Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Best Songs/Albums of 2013

I had a group of songs and albums for a 'Best of 2013' list ready a few weeks ago, intending to write a sentence or two and post it here. Then my computer -- or, more specifically, the port that allows the AC adapter to feed the laptop the power it needs to, you know, run -- decided that this wasn't meant to be, necessitating its shipment to some factory in Louisville for repair.

Finally back in business on this computer, but since it's been a week since 2013 was no longer even a thing, I didn't want to slave away for a few hours on something very few people will read anyway. Instead, here's a simple list of my top 100 and top 25 albums of 2013. I'm putting it up on the Internet mainly for my own sake, because if I leave it in some word document, it's bound to get lost because I have a good (see: bad) feeling that my hard drives -- internal and external -- won't make it through the year.

Note on how I tend to do my lists: one song per artist, not counting featured credits. IDK, it's a thing.

Direct all complaints to @surfwax83 on Twitter in the small chance something on this list angers you, ya filthy animals.

Top 100 Songs of 2013

100. "Rainer" - Secret Mountains
99. "Oblivion" -- M83 feat. Susanne Sundfor
98. "High Art" -- The-Dream feat. Jay Z
97. "Dear Sir. Most Sincerely, William Temple Hornaday" -- Black Prairie
96. "Head On (Hold On to Your Heart" -- Man Man
95. "Where Can I Go?" -- Laura Marling
94. "One" -- Yamantaka // Sonic Titan
93. "So We Can Live" -- 2 Chainz feat. T-Pain
92. "Heart Heart Head" -- Meg Myers
91. "See It My Way" -- Mikal Cronin
90. "Hurricane" -- Angela Perley & the Howlin' Moons
89. "It Had to Be a Train" -- Barton Carroll
88. "Wakin on a Pretty Day" -- Kurt Vile
87. "The Leopard and the Lung" -- The Joy Formidable
86. "DONE." -- The Band Perry
85. "Walking on Air" -- Katy Perry
84. "Better Days" -- Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros"
83. "Low Life Buddy of Mine" -- Iron & Wine
82. "No Destruction" -- Foxygen
81. "40 Acres" -- Pusha-T feat. The-Dream
80. "Year Zero" -- Ghost B.C.
79. "Cavalier" -- James Vincent McMorrow
78. "Shake" -- The Head and the Heart
77. "Young and Beautiful" -- Lana Del Rey
76. "Recovery" -- Frank Turner
75. "Ways to Go" -- Grouplove
74. "Never Never" -- Korn
73. "Birth in Reverse" -- St. Vincent
72. "The Fold" -- Ivan & Alyosha
71. "State of the Art (A.E.I.O.U.)" -- Jim James
70. "Love Me Again" -- John Newman
69. "Keep Your Eyes Peeled" -- Queens of the Stone Age
68. "Come On, Illinois" -- Houndmouth
67. "Do I Wanna Know?" -- Arctic Monkeys
66. "Capitol Letter" -- Patti Smith
65. "Dig Me Up" -- Larcenist
64. "Tom Ford" -- Jay Z
63. "Science/Visions" -- Chvrches
62. "Just Beneath the Surface" -- Dawes
61. "Ohio" -- Patty Griffin
60. "Harmonica" -- Anna von Hausswolf
59. "I'll Become Everything" -- Nick Jaina
58. "Wenu Wenu" -- Omar Souleyman
57. "Mirrors" -- Justin Timberlake
56. "I Love You" -- Said the Whale
55. "Gypsy" -- Lady Gaga
54. "Demon Dance" -- Surfer Blood
53. "Shot at the Night" -- The Killers
52. "Spring Fra Livet" -- Kvelertak
51. "Hey Brother" -- Avicii
50. "The Phoenix" -- Fall Out Boy
49. "Gonna Die" -- Autre Ne Veut
48. "You Ain't Dolly (And You Ain't Porter)" -- Ashley Monroe feat. Blake Shelton
47. "Hail to the King" -- Avenged Sevenfold
46. "Day for the Dead" -- Zac Brown Band
45. "I Fell in Love with a Feeling" -- Nightlands
44. "Gentleman" -- PSY
43. "Kiss Land" -- The Weeknd
42. "Wrecking Ball" -- Miley Cyrus
41. "Gas Pedal" -- Sage the Gemini feat. Iamsu
40. "Johnson Blvd" -- Amos Lee
39. "Every Tense" -- Laura Stevenson
38. "Rap God" -- Eminem
37. "When a Fire Starts to Burn" -- Disclosure
36. "Biblical" -- Biffy Clyro
35. "I Need My Girl" -- The National
34. "Bitter Rivals" -- Sleigh Bells
33. "Love Has Come for You" -- Edie Brickell & Steve Martin
32. "Vertigo" -- Deafheaven
31. "Take a Little Pill" -- Brandy Clark
30. "You Never Need Nobody" -- The Lone Bellow
29. "Retrograde" -- James Blake
28. "Let it Go" -- Idina Menzel
27. "Country of Illusion" -- William Tyler
26. "Chosen" -- Blood Orange
25. "XO" -- Beyonce
24. "Hit Me" -- Mystikal
23. "The Wire" -- HAIM
22. "Slumville Sunrise" -- Jake Bugg
21. "Hearts Like Ours" -- The Naked and Famous
20. "Normal Person" -- Arcade Fire
19. "Dance Apocalpytic" -- Janelle Monae
18. "The Outsiders" -- Eric Church
17. "Summer Skeletons" -- Radical Face
16. "Blurred Lines" -- Robin Thicke feat. Pharrell & T.I.
15. "Follow Your Arrow" -- Kacey Musgraves
14. "Diane Young" -- Vampire Weekend
13. "Hold On, We're Going Home" -- Drake feat. Majid Jordan
12. "Tam Lin (Child 39)" -- Anais Mitchell & Jefferson Hamer
11. "Hrafntinna" -- Sigur Ros
10. "From This Valley" -- The Civil Wars
9. "Time Lapse" -- Ludovico Einaudi
8. "Pompeii" -- Bastille
7. "Elevate" -- St. Lucia
6. "Black Skinhead" -- Kanye West
5. "Get Lucky" -- Daft Punk
4. "Agape" -- Bear's Den
3. "Bugatti" -- Ace Hood feat. Future & Rick Ross
2. "Cover Me Up" -- Jason Isbell
1. "Song For Zula" -- Phosphorescent

 Top 25 Albums of 2013

25. "Opposites" -- Biffy Clyro
24. "Same Trailer, Different Park" -- Kacey Musgraves
23. "Oak Island" -- Nightlands
22. "Ceremony" -- Anna von Hausswolf
21. "Impossible Truth" -- William Tyler
20. "Wheel" -- Laura Stevenson
19. "Agape" -- Bear's Den
18. "Kveikur" -- Sigur Ros
17. "ARTPOP" -- Lady Gaga
16. "Child Ballads" -- Anais Mitchell & Jefferson Hamer
15. "Reflektor" -- Arcade Fire
14. "Sunbather" -- Deafheaven
13. "Days Are Gone" -- HAIM
12. "Modern Vampires of the City" -- Vampire Weekend
11. "The Family Tree: The Branches" -- Radical Face
10. "Cupid Deluxe" -- Radical Face
9. "The Civil Wars" -- The Civil Wars
8. "Southeastern" -- Jason Isbell
7. "The Electric Lady" -- Janelle Monae
6. "Muchacho" -- Phosphorescent
5. "In Rolling Waves" -- The Naked and Famous
4. "When the Night" -- St. Lucia
3. "In a Time Lapse" -- Ludovico Einaudi
2. "Yeezus" -- Kanye West
1. "Random Access Memories" -- Daft Punk

Monday, December 31, 2012

My 80 Favorite Songs of 2012

Last year, I decided to do a month-long list on this blog of the 100 best songs of 2011, in my modest, sometimes extreme opinion. I had a post dedicated to each song, including a writeup of four or five paragraphs and an embed of the song on YouTube, Soundcloud or otherwise.

That took waaaay too long.

That said, I still have this undying love of end-of-the-year lists, so I knew that, for 2012, I wanted to do something, even if was just a list of songs that I really liked.

So, here -- have one of those.

Note that I'm not calling these the "best" of 2012. In many cases, yeah, that's what I believe. But with others, I get that they might not be as inherently good as, say, Springsteen's new material (which you won't see on this list -- dealwithit.jpg). So if I call them my favorites, that absolves me from having to defend them. Right? Probably not. Whatever.

As I did last year, I kept a Spotify playlist of all my favorites in 2012. If you have the service, check it out. You'll notice that certain bands or artists are featured more than once on the playlist but not here. To avoid bogging down a list with too many songs from the same artist, I limit an artist's appearance to one on my list, unless they were a featured performer on another song, which is OK. This is my gift to all of you who have heard too much about "Channel Orange" in 2012.

