I loved you all: The best of The Beatles

On my list you’ll see the Harrisong “Old Brown Shoe,” with its supple bass, tight harmonies, and acerbic solo; “Baby’s in Black,” employing waltz time and detachment; and at the top a Paul McCartney performance of grace and buttoned-down regret that keeps kitsch at bay thanks to a tough arrangement (Harrison’s terse, angry staccato strums, terrified of sentimentality). It’s the one Beatles song in the last six months to which I keep returning. Happy new year.

1. Things We Said Today
2. I’m Down
3. A Hard Day’s Night
4. Here Comes the Sun
5. It Won’t Be Long
6. This Boy
7. Don’t Let Me Down
8. Twist and Shout
9. Ticket to Ride
10. Strawberry Fields Forever
11. We Can Work It Out
12. I Want to Tell You
13. Boys
14. No Reply
15. She’s a Woman
16. Two of Us
17. I Want You (She’s So Heavy)
18. Don’t Bother Me
19. You’ve Got to Hide Your Love Away
20. For No One
21. I Feel Fine
22. Tomorrow Never Knows
23. Old Brown Shoe
24. Drive My Car
25. Come Together
26. Baby’s in Black
27. A Day in the Life
28. Penny Lane
29. I’m a Loser
30. In My Life
31. I’m So Tired
32. Revolution
33. Oh! Darling
34. Not Guilty
35. I Want to Hold Your Hand

We’ll get by, I suppose — a farewell to 2016 and all that

On the last day of 2016, I can’t dispel the mephitic vapors of an autumn that in South Florida never cooled and an election season that didn’t and won’t end. I published some of my finest work. I read, deeply, discovering Lorrie Moore and at last finishing Thomas Mann’s Joseph tetralogy. I’m at the apex of my teaching powers. The sex wasn’t lousy. To mourn the collapse of our expectations after Nov. 8 is to call attention to the fact that “setting goals” is a capitalist’s conformist trick. I don’t New Year’s resolutions to steel myself. The work remains, it must get done, unfinished, forever.

Thanks to my readers, who, like events both national and personal, bring sustenance and friction. Focus not on the concept of a Bad Year. Periods both good and bad aren’t still points on a compass but circumferences.

Natalie Cole, whose death was announced on the first day of the new year.

– On Fleetwood Mac’s Mirage reissue

– On Being 17, being young, being queer, being stupid.

The primacy of dance clubs in queer culture, more necessary than ever after the Pulse shootings in June.

– The late Fidel Castro’s far-reaching influence on Cuban families like mine.

– Miranda Lambert’s The Weight of These Wings was a statement by an artist at the peak of her powers.

The raft of excellent albums by K Michelle, KING, and other R&B women.

– Why Moonlight wasn’t quite the queer tour de force that critics sought.

– What George Michael meant to me in September 2016 and what he meant to queer culture after his death last Sunday.

Adjusting to the Clintons — before their abrupt November banishment.

– David Bowie, who taught us about the vitality of posing.

On my favorite early Prince album.

I’m off for a vacation. Take care of each other. See y’all on the other side.

What I read in 2016

I omitted books I’ve reread (Tender is the Night, A Modern Instance) and short story and poetry collections.

