Class of 2014 – The 100 greatest songs of the year!

What could possibly be better than listening to the 100 best songs of the year? Well, how about listening to them while reading the stories behind them? Upon compiling last year’s list in the final weeks of 2013 I felt that among the hundreds, maybe thousands, of year end lists carefully put together by like-minded people like myself, there was usually something lacking: the perspective of the artists themselves. It’s easy for everyone of us writers to have opinions and thoughts about each song, but wouldn’t it be nice to have their true back stories, instead of us guessing things?

So, just like I did last year, again in 2014 I asked the artists if they would consider sharing everything they remembered from writing and recording their song. More than a third responded. And they willingly let us take a deep look into their creative process, with everything from personal downs to party nights acting as fuel to making music. Some songs were long in the making, some songs wrote themselves at the blink of an eye. Happy accidents, eureka moments, cyber writing? Classic poems, books, movies, children’s TV shows? Teenage nostalgia, violent ex-boyfriends? Racist basketball games, newly acquired instruments? And lest we forget, one hilarious story about a man who never dried? Yep, it’s all in there. The food for the greatest songs of 2014.

All song stories are in English, except for a few told in Swedish. I couldn’t really translate them into English without taking away some of their intimacy from the authors.

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 WiMP

LISTEN TO THE PLAYLIST VIA RARA

1. Jack White ”Lazaretto”(from Lazaretto)

How did you start off working on the song ”Lazaretto”?

”We recorded the album during breaks from touring in 2012. There were many songs that Jack came to the studio with that had already been written start to finish, while others began as experiments or ideas. He works very fast and sometimes likes to get an idea or sketch on tape and see what we can make of it. This song started as more of an experiment.”

Could you elaborate on how it was written?

Jack worked with both of his backing bands, The Buzzards and The Peacocks, on these sessions and we recorded a lot of music. I would guess there’s another 12 tracks that we had been working on that didn’t make the album. The song ‘Lazaretto’ was interesting because initially there were no lyrics. The riff came together and Jack wrote a few of the chord changes along with the breakdown and tempo shifts. We ran through it just a few times and moved on to some other material very quickly. Months later I would listen back thinking he would make some tape edits and give the song more of a traditional structure, but Jack liked it as is. What you hear on the record is what we had put down originally. Start to Finish.

It was great seeing this record come together. Sometime in 2013 he called me into the studio to hear what he was working on. I had heard a lot of other tracks that we had recorded but had forgotten about ‘Lazaretto’ because it was more of a sketch or a studio exercise. Hearing it with lyrics for the first time was a remarkable moment. I couldn’t believe what he had come up with. The song doesn’t have what you would call a traditional chorus or verse form, but it’s so powerful. Both musically and lyrically.”

How was the riff conceived?

Jack has a lot of riffs kicking around when we’re in the studio. Sometimes we’ll be working on something else or rehearsing and one will appear. He usually gets those little snippets on tape to work with later. We had listened to the MC Lyte song ‘Cha Cha Cha’ earlier that day and I think that may have been an initial inspiration. More so with the tempo or the feel of it. Again, this was another experiment that happened in between tracking songs that had already been penned. I don’t even think we spent an hour getting it together and laying down the basic tracks. He cut that solo live and you really can’t beat the room sound of guitar bleeding into all of the other instruments and microphones.”

It’s got a real Lalo Schifrin-meets-Beastie Boys kind of groove. Was that the intention from the beginning, or something you worked out along the way?

”I’m not sure we ever discussed the feel or groove. Drummer Daru Jones comes from a hip hop background so he’ll just take you there at times. Honestly, without the lyrics it was originally an entirely different song. It could have gone so many ways lyrically.

We had recorded 5 or 6 of these song sketches during the session and we didn’t spend much time on it.  Jack wants to capture what happens when human beings play music in a room. He’s going for the spirit or a feeling rather than worrying about little details or trying to reach for perfection. It seems that he’s always got the big picture in sight.”

Did any odd, or unusual, things happen during the recording sessions?

”In a way, this entire record was odd. We would have a day or two off here and there, go in and put down as much as we could in the short time we had. Sometimes 4-5 songs a day. I said before that Jack works fast, but because we were touring it took him a year and a half to finish the record which is really unlike him. The sessions themselves were fast, but the entire process was the longest he’s ever worked on a record. It makes me wonder what the next one will be like.”

Dominic John Davis, bassist

first-aid-kit-stay-gold

2. First Aid Kit ”Stay Gold”(from Stay Gold)

”The song ‘Stay Gold’ was written last summer. The original melodic inspiration arrived from the Canadian sister duo Kate & Anna McGarrigle and their song ‘Heart Like a Wheel’. We loved the melancholy beauty of that tune. ‘Stay Gold’ started as a simple verse with the lines ‘The sun shone high those few summer days / It shone like gold, it shone like gold’. When searching for further inspiration for the lyrical content we found a poetry book and by chance happened to stumble upon Robert Frost’s poem ‘Nothing Gold Can Stay’, which we’d never read before. The poem, about the fleeting nature of life, really hit home with us and it felt like a perfect theme for the song. The rest of the song then followed pretty quickly.

We wanted the production to create a dreamy and haunting landscape. Like a gorgeous but very distant memory and a journey towards something with an uncertain end. We used lots of strange mellotron sounds drenched in reverb, strings and autoharp. In the studio it grew to become this very big and epic sounding, dramatic folky pop, almost ABBA-like sound. It eventually became the title track because we felt like it represented a reoccurring theme within the record of nostalgia, restlessness and fear for the future.”

Johanna and Klara Söderberg

3. The War On Drugs ”Lost In The Dream”(from Lost In The Dream)

”That was one of the first songs I recorded on the album. I remember having that guitar, just a little thing, I sat down at night and put a drum machine on it. It’s funny, if you heard the drum machine, it was like a disco pattern. Not at all what I intended to use. Then I just put down the acoustic and some rough vocals and over time added the instruments. Actually, when I recorded it, it wasn’t that arrangement. I went in and added one more verse based on the first verse, and then redid all of it. It’s a little more sparse than other songs on the album, I like that song a lot.”

– Adam Granofsky

4. Röyksopp feat. Jamie Irrepressible ”Here She Comes Again”(from The Inevitable End)

5. Future Islands ”Seasons(Waiting On You)”(from Singles)

6. Jungle ”Time”(from Jungle)

7. Ariel Pink ”Put Your Number In My Phone”(from Pom Pom)

”That song was more of a collaboration between Jorge Albrecht and I. He had some of the guitar arrangements and stuff like that, which were very beautiful. Then I wrote the lyrics and did the song part. It was a lot of fun to record, there’s a lot of harmonies on it. There were five of us standing around one microphone which made it sound good.”

Ariel Rosenberg

8. St. Paul & The Broken Bones ”Call Me”(from Half The City)

”‘Call Me’ all started with that first guitar riff you hear at the beginning. There were six of us in a tiny room and the moment we heard the riff we knew we had a danceable song. I was in love with the idea of putting a phone number in a song just like the Wilson Pickett ‘634-5789(Soulsville U.S.A)’ song. While in the studio we cut the song live and chose the best of two takes. That song came rather quickly while writing as did the recording of that song. It is always a great moment in our set now when folks hear that opening guitar riff.”

– Paul Janeway

9. The Magic Numbers ”Shot In The Dark”(from Alias)

”I think on this album, a lot was about asking questions, from Romeo having a baby. I think that definitely sparked it in his head. He doesn’t even remember writing it, it just wrote itself. I think it’s a really natural kind of song, with the vocals and all. We just chose what parts we could relate to and sing them, it made it flow better than just one person singing it. The music was done in a lot of live takes, and with the vocals we sat down around an acoustic guitar, as we always do. We’re rocking out a bit in the end, and live it’s even more so. I think it was after touring with Neil Young that Romeo made the solo longer!”

Angela Gannon

”I think it’s the song that represents us best. It’s got the rockier and poppier sides and elements from all four of us.”

Michele Stodart

10. Son Little ”The River”(from Things I Forgot EP)

11. Skogsrå ”Now You See Me”(single)

12. Röyksopp & Robyn ”Do It Again”(from Do It Again EP)

13. Lost In The Trees ”Past Life”(from Past Life)

”For ‘Past Life’, I wanted to write a song based around a single guitar riff, kinda like David Bowie‘s ‘Rebel Rebel’. So I hit record and that riff was the first thing I played. It was just a simple blues riff, but it was so far from anything Lost In The Trees had done up to that point that I thought that was very exciting. My lyrics are about two angels or souls coming to this world to go on a date with each other, the whole ‘park the car at night’ thing reminded me of a make out scene from a 50’s movie. I thought it was romantic and fun, so I went with it.”

– Ari Picker

14. Band Of Skulls ”Hoochie Coochie”(from Himalayan)

”‘Hoochie Coochie’ was a song that we first worked on in the sessions for our second album ‘sweet sour’. It didn’t really fit in with those songs so we kept it. When recording Himalayan we all knew ‘Hoochie Coochie’ would be perfect and with Nick Launey at the desk the song took on a new energy.

