Wednesday 28 December 2016

The Metaphorical Boat's Top Songs of 2016 - The List (+Spotify Playlist)

For the benefit of those who like cold, hard data, here is The Metaphorical Boat's top songs of 2016 in easy to digest list form -

1. Bear's Den - Auld Wives
2. The Strumbellas - Spirits
3. Teenage Fanclub - I'm In Love
4. Meilyr Jones - How to Recognise a Work of Art
5. Draper ft Prides - Break Over You
6. Ciaran Lavery - Return to Form
7. Turin Brakes - Keep Me Around
8. INHEAVEN- Baby's Alright
9. Anteros - Breakfast
10. Town of Saints - Short Circuit Breakdown
11. Suede - What I'm Trying To Tell You
12. M83 feat. Mai Lan - Go!
13. Ten Fé - Elodie
14. The Avalanches - Frankie Sinatra
15. Walking On Cars - Speeding Cars
16. The Divine Comedy - Catherine The Great
17. Starwalker - Holidays
18. The Wood Burning Savages - We Love You
19. SOULS - Bad Girl
20. Catholic Action - L.U.V
21. Lucius - Born Again Teen
22. Courtney Barnett - Three Packs a Day
23. A Northern Light - Paranoia
24. Rukhsana Merrise - Money
25. Flowers - Pull My Arm
26. Half Japanese Half Muscle - Loose Fitting Girls
27. Porter Robinson ft Madeon - Shelter
28. Helen Love - A Boy from Wales Called Gareth Bale
29. Bob Mould - Voices in My Head
30. Radiohead - Burn the Witch
31. James - Nothing But Love
32. Jagwar Ma - O B 1
33. Enigma ft Aquilo - Amen
34. RADWIMPS - Zenzenzense
35. Paul Simon - Wristband
36. Nada Surf - Cold To See Clear
37. Wild Beasts - Get My Bang
38. Stop the wheel - Shape Up
39. The Zolas - Swooner
40. Hello Bear - We Held Hands Once, But Then She Got Embarrassed
41. Ward Thomas - Guilty Flowers
43. Biffy Clyro - Re-arrange
44. Christine and the Queens - Tilted
45. Glass Animals - Life Itself
46. Darren Hayman - I've Been a Bad Bad Boy
47. Yakima - Burn
48. Brash Isaac - In The Dark
49. Nika Kocharov & Young Georgian Lolitaz - Midnight Gold
50. David Bowie - Lazarus

And for those of you who do that whole Spotify thing, here is a playlist of all 50 songs in order of awesomeness -

Friday 23 December 2016

The Metaphorical Boat's Top Songs of 2016 - Number One

1. Bear's Den - Auld Wives

But I swam across the ocean to find your memory,
A trace of all you've left behind.
And the Auld Wives swore that you were born to die
Without a child for to call out your name

And so, The Metaphorical Boat's Top Song of 2016 is "Auld Wives", by London based duo Bear's Den. "Auld Wives" takes its name from a group of rocks found in Scotland (funnily enough, quite close to the town of Bearsden), and lyrically the song is about band member Andrew Davie's grandfather, who suffered from Alzheimer's. 

Musically, the song combines the modern folk style that marked the band's debut album with a surprising 80s style synth-pop sound, and despite the genres being quite disparate, it works incredible effectively on this track. 

So congratulations to Bear's Den, hit "play" on the video below, and enjoy 2016's best song - 

The Metaphorical Boat's Top Songs of 2016 - 5-2

We're really close to finding out just what The Metaphorical Boat's Top Song of 2016 really is. We hope you're as excited as we are to find out just what song has made it to #1. But before we get there, let's find out what fantastically brilliant songs ended up at numbers 5 through to 2 on our countdown -

5. Draper ft Prides - Break Over You

We may have been rather hyperbolic and/or incorrect back in April when we insisted that "Break Over You" was going to be a #1 hit single. Although in fairness, it wasn't the worst incorrect prediction to be made in 2016. Still, it made it to #5 in our countdown, which is something, I guess. The Draper/Prides collaboration is a wonderfully powerful synth-pop single that gives you the same kick as 2 litres of Red Bull injected directly into your eyeballs.

4. Meilyr Jones - How to Recognise a Work of Art

There haven't been many breakthrough artists in the chamber-pop genre for many years now, which is somewhat explicable, given the large expense involved in hiring and touring a full orchestra for the purposes of recording an album and/or touring isn't as easy as it was 20 years ago when there was more money available for developing emerging artists (indeed, it's not just an issue with newer artists - when 90s chamber-pop group My Life Story reconvened earlier this year, they ditched the orchestra altogether).

Perhaps that's why "How To Recognise a Work of Art" by ex-Race Horses member Meilyr Jones was such a delight. A cacophony of instruments over Mr Jones' crooning on the subject of the valuation of pictures and ornaments. It helped to catapult the parent album to the Welsh Music Prize, and we are reliably informed that they never stop playing it in Starbucks.

