100 Best Songs of the 2010s – #46: “Mountain At My Gates” by Foals

The song at #46 on my list of 100 Best Songs of the 2010s is the gorgeous anthem “Mountain At My Gates” by British alt-rock band Foals. They rank among my current favorite bands and I passionately love their distinctive sound, characterized by uniquely beautiful guitar work and lead singer Yannis Philippakis’ rich vocals that make their music instantly identifiable. The group was formed in Oxford, England in 2005, and their current line-up consists of the aforementioned Yannis Philippakis (I love that name!) who also plays lead guitar, drummer and percussionist Jack Bevan, rhythm guitarist Jimmy Smith and keyboardist Edwin Congreave. Their previous bassist Walter Gervers left the band in 2019 to pursue other interests.

From their stunning fourth album What Went Down, “Mountain At My Gates” was released as a single in July 2015. The song peaked at #1 on the Billboard Alternative chart in early 2016. The lyrics seem to address perseverance and overcoming life’s obstacles, although in a 2015 interview with NME, Philippakis said the lyrics just came to him spontaneously in the studio: “The central image – ‘I see a mountain at my gates’ was from me getting more interested in seeing what would come out lyrically where there wasn’t a pre-conceived idea. Normally I write voraciously in books and journals, then harvest a lot of that for the record. This, though, came out instantaneously in the room.”

I see a mountain at my gates
I see it more and more each day
And my desire wears a dark dress
But each day, I see you less

Oh, gimme some time
Show me the foothold from which I can climb
Yeah, when I feel low
You show me a signpost for where I should go

The dramatic and powerful instrumentals – highlighted by those beautiful guitars – are fantastic, and Philippakis’ fervent vocals smolder and soar to impassioned wails as the song builds to a climactic flourish, leaving me covered in chills every time I hear it.

The interesting video produced for the song is a spherical video filmed with a GoPro omnidirectional camera. You can rotate the imagery with your cursor.

Top 30 Songs for March 1-7, 2020

1. EVERYTHING I WANTED – Billie Eilish (2)
2. MIGHT BE RIGHT – White Reaper (1)
3. NOVOCAINE – The Unlikely Candidates (3)
4. WARS – Of Monsters and Men (5)
5. THE BEST – AWOLNATION (6)
6. ORPHANS – Coldplay (4)
7. USED TO LIKE – Neon Trees (9)
8. DON’T START NOW – Dua Lipa (12)
9. DANCE OF THE CLAIRVOYANTS – Pearl Jam (13)
10. LIFE IN THE CITY – The Lumineers (14)
11. UNEVENTFUL DAYS – Beck (8)
12. 2ALL – Catfish and the Bottlemen (7)
13. YOU? – Two Feet (10) 20th week on list
14. HOW WE LIVE – Mandalan featuring Cadence XYZ (15)
15. VAN HORN – Saint Motel (16)
16. MARINERS APARTMENT COMPLEX – Lana Del Rey (17)
17. ADORE YOU – Harry Styles (19)
18. LOVE YOU FOR A LONG TIME – Maggie Rogers (20)
19. WHITE LIES & PALM TREES – The Lovepools (11) 21st week on list
20. CAN’T STOP – Vox Eagle (21)
21. UNCHAINED – Devon Gilfillian (22)
22. BLACK MADONNA – Cage the Elephant (23)
23. LOST IN YESTERDAY – Tame Impala (26)
24. COLORS – Black Pumas (27)
25. TEXAS SUN – Khruangbin & Leon Bridges (28)
26. HERO – Michael Kiwanuka (29)
27. THE RUNNER – Foals (18)
28. REASONS I DRINK – Alanis Morissette (N)
29. SHINE A LITTLE LIGHT – The Black Keys (N)
30. OH YEAH! – Green Day (N)