It’s a song about every late night and misadventure you’ve ever had all rolled into one. A lot of it’s from first hand experiences.”

Russell Marsden

15. Allo Darlin’ ”Crickets In The Rain”(from We Come From The Same Place)

”‘Crickets…’ was the last song written for our album We Come From The Same Place. I wrote it after I’d moved away from England. We didn’t have a chance to rehearse it before our recording session, so we practised it in the studio in the morning and recorded it in the afternoon. This is not the best way to record all songs, but sometimes it has worked for us. To be honest, a lot of our first album was recorded in this way, with the songs coming together in the studio rather than in the rehearsal room.

I think that the reason the song came together very quickly with the band is that it’s such a typical Allo Darlin’ song and sound. It really sounded like an Allo Darlin’ song from the beginning. I’d had the chord progression for a little while, there’s not much to it really. The important thing to me was the lyric.

I’ve been reading a lot of Joan Didion the last two years, starting with The Year of Magical Thinking and working backwards from there. It’s difficult to write about Joan Didion because she is such an incredible writer and her words have meant so much to me. She has influenced me tremendously. After I left London I was thinking a lot about her essay ‘Goodbye to all that’, which begins with the words ‘It’s easy to see where things begin, it’s harder to see where they end’. It’s broadly about her leaving New York City after spending much of her twenties there, getting married and moving to California. It’s very beautiful. My situation seemed so similar.

Sometimes I have these flashbacks to when I was growing up, and I can see the images very clearly, and feel the weight of the memory. The scenes in the song are all scenes I remember, kissing in swimming pools, a boy falling from the top of resovoir, a sprinkler lazily moving across the lawn in the sunset, the sound of crickets in the rain. I don’t know why these are the ones I recall first, I don’t even have to search for them.

But nostalgia is just that, and it’s crippling. I didn’t want to live in the past anymore. That’s why I contrast the chorus with the verse, ‘and nothing feels the way it did before and I am grateful for that’. It’s a joy to sing these words when we play it live, and it is my favourite song on our record.”

Elizabeth Morris

16. The Afghan Whigs ”It Kills”(from Do To The Beast)

17. Jessie Ware ”Tough Love”(from Tough Love)

18. Weeping Willows ”It Takes A Strong Heart To Love”(from The Time Has Come)

”I Weeping Willows fungerar det alltid så här: någon i bandet ger mig en demo med en instrumental låt. Om jag får känsla för låten så skriver jag ett utkast till en text som jag tycker passar stämningen och stilen i musiken. Det måste passa ihop. Vill det sig sedan väl blir det en låt som vi slutför tillsammans hela bandet. I det här fallet var det en demo från Anders som jag tror att han haft väldigt länge. Det är som en blandning av två av våra stora influenser. Verserna är lite Velvet Underground och refrängen och sticket är The Smiths.

Anders demo lät väldigt mycket Lou Reed/VU, därav ‘Here it comes now…'(‘Here She Comes Now’ – från White Light/White Heat). Mellan våra albuminspelningar sparar jag fraser i en skrivbok. Det kan vara något från någon film eller bok. Eller något jag hör någon säga. Eller så klart något jag själv kommer på. Alla dessa ‘oneliners’ blandas huller om buller i min skrivbok och efter ett tag minns jag inte längre var fraserna kommer ifrån. Jag brukar börja med att leta i min skrivbok för att förenkla processen och snabbt komma igång. När jag väl börjat skriva till en låt kommer flowet, tack vare dessa sparade fraser och jag åker in i en ‘låtskrivarbubbla’.

Texten kom att handla om minnen från skoltiden. Och hur vår uppväxt präglar oss hela livet. Jag minns mobbarna. Hur jobbigt det var. Och att jag ibland sällade mig till dem för att själv slippa bli mobbad. I efterhand förstår jag nu att många av dem kom från väldigt tråkiga hemförhållanden, och att det till viss mån är en förklaring. Men det hjälper ju knappast den utsatte. En situation jag minns väldigt starkt är att det var en flicka i klassen som ofta var smutsig. Hon kallades för ‘Lusen’ och var, så klart, hårt ansatt. En rast stod(som vanligt) halva klassen i en ring runt henne och kastade hennes mössa emellan sig. Jag gick emellan och tog mössan och gav den till henne. Jag kände en stark stolthet över denna handling och jag märkte att hon blev så lättad. Ingen frågade någonsin hur någon mådde. Man ville bara överleva dagen. Jag undrar nu i vuxen ålder över hur hon egentligen hade det hemma…(‘It takes you back to school, where no one ever asked you, they don’t know what you’ve been through’).

Låten skrevs ju under ‘supervalåret’ 2014. Så jag tänkte mycket på Sverigedemokraterna och deras väljares ‘mobbing-stil’. Något som oroar och stör mig enormt. Om man som människa är stark och har medel och möjlighet, tycker jag jag att man har en skyldighet och ett ansvar att hjälpa de som har det svårt. Om att vara medmänniska.

Det handlar låten om för mig. Den är nästan politisk.”

– Magnus Carlson

”Den har mycket riktigt funnits ganska länge. Inspirationen till låten / versen kommer(otippat) från The Knife‘s ‘Pass This On’ som kom typ 2003, ‘kjol-Johan'(Johan Renck) gjorde en fantastisk video till den. Refräng och brygga är mycket riktigt(mollvers, dur refräng) Smiths-inspirerade. Hade glömt bort låtidén, hittade den i en gammal telefon typ 2012, gillade melodierna och jobbade klart låten inför The Time has Come, drog upp tempot(vi behövde upptempo låtar) och hittade på ett väldigt enkelt gitarrintro. Magnus text om utanförskap korrelerade med min känsla för vad musiken för mig handlade om.”

– Anders Hernestam

19. Nick Mulvey ”Cucurucu”(from First Mind)

”‘Cucurucu’ was this lullaby that my mother used to sing to me and my brothers and sisters. I think it comes from the Spanish word for the sound of the bird. Something she used to make up with a melody and sing, and I had it in my mind. Then when I was a teenager a friend of mine gave me this book with a poem called ‘Piano’, a very famous poem by british poet D.H. Lawrence. I always loved it, and from the very first time I read it I had a desire to turn it into a song. I just knew it. It took me a long time, because I was busy in Portico Quartet, but it was in the back of my mind for six years.

Then one time I got down to making an adaptation of the poem in some form. In this poem, he takes the reader on a journey which takes him back through the years to a memory of when he was a child and sat underneath a piano, and he presses the feet of his mother who smiles as she sings. In his version that’s a full stop right there, but I thought it would be cool to add a colon and then add my mother singing ‘Cucurucu’. So then you achieve the song within the song. It’s an adaptation, but I’ve been liberal and added on the title and the bridge. ‘Softly, in the evening…’ and onwards, that’s from the poem.

About the slow start, I wanted people to get the words, to hear them clearly. You know, it comes with a good intention. I can also see that it was born from a concern that people wouldn’t get the words. Now I know that people are listening. In my next songs, I don’t know if I’ll be that systematic, when there’s nothing to explain like in this one.”

– Nick Mulvey

20. Viet Cong ”Continental Shelf”(single)

”I remember writing that main riff – like the first thing that you hear in the song – on an acoustic guitar. It was on my birthday, I was on tour with Chad VanGaalen and we were in a little town called Encinitas just north of San Diego, down the West Coast of California, which is maybe why there’s some sort of surfy vibe in there, because I wrote it when I was in a surf town in Southern California. I wrote it in standard tuning, it was kind of like a folky song. I had the melody, I didn’t have the lyrics, but I remember playing it in a studio with Monty and we deconstructed it, we changed the tuning to give it a weirder, Sonic Youth kind of vibe. Originally it almost had a 60s sound. We used to call it ‘Bush Beat’ because we ripped off the beat from ‘Running Up That Hill’.”

Matt Flegel

21. Marissa Nadler ”Drive”(from July)

”‘Drive’ is a song that deals with the dichotomy of two mindsets. Keep in mind this isn’t my current mindset but was at the time that I wrote the song. I’m traveling from town to town, feeling jaded and disillusioned at this stagnancy in my life. The time on the road had me reflecting on some turmoil of the past. During the choruses, there’s a sharp contrast to the feeling of freedom on the open road that I have when I’m touring. It’s a song about how songs, other people’s songs, become ingrained in your psyche and propel you forward when there’s not much else pushing you.”

Marissa Nadler

22. Caribou ”All I Ever Need”(from Our Love)

23. Father John Misty ”Bored In The USA”(single)

24. Bright Light Bright Light feat. Elton John ”I Wish We Were Leaving”(from Life Is Easy)

”I sat down at my piano after a particularly depressing afternoon and wrote the song in the time it takes to sing it. It’s from a place of real sadness, but it’s a loving, not a hateful song. A very close friendship crossed a line and became something else and went very wrong. The lyrics are about saying a mental goodbye to someone – at least in a romantic sense, and letting them get on with whatever they want to do with someone else. For me, it’s the most personally honest I have been in a song on one of my albums. It came on a day where I’d realised that the relationship had come apart and the song just fell out. It took me by surprise really!

