HELLO and welcome to my Top 40 Albums list! This will be my eleventh year of doing a year-end on ATRL, and ninth year doing a Top 40 Albums list. It is always one of the highlights of my year, not just because of the work compiling my own list, but reading through as many people’s lists as I can. It brings old members such as myself together with the new class of ATRL (where I feel like Mr. Belding in Saved By the Bell: The New Class, or for a more contemporary reference, Ben Savage and Danielle Fishel in Girls Meets World). What will this year’s list consist of? WELL I WILL TELL YOU!
- As soon as I post this intro, I will post my Top 10 Singles of 2014 list. Scroll down in a minute’s time, and you will see it.
- After that will be a brand new music list: The Top 10 Musical Performances from 2014 on Late Show with David Letterman. It is not only my way of honouring the funniest person of all-time’s upcoming retirement, but also as a way to showcase the many memorable musical performances from the show this past year. I had a lot of fun putting it together, and it will serve as a replacement for the Music Videos list that I have often done over the years.
- Next after that will be the Top 40 Movies of 2015. Since I see a lot of movies, but rarely in time to do a prompt Movies of the Year list, this list serves as my outlet to talk about them. I will be highlighting the forty movies I am anticipating the most in 2015.
- After that, the Top 40 TV Shows of 2014, this is pretty self explanatory.
- And finally, THE TOP 40 ALBUMS OF 2014! I failed miserably last year to provide write-ups for my 2013 list, and I vow that will not happen this year!
One of the great developments in hip-hop of the past few years has been the re-emergence of Mystikal. One of the most underrated rappers of all-time, as gifted technically as any rapper you can name, it is so good to hear him on new songs again. His big comeback song a couple years ago was the tremendous “Hit Me”, a James Brown-like song where Mystikal raps feverously as the bandleader in the song (“I got drums and ****, tong tongs and ****”), which also includes him acting as a white person listening to the song (“HEAR THAT HELEN?” HE’S TEARING IT UP THAT FELLA” he raps in an Eddie Murphy-like White Person voice). It is a great regret that I never charted the song on my singles list of that year.
Which brings us to “Feel Right.” While maybe not as good of a song as “Hit Me,” it is still very satisfying, and also very much in that same James Brown-like pocket. The first time I heard this song was on SNL, when Mystikal, Mark Ronson and Bruno Mars performed it, which was a complete shock to me. Mystikal on SNL??? On a show hosted by Cameron Diaz? Did I suddenly land in a 2001 timewarp? What a glorious thing! Ronson does an excellent job as always of nailing the mood of the era, and providing a great bed for Mystikal to act a fool on. Another crazy/great thing about this song: Pulitzer Prize winning author Michael Chabon wrote some of the lyrics! What??? My bet is that he wrote the line about crapping out fire, which I feel is very reminiscent of The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay. I am glad to have Mystikal back, paired up with the great Mark Ronson, and I hope they do more things together in the future. “MYSTIKAL DON’T HURT ‘EM NOW!”
09. Nikki Lane – Right Time
I first became aware of Nashville singer/songwriter Nikki Lane through her terrific 2011 single “Walk of Shame.” Now in 2014 she finally began to break out, through her Dan Auerbach-produced album All or Nothin, which was kicked off by “Right Time.” A deceptively simple song, “Any day or night time is always the right time to do the wrong thing” is such a killer chorus, and it wraps around the song in a way where you’ll be singing it in unison by the end of the song. The combination of both rock and steel guitars serves as Lane’s calling card, as she bridges both genres in a natural way. I’ll be writing more about Lane when All or Nothin’ charts on my Top 40 Albums list in a (spoiler!) fairly high position.
