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Here we are! From Newark Airport after a direct, 16-hour flight– possibly the last one of its kind out of Singapore for the near future– the final installment of my favorite songs by year.

My wife’s indie leanings are a big influence on this. There’s even a few modern worship songs (although I have some reservations with the genre), indicative of my time at Free Community Church, Singapore’s only social justice-oriented and LGBT-friendly church. Frankly, life got in the way and I couldn’t even name more than 3 songs for 2018 and didn’t even try for 2019 (although I love The Highwomen’s album).

2010:*

    • Juan Luis Guerra- Caribbean Blues
    • Elton John and Leon Russell- Hey Ahab
    • Gaelic Storm- Turn This Ship Around
    • Janelle Monae- Tightrope
    • Mary Chapin Carpenter- The Age of Miracles
    • Sara Bareilles- King of Anything
    • Sandra McCracken- Justice will Roll Down
    • Adele- Rolling in the Deep
    • Robyn- Dancing on My Own
    • Adrienne Camp- Redemption Song

2011:

    • Foster the People: Helena Beat
    • Carly Rae Jepsen: Call Me Maybe
    • Mouserat- Bye Bye, Little Sebastian
    • Lady Gaga- The Edge of Glory
    • Coldplay- Paradise

2012:

    • Brandi Carlile- Hard Way Home
    • Kacey Musgraves: Merry Go Round
    • Bat for Lashes- Laura
    • fun- We Are Young
    • Regina Spektor- Don’t Leave Me (Ne Me Quitte Pas)

2013:

    • Janelle Monae- Q.U.E.E.N.
    • CHVRCHES- Recover
    • Idina Menzel- Let It Go
    • Iron & Wine- Grace for Saints and Ramblers
    • Sara Bareilles- Brave

2014:

    • Lake Street Dive- Rabid Animal
    • Foster the People- Coming of Age
    • Nickel Creek- Destination
    • Damien Rice- Trusty and True
    • Walk the Moon- Shut Up and Dance

2015:

    • Hamilton soundtrack- You’ll Be Back
    • Brandi Carlile- The Eye
    • Florence and the Machine- Ship to Wreck
    • Paul McCartney, Rihanna, Kanye West- Fourfiveseconds
    • Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings: Funky Drummer Boy

2016:

    • Beyonce- Formation
    • Tedeschi Trucks Band- Don’t Know What It Means
    • The Monkees- You Bring the Summer
    • Moana soundtrack- You’re Welcome
    • Housefires- Build My Life

2017:

    • The Decembrists- Ben Franklin’s Song
    • Anderson East- Josephine
    • Andrew Combs- Better Way
    • The Brilliance- Gravity of Love
    • Jason Isbell- Anxiety

2018:

    • Greta Van Fleet- You’re the One
    • Brandi Carlile- Every Time I Hear That Song
    • Janelle Monae- I’m Like That

 

In theory, these should have been great years for my enjoyment of music: I graduated high school, spent three semesters abroad, met my future wife, graduated college, started grad school, went to India, and befriended George McGovern during that decade. Nevertheless, I wasn’t really plugged in for much of that time, listening to my growing collection of CDs from my favorite 1960s and 1970s artists instead.

2000:

    • Phish- Farmhouse
    • Ween- Bananas and Blow
    • Elton John- Sixteenth Century Man
    • O Brother Where Art Thou soundtrack- Didn’t Leave Nobody But the Baby
    • Uncle Kracker- Follow Me

2001:

    • Paul McCartney- Heather
    • Rufus Wainwright- Hallelujah
    • Gary Jules- Mad World
    • Bruce Springsteen- The Rising
    • Drive-By Truckers- Ronnie and Neil

2002:

    • George Harrison- Any Road
    • Dave Mathews Band- Grey Street
    • Coldplay- The Scientist
    • The Flaming Lips- Fight Test
    • The Roots- The Seed (2.0)

2003:

    • Matt Wertz- Everything’s Right
    • A Mighty Wind soundtrack- Never Did No Wandering
    • Outkast- The Way You Move
    • Fountains of Wayne- Stacy’s Mom
    • Weepies- Happiness 

2004:

    • Vienna Teng- Harbor
    • Wailin’ Jennys- Heaven When We’re Home
    • Crosby-Nash- Lay Me Down
    • Feist- Mushaboom
    • Gaelic Storm- Punjab Paddy

2005:

    • KT Tunstall- Black Horse and the Cherry Tree
    • Paul McCartney- English Tea
    • Sharon Jones- How Long Do I Have to Wait For You?
    • Maroon 5- She Will Be Loved
    • So far as I know, no other song I like was released that year. Sorry.