3. Teenage Fanclub - I'm In Love

We're always going to love anything that comes out of the minds of Teenage Fanclub, and "I'm In Love", their first single in six years, was no exception. Like most of their post "Songs From Northern Britain" material, it's a lot less noisy and more subdued, yet still has all those qualities that make us love the band - the sunkissed harmonies, the jangly guitars, and that unbridled optimism that shines through.

2. The Strumbellas - Spirits

And the song that narrowly misses out on our top spot is "Spirits" by Canadian band The Strumbellas. This was another song that we were absolutely sure would become a massive hit in 2016, although despite millions of YouTube streams, high placings on specialist radio in the United States, and playlisting on Radio X over here, it never really took off like it should have done. Still, "Spirits" is a spectacularly poppy indie-folk tune with a rousing chorus that you just cannot help but sing along to.

Wednesday 21 December 2016

The Metaphorical Boat's Top Songs of 2016 - 10-6

We're into the top 10 now, and the creme-de-la-creme of all the songs that were released in 2016. We now have the songs ranked 10-6 in our countdown, alongside a few words why each of these songs are rather great -

10. Town of Saints - Short Circuit Breakdown

We kick off the top 10 with Dutch/Finnish indie-folk band Town Of Saints. "Short Circuit Breakdown" is a song that combines boogie-woogie rock with stadium-sized choruses and soaring strings to create a rock-hopping masterpiece.

9. Anteros - Breakfast

We loved "Breakfast" when we first heard it back in April, and loved it even more when we saw Anteros open their set with it at The Great Escape. A delicious indie-pop tune about being kept up late at night by a partner for all the wrong reasons.

8. INHEAVEN - Baby's Alright

On "Baby's Alright", post-punk band INHEAVEN pull off that great musical trick of hiding rage-filled, angry, vitriolic lyrical verses around a rousing sing-along chorus that doesn't seem to have anything to do with the song in question. Favourite moment in the song is the 2nd chorus, when the guitars double up and the song soars into the stratosphere.

7. Turin Brakes - Keep Me Around

Turin Brakes are one of those bands that have for years been in my category of acts that we feel we would absolutely love if we made an effort to explore their music further, but haven't yet set aside the time to do so (see also: Cold War Kids). Well, in 2016 we made the first tentative steps towards that after falling for love with "Keep Me Around". There's something about that acoustic guitar hook and soaring strings that keeps me listening to the song time and time again. Who knows? This might be the start of a beautiful friendship.

6. Ciaran Lavery - Return to Form

It almost feels like an artist is tempting fate when he names his comeback single "Return To Form", especially when it comes off the back of a highly streamed, successful debut, although Northern Ireland Music Prize winner Ciaran Lavery need not have fretted, as the song marked a new high watermark for him. It's certainly the most radio-friendly song that Ciaran has released to date ( if you exclude the polite f-bombs on the album version), and calls to mind "I'm Not The Only One" by Sam Smith, although with the choirboy swooning replaced with Lavery's trademark world-weary ragged vocals. Definitely not a return to form, but a strengthening of it.

Tuesday 20 December 2016

The Metaphorical Boat's Top Songs of 2016 - 15-11

It's getting more intense now, as we approach the songs ranked 15 to 11 in the countdown. We've got some Irish emotional-rock, a sample-happy band back after a 15 year hiatus, last year's chart-toppers, French electro, and of course, the greatest band of all time -

15. Walking On Cars - Speeding Cars

14. The Avalanches - Frankie Sinatra

13. Ten Fé - Elodie

12. M83 feat. Mai Lan - Go!

11. Suede - What I'm Trying To Tell You

Monday 19 December 2016

The Metaphorical Boat's Top Songs of 2016 - 20-16

We are getting even more serious now (not that we've ever been that serious, mind you), as we enter the top 20, with songs from 20-16 in our countdown. We've got some rollicking good garage-rock, some trip-hop with samples with 1930s blues, face melting rock from Derry, a side-project from 1/2 of Air, and Neil Hannon being his whimsical, sarcastic self -

20. Catholic Action - L.U.V

19. SOULS - Bad Girl

18. The Wood Burning Savages - We Love You

17. Starwalker - Holidays

16. The Divine Comedy - Catherine The Great

Sunday 18 December 2016

The Metaphorical Boat's Top Songs of 2016 - 25-21

If you thought the music on offer in between numbers 50 to 26 were amazing, well you'd better get yourself strapped in, because the music is only going to get a whole lot better, as we enter the songs in the top half of our 50 favourite songs of 2016.

