1 – Ultralight Beam – Kanye West – Unimaginable Gospel faith based song that starts with a child calling out the devil and ends with Chance taking over the mic, one of Kanye’s greatest achievements.
2 – Come Down – Anderson Paak – As random as you might believe this to be, given the surfeit of brilliance on the album, this is a cool beans party track with a bass hook to die for. The best of the best and it never comes down, on stage it is the most thrilling thing you’ll see all year.
3 – Finish Line/Drowning – Chance The Rapper – It is something like an answer song to “Ultrabright Beam”, a Gospel pop singalong with complete power, the boy who lived recasting Chance as Harry -and he deserves it.
4 – Hold Up – Beyoncé – The genius here is how she uses utility players from Father Misty to Ezra Koenig to Burt Bacharach for precisely what she wants them, and what she gets by this subtraction through addition, is a sublime pop stroke
5 – St. Paul’s (Westerberg Comprehensive) – Martha – A Belle And Sebastian soundalike about homosexuality and public schooling, which connects punk royalty to the lower middle class.
6 – No Sleep – Gucci Mane – The best of his new crop of songs, is a serious self portrait of a recovering drug addict and jailbird, “fuck the feds, fuck the police, fuck the DA” goes to the chorus.
7 – First Storm Of The Summer – Free Cake For Every Creature – A whispered, beautifully subdued song, like being at summer camp with a new love, hiding under the bed while she strums her acoustic. Just magnificent.
8 – My Bodies Made Of Crushed Little Stars – Mitski – This is indie pop as folk experimental, anti-mainstream shot down in colors rock and roll drama, a song so strong that you know what it means to be dead.
9 – Gone For Good – Teen – An indie pop triumph of minor beats, synth squiggles and alt rocking art rocking but the song is pitch black, “No longer a friend no longer a lover, I shook from the chill and wept where you stood,” though there is hope in the sound somewhere, just perhaps the way even the darkest of songs, if the tune is good, has hope in its being.
10 – Who I Thought You Are – Santigold – The song makes more sense when you think of her Devo fanaticism, the choppy rhythm is an echo, but the song itself is the essence of indie rock goes 80s.
11 – Reaper – Sia – How Rihanna turned this terrific pop dance track is beyond me, Sia has said this song means nothing to her. So what? It is a sugary gooey addictive pop move
12 – Masterpiece – Big Thief – Heartbreaker about friendship and death and living on and flying on.
13 – Call Off Your Dogs – Lake Street Dive – From maybe the best album of the year form you know, adults, this is a gorgeou blue eyed soulful amalgam
14 – Unperfect Actor – Rufus Wainwright – A rocker so strong, it seems to wipe out five years of meandering in one swoop.
16 – Crazy = Genius – Panic! At The Disco – One part Cherry Popping Daddies, one part emo circa 2008, and two parts ode to two of the Wilson brothers, plus a great Mike Love dis.
17 – How The Mighty Have Fallen – Margo Price – This near perform country song is so great that I overestimated the album. Classic country.
18 – Hypnotized – Akon – A Caribbean lilt adds flavor to a click track and a hook ridden vocal.
19 – Same Ol’ Mistakes – Rihanna – This is the Tame Impala cover but even better, than best of all, it shows she has real gifts as an interpreter less obvious yet deeper.
20– A Change Of Heart – The 1975 -This career trajectory changing masterpiece from their career changing trajectory sophomore album, has the band leader getting instagrammed to death.
21 – Temple – Baauer, M.I.A., G-Dragon – With an astounding top of the line electronic-EDM featured duo, you think it can only go one way, and it does but more: a giant, spiritual wall of sound, plus some terrific rapping.
22 – Save Me – Anthony Hamilton – Hamilton sounds like old school r&b and neo-soul, and new school r&b hip hop, all at the same time. Plus a great vocal.
21 – Full Moon Tide – Steve Gunn – If there is an entire summer daze acoustic guitar scene based upon Neil Young’s Harvest, this is the one song that absolutely justifies it.
22 – The Werewolf – Paul Simon – Good for two songs an album, this is one of them, a nightmare world well to the left of his “The Afterlife” -in the latter death is the DMV, in the former even death can’t save you from the wrath of the working class.
23 – WOW – Beck – His best song since “The Golden Ages” is his most thrilling since “Get Real Paid”. A remarkable turn backwards and forwards at the same time.
24 – Wona – Mumford And Sons – The best West meets West African mash up not sung by a midget.
25 – Bleeding Heart – Regina Spektor – “Never, never mind your bleeding heart…” the felicitously returned Regina advises on this lo fi yet fulfilling pop stroke.
26 – Frankie Sinatra – The Avalanches – At first a keen fave of the year, the album wore off but the song is the track of the summer novelty track that didn’t happen.
27 – FDT – YG – Oddly enough, there is a bit of betrayed lover in YG’s not exactly subtle take. How important it’ll prove to be depends on November.
28 – Elegancia – Mac Gollehon And The Hispanic Mechanics – One of my best friends, Tomas Doncker ,sings the lead and wrote
29 – World Is Mine – A$AP Ferg and Big Sean – Two giants, rapping at death defying skill levels, with a great chorus
30 – Full Moon Tide – Steve Gunn – If there is an entire summer daze acoustic guitar scene based upon Neil Young’s Harvest, this is the one song that absolutely justifies it.
31 – We Gon Ride – Dreezy – From the most fun rap album of the year, the most fun rap song of the year. Featuring Gucci Mane.
32 – Brohemian Rhapsody – Undoubtedly, the funniest pun around is just 30 seconds of thresh and harmony.
a nightmare that becomes a dream
Creem – America’s Only Rock ‘n’ Roll Magazine, Reviewed Issue By Issue – November 1976 (Volume 8, Number 6)
Roger Daltrey expressed his desire to set Lester Bangs on fire and “piss on him.”
“can’t we at least be the Black Iggy Pops.”
Eileen Shapiro: “Portfolio Of A Rockstar Journalist” With Philip Bailey Bringing Earth, Wind, And Fire
Jazz has always been my first love as a kid
some big country and Americana names
free for all has always been the idea behind EPR
The power-pop sensibilities of the Black Lips
Bey with a double header