So, 2014 was a pretty crazy year. Between parenting a two-year old and starting my own business and getting ready for a new baby, there hasn’t been a whole lot of time to enjoy new and exciting music this year. Plus, most of my music-listening time has been dedicated to music suitable for a two-year old. Which — well — can we be honest, guys? Kids’ music is pretty much the worst. I mean, kids are great and all, but they have some pretty terrible taste in music. In fact, here is my list of the five worst kids songs of all time:

5. Little Bunny Foo Foo.

The field mice need to organize themselves in revolt from this tyrant. Why do I want my child listening to this fascist propaganda?

4. John Jacob Jingleheimer Schmidt

No, that is not your name. And it’s not your name either. This song is not fun and whimsical; it is a neverending nightmare of nonsense.

3. Ta-Ra-Ra-Boom-Dee-A

WHAT IS THIS SONG?! You’re not even speaking the Queen’s English! Plus, that is the most annoying melody ever!

2. Muffin Man

Unfortunately, Geoffrey loves this song. More unfortunately, it causes my ear canals to bleed freely. Look, muffins are tasty and all, but they are not chocolate or even ice cream, so I don’t see why we are writing songs about muffin purveyors.

1. The Grand Old Duke of York.

AAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHH! Where are you going with your men, Grand Old Duke of York?! Why do you keep marching them up and then down the hill? That is some seriously sadistic stuff! And why do you employ a chorus of zombie children to sing about you? And what is with captain obvious dropping the profound wisdom on us that “when you’re up, you’re up, and when you’re down, you’re down, but when you’re only halfway up, you’re neither up nor down?” Thank you for that insight! The fortune cookie I ate last night was not only delicious but much more enlightening! Please, Grand Old Duke of York, get in a duel with Little Bunny Foo Foo in which you are each mortally wounded and the earth is purged of the terrible songs about both of you!

Someone please stop this psychopath.

So, yeah, I’m a little tired of listening to certain classics from ye olde children’s songbook.

But, there was also some great music this year! And I actually heard some of it! I heard a lot of very good songs this year, though there were not many that rose to a “song of the year” level. 2014 also seemed to be the year of the “deluxe edition.” It was hard to find an album that didn’t offer the option to buy a few extra songs for a couple dollars extra.

In honor of that trend, I have prepared both an “official” playlist and a “deluxe” edition with about 12 extra songs. I felt that there was a pretty clear cut line after about 35 songs, but it was hard for me to differentiate much within that group.

So, without further ado, here is the 2014 Song of My Year playlist:

  1. “Back to the Shack” by Weezer
  2. Is this song pandering and over the top? Yes. Do I care? No. I am old and cranky. Please pander to me. Plus it sounds great; you know, the way Weezer is supposed to sound.

  3. “Shelter Song” by Temples
  4. Sort of a trippy — I don’t know — Jefferson Airplane feel to it. The verse has a great call and answer structure, leading into a solid chorus.

  5. “Seasons (Waiting On You)” by Future Islands
  6. Hmmmm, I guess this is my song of the year? Like I said, there were a lot of good songs this year but few “instant classic” types. This is pretty close, though. Deceptively simple, but there’s a weird sort of intensity in the vocal delivery that raises it a level or two.

  7. “Gilded Oldies” by Cataldo
  8. This song gets me every time when it get to the “what awaits you” part. Yup.

  9. “Numbers Don’t Lie” by the Mynabirds
  10. This song is actually a few years old, but I discovered it this year, and this is my playlist, so there.

  11. “Avant Gardener” by Courtney Barnett
  12. Easily my favorite lyrics of the year. Classic lines from beginning to end, but my favorite is probably, “The paramedic thinks I’m clever ‘cause i play guitar/I think she’s clever ‘cause she stops people dying.” Perfect.

  13. “Buffalo Days” by Lanterns on the Lake
  14. I always like to find a couple of hidden gems, and this was one for me this year. Sort of sounds like a mellowed-out Joy Formidable. Very nice.

  15. “Can’t Do Without You” by Caribou
  16. Doing a lot more with less. Pretty much one lyric gets repeated this entire song, but they (he) holds your interest by the song’s structure; just a clinic in how to build a great song out of a couple of good melodic ideas.

  17. “Blue Moon” by Beck
  18. Morning Phase is my album of the year, and it’s not particularly close. I seem to be drawn to breakup albums for some reason, but I think that’s because a traumatic breakup is just great fuel for an artist. I wasn’t really moved by most of the other albums getting album of the year run in 2014 (War on Drugs, et al.). I think this is Beck’s most consistently excellent album (Odelay is probably still his best overall because the highs are higher); not a weak track on it.