Next up are songs from 25-21, which includes luscious indie-pop, alternative hip-hop, Belfast based drum & bass rock, an ode of noodles, and some powerful alt-rock -

25. Flowers - Pull My Arm

24. Rukhsana Merrise - Money

23. A Northern Light - Paranoia

22. Courtney Barnett - Three Packs a Day 

21. Lucius - Born Again Teen

Saturday 17 December 2016

The Metaphorical Boat's Top Songs of 2016 - 30-26

We're almost at the half-way point in The Metaphorical Boat's Top songs of 2016, as we count down the songs we ranked 30 to 26 on our list. Incidentally, this particular section features our two favourite music videos of the year, from Porter Robinson & from Radiohead. It also features an alt-rock legend, a surprisingly good Euro 2016 song, and some great electro-pop -

30. Radiohead - Burn the Witch

29. Bob Mould - Voices in My Head

28. Helen Love - A Boy from Wales Called Gareth Bale

27. Porter Robinson ft Madeon - Shelter

26. Half Japanese Half Muscle - Loose Fitting Girls

Tuesday 13 December 2016

The Metaphorical Boat's Top Songs of 2016 - 35-31

We're coming along nicely now, as we enter the songs ranked 35-31 in this countdown. We've got  rock legend, a song taken from the best film of the year, Your Name, a collaboration between a chart topper from 1990 and a blogger's favourite, psychedelic rock & Brit-rock legends -

35. Paul Simon - Wristband

34. Radwimps - Zenzenzense

33. Enigma ft. Aquilo - Amen

32. Jagwar Ma -  O B 1

31. James - Nothing But Love

Monday 12 December 2016

The Metaphorical Boat's Top Songs of 2016 - 40-36

Numbers 40 through to 36 in this part of the countdown next. Contained within this golden five is some confectionary-based pop-punk, Canadian indie-pop, Italian multi-tracked melodies, artsy Kendalites, and some alternative-rock legends -

40. Hello Bear - We Held Hands Once, But Then She Got Embarrassed

39. The Zolas - Swooner

38. Stop The Wheel - Shape Up

37. Wild Beasts - Get My Bang

36. Nada Surf - Cold To See Clear

Sunday 11 December 2016

The Metaphorical Boat's Top Songs of 2016 - 45-41

After our first five songs in the countdown, the next five naturally follow. Because it would be rather silly if we went from 50-46 straight to 15-11, wouldn't it? Indeed it would.

So songs from 45-41 in our countdown next. Contained within are some art-rockers, a French artist whose captivating choreography captivated so many of us this year, one of the biggest British rock bands about, a Japanese band who've brought the worlds of metal and J-pop together, and the leading lights of contemporary British country -

45. Glass Animals - Life Itself

44. Christine and the Queens - Tilted

43. Biffy Clyro - Re-arrange

42. BABYMETAL - Karate

41. Ward Thomas - Guilty Flowers

Saturday 10 December 2016

The Metaphorical Boat's Top Songs of 2016 - 50-46

Time for the annual listageddon here at The Metaphorical Boat. Over the next few days we will be counting down the blog's top 50 songs of 2016. There will be songs that have featured on the blog, songs that didn't feature on the blog, songs that have graced our lovely Spotify playlists over the last 12 months, and songs that really should have featured. But regardless, they are all awesome, and hopefully there will be a few songs here that will float your Metaphorical Boat.

We start with the songs from 50-46 on the list, which includes the final single from one of the greatest songwriters of the last 50 years, Glaswegian indie-rock, a young Northern Irish upstart, some throwback balladry, and...a song that took part in this year's Eurovision Contest!?

50. David Bowie - Lazarus

49. Nika Kocharov & Young Georgian Lolitaz - Midnight Gold

48. Brash Isaac - In The Dark

47. Yakima - Burn

46. Darren Hayman - I've Been a Bad Bad Boy

Saturday 3 December 2016

The Metaphorical Boat Spotify Playlist - November 2016

For those of you who like your musical recommendations in playlist-able Spotify form, 
The Metaphorical Boat posts a selection of songs that we have been enjoying over the past few weeks, new songs that we haven't written about but are enjoying nonetheless, and a few older but fantastic tracks that are currently floating our Metaphorical Boat.

Below you can find our playlist of songs that we really enjoyed in November 2016. Although we usually post this every two months, given that December is usually thrown over to year-end listageddon, we've condensed the list to just what we discovered in November time. If you like what you hear, or just want another playlist to add to your growing list of playlists, then we really hope that you'll take the time to visit the playlist on Spotify and give it a follow. You never know, your new favourite song of all time could be somewhere on this playlist!

This month's playlist is shorter than others from this year, but no less brilliant, featuring songs from established artists like The xx & Enigma (the latter in collaboration with the highly rated Aquilo), songs from recent discoveries to us, like Henry Jamison & Earwig, and local acts Hannah McPhillimy & The Jepettos. Plus, some great songs from Japanese artists courtesy of Shiggy Jr. & RADWIMPS, the latter of which wrote the theme song for my favourite film of the year, Your Name. Lots of great music from lots of great people for your ear-based amusement.