Picnictyme and Sam Lao Lift Off at No. 5.

Just as we have at the end of the last two years, the Central Track staff has once again spent the last week reminiscing and pouring pretty tirelessly over the best locally-tied songs of the year. By now, of course, most folks expect as much from their local culture publications. Unlike in previous years, though, we've decided to do things a little differently in 2014. For one, the influx of notable tunes this year prompted us to double the length of our list — from the Top 50 to the Top 100 local songs of the year. At the same time, we didn't want to overwhelm our readers with a huge list of 100 tracks to take in all once, either. To that end, we're going to roll the thing out in daily chunks, unveiling more songs every weekday through the end of the month. It should serve to make the thing a little easier to digest — and give you time to check out the embedded streams of anything you might have missed throughout the course of the year. Really, though, you should give each of these songs a spin. They all deserve at least that much.

Over the course of the past decade, Dallas rapper, singer and producer Picnictyme has been a permanent, if underappreciated, fixture at the forefront of Dallas hip-hop.

His resume speaks for itself: In the mid to late '00s, he served as the production arm in the three-pronged PPT outfit that helped force Dallas hip-hop out of the underground and into the rock clubs; in 2008, he joined up with some of Dallas' top DJs and producers to form Erykah Badu's live backing production collective The Cannabinoids; in 2011, he flexed his production prowess once more, serving as the sole beatmaker behind A.Dd+'s breakthrough When Pigs Fly release, not only putting that group on the map but also helping set the Dallas hip-hop scene up for the warm reception it still relishes in today; and, just last year, he teamed up with DJ Sober to form Booty Fade, a hip-hop-indebted dance production tandem whose hip-shaking, often Dallas song-sampling rhythms are among the more sonically interesting dancefloor anthem one's likely to find anywhere in the States.

THE TOP 50 LOCAL SONGS OF 2013. // The Official Central Track Staff List.
THE TOP 50 LOCAL SONGS OF 2012. // The Official Central Track Staff List.

But, aside from a quick tease of his own solo material in 2012, the man born Richard Escobedo has mostly kept his own tracks out from the limelight, choosing instead to continue work on his collaborative efforts as his own sounds gets refined.

Turns out some songs are too good to keep under wraps. And, in July of this year, he somewhat quietly released one of them, a song meant to tease his eventual, still-forthcoming solo debut, Sea Monsters.

Called “Lift Off” and featuring the similarly rap- and R&B-straddling up-and-comer Sam Lao, the song is, put simply a stunner, a fascinatingly cohesive mishmash of Picnic's collective sonic influences.

The song's strength comes in its sly reliance on Picnic and Lao's secondary assets: his rapping and her singing. Each of these artists is primarily known for the opposite skill — and yet, here, the script is flipped to marvelous bouncy and intoxicating results.

That intoxicating aesthetic isn't by accident, either: Thematically, the song centers around a passing, drunken encounter and its characters' loose hopes at taking things to the next level.

“I don't remember you / You don't remember me” Lao and Picnic each offer up at one point in the track, perhaps not intentionally alluding to Picnic's oft-uncredited behind-the-scenes efforts in the progression of the Dallas hip-hop sound in recent years, but doing so just the same. Later, Lao's solo verse takes things step farther: “Who's really keeping score?” she asks, rhetorically.

Let's answer that question with another one: Who cares? Anyone incapable of hearing and appreciating the immense skill it takes to produce a track as alluring as this one doesn't deserve a say in the final tallies, anyway.

The Full List: The Top 100 Local Songs of 2014.

