We all get something different out of the music we consume. Some listen for entertainment, while others put on a record for emotional and mental stimulation. There are even those strange few who don’t actively listen to music at all. It’s fascinating and complex the way a song can affect our brains, the number of endorphins triggered, which is then translated into what we call “personal taste.” This week’s countdown traverses the musical spectrum of colors and tonalities, from the pitch blacks of Triptykon, to the bright jangles of The War on Drugs and William Tyler. Each is an exemplary representation of its respective genre — a true collage when culled into a list of 10. We can’t guarantee that you’ll like every song, but we do know that you will feel something when you listen to them.
10. Sleep Party People – “In Another Wrld”
At first glance, Sleep Party People seems like a cookie-cutter EDM act. Not to mention, the “electronica” tag on their BandCamp page doesn’t help their case. The opening seconds of “In Another World” prove otherwise, wearing a dark, experimental complexion. Its whispered acoustic guitar weaves beautifully amongst its drums, psychedelic feedback, and screeching string arrangements, making it seem fitting for a haunted house. Brian Batz, the man behind the project, only adds to that effect with his falsettoed fairy tale lyrics, forming a reoccurring nightmare that’s hard to shake. Batz will narrate more haunting tales on his upcoming LP, Floating, due June 2nd via Blood and Biscuits. –-Sam Willett
09. Metallica – “Lords of Summer”
It’s about time we stopped judging Metallica based on music they released nearly three decades ago. Aside from being totally unfair, it’s just bad criticism to dismiss something as “too much like Kill ‘Em All” or “not enough like Kill ‘Em All” (even if Death Magnetic did suffer from being stuck in the middle of that sonic quandary). Inversely, it’s also time Metallica stopped sacrificing artistic freedom to appease whiny fans who feel obliged to dictate what their favorite band does or doesn’t do. While the Motörhead-ish demo “Lords of Summer” isn’t Metallica’s most accomplished work, there’s a looseness and energy to the recording — the sound of a band just playing for fun rather than money or expectations. Like, it’s a happy song about sunshine splitting the clouds. Not quite METAL, but here’s a band that’s earned the right to fight that word, embrace it, define it. An infinite number of angry YouTube comments are nothing compared to owning an entire genre. –Jon Hadusek