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.