It was the year Barack Obama started his second term as president of the United States of America and then, Pope Benedict XVI became the first pope to resign since the middle ages and was succeeded by our current one, Pope Francis. A meteor exploded in the air over a Russian city and injured thousands. Two Chechnya-born, Islamist brothers detonated bombs at the Boston Marathon, killing three people, and injuring a few hundred others. A garment factory collapsed in Dhaka, Bangladesh killing over a thousand people. A former CIA employee named Edward Snowden leaked classified documents to the press and fled the United States for Russia. Same-sex marriage was federally recognized in the US after a supreme court decision. Canadian writer Alice Munro won the Nobel Prize for Literature and “bingeable” became a word.
It was the year we lost Roger Ebert (film critic), Margaret Thatcher (former British PM), James Gandolfini (actor), Ray Manzarek (Doors keyboardist), Seamus Heaney (poet), and Lou Reed (American musician) but gained Prince George of Cambridge, the first offspring of Prince William and Kate Middleton.
Personally, the year was notable for two big highlights. The first was the three week trip my wife and I took to China, where we explored the sights and sounds of Beijing, hiked along the Great Wall, took pictures of pandas, saw the terracotta warriors, and ate lots of amazing food. The second was the marathon weekend in Montreal and that city’s Osheaga festival, where my friends Tim and Mark and I laughed, drank an unseemly amount of macro beer, and took in lots of excellent music, including sets by Beck, The Cure, New Order, The Breeders, Bob Mould, and many others.
Of course, that festival wasn’t the only music I experienced that year. There were quite a few other notable concerts that I just had to catch and of course, lots of excellent new music was released.
And yes, you guessed it, these thirty songs are some of the best of that latter lot.
#30 Arcade Fire “Here comes the night time” (from Reflektor)
#29 Low “Just make it stop” (from The invisible way)
#28 John Grant “Pale green ghosts” (from Pale green ghosts)