When I was up in the studio producing the track, Elton called to talk about a song I’d written on the previous album(a crazy sentence to write!!) and when I heard his voice in the context of putting the production together, I kept hearing his voice on the track. Eventually after I produced the song, and we talked about songs for my second record, I played it to him and he liked it and agreed to add his vocal. Which for me is beyond my wildest dreams. It’s also important for me as the second voice reminds me that there are two voices in every situation. Particularly this one. So it’s become quite a healing song for me – hearing the optimism in the sadness, and hearing the second ”voice” to remember that you can’t see everything from only your own point of view.”

– Rod Thomas

25. The Autumn Defense ”This Thing That I’ve Found”(from Fifth)

”‘This Thing That I Found’ was initially inspired by watching a documentary about Jeff Lynne, who I am a big fan of. I watched the documentary late one night before going to bed, and when I woke up the next morning I grabbed a guitar first thing and started strumming in a bold Jeff Lynne kind of way…and the first verse and chorus just appeared without any real effort. I really should try that more often…writing just after waking up when still in a bit of a dream state. Lots of people comment on how the song reminds them of George Harrison or even Roy Orbison, but actually it takes its cues from their producer Jeff Lynne.”

Pat Sansone

26. Fickle Friends ”Swim”(single)

”We never intended to go down that 80’s revival route but the song just kind of fell into place after we brought a demo to producer James Earp(Bipolar Sunshine, Sons & Lovers). Having won Chef Jamie Olivers unsigned bands competition he went the extra mile and both put us in contact with, and paid for us to work with James. Locking ourselves away for a few days in rural Wales we came home with a song we knew we had to start the year with.

Lyrically the story is bittersweet, mostly stemming from various romantic encounters from my life and bundled into one metaphorical message. Unrequited love is a theme that runs throughout the lyrics in our songs… Again…not intentional, it’s just what flows out of me and onto paper. At our core we are an indie band…but our mutual love of the late 70’s and 80’s pop world and modern commercial dance, electronic and pop music are evident when it comes to writing and recording.

I think we got really lucky with ‘Swim’, after The 1975 dropped their album and Chvrches were dominating the airwaves…it felt like a case of right song – right time. The response truly wasn’t expected and the amount of people who have connected and identified with it musically and lyrically…it’s overwhelming.”

– Natassja Shiner

27. Withered Hand ”Horseshoe”(from New Gods)

”When I was writing ‘Horseshoe’ I felt like I was reaching above myself, I knew it was an important song for me and would be the opener for what became the New Gods album. It is a vehicle for how I feel about love and human relationships and I feel like the way the words tumbled out was pretty much spot on. I also felt the melody and chord changes came to me without very much work, like something was willing me to write it. The song in essence didn’t change very much between demo and final recording.

The central metaphor refers to an old silent movie I used to watch as a kid, where I think Charlie Chaplin had a horseshoe in his boxing glove in order to knock out a much bigger opponent against improbable odds. Apart from being very funny, I have always empathised with the underdog, or the clown. Either side of that central metaphor I am basically riffing on how I feel about love and life. I ask the question over and over whether it is easy to pretend that nobody you love will ever die, I know that some of us find it easier to pretend than others. We need to pretend on a daily basis just to keep going but it’s good to stop and think once in a while.

Recording the song, it was obvious one of the central songs on the album and we tried a couple of versions I recall it ended up a bit faster than I originally planned. It was a very exciting song to record. The band were really revved up for it. We were tracking alot of stuff live but struggling to get the feel I was after so in the end we turned the click track off and just powered through it, so I think it actually speeds up very slightly over the track but I think it’s better for it. Then we retracked my vocals and acoustic guitar I think and the cherry on the cake was other friends coming later to add harmonies and piano etc. Like most of my songs, it’s extremely personal. Suffice to say, when my wife heard an early mix on a rare visit to the studio, she burst into tears. That’s usually a sign it’s good.”

Dan Willson

28. Snowbird ”Bears On My Trail”(from Moon)

”The song is about finding moments experienced in planar reality where they have been frozen on the spiral out of linear earth time, and then harnessing the power still within them in the present moment without running any narrative of the pain story that might have surrounded them at the time. Essentially the story is about a maiden using time travel to access energy vibrations from her memory and using them for protection against wild bears. She lifts out of danger and straight into love from the past that still holds her safely.”

– Simon Raymonde

29. Donovan Blanc ”Hungry A Long Time”(from Donovan Blanc)

”I wrote this song in 2009 and originally it was called ‘Itchy Throats’. The song is mostly about sexual frustration. The original demo was just voice and electric guitar with some electronic drums to keep the beat. In 2011 when we were recording songs for the Honeydrum EP ‘Vacation’, I found it and decided to use it. I kept the original guitar and voice and just overdubbed the rest of the instruments over it, replacing the old electronic drums with real ones played by my pal Marc. When we were signed to Captured Tracks last year, they wanted two more tracks than what we initially had prepared for the LP, and I decided that this song should be one of them, so it was almost not on this release.”

– Joseph Black

30. The New Pornographers ”Dancehall Domine”(from Brill Bruisers)

”That is the song that I think sounds the most like a classic New Pornographers song. We definitely wanted it to be big. Once we had that giant synth bass, that’s when we thought ‘yeah, this is good’. That was part of what we call ‘the Sigue Sigue Sputnik influence’, we wanted songs that had that same arpeggiated beat, and I still like that. The ‘dancehall domine’ is somebody who controls the dancefloor. It’s sort of ironic, I was just thinking of how indie bands were singing about dancing. Like LCD Soundsystem did ‘Dance Yourself Clean’ and I would think ‘I don’t think you’re a good dancer?!’. Or the Dirty Projectors on one of their last singles sang something about dancing, and I’d be like ‘I have a feeling you’re not a very good dancer…’. I thought it was funny to just continue that theme of white indie rock guys singing about being the best dancer.”

Carl Newman

31. Kate Tempest ”The Beigeness”(from Everybody Down)

32. Arc Iris ”Whiskey Man”(from Arc Iris)

”One of the first pieces I ever wrote was a piece for cello and piano. It begins with the cello melody from ‘Whiskey Man’. In the middle of the piece there are raindrops dripping from both the cello and the piano and the two playfully mourning drip drop melodies run circles around each other. The sadness and rolls of dependence are passed between the cello and piano in a very fragile human way. Because of this fragility, I decided to use the cello line(originally written for Robin Ryczek) for ‘Whiskey Man’, a song written about an unbalanced and circular relationship. The weight of the world is carried at times with ease and at times with great difficulty.

The effects of social pressures and obligations can be unbearable for both the lover and the beloved, but what makes the lover hold on are those moments in which he or she gets a glimpse of their loved one unaffected by the thieves of time. No less, the flower in them blossoms so seldom that it is vibrant and untarnished. The well worn mask and confusion created by overused and unfertilized soil is forgotten just long enough for the sad little love cycle to start over again and again and again.”

Jocie Adams

33. Sloan ”You’ve Got A Lot On Your Mind”(from Commonwealth)

”‘You’ve Got A Lot On Your Mind’ is a song that had been kicking around for a few years. I always had a verse melody but never was satisfied with a good chorus melody(nor lyrics that would fit the song properly). Actually, the melody that I had been singing over the chorus section is now the string melody that pops up halfway through the 2nd chorus. Chris in our band had always thought the song could be turned into something worthwhile, so I continued to try to finish it. I didn’t really hit upon a good chorus melody until one day I was just playing guitar along with the track at home, almost absent mindedly, and I hit upon the melody that eventually became the lead vocal. It was a relief after it had been sitting around for so long. 

The placement of the chorus vocal and the way it begins before the first chord of the chorus was actually an accident that would not have happened without modern computer recording. Ryan, our engineer, was editing my vocal and actually misplaced the vocal in Pro-Tools one bar ahead of where is was supposed to land(starting on the word ‘mind’ instead of ‘you’ve’). A total ‘eureka’ moment. Suddenly it was much better and more satisfying, and maybe catchier? Regardless, thank you Ryan for your slip of the hand/mouse. Lyrically it’s mostly about my girlfriend and references her situation on an extended stay in LA as I was getting to know her. Musically, with it’s layers of acoustic and Moog, I think I was under a heavy influential dose of ABBA, Phoenix and Wings(I mean, what else is there, anyhow?)…and not that it comes close to their awesome catalogues, by the way!”

– Jay Ferguson

34. Say Lou Lou feat. Lindstrøm ”Games For Girls”

”The winter of 2012-13 we had been doing some writing with Noonie Bao, a Swedish artist/writer, so when we got the question if we wanted to write on one of Lindstrøm’s instrumentals/productions for his upcoming album we were like ‘we should do it with Noonie!’. I don’t really remember how we got in contact with Lindstrøm but I think his management reached out to us and played us some of the tracks. We picked the one we found most exciting which then was a disco track with some type of rendition of the hook from ‘U Can’t Touch This’ which might sound weird but it was a really cool and fun track that we instantly were drawn to.