08. Blake Mills with Fiona Apple – Don’t Tell Our Friends About Me
I will be writing more about my previous experience with Blake Mills when his album Heigh Ho! charts on my Top 40 albums list, so i don’t want to end up repeating myself. One of the best songs from that album, “Don’t Tell Our Friends About Me,” is a song with Fiona Apple, whom he has a very close relationship with. Mills is a frequent collaborator with her (they most recently came together to make “The Container,” Apple’s haunting theme song to the new Showtime drama The Affair), they tour together often; they are one of the best creative pairings in music today. This song is a great microcosm to what makes Heigh Ho such a satisfying album, the personal lyrics (the repetition of “I know I ****ed up” becomes more raw on each mention), Mills’ superlative guitar playing (in my opinion, he is the best guitar player alive right now, the person who is pushing the most boundaries), the wonderful tones. And hey, Jon Brion plays the tiple on it! The song is 5 minutes and 20 seconds, and I wish it was 5 minutes longer. Again, i’ll have more to say about Mills when I talk about the album as a whole. And believe me, there is a lot more to talk about.
07. The Both – Volunteers of America
I’ll be writing more about The Both’s album in my Top 40 Albums list, so i’ll just say for now that “Volunteers of America” is one of the most joyous songs of the year. You can never be in a bad mood listening to this. I love how the terrific video to the song (directed by Daniel Ralston), the music cuts out to have the audience sing the breakdown, which I imagine also happens during the concerts. Teddy Rockstar and Aimee Mann are two of my all-time favourites, so the entire project of The Both is a dream come true for me. If you want to understand why, “Volunteers of America” is a great place to start.
06. Foo Fighters – The Feast and The Famine
I have always been a fan of the Foo Fighters, but the entire Sonic Highways project really rekindled my love with them. I love every song off the album, but my favourite is “The Feast and the Famine,” which is my favourite Foo Fighters single since “Best of You.” Recorded at Arlington Virginia’s Inner Ear Studios, the song combines the immediacy of “Monkey Wrench” with personal lyrics based upon Dave Grohl’s D.C. upbringing (the line “Check yourself wreck your brain, where is that PMA,” references the PMA movement of the ‘80s DC hardcore scene which Grohl was a part of). While the song is pretty great on its own, what furthered my appreciation of it was watching the D.C. Sonic Highways episode, where you really begin to understand where Grohl is coming from, and it ends up becoming pretty moving and empowering. I will have more to say about Sonic Highways as a whole in my Top 40 Albums list, but i’ll say something now that I will repeat later: if you are on the fence about this song/any other song on Sonic Highways, please watch the HBO series. It is an essential component to why the album works as well as it does.
05. Ryan Adams – Gimme Something Good
The first time I listened to “Gimme Something Good,” Ryan Adams’ first single since 2011, I thought I had made a mistake. Did someone slip me a ‘80s Don Henley/Benmont Tench song?? I say that partly as a joke, but the song is a dead-ringer for that era of early ‘80s rock. It’s the song of 1983 that never was! And looking at the liner notes, I found out it actually was Benmont Tench playing the organ on it! The song is very Tom Petty/Don Henley, and it’s a shame it came out in 2014, as I feel this could have been a legit pop hit in that time. Ryan Adams hasn’t made a song this catchy or immediate since “New York, New York,” and it’s a song that deserved a wider audience. And hey look! In the music video, Elvira is in it! How cool is that?
04. Angaleena Presley – American Middle Class
Ever since I first listened to and adored Pistol Annies’ 2011 album Hell on Hells, I have been looking forward to Angaleena Presley’s debut album. And boy, did it deliver! The title track from it opens powerfully with Angaleena’s own father Jimmy Presley recounting his beginnings, growing up in Harlan County, with his father being a coal miner, and then doing that himself. This then leads into Angaleena Presley’s chorus “Tear this poorhouse down when you know how to build it back, hammer and nail between your heart and your hometown ‘til you can carry this country on your back.” Powerful stuff, right? What offsets the subject matter a bit is that the song rocks with a killer riff, and Presley just singing the heck out of it. I’ll have more to say on the album as a whole later, but American Middle Class is the mission statement, songs about people she knew all her life who couldn’t afford much, went into the coal mines as they had no other option. Country music has always been acclaimed for talking about the human stories behind the songs, and there’s no better example this year than American Middle Class, both song and album.
