long (365 songs worth, obviously), but it’s a wonderful melding of the minds. We are very different humans, and it was fun to watch us slip in and out of our respective culture zones. The project is housed at Medium.com through Preacher’s “No Wrong Notes” portal. Please go check it out. This post put a cap on the whole project and you can work backwards from there… if you feel so inclined. Here’s the Spotify playlist to which you can subscribe and listen for days.

Now, with all those links and rigamarole out of the way, this is the reason you clicked a link or happened across this page in a search. Some self-absorbed arbitrary picked his favorite songs from 2021 and you hope that you might discover something new. Or you came here to argue. Who can tell the difference anymore? Everyone seems like they have a bone to pick on the Internet, even when they’re agreeing with you. As I said, I have a culture zone. Sometimes a song sneaks in from outside that zone, but largely this list is as me, unfettered, as any list ought to be.

In 2021 I deepened my love of CHVRCHES, grooved to Taylor Swift (WUT) because my wife played it over and over again until I latched onto something, found some contemporary rap that had a backbone, and I still can’t figure out if I love or hate Bruiser Wolf. You’ll find all of this internal conflict below with one sentence of perfect clarity describing my Top 25 tracks.

Full Spotify playlist linked below.

30Hz Top 25 Best Songs of 2021 mini-blurbages:

“The Limit” – DARKSIDE.

DARKSIDE finds a groove, a wavelength, a place inside the mind, and hammers the fuck out of that pleasure center.

“Pleura” – King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard

These Aussie rockers wipe their guitar sweat on your forehead and then lick it off, just to see if it’s sweet enough.

“All Too Well (10 Minute Version)” – Taylor Swift

It’s not the first time I’ve loved a Taylor Swift song (Ryan Adams sang the other one) and I almost don’t care if you know it. Screw that Jake Gyllenhaal, man. Screw him.

“A Song About Fishing” – Genesis Owusu

A beguiling Australian that defies genre and taps into something weighty and universal in our particular, peculiar moment.

“Static” – Still Corners

Sonic wallpaper for the fragile mind.

“Hysterical Us” – Magdalena Bay”

In today’s Groundhog Day moment, this #20 slot was occupied by another bippy-boppy-doo-woppy-electro-rococo-jam from this Mag Bay duo last year.

“Michele Pfeiffer” – Ethel Cain (feat. lil aaron)

I’m a sucker for songs named after famous people that have no obvious connections, lyrically or otherwise, to said famous person — and this dirge comes off as hot as the steam between Batman and Catwoman.

“The Look On Your Face” – Hyd

Synth-pop made specifically specifically for me…  except everyone else that heard this song that was made specifically for me. For real though, this lost a few points for being too damn perfect.

“Ballroom Dance Scene” – Horsegirl

I didn’t like this song… and then I loved this song, which says a lot about my willingness to admit I was wrong… and my inherent weakness when it comes to hoarsey-piped female singer songwriters.

“Cry / TALK ABOUT IT” – push baby

I don’t even know where or how I heard this song… one day it was just on my long hits list and I couldn’t deny its ability to trigger euphoria and I refused to learn more about this artist, fearing it might break the spell. They’re called push baby after all. Lower p lower b. push baby.

“Thumbs” – Lucy Dacus

Awaiting a full album of Lucy Dacus body-part songs like I’m awaiting Sufjan Stevens’ 50 records about 50 states. Time’s ticking, Sufjan.

“Polly” – Dora Jar

There’s a moment when Dora Jar sing/raps “I’ma rip my face off and I’ma dance for you / Looking at the feeling of an empty room / I wanna do everything I gotta do / So I’m invincible” and no song has more perfectly captured that yearning to escape your own skin and be a better/different human.

“Right on Time” – Brandi Carlile

Repeat after me… Brandi is not Belinda, is not related to Belinda… and while I love me some Belinda, Brandi is a badass folker who makes me melt inside, just a little.

“Pain Without a Touch” – Sweeping Promises

Kansas rockers plant their flag on a grungy beat and a clever hook and in a year without too many of those, I choose to celebrate the few songs that make me happy.

“I’ll Call You Mine” – girl in red

You might have picked “seratonin” for your list… but you’d be wrong. I’m sorry.

“Tried to Tell You” – The Weather Station

Harmonic, time-out ballad for mental health and strong feelings. This is how I imagine it feels to get blissfully lost in the Canadian wilderness.

“LUMBERJACK” – Tyler, The Creator

What does boffo mean? Removed from any meaning, boffo sounds like a good thing and I feel like I could call Tyler’s flow in “LUMBERJACK” boffo. That false start on this track = trademark Tyler.

“Bottle Episode” – Mandy, Indiana

I need a shower. Violent and moody, this slice of self-aware 21st-century goth rock uses the snare as a call to arms and the French-language lyrics as a machete.