We brought it to Noonie‘s, she had a little studio room behind her parents’ cafe in Södermalm where we used to do the sessions. It was winter. We had coffee and saffron buns. I can’t really remember exactly how it all happened but we got a Japanese school girl/Geisha vibe from the track and that’s why we started singing quite high and very girlish, and why the ‘ahaaha’ vocal in the chorus has that oriental feeling. It was almost like we just pretended we were foreign school girls and made it all up in one go. The song is almost like a girl power mantra, we wanted to highlight that love and sex can mean as little to girls as it does to some boys, that we can play the game and win. In popular culture it’s almost always the girls that fall in love and get hurt and the guys that are unattached, so we wanted to play with that using quite childish, simple metaphors. It’s very different from anything we’ve done before as Say Lou Lou, both in terms of melody and lyrics, but it was fun to try something completely different.

We recorded scrap vocals on that day with Noonie, and then after a few weeks we went back in alone and added some more vocals and details, and sent it off to Lindstrøm. We didn’t hear anything for like…more than a year. We were under the impression that he hadn’t liked it and that he wasn’t going to use it for his album, so we didn’t really think about it for a while. Then this spring 2014 he sent a new version kind of out of nowhere, with a whole new production, the existing one that is now. We loved it! We asked if we could use if for our next single, so we made a shorter Say Lou Lou version for us and added new vocals and harmonies, and he had his longer edit. The funniest thing about this whole collaboration is that Elektra and I still have never met him! Cyber 21st century song writing!!”

Miranda Kilbey-Jansson

35. François & The Atlas Mountains ”La Vérité”(from Piano Ombre)

”I used to be easily impressed by the authorities, rich people and beautiful women. I ‘ve now realised that their greatest power is to pretend that they are above. They truly don’t know much more than I do and they certainly don’t have super powers to keep them from the problems that I’m going through. They just pretend they are fine and that what they do and think is the absolute truth.

Knowing that if I’m too honest and too kind will I ever succeed? I haven’t decided to turn nasty yet . I should at least start by playing at being pretentious, cool, modern, and sexier than Prince. I’ll try…

Whether the task of playing at being cool is actually less work than being actually good to the people around me…? I truly don’t know…”

François Marry

36. Markus Krunegård ”Invandrarblues”(from Rastlöst Blod)

”Jag var i Helsingfors o hängde allena några dagar för att skriva låtar, det gick dåligt. Det slutade med att jag inte vågade beställa roomservice för att dom skulle höra att jag bröt på svenska i receptionen, så ur magknip av hunger o skam över att inte ens våga prata i telefon på finska föddes denna låt. Texten är väl rätt självförklarande. Jag skrev vers 1 redan till förra skivan men orkade inte göra klart den då, på demon lät den som Suicides gubbrock, så jag o Jari tillförde lite ungdomlig entusiasm o då kändes den bra. Vet inte varför, men jag tänkte först inte ha med den, men så blev det.”

Markus Krunegård

37. Christopher Sander ”Kokong”(from Jorden Var Rund)

38. Hercules & Love Affair feat. Gustaph ”Do You Feel The Same?”(from The Feast Of The Broken Heart)

39. FKA Twigs ”Two Weeks”(from LP1)

40. Lykke Li ”Silver Line”(from I Never Learn)

41. The Primitives ”Spin-O-Rama”(from Spin-O-Rama)

”The initial idea was for the song to be the theme tune to an imagined British 70s children’s TV drama. In fact I wanted to write a whole album of songs around this idea, but it didn’t quite come off. The title was originally ‘Backwards Roundabout’ but that sounded a bit clunky, so I changed it to ‘Spin-O-Rama’, which sounds more like a slightly dark kids TV program from when we were kids. The song is about returning to a less complicated, more innocent existence, via some metaphysical fairground or playground ride. I was thinking about the carousel in Ray Bradbury‘s Something Wicked This Way Comes, where people grow old or young depending on which way the carousel revolves, and also about a mad afternoon in the early days of the band, when we got a bit ”mystical” in a park, and Tracy ended up clinging to the underside of one of those spider web roundabouts, laughing her head off, as it spun faster and faster.

The arpeggio riff reminded me a bit of the ‘Rupert The Bear’ song by Jackie Lee, which, I guess, is where the kids TV theme idea started. We wanted the song to have certain classic Primitives elements; ‘Spacehead’ overdriven drums, layered jangle guitar, fuzzed bar chords etc, but also to sound like one of those big bubblegum glam pop hits from our childhood. When our bass player Raph heard the finished mix, he dubbed it ‘Bay City Stone Roses’, which I thought that was a pretty fair description of what we’d set out to achieve.”

Paul Court

42. Liam Finn ”Wild Animal”(from The Nihilist)

”‘Wild Animal’ was one of the first songs I wrote for The Nihilist after moving to NY. I had just found myself a cool writing space to work out of , I was excited about the endless possibilities and what felt like a fresh beginning but also a bit daunted having moved to a new city and having to find my feet again.

I remember that the verse riff came first and I constructed an instrumental piece of music. The lyrics actually came really quick for ‘Wild Animal’. Most of the time I’ll get a verse and chorus whe I first start writing but then it takes me weeks, months, sometimes years to finish the rest off. ‘Wild Animal’ lyrics came all in one go. I guess it was a response to moving country with my girlfriend, to a new world and a new era in our lives and how you experience this as an individual and a couple simultaneously. The chorus I think I was trying to acknowledge that I was aware of how I get myself worked up(especially while writing) and become hard to reason with, sensitive and unpredictable. The harder anyone tries to calm me down the more I feel backed into a corner and irrational.

Everyday felt like a surreal experience at that time, kind of like living in a film. I was particularly horrified one day when walking past a coffee shop I saw young boy who was wearing one of those harness leashes parents put on to stop their kid from running off. Someone had tied him up to a bike rack outside the coffee shop like a dog while they went inside to buy coffee. The little boy was just losing his shit, screaming and bucking around much like the wild animal he was being treated like. I don’t blame him…”

Liam Finn

43. Dinosaur Feathers ”Impossible”(from Control)

”I had written the music and melody quite a while ago, but could never seem to figure out any lyrics for it. Then, I had an experience playing pickup basketball in Oakland where I was harassed for being white. It was a difficult, but interesting experience. I was talking to Ryan about it and we thought it to just make ‘Impossible’ about that. I tried writing some lyrics, but continued to fail, so I asked Ryan to write them, because I just couldn’t get past this block. So, he wrote the lyrics about my experience in that game and as the song progresses, it sort of expands outwards, meditating on issues of class and identity.”

– Greg Sullo

44. The Night VI ”Sienna”(single)

”The track was born of hostile encounter between guitarist Jack Gourlay and a new girlfriend’s ex, which got us thinking about the special hurt when you’re the one that’s been left behind. It was written in 2 days with our good friend Cass Lowe, who co produced it with Jack, we did our best to record as a 6 piece with the drummer in a separate room but ended up using a lot of the 1st vocal/guitar takes from the original demo. Sometimes the best takes are the ones you haven’t thought too hard over.”

– Sophie-Rose Harper

45. Hello Saferide ”The Crawler”(from The Fox, The Hunter and Hello Saferide)

46. tUnE-yArDs ”Left Behind”(from Nikki Nack)

47. How To Dress Well ”Repeat Pleasure”(from What Is This Heart?)

48. Sun Kil Moon ”Carissa”(from Benji)

49. Kent ”Var Är Vi Nu?”(from Tigerdrottningen)

50. Susanne Sundfør ”Fade Away”(single)

51. Tomas Barfod feat. Nina K ”Busy Baby”(from Love Me)

”The story to this song is told through the perspective of different versions of myself. Or different versions of anybody really. We’re all diverse, stupid and smart, old and young, sad and happy. It can be pretty difficult to find a togetherness inside all of that and inside your different selves. So this song is a ‘what would I tell my younger self?’ kind of story. Or a ‘what would I tell my childish, stupid, sad or self-absorbed self?’ kind of story. How do I snap out of things with ‘only’ the different sides of myself as a weapon? I started writing it by the words ‘awful pale like a mother say yes’ which was, super cliché, scrabbled down on a piece of paper when I was really drunk and for a very long time I didn’t have any music to it. Then Tomas sent me a track from his album called ‘Destiny’s Child’. That’s the song I laid down the vocals to. I was so happy to hear what he built out of the vocals afterwards. What had originally been this sweet and easygoing song, became more of a disco anthem which I think is so much better. Especially with these lyrics.”

– Nina Kinert

52. Archie Bronson Outfit ”We Are Floating”(from Wild Crush)

”‘We are Floating’ was the first track we wrote for Wild Crush, or more accurately, was the first track we decided was a ‘keeper’ for the album. It represents us deciding what the essence of Archie Bronson Outfit was, post Dor leaving the group.