03. Eric Church – Give Me Back My Hometown
Eric Church, along with his producer Jay Joyce, had a strong 2014, and it all started off with “Give Me Back My Hometown,” which is as good as modern country songwriting gets. Co-written by Church and the amazing Luke Laird, the song initially tells the story of how his hometown has changed, but you later find out at the end of the first verse it’s only because his girlfriend has left him and the hometown behind, which is a deft take on it. The song is filled with little small-town signifiers, like the great specificity of “My friends tried to cheer me up, get together at the Pizza Hut. I didn’t have the heart to tell them that was our place,” which as someone who spends a solid month or so of the year in small town Idaho, that rang true to me. The song has a great build to it, with Jay Joyce’s stellar production crescendoing in the bridge with lots of Football Stand-like “CLAP! STOMP's" really highlighting the emotion of it (not to mention feeling of a piece with the subject matter of the song). Church’s The Outsiders is one of my favourite albums of 2014, and while there are more adventurous songs musically and lyrically on the album which I love, it’s the relatable straight-forwardness of “Give Me Back My Hometown” that has stuck with me for the entire year.
02. Little Big Town – Girl Crush
2014 was also a big year for Little Big Town, who also worked with producer Jay Joyce! Notice a pattern? The whole Pain Killer album is terrific, and lead single “Day Drinkin’” is a lot of fun, but the song that sent me flying back the first time I listened through the album was “Girl Crush.” Co-written by three of the greatest Nashville songwriters today (Lori McKenna, Liz Rose, Hillary Lindsey), it’s a song that spins your expectation on what the song is going to be. It’s an amazing lyric, as it begins with “I’ve got a girl crush, hate to admit it but, I got a hard rush, it’s slowing me down. I got it real bad, want everything she has, that smile that midnight laugh, she’s giving you now.” As you read through those lines, you then begin to understand what the song is about. Really clever. The chorus has a lot of fun subverting your expectations as it begins “I want to taste her lips, yeah cause they taste like you, I want to drown myself, in a bottle of her perfume, I want her long blonde hair, I want her magic touch, yeah cause maybe then, you’d want me just as much. I’ve got a Girl Crush.” Again, incredibly clever, the type of songwriting that you get from professionals like McKenna/Rose/Lindsay. I would never advise to read the comments, but in case of this, you should read some on the video attached*, as they are quite comical. My favourite is the one who calls it “A Gateway Song to Full-On Homosexuality!!!” LMAO.
I have talked enough about the lyrics, but the song wouldn’t work without Karen Fairchild’s stellar vocal performance. One of the most underrated singers today in any genre, she breathes life into it, and does such a great job with it. Also worth noting is Jay Joyce, whose production is often very risk-taking and has a lot of fun subverting country traditions, his production on “Girl Crush” is very minimal, sort of recalling ‘60s girl group ballads. It looks like the song has just started to become a huge hit, and it will be very well deserved. I just wanted to get ahead of it on this year’s list, as it instantly stuck out to me. I’ll have more to say about the Pain Killer album as a whole on my Top 40 Albums list.
*the video I had previously attached was deleted by the label for the new Vevo video. So just believe me when i say that the previous video had some real doozy comments haha.
