This summer was a veritable gold mine of alternative jams, soulful melodies and anthemic pop songs. I could attempt to drum up my usual witticisms but I'm rather out of practice and need to get back into the swing of things, so without further ado... starting at the bottom of the list.
5) "Help Me Lose My Mind" by Disclosure, feat. London Grammar
Disclosure, an English brother act producing electronic music, has really burst onto the music scene this summer with the release of their first full studio album in June. Their original tracks and remixes were featured on a number of DJ summer playlists (see Diplo's Endless Summer) and has brought the pair some deserved prominence. This track from their album Settle has the ethereal elements of trance but a drum beat worth hearing at a summer party. It was a favorite of mine this summer and starts our list at number five.
4. "Beekeeper" by Aoife O'Donovan
I told you there were some soulful melodies from this summer. I am, admittedly, biased towards this song and this artist since I've had the privilege of seeing her perform live! Aoife (pronounced EEF-ah) O'Donovan toured with the Punch Brothers in the spring of 2012, and her Americana angel voice was the perfect opener for my favorite bluegrass group. This track shows her ability as a rock-oriented singer, and showcases her vocal talent and her guitar work. If you take the time to look up some of her folk music, you will not be disappointed.
3. "Un Dia de Sol" by Los Claxons
That's right - Hispanic pop. Based on my aversion to reggae, you might have assumed that I'm not open to, shall we say, "cross-cultural genres". Not so! I was pleasantly surprised by this track. The incorporation of both the English and Spanish languages is a great way of appealing to audiences. The chorus is a catchy monosyllabic riff that anyone can sing along to. If ever there were a way to get Americans to appreciate Hispanic music, songs like these are the way to do it. I can't listen to this song and not move and sing along. It's a fantastic song from this summer, and makes the middle of our list at number three.
2. "Pompeii" by Bastille
We've all heard this on pop radio by now. Released at the start of the summer on their new EP Haunt, Bastille weaseled their way into the American pop music scene. This English alternative rock band did a great job of writing a summer anthem. It's catchy, singable and bursting with summer energy, and is a great testimony to iTunes' ability to find those soon-to-be hits. It was a favorite on the Billboard charts, and a favorite in my library, landing at number two for this summer.
1. "Chocolate" by The 1975
If one of the biggest hits of the summer only landed at number two, then what could possibly hold the throne at the top of this list: diamond in the rough, a buried treasure, and one that I expect to soon be exposed. "Chocolate" by English pop rock group The 1975 was my favorite track of the summer. It made it's way on to the iTunes freebie list with the release of their EP stateside, IV. Now, I mentioned that I expect this track and this band to gain some ground soon. The 1975's first full album, self-titled, is scheduled to drop in September. This band is poised to do some great work, and is likely to permeate American pop radio just as Bastille did this summer. Look forward to that album, and enjoy this track in the meantime.
Now, these five tracks aren't the only worth listening to, by any means. Below are some honorable mentions I encourage you to give a listen to:
"The Wire" by HAIM
"You Know You Like It" by AlunaGeorge
"Second Chances" by Gregory Alan Isakov
"The Way We Touch" by WE ARE TWIN
Give them all a listen, and stay tuned week to week as I get back to reviewing the fine work of the iTunes select! If you have any other singles that are worth an honorable mention, let me know in the comments below.