Here are twenty recently-released tracks I’ve been grooving to of late. Let me know if you have a favorite I should check out.
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I listened to a lot of music. I crunched the numbers. The result? My top 99 songs of 2018. Here they be, followed by a Spotify playlist:
1. Make Me Feel – Janelle Monae
2. Ric Flair Drip – Offset & Metro Boomin
3. Nice for What – Drake
4. Alone – Halsey featuring Big Sean & Stefflon Don
5. Where Angels Fear to Tread – Disclosure
6. Mr. Tillman – Father John Misty
7. Thunderclouds – LSD (Labrinth, Sia, Diplo)
8. IDGAF – Dua Lipa
9. This Is America – Childish Gambino
10. Finesse – Bruno Mars featuring Cardi B
11. Stir Fry – Migos
12. LOVE. – Kendrick Lamar featuring Zacari
13. Missing U – Robyn
14. Bodak Yellow – Cardi B
15. The Weekend – SZA vs Calvin Harris
16. Mona Lisa – Lil Wayne featuring Kendrick Lamar
17. Boys – Lizzo
18. Lemon – NERD featuring Rihanna
19. Honey – Robyn
20. Boo’d Up – Ella Mai
21. Now – Miguel
22. High Horse – Kacey Musgraves
23. Apeshit – The Carters
24. Tints – Anderson .Paak feat. Kendrick Lamar
25. 5 Dollars – Christine and the Queens
26. Nameless, Faceless – Courtney Barnett
27. When I’m with Him – Empress Of
28. Two Slow Dancers – Mitski
29. Nobody – Mitski
30. Got My Name Changed Back – Pistol Annies
31. 1999 WILDFIRE – BROCKHAMPTON
32. I Like It – Cardi B featuring Bad Bunny and J Balvin
33. I Might Need Security – Chance the Rapper
34. Microfiche – Open Mike Eagle
35. If You Know You Know – Pusha T
36. All the Stars – Kendrick Lamar with SZA
37. Mr. Jukebox – Joshua Hedley
38. Crayons – CupcakKe
39. Washing Machine Heart – Mitski
40. Pynk – Janelle Monae featuring Grimes
41. Duck Duck Goose – CupcakKe
42. Bloom – Troye Sivan
43. He’s Got His Mother’s Hips – John Grant
44. HEAVEN – The Blaze
45. Day I Die – The National
46. Fast Slow Disco – St. Vincent
47. Kong – Neneh Cherry
48. Sangria Wine – Pharrell Williams and Camila Cabello
49. Look Alive – BlocBoy JB featuring Drake
50. Yes Indeed – Lil Baby featuring Drake
51. BOOGIE – BROCKHAMPTON
52. Need a Little Time – Courtney Barnett
53. You Should See Me in a Crown – Billie Eilish
54. Bardier Cardi – Cardi B featuring 21 Savage
55. SAN MARCOS – BROCKHAMPTON
56. Bad Bad News – Leon Bridges
57. Fireworks – First Aid Kit
58. Party for One – Carly Rae Jepsen
59. New Rules – Dua Lipa
60. I’ll Never Love Again – Lady Gaga
61. La Di Da – The Internet
62. Doesn’t Matter – Christine and the Queens
63. Moon River – Frank Ocean
64. No Tears Left to Cry – Ariana Grande
65. 1999 – Charli XCX and Troye Sivan
66. Only Love – Mary J. Blige
67. Pissed – Saweetie
68. Chun Li – Nicki Minaj
69. Powerglide – Rae Sremmurd featuring Juicy J
70. Call out My Name – The Weeknd
71. A$AP Forever – A$AP Rocky featuring Moby
72. Sword of Damocles – Rufus Wainwright
73. Back 2 You – Selena Gomez
74. Christmas Song – Phoebe Bridgers
75. The Gypsy Faerie Queen – Marianne Faithfull
76. Doves in the Wind – SZA featuring Kendrick Lamar
77. Suspirium – Thom Yorke
78. Charity – Courtney Barnett
79. If You’re Over Me – Years & Years
80. My My My! – Troye Sivan
81. Time Today – Kero Kero Bonito
82. Tranquility Base Hotel & Casino – Arctic Monkeys
83. A Little Pain – Margo Price
84. Alfie’s Song (Not So Typical Love Song) – Bleachers
85. In My Feelings – Drake
86. Django Jane – Janelle Monae
87. Meteorological – Guerilla Toss
88. Psycho – Post Malone featuring Ty Dolla $ign
89. Entitlement Crew – The Hold Steady
90. oh baby – lcd soundsystem
91. God’s Plan – Drake
92. Electricity – Silk City with Dua Lipa
93. Trouble on Central – Buddy
94. BBO (Bad Bitches Only) – Migos featuring 21 Savage
95. MJ – Now, Now
96. Walk It Talk It – Migos featuring Drake
97. The Ways – Khalid featuring Swae Lee
98. Girlfriend – Christine and the Queens
99. Geyser – Mitski
I interrupt my interruption to bring you twenty new(ish) songs that are rocking my world these days. Let me know which ones hit you.
Regular blogging will resume at some point this year. Maybe.
I recently attended a conference where I was asked to fill in a questionnaire. Amongst the questions about my favorite television program and favorite beverage, I was asked to name a person who inspires me. My answer was chocolate malt. For favorite beverage, that is. All in the Family is my favorite TV show. My inspiration? Kanye West a/k/a Yeezy a/k/a Ye a/k/a Yeezus.
I have much admiration for Mr. West. People mock his ego, but I think the world would be a better place if more people believed in themselves the way Kanye does himself.
I admire that he pursues his dreams, including those outside his music. He may not be the best fashion designer, but he goes after it instead of staying in a rapper/producer box.
I admire that he pursued the woman he believes to be the world’s most beautiful and married her.
I admire him because he says what he thinks and what he believes. I find his honesty and candor refreshing.
And then there’s the music. His body of work holds its own against any artist working today. He continually challenges himself musically. After issuing three fine albums of his rapping, he surprised us with an album of singing, and while he’s no Marvin Gaye, that album turned out to be damn good. I like that he’s equally comfortable and innovative using classic soul samples and using obscure rock samples.
Lyrically he explores love, racism, art, sex, religion, drugs, self-destruction, and redemption. He can be thought-provoking; he can be funny.
He aims high and more often than not delivers.
He has a vision and is not afraid to execute on it. He won’t settle for just okay in his pursuit of perfection.
I’ll let the man himself sum up what I admire most about him: “If everything I did failed — which it doesn’t, it actually succeeds — just the fact that I’m willing to fail is an inspiration. People are so scared to lose that they don’t even try. Like, one thing people can’t say is that I’m not trying, and not I’m not trying my hardest, and I’m not trying to do the best way I know how.” (May, 2012)
Music is better with artists who consistently aim high and try to expand their boundaries. Such creative types are what keeps me passionate about new music year after year. The way Kathie Lee needed Regis is the way I need Yeezus.
Today is Kanye West’s 38th birthday. In a career full of high points, here are twenty of my favorites.
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“I just know that the Grammys, if they want real artists, to keep coming back, they need to stop playing with us. We ain’t gonna play with them no more. And Beck needs to respect artistry and he should’ve given his award to Beyoncé. Because when you keep on diminishing art and not respecting the craft and smacking people in their face after they deliver monumental feats of music, you’re disrespectful to inspiration. And we as musicians have to inspire people who go to work every day, and they listen to that Beyoncé album and they feel like it takes them to another place.” – Kanye West on the Grammy Award for Album of the Year going to Beck’s Morning Phase rather than Beyoncé’s self-titled release
“I thought she was going to win. Come on, she’s Beyoncé! You can’t please everybody, man. I still love [West] and think he’s genius. I aspire to do what he does.” – Beck
“I wasn’t saying Beck; I said the Grammys. Beck knows that Beyoncé should have won; you know that. Come on, man. I love Beck! But he didn’t have the Album of the Year.” – Kanye West
Kanye West, official spokesperson for the Bey Nation, gave his opinion and the Internet blew up! It was a repeat of 2009, when West announced that Taylor Swift stole the MTV Best Female Video Award that should have gone to Beyoncé. The American people were up in arms! So much vitriol was sent West-ward and his detractors found plenty of reasons to go after him the ensuing years. As the wise trophy thief said, “the haters gonna hate hate hate hate hate.”
Kanye’s point was about creating art and reaching new heights in one’s craft. The only intelligent responses to further this discourse, per the many comments I saw on Facebook and Twitter, are “You’re classless” and “You’re garbage.” One person who didn’t call Kanye garbage was Shirley Manson, the lead singer of the band Garbage. She called him “a complete twat.”
