It’s been a strange old year for American musician Jordy Asher. It all started to get a little crazy when BOOTS suddenly launched from a relative unknown into a global name, after he wrote 4 songs for Beyoncé’s last album, and co-produced a large majority of it. He quickly became tagged as ‘that mystery producer on ‘Beyoncé”, and to use his own words “life got weird”.
Since then, though, BOOTS has guested on a Run The Jewels track, and in turn invited Queen Bey to feature on ‘Dreams’; not to mention the small matter of his debut solo mixtape ‘WinterSpringSummerFall’.
Come 2015 BOOTS has big plans, and he’s obviously been up to all sorts. The photograph at the top of this article was taken by Matt Barrick of The Walkmen while the two were recording together at La Fabrique in the South of France. Barrick is also the drummer in Asher’s live band. In the meantime, though, BOOTS has put together a guide to his favourite tracks from the year for DIY.
I woke up on January 1st, 2014 in Sydney, Australia. There was an unshakeable feeling that I was being followed; a prison and its searchlights. Two weeks prior, an album that I had been working on for months came out without any notice to the public. Life got weird. The top of the year was like a macro lens pointed at my soul. As the year progressed the lens pulled out and came into focus. After a while I couldn’t see myself anymore. Viewing the year as a whole in retrospect, my problems pale in comparison to the true hardships people have faced. Things aren’t getting better. Here are/were my favorite songs of the year.
Lana Del Rey - Cruel World
“Get a little bit of bourbon in ya / Get a little bit suburban and go crazy”
This is such an excellent song that it hurts my bones. I won’t get into the album — a modern pop masterpiece — but this song is very special. When the opening tune on your album feels like it could also be the last, you’re onto something. It sounds like a hand drawn ad from the 1950’s for a Hotpoint gas oven with electric ranges. Lana Del Rey is the woman in the ad. Except instead of juicy Thanksgiving turkey, she’s retrieving a bottle of booze that she’s stashed. There aren’t cakes on the table in the foreground either, just mounds of ashed- out cigarette butts and magazines with all of the model’s eyes plucked out. Living and breathing proof that the American Fucking Dream is a big fat fucking fiction. Ride on Lana.
St Vincent - Prince Johnny
Easily one of my favorites of 2014. Undeniable grooves, lyrical punches at every turn, sleek, sexy, and unbelievably gorgeous melodies make this a perfect song. Not to mention, Annie Clark is a better guitarist than anyone in modern music. What I hear on this song, and album for that matter, is an artist fully realized. A person who has found their voice, even if sometimes that voice is thunder rolling out from the edge of her fingertips over the top of Devil’s Rock.
Run The Jewels - Early (feat. BOOTS)
I met El-P three years ago, long before I worked on anything outside of the underground “nobody knows who the fuck we are and if we died wouldn’t make a difference” world. He was a believer and supporter of me very early on. The impact and influence he’s had on me is astounding, tracing back way further to when I was 16 years old, fist fighting my brother, kicking holes in the wall while in the background “The Nang” blasted the room like napalm.
I don’t give a fuck if I was on this song and it seems biased. It was transcendent long before I went anywhere near it. The stories that both Mike and El tell, written prior to the deaths of Michael Brown and Eric Garner, show a much more frightening truth. These themes are not current event fodder. Violence, racial violence and inequality have been written into the fabric and DNA of our society and culture. Reminders like this make me wish that billions of people would be forced to hear this song on repeat rather than another stupid fucking “ass-jam” or misogyny anthem.
Damon Albarn - Everyday Robots
I first heard this song on a balcony in Sydney. I was staring at all of the different boats in the bay drifting by in slow motion. Thirteen plays later I knew that I might’ve had an unhealthy obsession with it. To me, Damon Albarn is one of those artists with a near- perfect track record. He knows how to write an incredible fucking song. This one in particular, with all of its unsubtle subtleties, makes it another instant classic for Damon’s already stellar catalogue. But here I sit, typing away on the stupid -box, sending this message through invisible airwaves to be read on smaller stupid-boxes. I guess I didn’t learn much outside of the fact that I, and everyone around me is an addict.
Perfume Genius - Queen
The keys on this song sound like they’re on fire. At the start they are a dull roar. The protagonist, or maybe antagonist, is staring into the flames with one of those EMT trauma blankets that you see hostages at the end of Die Hard wrapped in. “No family is safe when I sashay”. Our hero throws two canisters of gasoline, a stick of dynamite, an original copy of the Constitution and a voodoo doll into the fire. The next sound is a tower, cyclone of fire, dancing. I hope that there are people that have nightmares soundtracked by this song. I hope it chases hillbillies through the streets and throws beer bottles at their heads.