Monday 30 December 2019

The Metaphorical Boat's Top Songs of 2019 - The List & Spotify Playlist

For those of you who like things in list and/or Spotify playlist form, here are The Metaphorical Boat's Top 50 songs of 2019 in full (note that out #3 song is not currently available on Spotify):
  1. Vampire Weekend - Harmony Hall
  2. Sean McConnell - I Could Have Been An Angel
  3. The Radar Station - Zanzara
  4. UVERworld - Touch off
  5. Vampire Weekend - This Life
  6. Mark Hegan - Skyward
  7. Maps - Just Reflecting
  8. Billie Eilish - bad guy
  9. Blossoms - Your Girlfriend
  10. EGOISM - What Are We Doing?
  11. King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard - Fishing For Fishies
  12. King Hannah - Crème Brûlée
  13. Son of The Hound - You Are Alive
  14. Parker Bossley - Lifted
  15. Pi Ja Ma - I Oh I
  16. Catfish and the Bottlemen - Longshot
  17. White Lies - Tokyo
  18. Tom Williams - It's Dark Now
  19. wojtek the bear - a long wait for bad news
  20. Bear's Den - Laurel Wreath
  21. TeamRKT - Working Sundays
  22. Fjokra - Sugarface
  23. Allez Allez - Sean Connery
  24. Dominic Fike - 3 Nights
  25. Sports Team - M5
  26. Sundara Karma  - Higher States
  27. Junodream - Odd Behaviour
  28. CamelPhat ft Jake Bugg - Be Someone
  29. Buí - Something Else to Talk About
  30. Barns Courtney - You And I
  31. Freya Ridings - Castles
  32. Alcabean - Tsukuyomi
  33. Matt McGinn & Ciara O'Neill - Bubblegum
  34. Blanco Brown - The Git Up
  35. Broods  - Hospitalized
  36. I Was A King - Hatchet
  37. Nai Br.XX&Celeina Ann - Hold Me Now
  38. Dean Maywood - Jane
  39. Swim Deep - To Feel Good
  40. Runabay - Dig
  41. AJR - 100 Bad Days
  42. Kitten - Goodbye Honeymoon Phase
  43. Husky Loops - Let Go for Nothing
  44. Jamie Johnson - Christopher
  45. Peter J. McCauley - Pony on the Fare
  46. Foals - On The Luna
  47. Ferals - The Low
  48. Drop The Shadow - Other Voices
  49. Cheerbleederz  - cabin fever
  50. Lil Nas X ft Billy Ray Cyrus - Old Town Road

Saturday 28 December 2019

The Metaphorical Boat's Top Songs of 2019 - Number 1

1. Vampire Weekend - Harmony Hall
And the stone walls of Harmony Hall bear witness
Anybody with a worried mind could never forgive the sight
Of wicked snakes inside a place you thought was dignified
I don't wanna live like this, but I don't wanna die

And so our favourite song of 2019 is the comeback single from one of this blog's favourite artists. There was a six year gap since Vampire Weekend's last album, and given the passing of time & reconfiguration of the band (with Rostam Batmanglij no longer being a permanent member), we weren't sure that the band would be able to re-spark our interest in the way that their earlier material did.

Well, along came "Harmony Hall", the first single of Vampire Weekend Mk II, which blew away all our doubts on one fell swoop. The song is miles away from the indie-rock sound that first attracted us to them, but still feels like it's a natural progression for the group (especially given that the main lyric also features on the song "Finger Back" from their last album). 

The lyrics have layered meanings, with inspirations coming from the White House, slavery & Jewish identity, with the music taking inspiration from roots music, baroque, baggy, and even a little country twang in there, as well as a production that both mimics and plays with the lyrics. From the moment we heard the song back in January, we had no doubt in our mind that it would be The Metaphorical Boat's favourite song of 2019, and 11 months later, no other song this year could top it.

So enjoy our favourite song of 2019, "Harmony Hall", in all its glory - 

The Metaphorical Boat's Top Songs of 2019 - 5-2

We're getting closer to finding out which song has clinched the top spot in our favourite songs of 2019, but before that, let's see the still-fantastic songs that just fell short at the final hurdle -

5. Vampire Weekend - This Life

Like another song in our top 10, "This Life" was a song that was all over the radio during the summer months without translating into a bona fide hit in its own right, mores the pity. The song is perhaps the most straightforward pop song that Vampire Weekend have recorded to date, a jaunty-sounding track that we've seen compared to "Brown Eyed Girl", whose lyrics belay a mournfulness that juxtaposes the sunny melody.

