Saturday, December 10, 2016
More great groves from the year...
41. Enough!! (A Tribe Called Quest): old school jam, proving that delivery--not production--is paramount in hip/hop. Samples Rotary Connection's "Memory Band" to great effect.
42. Into You (Ariana Grande): she may never outgrow the Mariah comparison but Ariana steps into grown woman heels with this dark underground jam that grooves for days.
43. Borderline (An Ode To Self Care) (Solange feat. Q-tip): Beyonce's sister has always been seen as a type of oddity but here flawlessly pushing her grooves on this track, Solange has finally made a breakthrough statement.
44. When It Rain (Danny Brown): Brown continues to morph into an Outkast-type alien and though some critics have received it with distance cool, I'm totally on board.
45. Eye Of A Hurricane (Kyle Craft): Craft states he's influenced by Dylan but he sounds like a Stones man to me, with that snarl.
46. 33 GOD (Bon Iver): sporting new, edgier sound but its still the same sweet refrain we've all come to love/
47. Le Bon Gripper (Divino Nino): this very outstanding band now tackling trippy, psychedelia.
48. Pink + White (Frank Ocean): Ocean works cleanly within his lines, his craftsmanship remains understated and impeccable.
49. Glory Hallelujah (Teleman): it's also tricky trying to juxtapose praise music into pop but Teleman has cooked this one just right.
50. Jang A Lang (Lizzo): I can't be the only one who hears the influence of Missy Elliott jingling through all this fabulousness.
51. Ali R U OK? (M.I.A.): Maya almost going folk-pop on us and it works!
52. Better Than Me (Blood Orange): such a subtle, stunning expose of insecurities.
53. Long Goodbye (Charlie Hilton): who say women can't challenge yet groove in rock?
54. Korea (St. Lenox):learning should be fun and if you can get me head-bopping through a geographical illustration then cool.
55. Strange Torpedo (Lucy Dacus): this is exactly the type of earnest pop Laura Marling should be doing.
56. Powerball (Topaz Jones): who hasn't thought about recording a winning lottery ticket eh!
57. Lie To Me (Future): while his messy beef with ex Ciara looks behind him now, kudos to Future for culling some good stuff, music-wise, from it.
58. Real Thing (Jonathan Johansson): if you listen real closely you realise that Johansson slips in and out of English but its such a groovy track that it doesn't alter the pleasure of listening to it.
59. Swords (M.I.A.): the sounds of her in between Arular and Kala, or in other words, her heyday.
60. Promise Me (Aish): the type of guitar-bleeding pop tune that will make Jaime Stewart mad that he didn't come up with the idea first.
Friday, December 9, 2016
some of the biggest name in pop music represented today...
61. Groovy Tony/Eddie Kane (Schoolboy Q): still on his thuggery but compacting two ideas into one proves masterful.
62. Appeals (Bayonne):wouldn't sound out of place on Animal Collective 2009's masterpiece, Merriweather Post Pavillion.
63. 96 (Turin Brakes): when the guitars bleed into the sad chorus, the track swings upwardly.
64. If Ya Want Me (The Jezabels): rotates blissfully in spectral production.
65. All Night (Chance The Rapper feat. Knox Fortune): skipping to the tune he alone is hearing.
66. I Have Been To The Mountain (Kevin Morby): the grand pop theatrics juxtaposed to beats equals a win.
67. Come To Mama (Lady Gaga): this new, stripped-down Gaga may very well be here most interesting yet.
68. Vertical (Animal Collective): the real standout from a disappointing album but here the boys shine and offer a glimmer of hope that harmonies may be strengthening again.
69. Kirby (Aesop Rock): yes its catchy but check out the groovy chunks of his vocal delivery too.
70. Shut Up Kiss Me (Angel Olsen): Olsen's consistent prodding of her intuitive feminine side continues to pay rick dividends.
71. Hungry (White Lung): a blueprint for all these starter rock groups as to how build an amazing some around a catchy chorus.
