Sunday, February 7, 2016

2015 Singles: #10 through #1

#10 "Renegades" by X-Ambassadors
Go forth and have no fear
Come close the end is near
I don't know much more about the band than this: I heard this in a car commercial and then I kept hearing it. Chalk one up for ubiquity.

#9 "Here" by Alessia Cara
Excuse me if I seem a little unimpressed with this
An anti-social pessimist but usually I don't mess with this

The sound and the lyrics are so awesome that I knew this song would rate a position within my top 20 the first time I heard it.

#8 "You Never Asked Me" by Patty Griffin
I should have seen it from one hundred miles away
I should have beaten the odds of it any day

This song sucker punched me the first time I heard it. I feel like 20 years from now it will still bring a tear to my eye. JK, I'll be long dead in 20 years.

#7 "Can't Feel My Face" by The Weeknd
And I know she'll be the death of me, at least we'll both be numb
And she'll always get the best of me, the worst is yet to come

Bwahahaha, I am not paying attention. The Weeknd is the fourth of 3 artists to have 2 songs in my top 50. I need to stop.

#6 "I Can't Lose" Mark Ronson/Keyone Starr
I bet you never felt this way before
I bet you never seen so much action on the floor

Mark Ronson wanted to find a new singer for this track and he traveled to Mississippi looking for the right voice (because great voices like this can't be found in Colorado or Ohio). But he did find her, so I guess his way works too.

#5 "My Loving" by Mary J. Blige
Tonight, you don't need an alibi, it's all in your mind
You just need to close your eyes, I'll let you drive
The London Sessions ranked among my favorite albums of 2014 and became a pretty big part of early 2015's soundtrack. I was shocked that nothing from the album earned a Grammy nomination for Blige (she's been nominated 31 times with 9 wins and this album feature collaborations with last year's big Grammy winner, Sam Smith). What's my point? That's it's a god damn great album and if you haven't heard it yet, find it. The library probably has it.

#4 "Wherever Is Your Heart" by Brandi Carlisle
We always find the darkest place to go
God forgive our minds, we were born to roam

The Firewatcher's Daughter made a bunch of best of 2015 lists and picked up Brandi's first Grammy nomination. So when I listened to it, with this amazing rollicking track as the opener, I was a bit sad that nothing on the rest of the album could hold a candle to it. Maybe if this track had been in the middle of the songs I'd feel differently, but I don't see this is a damning of the album, just high praise of the song.

#3 "Parachute" by Chris Stapleton
You only need a roof when it's raining
You only need a fire when it's cold

As you may recall, there are 2 major themes in this year's top 50 list: big dopey pop, excellence in country music, and my inability to count. Stapleton's album is nominated for Album of the Year, a pleasant surprise to many who write the award off as clueless.

I couldn't relate to Kendrick Lamar's To Pimp a Butterfly, the best reviewed new album of the past 10+ years according to Metacritic, although apparently I wasn't the only one (possibly because I am white or possibly the emperor's clothes are a bit suspect). I mention Lamar primarily because Kanye was robbed of Album of the Year for My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy (not even nominated) and Butterfly is, according to the aggregated numbers, better, that for the Grammys to go with Stapleton or Swift would be bad for morale. In a year with only one "visible" Oscar nominee of color (in the Original Song category, for the Weeknd), it kinda needs to be Lamar. But if not Lamar, Stapleton is at least a celebration of someone who worked his way up (see also: Esperanza Spalding).

Is it weird that I am writing about Kendrick Lamar in Stapleton's single entry?  Probably. Here's an ass kicking piece of southern fried rock that takes me back to the afternoon bus ride home listening to 96 Rock.

#2 "Hotline Bling" by Drake
Ever since I left the city,
You got a reputation for yourself now

This fucking guy. I'm not sure why I couldn't bring myself to rank "Marvins Room" as the top single from 2011. I opted for Red Hot Chili Pepper's "Brendan's Death Song"--a genuinely good song with a tremendous origin--and then slotted a rather great Decemberists song in at number 2. Take that, talented Canadian who I will surely never meet.

And so he's back... (note to self: change that fucking lock), with another top 5 single on my list in an odd numbered year ("Hold On We're Going Home" was high on my list in 2013). But what's quasi-ironic, or maybe just coincidental, is that the Drake du jour is basically "Marvins Room" with a dancehall beat. And fuck if I don't love them both. Take that, talented Canadian who I will surely never meet, you're making music that I fucking love.

#1 "FourFiveSeconds" by Rihanna/Kanye West/Paul McCartney
'Cause all of my kindness
Is taken for weakness

For all the blathering on about big dopey pop and excellence in country, my top song isn't easily categorized (but it's certainly not either of those). It's not a surprise to see Rihanna collaborate with someone, certainly not Kanye, but a song this stripped down as the outcome is a surprise. And while I think I thought well of her voice, I'm pretty sure I didn't appreciate it as much as this song warrants (the girl sings the shit out of this, listen at 1:24--anyone who celebrates Janis shouldn't discount RiRi).

And Kanye doesn't make an ass out of himself. Not even close.

Also check out her eyes at 0:18.

If you can explain why I dig this song so much, let me know. Or if you can tell me what the song's actually about, let me know that too.

1 comment:

e. said...

No Ryan Adams covering T-Swizzle?! You're fired.
Unfortunately the Grammys are also ignoring this album and its stellar tracks.