At least all of us can sleep better knowing that Kanye loves Beck. They are two of my favorite all-time artists for many of the same reasons. They seldom repeat themselves, making each album they release different than the previous one. Neither follows trends. Both challenge themselves. Both are masters of their craft. Both can be sincere. Both can be funny. Neither has released a bad record.
Beyoncé should have gotten the Album of the Year Grammy. Her self-titled album was a revelation. Following up her uneven 4, she took a giant leap forward and strived to make something more artistic than what we were used to from her. She succeeded. The Beck record, Morning Phase, sounds beautiful, but there were no surprises. It was announced early in 2014 that Beck would be releasing a new album that was in a mellow vein. I got what I expected. It was as fine as I thought it would be, and stronger than his last couple of releases. I like Morning Phase very much, more than the other nominated Albums of the Year performed by Ed Sheeran, Sam Smith and Pharrell Williams, but it’s nothing we haven’t heard Beck do before. Ironically, in Beyoncé’s quest to be more artistic, her album outsold its predecessor. Like Kanye said, she had the Album of the Year.
Enough of the Grammy voters felt otherwise and awarded Beck. That’s fine. There have been worse slights in the Grammy Album of the Year category than Beyoncé losing to Beck. What about the 1996 awards, when Beck’s Odelay lost to Celine Dion’s Falling into You? Or in 2000, when Beck’s Midnight Vultures lost to Steely Dan’s Two Against Nature? Or in 2005, when U2’s Hot to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb beat Kanye’s Late Registration and in 2004, when Ray Charles & Friends’ Genius Loves Company beat Kanye’s The College Dropout and Green Day’s American Idiot? Steely Dan, U2 and Ray Charles have released many albums deserving of Album of the Year. These weren’t them. U2 should have won 1992’s Album of the Year for Achtung Baby. They lost to Eric Clapton Unplugged. In 2007, Kanye’s Graduation and Amy Winehouse’s Back to Black both lost Album of the Year to Herbie Hancock’s River: The Joni Letters, a record that literally nobody has ever heard. In 1980, Christopher Cross’ self-titled debut beat Pink Floyd’s The Wall. In 1966, The Beatles’ Revolver lost to Frank Sinatra’s A Man and His Music. In 2012, Mumford & Sons’ Babel beat albums by Frank Ocean, Jack White and The Black Keys. The nominees for 1984’s Album of the Year Grammy were Prince’s Purple Rain, Bruce Springsteen’s Born in the USA, Tina Turner’s Private Dancer, Cyndi Lauper’s She’s So Unusual, and Lionel Richie’s Can’t Slow Down. Four classic albums plus one by Lionel Richie. The winner? Lionel Richie! WTF on a stick?!?! In 1991 the Album of the Year Grammy didn’t go to R.E.M., nominated for Out of Time. It went to Natalie Cole’s Unforgettable…with Love. Eligible but not nominated that year? A little album called Nevermind by a band named Nirvana. Oh well, whatever. In 1982, Toto IV beat…it doesn’t matter who else was nominated. It’s Toto Fuckin’ IV, people.
It looks like Beyoncé will have to wait longer before she is in the same hallowed company as Toto.
In less contentious news this week, ISIS killed U.S. hostage Kayla Mueller, Boko Haram killed thirteen soldiers and 81 civilians in Chad, and the Chief Justice of Alabama’s Supreme Court forbade probate judges in that state to issue marriage license to same-sex couples, despite a judge’s ruling that such unions are legal and the U.S. Supreme Court refusing to issue a stay on that ruling.
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In 1980 an Ohio-born performer living in Australia wrote and recorded a song that went on to sell over six million copies. It went to #1 in a dozen or so countries, including Australia, Canada, Germany, France, and the UK, where it reigned on top for three weeks. It has been covered dozens of times in different languages, and that’s not including the many versions of the tune that have been uploaded to YouTube.
The performer is Joe Dolce and the song is “Shaddap You Face,” which was #1 in Glenn’s Ten (the only chart that matters) on this day in 1981.
My point in telling you this is this – no idea is too stupid. If there is a song you wish to write, a book you wish to publish, an invention you wish to create, go for it! You could be the next Joe Dolce! And if someone tells you your idea sucks, say to them “Ah, shaddup you face.”
Today’s playlist consists of songs that were #1 in Glenn’s Ten on May 8 going back to 1981. The only one missing is 1993’s entry, “Riding on a Rocket” by Shonen Knife, as that is not available on Spotify.