72. Rising Water (James Vincent McMorrow): add McMorrow to the increasing list of white soul brothers doing amazing stuff.
73. Burn The Witch (Radiohead): no one executes high art in rock like Radiohead, as this simple tune demonstrates.
74. Mellow Blue Polka Dot (Damien Jurado): almost has a sacred religious ethos to it.
75. Inside The Mattress (Future): like he says in the track, "i'm getting better/ I been in practice".
76. Try/Effortless (DVSN): while The Weeknd continues to fall to the lure of commercialism, younger horn dogs are moving in.
77. Laughter Is The Best Medicine (Cass McCombs):soul world-weariness finds its home.
78. Mouth Mantra (Bjork): no one else can fuse this type of spastic electronica like Bjork and sound so engrossing.
79. The New Romantics (Taylor Swift): perfectly captures the Gen Y recklessness and defiance.
80. Eliot St. (Quilt): sad, introspective ballad.
Thursday, December 8, 2016
Given the political nature of 2016, a lot of artists continued where last year left off. A lot of big stars doubled-down on their protests against police injustice and incoming hubris of President-elect Trump. The bridge between pop and other genres continues to blur while rock continues to disappear in its purest form. That said, here is part one:
81. Ugly Flower Pretty Vase (Moonface & Siinai): what is so unnerving about Spencer Krug is how easily he can sum up the depressed state humans go through when the chips are down, then reflect that through simple skepticism that things will ever change.
82. Drowning (Mick Jenkins feat. BADBADNOTGOOD): using the line uttered by Eric Gardner before cops choked him to death, Jenkins still full into #BlackLivesMatter territory, cinematic pop.
83. Riot (Childish Gambino): getting nu-funk just right.
84. Aviation (The Last Shadow Puppets): Turner, pares down his punk but when the instrumentals kick in, its a stunningly funky effect.
85. Rough Going (I Don’t Let Up)(Hamilton Leithauser + Rostam): two old school dudes reinvent themselves.
86. Gratuitous Abysses (Of Montreal): Kevin Barnes trying to reconnect to his craziness and it works here.
87. Out My Way (Bitter Raps) (Boogie): while a lot of trap rap artists fumble to cash in on the culture they want to reflect as grimy realness, Boogie captures it here and the skankiness of one line alone ("unless she's wifey/ I don't lick her...).
88. The 45 King (Blu):immediately reminds one of Jigga's "Hardknock Life", similarly striking a fine line.
89. C’est La Vie Way (Wolf Parade): the genius of Krug: sleepily going in on a French phrase with guitars. Shouldn't have worked but it does.
90. Love On The Brain (Rihanna):Rhi Rhi grabs a multitude of influences--the opening strains echo R.E.M's "Everybody Hurts"--and turns in her best balland, underscoring the vast improvement in her vocal work.
91. Outsiders (Suede): the Brit pop group proves that they're far from finished with this blissful effort.
92. Cardinal Cross (Mount Moriah): its difficult to breathe freshness into the alt-country genre, but here is an encouraging step.
93. Conqueror (Aurora): the Scandinavian pop win streak not letting up.
94. Old Habits Die Hard (Allie X): successfully juxtaposes dance chill and pop.
95. Reminder (Moderat): snazzy update on the Thom Yorke-esque wail incorporation of electronic music.
96. All My Tears (The Frightnrs): while Jamaican musicians continue to neglect ska, others have moved in to reinvent it with glorious sadness.
97. Planet Sizes (Steve Mason): silky smooth blue-eyed soul.
98. Rendezvous Girl (Santigold): when Santi White gets the late 1980s hard groove just right, it can still be magic.
99. Lake Superior (The Arcs): Dan Auerbach shows that he can switch lanes to front this new project, a much different tack from The Black Keys. Here he's tripping on the light fantastic.
100. Glore (Radkey): sure, hard rock is on its way out but Radkey's banging the shit outta it before its through.