“The Last Man on Earth” – Wolf Alice

London’s Wolf Alice vocals lift this spacey track into the ethereal plane where it will become a Bill & Ted-like anthem to unite the varied peoples behind a single piece of music.

“Phoenix” – Big Red Machine, feat. Fleet Foxes, Anais Mitchell

I want to dislike this song, but I can’t… it seizes control of rational thought and makes me groove like a white guy who didn’t just recommend Tyler, The Creator’s “boffo” flow.

“Wet Dream” – Wet Leg

Rhian Teasdale wrote “Wet Dream” after an ex told her that he thought of her when he masturbated and this is, guaranteed, the hookiest song ever written about a pick-up line hinging on masturbation.

“Be Sweet” – Japanese Breakfast

Happy.

Japanese Breakfast became the artist we all needed most in 2021.

“Don’t Go Puttin Wishes in My Head” – Torres

If I had a better grasp on “Yasss” cultural cache, I’d say that Torres “Yassed up” this head-nodder with a fragile narrator, passive-aggressive warning to an on-again-off-again suitor he better put a ring on it. But I don’t have any idea how to use Yassification, so I won’t.

“I Don’t Live Here Anymore” – The War on Drugs, feat. Lucius

My 12yo said this song is everything I ever wanted out of an individual song and she’s not wrong. Synth and Mark Knopflerized Springsteen.

“How Not To Drown” – CHVRCHES, feat. Robert Smith

If you’ve followed me on Twitter or read past countdowns, this pick will surprise absolutely no one. I am the CHVRCHES fanboy. Robert Smith is responsible for one of my Desert Island 5. I never stood a chance. BSidesNarrative sent this to me the morning it was released, knowing it’d shatter me.

It shattered me.

FULL 2021 Playlist:

Categories
Best Of Music

Best Songs of 2020

A little late to the Best Songs of 2020 party is fashionable. You’re tired of all the rest, now it’s time to read, well, just another list.

This is my yearly countdown of the best songs (as dictated by me, of course) from the past year. It’s already January 13th, which means that most of you sonic go-getters have already moved on to anticipating the fruits of 2021. I’ve been operating at a different pace for damn well near a year now (because 2020) so 13 days late just feels… right.

First, I’ll present my standard disclaimers. I’m just one listener. I read blogs and share picks and discuss new finds with my partner in listing, B-Sides Narrative aka Michael Smith (@BSidesNarrative on the Twatter); but I’m still just one pair of ears and one set of limiting and finicky preferences. A year ago I would have been paid for making observations such as these (believe it or not people paid me to hear my thoughts on music) so you’re getting unfiltered, unadulterated 30Hz for the cost of free. As David Byrne said on Remain In Light, “same as it ever was.” I’ve been giving these notes away for free for more than a decade. (Speaking of David Byrne, you should absolutely watch American Utopia now streaming on HBO Max because it’s a document of one of the greatest live concerts I’ve ever seen. Plus, it’s a Spike Lee joint, which makes it even more mind-blowing as an intersection of two brilliant but face-value mismatched creative minds. Like the positive side of crossing the streams.)

If nothing else, 2020 gave us reason to crave escape — be it through movies or music. I found many many many hours of solace in Bill Evans (this will come as no surprise to anyone in my family) — namely the albums Undercurrents and Moonbeams. I even found my 11yo daughter reading in her room listening to Bill Evans because “it was the only chill music that I could think of.” That’s called top of mind awareness. It’s also called molding young minds. As a result of this new listening trajectory, the kinds of music I consumed shifted. The frequency with which I sought out new and obscure music changed as well. Once the music magazine for which I was writing folded in April of 2020, my priorities shifted from “discovery mode” to “maintenance mode.” What’s next became what’s great and familiar. Oddly, I’m not sure that I heard more new music, but I heard and found many more different kinds of music. I dabbled in more contemporary jazz artists, world music and experimental. I can’t claim that too much of it is represented in my Best of 2020 Songs list, but it informed and broadened my palette for adventure. Instead you’ll find a similar assortment of electro-dream-pop and pulsing disco beats alongside the side dishes of alt-country and distressed bedroom singer-songwriters.

Keep digging through those crates. Keep searching for more music. Those unique voices and heartfelt pleas for change and hope and the sorrow of loss and life. Music, more than ever, needs to help guide us through the quagmire… and maybe some of these songs will help.

Spotify Playlist (Top 124):

30Hz Top 25 Best Songs of 2020:

“Say the Name” – clipping.

A call to words and/or arms. A protest song. Experimental, alt-rap from Daveed Diggs, aka Lafayette/Thomas Jefferson. This is the flowiest absence of flow you’ve ever heard. The cadence and language rattles in your brain, a train of the future forever arriving from the distance, just beyond sight.

