NYE FOR YOU AND ME: Holy hell, it’s almost 2015. I’ll give you a second to wrap your head around that one. By the time you’re reading this, we’ll be just days away from a brand-spankin’-new year. And if you’re anything like me, that reality comes steeped in a whole lot of feels. As sad as I am to say good-bye to all that was 2014, I’m also super stoked to wipe the slate clean and step into January ready to take on the world. So, rather than bore you with a been-there-done-that list of my favorite albums/movies/whatever of the last 12 months, I’m going in the opposite direction. That’s right — welcome to the 2015 power anthem playlist, aka“2014’s Seven Best Songs to March You into the New Year.” Read, listen, and prepare to dominate.
1. Beyoncé, “Flawless”: To be honest, every single track off Bey’s surprise self-titled album could make this list. In fact, this list should probably just be that entire record. But, for the sake of mixing it up, I’m using “Flawless.” If you have ever gotten ready while this song is playing, you understand why.
2. Taylor Swift, “Shake It Off”: Nothing says “bring on the New Year” like a funky dance song about rising above all the haters, cheaters, and liars in the world. Thanks, Tay Tay.
3. Shamir, “On the Regular”: If we’re talking lyrical content, “On the Regular” is a bouncy anthem about being yourself. It’s catchy and empowering, and the bass line is killer. But then you factor in Shamir, and it gets even better. The now-20-year-old Las Vegas native showed up this year looking, dressing, and sounding unlike anybody else. And as we enter 2015, he’s my poster boy for go-your-own-way awesomeness.
4. Kevin Morby, “Motors Runnin”: New York-turned-Los Angeles singer/songwriter Kevin Morby put out one of my favorite albums of the year with Still Life. I’m still not sure if “Motors Runnin” is about fleeing the scene of a crime or saying bye-bye to a bad relationship, but that doesn’t change the moral: No situation is permanent. Be ready for anything.
5. Ought, “Today More Than Any Other Day”: Two and a half minutes into this brooding track from Canada’s Ought, frontman Tim Beeler turns the song into a full-on rock ’n’ roll celebration of living in the now. Plus, any song that can turn grocery shopping into an epic, empowering activity deserves to soundtrack your fresh start.
6. Future Islands, “Seasons (Waiting On You)”: When I was in 7th grade, my favorite band (*cough cough* No Doubt) went from kind of obscure to super-duper popular in, like, a week. Being 13, I felt upset, confused, and even a little betrayed by the whole thing. This band that I loved, that I thought was mine, all mine, suddenly belonged to everyone, and it made me like them less. Of course, looking back on this a decade and a half later, I realize how stupid it sounds. I also now realize how genuinely cool it is when your favorite musicians start to make it big. This year, the thing that happened to No Doubt when I was in 7th grade totally happened to Future Islands. They played this song on Letterman, and people went nuts! Now they’re headlining festivals and selling out shows and getting all the credit they have deserved for so long. “Seasons” makes the list to commemorate that and to remind us all that rock-star-level dreams are 100 percent attainable.
7. Run the Jewels, “Lie, Cheat, Steal”: If any artist embodied going out and getting theirs in 2014, it was Run the Jewels. Never mind its title — “Lie, Cheat, Steal” is all about winning, winning, winning.