01. Sleater-Kinney – Bury Our Friends
In 2011, I listed Wild Flag’s “Romance” as my #1 single of the year, and it remains a song I play a lot today. In my write-up on both “Romance” and the Wild Flag album (which charted at #2), I talked about how I only recently became a converted Sleater-Kinney fan, through their triumphant album The Woods. And now here we are, in 2014, and Sleater-Kinney have reformed! And what a song to return with! “Bury Our Friends” is a MONSTER of a song. This thing, holy moly. I love the line “My body has no need for sleep, this time ARRRRROOOOOOOOOOOOUND,” the delivery on that is so ****ing good. I just feel so motivated listening to it, a song that demolishes everything in its path. Their album will be released in January, and if it’s anything like “Bury Our Friends” it will be charting very high on next year’s list. “Bury Our Friends” only debuted in late October, but it made a quick impression with me, where I feel it could be the only choice for the #1 spot. Everybody.... “EXHUME OUR IDOLS... BURY OUR FRIENDS.... WE’RE WILD AND WEARY BUT WE WON’T GIVE IN.” A+.
where I feel like Mr. Belding in Saved By the Bell: The New Class, or for a more contemporary reference, Ben Savage and Danielle Fishel in Girls Meets World
If you feel like Mr. Belding, good god, what does that make me? Do I even want to know? Along with your other lists, whic are, of course, Best of staples, I'm really looking forward to the Letterman list, and the inevitable Foo Fighters placement, because how could they NOT?
Admittedly, I have not watched the HBO series, and I STILL enjoyed Sonic Highways a lot, even if I didn't like it quite as much as I did Wasting Light. "Feast and the Famine" is probably the biggest reason why, too. It and "Something From Nothing" are two of the best songs they've made. And man, Eric Church. Even if I didn't listen to him enough for him to make my lists, my goodness, I'm hoping that his success will mark a sea change in country away from Florida-Georgia Line and their ilk. THAT, my friends, is country, the country I grew up with. Please continue to be successful.
Excited to see if D'Angelo will place high on your albums list I do remember in the aim chat days we used to talk about how he needed to get it together and release the damn Voodoo followup, and it's finally here! So I want to hear what you thought about it
Yay! Spaceman says everybody look down, it's all your mind. A very country heavy start to the list, will that be a theme in the albums too? I'm guessing yes! And lol that the New BLEEDographers get hit by the censors!
Excited to see if D'Angelo will place high on your albums list I do remember in the aim chat days we used to talk about how he needed to get it together and release the damn Voodoo followup, and it's finally here! So I want to hear what you thought about it
Yes! I remember that too! Who would of thought it would have taken this long haha? I have heard the album, and really enjoy it. My albums list posts in January, so i'll have more to say then, but I expect it'll only get better on further listens. So happy that he's finally back!
Originally posted by Remmy
Only an honorable mention, though?
Just you wait.... My next list might be of interest to you .
Speaking of: My Letterman list! It will posted WITHIN 24 HOURS. I have been working really hard on it, and am excited to share it with everyone. Thanks for all the comment so far! I really appreciate them all
Last edited by Dr. Spaceman 12/20/2014 at 9:15 PM.
These ones are my favourite from the honourable mentions:
- Kiesza - Hideaway
- The New ****ographers – Brill Bruisers
- Ty Segall – The Singer
"Gimme Something Good" definitely seems to be a song coming from the past. I should've paid more attention to Ryan Adams this year.
"Volunteers of America" is also great. I really like almost every song I've heard from Aimee Mann. Need to check her stuff.
#1 sounds pretty cool, too.
Can't wait for the rest of your lists! I enjoy reading your write-ups.
When I was growing up, I loved many things in comedy. Seeing Ace Ventura as a young child in 1994 blew my mind, I also loved the movies of Mike Myers and Robin WIlliams (RIP). But in 1997, I saw my first episode of Late Show with David Letterman and it changed my life. While I still like/respect Carrey, Myers and Williams, Letterman from then on became my primary favourite figure in comedy. While there might be "hipper" late night shows like Conan, Colbert, Fallon, Jon Stewart, this year added John Oliver and Seth Meyers, I still think Late Show tops them all, and it's solely because of Letterman, the best to ever do it. His interviews are peerless, not always looking for the next joke (though when a joke comes it'll often be one of the funniest things you've ever heard), his ability to tell stories on his own is a skill that no one else in late night currently comes close to achieving. The relaxed pace of Late Show is something I value, as in this current ADHD environment I appreciate a show that can slow it down and take three segments with one guest (his recent 21-minute interview with Jennifer Lawrence is as good as late night TV gets). To say i'll miss Letterman when he retires is an understatement, which is why i'm relishing every episode of the Late Show while I still can. Stephen Colbert is the best possible choice to take over the Late Show mantle, as his inventiveness with the Report is the 21st century equivalent to what Letterman did on NBC with Late Night, and I greatly look forward to watching his show when it premieres in September. That said, when Letterman retires it'll be the true end of an era in both comedy and broadcasting, which is why I felt the need to pay tribute to him and his show, my all-time comedy hero.
