Best #1 Modern/Alternative Rock Song of the Year: 2014

We’re finally at the end, and it seems to be a whimper rather than a bang. I guess, given the underwhelming choices, I’ll go with Arctic Monkeys. Here’s my list of alternative songs I liked from 2014:

Broken Bells - After The Disco
Wild Beasts - Wanderlust
St. Vincent - Digital Witness
Angel Olsen - Forgiven/Forgotten
Eagulls - Opaque
Real Estate - Talking Backwards
Perfect Pussy - Interference Fits
The New Pornographers - Dancehall Domine
Perfume Genius - Queen
Ex Hex - How You Got That Girl
Gloom - Kid Wave
Wussy - Teenage Wasteland
Ty Segall - Susie Thumb
Chumped - Old And Tired

Hozier, “Take Me To Church.”

As I mentioned in the last thread, AM is IMO the best alt/rock album from the past several years, so that was an easy slam-vote for me here. I do like the top seven or so songs in the poll (as they’re listed from top to bottom), for various values of poppy, catchy, and generally fun.

woodstockbirdybird, if you don’t mind me asking now that we’re up to the present, where do you get a lot of your suggestions? Internet radio of any specific variation? I try to check out at least a few of the things you post for each year, and I like some of them, and I dislike some of them, but they’re generally all at least worth a listen and I can always use more music with how concentrated/marginalized alt and rock are on terrestrial radio right now. I guess what I’m saying is that you are way more alternative than alternative and if I want to give that a shot every now and then what’s my best bet?

Well, I pay a lot of attention to new alternative releases - there are blogs, Pitchfork, I subscribe to the Other Music newsletter, check out KCRW’s lists, and sometimes I’ll just check the weekly iTunes new alternative releases and listen to samples. Also, a lot of people at my work are into indie music, and we share songs with each other. In fact, every year for the past 10 years I’ve put together a disc (really just an mp3 compilation) of the best songs each month, plus a disc of the best reissues for the year, so 13 discs a year in all. I share them with friends via Dropbox, so it gives me an incentive to keep up on new music.

I wasn’t sure if Playlist research had their Also-ran list up for 2014, but they did. Yay, I guess.

If this exercise has taught me anything (and it hasn’t), it’s that Modern Rock is no longer easy to define like in the old days, when Modern Rock/New Wave was just that…and maybe reggae (UB40), and folk (Dexys Midnight Riders) and ska (Madness) and metal (The Cult) and jazz (Joe Jackson) and…ah, heck, it was all over the place back then too.
Maybe the term Modern Rock is just too ill-defined, doesn’t seem like Billboard’s done a particularly good job at defining it. New Music eventually becomes old favorites, “hard” Modern Rock song just join the discography of standard Rock, Alternative becomes mainstream, indie rock always sells out in the end (beside, if bands can record their own music and post it on YouTube or future equivalent without any “record” company involvement - isn’t that a real definition of Indie?), genre definitions are mutated as needed. Eh, it’s music, some good, some bad.
So, how will everyone who participated in these threads feel in 50 or so years from now when these songs are played Muzak-like in the Assisted Living facilities and Senior Care centers across the nation, much like big-band and crooner-era music is played now :eek:?

Riptide was an easy call for me. It’s what Jack Johnson would do if he had more talent.

It’s hard for me to judge how much talent Jack Johnson has. I’ve never been able to stay awake through one of his songs. :stuck_out_tongue:

Hozier didn’t top the alternative rock chart - he did make it to #1 on the Adult Alternative chart and the Hot Rock Songs chart (which combines the alternative, mainstream rock, and adult alternative charts), and made it to #2 on the Hot 100 (sadly it looks like he won’t make #1.)

I like most of the songs on this list, but I went with “Stolen Dance” for its retro disco-ish sound. “I Wanna Get Better” is a close second, mainly on the basis of that power-pop guitar and piano intro that sounds like something off one of Pete Townshend’s solo albums.

May I assume that a best-of-all-time poll is next?

The alternative rock chart is based on airplay data from about 80 radio stations nationwide that identify their format as “alternative rock” or some variation on the term (for example, 107.7 The End in Seattle, which was one of the first professionally-run alternative stations in the country, uses the term “new music discovery” to define its format these days.) So really, Billboard isn’t defining the genre - they’re letting the radio industry define it for them.

Easy choice for me, with the Arctic Monkeys.

Yes, I did remember that from a different thread (probably from one of your top songs of 19XX threads, which I think led to Woodstockbirdy creating this Modern Rock poll series), but I was just being a bit snarky. Sorry about that - but it still seems almost a “it’s whatever we decide it is” definition.
While I’m overthinking it - for the heck of it, the Wiki entry on “Alternative Rock”

Well, back in the day that could well have been said about the Door’s “Peace Frog”, Velvet Underground’s “I’m Waiting for the Man”, Jimi Hendrix’s “Voodoo Child”, and yes, even Lou Reed’s “Walk On The Wild Side” - seems they were the alternative/modern rock of their day. However, as I stated several polls ago, it seems Modern Rock simply becomes Rock over time. Hands up those who think early REM, U2, Police et. al aren’t really just rock songs nowadays (not including the ballads of course)? Hands up if you think Foo Fighters, Linkin Park, RHCP, Muse, et. al aren’t Rock.

Also from the Wiki article on Alternative Music:

That will teach me to pay more attention to trends around me.

What I cut off from that wiki cite - “Dave Grohl commented on an article from the New York Daily News stating that rock is dead: speak for yourself… Rock seems pretty alive to me.” Seems someone once said something similar back in the early 1970s…
Rock is dead they say. Long live rock

See you on the big all-time summary poll thread… :slight_smile:

You wouldn’t be the first to compare the Velvets to alternative - my favorite way of saying it has always been that they were alternative before there was anything to be the alternative to in the first place. :slight_smile:

An honorable mention would also have to go to Neil Young, who in 1977 saw the death of Elvis and the rise of punk rock coincide with his own early mid-life crisis and fear of becoming an irrelevant dinosaur, and rose to the occasion by inventing grunge about 10 years ahead of schedule.

Imagine Dragons - Demons
Capital Cities - Safe & Sound
New Politics - Harlem
Foster The People - Coming of Age
Group love - Shark Attack
Neon Trees - Sleeping With A Friend
Vampire Weekend - Step
Morning Parade - Alienation
Bleachers - I Wanna Get Better
Big Data w/ Joywave - Dangerous
Royal Blood - Out of the Black

I’m voting for “Riptide,” but if you asked me to vote again tomorrow, I may come up with a different answer. I easily could have voted for “Come with Me Now” or “The Walker.” It’s so tight that a song’s gain or loss of a few hundredths of a point in the world-famous Ponch8 Music Rating System could change my vote.

As for the Arctic Monkeys, they’re OK, but I don’t hear what’s so great about them. I could have seen them at Lollapalooza last year, but they were up against Eminem, and there’s maybe one or two performers in the world I’d rather hear than Eminem.

So… put the amount of effort into music that I generally put into movies or games. That makes a shocking amount of sense. :slight_smile:

Not a bad list but I went with Milky Chance, nice chorus that won me over.

Foster the People have nice song called “Nevermind” from their new album. Worth a listen .