Christopher Isherwood – Mr. Norris Changes Trains
David Talbot – The Devil’s Chessboard: Allen Dulles, the CIA, and the Rise of America’s Secret Government
Mary Beard – SPQR: A History of Ancient Rome
Patrick McGilligan – Young Orson
Charles Savage — Power Wars: Inside Obama’s Post-9/11 Presidency
Jane Mayer – Dark Money: The Hidden History of Billionaires Behind the Rise of the Radical Right
Michael Waldman – The Fight to Vote
Bob Mehr – Trouble Boys: The True Story of the Replacements
Elena Ferrante – The Days of Abandonment
Pat Barker – Toby’s Room
Pat Barker – Life Class
Olivia Laing – The Lonely City: Adventures in the Art of Being Alone
William Leuchtenberg – The American President: From Teddy Roosevelt to Bill Clinton
Jeffrey Rosen – Louis D. Brandeis: American Prophet
Ian Hamilton – Robert Lowell
George Simenon – The White Horse Inn
Pat Barker – Noonday
James Traub – John Quincy Adams: Militant Spirit
Edna O’Brien – In the Forest
Paul Mariani – The Whole Harmonium
Muriel Spark – The Ballad of Peckham Rye
David Greenberg – Republic of Spin: An Inside History of the American Presidency
Glenway Westcott – The Pilgrim Hawk
Randall B. Woods – Prisoners of Hope: Lyndon B. Johnson, the Great Society, and the Limits of Liberalism
Edmund White – Our Young Man
Charles Rappleye – Herbert Hoover in the White House
Patricia Highsmith – The Price of Salt
Kingsley Amis – Stanley and the Women
Don Carpenter – Hard Rain Falling
Kingsley Amis – The Folks Who Live on the Hill
Ken Hughes – Chasing Shadows: The Nixon Tapes, the Chennault Affair, and the Origins of Watergate
Anthony Trollope – The Prime Minister
Colm Toibin – Elizabeth Bishop
Mark Lewisohn – Tune In: The Beatles All These Years
Honore de Balzac – Cousins Pons
Lorrie Moore- Anagrams
Joseph L. Lelyveld – His Final Battle: The Last Months of Franklin Roosevelt
Michael J. Graetz and Linda Greenhouse – The Burger Court and the Rise of the Judicial Right
Penelope Fitzgerald – The Beginning of Spring
Anthony Heilbut – Thomas Mann: Eros and Literature
Thomas Mann – The Joseph novels
Muriel Spark – The Bachelors
Robert V. Remini – Henry Clay: Statesman for the Union
George Gissing – The Odd Women
Edward Albee – A Delicate Balance
Larry Tye – Bobby Kennedy: The Making of a Liberal Icon
Jean-Paul Sartre – The Age of Reason
Ursula K. LeGuin – The Beginning Place
Herman Melville – The Confidence-Man
Lorrie Moore – Who Will Run the Frog Hospital
H.W. Brands – The General vs. the President: MacArthur and Truman at the Brink of Nuclear War
Lorrie Moore – A Gate at the Stairs
Henry Green – Caught
Henry Green – Back
Ian Kershaw – To Hell and Back
David French – How to Survive a Plague
Anthony Trollope – The Duke’s Children

2016: the year in singles

Every year I announce I’ve reviewed more singles than ever, and I’m not wrong. I’m also doing more sit-ups than ever. Below are the original scores of every tune I’ve reviewed at The Singles Jukebox. I’ve kept the original grades despite the adjustments that radio listening have demanded I make — not that top forty radio was all that impressive in 2016.

SINGLES JUKEBOX SCORES 2016

10

A Tribe Called Quest – We the People

9

Maxwell – Lake By the Ocean
Maxwell – 1990X
Miranda Lambert – We Should Be Friends
Maren Morris – 80s Mercedes
Eric Church – Record Year

8

Miranda Lambert – Vice
Lady Gaga – A-Yo
Vince Staples ft. A$AP Rocky – Prima Donna
Danny Brown – When It Rain
Sabina Ddumba – Time
Rae Sremmurd ft. Gucci Mane – Black Beatles
Bucie ft. Black Motion – Rejoice
Eric Church ft. Rhiannon Giddens – Kill a Word
Martin Solveig ft. Tkay Maidza – Do It Right
Katy B & Chris Lorenzo – I Wanna Be
Alex Anwandter – Siempre Es Viernes En Mi Corazón
Ingrid – Double Pedigree
Utada Hikaru ft. Shiina Ringo – Nijikan Dake no Vacance
Rihanna – Kiss It Better
Tim McGraw – Humble and Kind
Brandy Clark – Girl Next Door
KING – The Greatest
Anohni – Drone Bomb Me
The 1975 – The Sound
BTS – Run
Ngaiire – Diggin’
Corinne Bailey Rae – Been to the Moon