The reason I put together a music list is because even in 2014, when most people are paying attention to Fallon's musical performances*, I still think Late Show puts on the best musical performances on late night TV. Most people know about the greatness that is Darlene Love's 28-year run of singing "Christmas" (Baby Please Come Home) during Letterman's final show of the year, but there's more than that. One of my favourite Letterman performances of the past decade was when he brought out '70s singer/songwriter Michael Martin Murphey to sing his hit "Wildfire," solely because Letterman had been talking about it on his show for weeks, calling it "haunting and disturbingly mysterious." The eventual pay-off to the bit was this stand-out performance from 2007, which is something you wouldn't see on any other late night show. His end-of-song banter with the band/artist is always worthwhile to watch, as most late night hosts just repeat the same generic things they always say, while Letterman either says something really funny or very insightful. I could go on and on about my fav Letterman musical moments, so i'll just get right to the list. With the exception of #10, I saw all of these performances live as they happened, so these are very honest rankings of my experience watching Late Show this year, not what was dictated to me due to internet buzz.
*and as a die-hard Roots fan/card-carrying Okayplayer message board member for over a decade now, no one deserves the accolades more than Questo and The Legendary Roots Crew.
10. Wu-Tang Clan – Ruckus in B Minor
Airdate: November 25
Staten Island’s own Wu-Tang Clan had previously never appeared on the Late Show, so this was a major moment for the Wu. The performance itself is pretty good, but it charts on the list because, 1) the image of David Letterman standing between all the Wu-Tang members is something I won't soon forget, 2) RZA ending the performance by saying "DAVID LETTERMAN BONG BONG."
09. Ryan Adams – Gimme Something Good
Airdate: September 11
Ryan Adams and David Letterman have a special connection, which Adams elaborates on in this story if you are curious. This is a great performance of my #5 single of the year, and it impressed Letterman so much that he demanded Adams to play it a second time right on the spot. Very cool. And the moment becomes especially poignant, as since it is the September 11th show, the final image (which the YouTube link thankfully includes) is a live shot of the Freedom Tower, which brings to mind both Adams' "New York, New York" and Letterman's first post-9/11 monologue, one of the finest moments of his broadcast career. You couldn't ask for a better final segment to Dave's final September 11th broadcast.
08. Sturgill Simpson – Life of Sin
Airdate: July 14
This is a perfect example of a standard Letterman musical guest. He often books bands/artists making their Network Television Debut, which is another reason why I feel Late Show's musical performances are the best on late night TV, as he catches artists as they are coming up. This is a great performance, which inspired me to check his music out. Letterman's post-performance line is one of my favourites of the year: "Get yourself one, I don't know, one of 'em 46 oz things of Mountain Dew, rent a car, and start driving. Get that on, you know what i'm saying? You start driving, every now and then, stop some place and start a fight, get back into the car, keep driving!" Isn't that the best? And you know what? That's exactly what the song sounds like!
