I had this all ready to go and never published it. Better late than never.
I’m not really sure why I’m making this list again this year, except it is a lot of fun for me, as weird as that sounds, and I get to listen to lots of great music with purpose. I narrow down songs from thousands to hundreds, then to two hundred, then one hundred and finally fifty. This task is not easy, and mostly involves a lot of feeling, like if one track hits harder, or gets stuck longer, but I also like to think that I apply some loosely made up rubric inside my own head. Sorta like if you are a legend you get one more point, if you are making a statement another, etc etc. Aside from all that though, I get to listen to songs over and over and create a relationship with them like we used to do, remember that? Listening to your new favorite songs over and over again, partially because you had to (the world wide web hadn’t been gifted to us yet, with it’s entire catalog of every song ever), but also because you wanted to, you were in love. Of all things, most of all this years list is about love, I narrowed it down to the essential tracks of the year that I felt in love with.
So this is MY list. Of course the biggest (and admittedly best) songs of the year were Billie Eilish’s Bad Guy, Lizzo’s Truth Hurts and Lil Nas X’s Old Town Road, but they don’t belong here. This year’s list did have a flair for the quirky and country,… and made lots of room for baddies.
Thanks for playing, come again.
50. Cactus Blossoms-Got a Lotta Love
49. Fruit Bats-The Bottom of It
48. Big Thief-UFOF
47. Steve Moon-New Moon
46. Doug Tuttle-I’ll Throw It All Away
45. Grace Ives-Mirror
44. Walker Lukens-Baby
43. Boz Metzdorf-Sails Across the Sea
42.Danny Brown-Best Life
41. Flying Lotus-Black Balloons Reprise
40. Vincent Neil Emerson-25 & Wastin’ Time
39. Cass McCombs-Confidence Man
I can only assume this song is about tRump. Nevertheless I love the laid back groove and hushed, almost secretive, poetic lyrics.
38. Marc Lanegan-Playing Nero
37. Dope Lemon-Salt and Pepper
36.Bill Callahan-If You Could Touch Her At All
35. Local Natives-When Am I Gonna Lose You
34. Karl Blau-Twilight
33. Night Beats-(Am I) Just Wasting Time
32. Cut Worms-How It Can Be
31. Brockhampton-Boy BYE
Also one of the most amusing video’s of the year.
30. Injury Reserve-Jailbreak the Tesla
29. Bon Iver-Hey MA
28. People Under the Stairs-Hard
27. Jim James, Teddy Abrams and the Louisville Orchestra-Back to the End of the World
26. Cate le Bon-Home to You
25. Tyler the Creator-New Magic Wand
24. Mac Demarco-On the Square
23. Kindness-Hard To Believe
22. Whitney-Giving Up
21. Lyrics Born and Cutso-Hit Number One
20. Izzy Bizu-Lights On
19. Beast Coast-It Ain’t Easy
18. Nubian Twist-Jungle Run
17. Sam Cohen-I Can’t Lose
16. Big K.R.I.T.-Energy
14. Steve Lacy-Playground
13. Brittany Howard-Stay High
12. Gang Starr-Bad Name
11. Sudan Archives-Confessions
10. Richard Hawley-My Little Treasures
9. Drug Dealer-Fools
8. Jamila Woods-BETTY
7. Andrew Bird-Bloodless
6. James Blake-Mile High
5. Nas-Jarreau of Rap (Skatt Attack)
4. Foxygen-Face the Facts
3. Purple Mountains-Snow is Falling in Manhattan
2. Madlib & Freddie Gibbs-Crime Pays
1. Emily King-Teach You
There is just something so special about this song. I don’t know if it’s the mandolin casually skipping in after the verse or just the overall feel, that is entirely contemporary yet completely timeless. Such a lovely and vibrant song, so full of life and love, and that is why it’s my favorite of the year. It just stuck with me til the end.