2006:

    • Vienna Teng- Whatever You Want
    • Amy Winehouse- Rehab
    • Gnarls Barkley- Crazy
    • Spring Awakening soundtrack- My Junk
    • Weird Al Yankovic- White and Nerdy

2007:

    • Sara Bareilles- Many the Miles
    • Rooney- Calling the World
    • They Might Be Giants- Mesopotamians
    • New Pornographers- Mutiny I Promise You
    • Flight of the Conchords- It’s Business Time

2008:

    • Fleet Foxes- White Winter Hymnal
    • Dr. Horrible’s Singalong Blog soundtrack- My Eyes
    • Michael Franti & Spearhead- Say Hey I Love You
    • Coldplay- Viva La vida
    • Jesse McCartney- Bleeding Love

2009: *

    • Brandi Carlile- Dying Day
    • Ingrid Michaelson- The Mountain and the Sea
    • Indigo Girls- Love of our Lives
    • The Hangover soundtrack- Stu’s Song
    • Vienna Teng- Stray Italian Greyhound
    • Mumford and Sons- Winter Winds
    • Weird Al Yankovic- Skipper Dan 
    • Swell Season- Feeling the Pull
    • Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeroes- Home
    • Regina Spektor- Eet

Ah, the Nineties! For lots of early millennials, these are years marked by grunge, alternative, west coast vs. east coast rap, and pop punk. Not quite for me though. I was introduced to contemporary top 40 music in middle school- Mr. Wiltey’s woodshop class would play FLY92, the modern pop station in our media market, and thus my world was expanded beyond the 60s and 70s oldies my parents introduced me to. Yet, as much as I liked some of those songs, the old masters from the Age of Aquarius kept churning out material that was often just as good. In later years, new friends–including my wife–would introduce me to a number of artists like Tori Amos and Dar Williams and the Indigo Girls, who I missed the first time around.

1990:

    • Go West- King of Wishful Thinking
    • They Might Be Giants- Birdhouse in your Soul
    • Wilson Philips- Hold On
    • A Tribe Called Quest- I Left My Wallet in El Segundo
    • Corbin/Hanner- Work Song

1991:

    • Bonnie Raitt- I Can’t Make You Love Me
    • Marc Cohn- Walking in Memphis
    • Crowded House- Weather With You
    • Lorenna McKennitt- All Soul’s Night
    • Queen- These Are the Days of Our Lives

1992:

    • Annie Lennox- Walking on Broken Glass
    • Indigo Girls- Galileo
    • Weird Al Yankovic- You Don’t Love Me Anymore
    • Whitney Houston- I Have Nothing
    • The Cure- Friday I’m in Love

1993:

    • 10,000 Maniacs- Because the Night
    • Sting- Fields of Gold
    • Meat Loaf- I Would do Anything for Love
    • Haddaway- What Is Love
    • Blue Rodeo- Hasn’t Hit Me Yet

1994:*

    • Martin Page- In the House of Stone and Light
    • Real McCoy- Another Night
    • All 4 One- I Swear
    • Jimmy Buffett- Lage Ai Nom
    • Tori Amos- Cornflake Girl
    • Sophie B. Hawkins- As I Lay Me Down
    • Elton John- Can You Feel the Love Tonight
    • Weezer- Buddy Holly
    • TLC- Red Light Special
    • Seal- Kiss from a Rose

1995:

    • Marillion- Beautiful
    • Take That- Back for Good
    • Gin Blossoms- Til I Hear It From You
    • Elton John- Latitude
    • Mariah Carey- Always Be My Baby

1996:

    • Gin Blossoms- Follow You Down
    • Weird Al- Yankovic Amish Paradise
    • Dar Williams- Southern California Wants to be Western New York
    • RENT soundtrack- What You Own
    • Fiona Apple- Criminal

1997:

    • Great Big Sea- Donkey Riding
    • Indigo Girls- Shame on You
    • Big Wu- Kangaroo
    • Jars of Clay- Fade to Grey
    • Paul McCartney- Calico Skies

1998:

    • Enter the Haggis- Donald, Where’s Yer Troosers?
    • Elton John- Wake Up Wendy
    • Fastball- Out of My Head
    • Mulan soundtrack- I’ll Make A Man Out of You
    • Ringo Starr- What in the…World?