07. Lady Gaga – Dope/G.U.Y.
Airdate: April 2
The April 2nd show is very emotional to me, as it was the show before Letterman announced his retirement. It's one of the best episodes of the year, as Lady Gaga took over the show, Bill Murray made a surprise drop-in, they all took a selfie together, and in the greatest moment of all: Lady Gaga invited the entire Late Show audience to walk over to Roseland Ballroom, the famous New York music hall, which was shutting down. Dave, Bill Murray, Gaga, the entire audience made the trek across the street over to Roseland, for its final performance. Watching it live that night, I tweeted about it, which the official Late Show account retweeted (along with long-time Letterman writer/personality Gerard Mulligan). I am not a hardcore Gaga fan, but the performances that night ("Dope" in particular) really moved me, which after the fact becomes striking as none of us knew he would be announcing his retirement the very next day. A part of me wonders if he made the decision to announce his retirement the next day after that show, standing on stage at Roseland right beside his signature guest Bill Murray. It's a moment that will be pretty hard to top.
06. The Orwells – Who Needs You
Airdate: January 15
While the Future Islands performance became very viral, the first viral performance from Late Show this year came from new band The Orwells. This was the first time I heard the Orwells, and their very lackadaisical style reminded me a lot of the infamous 2001 performance by The Vines (which ended with Dave asking Paul “Is he alright? Could be the West Nile!”). Things were different with the Orwells performance, however, as Dave asked the band to play some more, with Paul repeatedly saying “ONE MORE TIME! ONE MORE TIME! ONE MORE TIME!” as the Orwells stood there stunned. Dave then flat-out says “Come on! Do something!” After seconds of awkwardness, Paul and the CBS Orchestra BUST INTO THE SONG!! With Paul singing!! And then the show closes out with Paul hilariously imitating the Orwells’ lead singer’s floor gyration, and Dave asking Paul “ARE YOU ALRIGHT?” When I saw this moment live, I couldn’t believe what was happening. I initially read it as Dave and Paul making fun of the Orwells, but on further views it seems like they both genuinely enjoyed it. To cap this saga off, The Orwells returned in June to play another song, this time with more energy, and for a bonus song for YouTube, they finally ended up playing “Who Needs You” a second time! Better late than never! And The Orwells’ lead singer at one point hands the mic off to Paul, and leads him into singing “YOU BETTER CUT YOUR HAIR! YOU BETTER COMB YOUR HAIR! YOU BETTER CHANGE THE CHANNEL!” It was a remarkable moment of television, and anyone who thinks Dave and Paul have mellowed out over the years should be shown these Orwells performances.
05. Al Green – Tired of Being Alone/Let’s Stay Together
Airdate: December 8
Another reason why the Late Show’s musical performances are the best on late night television are because music legends often stop by to grace us with their greatness. This Al Green performance...... good golly. If you feel nothing at all watching this, you have no pulse. Green wears his newly awarded Kennedy Center Medal proudly as he sings two of his greatest hits. Paul and the CBS Orchestra do a stellar job as always backing him, and Green has the crowd clapping and singing along, at one point he even walks into the crowd! The Reverend taking ‘em to church! And then as soon as he finishes “Let’s Stay Together,” he smiles, waves, blows kisses and walks off stage as the music plays on. Baller ****.
04. Foo Fighters with Tony Joe White – Polk Salad Annie
Airdate: October 15
One last Foo Fighters/David Letterman note: Something that also happened during Foo Fighters Week was this beautiful web-exclusive performance of In Your Honor album track “Miracle,” which is proceeded by a very personal and touching story by Letterman, talking about his son Harry. Since it didn’t air on the show proper, I didn’t feel right including it, but please be sure to check it out. You rarely see Dave get this openly emotional, and it’s a wonderful window into his lovely relationship with his son.
