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GutterBubbles Top 100 Songs of 2014 (part 3)

We’ve reached the halfway point of the Top 100 Songs of 2014, but that doesn’t mean we are slowing down! We’ve got a ton on great songs on the slate today, from brutally heavy (I Declare Ware) to brutally funky (Mark Ronson + Bruno Mars). Additionally, three artists (Liars, Interpol and Lana Del Rey) check in with a double showing on part 3. Nice! We hope you’ve been having fun this week and there’s still plenty more to come!

 

The Horrors “First Day of Spring” from Luminous

The Horrors stay their present selves while tapping into their past on “First Day of Spring”, Luminous’ best exploration of previously conquered territory. The track finds its stride in sweeping choruses reminiscent of “Still Life” and radiant guitars a la “Monica Gems” – both standouts from 2011’s Skying. Vibrant and triumphant, this act of re-imagination is nothing short of spectacular. -Emma Carroll

 

HTRK “Blue Sunshine” from Psychic 9-5 Club

Kudos for the reference to that totally bizarro 1978 cult movie. Then to make this chilled out, trip-hoppy, creepily Suicide-esque downtempo pop song that transforms the significance of that title? This album would be in my top 3 of 2014 and this song is not quite atypical of the record but it does evoke a kinder, gentler vibe that Suicide struck with “Ché” in the 70s. This song borders on the abstract yet remains completely entrancing. -Tom Murphy

 

I Declare War “Blurred Vision” from We Are Violent People by Nature

In spite of the somewhat negative context that the deathcore genre carries in many metal circles, I Declare War’s track “Blurred Vision” from this year’s We Are Violent People by Nature should be an exception to the rule for metalheads. Relentlessly powerful in its execution, “Blurred Vision” threatens to obliterate anything or anyone that opposes it. The track is brutally heavy, grinding down each note to the bare bone and should prove once and for all that I Declare War is the real deal. -Ryan Brun

 

In Flames “Paralyzed” from Siren Charms

As with other recent releases from In Flames, Siren Charms received a fair amount of backlash from the metal community. Claims of “gone soft” and “sold out” simmered around the release of the record, but upon sitting down with the album and an open mind, these criticisms fall largely on deaf ears. “Paralyzed” is one of the best songs the band has written in the last 10 years, thanks to its irresistible pre-chorus and an absolute monster of a guitar solo that’ll leave you wondering why anyone questioned the band in the first place. –RB

 

Interpol “All the Rage Back Home” from El Pintor

Interpol’s return-to-form album kicks off with this up-tempo gem. Although the guitar intro threatens a bland and safe repeat of past glories, the battering ram of drum and vocals quickly destroy those fears and replace them with something special. Real sonic depth and beautiful musicianship make this one likely to stay in rotation for a long time. -Nick Abaddon

 

Interpol “Breaker 1” from El Pintor

With a hollow ache at its core we haven’t heard since Turn on the Bright Lights, “Breaker 1” spools out a cryptic message of compulsion and dissatisfaction. Structurally unusual, the song is essentially three long choruses serving in place of verses, each one loaded with progressively more lyrical and musical urgency.  When Banks goes from thundering desperation in the final lines (“I’ve paid my turns in kind/ to speed my feet…”) to a distant, broken-hearted surrender (“…away”) you can feel your heart breaking, too. –NA

 

Jack White “Would You Fight For My Love?” from Lazaretto

Jack White was the undisputed lord of rock in 2014, cramming his fierce Lazaretto with face-melting guitar. That guitar, paired with a clean piano, dynamic lyrics, and an unshakable sense of doom made “Would You Fight For My Love?” the album’s indelible pièce de résistance. Consider the throne watched. –EC

 

Jamin Winans “Design of Chaos” from The Frame

Movie scores aren’t often featured in ‘best of’ lists, mainly because they act merely as accompaniments for a film instead of standalone pieces of work. However, there are exceptions to that rule, and Jamin Winans‘ score for his movie The Frame is one such example. Much like his films, Winans uses the power of paradox for his music as well. “Design of Chaos” is brooding yet peaceful, imposing but delicate. The flow of the song (and entire score for that matter) provokes a sense of whimsy and beckons the listener deeper into the ambiance of the unknown, making the score to The Frame as vital to the entire project as the film itself. –RB

 

John Frusciante “Fanfare” from Enclosure

Much fuss has been made over the years about John Frusciante’s maddening descent into experimental territory over the last handful of years. OK, well…most of that fuss has been me complaining to my girlfriend that Frusciante needs to fucking wail again, but I digress. This year’s annual Frusciante offering still featured a heavily non-traditional bent, but songwriting, melody and guitar again took center stage, most convincingly with “Fanfare” which sees Frusciante recall his innate sense of melody and delivery, in turn giving fans his best (read: most accessible) song in years. –RB

 