4. UVERworld - Touch Off

Japanese alternative-rock band UVERworld's song "Touch Off" rose to prominence in 2019 through its use as the theme to the critically acclaimed Japanese series The Promised Neverland. It's perhaps one of the few heavy-rock songs that manages to use a saxophone prominently throughout without sounding a bit weird.

3. The Radar Station - Zanzara

This song first came to our attention when the Belgian band in question were known as Sun Gods, although due to legal reasons the band are now known as The Radar Station.

"Zanzara" (which is Italian for mosquito), is a tender electro-stomper of a song that calls to mind the production of Prides or Bear's Den circa "Red Earth & Pouring Rain", with a songwriting style that draws fond comparisons with The Waterboys.

2. Sean McConnell - I Could Have Been An Angel

And just missing out on the top spot is "I Could Have Been An Angel" by Massachusetts country-folk singer-songwriter Sean McConnell. It's a song built around two separate narratives of two people who have taken the wrong turn in life, and trying to rationalise why they didn't have the power within themselves to be good. There hasn't been a song that has affected me emotionally in the same way in 2019, even now I get a little bit bleary eyed whenever the guitars swell up in the post-chorus.

Friday 27 December 2019

The Metaphorical Boat's Top Songs of 2019 - 10-6

We're into the creme-de-la-creme now, with the songs that made it from numbers 10 to 6 in our year-end countdown of 2019, along with the reasons why we loved each track -

10. EGOISM - What Are We Doing?

The Australian duo won us over last year with their fantastic single "Sorry", and in 2019 they delivered another dreamy shoegaze gem in the form of "What Are We Doing?". The song sees them delivering a powerful punch of a chorus, as well a some sumptuous harmonies from the two. Given their rate of singles over the past few years, we're surely due an album from them in 2020, and if it's of the strength of what's already come, then it will be one of our musical highlights of the year.

9. Blossoms - Your Girlfriend

Stockport based group Blossoms enjoyed a radio hit in "Your Girlfriend" over the summer without the song ever troubling the singles chart (something something guitar music is dead something something). It's a great little gem of a song about being in love with someone you can't be with.

8. Billie Eilish - Bad Guy

"Bad Guy" has been one of the bone fide biggest songs of 2019 worldwide, in spite of, or possibly because, it doesn't sound like any other pop song out there this year. It's quite a claustrophobic song, underpinned by a banging hook and topped off by Eilish's hushed and confrontational delivery and dark yet humorous lyrics.

7. Maps - Just Reflecting 

I owe a lot of my musical tastes to hearing the first album by Maps back in 2007, with "We Can Create" being the record that first got me interested in more alternative types of music rather than just what was in the charts.

Twelve years on, and James Chapman is still creating music of beauty, with the song that most caught my ear this year being "Just Reflecting". The song harks back to the "nu-gaze" sound of his debut album, whilst adding sweeping orchestral soundscapes to create something incredibly majestic & cinematic.

6. Mark Hegan - Skyward

Formerly of much loved local band In An Instant, released his debut single under his own name, "Skyward", having re-located from Bangor to London. It's a song about feelings of  isolation and of losing one's identity after uprooting oneself, which successfully melds electronic and rock elements in a great way. 

Tuesday 24 December 2019

The Metaphorical Boat's Top Songs of 2019 - 15-11

We're just on the cusp of finding out which songs that made the top 10 in our yearly count-down, but before that let's see what songs just missed out by making it to 15 through to 11 on the countdown. This section features French modern doo-wop, Canadian pop-rock, one of Omagh's favourite singer-songwriters with a song that harks back to late 60s rock, a Liverpool-based group with a sound that's more Americana than Beatles, and salmon-friendly Australian psych-rock -

15. Pi Ja Ma - I Oh I

14. Parker Bossley - Lifted

13. Son of The Hound - You Are Alive

12. King Hannah - Crème Brûlée

11. King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard - Fishing For Fishies

Saturday 21 December 2019

The Metaphorical Boat's Top Songs of 2019 - 20-16

We're up to the tracks at 20 to 16 on the countdown now, with tunes from a former year-end chart-topper, Scottish indie-rock, a fantastic singer-songwriter, a returning track from long-time gloom merchants, and one of the more successful indie-rock bands at the moment, and one of the few that can still get a UK Top 40 single -

