1 – Never Be The Same – Camila Cabello – Well, well, it didn’t take long for Cabello to show her true colors, that “I didn’t put the Ed Sheeran collaboration on the new album because it didn’t fit” certainly lifted the veil with ease. She sounded so arrogant that it made her just a girl in the world pose sound beyond suspect. This single, from late 2017, leads off her debut album where she changed her, admittedly stupid, album title to meet the market, is so great though her diva in waiting act doesn’t much matter. The smart metaphor, love as addiction, chirps on the song as it delves itself into electronic desire. The performance on Fallon was epic, and I am frankly surprised it isn’t bigger.
2 – bless ur heart – serpentwithfeet – Josiah Wise is Frank Ocean with his guard all the way down, a terrific singer with a skill to suitaly arranged songs, this is perfect love song that draws you into a world of love fulfillment.
3 – Make Me Feel – Janelle Monae – Dirty Computer is a huge album for Janelle, and another song is at the top of my best songs, the album is at the top of my best albums, and this Prince rip? Homage? Whatever you want to call it, it is one of a kind that isn’t, and worth its position if only for her shout of “Good God, I can’t help it”.
4 – Knockin’ On Your Screen Door – John Prine – This is one of those songs that feels as though it has been around since the 1950s, a gorgeous country rumble with a touch of twang and a nice shuffle drum.
5 – One Kiss (with Dua Lipa) – Calvin Harris – I admit it, I can’t call hits. I could have sworn this would dislodge a Drake song here and there. A top DJ/Producer and Dua’s Rihanna next generation vocal on this impeccably crafted piece of dance pop.
6 – Moon River – Frank Ocean – Remember that 60 minutes interview with Henry Mancini when he regretted not having spent more time with his family (he would die soon after from the cancer that was ravaging him), that softness of his soul sounds like the sweetly sad drifter here. Frank gives the song, which Audrey Hepburn hadn’t missed with, a soulfulness and much less yearning than complete precision as he proved that computers have spirits in the machine.
7 – Almost Had to Start a Fight/In and Out of Patience – Parquet Courts – When the East Village Eye’s Leonard Abrams recommended these New York City 1980s post-punk 1980s sounding wannabes I thought his nostalgia buzz was off the charts. However, this twofer of half kilter rocker weirdness is a masterpiece of sorts, throwing in everything they have including background harmonies and guitars like chugging trains before bailing with a “This next one’s called “Freebird 2” “.
8 – There’s A Fortune In Those Hills – Pete Townshend – An outtake off Who Came First, this is more like if you had some sort of defect and every time you listened to the masterpiece you skipped it and then suddenly discovered it.
9 – Drinking About You – Kate Nash – The album would prove a little disappointing but this first single finds Kate back with all her skills of melody and wittiness intact after a five year break.
10 – Walk in Circles – Grant-Lee Phillips – “St. Augustine said the wicked walk in circles and I thought, I have no problem with that. Sign me up with the witches then, if that means moving in step with nature – but let’s not go backwards.” This is the best slice of clangy folk meets classic rock, it’s like Byrdsy with a different type of singer.
11 – Alive (with Offset & 2 Chainz) – Lil Jon – What “Turn Down For What” taught us was that crunk is best when Lil Jon growls, and even if this isn’t crunk, even if it only really punches hard when Lil Jon takes over, when Lil Jon takes off the excitement explodes in way trap doesn’t.
12 – Things Have Changed – Bettye Lavette – One of the great cover artists performs one of Bob Dylan’s greatest songs, a sequel to “The Times They Are A’ Changin'”
13 – All The Stars (with SZA) – Kendrick Lamar – An echoey r&b track that finally finds a use for SZA where she isn’t emoting in a coma. The Kendrick verse is best for being a little calmer. Kendrick reminds me of Chris Stapleton, they both need a valium…
14 – God’s Plan – Drake – Drake is one of those guys that takes me time to warm to, I dismissed this Drake by the numbers at first, but after being unable to escape it for a week, it clicked. That “bad things…” hook is huge.
15 – Spotlight – Marshmello, Lil Peep – With every passing day the loss of Lil Peep looms larger than ever, Marshmello gives Lil Peep a simple place to sing the mainstream pop moment love thing “loving you is like a fairytale, I just can’t pick up the phone again…” mixes his message perfectly on this break up song
16 – God Save Our Young Blood (with Lana Del Rey) – BØRNS – It is bizarre how the lo fi down beat Lana can go on to Borns song and steal it with such ease, this is a high concept, loud soft work, than a coupla minutes in Lana arrives for a verse and it flies.
17 – My My My! – Troye Sivan – Troye is like The Drums with an ear for the chart, and this is a gay moment which finds the attractive guy in complete seduction mode and with a chorus that ranks high “my,my,my, spend every night with you…” exactly.
18 – City Looks Pretty – Courtney Barnes – I have been profoundly cool to Courtney, all that thingy gardner stuff, just no. But this singy songy hook laden and extremely melodic song is a huge exception.
19 – The Middle – Zedd, Maren Morris, Grey – The chorus is one of the best you will hear this year, and that is all about Australian songwriter Sarah Aarons who kills it completely even if it was just 30 seconds on a memo.
20 – ATM – J Cole – That “count it up, count it up, count it up” hook is the best thing on the entire album.
There is just a lot to love
the sound seemed to erupt from every side of the room
still on top
“danceable music for the end of days”
contracts its world in Nashisms
let’s take what we are offered
It’s the music, stupid
a restless and fearless freak show