7

Shura – What’s It Gonna Be
Beyonce ft. Dixie Chicks – Daddy Problems
Ian Ramil – Derivacivilização
Mon Laferte – Si Tú Me Quisieras
The Chamanas – Dulce Mal
Garth Brooks – Baby Let’s Lay Down and Dance
Twice – TT
Brad Paisley – Today
The xx – On Hold
Kaytranada ft. Syd – You’re the One
Brandy Clark – Love Can Go to Hell
Kim Gordon – Murdered Out
Violeta Castillo – Envuelta
John Mayer – Love on the Weekend
Blackpink – Playing With Fire
Britney Spears ft. Tinashe – Slumber Party
Francisca Valenzuela – Estremecer
Mister Wallace – It Girl
Anna Straker – Serious
Fernanda Abreu – Outro Sim
Beyoncé – Hold Up
Garth Brooks – Baby Let’s Lay Down and Dance
Sevyn Streeter ft. The-Dream – D4L
BTS – Blood Sweat & Tears
Nelly Furtado – Islands of Me
Little Mix – Shout Out to My Ex
Twice – TT
Mary J. Blige – Thick of It
Nadia Rose – Skwod
MØ – Final Song
Lydia Loveless – Longer
Chris Young ft. Vince Gill – Sober Saturday Night
Ahlam – Talqah
Beth Orton – 1973
Tkay Maidza ft. Killer Mike – Carry On
AlunaGeorge – I Remember
Usher ft. Young Thug – No Limit
Aminé – Caroline
Regina Spektor – Bleeding Heart
Kanye West ft. Ty Dolla $ign & Post Malone – Fade
Tiwa Savage ft. Dr. SID – If I Start to Talk
Soobin Hoàng Sơn – Lalala
Tim McGraw – How I’ll Always Be
Tinashe – Superlove
Alex Anwandter – Intentarlo Todo de Nuevo
Sistar – I Like That
Petula Clark – Sacrifice My heart
PARTYNEXTDOOR & Jeremih ft. Lil Wayne – Like Dat
Dënver – El Fondo del Barro
Britney Spears ft. G-Eazy – Make Me…
Kaytranada ft. Anderson .Paak – Glowed Up
Snow Tha Product ft. W. Darling
Usher – Crush
Beth Orton – 1973
Oh My Girl – Windy Day
Jonghyun – She Is
Thalia ft. Maluma – Desde Esa Noche
Luna – Free Somebody
Blake Shelton – Came Here to Forget
Kevin Gates – Really Really
Justin Timberlake – Can’t Stop the Feeling!
Margo Price – Hurtin’ (On the Bottle)
Deep Sea Diver – See These Eyes
Jana Hermann – Kults
Temi Dollface – School Your Face
Intocable – Tu Ausencia
Sophie Beem – Skyline
Skepta – Man
Tiffany – I Just Wanna Dance
Garbage – Empty
Azealia Banks – Can’t Do It Like Me
Old Dominion – Snapback
Brad Paisley ft. Demi Lovato – Without a Fight
Jason Derulo – If It Ain’t Love
Case/Lang/Veirs – Atomic Number
Blake Shelton ft. Gwen Stefani – Go Ahead and Break My Heart
Chloe x Halle – Drop
Perfume – Flash
Bonnie Raitt – Gypsy Like Me
TT the Artist & Snappy Jit – Dig
P!nk – Just Like Fire
Grimes – Kill V. Maim
Kendrick Lamar – Untitled 02 06.23.2014.
Tegan and Sara – Boyfriend
Mannie Fresh ft. Juvenile & Tunechi – Hate
Tove Lo – Cool Girl
Blackpink – Whistle
Clare Dunn – Tuxedo
Jordan Fisher – Lookin’ Like That
Isaiah Rashad – Free Lunch
Playa Gótica – Fuego
The Band Perry – Comeback Kid
Mac Miller ft. Anderson .Paak – Dang!
Ladies’ Code – Galaxy
Taemin – Press Your Number
Trace Adkins – Jesus and Jones
Beyonce – Formation
Mamamoo – Taller Than You
Prince Royce – Culpa al Corazón
Riton ft. Kah-lo – Rinse & Repeat
Pet Shop Boys – The Pop Kids
Chairlift – Crying in Public
Ulises Hadjis ft. Gepe – Movimiento
Mamamoo – Taller Than You
Kevin Gates – 2 Phones
Katie Gately – Tuck
Jeremih – Oui
Erykah Badu – Phone Down
Jason Derulo – Get Ugly
PJ Harvey – The Wheel
Esperanza Spalding – Good Lava
Laura Mvula ft. Nile Rodgers – Overcome
Morning Musume ’15 – Tsumetai Kaze to Kataomoi
Seventeen ft. Ailee – Q&A
J Hus – Lean & Bop
The 1975 – UGH!
Dua Lipa – Be the One
Blink-182 – Bored to Death
Adele – When We Were Young
365 – Selfie
Metronomy – Night Owl
Trentemøller ft. Jehnny Beth – River in Me
Mura Masa ft. Shura – Love For That
Gepe – Punto Final