20. Bear's Den - Laurel Wreath

19. Wojtek the Bear - A Long Wait For Bad News

18. Tom Williams - It's Dark Now

17. White Lies - Tokyo

16. Catfish and the Bottlemen - Longshot

Thursday 19 December 2019

The Metaphorical Boat's Top Songs of 2019 - 25-21

We're into the top half of our favourite songs of 2019 now, with some fabulous tunes making it to 25 through 21 on our countdown. This section features a fine slice of English indie-rock, an earworm-worthy top 10 hit from the summer, an odd, Belgian, funky ode to James Bond, a genre-hopping Dublin singer-songwriter, and a somewhat-local electronic duo who've become award-winning podcast superstars since the last time they had a song make one of our year-end countdowns (whilst still making awesome music in the process) -

25. Sports Team - M5

24. Dominic Fike - 3 Nights

23. Allez Allez - Sean Connery

22. Fjokra - Sugarface

21. TeamRKT - Working Sundays

Tuesday 17 December 2019

The Metaphorical Boat's Top Songs of 2019 - 30-26

We're nearly at the halfway point of our countdown, as we look at the songs that ended up at numbers 30 through 26. In this batch we have an heavily-streamed English musician I could've sworn was American, a fine slice of Northern Irish slacker-rock, the deep-house/rock and rock crossover we didn't realise we needed, a great piece of Britpop, and kaleidoscopic baggy-inspired art-rock - 

30. Barns Courtney - You And I

29. Buí - Something Else to Talk About

28. CamelPhat ft Jake Bugg - Be Someone

27. Junodream - Odd Behaviour

26. Sundara Karma - Higher States

Sunday 15 December 2019

The Metaphorical Boat's Top Songs of 2019 - 35-31

Tracks that made it from 35 to 31 in the countdown, with songs from New Zealand synth-pop, another country/hip-hop hybrid, a heartbreaking song about The Troubles featuring one of my favourite local voices, Danish indie-rock, and an artist that apparently shot to prominence after featuring in something called Love Island, which is something that I believe people like -

35. Broods - Hospitalized

34. Blanco Brown - The Git Up

33. Matt McGinn & Ciara O'Neill - Bubblegum

32. Alcabean - Tsukuyomi

31. Freya Ridings - Castles

Saturday 14 December 2019

The Metaphorical Boat's Top Songs of 2019 - 40-36

Songs from numbers 40 to 36 now follow. This section features heartfelt Irish folk, Rozalla-interpolating Birmingham indie, Donegal country-inflected singer-songwriter balladry, 80s inspired Japanese synth-pop, and some good ol' indie-pop from Norway, so something for everyone (as long as your definition of "something" included the aforementioned items):

40. Runabay - Dig

39. Swim Deep - To Feel Good

38. Dean Maywood - Jane

37. Nai Br.XX & Celeina Ann - Hold Me Now

36. I Was A King - Hatchet

Tuesday 10 December 2019

The Metaphorical Boat's Top Songs of 2019 - 45-41

And following on from our first batch of five, here are the songs that made it to 45 to 41 in our yearly songs of wonderfulness. This set of songs include one of our favourite local artists of this blog's lifetime, a guitar ballad that could've been written for me, Italian indie-rock, and two pieces of American pop goodness -

45. Peter J. McCauley - Pony on the Fare

44. Jamie Johnson - Christopher

43. Husky Loops - Let Go for Nothing

42. Kitten - Goodbye Honeymoon Phase

41. AJR - 100 Bad Days

Sunday 8 December 2019

The Metaphorical Boat's Top Songs of 2019 - 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 2019. 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.

Let us begin, as we normally do, with the songs at numbers 50 through 46 in our favourite songs of 2019. This section includes some DIY indie-pop, Dublin alt-rock, Belfast noise-rock, one of the more successful indie-rock bands of the last 10 years, as well as what is probably going to be known as the biggest song of 2019 -

50. Lil Nas X ft. Billy Ray Cyrus - Old Town Road

49. Cheerbleederz - Cabin Fever

48. Drop The Shadow - Other Voices

47. Ferals - The Low

46. Foals - On The Luna