80. "Ohio" - Lake Forest
79. "Swimming Pools" - Kendrick Lamar
78. "In the Beginning" - Todd Snider
77. "No. 1 Against the Rush" - Liars
76. "Overture" - Patrick Wolf
75. "Breath of Life" - Florence + the Machine
74. "Perfect World" - Gossip
73. "Cosmic Queries" - Willis Earl Beal
72. "Refill" - Elle Varner
71. "The Bravest Man in the Universe" - Bobby Womack
70. "Carry Me Back" - Old Crow Medicine Show
69. "Gangnam Style" - Psy
68. "Read 'Em John" - Carolina Chocolate Drops
67. "Sad Eyes" - Crystal Castles
66. "Roman Holiday" - Nicki Minaj
65. "One Engine" - The Decemberists
64. "State of the Art" - Gotye
63. "Lovers" - Brothertiger
62. "Eros and Apollo" - Studio Killers
61. "Let Yourself Go" - Green Day
60. "Easy Come, Easy Go" - Great Lake Swimmers
59. "Revolution" - Dr. John
58. "Ho Hey" - The Lumineers
57. "Some Nights" - fun.
56. "The Brightest Lights" - King Charles feat. Mumford and Sons
55. "DIY2K" - Pujol
54. "Hot Cheetos and Takis" - Y.N. Rich Kids
53. "Down the Road" - C2C
52. "Radioactive" - Imagine Dragons
51. "45" - The Gaslight Anthem
50. "Better Dig Two" - The Band Perry
49. "Morning Sun" - The Wilderness of Manitoba
48. "Frozen Fields" - Jerry Douglas feat. Alison Krauss
47. "Hero" - Family of the Year
46. "Funtimes in Babylon" - Father John Misty
45. "The Wind" - Zac Brown Band
44. "Country Song" - Jake Bugg
43. "Myth" - Beach House
42. "Comeback Kid" - Sleigh Bells
41. "Myintrotoletuknow" - Danny!
40. "Run Daddy Run" - Pistol Annies
39. "Rock of Ages" - Black Prairie
38. "We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together" - Taylor Swift
37. "The Only Place" - Best Coast
36. "Kingdom Come" - The Civil Wars
35. "Gangs in the Garden" - Black Moth Super Rainbow
34. "Live and Die" - The Avett Brothers
33. "Adorn" - Miguel
32. "Madness" - Muse
31. "The Stranger" - Lord Huron
30. "Esmeralda" - Ben Howard
29. "1904" - The Tallest Man on Earth
28. "Old Oak Tree" - Southeast Engine
27. "Penitentiary" - Houndmouth
26. "I Like It" - Foxy Shazam
25. "The Fold" - Wickerbird
24. "Movement and Location" - Punch Brothers
23. "Silver Lining" - Guards
22. "Show Me Your Eyes" - Royal Canoe
21. "Neither Here Nor There" - Lost in the Trees
20. "Darkness" - Leonard Cohen
19. "Below My Feet" - Mumford & Sons
18. "Sod in the Seed - Why?
17. "Climax" - Usher
16. "Man on Fire" - Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros
15. "Valerie" - The Weeknd
14. "Heaven" - Emeli Sande
13. "Bel Air" - Lana Del Rey
12. "Thrift Shop" - Macklemore & Ryan Lewis feat. Wanz
11. "Alone" - Trampled by Turtles
10. "Encyclopedia of Classic Takedowns" - A.C. Newman
9. "Varuo" - Sigur Ros
8. "Simmer" - Silversun Pickups
7. "Sixteen Saltines" - Jack White
6. "Hole in the Ocean Floor" - Andrew Bird
5. "When I Write My Master's Thesis" - John K. Samson
4. "Emmylou" - First Aid Kit
3. "Simple Song" - The Shins
2. "Bad Religion" - Frank Ocean
1. "The House That Heaven Built" - Japandroids

Sunday, February 12, 2012

2012 GRAMMY Predictions

Instead of doing the millions of other things I should be doing right now, I decided to sound off on a few of the bigger awards at tonight's GRAMMYs. I'm going with the oft-used setup of who I think should win and who I think will win each category, with some potential added bonuses in certain categories.

The awards show is tonight at 8 p.m. on CBS. Follow me on Twitter at @surfwax83 for my up-to-the-minute thoughts on the evening.

