Wednesday, February 8, 2017

2016 Singles #10 to #1

10: The Chainsmokers/Daya "Don't Let Me Down"
So don't let me, don't let me, don't let me down
I think I'm losing my mind now
Too late. For some time I thought this was a Rihanna single. Also, unrelated, this song is nominated for a Grammy in the Best Dance Recording category. What kind of a shitty club expects you to be able to dance to this song?

9: The 1975 "She's American"
A big town
Synthetic apparitions of not being lonely
Look, he's having a breakdown
The 1975 bring a mélange of 80s British pop music sounds to their album with a very long name. Here Johnny Hates the Wet Wet Curious Cat but also Bourgeois Tagg stopped by for a minute. Is the song a critique of America? Don't care. We probably deserve it if it is.

8:  Shura "What's It Going To Be?"
I don't wanna give you up
I don't wanna let you love somebody else but me
So what's it gonna be?
A bright, dreamy pop song can be therapeutic. I need about 1,200 songs just as good as this. Stat.

7: Anderson .Paak "Put Me Thru"
Fuck around with this
Strange and elusive, too afraid to lose it
I don't mind this pain
Paak marries sweet soul, complicated rhythms and lyrical urgency into a great song.

6: DNCE/Kent Jones "Blown"
Put down your phone, don't send that pic
They won't come back unless they're missin' it
It's possible the audio equivalent of a retro filter is one of the overarching themes of this year's singles list. Make America(n Music) Great Again. (And by great we mean make it sound like older stuff that we're comfortable with not by challenging international music that we can't handle, cause we can't.)

5: Bastille "Good Grief"
Caught off guard by your favorite song
I’ll be dancing at a funeral, dancing at a funeral
With Wild Wood, their second studio album, Bastille seem to want to be a combination of Coldplay and Mark Ronson while I apparently want them to be a combination of Level 42 and China Crisis. This is still a great fucking song.

4: The Jayhawks "Quiet Corners & Empty Spaces"
In the end there's no way in redemption
Hey now, catch me quick before I walk away
Lyrically this is kinda nihilistic. But it's a glorious nihilistic pop song. That it would sit next to "Ultralight Beam" on this list is just one of those signs from God random things that happens.

3: Kanye West/Chance The Rapper/Kirk Franklin/Kelly Price/The-Dream "Ultralight Beam"
I'm tryna keep my faith
But I'm looking for more
Somewhere I can feel safe
And end my holy war
Kanye brings genuine gospel gravitas (Kirk Franklin, Kelly Price), joyful music (Chance the Rapper), and great pop music (The-Dream) to bear on the opening track of The Life of Pablo, and the result has been challenging me ever since I first heard it. The song, just the latest in a long line of things that remind me of my all-consuming doubt (the opposite of faith is doubt), portends salvation... just not for me.

2: Beyoncé "Sorry"
Middle fingers up, put them hands high
Wave it in his face, tell him, boy, bye
When you are trying to let someone who has cheated on you know that you aren't thinking about them, releasing a visual album about the whole thing might undermine that message. "Stop interrupting my grinding" is fine, that has a legitimate "bitch please" authenticity to it. I still find the reference to suicide a bit unsettling in the context of both this song and the album, but it's fleeting. Unless that's exactly the kind of cry for help people actual give. Mine haven't been very distinct (which is probably why they may have gone unnoticed—once again I am too subtle).

1: Beyoncé "Formation"
Okay, ladies, now let's get in formation, 'cause I slay (police officers in my war on cops)
Prove to me you got some coordination, 'cause I slay (police officers in my war on cops)
Slay trick, or you get eliminated
Years ago a former colleague used the term "poetic dual meaning" of a word that was part of a client's brand message. That idea came back to me years ago, naturally, with a Drake song. And it rears its head again here where the call for women to get in formation is also a call for women to get information. The song, which is obviously an anti-police anthem despite, you know, what the lyrics say, can also be seen as a rallying cry to women of color to love themselves, to work together, to get educated, (and to slay police officers). Beyoncé is responsible for the deaths of more than 900 police officers since this song's release, and for the on-going War On Drugs Poverty Homelessness Christmas Police. That's got to take a lot of her time. No wonder House of Deréon didn't last.

"Formation" made a lot of white people freak the fuck out. FOX News' reaction to the song and Beyonce's performance of it at the Super Bowl a year ago, pretty much guaranteed the song would rank near the top of my singles list. Using Red Lobster as a reward for good sex didn't hurt a bit.

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