Prince, Elvis Costello, Elton John, Paul McCartney, Kool & the Gang. It must be my list of favorite songs of 198-, uh, 2021. The aforementioned veterans rub elbows with Dua Lipa, Megan Thee Stallion, Cardi B, Wet Leg, serpentwithfeet, Lil Nas X, Billie Eilish, The Weeknd, The Avalanches, Adele and Little Simz.
Here are my top 100 songs of 2021:
Same Size Shoe – serpentwithfeet
Love Again – Dua Lipa
Body – Megan Thee Stallion
Black Like Me – Mickey Guyton
Easy On Me – Adele
Thot Shit – Megan Thee Stallion
Up – Cardi B
Save Your Tears – The Weeknd
Good Days – SZA
Under the Table – Fiona Apple
Wet Dream – Wet Leg
Rumors – Lizzo & Cardi B
Find My Way – Paul McCartney
Levitating – Dua Lipa feat. DaBaby
Chaise Longue – Wet Leg
I Love You, I Hate You – Little Simz
Best Friend – Saweetie feat. Doja Cat
Brando – Lucy Dacus
So I Lie – Miguel
We Go On – the Avalanches feat. Cola Boyyy & Mick Jones
Twerkulator – City Girls
MONTERO (Call Me By Your Name) – Lil Nas X
Butter – BTS
Cold Heart – Elton John & Dua Lipa
Therefore I Am – Billie Eilish
Your Power – Billie Eilish
INDUSTRY BABY – Lil Nas X feat. Jack Harlow
Point and Kill – Little Simz feat. Obongjayar
Scratchcard Lanyard – Dry Cleaning
Security – Amyl and the Sniffers
Puppy and a Truck – Jenny Lewis
Don’t Judge Me – FKA twigs, Headie One, Fred again…
Pursuit of Happiness – Kool & the Gang
Savage Good Boy – Japanese Breakfast
Pay Your Way in Pain – St. Vincent
ARE YOU WITH THAT? – Vince Staples
Hot Summer – Prince
Diamond Studded Shoes – Yola
Solar Power – Lorde
chinatown – Bleachers feat. Bruce Springsteen
The Divine Chord – the Avalanches feat. MGMT & Johnny Marr
Don’t Go Yet – Camila Cabello
Strong Feelings – Dry Cleaning
Rainforest – Noname
Working for the Knife – Mitski
Take My Breath – The Weeknd
Boomerang – Yebba
ooh la la – Run the Jewels feat. Santa Fe Klan & Mexican Institute of Sound
Candypaint – Joey Purp
Free from Gravity – Django Django
Spanish Doors – Liz Phair
Roaring 20s – Flo Milli
Rhetorical Figure – John Grant
THAT’S WHAT I WANT – Lil Nas X
The Doll – Audiobooks
Strange – Celeste
WUSYANAME – Tyler, the Creator feat. YoungBoy Never Broke Again & Ty Dolla $ign
White Dress – Lana Del Rey
family ties – Baby Keem & Kendrick Lamar
Starlight – Yola
The Melting of the Sun – St. Vincent
Pick up Your Feelings – Jazmine Sullivan
I am not a woman, I’m a god – Halsey
Hertz – Amyl and the Sniffers
Please – Jessie Ware
The Adults Are Talking – the Strokes
Got Me – Laura Mvula
We’re Good – Dua Lipa
Kiss Me More – Doja Cat feat. SZA
I Don’t Live Here Anymore – The War on Drugs feat. Lucius
In 1980, my friend Lydia, who preferred I call her Candice, gave me a diary for Hanukkah, which I prefer to spell Chanukah. Adorning the cover of the diary was a drawing of Paddington Bear, about whom I knew nothing except he appeared to go out wearing only a coat and a hat with the price tag still on it, an ursine Minnie Pearl who reminded me of that guy I saw in Times Square five years earlier. My parents had taken me to see Broadway’s The Magic Show starring Doug Henning for my eleventh birthday. On our walk from the restaurant to the theater we passed a man with no pants sitting on a mailbox shouting about “the system.” I sensed that man made a wrong turn at some point in his life.
I’d never kept a diary, but not being one to throw away a gift, I gave it a try. “January 1. I woke up at noon. Had bacon for lunch. New England clam chowder for dinner.” I cherish that memory of my most festive New Year’s Day ever.
On January 10 I listed my ten favorite current songs:
That constituted the beginning of a habit I’ve upheld every Saturday since. This week Glenn’s Ten begins its 41st year.
Despite the initial Glenn’s Ten consisting solely of national top 40 hits that one could hear on Casey Kasem’s countdown way too early on Sunday mornings, the other kids in school never talked about them. My fellow seniors at New Jersey’s Saddle River Country Day School talked about the greatness of The Doors, Led Zeppelin and The Grateful Dead, but never discussed the brilliance of Eddie Rabbitt employing alternating finger snaps and hand claps to mimic raindrops hitting the ground in “I Love a Rainy Night.” Led Zeppelin didn’t do that in “Fool in the Rain.” The Dead didn’t do that in “Box of Rain.” The Doors’ “Riders on the Storm?” Nope. It was Eddie Flippin’ Rabbitt, and there’s more precipitation from whence that came. My favorite rock and roll singer during my high school days, Barry Manilow, connected with me on “I Made It Through The Rain.” Whereas Mr. Rabbitt sang about his passion for actual rain, Barry “The Man” Manilow’s rain was a metaphor for adversity and everyday struggles. High school’s social scene was a struggle for me. Already shy and introverted, my fondness for the most popular music of the day exacerbated my feeling of not belonging, which is ironic, don’t you think?