Album of the Year

The nominees: Adele's "21" ; Foo Fighters' "Wasting Light" ; Lady Gaga's "Born This Way" ; Bruno Mars' "Doo-Wops and Hooligans" ; Rihanna's "Loud"

The winner: Adele

Should win: Adele

Had better not win or else I will hurt something: Foo Fighters

It's an easy prediction, I know, but it's tough to be provocative here. Adele had the biggest album of the year, there's no disputing it -- hell, the album's STILL at No. 1 on the Billboard 200, and has been for 19 non-consecutive weeks. Think of it this way: "21" came out almost a year ago in the US. Yes, it's been that long. How could we possibly give the award to anyone else?

That's not to say that "21" was my favorite of those nominated. Though the record is quite honestly one of the most astounding pop releases of the last decade, one more outshined it in my eyes in terms of being even more of a classic pop record. "Born This Way" turned off a lot of Gaga fans, and I'll admit her schtick can run dry at times, but no other album on this list was simply as much fun to listen to. When I think back to 2011, I'll think glitzy, dance-y pop, and that's what Gaga represented. I love both albums, but Gaga's was the one I couldn't stop playing.

Oh, and the Foo Fighters? Great band, good album. But compared to the others? C'mon. The GRAMMYs needed a rock record to throw in there, and instead of going with Bon Iver (which amazes me, honestly), they went with the general sure bet. Mr. Grohl, you're great, but "Wasting Light" should not be mentioned alongside these other albums. Come at me, rockist bros.

Record of the Year

The nominees: Adele, "Rolling in the Deep" ; Bon Iver, "Holocene" ; Bruno Mars, "Grenade" ; Mumford & Sons, "The Cave" ; Katy Perry, "Firework"

The winner: Adele

Should win: Adele

I swear to god, guys: Katy Perry

Again, it's hard to argue against Adele here, though I want to. "Rolling in the Deep" was everywhere -- EVERYWHERE. What's more, it embodies everything many would love for the current sound of pop music to be. It's the backlash from the overproduced club bangers that surfaced in America in 2010. Adele didn't change her music for the pop world, and in time, it may so be that the pop world will change for her. Should she win as many awards tonight as many are predicting, that may finally happen.

But really, these are all great songs. I'd love to see Bon Iver win, because "Holocene" is simply some of the best that the indie folk scene has offered us in the past few years -- and wouldn't it be nice to see a man who dissed the show for not allowing him to perform sans collaborations get a victory? Bruno's "Grenade" is still by far his best, and showcases the unique and powerful voice he possesses. And I LOVE Mumford & Sons. That song? Definitely in my lower half in terms of favorites from "Sigh No More," but I'm happy to see them nominated. Hell, I even think "Firework" is the strongest song off "Teenage Dream." I just don't want to see Katy Perry win something. Sorry I'm not sorry.

Song of the Year

The nominees: Adele, "Rolling in the Deep" ; Bon Iver, "Holocene" ; Bruno Mars, "Grenade" ; Mumford & Sons, "The Cave" ; Kanye West, "All of the Lights"

The winner: Adele

Should win: Kanye West  

I'm going outside the generally-held opinion on this one. Again, Adele's song is great for all the reasons I've already listed. But Kanye's "My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy"? There's an album that should have been nominated for Album of the Year -- simple as that. As for "All of the Lights," part of me just wants to see if all of the artists involve go onstage if it wins. But really, I do think this is a better song than "Rolling in the Deep." Whereas Adele can grate on me after a few listens, Kanye's song has not and will probably never get old. He's the best beatmaker in hip hop today, and this song is his shining moment on the album. It's a song that deserves a lot more recognition than it's received.

I'm already prepared for disappointment, because I really don't think anyone's going to defeat Adele this year -- and, you know, rightfully so, because she does deserve all the praise she receives. But this accolade? Please, pleeeeaase someone recognize something from this album for the genius that it is. Here's your best chance.

Best New Artist

The nominees: The Band Perry, Skrillex, Bon Iver, Nicki Minaj, J. Cole

The winner: Skrillex

Should win: Nicki Minaj
The "Seriously?!" award presented by J.Cole: J. Cole

I just have this bad feeling, guys. Skrillex's music is mostly hit-or-miss (mainly miss) for me, but I also think the GRAMMYs will attempt to act cool this year, as they tend to in certain categories, and this will be their stab in 2012. For whatever reason, the rave crowd ate Sonny Moore up this year, and he's basically the ringleader of a whole new generation of electronic music enthusiasts. As a fan of electronic music, I'm glad he's brought some new fans to the genre. As a person who finds a lot of American dubstep and other similar genres fairly unlistenable and a far cry from the glories of European's takes, I'm tired of the guy. But again, I just have this bad feeling.