Top 30 Songs for February 23-29, 2020

1. MIGHT BE RIGHT – White Reaper (1)
2. EVERYTHING I WANTED – Billie Eilish (4)
3. NOVOCAINE – The Unlikely Candidates (3)
4. ORPHANS – Coldplay (2)
5. WARS – Of Monsters and Men (6)
6. THE BEST – AWOLNATION (9)
7. 2ALL – Catfish and the Bottlemen (8)
8. UNEVENTFUL DAYS – Beck (10)
9. USED TO LIKE – Neon Trees (12)
10. YOU? – Two Feet (7) 19th week on list
11. WHITE LIES & PALM TREES – The Lovepools (5) 20th week on list
12. DON’T START NOW – Dua Lipa (19)
13. DANCE OF THE CLAIRVOYANTS – Pearl Jam (20)
14. LIFE IN THE CITY – The Lumineers (15)
15. HOW WE LIVE – Mandalan featuring Cadence XYZ (16)
16. VAN HORN – Saint Motel (17)
17. MARINERS APARTMENT COMPLEX – Lana Del Rey (18)
18. THE RUNNER – Foals (11)
19. ADORE YOU – Harry Styles (21)
20. LOVE YOU FOR A LONG TIME – Maggie Rogers (22)
21. CAN’T STOP – Vox Eagle (24)
22. UNCHAINED – Devon Gilfillian (25)
23. BLACK MADONNA – Cage the Elephant (26)
24. REWARD – Paul Iwan (13)
25. BLIND LEADING THE BLIND – Mumford & Sons (14)
26. LOST IN YESTERDAY – Tame Impala (28)
27. COLORS – Black Pumas (29)
28. TEXAS SUN – Khruangbin & Leon Bridges (30)
29. HERO – Michael Kiwanuka (N)
30. NIGHT TIME – Isolda (23)

Top 30 Songs for February 16-22, 2020

1. MIGHT BE RIGHT – White Reaper (2)
2. ORPHANS – Coldplay (1)
3. NOVOCAINE – The Unlikely Candidates (4)
4. EVERYTHING I WANTED – Billie Eilish (14)
5. WHITE LIES & PALM TREES – The Lovepools (3)
6. WARS – Of Monsters and Men (8)
7. YOU? – Two Feet (5)
8. 2ALL – Catfish and the Bottlemen (10)
9. THE BEST – AWOLNATION (11)
10. UNEVENTFUL DAYS – Beck (12)
11. THE RUNNER – Foals (7)
12. USED TO LIKE – Neon Trees (13)
13. REWARD – Paul Iwan (6)
14. BLIND LEADING THE BLIND – Mumford & Sons (9)
15. LIFE IN THE CITY – The Lumineers (16)
16. HOW WE LIVE – Mandalan featuring Cadence XYZ (18)
17. VAN HORN – Saint Motel (19)
18. MARINERS APARTMENT COMPLEX – Lana Del Rey (20)
19. DON’T START NOW – Dua Lipa (21)
20. DANCE OF THE CLAIRVOYANTS – Pearl Jam (24)
21. ADORE YOU – Harry Styles (22)
22. LOVE YOU FOR A LONG TIME – Maggie Rogers (23)
23. NIGHT TIME – Isolda (15)
24. CAN’T STOP – Vox Eagle (25)
25. UNCHAINED – Devon Gilfillian (27)
26. BLACK MADONNA – Cage the Elephant (28)
27. DISSOLVE – Absofacto (17) 25th week on list
28. LOST IN YESTERDAY – Tame Impala (30)
29. COLORS – Black Pumas (N)
30. TEXAS SUN – Khruangbin & Leon Bridges (N)

Top 30 Songs for February 9-15, 2020

1. ORPHANS – Coldplay (2)
2. MIGHT BE RIGHT – White Reaper (3)
3. WHITE LIES & PALM TREES – The Lovepools (1)
4. NOVOCAINE – The Unlikely Candidates (5)
5. YOU? – Two Feet (4)
6. REWARD – Paul Iwan (6)
7. THE RUNNER – Foals (7)
8. WARS – Of Monsters and Men (9)
9. BLIND LEADING THE BLIND – Mumford & Sons (8)
10. 2ALL – Catfish and the Bottlemen (11)
11. THE BEST – AWOLNATION (12)
12. UNEVENTFUL DAYS – Beck (13)
13. USED TO LIKE – Neon Trees (15)
14. EVERYTHING I WANTED – Billie Eilish (18)
15. NIGHT TIME – Isolda (16)
16. LIFE IN THE CITY – The Lumineers (17)
17. DISSOLVE – Absofacto (10) 24th week on list
18. HOW WE LIVE – Mandalan featuring Cadence XYZ (20)
19. VAN HORN – Saint Motel (21)
20. MARINERS APARTMENT COMPLEX – Lana Del Rey (22)
21. DON’T START NOW – Dua Lipa (24)
22. ADORE YOU – Harry Styles (23)
23. LOVE YOU FOR A LONG TIME – Maggie Rogers (25)
24. DANCE OF THE CLAIRVOYANTS – Pearl Jam (30)
25. CAN’T STOP – Vox Eagle (26)
26. MAN ON THE MOON – The Common View (14)
27. UNCHAINED – Devon Gilfillian (28)
28. BLACK MADONNA – Cage the Elephant (29)
29. CIRCLES – Post Malone (19)
30. LOST IN YESTERDAY – Tame Impala (N)

