JULY50. Mackenzie Johnson – Fast Car (Tracy Chapman cover)
You'll find work and I'll get promoted
We'll move out of the shelter
Buy a bigger house and live in the suburbs
After throwing an absolute temper tantrum when I heard what I thought was Colbie Caillat's beautiful cover on the radio, only to find that it was just the tail end of a mash-up that otherwise does not include this song at all, I tore YouTube apart until I found something close to the beauty I'd heard. I considered making this a List Extra because it's so close to the original, but then I played it for like 5 hours straight, so. (Fast Car being one of my favorite songs ever, generally)
51. Halsey (and Khalid I guess) – Eastside
Seventeen, and we got a dream
To have a family, a house, and everything in between
And then oh, suddenly, we turned 23
Now we got pressure for taking our life more seriously
I rejected this overplayed nonsense for MONTHS, but after enough weeks of radio-weariness, sometimes the fact that it is less bad than most of what is on the radio, by virtue of how much you loved Halsey's first album, wins out. I don't like the dude's voice at all; someone should cover it better with her, but I do love story-songs about two kids growing up in the city. It's the Fast Car of the 21st century!! (Except, you know, less good generally.)
Edit: oh holy hell that music video is beautiful. Okay. Song redeemed. From list extra to proper number. And yes, I know Benny Blanco is technically included in the artist list, but WE HAVE A RULE: credit for singers only.
52. Lizzo - Juice
I'm like chardonnay, get better over time
This was NOT supposed to happen, but the radio was being terrible so I gave up and listened to this song a couple of times when it came on, and then one day I accidentally a) became mesmerized by the music video and b) played it for 30 minutes straight. I DON'T KNOW HOW SHE IS DOING THIS?? This is not a masterpiece of a song! I don't even know what most of it means! But it's very danceable and boppy and again, her screen charisma is bonkers off the wall / out of this world.
53. Taylor Swift – Wonderland
Didn't they tell us don't rush into things
Didn't you flash your green eyes at me
Didn't you calm my fears with a Chesire cat smile?
Got my hands on the deluxe version of 1989, so I can finally hear the bonuses. There are noticeable and distracting beats in common with Bad Blood, but this enchanted me instantly and is my reigning fave of the 3. Catch me singing it to myself CONSTANTLY.
54. Taylor Swift – You Are In Love
You understand now why they lost their minds and fought the wars
And why I've spent my whole life trying to put it into words
A lovely, soothingly repetitive, echo-y ballad.
55. Taylor Swift – New Romantics
Heartbreak is the national anthem
We sing it proudly
This is the one I was most dying to hear, and it lives up. Its placement after the above is odd, but it has a similarly upbeat and electric vibe as Welcome To New York, so it loops well (on a digital playlist, where you can cut the voice memos out; seriously Taylor I am begging you to make those code-restricted downloads or CD-ROM content instead of tracks).
56. Eisley – A Song For The Birds (acoustic)
Stand up tall and know I'll champion
All those things locked in your dungeon
Nothing you could say could ever make me flinch
Picked up a random “2018 summer sampler” at a garage sale from Equal Vision Records, and this was the only song that was a pretty female-led and piano-based tune instead of people (mostly dudes) with full rock band sets. It's a lovely little love song. That said, if you would like more studio effects, you may enjoy the regular version.
57. Miracles (Coldplay piano cover, arr. Katherine Cordova)
I don't know the original and I never want to. This lovely instrumental solo was brought to my attention by a reviewer of my newly beloved novel April & Oliver as a definitive song for their relationship, and now it's all I want to imagine as either the final tune that Oliver composed, or the theme that would be attached to them in a movie adaptation.
58. Applause (Lady Gaga piano cover, arr. Katherine Cordova)
I just heard the original on the radio against my will and the music/chorus was so catchy I almost caved and decided to love it...but then I found this, and yeah that's better.
59. Oceano (instrumental, Roberto Cacciapaglia)
This auto-played after Miracles and it pairs very well. Orchestral instrumental in addition to the piano.
60. Imogen Heap - Speeding Cars
There, there, baby
It's just textbook stuff
It's in the ABCs of growing up
Tripped over it in a Ned/Chuck fanvid, didn't think it fit them but immediately went YES THIS MUSIC I LIKE THIS and was zero percent surprised when I looked up who sang it.
61. Noah Cyrus - July
So tell me to leave
I'll pack my bags, get on the road
Find someone that loves you
Better than I do, darling, I know
The AESTHETIC in this video...the MUSIC...I've never paid attention to her a day in my life, but she's really out here droppin' a folk song straight outta 1963 in the manner of Lana del Rey, and I'm HERE for it.
62. Noah Cyrus – Topanga
I can't drive Topanga anymore
'Cause it reminds me of you
Said we'd buy a big house there someday
But we never got to
*roots around desperately hoping for more like the above song, mostly without success A-HAH FOUND ONE!*
63. One Bit / Noah Cyrus – My Way (Acoustic)
You think that you know better
But you keep proving you never
Laid back and kicky, just a light bit of guitar, trumpets and percussion. A little bit more energy than the two above.