6

Against Me! – 333
Cathy Davey – The Pattern
Years & Years – Meteorite
Blood Orange – Augustine
HyunA – How’s This?
RaeLynn – Love Triangle
Ravyn Lenae ft. Appleby – Free Room
Joss Favela – Cuando Fuimos Nada
Sophia Abrahão – Sou Fatal
Manuel Medrano – Una y Otra Vez
Joey Bada$$ – Devastated
Butterfly – Sorry for the Wait
Keith Urban – Blue Ain’t Your Color
Letters to Cleo – Can’t Say
Leonard Cohen – You Want It Darker
William Michael Morgan – I Met a Girl
Emeli Sandé – Hurts
Skrillex & Rick Ross – Purple Lamborghini
A Tribe Called Red ft. Yasiin Bey, Narcy & Black Bear – R.E.D.
Nice as Fuck – Door
Justice – Safe and Sound
Agust D – Agust D
M.O. – What Do You Thi
JoJo ft. Wiz Khalifa – Fuck Apologies nk of Love?
Bat For Lashes – Sunday love
Maggie Rogers – Alaska
Didrick ft. Amanda Fondell – Smoke
Aommy – Shake
Maluma – Sin Contrato
Anderson .Paak ft. Schoolboy Q – Am I Wrong
Dreezy ft. Jeremih – Body
Angel Olsen – Shut Up Kiss Me
Swet Shop Boys – T5
Espinoza Paz – Que Mal Te Ves Sin Mí
Kent – Egoist
Yuna ft. Usher – Crush
Lil Uzi Vert – Money Longer
Ayumi Hamasaki – Mad World  
Desiigner – Tiimmy Turne
PARTYNEXTDOOR & Jeremih ft. Lil Wayne – Like Dat
Pitbull ft. Enrique Iglesias – Messin’ Around
Kristin Kontrol – X-Communicate
Nick Jonas ft. Tove Lo – Close
Suzy & Baekhyun – Dream
Alicia Keys – In Common
Paul Simon – Wristband
Radiofish – Perfect Human
Twice – Cheer Up
Adele – Send My Love (to Your New Lover)
The Corrs – I Do What I Like
Kiiara – Gold
E-Girls – Dance With Me Now!
Mitski – Your Best American Girl
Jamala – 1944
Gwen Stefani – Make Me Like You
Loretta Lynn – Who’s Gonna Miss Me?
Carlos Vives – Las Cosas de la Vida
Kelsea Ballerini – Peter Pan
Panic! at the Disco – Emperor’s New Clothe
Cam – Mayday
Dessa – Quinine
VIXX – Dynamite
Primal Scream & Sky Ferreira – Where the Light Gets In
Chvrches – Clearest Blue
Lush – Out of Contro
Aubrie Sellers – Sit Here and Cry
Ella Mai ft. Ty Dolla $ign – She Don’t
Stellar – Sting
Francisca Valenzuela – Catedral
Vince Gill ft. Little Big Town – Take Me Down
Carrie Underwood – Heartbeat
Frances – Borrowed Time
Stormzy – Shut Up
Tegan and Sara – BWU
Unnies ft. You Hee Yeol – Shut Up
Rat Boy – Fake ID
Mabel – My Boy My Town
Lali – Boomerang
Beyoncé – Hold Up
Snakehips ft. Anderson .Paak – Money on Me