Top 30 Songs for February 2-8, 2020

1. WHITE LIES & PALM TREES – The Lovepools (1)
2. ORPHANS – Coldplay (3)
3. MIGHT BE RIGHT – White Reaper (4)
4. YOU? – Two Feet (2)
5. NOVOCAINE – The Unlikely Candidates (6)
6. REWARD – Paul Iwan (7)
7. THE RUNNER – Foals (8)
8. BLIND LEADING THE BLIND – Mumford & Sons (9)
9. WARS – Of Monsters and Men (10)
10. DISSOLVE – Absofacto (5) 23rd week on list
11. 2ALL – Catfish and the Bottlemen (12)
12. THE BEST – AWOLNATION (13)
13. UNEVENTFUL DAYS – Beck (15)
14. MAN ON THE MOON – The Common View (11)
15. USED TO LIKE – Neon Trees (18)
16. NIGHT TIME – Isolda (17)
17. LIFE IN THE CITY – The Lumineers (19)
18. EVERYTHING I WANTED – Billie Eilish (27)
19. CIRCLES – Post Malone (14)
20. HOW WE LIVE – Mandalan featuring Cadence XYZ (21)
21. VAN HORN – Saint Motel (22)
22. MARINERS APARTMENT COMPLEX – Lana Del Rey (23)
23. ADORE YOU – Harry Styles (24)
24. DON’T START NOW – Dua Lipa (25)
25. LOVE YOU FOR A LONG TIME – Maggie Rogers (26)
26. CAN’T STOP – Vox Eagle (28)
27. ALL THE GOOD GIRLS GO TO HELL – Billie Eilish (16)
28. UNCHAINED – Devon Gilfillian (N)
29. BLACK MADONNA – Cage the Elephant (N)
30. DANCE OF THE CLAIRVOYANTS – Pearl Jam (N)

Top 30 Songs for January 26-February 1, 2020

1. WHITE LIES & PALM TREES – The Lovepools (2)
2. YOU? – Two Feet (1)
3. ORPHANS – Coldplay (3)
4. MIGHT BE RIGHT – White Reaper (4)
5. DISSOLVE – Absofacto (5) 22nd week on list
6. NOVOCAINE – The Unlikely Candidates (8)
7. REWARD – Paul Iwan (9)
8. THE RUNNER – Foals (11)
9. BLIND LEADING THE BLIND – Mumford & Sons (13)
10. WARS – Of Monsters and Men (14)
11. MAN ON THE MOON – The Common View (12)
12. 2ALL – Catfish and the Bottlemen (15)
13. THE BEST – AWOLNATION (16)
14. CIRCLES – Post Malone (6)
15. UNEVENTFUL DAYS – Beck (17)
16. ALL THE GOOD GIRLS GO TO HELL – Billie Eilish (10)
17. NIGHT TIME – Isolda (18)
18. USED TO LIKE – Neon Trees (19)
19. LIFE IN THE CITY – The Lumineers (20)
20. CALM DOWN – Pete Yorn (7)
21. HOW WE LIVE – Mandalan featuring Cadence XYZ (23)
22. VAN HORN – Saint Motel (24)
23. MARINERS APARTMENT COMPLEX – Lana Del Rey (25)
24. ADORE YOU – Harry Styles (26)
25. DON’T START NOW – Dua Lipa (27)
26. LOVE YOU FOR A LONG TIME – Maggie Rogers (28)
27. EVERYTHING I WANTED – Billie Eilish (29)
28. CAN’T STOP – Vox Eagle (30)
29. UNDERGROUND – MISSIO (21) 19th week on list
30. DRIFTING AWAY – Stereohaze (22) 19th week on list