1999:

    • Freebo- Trouble
    • Macy Gray- Why Didn’t You Call Me
    • Backstreet Boys- I Want It That Way
    • Yonder Mountain String Band- Half Moon Rising
    • Aida soundtrack- Elaborate Lives

Let’s keep this going into the 80s. I’m actually quite proud to have been born in 1983, a pretty good year for music, all things considered. My wife, born in 1986, didn’t quite fare so well….

1980:

    • Dire Straits- Romeo and Juliet
    • Hall & Oates- Kiss on my List
    • Dolly Parton- Nine to Five
    • John Lennon- I’m Losing You
    • Talking Heads- Once in a Lifetime

1981:

    • Dan Fogelberg- In the Passage
    • Elton John- Carla/Etude
    • Journey- Stone in Love
    • Squeeze- Tempted
    • Blue Oyster Cult- Burning for You

1982:

    • CSN- Southern Cross
    • Paul McCartney- Wanderlust
    • Toto-Africa
    • Marvin Gaye- Sexual Healing
    • The Clash- Rock the Casbah

1983:

    • Elton John- I Guess That’s Why They Call It The Blues
    • Billy Joel- The Longest Time
    • Eurythmics- Here Comes the Rain Again
    • Lionel Richie- All Night Long (All Night)
    • Journey- Separate Ways (Worlds Apart)

1984:

    • Aha- Take On Me
    • Joe Jackson- Be My Number Two
    • Pat Benatar- We Belong
    • Spinal Tap- Stonehenge 
    • Don Henley- The Boys of Summer

1985:

    • Mr. Mister- Kyrie
    • Billy Joel- A Matter of Trust
    • Talking Heads- And She Was
    • Dream Academy- Life in a Northern Town
    • Eurythmics- Sisters are Doing it For Themselves

1986:

    • Peter Gabriel- In Your Eyes
    • Weird Al Yankovic- Yoda
    • Bruce Hornsby- Mandolin Wind
    • Genesis- Land of Confusion
    • Billy Joel- A Matter of Trust

1987:

    • George Harrison- If That’s What It Takes
    • The Pogues- Fairytale of New York
    • Fleetwood Mac- Everywhere
    • Madonna- La Isla Bonita
    • Les Miserables- On My Own

1988:

    • Billy Ocean- Get Out of My Dreams (Get Into My Car)
    • Mike and the Mechanics- The Living Years
    • Chicago- You’re Not Alone
    • Escape Club- Wild, Wild West
    • Tracy Chapman- Fast Car

1989: **

    • Billy Joel- And So It Goes
    • Indigo Girls- Closer to Fine
    • Paul McCartney- This One
    • Howard Jones- Everlasting Love
    • George Harrison- Cheer Down
    • The B-52s: Love Shack
    • Queen- I Want It All
    • Marillion- After Me
    • Mary Chapin Carpenter- This Old Shirt
    • De La Soul- Me, Myself, and I

Here, we arrive at probably my favorite decade of the 20th century, the 1970s. You’ll notice my strong preferences for soft rock, singer-songwriters, and even yacht rock here. I guess there’s no accounting for taste.

1970*:

    • The Grass Roots- Temptation Eyes
    • James Taylor- Sweet Baby James
    • Badfinger- No Matter What
    • Stephen Stills- Love the One You’re With
    • Cat Stevens- Wild World
    • Elton John- Ballad of a Well-Known Gun
    • CSNY- Carry On/Questions
    • George Harrison- My Sweet Lord
    • The Five Stairsteps: Oooh Child
    • Simon & Garfunkel: The Boxer

1971:

    • Elton John- Tiny Dancer
    • Carole King- I Feel the Earth Move
    • Joni Mitchell- California
    • Jethro Tull- Cross Eyed Mary
    • Hamilton, Joe Frank & Reynolds- Don’t Pull Your Love

1972:

    • America- Don’t Cross the River
    • Edgar Winter Group- Free Ride
    • Chicago- Dialogue Part 1 & 2
    • Elton John- Rocket Man
    • Stevie Wonder- Superstition 

1973:

    • Jim Croce- I Got A Name
    • The Beach Boys- Sail On Sailor
    • Steve Miller Band- The Joker
    • Gladys Knight & the Pips- Midnight Train to Georgia
    • Rick Derringer- Rock and Roll Hoochie Kool