There are some famous musical/riff nods in there! When we came to record it we wanted to elevate it, from what it essentially is, i.e. rockarama. In the studio therefore, we flexed our vocoder and creaky-synth muscles; these are very much elements Capitol K brought to the party.

I don’t really like explaining lyrics, but I like the line ”newly gifting and body-shifting”. Also, ”we are floating, but I can’t relax” is probably the most self-descriptive line I will ever write. There are lines that I can write now where I just know that once Sam is singing them, they will really work, as he brings a certain tension in his singing, and that is one of them!”

Mark ”Arp” Cleveland

53. Hamilton Leithauser ”Alexandra”(from Black Hours)

”The song was very spontaneous and fun to write. Just Rostam and myself in his apartment noodling around with his 12-string guitar. The bulk of the song really took about an hour to write. The mix, however, took about 3 months – and a lot of grief – to get right. A lot of the recording was actually done in Washington, DC at Inner Ear Studios…where I used to work in the 90’s.”

Hamilton Leithauser

54. Ex Hex ”How You Got That Girl”(from Rips)

55. SOHN ”Artifice”(from Tremors)

56. Hiss Golden Messenger ”Saturday’s Song”(from Lateness Of Dancers)

57. Death From Above 1979 ”White Is Red”(from The Physical World)

58. Fujiya & Miyagi ”Little Stabs At Happiness”(from Artificial Sweeteners)

”The song started off very differently to how it finished. It began as a slow cluster type instrumental written on a farfisa. We then added the words but felt the song didn’t fit in with how we wanted the record to sound so we put it to one side and sort of forgot about it. Towards the end of making Artificial Sweeteners we were working out what songs we wanted to put on it and we remembered ‘Little Stabs at Happiness’. It sounded good but still didn’t fit with the feel of the record. So we took it apart and put it back together and it morphed into something else. It still had the originals melancholy but we added a bounce to the bassline and the synth became more off kilter. Maybe it could end up as a soundtrack for depressed ravers somewhere. I hope it has a chink of lightness and positivity to it though somewhere. Hopefully theres a nice contrast between the feel of the music and the words.

The title was borrowed from a 1960s film by Ken Jacobs, although the words haven’t got anything to do with that. I just liked the title. I suppose the song is about never quite being able to achieve what you want to achieve or never reaching a place where you are content. Maybe thats what drives people to keep going and thats where the light comes in.”

David Best

59. The Voluntary Butler Scheme ”Honey In The Gravel Mixture”(from A Million Ways To Make Gold)

”The song was written not long after i learnt to play the trumpet. I just decided to take it up as an extra instrument between albums and as a result of that i ended up writing lots of songs based around brass riffs. The lyric is quite cynical maybe – but is non-sensical enough to disguise it. It’s kind of about that even if things are a bit shit – they can be made just a little better with some simple sweetness. The song was recorded in my house like all my music.”

– Rob Jones

60. Ásgeir ”Summer Guest”(from In The Silence)

61. Timber Timbre ”This Low Commotion”(from Hot Dreams)

62. Sharon Van Etten ”Our Love”(from Are We There)

63. Gardens & Villa ”Colony Glen”(from Dunes)

64. Tokyo Police Club ”Hot Tonight”(from Forcefield)

65. Raury ”God’s Whisper”(single)

66. Fatima ”Underwater”(from Yellow Memories)

67. Greylag ”Yours To Shake”(from Greylag)

”This song is alluding to the riskiness at the core love and relationships — in getting into them and in sustaining them. It’s saying, nothing we do is ever perfect, but if we’re giving it everything we have, we can make something beautiful together. But there’s never any guarantee it will work out the way you want — you both have to put yourself on the line and open yourself to the possibility of getting hurt, or it won’t work.”

– Andrew Stonestreet, Daniel Dixon and Brady Swan

68. Titiyo ”Solna”(single)

På ‘Solna’ har Jonathan Johansson suttit och nästan intervjuat mig för att därefter skriva texten medan jag har gjort melodin. Ackorden kommer faktiskt från Martin Renck, lillebror till Johan Renck(alias Stakka Bo), och hans instrumentalprojekt Svartaste. Jag satt och lyssnade på honom och upptäckte de här ackorden och satte en melodi till dem. Sedan gjorde Dante och Sakarias en 90-talsinspirerad produktion till det, med en annan melodi och en annan text, som sedan byttes mot en ny melodi och så satte Jonathan en ny text till den. Så den har gått några vändor! Från början hette låten ‘Stockholm’. När Jonathan fick höra den och skulle komma med en text frågade han: ‘men är inte du från Solna?’. ‘Jo…’, sa jag, och insåg att här har vi något, eftersom det inte finns så många låtar som handlar om Solna, vad det nu beror på.”

– Titiyo

69. Woman’s Hour ”To The End”(from Conversations)

”Our song ‘To The End’ was written in a unique way to the rest of our songs. The initial spark came whilst I was in Kendal and wrote the chorus chords and riff on the piano. I then sent an iPhone recording to the guys and each of us built it up our own parts in isolation from each other. In a sense it was one of the easiest songs to create as each of the parts we came up with worked really well with each other.”

Fiona Jane Burgess

70. Happyness ”It’s On You”(from Happyness EP)

”‘It’s On You’ was the first song on the first EP we ever released and one of the first things we ever recorded. It originally just had the instrumental backing with a story spoken over the top about a man who never dried when he got out of the bath. Here’s the whole story:

‘There once was a man who never dried. Every morning he would wake up with everybody else. He would sit up, slide out, sway, walk and piss with everybody else. He would undress and self-examine, wash his body parts in an established sequence, pull the plug and feel the land rise around him. But he never dried.

And wherever he went, whether he was watching birds on the television or girls in the park, or in the evenings dripping in bars, people would say: ”Why don’t you dry?'”

– Ash Cooper, Benji Compston and Jonny Allan

71. The Hidden Cameras ”Year Of The Spawn”(from Age)

”I wrote ‘Year of the Spawn’ in 2004 actually. A long time ago. It was one of the first songs I wrote after buying a Gretsch guitar. It was recorded in 2008 I believe. I asked Chilly Gonzales to record piano on it in 2010 and it was mixed by Howie Beck in 2012.”

– Joel Gibb

72. The Aston Shuffle feat. Mayer Hawthorne ”Never Take It Away”(from Photographs)

73. Goat ”Hide From The Sun”(from Commune)

74. Bipolar Sunshine ”Where Did The Love Go”(single)

75. The Delines ”82nd Street”(from Colfax)

76. Kwabs ”Pray For Love”(from Pray For Love EP)

77. Drive-By Truckers ”Grand Canyon”(from English Oceans)

78. Neneh Cherry feat. Robyn ”Out Of The Black”(from Blank Project)

79. Mark Morriss ”It’s Hard To Be Good All The Time”(from A Flash Of Darkness)

80. Les Big Byrd ”War In The Streets”(from They Worshipped Cats)

81. Miniature Tigers ”Swimming Pool Blues”(from Cruel Runnings)

82. Mazes ”It Is What It Is”(from Wooden Aquarium)

83. Tove Styrke ”Even If I’m Loud It Doesn’t Mean I’m Talking To You”(from Borderline EP)

84. Sean Nicholas Savage ”Empire”(from Bermuda Waterfall)

85. Grumbling Fur ”All The Rays”(from Preternaturals)

86. Foxygen ”How Can You Really”(from …And Star Power)

87. Banks ”Beggin For Thread”(from Goddess)

88. Twin Shadow ”To The Top”(single)

89. Chet Faker ”1998”(from Built On Glass)

90. Black Lips ”Make You Mine”(from Underneath The Rainbow)

91. DMA’s ”Delete”(from DMA’s EP)

92. Owl John ”Red Hand”(from Owl John)

93. Augustines ”Cruel City”(from Augustines)

94. Kevin Morby ”The Ballad Of Arlo Jones”(from Still Life)

95. Strand Of Oaks ”Same Emotions”(from Heal)

96. Ryan Adams ”Kim”(from Ryan Adams)

97. Generationals ”Now Look At Me”(from Alix)

98. Reverend And The Makers feat. Steve Edwards ”I Spy”(from Thirty Two)

99. Arthur Beatrice ”Grand Union”(from Working Out)

100. Lo-Fang ”Look Away”(from Blue Film)

LISTEN TO THE PLAYLIST VIA WiMP

LISTEN TO THE PLAYLIST VIA RARA

Class of 2013 – Årets 100 bästa låtar!

Både du och jag vet att uppdraget är omöjligt. 100 låtar som ska anses vara årets bästa. Varenda en på listan här nedan ligger egentligen på topp tio vilken dag som helst. Jag hade en lista med det tiodubbla innan jag skar ned till 300 för att handplocka de 100 ”bästa”. Det handlar enbart om humöret för dagen. Men nu ska vi inte vara såna, listor skulle inte finnas om ingen fann spänning i att jämföra, hålla med och inte hålla med.

