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 – 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. .
8 – 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.
9 – 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
10 – Starboy – The Weeknd – This song will be huge, Daft Punk and Abel? Hugeness.
11 – 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.
12 – 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
13 – Masterpiece – Big Thief – Heartbreaker about friendship and death and living on and flying on.
14 – 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
15 – 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.
16 – Metallica – If you were wondering whether the metal superstars could drag themselves off the psychiatrist couch long enough to get pissed, well they do here, if only to decry the time they wasted on their psychiatrist’s couch
17 – Private Show – Britney Spears – The album is pretty good, but this is a stripper anthem-metaphor that outmetaphors Rihanna. Man, I dig those vocals, I don’t care how they got em.
18 – 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.
19 – Distant Sky – Nick Cave And The Bad Seeds – A spiritual in search of solace.
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 – Once They Banned Imagine – Drive-By Truckers – a quiet song about a different kind of protest.
22 – 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.
23 – 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.
24 – 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..
25 – 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.
26 – Cody’s Theme – AJJ – The visions eventually stop, but the riff goes on forever.
27 – Friend one – A Boogie with A Hood – A post-seduction song that isn’t where it appears, more like a friend with benefits who wants a deeper relationship: it has the confusion of trut.
28 – 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.
29 – We Gon Ride – Dreezy – From the most fun rap album of the year, the most fun rap song of the year. Featuring Gucci Mane.
31 – Rebecca Casanova – Slow Club – Lovely heartbreaker about infidelity and forgiveness with an acoustic yet 80s ambience.
32 – Perfect Illusion – Lady Gaga – Hard rockin’ Gaga brings the pain in this lost lover
an old school New York feel
oedipal vulnerable and blue collar visceral
An emotional song with Miya’s acrobatic and vulnerable vocals
Creem – America’s Only Rock ‘n’ Roll Magazine, Reviewed Issue By Issue – May 1973 (Volume 4, Number 12)
From Robert Johnson to the Ramones – what a life!
one of the great top tens of the 2020
will mark their return to the road in early February, 2023 with a string of to-be-announced US arena dates
enjoyable and soulful romp
another full day of music
his weakest album to date
hoedown, snappy , country slappy