1974:

    • Linda Ronstadt- You’re No Good
    • Orleans- Dance with Me
    • Blue Swede- Hooked on a Feeling
    • Bob Marley & The Wailers- No Woman No Cry
    • Kraftwerk- Autobahn

1975:

    • America- Sister Golden Hair
    • Queen- ’39
    • The Four Seasons- Oh, What a Night (December, 1963)
    • Elton John- Better Off Dead
    • Led Zeppelin- Kashmir 

1976:

    • The Spinners- Rubber Band Man
    • Billy Joel- Summer, Highland Falls
    • Bellamy Brothers- Let Your Love Flow
    • Stevie Wonder- Sir Duke
    • Kansas- Carry On Wayward Son

1977:

    • CSN- Cathedral
    • Peter Gabriel- Solsbury Hill
    • Kansas- Point of Know Return
    • Bob Marley- One Love/People Get Ready
    • Steve Milller- Swingtown

1978:

    • Kate Bush- The Man with the Child In His Eyes
    • Warren Zevon- Accidentally Like a Martyr
    • Boston- A Man I’ll Never Be
    • Earth, Wind & Fire- September
    • Chaka Khan- I’m Every Woman

1979:

    • Jimmy Buffett- Fins
    • Supertramp- Breakfast in America
    • Pink Floyd- Another Brick in the Wall, Pt. 2
    • Kool & the Gang- Ladies’ Night
    • Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers- Refugee

This is pretty self-explanatory. I choose my five personal favorite songs released each year since the beginning of the Top 40 era. Once per full decade, I’m allowing myself ten songs instead of the usual five. Some years, like 1969 for example, are simply too loaded to pick just five. While many of my picks are pop or rock songs, there is still a smattering of other genres: Americana, country, indie, Broadway, and even the odd modern worship song. The only restriction is one song per artist per year. However, individuals who are part of two distinct artists are still allowed (for example, I can include both a Beatles song and John Lennon song in 1970).

1955:

    • Elvis Presley- Mystery Train
    • Johnny Cash- Folsom Prison Blues
    • Bill Haley and the Comets- Rock Around the Clock
    • International Children’s Choir- Let There Be Peace on Earth
    • Etta James- The Wallflower

1956:

    • Harry Belafonte- Jamaica Farewell
    • Johnny Burnette & the Rock’n’Roll Trio- The Train Kept A-Rollin’
    • Sister Rosetta Tharpe- Jericho
    • Howlin’ Wolf- Smokestack Lightning
    • Chuck Berry- Johnny B. Goode

1957:

    • Patsy Cline- Walking After Midnight
    • The Everly Brothers- Bye Bye Love
    • Buddy Holly-Words of Love
    • Muddy Waters- Got My Mojo Working
    • The Coasters- Young Blood

1958: 

    • Eddie Cochran- Summertime Blues
    • Richie Valens- La Bamba
    • Nina Simone- I Loves You Porgy
    • The Chantels- Maybe
    • Peggy Lee- Fever

1959:

    • Tom Lehrer- Poisoning Pigeons in the Park
    • The Clovers- Love Potion No. 9
    • The Isley Brothers- Shout
    • Dave Brubeck Quartet- Take Five
    • Ray Charles- What’d I Say, pt. 1 and 2

1960:

    • The Shirelles- Will You Love Me Tomorrow
    • Etta James- A Sunday Kind of Love
    • Bobby Darin- Beyond the Sea
    • The Ventures- Walk Don’t Run
    • Sam Cooke- Wonderful World

1961:

    • Del Shannon- Runaway
    • Arthur Alexander- A Shot of Rhythm and Blues
    • Ben E. King- Stand By Me
    • Etta James- At Last
    • Bobby Bland- Turn on Your Love Light

1962:

    • Dick Dale- Misirlou
    • Peter, Paul & Mary- If I Had A Hammer
    • The Browns- Buttons and Bows
    • Sam Cooke- Bring It On Home To Me
    • Mary Wells- You Beat Me To the Punch

1963:

    • The Chiffons- One Fine Day
    • The Beach Boys- In My Room
    • The Ronettes- Be My Baby
    • The Beatles- Please Please Me
    • Leslie Gore- You Don’t Own Me

1964:

    • The Zombies- She’s Not There
    • The Seekers- I’ll Never Find Another You
    • Sam Cooke- A Change is Gonna Come
    • Bob Dylan- The Times They Are A-Changing 
    • Nina Simone- Mississippi Goddam

1965: 

    • Peter, Paul & Mary- When the Ship Comes In
    • The Beatles- You’ve Got to Hide Your Love Away
    • Tom Lehrer- The Vatican Rag
    • Bobby Fuller Four- I Fought the Law
    • Righteous Brothers- Unchained Melody

1966:

    • The Beatles- Rain
    • Wilson Pickett- Mustang Sally
    • The Left Banke- Barterers and their Wives
    • The Rascals- Good Lovin’
    • The Beach Boys- Sloop John B.