Alla gör listor den här tiden på året, och ibland kan jag känna att det blir lite tjatigt. Lite som det kanske är för er när ni går igenom den här. Men för en gångs skull är det inte jag som ska berätta något om låtarna som finns med. För vem vet mest om dem om inte de som skrivit dem: artisterna själva. Omkring trettio av dem har exklusivt för Songs for Whoever berättat historien bakom sin låt. Några har haft en hel del att förtälja, några har hållit det kort hur mycket jag än lirkat för att få ur dem något mer. Årets bästa låt har jag till och med fått skriva om själv, inte för att jag har något emot det, men dess upphovsman har helt enkelt inte velat säga något. Och det är säkert en del av förklaringen till dess storhet; myten och spekulationen. Men jag är mycket tacksam för allt som de andra berättar för oss och som tillför upplevelsen en extra dimension.

Hoppas ni får lika roligt när ni går igenom Songs for Whoevers årsbästalista som jag har haft när jag sammanställt den. Oavsett om artisten har berättat något om sin låt eller ej. Oavsett om ni håller med om att en låt ska vara med eller ej. Det är sekundärt. Jag vet inte ens om jag själv håller med. Förhoppningsvis fyller vi i några luckor från 2013, om inte annat.

You and me both know that it’s Mission Impossible. 100 songs considered to be the best of the year. Every single one on this list is, to be honest, top ten on any given day. I had a list of songs ten times the amount before I cut it down to 300 and then hand-picked the 100 ”best”. It’s all about the mood of the day. But let’s not get hung-up on that, lists wouldn’t exist if there was no excitement in comparing, agreeing and disagreeing.

Everybody is making year-end list these days, and sometimes I think it’s a bit repetitive. Maybe a little like you feel going through this one. But for once it’s not me telling things about the songs included. Who knows more about the songs if not the ones who wrote them: the artists themselves. Around thirty of them have exclusively for Songs for Whoever told the story behind their song. Some had a lot to share, some just stuck to a few lines, no matter how much I tried coaxing them into telling more. The best song of the year I’ve even had to write about myself, not that I mind, but because its author simply hasn’t been willing to tell anything. And that’s surely part of the reson for its grandeur; the myth and speculation(Apologies to international readers for writing about No 1 only in Swedish, as well as keeping the Swedish artists’ quotes in their original language). However, I’m very grateful for the song stories that have been told, which adds an extra dimension to the experience.

I do hope you have as much fun going through Songs for Whoever’s best-of-the-year list as I had compiling it. Regardless of a story from the artist or not. Regardless of whether you agree that a song should be included or not. That’s all secondary. I don’t even know if I agree myself. If nothing else we’ll hopefully fill in some gaps from the year 2013.

LYSSNA PÅ SPELLISTAN VIA WiMP

1 Keaton Henson “10am Gare du Nord”
Hans sätt att vid sina ytterst sporadiska framträdanden sitta ihopsjunken – närmast krum – över sin gitarr, tomt blickandes ner i golvet iförd kavaj och yvigt skägg, avslöjar en introvert och skygg artist så fäst vid sin konst att inte ens hans obehag av uppmärksamheten den tilldrar sig kan få honom att överge den. Något som också bekräftas när jag gör research om ”10am Gare du Nord”. Efter växelvis kontakt med Keaton Hensons management får jag i alla fall fram att den kvinnliga rösten som sjunger andrastämma i refrängen är Jesca Hoop(en gång barnflicka hos ingen mindre än Tom Waits, men det tar vi en annan dag). Låtens bakgrund vill han dock absolut inte gå in på, ty han är ”not entirely comfortable with the intimacy”, något jag köper till fullo.

En som däremot inte har några problem alls med att ventilera saken är den känslosvallande sångtextens huvudperson. Franska sångerskan och skådespelerskan SoKo rapporterades ha ett inte helt friktionsfritt förhållande med Henson fram till någon gång under 2012 då paret gjorde ett hjärtslitande publikt uppbrott via lätt kryptiska och sårande hälsningar till varandra i bl.a. radio. Mest drivande att dra den andre i smutsen får nog alla gånger SoKo anses ha varit, men ironiskt nog blev hennes offentliga kölhalning av Henson också en katalysator för hans karriär. Hon ägnade 2012 åt att dela flertalet klipp av hans sånger(som antas i stort sett alltid handla om henne) på sin Facebooksida – med över 210.000 följare – taggat med fräsande ordsalvor riktat mot sin forne älskade. Under 2013 har hon låtit ämnet bero, men så plötsligt den 7 december delade hon åter ett klipp av Henson framförandes ”10am Gare du Nord” åtföljt av orden ”This breaks my heart every single time. Why does he keep singing songs about loving me when he clearly doesn’t…? @keatonhenson #forevermissinghim”. Vad för slags kärlek som river upp den typen av sår kan vi bara försöka föreställa oss.

Henson å sin sida har för det mesta hållit sig till att kommentera situationen i sång, och vill som sagt inte göra det på annat sätt, inte ens när en obskyr svensk musikblogg utser en av hans alster till 2013 års bästa låt. Lider man av svår scenskräck så gör man.

Så till själva huvudämnet: årets bästa låt 2013. Redan titeln väckte intresse. Ett klockslag, en världskänd parisisk tågstation och ett kärlekspar. Föreställ dig följande scenario: en rastlös Keaton Henson är olycklig i deras tvåsamhet och föremålet för hans svallande känslor, SoKo, vill inte längre utstå hans nyckfulla, inåtvända och obeslutsamma persona. Ett helt kärleksförhållande avhandlas på under fyra minuter, och kanske är Gare du Nord helt sonika en metafor för den instabila plattform det vilat på; ständigt ett tåg väntandes på att en av dem ska kliva ombord och den andra inte. Om inte ”10am Gare du Nord” redan hade en lite djupare innebörd så fick den det kanske nu. Har du aldrig sett ett söndermosat hjärta på utsidan av en bröstkorg bör du lyssna och blunda till dessa toner, du lär aldrig komma närmare en visualisering än här. Återigen är det bevisat att smärta är den vackraste känslan, så länge någon annan drabbas och kanaliserar ut den i briljant konst för andra att ta del av.

Inte sedan Jeff Buckley erövrade ”Hallelujah” från Leonard Cohen har vi hört någon sjunga så innerligt över en elektrisk gitarr som verkar ge ljud åt samma förblödande hjärtesår som Keaton Hensons bräckliga röst. Med avslutande raderna ”Please do not break my heart, I think it’s had enough pain to last the rest of my life, And I will not tire of you” är det förmodligen fullt medvetet, för att inte säga nödvändigt, med tretton sekunders tystnad efter att sista ackordet klingat ut. Mot ovan dramatiska bakgrund måste sådana ord begrundas en stund innan man klarar av att höra eller göra något annat.

2 The Proctors “Into The Sun”
”After losing my mother suddenly, my brother was approached by a stranger who said she could see a woman resembling my mother in a field gathering flowers. Thats the chorus, and perhaps ‘another star will guide your way home tonight, and as you stumble arms are holding you tight’ refers to someone watching over you, though no longer physically present. And I’m afraid stumbling home referred to me! Looking at the stars and wondering which one of them was her! Around the same time someone close also lost someone, and the ‘beyond the city lights a sleeping angel said goodnight, my love, please hold on’ is about that, and the massive empathy I felt with my old friend. The first verse goes back in time to when my sister and I visited my dad in his new flat, then walked home rather too late for kids of our age across Gornal Park. I particularly remember the Autumn leaves…”

– Gavin Priest

3 The 1975 ”Chocolate”
”‘Chocolate’ tells the story of our relationships with the governing authorities of our small town. Smoking weed, smoking anything I suppose, boredom and what ensues  when both parties challenge one another. It’s a love letter to boredom, limited opportunities of expressing yourself and embracing and understanding the make up of where you’re from. Musically and structurally it is the blueprint of our output, but I’d need an entire book to discuss that in detail”

– Matthew Healy

4 Vampire Weekend “Ya Hey”
5 Ed Harcourt ”Murmur In My Heart”
6 Superchunk ”Me And You And Jackie Mittoo”
7 Håkan Hellström “När Lyktorna Tänds”

8 Johnossi “For A Little While”
”Jag skrev låten i Portugal, sommaren 2012. Oftast sliter vi med en låt i dagar eller veckor men den här tog en halvtimme ungefär, det är en sån där låt som bara rann ur mig. Jag skrev den på gitarr men visste direkt att det skulle vara piano på inspelningen.”

– John Engelbert

9 Rhye ”Hunger”
”We are not sure if anyone caught this, but the song ‘Hunger’ is the one of the only cuts on the record that has no affiliation with love. Rather it’s a statement, a political one though very subtle… The recording was started in Copenhagen, ‘The Fall’, ‘Woman’ and ‘Major Minor Love’ were recorded there. Then we did the rest in Robin’s apartment in L.A. while I was traveling back and forth for Berlin, visiting Alexa(my wife that I made my most recent record with, Jetlag).”