“Blue Comanche” – Westerman

Smooth, buttery sonic landscapes fronted by hushed, high-pitched and hopeful vocals. My year-long tally of “hits” that struck a chord featured five songs from Westerman — the most of any other artist in 2020. This is the music that soothed savage souls.

“god’s chariots” – Oklou

I first heard Oklou on a long, late-night drive. Everyone else in the car had fallen asleep and the highway stretched out infinitely into the future. No cars, no sights other than the concrete under my headlights. Ethereal vocals and hookish electronic beats soundtracked the moment better than anything I could have chosen. The electronic artist of my year.

“Lilacs” – Waxahatchee

This could have been four other Waxahatchee songs from their latest LP, Saint Cloud. It doesn’t matter. Put them all here. I spread a few out over my 100+ countdown but Waxahatchee is a mood. Not quite country, not quite folk, not exactly alt. Katie Crutchfield’s voice speaks to everyone through its familiarity, relatability, sturdy during swells and fragile when it all falls apart.

“Lovers (Home Made)” – Anna of the North

A singer can manufacture emotion through nothing more than precise control of their vocal accentuations. The tenuous connections between syllables bears great responsibility. This one tears tears me the fuck up because the Oslo-based Anna Lotterud allows breath between perfectly chosen syllables, the breakdown of the artist, the deconstruction of the artistic creation. You’ll melt before she finally utters that “k” in “dark” during the very first verse.

“Live 4eva” – Magdalena Bay

I wrote about the promising home-brewed electro-pop upstarts Magdalena Bay for the now defunct music magazine Music Meet Fans. I’d link the article, but it’s been obliterated by the cruel mistress called failure. Mag Bay (Mica and Matthew) creates whip-smart little confections that take your face, kiss you full on the lips and leave you wanting more, more, more. Beats, relentless pluck and a deft musicality.

“Forever” – Nicole Atkins

Don’t you dare try to pin down Nicole Atkins with one of those reductionist music-industry labels. She’s Joni Mitchell Roy Orbison Steve Nicks Otis Redding Jefferson Starship. She’s a psychedelic soul singer songwriter. She’s a goddess. “Forever” lifted me up whenever it shuffled to the top. It’s not a song I would have necessarily chosen from an objective perspective, but it refused to not make me happy and that there’s a return on investment.

“4ÆM” – Grimes

Grimes channels Tibetan monks, block rockin’ beats, flight of the bumblebee and Martian dream logic. Just another Tuesday.

“JU$T” – Run the Jewels, featuring Zack de la Rocha, Pharrell Williams

I listened to a lot of garbage rap music in 2020 in search of the this spark that people claim is happening. It’s not for me. If you’re still telling me that Drake can rap, I’m turning down your volume. What’s that? I can’t hear that kind of stupid. I came of age when beats and rhymes (and samples) reigned supreme. What we hear today might be called progress, but apparently I’m a purist and that kind of progress sucks. El-P and Killer Mike have taken up the torch and this time they’ve got a bone to pick. No rap artist has produced more consistent greatness in the 21st century.

“Dionne” – The Japanese House, featuring Justin Vernon

The Japanese House channels Frou Frou. Remember Frou Frou? Hell yes you do. (Just say you do. Humor me.) Justin Vernon adds lo-fi soul like frosted tips. It might be possible to craft a song more perfectly aimed at unlocking my heart locker, but it would require an appearance from CHVRCHES.

“Paper Cup” – Real Estate, featuring Sylvan Esso

Lounging in a tepid pool, the morning after… pondering the limits of your own potential and holding a fruity cocktail in a Soho cup. You’re depressed that you’re right here at this moment, but you wouldn’t be anywhere else.

“Murder Most Foul” – Bob Dylan

I’m no Dylan acolyte, but this meditation on what we lost after the Kennedy assassination is Bob Dylan’s Iliad and his Odyssey.

“Spotlight” – Jessie Ware

Remember that troubling disco thread I mentioned in my list this year? This is just the blissful tip of the iceberg. Ware’s What’s Your Pleasure? LP will make you question why the sounds of the 70’s ever disappeared. I’m even hearing some traces of Bill Conti’s score for For Your Eyes Only. I’m clearly deranged.

“Dying to Believe” – The Beths

New Zealand rrriot girls blister and burn through hooks and sass. Great guitar-driving rock was a rare sound in 2020, but this would have been a damn fine record in any year. This cut stayed with me from the start, meaning it was just as good with COVID as it was without. There’s something to be said for that kind of versatility.

“The Steps” – Haim

Haim’s new record found the band emerging from the long shadow of their ancestors and finding their own voice and creative vibe. Este’s new confidence in her vocal range, the merging of genres, the shifting tempo, a memorable hook. I’m a Haim junkie and I don’t care who knows it.