Julian Casablancas + the Voidz “Where No Eagles Fly” from Tyranny

Julian Casablancas’ most experimental and polarizing work to date, Tyranny burst into being light years away from his work with The Strokes and his 2009 solo album Phrazes for the Young. This bloodthirsty new musical identity is never more compelling than in “Where No Eagles Fly”, an epic number filled with shrieking guitars and all-consuming noise. Take a deep breath – this is one of those rare songs that will leave you gasping for air whether you like it or not. –EC

 

King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard “Am I In Heaven” from I’m In Your Mind Fuzz

King Gizzard are more than the sum of their parts, but that doesn’t mean that every maniacal element of “Am I In Heaven?” is anything but wildly perfect. Screaming guitar solos, pounding drums, a furious bass line, and the lyric “I’ve got ideas in my brain about the end of the world” comprise the band’s seven-minute magnum opus. This is a surf-psych acid trip on garage rock cocaine, and damn, it’s brilliant. –EC

 

King Tuff “Black Moon Spell” from Black Moon Spell

King Tuff and friends spend the majority of the kaleidoscopic video for “Black Moon Spell” shredding, headbanging and guzzling beer on a hefty stack of Marshall amps. Perhaps it’s prophetic – one listen and you’re in the mood to do the same. The track is a hairy, guitar-driven garage marvel from a band that has clearly listened to their fair share of Sabbath. To whoever let these face-melting maniacs out of their cage: thank you. –EC

 

La Roux “Let Me Down Gently” from Trouble In Paradise

Older and wiser since her 2009 debut, British synthpop darling La Roux presents a sophisticated track about trying to dampen the devastation of heartbreak. Backed by futuristic synth, she keeps the emotional turmoil on a tight leash for two minutes, letting the emotion simmer. And then it happens: La Roux launches her anguish towards a poignant and marvelous finale. Needless to say, it’s good to have her back. –EC

 

Lana Del Rey “Brooklyn Baby” from Ultraviolence

America’s saddest sweetheart spends “Brooklyn Baby” trying to reconcile 2014 with 1972, quoting the Who and name-dropping Lou Reed in the process. But her personal walk on the wild side is darker and more desolate than Reed’s melodic stroll. In just another instance of superb production from Dan Auerbach, Del Rey’s voice skates over full strings and a soft guitar strum to all-encompassing results, even if she ultimately struggles to be a 70s darling in a One Direction world. –EC

 

Lana Del Rey “Money Power Glory” from Ultraviolence

Like most of her contemporaries, Lana Del Rey is no stranger to harsh criticism. Unlike those contemporaries, she avoids the easy route of singing about shaking off the haters. Unapologetic but sung with the reverence of a church hymn, Del Rey declares that she’s living for all the wrong reasons. Supported by producer Dan Auerbach’s guitar, the biting message in her last laugh is clear: her critics are right, but she loves being wrong. –EC

 

Liars “Vox Tuned D.E.D.” from Mess

I don’t even know what to call this thing. EBM? EDM? EBDM? That seems about right, and DJs at either raves or goth/industrial clubs would be fools not to put this monster into their repertoires. Droning, disengaged post-punk vocals are wrapped in a velvet cocoon of pulsing, buzzing electronics so expertly produced that the pleasure it creates is as intensely visceral as it is cerebral. –NA

 

Liars “Pro Anti Anti” from Mess

After WIXIW Liars pretty much went for something way more aggressive and confrontational for the follow-up. This song stands out because it has some warped dynamics and brings together several moods and songwriting ideas and makes it all work instead of living up to the title of the record in a good way as the rest of the album seems to. The electronic composition the band has been working to perfect for years really pans out with this song. -TM

 

Lorde “Yellow Flicker Beat” from The Hunger Games: Mockingjay part 1

“This is the start of how it all ends / They used to shout my name, now they whisper it,” sings Lorde on the single from her much-anticipated soundtrack to the latest installment of The Hunger Games. The powerful and menacing track displays significant growth from her 2013 debut and showcases Lorde at her most Lorde. If there were any lingering doubts about her ascent or ability, “Yellow Flicker Beat” burned every last one to the ground. –EC

 

Marina and the Diamonds “Froot” from Froot

It took just one glossy single to reinstate Marina and the Diamonds as indie pop’s rightful princess. La dolce vita gets a disco twist in the wickedly delicious “Froot”, noticeably darker than the singles from 2012’s Electra Heart. Marina’s typically flawless voices slithers around scathing lyrics while video game synths round out the dancefloor staple. All hail. –EC

 

Mark Ronson (ft. Bruno Mars) “Uptown Funk!” from Uptown Special

Mark Ronson has a proven formula: high quality production, 60s and 70s nostalgia, and superstar guest musicians. In the first single from Uptown Special, he proves this formula works wonders, enlisting Bruno Mars to “funk you up.” With “oohs!” worthy of a Marvin Gaye comparison, a horns section channeling Earth Wind and Fire, and a delectable disco beat, Ronson and Mars – dishing out career-highlight vocals – do just that. This is the sexy, back-to-1976 funk we’ve been waiting for. –EC

 

 More Top Songs of 2014: part 1, part 2, part 4, part 5

 

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