Sunday, December 10, 2017
getting nearer to the big reveal:
21. One Night While Hunting… (The Flaming Lips): one of the reasons why I’ve never had The Flaming Lips on my year-end list is that the tune to which they’re marching is too vastly self-indulgent and alienating. Here though, while the track plays out like some legendary LOTR-type imagery, the production is at once a stunning companion.
22. Prom (SZA): Prom, black girl magic style!
23. Council Arts (The Council): they’ve done quite a few collaborations but this one is so uniform in its venom spitting and passing from Five Steez to everyone else, a-la Wu-tang.
24. HAK (Jane Weaver): obscure indie isn’t supposed to be this catchy.
25. Undercover (Kehlani): though the song is heavily inspired by Akon’s “Don’t Matter”; I’m yet to hear him do anything this incredibly slinky or catchy.
26. Los Ageless (St. Vincent): like the soundtrack of Hot In Cleveland, Annie Clark tries, in vain, to remain as youthful on Los Ageless as society dictates. As she puts the damage on, the deconstruction of it, verse by verse, makes for thrilling pop.
27. Lift (Radiohead): though it’s been around for two decades, “Lift” finally got released, retouched, etc this year with all the specialness that only Radiohead can bring to a simple rock song,
28. Stoop Lights (Bedwetter): Travis Miller a.k.a. Lil Ugly Mane breathes fire on this dirge of depression and self doubt.
29. Blood On Me (Sampha): his wide-array mastery of instruments on full display.
30. Dark Night (Amber Coffman): away from her Dirty Projectors obligations and Amber takes the pop sound she’s been flirting with to a whole new level.
31. Poppin’ Tags (Future): his usual head-bopping.
32. Bleeding Out Into The Blue (Sondre Lerche): there are few human experiences we all suffer from, heart-break being one of the main ones but as Lerche croons sadly about his, it’s the handling—internal and external—and contrast that takes the toll. As Attrell Cordes sang many years ago, “damaged me so well that I can’t tell”.
33. Thank You (James Vincent McMorrow): there’s a groundswell in McMorrow’s voice akin to Justin Vernon and this is electrifying to behold.
34. Lost (Danny Brown): it’s always thrilling to see how Brown throws everything up in the air and mold it into a solid pop core. As if everything wasn’t dizzy enough, check out the slow horns. Show-off.
35. Growing Up (Deb Talan): folk as sentimental music I get but how does Talan, who has had recent struggles with health, get away with a track that is a parent POV as a child is preparing to leave, possibly forever?
36. French Press (Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever): usually referring to a coffee brewing device, I can see the likeness in the song: well-crafted and patience production with wiseacre lyrics.
37. Hello Cruel World (Dent May): this kind of throwback emo pop should have been phased out already but somehow May manages to keep afloat amid all the sadness going on.
38. Lemon (N.E.R.D feat Rihanna): who knew N.E.R.D was still doing music but what a grand statement and grabbing Rihanna to decree her verse in such royal manner is the stuff that’s still keeping social media buzzing.
39. Told You I’d Be With The Guys (Cherry Glazerr): new label but still the refreshing riot grrrl punk attitude.
40. Fine Ass Hairdresser (Shabazz Palaces): no one does the psychedelic R&B better.