1967:

    • Embryonic Journey- Jefferson Airplane
    • The Monkees- Daydream Believer
    • The Tremeloes- Here Comes My Baby
    • The Moody Blues- Nights in White Satin
    • The Beatles- Penny Lane

1968:

    • The Zombies- Time of the Season
    • The Beatles- Revolution
    • Aretha Franklin- I Say A Little Prayer
    • Blood, Sweat & Tears- Spinning Wheel
    • The Byrds- You Ain’t Going Nowhere

1969:

    • The Beatles- Here Comes the Sun
    • CSN: Suite: Judy Blue Eyes
    • Chicago- Questions 67 & 68
    • The Temptations- I Can’t Get Next To You
    • Joe South- Games People Play
    • The Jackson Five- I Want You Back
    • Simon and Garfunkel- The Boxer
    • Sly & the Family Stone- Hot Fun in the Summertime
    • Creedence Clearwater Revival- Fortunate Sun 
    • Phil Ochs- I Ain’t Marching Anymore

 

Oops– wrong band. Inspired by my friend Donnie (who in turn was inspired by a video on youtube of a father and son), I am going to do a quick ranking of the Beatles’ 13 studio albums released during their tenure together in the 1960s. British albums only. No compilations. Nine years into this blog, I can’t believe I never ranked The Beatles’ albums. I’ve included my most and least favorite song from each of the albums, as well as a “hidden gem”. It’s hard to have deep cuts and hidden gems with a band this famous, but my lodestar was: what would be something that, say, somebody whose familiarity with the band began and ended with Beatles 1 might be delighted to discover?

13. Let It Be

  • Favorite Song: Let It Be
  • Least Favorite Song: Maggie Mae
  • Hidden Gem: I’ve Got a Feeling

12. Yellow Submarine

  • Favorite Song: Hey Bulldog
  • Least Favorite Song: Only a Northern Song (I’m fine with Martin’s instrumentals)
  • Hidden Gem: It’s All Too Much

11. Beatles for Sale

  • Favorite Song: I’ll Follow the Sun
  • Least Favorite Song: Baby’s In Black
  • Hidden Gem: Words of Love

10. Please Please Me

  • Favorite Song: Please Please Me
  • Least Favorite Song: Misery
  • Hidden Gem: Ask Me Why

9. Magical Mystery Tour

  • Favorite Song: Penny Lane
  • Least Favorite Song: Baby You’re A Rich Man
  • Hidden Gem: none

8. With the Beatles

  • Favorite Song: Til There Was You
  • Least Favorite Song: Hold Me Tight
  • Hidden Gem: You’ve Really Got a Hold On Me

7. Help!

  • Favorite Song: You’ve Got To Hide Your Love Away
  • Least Favorite Song: You Like Me Too Much
  • Hidden Gem: You’re Gonna Lose That Girl

6. White Album

  • Favorite Song: Back in the U.S.S.R.
  • Least Favorite Song: Revolution #9
  • Hidden Gem: Long, Long, Long

5. A Hard Day’s Night

  • Favorite Song: If I Fell
  • Least Favorite Song: Anytime At All
  • Hidden Gem: Things We Said Today

4. Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band

  • Favorite Song: Getting Better
  • Least Favorite Song: Fixing A Hole
  • Hidden Gem: Within You, Without You

3. Rubber Soul

  • Favorite Song: Nowhere Man
  • Least Favorite Song: Run for your Life
  • Hidden Gem: Girl

2. Revolver

  • Favorite Song: Eleanor Rigby
  • Least Favorite Song: Taxman. Deal with it.
  • Hidden Gem: And Your Bird Can Sing
  1. Abbey Road
  • Favorite Song: Here Comes the Sun
  • Least Favorite Song: Her Majesty
  • Hidden Gem: The Side 2 medley