1. Starkey | Command
I discovered this song by accident on one particular journey down the Spotify rabbit hole, and it quickly became one of the most fascinating and exciting pieces of Music I've heard in the last few years. It's the perfect mixture of unusual and unpredictable Sounds, Chopped Up Vocal Samples, massive Synthesizers, suspense, and HARD-hitting Beats. There's even a tiny sense of Humor to the piece with the huh that happens in the big triumphant Chorus Sections. Seriously, I can never get enough of this song.
2. Michael Jackson | Thriller
Listening to Thriller is really my first Musical memory. I'm a child of the 80's, and I have this very distinct memory of my parents putting Thriller on the Record Player, and suddenly something came over me. I couldn't have been more than five years old, and I clearly remember the Music taking control of me, and I freaked out. I remember jumping around and running all over my parents' house, feeling so happy and good. It was really my first experience with the Visceral Power of Music, and in a lot of ways I've spent my entire life trying to get back to that feeling again.
3. Mr. Bungle | Pink Cigarette
Mr. Bungle, and Mike Patton's various other projects like Fantomas, were a major influence on my development as a Musician. They were perhaps my first experience with extreme Genre-Blending/Bending in Music. The Mr. Bungle albums really showed me that it's OK to make extreme choices and jump from Style to Style, and if done well, the results can be REALLY exciting. Few bands could so effectively jump from 50's Exotica Music to Speed Metal to David-Lynchian Americana to Musique Concrète to straight-up Pop Music in the span of a few minutes and still manage to keep their listeners engaged and happy. I have a really specific memory attached to Pink Cigarette, and really the entire California album. I was in a car, driving late at night from Boston to New York City in one of the worst blizzards of my lifetime. I could barely see the road at all through the snow, my friend and my mom were both in the car. I had several moments were I thought we might crash. It was terrifying. We all sat in silence as I squinted through the snow. And then I put on this Mr. Bungle album, and it comforted me somehow and helped me get through the drive, almost like a companion, personified.
4. Mary Jane Girls | Candy Man
I had a phase in my early twenties where all I listened to was 80s Funk and R&B, and in particular I loved absolutely anything that Rick James was involved in. Mary Jane Girls were a Girl-Group that he Produced, and you can really hear his footprint all over their songs. This song puts a smile on my face instantly, especially those amazing Keyboard parts. I also Love how it's such a light and playful song, but that there's such a hyper-Sexual tone always running in it. That contrast makes it even more naughty.
5. Moderat | Gita
I'm a big Apparat fan, and I love these collaborations with Modeselektor. I discovered this song recently, from their newest album, II, and I can't stop listening to it. I love the Production, I love the soft and uplifting quality of his voice, and I LOVE that repeated Vocal Sample they work into the Beat throughout the song - that yeah. It's so simple and Creative, and it never gets old.
6. Breakbot | One Out Of Two (feat. Irfane)
This is another one of those songs that makes me happy instantly, and I can never get enough of it. It's so reminiscent of TV Theme Songs from when I was a kid, like Family Ties and Growing Pains, it just takes me back in this really Fuzzy and Familiar way. But at the same time, because Breakbot is such a talented Writer and Producer, he's able to add just enough Modern Production elements to make this song feel so fresh and new. I think in anyone else's hands, this song could wind up sounding corny, but Breakbot is a real Master.
7. Jon Hopkins | Open Eye Signal
Few songs put me in a trance quite like this one. Every time I listen to it, I get completely lost in it, and it just keeps opening up and opening up further, and I never want it to end. The Production is so sophisticated and slick, but the Beat is so driving and Primal. It keeps you grounded while letting your Imagination run wild.
8. James Blake | Life Round Here
I Love, Love, Love James Blake. I Love his Restraint, I Love his Voice, I Love his Production, I love his Writing, I Love his Sense of Rhythm. There's no one quite like him. There are people that are able to do some of things that he does well, but I don't know anyone that is the Complete Package quite like him. I Love this song in particular because of the way it incorporates Classical-Sounding Chord Progressions and Arpeggios with complex Hip-Hop Beats while that beautiful Melody just floats over it. I also Love those Hi-Hat Rhythms, the way they dance back and forth, in and out of a Triplet-feel - it's like a hall of Mirrors.
9. Dillon Francis & Diplo | Que Que (feat. Maluca)
This song makes me feel like it's Summertime, instantly, like I'm outdoors in the hot Sun at a barbecue, all my friends are there, and everybody's wasted and dancing. Ha. I also really like the way this song keeps the Party going while weaving in just enough pieces of cool Production elements to keep it exciting.
10. Sparks | Just Because You Love Me
Sparks is one of my All-Time Favorite Bands. They're insanely Prolific, so weird and out there, and such great Writers and Performers. There's always a little bit of sinister Humor to their Music. This song in particular is my favorite song from my favorite album of theirs, Terminal Jive. It's Produced by the legendary Giorgio Moroder and you can hear his Sound in a lot of the Synthesizers on there.
+11. Benny Sings | Coconut
Benny Sings is a total Anomaly. He makes this incredibly Smooth, Soulful, and Sexy R&B Music... And he's a chubby, blue-eyed white dude... From the Netherlands... And somehow it just works. This song has such an incredible feel, and I Love the way the Percussion is so punctuated and syncopated. I especially Love the way the Drummer bashes those Crash Cymbals super-hard and cups them. And the way Benny Sings so softly and without any Vibrato whatsoever.
+12. Oliver | Night Is On My Mind
Oliver, like Starkey, are among my Favorite Producers Working Today. I Love the way they use a lot of throwback 80s Sounds, but in such a cool and Modern way. Their Synth Textures are so sharp and percussive, they practically punch you in the gut. This track keeps building so nicely, and of course the deep Night Is On My Mind Voice is CRAZY.
+13. Unknown Mortal Orchestra | So Good At Being In Trouble
This is one of my favorite songs of 2013. The band is from New Zealand, and they are Psychedelic as all hell. This song has such a lazy and Lackadaisical feel, but there's a tinge of Sadness and Regret to it, and the Chorus just keeps you waiting and waiting - the singer repeats she was so good at being in trouble what feels like 1000 times, until he finally concludes with so bad at being in Love. It perfectly captures the feeling of being in Love with someone like that, and that feeling of coming back again and again, even though he knows he'll only get hurt.
+14. The Alan Parsons Project | Time
I Love the Alan Parsons Project. There. I said it. I'm proud of it. This song was released over 30 years ago, but if you didn't know what it was and listened to it, closed your eyes and someone told you it was some new cool band from Brooklyn, you'd believe it. YOU'D BELIEVE IT! This song always makes me feel like I'm floating and Dreaming. It's another song that's a little Melancholic, but not completely sad. It gives me the feeling that Life goes on and Time passes, and we just have to roll with it and keep on living.