From the late summer 1981 to spring 1985 I attended Brandeis University in Waltham, Massachusetts. Shy me made a few friends there, such as Kathy, who was my platonic date for the school dances. I so enjoyed dancing, and our college years were a furtive time for dance music, with the release of Michael Jackson’s Thriller and the rise of Madonna and Prince, plus all those new wave bands hailing from the UK. Kathy was especially taken with them. She studied in London one semester, and when she returned to the States she gifted me a mixtape of the music she discovered abroad. I was particularly taken with The Smiths, whose singer, Morrissey, recognized what I was feeling. (We didn’t yet know about hisracistleanings.) The Smiths weren’t well-known in the United States. I recall Interview magazine’s Glenn O’Brien writing that the only people in the US who heard of The Smiths were some “pretentious yuppies at Brandeis.” I’m famous!
In the spring of 1985, The Smiths released their single “How Soon Is Now?,” with its lyrics:
There’s a club if you’d like to go You could meet somebody who really loves you So you go and you stand on your own And you leave on your own And you go home and you cry And you want to die
It was like he read my diary, if my diary was more than song lists. I desired a girlfriend so badly, but my shyness prevented me from asking girls out, and on the one or two occasions where I mustered the courage, I was rejected.
When you say it’s gonna happen now When exactly do you mean? See I’ve already waited too long And all my hope is gone.
A few months after graduation I landed a job in the Accounting department of CBS Records. Me at a record company! The record company that distributed Michael Jackson and Cyndi Lauper and Bruce Springsteen and Barbra Streisand and flippin’ Deniece Williams! I got the job through my skills and know how – I’m a math geek and great with numbers. Let’s hear it for this boy!
By the way, as you’re looking at my top ten lists, the column on the right is the position that song held the previous week. Under “Average” I list the songs that dropped out of Glenn’s Ten that week. The parenthetical lists that song’s peak Glenn’s Ten position, the number of weeks at that position, and the total number of weeks in Glenn’s Ten. The number to the right of that is the sum of every position held by the song, plus 11 for every week of the year the song was not in Glenn’s Ten, which number I then use in December each year to compute my tally of my favorite songs of the year. That’s the skills and know how that got me my job. Math geek!
I’m gay. My first clue was that I had been attracted to men with muscular physiques for several years, though I attributed that to envy, as I was so skinny. It turns out it was more than envy. I admitted that to myself in 1988, and from then on I was open about it. Interestingly, none of the artists in the Glenn’s Ten of January 9, 1988 were openly gay publicly. Nope, not him. Nor him. Nor him. I’m still not sure about him; do you know?
In other big news, in 1988 I moved from the suburbs of New Jersey into Manhattan. Just two years earlier I couldn’t envisage me living in the big city, with all its noise and activity and men donning only a coat and a hat. Now I loved this concrete jungle where dreams are made of. Let’s hear it for New York New York New York.
In even bigger news, I changed the verbiage denoting the scores of songs that fell from Glenn’s Ten from “Average” to the more accurate “Total.” What a year! Break out the bacon and chowder and make way for 1989!
I met Tommy in 1989 at a dance at NYC’s Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Community Center. I went with my friend Frank, who knew the friend with whom Tommy went, so while those two were catching up on the dance floor, I was dancing with Tommy. We became a couple. We’d go out dancing every other weekend. I can still picture him throwing his hands in the air during the chorus of Black Box’s “Everybody Everybody,” when they sang “everybody” for the fourth and eighth times. Or perhaps that was me with my hands in the air. I get us confused. Like Tommy’s mother said to him after meeting me, “He’s like a Jewish version of you.” (Does that make me a self-hating narcissist?)
I broke up with the gentile version of me. Tommy was and is a good guy, though I was missing the massive amount of support I required to counter my insecurity. It was that insecurity that kept me with him for three-plus years, as I thought I’d never encounter another guy as cute or who possesses all of Tommy’s positive qualities who felt the same about me. Eventually I realized I was cheating myself and broke it off to discover where life takes me.
Career-wise, I moved from CBS Records’ (now Sony Music’s) Accounting department into the division of the company that licenses their music. Brought in to manage their accounting functions, I asked my boss if he could teach me about licensing (negotiating deals for music to be used pretty much anywhere music is used – on albums, in movies, playing above your head at the Piggly Wiggly, etc. That greeting card your mother sent you that plays “We Are Family” when you open it? You’re welcome.).
I learned a lot, and when a position opened up in the International Licensing department, I applied for and got it. The job included several trips to Europe to meet with and do presentations for Sony’s affiliates.
I was still shy. I was still introverted. I also was a perfectionist who needed to master his job. I had to conquer my shyness. I had tried therapy in the past, but it didn’t work for me. My therapist would assign me homework – “Go to a bar or a club and say hello to someone. Just hello.” “Hello, therapist! I’m here because the thought of saying hello to a stranger is mortifying.” He may as well have told me to wrestle an alligator. Afraid of needles, I’d let the dentist drill cavities without first injecting me with Novocaine. That I could handle. Talking to a stranger was too painful. This demanded radical action.