5

MNEK – At Night (I Think About You)
Future – Wicked
Zay Hilfigerrr & Zayion McCall – JuJu on Dat Beat
Childish Gambino – Me and Your Mama
Rihanna ft. Drake – Work
Kehlani – CRZY
The Hiatus – Bonfire
Valesca Popozuda – Boy Magia
Ward Thomas – Guilty Flowers
Bruno Mars – 24K Magic
Hana – Underwater
Brave Girls – Deepened
Starlit – Kita Berbeda
Raveena – Johnny It’s the Last Time
Hana – Underwater
The Weeknd ft. Daft Punk – Starboy
Rae Sremmurd – Look Alive
Calvin Harris – My Way
Kideko & George Kwali ft. Nadia Rose & Sweetie Irie – Crank It (Woah!)
Zay Hilfigerrr & Zayion McCall – JuJu on Dat Beat
Puer Kim – Pearls
Röyksopp ft. Susanne Sundfør – Never Ever
Charli XCX ft. Lil Yachty – After the Afterparty
Victoria Kimani – My Money
The Strokes – Oblivius
Tinie Tempah ft. Wizkid – Mamacita
Lil Wayne, Wiz Khalifa & Imagine Dragons w/ Logic & Ty Dolla $ign ft. X Ambassadors – Sucker for Pain
Frenship ft. Emily Warren – Capsize
Kari Faux – Fantasy
M.I.A. ft. Zayn – Freedun
Radwimps – Zen Zen Zense
Dragonette – Lonely Heart
The Strokes – Oblivius
DJ Khaled ft. Drake – For Free
Tinie Tempah ft. Wizkid – Mamacita
Chance the Rapper ft. 2 Chainz & Lil Wayne – No Problem
Bump of Chicken – Butterfly
Frank Ocean – Nikes
Fabio Rovazzi – Andiamo a Comandare
Nite Jewel – Kiss the Screen
Keith Urban – Wasted Time
Calibre 50 – Préstamela a Mí
Daya – Sit Still, Look Pretty
Anitta ft. Maluma – Sim Ou Não
Sigur Rós – Óveður
Little Big Town – One of Those Days
The Record Company – Off the Ground
Desiigner – Panda
Red Hot Chili Peppers – Dark Necessities
Elle King – America’s Sweetheart
Snuper – Platonic Love
Julieta Venegas – Tu Calor
Troye Sivan – Youth
MNEK – At Night (I Think About You)
Zhu – In the Morning
Lush – Out of Control
Renaud – Toujours Debout
Green Day – Bang Bang
Snakehips ft. Zayn – Cruel
Ellie Goulding – Something in the Way You Move
The Joy Formidable – The Last Thing on My Mind
Dierks Bentley – Somewhere on a Beach
Fnaïre – Chayeb
Flume ft. Vince Staples & Kučka – Smoke & Retribution
David Bowie – Blackstar
The Rubens – Hoops
Jessy Lanza – It Means I Love You
Tara Thompson – Someone to Take Your Place
M83 – Do It, Try It
I.O.I – Crush
Chris Stapleton – Nobody to Blame
Puff Daddy & the Family ft. Ty Dolla $ign – You Could Be My Lover
Ashley Campbell – Remembering
Turbo ft. Yoo Jae-suk – Again
Miriam Bryant – Black Car
Frenship ft. Emily Warren – Capsize
Amine Aminux – #Makayen_Ma
Volbeat – The Devil’s Bleeding Crown
Renaud – Toujours Debout
YG ft. Drake & Kamaiyah – Why You Always Hatin’?
Jeezy ft. Janelle Monáe – Sweet Life
Justin Bieber – Love Yourself
Wale – My PYT
Twenty One Pilots – Stressed Out
Loyle Carner – Ain’t Nothing Changed
One Direction – History Colonel Loud ft. T.I., Young Dolph & Ricco Barrino – California
Colonel Loud ft. T.I., Young Dolph & Ricco Barrino – California
Cole Swindell – You Should Be Here
Rostam – Gravity Don’t Pull Me
Hooverphonic – Badaboum
Tinie Tempah ft. Zara Larsson – Girls Like

