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 – 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.
3 – 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
4 – Masterpiece – Big Thief – Heartbreaker about friendship and death and living on and flying on.
5 – 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.
6 – 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.
7 – 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.
8 – 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
9 – 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
10 – Unperfect Actor – Rufus Wainwright – A rocker so strong, it seems to wipe out five years of meandering in one swoop.
11 – 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.
12- Gone For Good – Teen – Break up song that aches with a synth pop sorry and a finishing end close up mood.
13 – How The Mighty Have Fallen – Margo Price – This near perform country song is so great that I overestimated the album. Classic country.
14 – Hypnotized – Akon – A Caribbean lilt adds flavor to a click track and a hook ridden vocal.
15- 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.
16 – 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.
17 – 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.
18 – 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.
19 – World Is Mine – A$AP Ferg and Big Sean – Two giants, rapping at death defying skill levels, with a great chorus.
20 – Elegancia – Mac Gollehon And The Hispanic Mechanics – One of my best friends, Tomas Doncker ,sings the lead and wrote the lyric and the mix of genres, hip hop, jazz, soul, EDM works its magic.
distinct and wondrous without being obvious or obnoxious
except for the title track the songs are on vacation
simultaneously self-effacing and egomaniacs
essentially a disco remix of “Rocket Man” featuring one of the the UK’s biggest stars…
“I literally really need you to jump up and down”
Friday night might kill us but Thursday evening is a blast
it just isn’t the triumph she needed after six years
an impressive sonic ride.
a high-spirited Post Pandemic anthem