“Guilty Conscience” – 070 Shake

Danielle Balbuena calls herself an alternative hip-hop artist. This song doesn’t speak to that, but it does suggest that we have no clue how big this Jersey-born talent could get. No genre can hold her. Big voice, musicality, experimentalism. No reservations. If you find yourself swaying for no earthly reason you might be hearing the background synths to “Guilty Conscience” in the back of your brain.

“Cool for a Second” – Yumi Zouma and Japanese Wallpaper

Two of my favorite electro-pop/dream-pop artists unite and it’s like this song always existed, somewhere out in the cosmos, an ethereal tone above our comprehension. These two artists just turned the right frequency. If you’re just learning about Yumi Zouma or Japanese Wallpaper you’ve got listening to do. Prepare to be content beyond belief.

“Ferris Wheel” – Sylvan Esso

This duo just has an indefinable swagger. It’s a good song… and then there’s that call and response “hey” thing and that’s the earworm of the year. That one second. To which I can only surrender.

“So We Won’t Forget” – Khruangbin

Other than a certain buzzy lady named Phoebe, Khruangbin released the record of my year. This Houston trio could be spouting gibberish poems over these slick grooves and I wouldn’t care. Kitchen cleaner ads. Whatever you want, guys. These mellow vibes cut through the imprecise nature of language. I have no idea what any of these songs are about. Who cares? A fast ride on a plodding mule into the sunset — that’s the Khruangbin tempo.

“My God” – The Killers, featuring Weyes Blood

Brandon Flowers brought the Killers back from the dead with a new lineup, new guest vocalists (kd lang?!) and a new lease on life. I included “Caution” on last year’s list and Weyes Blood is also no stranger to my countdowns, having won the top album spot in two different years. This one wound up at #6 because this here’s a pair of artists I never knew I wanted together. If you’re still resisting the grotesque and garish beauty of this new album from the Killers, I don’t think I want your kind of juju tarnishing these vibes.

“Stay” – Valerie June

Tennessee soul artist teases further greatness with a one-off song release. See this girl live if you can, if concerts ever reconvene because she’s a force of nature, the anomalous intersection of New York soul and Tennessee folk music. She’s inimitable — a perfect distillation of the self through a singular sound.

“Blinding Lights” – The Weeknd

Not much to say about The Weeknd that hasn’t already been said. I slept on this record and this song for months, but I’m glad I came back and gave it another chance. While I might not vibe with the album as much as his past efforts, it’s not for a lack of imagination. This guy’s a supernova and we’re just trying not to get burnt by the flames. It’s the synth that gets me, if I’m being honest.

“Breathe Deeper” – Tame Impala

Oh yeah. Tame Impala — how interesting. You would put Tame Impala on your list. Yeah. I would. Damn straight. Because while I’ve been a longtime fan, this album bangs by proxy. And “bangs by proxy” isn’t even the dumbest, most meaningless thing I wrote today. This is why I can’t write about music for more than an hour per day because things like that start making sense.

tie. “Too Late” – Washed Out
tie. “4 American Dollars” – U.S. Girls

Okay, so confession. #2 is a tie because I miscounted and started my list at #26 instead of #25, but why waste mindless prose when you can just call #2 a tie and make everybody but Travis happy because they got left out at #27 and goddammit those Scots deserve to be happy, too. But I can justify this pairing as well. I flip-flopped these two songs back and forth until finally calling it a day and sealing the envelope. I sing both of these in the shower. I own both on vinyl and they’re both not my #1. So much in common. In any other non-Phoebe Bridgers, non CHVRCHES year they could have been #1. Both also exist on the same mid-tempo wavelength that channels A.M. radio and platinum artists of the 70’s. I’ve said nothing about either artist, but you’ve learned dark secrets about my listing convictions and that’s more than enough truth for one day.

“ICU” – Phoebe Bridgers

It was always ever going to be Phoebe Bridgers. Los Angeles’ favorite daughter dictated the moods of everyone she touched this year. It should come as no surprise that Punisher dominated my personal airwaves. When I first heard a Phoebe Bridgers song years ago, I championed this artist because she had something that others didn’t — her own thing, her personal pizzaz, in a sea of imitators. We’ve witnessed her potential grow in a few short years, but I’m convinced there’s still room for more. When Phoebe breaks down “ICU” just beyond the 2-minute mark, it’s easy to consider the song finished… a good, but then — HOLY MOSES! — it rises to a new crescendo, a transcendence above the other great songs on Punisher. The surge of bass and the layering of her vocals channels what I believe to be the purest form of spiritual enlightenment we mortals can achieve.

PREVIOUS “BEST OF” SONG LISTS:

2019 2018 2017 2016 2015 2014 2013 2012 2011

Footnote 2020 Playlists:

The full “Hits” List, basically the sandbox for every song that tickled my fancy during 2020.

2020 Covers, just a compilation of all the fetching covers I enjoyed.