Highlights on this mix include...
Sia went a little Gwen Stefani with her latest release. Not so much in terms of sound, but definitely in direction. This hit single has introduced the former Zero 7 lead vocalist to a new audience that probably won't appreciate her more subtle work with that group, nor her first two solo albums. Chandelier is bold, brash and ultimately catchy in a good way.
The Writings on the Wall OK Go
I think of OK Go as a modern day Oingo Boingo (again, not so much in terms of sound). They are the right balance of goofy and talented, and every new album brings at least one track like this new one. It's a solid song with, of course, another brilliant video.
I've tried really hard to hate Coldplay, but I can't. I think they're really talented. Basic and arena-friendly, but in a good way. Their latest album got a lot of criticism for going too far from the band's sound. Thought it wasn't one of their better efforts, standout songs like Magic or Sky Full of Stars linger. My only complaint is the omission of their brilliant single Atlas from Hunger Games: Catching Fire recorded between albums. That's one of the band's best tracks, period.
Say Goodbye Beck
Beck's Morning Phase LP is a mellow gold companion piece to his 2002 Sea Change. It's infinitely better with repeat listens, as was Sea Change in fact. Say Goodbye taps the melancholy tone of the full album, but I would honestly place any of the tracks as one of the best of 2014.
Johnny & Mary Bryan Ferry with Todd Terge
What more could you ask for than the Slave To Love rocker covering an Addicted to Love rocker?Robert Palmer's classic tune is reimagined as a creepy, whispered ambient tale by another post-punk rocker, Bryan Ferry. To be fair, I should mention that Avonmore, Ferry's newest album, is an outstanding through-back to his classic Roxy Music sound. But this track gets everything right in a very meta way.
Demon Bear in Heaven
Time is Over One Day Old is one of the best albums from 2014 and Bear in Heaven delivered a really solid follow up to their 2012 album I Love You, It's Cool. Again, the band builds electronic synth and choral loops for the backbone of the song. Ultimately, the ironic and slightly hostile lyrics can't even break you away from the beat.