Top 30 Songs for January 19-25, 2020

1. YOU? – Two Feet (5th week at #1)
2. WHITE LIES & PALM TREES – The Lovepools (2)
3. ORPHANS – Coldplay (3)
4. MIGHT BE RIGHT – White Reaper (5)
5. DISSOLVE – Absofacto (6) 21st week on list
6. CIRCLES – Post Malone (4)
7. CALM DOWN – Pete Yorn (7)
8. NOVOCAINE – The Unlikely Candidates (8)
9. REWARD – Paul Iwan (9)
10. ALL THE GOOD GIRLS GO TO HELL – Billie Eilish (10)
11. THE RUNNER – Foals (13)
12. MAN ON THE MOON – The Common View (14)
13. BLIND LEADING THE BLIND – Mumford & Sons (15)
14. WARS – Of Monsters and Men (16)
15. 2ALL – Catfish and the Bottlemen (17)
16. THE BEST – AWOLNATION (18)
17. UNEVENTFUL DAYS – Beck (19)
18. NIGHT TIME – Isolda (20)
19. USED TO LIKE – Neon Trees (21)
20. LIFE IN THE CITY – The Lumineers (22)
21. UNDERGROUND – MISSIO (11)
22. DRIFTING AWAY – Stereohaze (12)
23. HOW WE LIVE – Mandalan featuring Cadence XYZ (25)
24. VAN HORN – Saint Motel (26)
25. MARINERS APARTMENT COMPLEX – Lana Del Rey (28)
26. ADORE YOU – Harry Styles (29)
27. DON’T START NOW – Dua Lipa (30)
28. LOVE YOU FOR A LONG TIME – Maggie Rogers (N)
29. EVERYTHING I WANTED – Billie Eilish (N)
30. CAN’T STOP – Vox Eagle (N)

Top 30 Songs for January 12-18, 2020

1. YOU? – Two Feet (4th week at #1)
2. WHITE LIES & PALM TREES – The Lovepools (3)
3. ORPHANS – Coldplay (4)
4. CIRCLES – Post Malone (2)
5. MIGHT BE RIGHT – White Reaper (6)
6. DISSOLVE – Absofacto (5) 20th week on list
7. CALM DOWN – Pete Yorn (9)
8. NOVOCAINE – The Unlikely Candidates (10)
9. REWARD – Paul Iwan (11)
10. ALL THE GOOD GIRLS GO TO HELL – Billie Eilish (12)
11. UNDERGROUND – MISSIO (7)
12. DRIFTING AWAY – Stereohaze (8)
13. THE RUNNER – Foals (13)
14. MAN ON THE MOON – The Common View (14)
15. BLIND LEADING THE BLIND – Mumford & Sons (15)
16. WARS – Of Monsters and Men (16)
17. 2ALL – Catfish and the Bottlemen (17)
18. THE BEST – AWOLNATION (18)
19. UNEVENTFUL DAYS – Beck (21)
20. NIGHT TIME – Isolda (23)
21. USED TO LIKE – Neon Trees (24)
22. LIFE IN THE CITY – The Lumineers (26)
23. UNDER THESE SCARS – Falling Into Red ft. Dev (19) 19th week on list
24. LONELY – Secret American (20)
25. HOW WE LIVE – Mandalan featuring Cadence XYZ (29)
26. VAN HORN – Saint Motel (30)
27. THE END OF THE GAME – Weezer (25)
28. MARINERS APARTMENT COMPLEX – Lana Del Rey (N)
29. ADORE YOU – Harry Styles (N)
30. DON’T START NOW – Dua Lipa (N)

Top 30 Songs for January 5-11, 2020

1. YOU? – Two Feet (1)
2. CIRCLES – Post Malone (2)
3. WHITE LIES & PALM TREES – The Lovepools (4)
4. ORPHANS – Coldplay (7)
5. DISSOLVE – Absofacto (3)
6. MIGHT BE RIGHT – White Reaper (9)
7. UNDERGROUND – MISSIO (5)
8. DRIFTING AWAY – Stereohaze (6)
9. CALM DOWN – Pete Yorn (8)
10. NOVOCAINE – The Unlikely Candidates (10)
11. REWARD – Paul Iwan (12)
12. ALL THE GOOD GIRLS GO TO HELL – Billie Eilish (13)
13. THE RUNNER – Foals (15)
14. MAN ON THE MOON – The Common View (16)
15. BLIND LEADING THE BLIND – Mumford & Sons (17)
16. WARS – Of Monsters and Men (18)
17. 2ALL – Catfish and the Bottlemen (19)
18. THE BEST – AWOLNATION (20)
19. UNDER THESE SCARS – Falling Into Red featuring Dev (11)
20. LONELY – Secret American (14)
21. UNEVENTFUL DAYS – Beck (24)
22. BEEN BUSY – Thunder Fox (23)
23. NIGHT TIME – Isolda (27)
24. USED TO LIKE – Neon Trees (28)
25. THE END OF THE GAME – Weezer (21)
26. LIFE IN THE CITY – The Lumineers (30)
27. THE HYPE – twenty øne piløts (25) 23rd week on list
28. OBSESSION – Joywave (29)
29. HOW WE LIVE – Mandalan featuring Cadence XYZ (N)
30. VAN HORN – Saint Motel (N)