Favorite Songs of 2014

In early July, we compiled a list of our favorite songs of the year, so far. Doing that seemed fun at the time, lists always are to us, it's one of the reasons why we're here. Now, at the tail end of the year, we're faced with making a list of our favorite songs of the year, and we really don't know what to do with those songs from then. We still love them, listen to them quite often in fact, but we feel like we should exclude them from our end of the year list. Next year, we won't go to the trouble of composing any silly mid-year lists. Before we start rolling out our 30 favorite songs early next week, we'd like to revisit our mid-year favorites, 20 in all. Stream them all below in one handy playlist created just for you.

Since BIRD's 'Sea of Trees' wasn't on Soundcloud or Bandcamp, this YouTube video of a performance of the song will have to suffice. 

Exclusive: The Story Behind the Song by Empathy Test

This week, London based Empathy Test released their highly anticipated 2nd EP, Throwing Stones, on Stars & Letters Records. Only 'Hope For Me' had not been heard outside of a live show, until this week. 'Throwing Stones', 'Here is the Place', and 'Holding On' premiered on Clash Music, Idolator, and KCRW radio, along with airtime on Abbie McCarthy's BBC Introducing in Kent segment. Today's Song of the Day is 'Hope For Me', and something new for Aimless Skylarking, an exclusive "The Story Behind the Song".

When 'Hope for Me' was released, I spoke with the band about featuring it here like I've done before with a few of their tracks, but while doing so, I asked if they had any news to share. When frontman Isaac offered a take on how the song came about, I couldn't resist. The creative process has always been a curious topic, often one many artists don't care to share. And that's a shame, because if artists would demystify the process, many others would be inspired to create and share their art. Thanks to the band for "The Story Behind the Song". Stream their new track 'Hope For Me' below, and read how the song came together.


It's a bit of a cliché to say that something "came to you in a dream", but with Hope For Me, it really did! Not to me, but to Adam. We'd been working on some tracks for the Throwing Stones EP at his house until late on a Friday night and I'd stayed over so we could continue working in the morning. When I woke up, Adam was already back at the computer. 

He told me he'd had a dream where he was in a club and the DJ was playing a track that was unusually sombre and minimal - just a bass-line and a kick drum - and over the top of it a haunting voice was singing, over and over, "Every time you hope for me / This is what you get from me". It sounded like a pretty Lynchian dream! 

Adam had already worked out and recorded the bass line, and when he played it to me, I realised that it fit perfectly with a vocal melody that I'd written a few days earlier. It was just a verse,  "I know how you want things to be, and I know how far away we are...", you know the rest! The two parts fitted perfectly, with Adam's bit naturally forming the chorus.

What was really weird was the fact that the lyrical subject of both parts seemed so in sync., and it probably wouldn't have worked if they hadn't been. It's basically an apology for not being able to give someone what they need, or be the person they want you to be. I guess it's something we've both experienced!


For more information on Empathy Test: