A Beyoncé Playlist

I was working in the international licensing department at Sony Music when Destiny’s Child released their debut album in 1998. I would field requests to include their first single, “No, No, No,” on compilation CDs. Matthew Knowles, the group’s manager and father of their usual lead singer, Beyoncé, was in favor of granting all the license requests. “I want them to become a household name” he told me. Look how far Beyoncé has come. Today’s playlist consists of my 30 favorite Beyoncé tracks. She’s had bigger hits than some of the songs included, though if I must choose, I’d choose these.

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Records of the Year

The Grammy Awards are being presented tonight. Woo. It’s billed as “music’s biggest night,” just as May 7 through May 16 is billed as “the biggest week in American birding,” if only because ten days is a lot for one week. Birders. Am I right, people? Performers at this year’s Grammys include Bruno Mars and Anderson .Paak doing their new song, because what better way to celebrate the music of 2020 than with a single that was released last week? Performers I’m looking forward to include Miranda Lambert, Cardi B, HAIM, Megan Thee Stallion, Brittany Howard, Doja Cat, Dua Lipa, and Billie Eilish, whose “Everything I Wanted” is up for Record of the Year. That’s my favorite of the nominees, though I think the award will go to Beyoncé for “Black Parade,” and I have no problem with that. However, if the award goes to that record I never heard of until I started typing this sentence, sneakers will be thrown at my television (though that record may be good for all I know). For Album of the Year my vote goes to Fiona Apple’s Fetch the Bolt Cutters, as it was handily the best album of 2020. It probably won’t win, seeing as it wasn’t nominated. What was nominated over Apple’s album? That Coldplay album you forgot about and the Jacob Collier album you never heard of until you started reading this sentence (though that album may be good for all you know). Of the albums nominated, I’d pick HAIM’s. It’s very good. Not Fetch The Bolt Cutters good, but very good nonetheless. If HAIM win I hope they hand their award to Fiona Apple live on the telecast, which would be super impressive, seeing as they won’t be in the same room. I’m sure tonight’s show will include a tribute to dead people done by living people who are no match for said dead people. I’d rather want a montage of clips of the dead people performing when they were living people. <Fill in the blank> screaming is not representative of what made Aretha Franklin amazing. No disrespect to <fill in the blank>, but there’s more to being the Queen of Soul than having a mic and ovaries.

It’s easy to shit on the Grammys, as they are so shittable, but to be fair, not every Record of the Year is as terrible as 1988’s recipient, “Don’t Worry, Be Happy.” Here are thirty of the better winners:

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Top Songs Of 2016

Herewith, my top 99 tracks of 2016 (playlist below the written list):
1. “Sorry” – Beyoncé
2. “Happy” – Mitski
3. “Wasn’t My Fault” – Christie and the Dream Beats
4. “WTF (Where They From)” – Missy Elliott featuring Pharrell
5. “Starboy” – The Weeknd featuring Daft Punk
6. “Hold Up” – Beyoncé
7. “Tilted” – Christine and the Queens
8. “Lazarus” – David Bowie
9. “Can’t Stop the Feeling!” – Justin Timberlake
10. “The Community of Hope” – PJ Harvey
11. “Broccoli” – D.R.A.M. featuring Lil Yachty
12. “No Problem” – Chance the Rapper featuring Lil Wayne & 2 Chainz
13. “Formation” – Beyoncé
14. “Sister” – Angel Olsen
15. “On My Heart” – School of Seven Bells
16. “Augustine” – Blood Orange
17. “The Wheel” – PJ Harvey
18. “Here” – Alessia Cara
19. “Kill v. Maim” – Grimes
20. “The Pop Kids” – Pet Shop Boys
21. “Wow” – Beck
22. “Nikes” – Frank Ocean
23. “Lipslap” – Kero Kero Bonito
24. “California” – Grimes
25. “T5” – Swet Shop Boys
26. “Work from Home” – Fifth Harmony featuring Ty Dolla $ign
27. “Gardenia” – Iggy Pop
28. “Player” – Tinashe featuring Chris Brown
29. “Flesh Without Blood” – Grimes
30. “Frankie Sinatra” – the Avalanches
31. “Floridada – Animal Collective
32. “When We Were Young” – Adele
33. “Borders” – M.I.A.
34. “Wide Open” – the Chemical Brothers featuring Beck
35. “Highway Vagabond” – Miranda Lambert
36. “Boy Problems” – Carly Rae Jepsen
37. “I Have Been to the Mountain” – Kevin Morby
38. “Crisis” – Anohni
39. “Rich” – Maren Morris
40. “Hands of Time” – Margo Price
41. “Mercy” – Eric Bachmann
42. “The Big Big Beat” – Azealia Banks
43. “Too Good” – Drake featuring Rihanna
44. “Genghis Khan” – Miike Snow
45. “Straight Outta Vagina” – Pussy Riot featuring Desi Mo & Leikeli47
46. “All the Way Up” – Fat Joe featuring Remy Ma, Jay-Z & French Montana
47. “Knickers” – Jidenna
48. “Little Bit of This” – GTA featuring Vince Staples
49. “River” – Leon Bridges
50. “Radio” – Sylvan Esso
51. “Giant” – Banks & Steelz
52. “I Can’t Give Everything Away” – David Bowie
53. “Daddy Lessons” – Beyoncé featuring Dixie Chicks
54. “In Bloom” – Sturgill Simpson
55. “You Want It Darker” – Leonard Cohen
56. “Come Down” – Anderson .Paak
57. “Lake by the Ocean” – Maxwell
58. “One Dance” – Drake featuring WizKid and Kyla
59. “Life Itself” – Glass Animals
60. “Runnin’” – Pharrell Williams
61. “24K Magic” – Bruno Mars
62. “Real Love Baby” – Father John Misty
63. “Send My Love (to Your New Lover)” – Adele
64. “Boyfriend” – Tegan & Sara
65. “Cranes in the Sky” – Solange
66. “Really Doe” – Danny Brown featuring Kendrick Lamar & Ab-Soul & Earl Sweatshirt
67. “Bike Engine” – Stylo G x Jacob Plant
68. “Burn the Witch” – Radiohead
69. “I Wanna Boi” – PWR BTTM
70. “Work” – Rihanna featuring Drake
71. “Fuck Donald Trump” – YG & Nipsey Hussle
72. “Guns of Hysteria” – Annalie Prime
73. “Born Again Teen” – Lucius
74. “City Lights” – the White Stripes
75. “Somewhere in Paradise” – Chance the Rapper featuring Jeremih
76. “Sister of Pearl” – Baio
77. “U-Turn” – Tegan & Sara
78. “Shut Up Kiss Me” – Angel Olsen
79. “Moth to a Flame” – Chairlift
80. “Blackstar” – David Bowie
81. “A Burning Hill” – Mitski
82. “Pretty Pimpin’” – Kurt Vile
83. “Break” – Kero Kero Bonito
84. “In the Night” – the Weeknd
85. “Elevator Operator” – Courtney Barnett
86. “Piece of Me” – MK featuring Becky Hill
87. “Love and War” – Banks & Steelz featuring Ghostface Killah
88. “Cold Light” – Operators
89. “Vice” – Miranda Lambert
90. “Water under the Bridge” – Adele
91. “Dorothy” – Kevin Morby
92. “Say U Want Me” – Chris Farren
93. “Lifted” – CL
94. “Sound & Color” – Alabama Shakes
95. “Cash Machine” – D.R.A.M.
96. “Drone Bomb Me” – Anohni
97. “Who’s Gonna Miss Me?” – Loretta Lynn
98. “Lift Me Up” – Vince Staples
99. “Cool Out” – Matthew White and Natalie Press

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grammy plaque

Did You Know Sara Bareilles Released An Album This Year?

grammy plaqueI’ve worked on nearly every Grammy compilation release since the first one.

The nominees for the 56th annual Grammy Awards were announced last Friday. The nominations always elicit strong reactions from music fans. I’m pleased with many of the Academy’s selections (Go Kendrick Lamar and Daft Punk!) and puzzled by others (Ed Sheeran is nominated for Best New Artist. Last year he was nominated for Song of the Year. Was he pre-new then?).

Today’s Tunes du Jour playlist consists of some of the tracks that have won Record of the Year. I choose to focus on the positive. I refuse to bash the Grammy voters for when they got it wrong (such as, for example, when they gave Record of the Year to Bobby McFerrin for “Don’t Worry Be Happy.” What the hell was that about? That record won over Tracy Chapman’s “Fast Car.” Are you kidding me?).

Herewith are some of the better Record of the Year winners.