– Milosh

10 Laura Stevenson ”Runner”
11 Sigur Rós ”Ísjaki”
12 Cut Copy ”In Memory Capsule”
13 Disclosure feat. Eliza Doolittle “You And Me”
14 Neko Case ”I’m From Nowhere”

15 Bipolar Sunshine ”Love More Worry Less”

”The song was written as a form of celebration , self release. I wanted euphoric sound and for people to take the best bits from it to suit them…”

– Adio Marchant

16 Jonathan Johansson “Den Brända Jorden”
”Det är en låt om våld. Om Europa. Om skuld och konsekvens. Den pumpar framåt som blod och sjukdom.”

– Jonathan Johansson

17 MØ ”Glass”
”‘Glass’ is about being young and vulnerable. About wanting to experience life at its full extend, but not knowing how to do so ‘cause you’re too restless and too confused. About being afraid to die, missing all the fun. About being sad ‘cause we always glorify the past. Stuck with a feeling of emptiness towards the dawning days to come.

I received the first beat scratch for ”Glass” from Swed-Dane producer ELOQ  in fall 2012. The lyrics and the melodies I made while on the road. The vocals I recorded at my parents house. Finally my main producer Ronni Vindahl got all exciting parts, and made the song into what it is today. As I said – I wrote all melodies and lyrics while on the road, and I remember clearly how the essential lyrics came about.

I was sitting in the train to Copenhagen. It was raining, and my mind was dark. I looked out at the landscape passing by, and I thought about my situation – things wasn’t too bad… Things were actually quite good, but still I got this feeling of ”what’s the point?”. Young people in Scandinavia nowadays are so spoiled. Myself included. We got everything – all possibilities lies ahead of us. Still we are unsatisfied. Still we want more. That’s just the human nature. While sitting in the train grumbling about these issues – the lyrics for Glass was made. So at least something constructive came out of my gloomy sunday.”

– Karen Marie Ørsted, aka

18 The Black Lillies ”The Fall”
”It is the lead track on our most recent release Runaway Freeway Blues, despite being the final song written for the new record. I have to attribute the initial inspiration to a day on the river with friends and music, crawfish, whispy clouds and sunshine…sounds like some hippy jargon…and it is!  I got together with a bunch of musician friends on a summer day when we were all off the road at the same time…we must have played 200 songs that day….one just lead to the next…and I remember telling myself that the next time I wrote a song don’t be scared to write something simple and something that pleases the senses.  The imagery from ‘The Fall’ is direct and relatable, vast yet focused…and of course its a love song…I haven’t written too many of those…but its high time…a good step to take as a writer and a person!”

– Cruz Contreras

19 Club 8 ”Stop Taking My Time”
”Låten är det närmaste ett beställningsjobb jag kommit med Club 8. När albumet var nästan klart sa Karolina att hon ville ha med en hård elektronisk låt som skulle låta si och så. Så jag åkte till studion och gjorde ”Stop Taking My Time” baserat på hennes önskemål. Det är en av mina favoritlåtar på skivan så det kan visst vara ett fungerande sätt att skriva på ibland. Pratpartiet bestod ursprungligen av mig som sa något på semi-franska med hårt distat ljud. Som en demogrej. Så kom jag att tänka på Indochine‘s album ”L’Aventurier” som en låt med en flicka som hälsade hem. Jag var väldigt faschinerad av att det när jag var liten. Jag tänkte att det skulle passa låten att göra likadant, fast tvärtom. Dvs först en text på engelska som de flesta förstår och sen en hälsning på svenska som 99% av våra lyssnare inte förstår ett ord av.”

– Johan Angergård

20 Blood Orange ”You’re Not Good Enough”
21 Jonathan Wilson “Love To Love”
22 Lady “Get Ready”
23 Phoenix “Trying To Be Cool”
24 Basia Bulat ”Tall Tall Shadow”
25 Fitz & The Tantrums ”Spark”

26 PAWWS “Slow Love”
”A song about enjoying the exciting first part of a relationship”

– Lucy Taylor, aka PAWWS

27 Josh Rouse ”This Movie’s Way Too Long”
”This was the last song written for my album and I tried to put some Lindsey Buckingham type guitar solos at the end which was a lot of fun! The lyrics deal with trying to manage touring and staying in one place. Arguing gets old.”

– Josh Rouse

28 The New Amsterdams ”Too Many Of A Good Thing”
”That song was written and recorded in 2003. The Get Up Kids were on a hiatus and the third New Amsterdams album Worse For The Wear was being released around the same time as the Reggie And The Full Effect record Under The Tray. I was playing in Reggie at the time and had to make the decision not to go on tour with that band but with The New Ams instead. So, I had to take a break from my side project with James to do my side project by myself. There were too many good things going on and not enough time to do it. The song was originally going to be on Killed Or Cured but it was too upbeat.”

– Matt Pryor

29 Free Energy “Girls Want Rock”

”‘Girls Want Rock’ was a demo that we arranged in pro-tools. It’s a party anthem, but also about feeling stuck and caught in repeating patterns and habits. Scott and Paul demoed the song in the Free Energy practice space in Philadelphia, PA, and then rehearsed it live with the band before recording it in a church called Dreamland Studio, in Woodstock, NY. John Agnello produced it.”

– Paul Sprangers

30 Franz Ferdinand ”Love Illumination”
31 The Internet ”Dontcha”

32 Hästpojken ”Sommarvin”

”Texten handlar ganska rakt av om när jag och Adam sitter och dricker tillsammans.”

– Martin Elisson

33 James Blake “Retrograde”
34 The Milk Carton Kids “Whisper In Her Ear”
35 Tedeschi Trucks Band ”Made Up Mind”
36 Lorde ”Royals”

37 Treetop Flyers ”Houses Are Burning”
”‘Houses Are Burning’ is about the way people relate to each other on a core level and was inspired by the re-introduction of rugged individualism in our society, American and sort of British, over the last two or three decades. Greed has grown to be acceptable in ways it wouldn’t have been to previous generations despite its negative effects on people’s lives. 

We’re much more self-serving, self-obsessed than we used to be and these seem to be positive character traits to have nowadays.  People only listen to each other when it fits some preconceived notion and yet everyone wonders why the world is falling apart.

It went unfinished for a while and in an eerie way we revisited and finished the song just before the London riots in the summer of 2011.”

– Tomer Danan

38 Israel Nash Gripka ”Woman At The Well”
”The song is written about my ranch, in Dripping Springs, TX. It’s a place where I have made a lot of life changes in over the past two years. Growing up, seeing the world differently, all from my backyard looking out into the Texas Hill Country. The Woman at the Well is a fountain statue on my back porch. She is made of white stone and ‘pours the water out.’ But for the song, she represents what my life in the country is about: peace and clarity in life.”

– Israel Nash Gripka

39 Lost In The Trees “Lady In White”
40 Empire Of The Sun “Celebrate”
41 Glasvegas “If”
42 Midnight Juggernauts ”Ballad Of The War Machine”

43 Attic Lights ”Don’t You”
”‘Don’t You’ is about falling in love with someone and then realising that they don’t really feel the same back. When love is one-sided like this it can drive you crazy and in the end, you reject the other person as well in order to limit the hurt you feel. Therefore, it basically says, ‘don’t you’ not love me because if you do I won’t love you back anymore.”

– Colin McArdle

Colin wrote the full song in his flat, including the lead guitar solo, and recorded an early demo version on his computer. The full band then learned the song and added various dynamic parts and helped restructure it. It’s also one of the most enjoyable songs to play live from our new album. And the lead guitar solo is my favourite Attic Lights guitar solo.”

– Kev Sherry

44 Tomorrow’s World “Metropolis”
”‘Metropolis’ is my favourite song of the album too. This is the latest one that we’ve recorded. The story is about(I hope to not make a mistake because this is Lou’s story) about the inner darkness of cities. How people behave in the city. But this song is a way, a path to light to positivism. Musically it goes straight to a glowing end. And the beauty of it is in Lou’s energy that she carries along her performance, as a hot secret that she kept for a long time and that she’s finally able to tell to everybody.”

– Jean-Benoît Dunckel

45 Villa ”Mint”
”‘Mint’, or ‘the swan song’, talking about a pursuit of girls and boys chasing each other in a night club, actually more the boys making a big effort to get the girls, in the most funny way possible, we thought it was a good cliche to go with.. cause we see it all the time behind the DJ booth… so we thought we’d make song about it… ‘the swan song’… would you like a mint? 

We worked on this track with the great NICK HOOK who mixed the track for us, big up!!!!”

– Francois De Meyer & Thang

46 Best Coast “I wanna know”
”I was listening to Blondie. I was listening to A LOT of Blondie, and ‘I Wanna Know’ doesn’t sound anything like Blondie but was inspired by Blondie. Almost all of my songs are about break-ups or make-ups, but I wanted to make another song that was classically, undeniably poppy and catchy because I didn’t really have one of those on the second record. ‘I Wanna Know’ is my favorite on the record…it has this very upbeat poppy feel to it, so I’m pretty stoked on that.”