Frankly, I'd love for Bon Iver to emerge victorious, but it's tough for me to consider Justin Vernon a new artist. And even so, I don't think he deserves it more than Nicki. For the first time in what seems like a long while, we have a female rapper worth a damn. She's smart, her music's often kind of funny, and her voice has a certain quality that makes her hard to avoid, whether or not you like the tone of it. Plus, I simply can't see any of these other artists on the level she was on this year on the charts. The Band Perry had a great year and I see them as a healthy alternative to T-Swift, but "If I Die Young" wasn't nearly as big as "Super Bass." 

And J. Cole? I'll let this GIF speak for me.

In the honor of timeliness, I'm going to provide my other thoughts in wonderful bullet point form. 

  • Adele should win the pop categories for which she's nominated. I'm hoping for a victory from either Coldplay or Foster the People for Best Pop Duo/Group Performance.
  • If you hear a primal scream across the Midwest tonight, it's because The Decemberists won for either Best Rock Performance or Best Rock Song -- or both. They won't, but I can't even imagine what would happen if they did.
  • In reality, Foo Fighters will win the rock awards, and I will begrudgingly accept this. I'm pulling for "White Limo," though, because that's the best song off "Wasting Light."
  • Cee Lo Green for Best R&B Performance and Song, PLEASE.
  • If "Otis" doesn't win Best Rap Performance, I riot. 
  • If Wiz Khalifa wins anything, I riot. 
  • Taylor Swift's "Mean" is her worst song and I am currently rioting just thinking about it.
  • Barton. Fucking. Hollow.
  • I am really pissed about Foo Fighters being included in the dance/electronic performance segment with Chris Brown, deadmau5, David Guetta and Lil Wayne. Basically, they're going to get to play "Rope," but with deadmau5 backing them because he remixed the song -- or so I'm guessing. Oh well, at least they apparently get to play by themselves, too.
  • I will probably enjoy the Beach Boys/Maroon 5/Foster the People segment more than I'm supposed to.
  • Jay-Z and Kanye not performing together (or at all)? Ya dun goof'd, GRAMMYs.
  • Cannot WAIT for the Glen Campbell performance.
  • Adele will probably have the best performance of the evening to go along with ALL THE AWARDS she's about to win.
  • It will be a somber affair tonight. I hope J-Hud and the producers were able to do Whitney justice in the small amount of time they had to whip up a tribute.
I'll probably be back later with my thoughts on the actual winners. Til then, stay classy and enjoy the show.

Saturday, December 31, 2011

The Top 100 Songs of 2011 -- #1: "Helplessness Blues" -- Fleet Foxes

The best song of 2011 came to us relatively early in the year, when 2010 was still fresh in our minds. There was still quite a bit of music to be released, including the album on which it was released. Hell, many of us even had the silly notion that despite the fact that the year as a whole had been a bit of a letdown, we might still pull through. Score one for optimism, right? Haha, yeah. About that.

But Robin Pecknold has a strange way of keeping one hopeful, despite what has occurred and what is yet to happen. How this occurs is anyone's guess, be it the good vibes his band emits or the generally upbeat music they create. But somehow, no matter how bad it got in 2011, we always had Fleet Foxes.

"Helplessness Blues," from the album of the same name, begins with the gentle strumming of an acoustic guitar. Pecknold, his voice by now unmistakable after the runaway success of his band's debut record, sings of the uniqueness he was told he possessed as a youngster, before releasing that perhaps it is best to become a part of "some great machinery, serving something beyond me."

Fleet Foxes set the bar high for their second record, and "Helplessness Blues" far surpasses it. The song soon balloons into a more plugged-in affair, with drums and electric guitar complementing the sudden slash in tempo.

"What good is it to sing helplessness blues?" Pecknold asks, holding up the inherent optimism of the song. In an age where no one really knows where we're heading, Pecknold remains hopeful, and knows that doing otherwise will bring no good tidings. It's a lesson from which we can learn -- instead of pessimism reigning in our lives, why not have a healthier outlook on life? What good is it to live otherwise?

With beautiful harmonizing and instrumentation, Fleet Foxes created a song that may just define the decade with its message. It's tough to say where we're going, but perhaps if all of us had an orchard or two in our lives, we'd be a little happier.

