10 songs which make my worry disappear:
Everything Everything – Tin (The Manhole)
This song has some wonderful falsetto propped up by a constant pulsing background which kind of makes me think of blood pumping through the veins. I love how effortless Jonathan Higgs sounds and how the instrumental swells converge with his vocals to make you feel like you’re floating away.
Crosby, Stills and Nash – Helplessly Hoping
Although I’m a massive Neil Young fan, I somehow only heard this for the first time recently in a movie called Annihilation. The harmonies are pretty much everything I’ve aspired to as a recording artist and the alliteration in each verse is so clever, the whole song just seems to have melancholy hanging over it which is probably why it worked in the movie so well!
Squirrelflower – Headlights
I only recently heard Squirrelflower for the first time, but what a wonderful voice, and the vocal melodies in this song are so well constructed. I can’t fully explain why but when I heard the chorus for the first time, I just felt amazing, so I guess it’s an ideal inclusion for this list.
Jordan Mackampa – Care for Your Mother
Young Cal played a gig supporting Jordan Mackampa when I first started gigging, and it’s been great to see him have such a great career in the last few years. This song has a really warm, sweet and soulful feel to it, and makes me feel very wholesome.
The Cinematic Orchestra – To Build a Home
Quite clearly one of the most beautiful songs in the world. Those piano and cello lines combine absolutely perfectly as this swells beautifully throughout. What a great song and example of how to build a song without needing big percussion.
Arlo Parks – Paperbacks
Arlo Parks’ voice is just ridiculously good, I don’t know how it’s that gentle and pure but I love it loads. Her percussion is always totally on point as well, kind of a mix of lo-fi hip hop and melancholic indie folk – lush.
Laura Marling – Held Down
This is from my favourite album of the year, this song has a beautifully atmospheric simple opening and Laura builds up such a cool platform of harmonies throughout. Her vibrato is stunningly good and that ascending vocal line makes me feel like I’m ascending also.
Frightened Rabbit + Julien Baker – How It Gets In
Can’t believe a song exists with two of my favourite singers, Scott Hutchinson and Julien Baker, but I’m thankful it does. The juxtaposition of their vocals in the verses and their harmonies throughout are stunning.
Sufjan Stevens – Casimir Pulaski Day
This song probably has the best example of juxtaposition I have ever heard lyrically, it’s about a friend who has cancer and dies on Casimir Pulaski Day – a day of celebration in Illinois for a leading officer from the American Revolution. Sufjan Stevens is probably the purest lyricist for me, his songs always have this air of innocence about them and he’s probably the closest we’ll ever get to having a songwriter as talented as Elliott Smith.
James Henry Jr. – Take Me Down Easy
I first heard this song on Bojack Horseman (the music supervisor on that show is incredible) and this is probably the definition of a song that takes you away to another place for a short while. It makes everything seem simplistic; even though I don’t believe in God personally, it kind of makes me think this is the feeling people get when they first discover God.