I brain-farted and forgot to include numbers 8 and 7 of my Top Ten Tracks of All-Time list last week, so here are those:
8. “Motorcycle Emptiness” – Manic Street Preachers
7. “m.A.A.d. city” – Kendrick Lamar, MC Eiht
Numbers 6 and 5 are due this week, and here are those. Reminder that each song will get a feature in the coming months. Next up will be “Truth” by Kamasi Washington.
6. “Neighborhood #1: Tunnels” – Arcade Fire
5. “Carry the Zero” – Built to Spill
As optimistic as I was going into this week, the first week of 2019, and therefore the first week where music can officially be included in end-of-the-year lists in 11 months, I was let down. “Let Down,” by the way, is my favorite Radiohead song. Don’t tell “Paranoid Android.” He’s a bit unpredictable and raucous on occasion. Anyway, one takeaway from this week’s collection of new music was how much of it was released by artists that are up-and-coming, or at least working on it. Noname is Chicago’s darling at the moment. When her single dropped this week, I was actually in Chicago, and there was plenty of buzz about it on New Years Eve. Pretty cool I got to experience that. And for every other artist and band dreaming of making it, I hope they get that type of support at home, too.
[While my taste in music is definitely not limited to any specific genres, I was fascinated with the rock scene in the 2000s in New York. That magnetism toward investigating this fascination led me to finding this book, Meet Me in the Bathroom: Rebirth and Rock and Roll in New York City 2001-2011, by Lizzy Goodman. It is essentially a written documentary film. It is full of absolutely insane details about bands like The Strokes, The Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Vampire Weekend, and a hundred others. It left me infatuated with the era and more appreciative of people just trying.]
5. “Crushed Up” – Future
Everything that Future does, with the exception of his feature on “King’s Dead,” is really good, and tends to elicit whatever feeling I want it to make feel when I hear it. If I’m at the gym, and Future’s going off, I feed off of it and go Beast Mode. If I’m sitting on the couch, kind of slumped over, Kermit-with-a-typewriter writing my blog, and Future’s on, it kind of puts me at ease. This is a big reason why Future is so popular–he’s accessible whether you’re looking to get hype, or chill.
“Crushed Up” is an exemplary microcosm for this paradox.
4. “Juice” – Lizzo
This is just a damn good pop song. It’s infectious, charismatic, and memorable. It sounds awfully a lot like Bruno Mars instrumentally, but good luck trying to get the “ya ya eeee” out of your head.
3. “Song 31” – Noname
Noname is just so cool. Her flow seems so effortless, but you can tell through her writing that her work ethic is serious. When she raps, I picture her sitting on a couch with her feet on the table, just casually spitting some incredibly cool bars. I don’t like the hook on this song, but everything else is really impressive. Her 2018 LP Room 25 is on most critics’ best-of lists, right where it belonged.
2. “Nira (I’m Alive)” – Uncle Uncle
I love discovering bands that legitimately haven’t hit their stride yet. Their top-streamed song on Spotify is this song, which has 12,715 streams. I am looking forward to seeing how they evolve musically, but the components are there: the guitar sounds fantastic, the drums are loud and emphatic, and the vocals favor complementing over dominating. I like this song quite a bit, even if the “hooooo” refrain is annoying and should be scrapped.
1. “Friendzone” – Huron John
Another number 1 spot goes to an eighteen-year-old. I’m not sure what this means for music in the future, but if Generation Z continues to grind out clever, dynamic, and inspired music, then I’m very excited. I love the melody on the chorus and the quirk of the synths and harmonies.
I do think it’s hilarious that my day job is to teach seventeen-year-olds and, here I am, praising musicians their age. It makes their musical virtuosity and drive all the more impressive.
Here is the rest of this week’s best music: