Yep. It’s June. The year is half over.
Summer blends together for me; it’s all one giant month. I listened to one thing almost exclusively this entire month: Empire of the Sun’s sophomore effort, Ice on the Dune. It is a perfect album. Absolutely perfect. How do I gauge whether an album is “absolutely perfect”? If I don’t skip any songs and keep it on repeat. It’s so good, I can’t even stand it.
What about the other songs that crept in over the month? Here they are. Click on this Songbricks link to see/listen to them in order while you’re reading this lovely word vomit (seriously, do it. I put the playlist together and it will benefit your reading experience.)
1. Groove Armada – “History” (Feat. Will Young)
I haven’t listened to Groove Armada since the ’90s. This song popped up on our local EDM channel the other month and it was instant love. I listen to this on repeat, ad nauseam, and am still not sick of it. Will Young’s insane glass-shattering hyper-falsetto is just divine and that skittering groove gets into my bones. It’s beautiful. So damn good.
2. Imagine Dragons – “Radioactive”
First time I heard it, I didn’t like it. Same for the 2nd and 3rd and…. you get the point. I can’t stand their other songs and that filtered in to my judgment of this track. But I can’t deny it anymore. It’s on the radio all the time and it weaseled its way into my heart. The pounding drums nail me in the chest every time and it’s a great banger. The video is pretty awesome too.
3. nine inch nails – “Came Back Haunted”
Of course I love this song. But before I go hardcore NIN-nerd/apologist on you, I will say it is nowhere near any of Trent’s top output. It’s a decent track. Everyone’s gushing that it’s a “return to form,” but to them I say, “Have you listened to anything of theirs since 2005?” All of Trent’s shit sounds like this now… this could easily fit onto 2008’s The Slip (with all the blips and synths and same-old-same-old lyrics). If it found its way onto Year Zero, it’d probably be the best song on that annoyingly boring album. Anyway, it’s good. I hope it bodes well for the rest of the album (Hesitation Marks, out 9/3 on Columbia!), though I hope Trent spends more time on developing some soundscapes and atmospheres, instead of this 4-on-the-4-floor stuff.
4. Kylie Minogue – “Skirt”
This song is deceiving. It starts out really blippy and bloopy, the sound of computers seducing each other. It’d fit nicely onto Body Language or something. There’s even some dubstep, because 2013/EDM, bro. But then there’s a swell….a build-up….an unbearable wait… and then that chorus drops and the galaxy explodes and holy shit this song is fucking amazing. Everything in life is worth it for that chorus. Once it drops, all the dubstep becomes bearable. And then it kicks back in and I can’t even take it anymore. And that’s why my skirt came down.
5. Empire of the Sun – “Old Flavours”
After hearing about 5 seconds of this track on their outrageously overblown cinematic trailer for the new album, I was almost as excited as when I heard the initial tease of “Get Lucky.” Yes, I did just say that. This melody is undeniable and my #1 go-to on this fantastic release. It kicks of a 4-song chain at the end of the album that is 15 minutes of pure dance bliss. This song, “Skirt” and “History” have been keeping my goosebumps very busy this summer.
6. Kanye West – “I Am A God (Feat. God)”
Speaking of goosebumps… the 3:03 mark on this track, wherein Kanye is screaming (not dude-yelling, but straight terror-wails), sends chills down my spine every time I hear it. The track itself is home to my favorite lines on this album (see: croissants) and my favorite “feature” (who can beat GOD? lolz). The minimal drone makes this one of the most “industrial” tracks on Yeezus, sounding like the spawn of NIN and Human After All-era Daft Punk. It’s so driving and anxiety-ridden, so when that final screaming release comes in, it feels like you’re breaking down right next to Kanye.
7. Vampire Weekend – “Ya Hey”
God? Yahweh? Ya Hey. This is my favorite track off this album. It’s light, breezy and carries the listener along a pretty tuft of clouds. The chorus is catchy too; it sounds like the Chipmunks. I still have trouble getting past their Ivy League douchey image, but props for this awesome song. It makes me feel happy.
8. Savages – “Husbands”
Here’s where the good feelings go away. If you want that same anxiety and frantic spasm-inducing frenzy (like when listening to Yeezus), try on these chicks. Holy crap, this is intense. It’s Siouxsie meets Joy Division. After listening to this, I feel invigorated, jittery and in dire need of some anti-anxiety pills. Whoo!
And that’s it. “Where’s 9 and 10?!?!” you ask. Nothing made the cut. Listen to some Empire of the Sun and check out my Best of 2013 (So Far) list.