When people got to know me they’d tell me I’m funny. That’s it! I’ll become a stand-up comedian. I’ll be on stage in front of strangers, expressing my thoughts, and they’ll have to listen to me, because I have a spotlight and a mic. I took courses at The New School and the American Comedy Institute. I studied improvisation at HB Studios. I made my stand-up debut at a meeting for singles at the Jewish Community Center on Manhattan’s Upper West Side. I think the only one who scored that night was me. I got laughs. I got more bookings. Over time I won comedy contests. I was favorably reviewed in several publications, with Backstage newspaper featuring me in a front page story. Within a few years I performed for a sold-out crowd at NYC’s famed Caroline’s on Broadway. During my years of performing stand-up comedy only one audience heckled me – a group of senior citizens during a fundraiser for a Catholic hospital. The only ones there who appreciated my “Glenn’s Tips For Meeting Guys” routine was a table of nuns and priests, one of whom was taking notes, I swear to whomever he believes in. That gig aside, stand-up boosted my self-confidence.
I met with Sony’s affiliates. I did presentations. I made them educational and fun. I enjoyed doing them. At a conference in Athens, my fellow employees awarded no-longer-as-shy me a bottle of ouzo for my mastery of Greek dancing, which I think had less to do with my dancing than it did with the consumption of ouzo by the judges. Still, I welcomed the recognition. To this day I have that bottle. I don’t drink yet I’m not one to throw away a gift.
In the fall of 1996, I was dating Dr. Leonid, a nice-looking Russian dentist I met through a personal ad he placed. I liked him, though I knew he wasn’t “the one.” And he knew that I knew that he wasn’t “the one,” though I was “the one” to him, a sentiment he drove into me by singing along to Madonna’s “You Must Love Me” from the Evita soundtrack while we were baking the potato.
My #1 song was BLACKstreet’s “No Diggity.” When the CD single was released, I went to buy it at Nobody Beats the Wiz in Union Square. On my walk over I thought “I wonder if that cute salesguy who was there on Father’s Day still works there.” As I approached the top floor, where the CDs were sold, my eyes locked with that salesguy. No-longer-as-shy-yet-still-very-shy me immediately looked away and headed to the section for CD singles. “May I help you?” I heard from behind me. That’s how I met Michael. We chatted for several minutes about the music we liked, a conversation I found far more pleasant than having a cavity filled. Nobody Beats The Wiz didn’t have “No Diggity” in stock, so I left with “Macarena Christmas” and Michael’s phone number.
Michael and I went on our first date the following Friday, when he revealed that he kept a weekly list of his favorite songs. What kind of wackadoo does that? I liked him. Dr. Leonid, who was away on vacation when Michael and I went out, called me the moment he was back (This was in the pre-cell phone days), and I broke the news to him. He didn’t take it well. “Who is he?” “His name is Michael.” “How old is he?” “He’s 23.” “Where does he work?” “At a store.” “What store?” “I’m not going to tell you where he works.” “I feel like someone stabbed me in the heart!” A popular song on the radio at that time was Toni Braxton’s “Un-break My Heart.” If Dr. Leonid maintained a top ten, that record would have then jumped to #1 with a bullet. Needing a copy of this song that so adequately expressed what he was feeling, he went to Nobody Beats The Wiz in Union Square. While looking for it, a voice from behind him asked “May I help you?” Dr. Leonid turned and saw the salesguy’s name tag. Michael. “How old are you?” Dr. Leonid asked. “23,” the salesguy replied. They made plans to go on a date.
They never did go on that date. Dr. Leonid relayed the story to me a week later when we met up for dinner, revealing that he asked out Michael merely to hurt me and make me upset. I wasn’t upset. I thought it was hilarious. That made Dr. Leonid upset. As far as I was concerned, Michael could see who he wants. He doesn’t belong to me. I was happy that someone as attractive as him would even date me. I recognize that sounds like low self-esteem talking, but that’s only because it’s low self-esteem talking.
I only saw Dr. Leonid once more after that, a few years later at a cabaret show. The friend who invited me also invited another friend of his, who it turns out was Dr. Leonid’s then boyfriend. Dr. Leonid lit up when he saw me and we caught up for a few minutes. His boyfriend did not care for the obvious affection Dr. Leonid still felt for me. They departed before the performance started and broke up the next day.
Michael and I have long since stopped seeing each other, though we still discuss music and share our lists.
Speaking of …
My four years working in Sony Music’s International division were the longest I’d gone without a promotion in my 14 years at the company. I reckoned this was the end of the line of my career. I could remain there and suck it up or end up in Times Square wearing only a coat and a hat with the price tag still on it. Neither was optimal. Enter Macy Gray.
Don’t let the days of your life pass you by You got to get up, get out and do somethin’ How will you make it if you never even try?
A woman with whom I was working on a license deal invited me to a dinner party. I did as Macy Gray suggested and pressured myself to go. While there I asked folks if they knew of any record company that is hiring. “I think Zomba is.” Zomba was the home of Backstreet Boys, A Tribe Called Quest, and a young performer who at that moment was enjoying her first hit – Britney Spears. I sent my resume to a former Sony employee who was now at Zomba. She passed it on to her boss. Her boss called me. “We just created a new head of licensing position and you’re exactly who we’re looking for.” And so, off I went. My optimism returned. And to think, all I had to do was put myself out there and talk to people. I learned a valuable life lesson: always listen to Macy Gray.
My four years at Zomba were great. I got promoted two years into it, and under my leadership, the company’s licensing revenue increased 400%. A few other companies reached out to me to get me to jump ship over to them. One was Warner Music Group. An executive from Warner asked me “how much would it take for you to relocate to LA and be our Vice President of Domestic and International Licensing and Contract Administration in our Rhino Records division?” LA, with their traffic and smog and healthy dining? Yuck! I proposed a salary 60% more than I was presently making. The executive called back two days later. “Your salary was approved.” At the same time, my boss at Zomba told me “You are now in charge of film and TV licensing for every BMG label – Jive, RCA, Arista, etc.” BMG had purchased Zomba some months earlier. BMG was unable to match the Warner salary, and thus, I said goodbye to New York and Bobi, the handsome Dutch soccer player I was dating, and off I went to breathe in smog while sitting in traffic and munching on a carrot stick. I made it. The week I started at Warner, Zomba recording artist Justin Timberlake fell out of Glenn’s Ten, and Warner recording artist The Streets was #1. Could this be a sign? Don‘t be stupid.
Most of my years at Rhino/Warner were good. Under my leadership the licensing team had several record-breaking fiscal quarters. Rhino’s General Manager/later President told me on several occasions “I don’t know how you do it. Sales continue to decline, yet licensing revenue keeps going up.” I’ll tell you how I did it. I know how to negotiate lucrative deals and I hired and developed good teams. The rise in licensing revenue year over year wasn’t enough to compensate for Rhino’s declining sales, and every year we had layoffs. In September of 2013, one month shy of my fiftieth birthday, I found myself an out of work bitch. (See what I did there!) Rhino’s former GM/now President told me “Licensing receipts are declining.” No shock, Charlotte! That’s what happens when you prune a staff of 27 down to a staff of four. I’m outstanding at my job but I ain’t Doug Henning!
While being laid off is rude and insulting, the reality is I was ready to leave. In my last year at Rhino they had me reporting into a different senior vice present. This SVP would yell at me (and other employees), cuss at me, and blame me for some poor licensing deals made by an outside party he hired, deals he failed to review and that had no oversight by me or anyone on my team. I now recognize that his conduct likely stemmed from his own insecurities. People deal with their insecurities in different ways. I turned mine inwards. My boss lashed at people and didn’t accept responsibility for his mistakes. I understand. I have sympathy. Still, what an asshole!
My friend Martin urged me to quit. I was stressed. I was unhappy. At this point in my career, I had proven my abilities and had 27 years of stellar employee reviews to back me up. As soon as I exited that meeting with the company’s president and Human Resources I went to my office and immediately texted my friend Martin: “My birthday present came early this year.”
This was the first time since I started at CBS Records in 1985 that I found myself without a job.
Not only was I unemployed; I also was single. I went on a fair amount of dates when I got to LA. Early on I met a great guy named Carlo. We went out a few times and seemed to click. We decided to be a couple. I haven’t seen him since we made that decision. I hope he wasn’t kidnapped or killed wrestling an alligator or in a home invasion. None of those possibilities occurred to me until today. Hopefully he’s alive and well and merely decided he doesn’t like me and chose to ghost me. What an assh—no. He’s a good person. I don’t know where he went, though I sincerely hope he’s happy and doing well wherever he is. I wish that for everyone I’ve ever dated.
Only three of the song’s in this week’s Glenn’s Ten are in the national top 40. One is my #1, Megan Thee Stallion’s “Body.” I discovered a group of friends who share my love of it, and we fan boy over the cleverness of Ms. Stallion’s lyrics, to wit, “saucy like a barbecue but you won’t get your baby back.” If that doesn’t win M.T. Stallion the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry then their voting process is shoddy oddy oddy oddy oddy oddy oddy oddy oddy oddy oddy oddy oddy oddy oddy.
Over the 40 years I’ve been writing down my favorite songs of the week, my tastes have evolved, though what gravitates me toward certain songs hasn’t. Over the 40 years I’ve evolved, though I retain many core traits. I’m still an introvert. I still consider saying hello to a stranger terrifying and painful (though I do now let the dentist shoot me up with Novocaine before drilling.) While the past year of living through a pandemic has caused my anxiety to spike, the bright spot I find in it is I no longer have to come up with excuses to avoid social gatherings. As my friend Angel said, “It’s like you’ve been practicing for the stay at home mandate your entire life.”
Speaking of man dates, a love life doesn’t exist for me. I went out with a few good guys my first seven years in LA, including the aforementioned Carlo, as well as the gorgeous bodybuilder attorney and the adorable high end furniture salesperson with the rash, though at some point I gave up. I’ve gone on only one date in the last ten years, though four guys went on dates with me due to miscommunications. It seems a relationship isn’t in the cards for me. I’m too old. I’m not fit enough. If that sounds like low self-esteem talking, that’s because self-esteem is a journey, not a destination. I still have work to do on myself, though there has been progress over the years. I now like myself enough to relish solitary time and not spend it pining for a boyfriend, though who doesn’t like a baked potato?
But hey, anything can happen. Forty years ago, I didn’t conceive I’d have a successful career in the music business. I didn’t think I’d feel comfortable speaking to hundreds of people. There may exist someone out there for a funny, smart, music-obsessed math geek. Until he shows up, I’ll continue doing what I do and await further instructions from Macy Gray.
I still often feel I don’t belong, though I found a group of guys who also feel like they don’t belong, so we “don’t belong” together. I suppose that’s the primary difference between 17-year-old Glenn and 57-year-old Glenn: my shyness and feelings of otherness are not frightening or debilitating. They simply are there, and while I wish I didn’t feel these feelings, I do and life goes on. I’m less insecure. I made it through the rain.
My initial plan after departing Rhino was to decompress for two weeks and then search for a job. That plan was quickly nixed when I realized after two weeks not working that I was the most relaxed I had ever felt. I looked at a job posting for a VP of Licensing position at another major record company and found my stomach turned. I don’t want to run the licensing department at a big company anymore, but what to do? It didn’t make sense to work for 28 years straight and then relax for only two weeks. I extended my break and set to work on myself, exploring what makes me happy, which, aside from listening to music, is being creative. I attended more improv classes and writing classes and joined two public speaking clubs. As evidenced previously by the joy I took in performing stand-up comedy and doing business presentations, I enjoyed public speaking. Maybe there’s a fresh career there. What would I talk about? I don’t think I’ll secure many bookings discussing the brilliance of Eddie Rabbitt (but seriously, those alternating finger snaps and hand claps!). I guided my staff to great success, so perhaps I’ll talk about leadership. My staff was made up of men and women of varying ages, races, nationalities, sexual orientations and religious beliefs. When I exited Rhino, its senior management was all men, all white, all straight, all cisgender, and all in their forties. Well, one guy was in his fifties; he got laid off the week after me. I decided to pursue corporate speaking about the value of diversity to organizations and how it’s not only the right thing to do morally; it’s also the right thing to do fiscally. It’s taken me awhile to get it going – I’m still working on my perfectionist tendencies – but I anticipate my diversity book and online course to launch this year, and I’m confident they’ll perform well. Not over-the-moon confident, but reasonably confident. If they don’t work, I’ll attempt something else. I’m smart. I’m resourceful. I’m still evolving. I’m not ready to head to Times Square and sit on a mailbox wearing nothing but a coat and a hat with the price tag still on it.
Today’s playlist consists of my top song from every year I’ve been doing Glenn’s Ten, courtesy of my math skills:
Inspired by the November 24 birthdays of The Association’s Jim Yester, Lee Michaels and Don & Juan’s Claude Johnson; and the November 23 birthdays of Miley Cyrus, The Kills’ Alison Mosshart, Betty Everett, Marcia Griffiths, Manhattan Transfer’s Alan Paul, Bruce Hornsby and Jack Marshall.
My favorite song of 2019 came out in 2016. Like most people, I slept on Lizzo’s “Good as Hell” upon its initial release three years ago. I also slept on her “Truth Hurts,” my #4 song of 2019, when it was released in 2017. Lizzo’s first track to make Glenn’s Ten was “Boys,” which hit #1 in July 2018, just two months before my favorite 2019 artist after Lizzo, Billie Eilish, made her Glenn’s Ten debut with “You Should See Me in a Crown.” Eilish’s “Bad Guy” is my #3 song of this year, breaking up Lizzo’s hold on the top four. L-to-the-izzo’s “Juice,” my #2 song of 2019, debuted on Glenn’s Ten on January 12, kicking off 49 consecutive weeks with at least one Lizzo track in my top ten, 22 of those weeks at #1. I’m sure both of those are records, something I would confirm if I weren’t too lazy to look it up.
At #5 for
the year sits the only artist in my year end top ten who made their Glenn’s Ten
debut in 2019, Megan Thee Stallion. (Megan’s her real first name; Thee is not
her actual middle name and Stallion is not on her birth certificate. I’m a
Megan Thee Stallion truther.) On that hit, “Hot Girl Summer,” Megan T. Stallion
is assisted by Nicki Minaj, who is also at #55 with a solo number, and Ty Dolla
$ign (Ty is short for Tyrone, his real first name; Dolla is not his actual
middle name and $ign is not on his birth certificate. I’m a Ty Dolla $ign
truther.), who is also at #100 assisting Kehlani. If you need assistance, call
Ty D. $ign.
remainder of the top ten boasts career bests for 21 Savage, Ariana Grande, Teyana
Taylor, and Vince Staples, plus the first Glenn’s Ten entry for Vampire Weekend
since 2013. Other Glenn’s Ten veterans making appearances this year include Bruce Springsteen, Liz Phair, Beck, Missy
Elliott, Morrissey, Beyoncé,
Rufus Wainwright, Smokey Robinson (yes, Smokey Robinson!), and Belle
& Sebastian. Recent favorites such as Courtney Barnett, Cardi B, Grimes,
Christine and the Queens, Robyn, Miranda Lambert, 21 Savage, BROCKHAMPTON,
First Aid Kit, Chance the Rapper, Angel Olsen, The National and Kacey Musgraves
are represented as well.
Enough blather. Here is my top 105 songs (5 by Lizzo, 100 by others,
though one of those others with an assist from Lizzo) of 2019:
Good as Hell – Lizzo
Juice – Lizzo
bad guy – Billie Eilish
Truth Hurts – Lizzo
Hot Girl Summer – Megan Thee Stallion featuring Nicki Minaj and Ty Dolla $ign
WTP – Teyana Taylor
FUN. – Vince Staples
thank u, next – Ariana Grande
Harmony Hall – Vampire Weekend
A Lot – 21 Savage
bury a friend – Billie Eilish
Land of the Free – the Killers
Before I Let Go – Beyoncé
Keep the Change – Mattiel
Blame It on Your Love – Charli XCX featuring Lizzo
Drogba (Joanna) – Afro B
Hot Shower – Chance the Rapper featuring MadeinTYO & DaBaby
Rainbow – Kacey Musgraves
Wedding Bell Blues – Morrissey
Trip – Ella Mai
Tempo – Lizzo featuring Missy Elliott
Almeda – Solange
Melody of Love – Hot Chip
Anybody – Burna Boy
Young Republicans – Lower Dens
Motivation – Normani
Throw It Back – Missy Elliott
People – The 1975
Rylan – The National
Doin’ Time – Lana Del Rey
BOY BYE – BROCKHAMPTON
Hello Sunshine – Bruce Springsteen
Summer Girl – HAIM
Good Side – Liz Phair
Saw Lightning – Beck
Fukk Sleep – A$AP Rocky featuring FKA twigs
It’s Not Living (If It’s Not with You) – The 1975
Binz – Solange
Something Keeps Calling – Raphael Saadiq featuring Rob Bacon
This Life – Vampire Weekend
wish you were gay – Billie Eilish
My Type – Saweetie
Sing Along – Sturgill Simpson
Now I’m In It – HAIM
Oh What a World – Kacey Musgraves
Lark – Angel Olsen
Sister Buddha – Belle & Sebastian
Uneventful Days – Beck
I’ve Been Waiting – Lil Peep & ILoveMakonnen featuring Fall Out Boy
Love Yourself – Sufjan Stevens
Nothing Breaks Like a Heart – Mark Ronson featuring Miley Cyrus
Drip Too Hard – Lil Baby featuring Gunna
Ibtihaj – Rapsody featuring D’Angelo & GZA
Cuz I Love You – Lizzo
Megatron – Nicki Minaj
It All Comes out in the Wash – Miranda Lambert
Sunflower – Vampire Weekend featuring Steve Lacy
Blaxploitation – Noname
Hurry on Home – Sleater-Kinney
Western Stars – Bruce Springsteen
Seventeen – Sharon Van Etten
Crazy Classic Life – Janelle Monae
Unshaken – D’Angelo
7 Rings – Ariana Grande
Way Too Pretty for Prison – Miranda Lambert with Maren Morris
Hey Brother (Do Unto Others) – The Family Daptone
Earth – Lil Dicky
Make It Better – Anderson .Paak featuring Smokey Robinson
Lo/Hi – the Black Keys
Tarantula – Beck
all the good girls go to hell – Billie Eilish
Trouble in Paradise – Rufus Wainwright
The greatest – Lana Del Rey
Ordinary Pleasure – Toro y Moi
Twerk – City Girls featuring Cardi B
Ever Again – Robyn
BLACKJACK – Aminé
Red Bull and Hennessy – Jenny Lewis
I BEEN BORN AGAIN – BROCKHAMPTON
Money – Cardi B
Brown Skin Girl – Beyoncé, SAINt JHN, WizKid and Blue Ivy
Fucking Crazy – Robert Ellis
Eye in the Wall – Perfume Genius
sad day – FKA twigs
Between the Lines – Robyn
Nothing Is Safe – clipping.
Redesigning Women – the Highwomen
Tell Me (Doko Mien) – Ibibio Sound Machine
Sofia – Clairo
With My Whole Heart – Sufjan Stevens
Go – the Black Keys
Turn the Light – Karen O and Danger Mouse
Fortune – Wye Oak
holy terrain – FKA twigs featuring Future
Young Enough – Charly Bliss
Everybody Here Hates You – Courtney Barnett
Gone – Charli XCX featuring Christine and the Queens
Everyday – Weyes Blood
Capacity – Charly Bliss
Nights Like This – Kehlani featuring Ty Dolla $ign
No Bullets Spent – Spoon
Gonna Love Me – Teyana Taylor feat. Ghostface Killa, Method Man & Raekwon
Without any comment, herewith is my list (and playlist) of my 100 favorite tracks of 2017.
Okay, one comment: I was a Johnny-come-lately regarding Cardi B’s “Bodak Yellow,” so I’m saving that for my 2018 list.
1. On Hold – the xx
2. Black Beatles – Rae Sremmurd feat. Gucci Mane
3. Slide – Calvin Harris featuring Frank Ocean and Migos
4. Young, Dumb & Broke – Khalid
5. Mask Off – Future
6. Los Ageless – St. Vincent
7. The Story of O.J. – JAY:Z
8. Pills – St. Vincent
9. New York – St. Vincent
10. Everything Now – Arcade Fire
11. Praying – Kesha
12. Pure Comedy – Father John Misty
13. Passionfruit – Drake
14. Havana – Camila Cabello featuring Young Thug
15. Feels – Calvin Harris featuring Pharrell Williams, Katy Perry and Big Sean
16. Bad and Boujee – Migos feat. Lil Uzi Vert
17. HUMBLE. – Kendrick Lamar
18. Be the One – Dua Lipa
19. Love on the Brain – Rihanna
20. We the People… – A Tribe Called Quest
21. Green Light – Lorde
22. Candy May – Alex Cameron
23. To the Moon and Back – Fever Ray
24. Name for You – the Shins
25. Sign of the Times – Harry Styles
26. rockstar – Post Malone featuring 21 Savage
27. It’s a Shame – First Aid Kit
28. (No One Knows Me) Like the Piano – Sampha
29. Bank Account – 21 Savage
30. Hot Thoughts – Spoon
31. The Way You Used To Do – Queens of the Stone Age
32. Bad Liar – Selena Gomez
33. Chanel – Frank Ocean
34. Liger – Young Thug & Carnage
35. 4:44 – JAY:Z
36. High Ticket Attractions – The New Pornographers
37. Stranger’s Kiss – Alex Cameron with Angel Olsen
38. Tonite – LCD Soundsystem
39. Thinking of a Place – The War on Drugs
40. Over Everything – Courtney Barnett and Kurt Vile
41. Ascension – Gorillaz featuring Vince Staples
42. All Night – Beyoncé
43. Little of Your Love – Haim
44. Waiting on a Song – Dan Auerbach
45. Accelerator – Paul White ft. Danny Brown
46. iSpy – Kyle featuring Lil Yachty
47. Shine on Me – Dan Auerbach
48. The System Only Dreams in Total Darkness – The National
49. No. 28 – Methyl Ethel
50. I Feel It Coming – the Weeknd feat. Daft Punk
51. Better Than Me – Blood Orange feat. Carly Rae Jepsen
52. Call the Police – LCD Soundsystem
53. Love Galore – SZA featuring Travi$ Scott
54. DNA. – Kendrick Lamar
55. No Plan – David Bowie
56. Holding On – The War on Drugs
57. Runnin’ Outta Luck – Alex Cameron
58. Amputation – Jesus and Mary Chain
59. Love – ILoveMakonnen featuring Rae Sremmurd
60. Malibu – Miley Cyrus
61. Want You Back – Haim
62. Carin at the Liquor Store – The National
63. Long Time – Blondie
64. Secrets – The Weeknd
65. Wyclef Jean – Young Thug
66. Slip Away – Perfume Genius
67. Bop N Keep It Dippin’ – Dizzee Rascal
68. XO Tour Llif3 – Lil Uzi Vert
69. Dis Generation – A Tribe Called Quest
70. Play the Field – Partner
71. PRBLMS – 6lack
72. Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer – DMX
73. Colors – Beck
74. BagBak – Vince Staples
75. I Think of You – Jeremih feat. Chris Brown
76. Perplexing Pegasus – Rae Sremmurd
77. Wreath – Perfume Genius
78. Swang – Rae Sremmurd
79. Shining – DJ Khaled feat. Beyoncé and Jay-Z
80. Say Something Loving – the xx
81. Dear Life – Beck
82. Heatstroke – Calvin Harris feat. Young Thug, Pharrell Williams & Ariana Grande
83. Zayn Malik – Swet Shop Boys
84. Give It Up – Angel Olsen
85. Sky Walker – Miguel featuring Travi$ Scott
86. Total Entertainment Forever – Father John Misty
87. Hallelujah Money – Gorillaz feat. Benjamin Clementine
88. Ballad of the Dying Man – Father John Misty
89. I’m Better – Missy Elliott featuring Lamb
90. Told You So – Miguel
91. Mad as Hell – U.S. Girls
92. LOYALTY. – Kendrick Lamar featuring Rihanna
93. Bam – JAY:Z featuring Damian Marley
94. I Dare You – the xx
95. Andromeda – Gorillaz featuring D.R.A.M.
96. Rage – Vic Mensa
97. Whiteout Conditions – The New Pornographers
98. Stick to Your Guns – Watsky feat. Julia Nunes
99. When I Was Young – MØ
100. Never – J.I.D.
On the fourth of July in 1776, the Declaration of Independence, in which the thirteen American colonies declared their independence from Great Britain, was adopted.
None of the songs in today’s playlist address the events of 1776 directly. However, the song selection is inspired by our 4th of July holiday.
Besides being great songs on their own, the collection represents one of the great things about the United States – its diversity. Long considered a melting pot where people of different backgrounds and beliefs could come to achieve their dreams and goals, the U.S. of A. is powerful and innovative as a result of this blend of people. Today’s playlist represents this diversity with a blend of genres – rock, funk, pop, Broadway, new wave, soul, and then some. Despite our differences, we are one nation, under a groove, with liberty and justice for all.
Whether or not you celebrate Independence Day, enjoy this Fourth of July-inspired playlist.
In a moment I’ll introduce you to Anohni, who was nominated for an Oscar this year in the category of Best Original Song, but first I want to talk a little about Kesha, Grimes and Sam Smith.
You may have heard about Kesha’s much-publicized battle to get out of her recording agreement. She claims that Dr. Luke, the producer to whose company, Kemosabe Records, she is signed, drugged and sexually assaulted her on several occasions. As a courtroom proceeding about those allegations had not yet been tried, a New York Supreme Court justice denied Kesha’s motion for a preliminary inunction extraditing her from recording for Kemosabe.
This led to the proliferation of the hashtag #FreeKesha. A group of fans protested outside Sony Music’s headquarters, demanding that the music corporation free Kesha. Kesha isn’t signed to Sony Music, but no matter. Sony should cease distribution of Kemosabe Records, which would leave Kesha still signed to Kemosabe, but hey – it was a nice day for a good protest, and what else is there in the world to complain about? Ongoing wars? Poisoned public water supplies? Human rights violations? More important to get a pop star out of her recording agreement. #Priorities
Many public figures offered support to Kesha, among them Lady Gaga, Lily Allen, Adele, Janelle Monáe, Fiona Apple, Kelly Clarkson, Demi Lovato, Tegan and Sara, HAIM, Alessia Cara, Lorde, Wale, Best Coast, George Takei, Anne Hathaway, Reese Witherspoon, Lena Dunham, Mariska Hargitay, Troye Sivan, Halsey, Iggy Azalea, Sara Bareilles, JoJo, Adam Lambert, Ariana Grande, Miley Cyrus, Margaret Cho, Zedd, and Jack Antonoff. Taylor Swift donated $250,000 to Kesha to help with her financial needs.
Also supporting Kesha is Claire Elise Boucher, the Canadian singer-songwriter who records under the name Grimes. In response to a question from a Time Out reporter about Kesha’s legal situation, Grimes, whose “Kill v. Maim” is #3 this week in Glenn’s Ten, said the following about recording agreements: “You shouldn’t be allowed to sign a human being, regardless of what the allegations are or what anyone said or did. It’s basically like slavery.” Yes, making millions of dollars doing your dream job is basically the same as being forcibly taken from your home and forced to do a job you don’t want to do for no pay, much like Spaghetti Carbonara is basically the same thing as a nuclear missile, which is to say, both exist. (Grimes’ two most recent albums were released by the 4AD label, with whom, I assume, she is signed to a recording agreement.)
If Kesha’s allegations against Dr. Luke are true, then I hope at the very least she is let out of her agreement with Kemosabe, as being forced to aid your rapist make money is unconscionable, and that is where the slavery comparison applies.
British singer-songwriter Sam Smith may or may not know what slavery is, but he exhibited a lack of grasp on history last weekend at the Academy Awards. As he couldn’t pronounce Anohni or The Weeknd, Common announced as the winner of the Best Original Song award the easiest name to remember and pronounce, Sam Smith.
In his acceptance speech, Smith claimed to be the first openly gay person to win an Oscar, which is true, if you don’t count Dustin Lance Black, Elton John, Melissa Etheridge, John Schlesinger, Stephen Sondheim, Bill Condon, Alan Ball, Scott Rudin, Pedro Almodovar and the other openly gay people who have won. Maybe Smith meant to say he’s the first openly gay person to win an Oscar for Best Original Song in 2016. He says he got his information from actor Sir Ian McKellen via an interview Smith read, which is true, if you leave out the part where McKellen refers to no openly gay winners in the Acting categories.
It was pointed out to Smith that he is not the first openly gay person to win an Oscar, to which he responded “I think I’m the second openly gay person to win it,” which is true, if you don’t count Dustin Lance Black, Elton John, Melissa Etheridge, John Schlesinger, Stephen Sondheim, Bill Condon, Alan Ball, Scott Rudin and the other openly gay people who have won less one. In the real world, Smith is not even the first openly gay person in the category of Best Original Song. When told that openly gay Howard Ashman won that category twice, Smith replied “I should know him. We should date.” Ashman died of AIDS-related complications in 1991, the year for which his title song from Beauty and the Beast won, but sure, Sam, date him. You’ll be the first openly necrophiliac to win an Oscar. #Trailblazer. I do agree with one thing Smith said. He should know of Ashman.
Which brings us to Anohni. Along with her collaborator, J. Ralph, Anohni was nominated for Best Original Song for “Manta Ray” from the film Racing Extinction. Unlike Sam Smith, The Weeknd and Lady Gaga, Anohni, a transsexual woman, was not invited to perform her nominated song at the Oscar ceremony. In a year in which The Academy was taken to task for a lack of diversity among the nominees, the producers felt it was more important for the president of the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences to give a speech on the show about the importance of diversity in Hollywood than it was to allow only the second transgender person to be nominated for an Oscar to perform (not a Sam Smith second person, but truly the second). Besides, The Danish Girl received nominations, including one for Best Actor for Eddie Redmayne as the titular character Lili Elbe, one of the first known recipients of gender correction surgery, and who better to represent trans women at the Oscars than a heterosexual cisgender man? Also, the award show needed time for clueless Clueless actress Stacey Dash insult the .04% of viewers who know who she is. #Priorities
Here’s your chance to get to know Anohni, who previously recorded under the name Antony. Her distinctive voice will grab you and her songs will move you. Check out twenty of her best, including guest appearances on other artists’ tracks:
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Today is Bobby Brown’s 46th birthday. A former member of New Edition, Brown had his first solo hit in 1988 with “Don’t Be Cruel,” which reached #8 on the Hot 100. Though it shares its title with an Elvis Presley #1 hit from 1956, Brown’s “Don’t Be Cruel” is not a remake.
That brings us to today’s playlist, which I call The Song Retains the Name. It consists of different songs with the same title. I initially planned to include twenty such songs, but more kept springing to mind. Before I knew it, I passed 100 entries. There are plenty more, so I decided to open this up to my reader(s). If you have songs that share titles you’d like to add, feel free to do so.
(NOTES: I included The Jacksons’ “This Place Hotel” because when it was released in 1980 its title was “Heartbreak Hotel.” Thought he didn’t have to, Michael Jackson, the song’s writer, later changed its name to “This Place Hotel” to avoid confusion with the Elvis Presley song “Heartbreak Hotel.” Whitney Houston didn’t feel the need to make the same Hotel accommodation.
Also, though it is listed on Spotify as “The Best of My Love,” the Eagles track does not have a “The” on the 45 or the band’s On the Border album.)
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