I would like to say that having a new job where we all like to listen to music has made tackling this list a lot easier. I have listened to so much more music in the last four months than I did the entire previous year and a half. So this list is fun again!
So let's dive into my two Kevin's 7 music lists, shall we?
Kevin's 7: Songs 17
I'm continuing to keep this list separate of Albums in that none of the songs listed below are from albums on the second list today. This allows for a greater opportunity to share music with you! It's a reader win!
7. Haim - "Right Now"
When I first listened to Haim's new album Something To Tell You, and given my love of their previous album Days Are Gone, I had a strong inkling it would be on my top albums list. Alas, some really good stuff came out. But I still love the song "Right Now" and this is why it is here on this list.
6. Aphex Twin - "Korg Funk 5"
I went into greater depth on this one earlier this year in a blog post (that I can't seem to find because the search engine on this blog sucks). Still a damn fine track.
5. Niall Horan - "Slow Hands"
I know this one is pretty heavily rotated on top 40 radio, but I love it. Very erotic. Very emotional. Very much like a modern Chris Issak "Wicked Game."
4. DNCE - "Kissing Strangers"
Yes, I have a few top 40 faves on this list. You're just going to have to deal with it. I love DNCE. And this is a very worthy follow-up to "Cake By the Ocean." Who knew a Jonas brother could be so cool?
3. Vance Joy - "Lay It On Me"
When "Riptide" hit a few years ago, I was hooked. Same went for "Mess Is Mine" and basically all of Vance's breakthrough album Dream Your Life Away (although I didn't discover it until after my list was written). Although his full sophomore album has yet to drop, this is an incredibly good lead-in single with its verse-by-verse musical build up and explosive follow through. It's very anthemic. I can't wait for this full album to be released.
2. AWOLNATION - "Passion"
This song is so great when you need to just let go and rock out on your drive home. The intro leads you into thinking the song is going one way, but the snarling guitars that jump out at you immediately after make you realize that you truly have no idea what this song is going to do to you. Does that make sense?
1. Francis and the Lights - "May I Have This Dance (remix)" feat. Chance the Rapper
Sure, this song originally dropped in 2016, but I never heard it. I've never heard of this band at all, if we're being honest here. Then this remix came out with one of my top acts of 2016, Chance the Rapper, providing accompanying vocals and I was dumbstruck. LOVE IT.
Now, how about some albums?
Kevin's 7: Albums 17
7. Cold War Kids - LA Divine
If you recall from last year’s list, I was really digging on one of the new album singles from Cold War Kids. The album is just as good and made for a great listen throughout the year.
Don't forget to listen to: "So Tied Up"
6. St. Vincent - MASSEDUCTION
I had no idea Annie Clark even had a new album in the works let alone ready to go when I checked out the new releases list on October 13. As expected, it’s a very solid album that highlights Clark’s exceptional guitar work, her sweetly snarling vocal range, and her alternately insightful and raunchy lyrics. If you like Bowie and Prince, this will suit you fine.
Don't forget to listen to: "New York"
5. Nine Inch Nails - Add Violence
The album I nearly forgot. Well, the EP I nearly forgot. With Atticus Ross firmly entrenched as an official, um, Nail, Trent Reznor and he are on a three-EP quest to bring their vision of the future of NIN to the masses. Add Violence is the second of this series and it’s a well-formulated mix of industrial and electronic, at times heavy and others more melodic. Whatever the case, it’s emotionally raw delving for the first time into Trent’s addiction amongst other topics.
Don't forget to listen to: "Not Anymore"
4. Miley Cyrus - Younger Now
I am truly astounded by this album. I’ve never listened to Miley in the past other than snippets of her radio hits but, for some reason I can’t recall, I decided to listen to this the day it released. It’s a mix of country, a lot of ethereal surfer rock, some pop, a bit of bluegrass, and, well... just give it a listen already. I initially had this ranked lower on my list but then I started thinking about how much I’ve listened to this album compared to all the ones below it combined and realized it needed to be moved up the list. Miley’s got me hooked.
Don't forget to listen to: "Love Someone"
3. Rostam - Half-Life
I’ll just say it right off the bat, I was a hit-or-miss Vampire Weekend fan. Sometimes they did it for me; sometimes not so much. But I always respected the hell out of Rostam Batmanglij’s musical skill and I followed him on SoundCloud as a result. This year, he finally released his debut solo album and it’s a killer mix of electronic, synth, world music, and other styles I can’t even name. But it’s beautiful.
Don't forget to listen to: "Don’t Let It Get To You"
2. Japandroids - Near to the Wild Heart of Life
Considering this Vancouver duo has been my favorite band for nearly a decade since seeing them live at Pitchfork in 2009, it’s strange to not list them first. Not that this album, their first after a five-year hiatus, is anything short of spectacular, there’s just something else this year that is even better! But this album is truly magnificent highlighting an even more cohesive sound that is polished by still incredibly raw.
Don't forget to listen to: "North East South West"
1. Beck - Colors
I’ve been waiting for this album for what seems like forever and damn if it didn’t let me down in the slightest. In fact, it improved upon my expectations. There is not a single track on here that is not wholly enjoyable.
Don't forget to listen to: "I’m So Free"
And that is that. What have you been spinning lately?