The Top 100 Songs of 2011 -- #2: "Midnight City" -- M83

2011's best electronic fare came from a French artist that isn't Daft Punk or Justice. Who'd've thunk it?!

M83, a.k.a. Anthony Gonzalez and a score of backing musicians, released Hurry Up, We're Dreaming in the final quarter of 2011, a double album of epic proportions. Gonzalez utilized big guitars to go with his skyscraper synths, creating some of the loudest and most epic music to hit the airwaves this year.

"Midnight City" features a bouncing synth that sounds like a strange mutated scream at its onset, which keeps appearing time after time whenever the song needs extra 'oomph.' To this day, I'm still not sure quite exactly what M83's doing there, but its addition to the wall of sound the band creates drives the song over the edge.

Featuring monolithic synths and drums, "Midnight City" is every bit as huge as any other song released this year, especially in the electronic genre. The song quiets slightly when Gonzalez's vocals come in, but there's always the grandiosity lurking. The album as a whole was called one of the biggest of the genre in a while, and it's easy to see with "Midnight City." This is electropop on possibly its grandest scale yet.

And again, Year of the Sax alert! "Midnight City" features a jazzy sax solo toward its end, rising above the cacophony of electronic sounds. Its addition only furthers the strangely '80s vibe the song emits.

Do yourself a favor and listen to this entire album -- yes, the whole thing! It's a double album, but one of the most brilliantly conceived of its kind. "Midnight City" is only the beginning of this incredibly grandiose electronic opus.

The Top 100 Songs of 2011 -- #3: "Someone Like You" -- Adele

As this is a countdown that features a mere song per artist (with a few technical exceptions), it was tough to choose one song from Adele's miraculously great 21 that stood out above the rest.

In fact, when I was creating this list, I decided that no matter which of the two songs I was considering ended up being on the list, the order of the countdown altogether would not change. "Rolling in the Deep" and "Someone Like You" are both better than any other song I've mentioned thus far, but I don't find either of them to be of a higher quality than my top two. I hope that puts into words how much I love both of these songs.

In the end, I had to go with "Someone Like You." Weepy? Yes. But my god, can this woman write a breakup song. Well, soooort of a breakup song. I suppose the breakup's already technically happened, but this is the final separation, so to speak.

It's a song many can relate to. Adele's been separated from this lover for quite some time, but still harbors feelings for the object of her affection. But we are led to believe that it's been years since the fling, as said object has settled down, found a girl and is married. While that in particular may not have happened to all of us, I'm sure many can relate to the concept of rediscovering a lover for whom one still has feelings, only to find that they're quite happy without them and have moved on.

That said, unlike "Rolling in the Deep," this is not a song of anger. Adele only wishes "the best" for her former lover, claiming that she'll find someone like him one day. It's a refreshing spin on the subject matter, as many instances find the artist decrying the object of affection and denouncing him/her instead of wishing good tidings for them.

Adele crossed a lot of boundaries in 2011, and this is the song that solidified her as more than a one-hit shocker in America. Her brand of pop inexplicably caught on in America this year (not that I'm complaining!), and with "Someone Like You," she was vaulted to star status with one of the best ballads of the young decade.

The Top 100 Songs of 2011 -- #4: "Losers" -- The Belle Brigade

If you're looking for the underdog song of the year, this is your jam.

The Belle Brigade appeared on the scene this year with their self-titled debut. The duo, consisting of the Gruska siblings Barbara and Ethan, flew under the radar for the most part, but were still acclaimed critically by those that happened to come across their music.

The album itself was a wonderful 2010s take on '60s folk rock tunes -- understandable, given that the band has named Paul Simon's solo work as one of their biggest influences. In particular, "Losers" invokes the harmonizing of Simon & Garfunkel, with an updated folk rock sensibility for the times.

"Losers" is defiant, a harmony-laden song that takes a stand against the social mores of our generation -- or really, any generation... the song is fairly ambiguous when it comes to its timeframe. "There will always be someone better than you," they sing at first, changing later to "There will always be someone worse than you." "Don't care about being a winner," they sing, before laying out the list other things they simply don't care about being.

Possibly the most telling lyric of the song -- "I'm removing myself from the queue," they sing. The song is all about going against society's constructs, even if it means being called a 'loser.' In terms of messages, it's one of the best of the year, and the catchy melodies certainly don't hurt.

It's inspiring and timeless, a song which rises and rises to its inevitable climax, with howling vocals from the Gruska siblings. "Losers" was among the best indie rock had to offer this year, a telling prelude to a duo who will hopefully be around for quite some time.