Echoes’ John Diliberto’s Best Songs of 2014

Every year WXPN does their year-end list of the Top 200 Songs and they ask program hosts to submit their Top 10 lists. I picked these back in October, so in the interim I’ve changed one tune, swapping out Lyla Foy’s “Honeymoon for my original pick of her song, “Easy.” As I mentioned in years past, I differentiate between “songs” like those below and compositions say like A Winged Victory for the Sullen’sAtomos X,” Hammock’sThen the Quiet Explosion” or even Pink Floyd’sEchoes.”

John Diliberto’s Top 10 Songs of 2014

Philip Selway - Weatherhouse1 Philip SelwayComing up For Air
I don’t know how much more I can say about Weatherhouse, the album this song is from and an Echoes CD of the Month.  I could’ve picked half a dozen of Selway’s heartfelt, introspective and powerfully moving songs, but I went with this one featuring an ominous synth sequencer powering Selway’s lyrics of emotional survival.

Temples-Sun2 TemplesShelter Song
Temples look and sound like they stepped out of 1967 and the height of the Summer of Love.  From the jangly, sitar-like guitars to the filtered voice singing lyrics right out of The Electric Prunes’ “I Had Too Much to Dream (Last Night),” Temples takes a new generation higher.

Lana Del Rey - Ultraviolence3 Lana Del ReyCruel World
“Cruel World” is a break-up song of suicidal dimensions from her August Echoes CD of the Month, Ultraviolence. You’re not sure if Del Ray is splitting up with a lover, drugs, or both, as she wrestles with the pain and obsessions inside. She sings in wasted ecstasy over the gnarled guitar of the Black Keys’ Dan Auerbach, reaching a tortured cry of abandon in its chorus.

140117-beck-morning-phase-cover-art4 BeckMorning
Morning Phase is another album with half a dozen possible picks, Beck tapped a pastoral sixties sound here, a guitar strummed ode to love and light that is beautifully yearning.

Hoffman-Human5 Kristin HoffmannLet Go
There were a dozen songs called “Let Go” or “Let It Go” this past year or two, led by that famous one from Frozen.  But Kristin Hoffman’s beautiful choral hymn is the only one you’ll want to hear over and over again. Her vocal performance is breathtaking as the song reaches gospel heights. Unfortunately, the only decent video I came across is a remix that loses a lot of the songs grandeur.

Thus Owls - Turning Rocks6 Thus OwlsTurning Rocks
Retro-sixties sounds seem to be big in 2014.  Thus Owls, the Swedish Canadian band uses snarling psychedelic guitar and Farfisa organ drive this song of hidden secrets with some wildly beautiful singing from Erika Angell from their album, also called Turning Rocks.

Lyla Foy Mirrors the Sky7 Lyla FoyHoneymoon
I loved her as Wall and still love her under her own name.  The English singer-songwriter creates a dreamy electro-pop on this song full of haunted echoes lyrically and musically as she sings about a break-up. The honeymoon is definitely over, It’s from her album, Mirrors the Sky, an Echoes CD of the Month.

Fink - Hard Believer8 FinkPilgrim
An artist who should be bigger, especially with adult-alternative radio listeners. Though not really electronic Fin Greenall, who is Fink, uses electronic repetition to create a chant like crescendo on this song of fractured love and miscommunication. It’s one of many beautiful songs form his album, Hard Believer.

Awake9 TychoAwake
This is the only instrumental track here, but Tycho’s guitar and synth driven works have a song-like quality to them.  Delays, loops, driving synth and motoric percussion drive this song to the horizon and beyond.  It’s from his album, also called Awake.

Hozier10 HozierTake Me to Church
For me this may seem like an unlikely track.  I heard this in a dentist’s office long before it became a hit and tracked it down and have listened to it repeatedly since.  The Irish singer creates an impassioned song of anti-homophobic and anti-religious sentiment that is lyrically and musically intense with a deadly hook. There’s nothing else on his album that hits the power of this song

If you want, you can still vote in WXPN’s Poll for the Top 200 Songs.  It’s open until Monday 12/8. And here’s a straight list sans comments or videos for you.


        1. Philip Selway – Coming up For Air
        2. Temples – Shelter Song
        3. Lana Del Rey – Cruel World
        4. Beck – Morning
        5. Kristin Hoffmann – Let Go
        6. Thus Owls – Turning Rocks
        7. Lyla Foy – Honeymoon
        8. Fink – Pilgrim
        9. Tycho – Awake
        10. Hozier -Take Me to Church

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