Rascal Flatts – Yours If You Want It

I first heard these guys back in 2005 with their mega cover “Bless The Broken Road” and then gained some more respect for them with another great cover of “Life Is A Highway”. I haven’t heard much from them over the last couple of years, until their newest single caught my attention. It’s catchy and enjoyable in all the right ways for a pop country tune. Good on these guys for knocking out country singles for over ten years now. Extra props for the music video with goofy band cameos, Chris Farley’s brother Kevin as the lead actor and it all being directed by William Zabka (Karate Kid).

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Luke Combs – Hurricane

Really wished I would have posted this ages ago when I first heard it and not after it’s been a massive success. Oh well, at least I can hopefully turn this track onto someone that may have missed any country radio station for the past 6 months. Long story short, it’s a great pop/country track that fits the sing-a-long mold perfectly. Just try and get this one out of your head.

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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BixwVsiDdZM

A Day To Remember – It It Means A Lot To You

Not sure how this gem of a song missed me when it came out in 2009. I probably overlooked it as I thought the band was a bit too metal core (too much screaming) for my taste. Granted a lot of their songs fit that description, but I’ve started looking through their discography again and I really missed out on some great songs. The best of which is their equivalent to the Green Day track: “Good Riddance (Time Of Your Life)” by which I mean that the solo acoustic track that doesn’t really fit the rest of the album and subsequently hidden at the back of the record turns into the biggest single.

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HAIM – I Want You Back

After years of touring, HAIM have released what amazingly is just their second album. The rawness and uniqueness of their debut album is offset by the obvious advancement of their craft in the followup. This is a really solid album. I highly recommend you listen to the whole thing, but their first single is certainly a standout in its own right.

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Porter Robinson & Madeon – Shelter

Another track I should have posted awhile ago, but I figured it would turn out to be a much bigger song than it ultimately was. Lately I’ve found quite a few people that I assumed had heard it, and I know would enjoy this track, that had never experienced it. For that reason I’m posting this inevitably good collaboration between young American producer Porter Robinson and young French producer Madeon. Honestly, combining the genius of these two could either produce a fantastic track (although not necessarily mainstream) or something so very obscure that very few could appreciate it. Luckily it was the former.

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Ed Sheeran – Castle On The Hill

I held off for awhile before posting this as it seems almost pointless. I’d be amazed if someone hasn’t heard this song yet as it’s been #1 or #2 in the UK and USA for quite some time, but I have to admit that it gave me a real respect for this songwriter for the first time. I’d of course heard a few solid songs off his last couple albums, but none of them spoke to me like this track did and I think he’s really reached another level of songwriting on this latest album. Forgo the fact that he delayed release to consult Rick Rubin (of countless masterpiece albums fame, seriously, if you don’t know who he is, google his name and prepare to be impressed), I’m giving Ed Sheeran a lot of credit for his new direction. I also love that there is no snare drum. Seriously, name the last popular rock/pop track with no snare drum anywhere in the track…

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Maggie Rogers – Dog Years

The last Maggie Rogers song I posted I enjoy, but I think I like the process in which I found it and how it became known to the public through Pharrell than I actually enjoy the song on it’s own merits. This track is different. I really enjoy this song standing on it’s own. The track ebs and flows, its incredible to really listen for the builds and breaks as they come and go like clockwork through the four and a half minutes of this track. I also love the fact that she filmed it at the camp she attended and subsequently counseled at for 6+ years of her life. There is a nostalgia element to the video that I can appreciate.

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Starley – Call On Me (Ryan Riback Remix)

I always wonder if artists get annoyed when a remix turns out to be more popular than the original. The interesting thing with this track is that it was specifically commissioned along with 5 other remixes as an small remix album to compliment the main release. Turns out though that Ryan Riback pulled out the best parts of the track, added some great house piano, sped it up a bit, enhance the beat, added some synth backing layers and voila! 4 million views on Youtube versus just 46 thousand for the original. Maybe that was the point of the remixes to begin with though: as a backup in case the original doesn’t quite hit the mark.

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Vallis Alps – Fading

I didn’t hear this track until it popped up on Australia’s famous Triple J countdown of the best songs of 2016 and I sure am glad I tuned in. A guy from Seattle and girl from Canberra created an entire album through collaboration, sending parts back and forth to one another for years. This is my favorite by the duo, but the album is quite good as a whole. The layering and vocal edits are exquisite and every time I listen I uncover another synth layer or drum fill that I didn’t catch on the last listen. With so much happening in the background the track never comes across as messy or sonically clogged. Impressive is all I can say.

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