100. Blank-Men — “Mole-Man Therapy”
99. Snow tha Product — “1 Time”
98. Goodnight Ned — “50,000 Years”
97. Pageantry — “Spine”
96. Lou Charle$ — “RiCH KiD$”
95. iill — “Surface Friend”
94. Ghost Image — “The Way”
93. County Lines — “City Between Two Cities”
92. B. Anderson — “Peer Pressure”
91. Wesley Geiger — “As the Crow Flies”
90. Somebody's Darling — “Bad Bad”
89. Radioactivity — “Danger”
88. Bobby Sessions — “Buckle Up”
87. This Will Destroy You — “Invitation”
86. Final Club — “No Regrets (M.U.R.P.H.Y.)”
85. Vincent Neil Emerson — “Hesitation Blues”
84. Lecrae — “Say I Won't”
83. Luke Wade — “The Runaround”
82. Convoy & the Cattlemen — “My Window Faces South”
81. Centro-matic — “Salty Disciple”
80. Bad Mountain — “Union Hill”
79. Dorrough — “Beat Up The Block “
78. The Longshots — “Me or California”
77. The Paychecks — “Prison Bars”
76. Dead Flowers — “I'm Leaving”
75. Birdflower — “Bish at the Beach”
74. Bad Beats — “Floor of Love”
73. Rigor Mortis — “Flesh For Flies”
72. Yung Nation — “Molly on My Chest”
71. Black Milk — “What It's Worth”
70. Fishboy — “Bury My Body”
69. Sugarfoote & Co. — “Long Gone Daddy”
68. Sexual Jeremy — “Square Eyes”
67. Blessin' — “Green Song”
66. Mink Coats — “Another Notch in the Bible Belt”
65. -topic — “Pocket Dialed the Queen”
64. Unconscious Collective — “Kotsoteka”
63. Hot Coffins — “I H8 Black Magic”
62. Cashmir — “Numbers”
61. Fever Dreamer — “A Month of Sunshine”
60. The Fox & the Bird — “No Man's Land”
59. Street Arabs — “Maltese Falcon”
58. Power Trip — “This World (2014)”
57. Zach Witness — “Amen Love”
56. Terrence Spectacle — “Futon”
55. Nighty Nite — “Temporary Custodian”
54. Bethan — “Low Expectations”
53. Baring Teeth — “Mountain”
52. Sealion — “Heavy Fizz”
51. Various Artists — “Dallas vs. Everybody”
50. Bummer Vacation — “Aye Mas Tiempo Que Vida”
49. Moonbather — “Stars From Planes”
48. Kacey Musgraves — “The Trailer Song”
47. Catamaran — “Weekdays”
46. Buffalo Black — “Bad Seed”
45. Mountain of Smoke — “Wise Owl”
44. Chambers — “Inner Room”
43. The Phuss — “Straight Line Impala”
42.Dripping Wet — “Yearbook”
41. Sarah Jaffe — “Defense”
40.Madison King — “Saved By a Son of a Gun
39. Ish D — “Keep Moving”
38. Wild Party — “Chasin' Honey”
37. Gollay — “Fight or Flight”
36. Blue, the Misfit — “Trillionaire”
35. Old 97's — “Nashville”
34. Party Static — “Poor Baby”
33. TEAM* — “I Like It”
32. Nayah — “Let it Go”
31. Oil Boom — “The Sneak Tip”
30. Spooky Folk — “Disheveled”
29. Parquet Courts — “Instant Disassembly”
28. Blackstone Rangers — “Frozen Echo”
27. Cozy Hawks — “L.A. Girl”
26. Brandon Fxrd — “Everything On Me”
25. Daniel Markham – “Disconnected and Flying”
24. Mystery Skulls — “Magic”
23. Sudie — “Heartattack”
22. Leon Bridges — “Coming Home”
21. Analog Rebellion — “Hot Shit”
20. Eat Avery's Bones — “Proboner”
19. Lily Taylor — “Across the Hills”
18. Booty Fade — “It Goes Down
17. A.Dd+ — “INNISHO”
16. Old 97's — “Let's Get Drunk and Get It On”
15. Howler Jr. — “Oh Dear”
14. Son of Stan — “The Lady That's Around Me”
13. Natural Anthem — “Paranoid”
12. St. Vincent — “Digital Witness”
11. Lord Byron — “Posh”
10. Danny Diamonds — “Hot Summer”
9. The Cannabinoids ft. The Outfit, TX — “Spic & Span”
8. Sealion — “Automobile”
7. Alsace Carcione — “Juke Joint”
6. St. Vincent — “Birth in Reverse”
5. Picnictyme — “Lift Off (feat. Sam Lao)”
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