– Bethany Cosentino

47 Josh Berwanger ”Baby Loses Her Mind”
”‘Baby Loses Her Mind’ was written about failed relationships and the tendencies people have to destroy them no matter how good the relationship is going. I recorded it in the mountains of Colorado with Jim Macpherson(The Breeders/Guided By Voices) on drums. As for the riff on ‘Baby…’, I was just messing around, that idea has been done many times from The Beatles to Petty and so on, I think it’s all about how you make it your own, and I felt I made the song mine without feeling I ripped something off, if that makes any sense.”

– Josh Berwanger

48 Lloyd Cole ”Blue Like Mars”
”I found myself singing the opening line to the melody a year or two ago and recorded it on my iPhone. Went back to it a year later to see if I could make a song out of it and ended up in Old Testament and Outer Space. I suppose the idea owes a fair bit to Lonely Planet Boy, which made me think of The Little Prince, hence the last verse. The title is from a NASA photograph that I found on the www”

– Lloyd Cole

49 Cool Ghouls ”In The Morning”
”The song is about being born and raised here in the Bay Area. As a band and also as individuals, we’re just really proud to be from this part of the country. It serves as inspiration for a lot of our material. I wrote the song to act kind of like our battle flag or our coat of arms in a way. Haha. About equipment we used a combination of Protools and a Tascam 388, so a bit new and a bit old. The album was recorded by Tim Cohen of The Fresh & Onlys in his bedroom.”

– Pat McDonald

50 Charlie Boyer And The Voyeurs ”I Watch You”
”‘I watch you’ is about being a voyeur. we named our group after this song, or we named this song after our group. I’m not sure which way round it is.”

– Charlie Boyer

51 The Naked And Famous ”Hearts Like Ours”
52 Arcade Fire ”Joan Of Arc”
53 Willis Earl Beal feat. Cat Power ”Coming Through”
54 Quadron ”LFT”
55 Ladi6 “Diamonds”
56 Alice Russell ”Heartbreaker”
57 The Growlers ”Tell It How It Is”
58 Washed Out ”Falling Back”

59 Buchanan ”Par Avion”
”‘Par Avion’ was the first song we finished recording with our producer for the album. It’s about writing a difficult letter to a loved one back home and was our third single released in Australia – it’s probably my favourite track off the record. The falsetto hopefully helps communicate the emotion of the main character in the song… Although when I was writing the track it kind of just came out that way and wasn’t planned as such!”

– Josh Simons

60 Patrick Baker ”Get 2 Know U”
”‘Get 2 Know U’ was definitely an homage to Whitney Houston and classic 80’s pop-dance production. It was meant to be a kind of exuberant, summery song and I wanted the sounds to be as authentic as possible. It was all produced in my home studio and I spent a lot of time finding the right synths and bass sounds and getting the groove to feel just right. I think a good pop song can be like a finely tuned machine with everything in its right place and so in that regard I really tried to focus on all those little details. It was definitely a lot of fun working on that track.”

– Patrick Baker

61 Nat Jenkins & The Heart Caves “East And West”
”‘East & West’ is a song I co wrote with Heart Caves’ guitarist Robbie Heart. It had always been based around that main hook that Robbie plays – at one stage we were even playing it with a sort of gentle folk vibe. One night I went to a house party and came back in a bad mood. I’d written the lyrics as I walked home that night – and the next day we changed the whole rythmn and feel of the song, keeping that riff as the main hook. 

It was recorded live in one take at London’s Dean Street Studios – however when we came to the mixing stage the producer discovered there was too much drum spill through the vocal mic. So it was that I came to re-record the lead vocal in my Paris apartment’s bathroom while the crazy old woman who lives upstairs yelled ‘Nazi!’ at me and hurled buckets of water out of her window.

It’s still one of my favourite tunes on the record.”

– Nat Jenkins

62 Temples ”Colours To Life”
”‘Colours To Life’ is a song that we wrote while in our studio, looping this 12 string guitar, that just keeps chiming. We tried to create a sound that soars, rushes and explodes all in the same atmosphere. We wanted it to be as-transitional-as-possible pop music.”

– Tom Warmsley

63 Steve Earle & The Dukes(& Duchesses) ”Love’s Gonna Blow My Way”
64 Phosphorescent ”Song For Zula”
65 Haim ”Falling”
66 Kanye West ”Black Skinhead”
67 Justin Timberlake ”Take Back The Night”
68 Jaqee ”Dance”
69 St. Lucia ”Elevate”

70 Valerie June ”You Can’t Be Told”

”The elders can always tell youngsters how to live.  Life must be lived by each being in order to know the proper way to embrace each moment.”

– Valerie June

71 Holy Ghost! ”Bridge And Tunnel”
72 Roosevelt ”Elliot”
73 JC Brooks & The Uptown Sound ”Before You Die”
74 Hot Natured feat. Róisín Murphy ”Alternate State”
75 Shooter Jennings feat. Patty Griffin ”Wild & Lonesome”
76 The National ”Fireproof”
77 Youth Lagoon ”Mute”
78 Drenge ”Backwaters”

79 Gregory Alan Isakov ”Saint Valentine”
”I’m always looking to make songs that allow the listener to dream. This song, in particular, is rooted in the bittersweet search for love and home – but hopefully it conjures up more than that.”

– Gregory Alan Isakov

80 Thea Gilmore ”Love Came Looking For Me”
81 Lana Del Rey “Young And Beautiful”
82 The Flaming Lips ”Peace Sword(Open Your Heart)”
83 John Mayer “Paper Doll”
84 Alela Diane ”About Farewell”
85 Prefab Sprout ”The Songs Of Danny Galway”

86 Over The Rhine ”It Makes No Difference”

”It’s a cover of the The Band classic, of course. We performed it at a Levon Helm memorial concert, and decided to include it on our latest. Stripped down, and sung by a husband and wife, it felt like a new song.”

– Karin Bergquist & Linford Detweiler

87 Sallie Ford & The Sound Outside ”Bad Boys”
88 The Weeknd ”Wanderlust”

89 Fryars ”Cool Like Me”
”‘Cool like me’ has been in the works for over three years and has gone through several reincarnations. It was exciting to finally let it out into the world.”

– Ben Garrett

90 Marc Carroll ”(It Was)Lust Not Love”
”‘Lust Not Love’….Well, I was going to leave that song off the album. I didn’t think it had any place in the structure of the record. When it came to record the song, we (myself and Chris, who produced the album) listened to the demo recording and just went with it and like most songs I record, they dictate themselves during the recording process. A lot of the time I don’t consider the songs I write as songs, more like pieces of music that I happen to sing over. I don’t have the dicipline or patience to perfect something before I go into a studio. I prefer the element of surprise, something to thrill and inspire along the way, even if it ends up failing. Who cares about failure, as long as the song has been served. As for what the song is about…..well, I think the words suit a female voice more than mine. It would work better from a female perspective. It’s a song for Women. Desire can be an untameable beast.”

– Marc Carroll

91 Talib Kweli feat. Miguel ”Come Here”
92 Ghostface Killah & Adrian Younge ”Rise Of The Black Suits”
93 Hot Chip ”Dark And Stormy”

94 Justin Currie ”I Hate Myself For Loving You”
”‘I Hate Myself For Loving You’ nearly didn’t make the album as Mike McCarthy, the producer thought it was too clichéd. But I thought we needed something light and throwaway to balance out the album and once the Austin musicians heard it they loved it so their enthusiasm carried it through. I like it because it has a happy ending, like a dirty massage.”

– Justin Currie

95 Chromeo ”Over Your Shoulder”
96 Janelle Monae feat. Miguel ”Primetime”
97 Har Mar Superstar ”Prisoner”
98 Dizraeli & The Small Gods “Million Miles”

99 Retro Stefson ”She Said”
”I started writing the song early 2011 slowly progressing for over a year. Part of the lyrics concern a couple we saw making out in the backstage area of a festival we were playing. It’s produced around the preset Solid bass from the Yamaha DX100 synth.”

– Unnsteinn Manuel Stefánsson

100 Jenn Grant ”I’ve Got Your Fire”
”I don’t really have a story to share. It is just a bunch of ideas and dreamlike ideas that make up this song and I hope that people have made their own stories for what it means to them. I am honoured to think that anyone as far away as Sweden may have even heard it. I recorded it in a country house in Prince Edward Island where my husband grew up. His name is Daniel Ledwell and he produced the album. I wrote all of the songs for this album in the ten days while we there, recording the drums and bass at the same time. There are a lot of moments on the album, especially on this song, that make me think of angels. Like the angel Gabrielle. It’s sort of based on my own, abstract idea of what an angel would be. Nothing is set in stone with my lyrics. There were a lot of special guests, and on this song 41 boys between the ages of 7-11 sing on the album. They are the Halifax Boys Honours Choir.”

– Jenn Grant

LYSSNA PÅ SPELLISTAN VIA WiMP