03. Hatsune Miku – Sharing the World
Airdate: October 8
The historic Ed Sullivan Theater has seen a lot of different kinds of acts pass through since it opened in 1927: dog acts, plate spinners, Topo Gigio, The Beatles' first ever American television appearance, Stupid Human Tricks, numerous others. In 2014, we can now add another category to the list of acts that have performed on that hallowed stage: the Vocaloid. Prior to this performance, I had never heard of a Vocaloid or Hatsune Miku, and my mouth was agape during much of the performance. I knew going in that this would an odd performance, when Letterman's intro called Miku "a computer generated Vocaloid personality from Japan," which might be the strangest string of words Letterman has ever uttered. Now, the reason why this performance is charting at #3 is not because of the song, as it's a pretty trashy song, though I do enjoy the happy faces plastered on Miku's band, since I imagine it was a thrill for them to perform there. The reason why this is charting so high is because it defies categorization. The shot at the end of the performance of Letterman side-by-side with Miku is an even weirder image than him beside the Wu-Tang Clan, looking as baffled as the majority of his audience must have been. Once Miku hilariously vanishes from the screen, Letterman ends the segment with one of his funniest lines of the year: "Like being on Willie Nelson's bus."
02. Paul Shaffer & The CBS Orchestra with Jimmy Webb – MacArthur Park
Airdate: July 21
It wouldn't feel right to make a list charting the best musical performances of the year on Late Show without including something from the mighty, mighty Party and Show Band themselves, Paul Shaffer & The CBS Orchestra. Formerly known during the NBC years as The World's Most Dangerous Band, they still do a terrific job all these years later. I love the peculiar song choices the band makes going into break, for example, I think they have performed Stone Temple Pilots' "Sour Girl" more times than even STP has. And it's still in regular rotation! Anyway, to the purposes of this #2 selection, The CBS Orchestra, with bass player Will Lee on vocals, tackled one of the most popular songs of the late '60s/early '70s, Jimmy Webb's "MacArthur Park," with Webb joining the group on piano. There was no reason for this performance; it wasn't tied promotionally to anything. It was just billed in the channel guide as "a performance of MacArthur Park," which is yet another reason why I feel Late Show's musical performances are the best on television. They just did it because they wanted to! It's a really remarkable performance, expertly arranged, complete commitment by everyone involved, it oddly left me teary eyed near the end of it (the point where Will Lee is literally singing on top of a plastic cake). The best description of the performance came from amazing comedy writer/director of iSteve Ryan Perez, who tweeted the following – That performance of "MacArthur Park" on Letterman was actually strange. Feels nice to see something inscrutable in late night again. Inscrutable is a great word to use, and i'll add another word onto it: inscrutable beauty.
While we'll all be sad to see Letterman retire, i'll almost be equally as sad to see Shaffer and the CBS Orchestra go, as they became the blueprint that all late night TV bands followed. From the play-on song usually being a play on the person's name/career (which Questlove has blatantly said on multiple occasions he borrowed for his job on Fallon), to being an active participant in the comedic segments, Paul Shaffer made the late night talk show band cool and hip. I will miss them.
01. Kiesza – Hideaway
Airdate: July 10
This performance shares a lot of traits with previous performances listed in this countdown. Network Television Debut? Check. I had never heard of the person prior to this performance? Check. It made me get into the artist's music? Check. The artist went into the crowd and had the crowd clapping along? Check. Ends with a hilarious Letterman line ("You're soaking wet, for heaven's sakes!")? Check. This is just an electric star-making performance for Kiesza, and a very good reason why "Hideaway" is one of my personal defining songs of 2014. My favourite part of the performance (which is the screencap on the YouTube video above) is when Kiesza dances outside the theater, and ends up dancing in front of Rupert Jee’s Hello Deli. Long-time Late Show fans know the significance there, and with it happening post-retirement announcement, it was one of the first signs of it hitting me that the show would actually be ending soon. I also love the moment where she dances back into the theater, and they show CBS Orchestra guitarist Felicia Collins dancing with a huge smile on her face (3:36 into the video). This is just such a joyful moment of television, and it's everything I look for in a great Late Show performance. It also doesn't hurt that, in researching her after the performance, I found out she's from Calgary! A Calgarian on Letterman! It makes my heart swell with pride!
Next up: 40 Movies I'm Looking Forward to in 2015! Not promising a date, but it should be up soon. Thanks again for all the comments!
Last edited by Dr. Spaceman 12/21/2014 at 5:29 AM.