4

Francis and the Lights ft. Bon Iver – Friends
Natalia Lafourcade – Mi Lugar Favorito
LP – Lost on You
Sofía Reyes ft. Reykon – Llegaste Tú
Olly Murs – You Don’t Know Love
Ariana Grande ft. Nicki Minaj – Side to Side
Kent Jones – Alright
Simone – Heart-shaped Hole
Zay Hilfigerrr & Zayion McCall – JuJu on Dat Beat
Rag ‘n’ Bone Man – Human
Mickey Singh – Phone
Sofía Reyes ft. Reykon – Llegaste Tú
Stevie Wonder ft. Ariana Grande – Faith
Mickey Guyton – Heartbreak Song
Little Big Town – Better Man
Ingrid Michaelson – Hell No
Kenny Chesney ft. P!nk – Setting the World on Fire
Oh My Girl ft. Skull & Haha – A-ing
Simone – Heart Shaped Hole
Busu – 116 RIP
Sleigh Bells – Hyper Dark
Norah Jones – Carry On
Coldplay – Hymn for the Weekend
Happy Meals – If You Want Me Now
Dierks Bentley ft. Elle King – Different For Girls
Schoolboy Q ft. Kanye West – That Part
Drake ft. Rihanna – Too Good
Kano – This is England
Dua Lipa – Hotter Than Hell
Kanye West – Famous
Miles Davis, Robert Glasper & Bilal – Ghetto Walkin’
Tokyo Police Club – Not My Girl
Nothing But Thieves – Trip Switch
Justin Bieber – Company
CL – Lifted
Ariana Grande – Into You
Carrie Underwood – Church Bells
Martina McBride – Reckless
Jake Owen – American Country Love Song
Kelly Clarkson, Chloe & Halle, Missy Elliott, Jadagrace, Lea Michele, Janelle Monáe, Kelly Rowland & Zendaya – This is for My Girls
Mike Posner – I Took a Pill in Ibiza (SeeB remix)
Snakehips ft. Tinashe & Chance the Rapper – All My Friends
Mary Chapin Carpenter – Something Tamed Something Wild
Young Thug – Best Friend
Nu’est – Love Paint
GFriend – Rough
Drake – Summer Sixteen
Yandel – Encantadora
Kira Isabella – I’m So Over Getting Over You
Flo Rida – My House
FKA Twigs – Good to Love
Massive Attack ft. Tricky & 3D – Take It There
Zayn – Pillowtalk
AlunaGeorge ft. Popcaan – I’m in Control
Matt Simons – Catch & Release (Deepend remix)
Selena Gomez – Hands to Myself
Bonnie McKee – Wasted Youth
DJ Mustard ft. Travis Scott – Whole Lotta Lovin’
Jack Garratt – Breathe Life
Dierks Bentley ft. Elle King – Different For Girls
Happy Meals – If You Want Me Now
Schoolboy Q ft. Kanye West – That Part
Drake ft. Rihanna – Too Good
Jonas Blue ft. JP Cooper – Perfect Strangers
Section Boyz – Do the Road
Psy ft. CL – Daddy
Nick Jonas ft. Ty Dolla $ign – Bacon
Mary Chapin Carpenter – Something Tamed Something Wild
BØRNS – Electric Love
Martin Garrix and Bebe Rexha – In the Name of Love
Ronnie Dunn ft. Kix Brooks – Damn Drunk
Hank Solo – Söpö
Bon Iver – 33 “GOD”
Danielle Bradbery – Friend Zone
Izzy Bizu – White Tiger
Kiss Daniel – Mama
Jessica ft. Fabolous – Fly
Laura Mvula – Phenomenal Woman
Maroon 5 ft. Kendrick Lamar – Don’t Wanna Know

3

Kat DeLuna ft. Jeremih – What a Night
Danny L Harle ft. Carly Rae Jepsen – Super Natural
Idina Menzel – Queen of Swords
The Chainsmokers ft. Phoebe Ryan – All We Know
Local Natives – Fountain of Youth
The Avett Brothers – Ain’t No Man t
E-40 ft. Kamaiyah – Petty
Louisa Johnson – So Good (3)
Andy Grammer – Fresh Eyes
John Legend – Love Me Now
Davido ft. Tinashe – How Long
Kiiara – Feels
Florida Georgia Line ft. Tim McGraw – May We All
Rick Astley – Keep Singing
Tyler Glenn – Trash
Fetty Wap – Wake Up
Katy Perry – Rise
Mike Perry ft. Shy Martin – The Ocean
Jon Pardi – Head Over Boots
Demi Lovato – Body Say
Beast – Butterfly
Cassius ft. Ryan Tedder & Jaw – The Missing
Mura Masa ft. Bonzai – What If I
The Avalanches – Frankie Sinatra Go?
OneRepublic – Wherever I Go
Fergie – M.I.L.F. $
Tom Odell – Magnetised
Drake ft. Popcaan – Controlla
Charlie Puth ft. Selena Gomez – We Don’t Talk Anymore
The Avalanches – Frankie Sinatra
Céline Dion ft. Lindsey Stirling – The Show Must Go On
Chase & Status ft. Slaves – Control
Bibi Bourelly – Ego
Dustin Lynch – Mind Reader
Galantis – No Money
Robbie Williams – Party Like a Russian
Alan Walker – Sing Me to Sleep
Kent Jones – Don’t Mind
Bebe Rexha ft. Nicki Minaj – No Broken Hearts
Drake ft. Wizkid & Kyla – One Dance
Lady Gaga – Til It Happens to You
Meghan Trainor – No
Fifth Harmony ft. Ty Dolla $ign – Work From Home
The Lumineers – Ophelia J
Bat for Lashes – I Do
Chris Young ft. Cassadee Pope – Think of You
Valentino Khan – Deep Down Low
Ridenna – Knickers
Kanye West, Gucci Mane, Big Sean, 2 Chainz, Travis Scott, Yo Gotti, Quavo & Desiigner – Champions
Kent Jones – Alright
iKON – What’s Wrong?
Diana Gordon – Woman
Lucinda Williams – The Ghosts of Highway 20
LoCash – I Love This Life
Hailee Steinfeld – You’re Such A
DJ Snake ft. Bipolar Sunshine – Middl
Zendaya ft. Chris Brown – Something New
Lucinda Williams – The Ghosts of Highway 20
Enrique Iglesias ft. Wisin – Duele el Corazón
Alan Walker – Faded
Lauren Alaina – Road Less Travelled
Tucker Beathard – Rock On
Sia ft. Kendrick Lamar – The Greates
Lali – Único
Andra Day – Rise Up
Billie Marten – Bird
Morat – Cómo Te Atreves
Neiked ft. Dyo – Sexual

2

Brett Eldredge – Drunk on Your Love
Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds – I Need You
Joel Adams – Please Don’t Go
Michael Bublé – Nobody But Me
Zion & Lennox ft. J. Balvin – Otra Vez
Fifth Harmony ft. Fetty Wap – All in My Head (Flex)
DNCE – Toothbrush
Bon Jovi – This House is Not for Sale
Future ft. The Weeknd – Low Life
Zion & Lennox ft. J. Balvin – Otra Vez
Twenty88 ft. K-Ci & JoJo & Detail – 2 Minute Warning
The Strumbellas – Spirits
Grouplove – Welcome to Your Life
Michael Bublé – Nobody But Me
Gnash ft. Olivia O’Brien – I Hate U, I Love U
Fall Out Boy ft. Missy Elliott – Ghostbusters (I’m Not Afraid)
Florida Georgia Line – H.O.L.Y.
Twenty One Pilots – Heathens
D.R.A.M. ft. Lil Yachty – Broccoli
Fall Out Boy ft. Missy Elliott – Ghostbusters (I’m Not Afraid)
Ariana Grande – Dangerous Woman
The Chainsmokers ft. Daya – Don’t Let Me Down
Twenty88 ft. K-Ci & JoJo & Detail – 2 Minute Warning
Demi Lovato – Stone Cold
Alle Farben ft. Younotus – Please Tell Rosie
DJ Snake ft. Justin Bieber – Let Me Love You
Cher Lloyd – Activated
DJ Mustard ft. Nicki Minaj & Jeremih – Don’t Hurt Me
DLOW – Bet You Can’t Do It Like Me
J. Cole – No Role Modelz
Sia ft. Sean Paul – Cheap Thrills
James Bay – Let It Go
The Veronicas – In My Blood
James Arthur – Say You Won’t Let Go
Post Malone ft. Justin Bieber – Deja Vu