    “Estoy tan cansado de estar solo.”
  19. “Team” by Lorde
  20. “Royals” is tremendous, but this is the best track on Pure Heroine. Great intro, solid verse, and a soaring chorus.

  21. “Shake It Off” by Taylor Swift
  22. Anything that can inspire this brilliance is going to make the list.

  23. “Left Hand Free” by Alt-J
  24. You know what’s great about this song? The video is just a bunch of people tubing down the river, then some other people ride four-wheelers, and then there’s some fireworks. All things that are the best.

  25. “Water Fountain” by tUnE-yArDs
  26. I’ve largely been annoyed by the tUnE-yArDs, in no small part due to the pretentious use of capital letters in their (her) band name. But, this is just an amazing song. Complex, impossibly rhythmic, building to a tremendous climax, and all done with basically just a bass guitar, hand claps and vocals.

  27. “Brill Bruisers” by New Pornographers
  28. Just an incredibly consistent power-pop force of nature. It’s pretty incredible how New Pornographers continues to make great, engaged music when so many other “supergroups” prove to be much less than the sum of their parts.

  29. “Longer Than You’ve Been Alive” by The Old ‘97’s
  30. This may not be the best song about the reality of life as a rock star, but it’s surely the most instructive . . . while still managing to rock out, which is kind of the point.

  31. “Marigold” by J. Roddy Walston & The Business.
  32. Oh, man. This song is so funky and nasty you can hear the sweat falling on the piano keys. “Likes to share his money but hates to pay his bills.” Preach it, brother.

  33. “Too True To Be Good” by Dum Dum Girls
  34. The song title is a clever idea that’s just executed perfectly. This album was one of the more pleasant surprises of the year for me.

  35. “Fall In Love” by Phantogram
  36. One of the better “sexy girl/keyboard dude” duos going these days. This song is a great showcase for Sarah Barthel’s vocals; the strings and keyboards providing a great canvas to work on.

  37. “Coffee” by Sylvan Esso
  38. This song was a slow burner for me. Passed it over a few times, but it started to haunt me after a while. The bridge near the end — “My baby does the hanky panky” — shouldn’t work, but it totally does.

  39. “Master Pretender” by First Aid Kit
  40. This is more of a celebration of their entire catalog. First Aid Kit has had several good songs the last few years, but it has been hard to single one out. I went with this one, but I could have easily chosen a few others. Check them out if you haven’t yet.

  41. “Inside Out” by Spoon
  42. Spoon’s never had an album that seriously challenged for album of the year in my opinion, but they’ve never had a bad album either. Remarkably consistent.

  43. “Country Down” by Beck
  44. I couldn’t resist adding a second track from Morning Phase. This is just a classic country song; would be at home on a Merle Haggard or Waylong Jennings album.

  45. “Love Never Felt So Good” by Michael Jackson
  46. Um, look, I just listen to the songs, and they tell me what to do. If Michael Jackson’s ghost wants to release one of the best songs of the year, then I’m going to put it on my playlist. The equal of anything he ever did not named “Billy Jean.”

    Bonus tracks below. These are also good, but most of them had something that I didn’t love. But, for the most part, you could easily talk me into trading out one of the “official” playlist songs for one of these:

  47. “Everything’s Bigger” by Speedy Ortiz
  48. “Still Knocking at the Door” by Papercuts
  49. “Take Me to Church” by Hozier
  50. “Fake Fur Coat” by Tweedy
  51. “Silver Timothy” by Damien Jurado
  52. “Glory” by Wye Oak
  53. “Past Life” by Lost in the Trees
  54. “The Sticks” by The Budos Band
  55. “I Miss Your Bones” by Hospitality
  56. “Prince Johnny” by St. Vincent
  57. “Shut In” by Strand of Oaks
  58. “Honey Do” by Beverly
  59. Super, unofficial, guilty-pleasure bonus track:

  60. “All About That Bass” by Meghan Trainor
  61. Look, they were always playing this song at my gym, and, well, it’s just funny, and, that chorus, and, well, look, let’s just say that, maybe, I don’t change the station when this comes on and, maybe I sing along a little bit in my head, and, I mean, it’s basically “Baby’s Got Back” from the girl’s perspective, and who doesn’t love “Baby’s Got Back?” Right? Am I right, guys? Guys?