64. Lana del Rey – Doin' Time
Summertime, and the livin's easy
Such a good summer song! And the radio got me before I could blacklist it for the swear word I didn't realize was in there until later, so I'll have to grandfather it in (or just listen to the clean version linked above!). Do u know...how many years... I have dreamed of having an acceptable new Lana del Rey song for my library (I thought her new anti-gun anthem would do the trick, but sadly it is too slow and boring for me without the benefit of a whole album for contrast).
CD REC: Aofie Scott, “Homebird” (2020)
MY IRISH GODDESS IS BACK JUST LIKE BEFORE. I didn't instantly love this one quite as much, but after half a dozen determined spins I now like every single track (though I am limiting this list to the most standout selections) so it's actually better than her first effort. Also, yes, I am in possession of a real and legitimate still-officially-unreleased CD because it was available for pre-sale exclusively on her tour. Which means I can't actually link you to any of these songs right now. But trust me / bookmark this post and come back in January.
65. Another Reason
You're another reason for the sun to shine
Though written about her newborn niece, this works for anyone you treasure. It's just so sweet and delicate and instantly makes me feel at peace.
66. Ireland's Hour of Need
James Connolly, rise up your soul and lift us from this hell
And please ask the brave sons of '16 to come back and fight as well
I love how she is the only singer in the world who can be obnoxiously political in her music, and still make me go, “Yeah!” This is such invigorating music, though.
Homebirds and me
Build our nests among the trees
It's a place for us to rest and breathe
I learned from her that this word is the Irish and much prettier term for "homebody," and that would be enough to make me happy even if this song weren't also a very calm number describing the nature aspects of a lovely and peaceful country home.
68. Irish Born
There's something in my nature that moves my very bones
That makes me seek adventure far from my native home
I've come across the water, traveled many miles
Saved money for some paper that lets me stay a while
Upbeat and awesome. Just makes you want to dance. It's a love letter to Irish ex-pats and the U.S. at once. My favorite on the album. Every lyric is perfect.
69. Building Up and Tearing England Down
If you ever try to take part of what the bosses make
Then you're building up and tearing England down
It's kind of like number 65, but with more historical context (it's also a cover; news to me). Catchy music.
70. Dublin Saunter
Dublin can be heaven, with coffee at 11
And a stroll through Stephen's Green
This is one of the songs she described as “very floaty" when doing her riverside performance -- it's also apparently a well known song, again news to me -- and that's very accurate.
71. Fuel I Need
Seems to me that you just feel sad
And that you have nowhere to belong
That won't stop me stop me standing proud
I'll be here, and I will prove you wrong
It's hard to believe anyone as lovely as Aoife would have enough detractors to inspire a song against critics and/or internet trolls, but it's good that it exists! It might have the best music in the bunch. Fiddle just goes wild by the end.
72. Taylor Swift – You Need to Calm Down
You just need to take several seats and then try to restore the peace
And control your urges to scream about all the people you hate
Good life advice. I already have my “song lyrics to sum up my year” picked out – which incidentally ALSO come from Taylor – but I'm tempted to use these. (Also. The music in this is just...irresistible! I know because I tried extremely hard to resist everything from this album and it got me in one try within 10 seconds on the radio.)
September73. Sharon Van Etten – Seventeen
Halfway up this street
I used to be free
I used to be seventeen
I'm just forever a sucker for songs named after teen ages. This sounds like a song that has existed for decades/maybe was written in the 70s; I can't believe it's so new. I also love the explanation behind it: “the lyrics were inspired by New York City, and the changes she saw in the city in all the time she lived there.” P.S. Thanks to to fiance for bringing this one to my attention.
74. Lana del Rey - Young and Beautiful
Will you still love me when I'm no longer young and beautiful?
Will you still love me when I got nothing but my aching soul?
TWO NEW LANAS IN THE SAME QUARTER, can you believe?? I choose to believe it's a lost track from Born to Die, because that is what it sounds like, with the epic background chimes and all. I honestly don't even know if I love this song so much as I am just so happy to be able to fill my ears with this kind of sound again. [edit: oh cool, this is on the Great Gatsby soundtrack. how did I miss that in 2013?]
75. Talis Kimberly - Goodnight, Sarah Jane
You were smart and strong and you made us proud
And I’m crying now, but I’ll say it aloud
A heartfelt song, in all its quiet and unpolished woman-and-guitar simplicity, written as an Elisabeth Sladen tribute to her iconic character so TIME TO CRY SOME MORE. I wish it hadn't taken 8 years to get to me, but maybe this is when I needed it.
CD REC: Alanis Morissette, "Jagged Little Pill (acoustic)" (2005)
I just found out this existed -- when I bought it in a secondhand shop, allowing me to both get cool new music and support people with Ragdoll cats in their store -- and I have to say, it is Extremely Neat to have an alternate version of this awesome CD by the same singer. As frequently demonstrated, I really love acoustic options whenever possible.