1

Wolfgang Gartner ft. Wiley & Trina – Turn Up
Timeflies – Once in a While
Tiësto ft John Legend – Summer Nights
The Chainsmokers ft. Halsey – Closer
You Me At Six – Night People
Porter Robinson & Madeon – Shelter
Marshmello – Alone
RedOne ft. Enrique Iglesias, R. City, Serayah & Shaggy – Don’t You Need Somebody
Ruth B – Lost Boy
Catfish and the Bottlemen – Soundcheck
Tiësto & Oliver Heldens ft. Natalie La Rose – The Right Song
Meghan Trainor – Me Too
The Stone Roses – All for One
Calum Scott – Dancing On My Own
Cash Cash ft. Sofia Reyes – How to Love

0

David Guetta ft. Zara Larsson – This One’s for You
Twenty One Pilots – Ride
Cash Cash & Digital Farm Animals ft. Nelly – Millionaire

From this point on it only gets rougher: The best of Outkast

I came to Outkast late. Impressed by “Elevators (Me and You),” I didn’t go, as the kids say, all-in until Stankonia, which I got as an advanced copy for an unwritten review. The success of “Ms Jackson” — that synth, the Atlanta snap of Andre 3000’s vowels — was among the more gratifying as a chart watcher. And they pulled off the U2 Achtung Baby strategy: trad single for the pop audience, outré single for the die-hards. I worked backwards from there, playing a burned copy of my sister’s CD copy of Aquemini through 2001 and 2002; the sequence from “Rosa Parks” to “Da Art of Storytellin’ (Pt. 2)” is as hair-raising, dirty, and beautiful as any I’ve heard. Warming to Stankonia took some doing. Listened to it lately? “Dense” is a euphemism.

For this list I sneaked in a few tracks off the quieter than I remembered ATLiens and quite a few from Speakerboxx; time has not changed the conclusion many of us reached in 2003 that The Love Below had the kind of ideas which give ambition a bad name. I suppose I blame him for being Mr. Bad Example and persuading Lil Wayne to pick up the guitar. Several tracks didn’t survive replay: the Sleepy Brown collaboration “Can’t Wait”; “The Way You Move” (we need more albums indebted to Marvin Gaye’s Midnight Love, so long as the hooks have songs). After Dre’s singing sent my bath stall mirror tumbling, I almost nixed “Hollywood Divorce” too.

1. Rosa Parks
2. Ova du Wudz
3. Crumblin’ Erb
4. Humble Mumble
5. Slump
6. Hey Ya
7. Rooster
8. Wheelz of Steel
9. Gasoline Dreams
10. Bowtie
11. Snappin’ and Trappin’
12. The Whole World
13. Skew It on the Bar-B (ft. Raekwon)
14. West Savannah
15. Elevators
16. Synthesizer
17. Knowing
18. Player’s Ball
19. Unhappy
20. Royal Flush
21. Da Art of Storytellin’ Pt 2
22. SpottieOttieDopalisciou
23. The Train
24. Southernplayalisticadillacmuzik
25. Hollywood Divorce ft. (Lil Wayne and Snoop Dogg)

Trump and clickbait

Greg Sargent, sharing some hard news lessons:

If the headline merely conveys that Trump claimed credit for something, without also conveying that this is open to doubt, then it risks being misleading, particularly since people often scan headlines without digging deeper into the stories and the factual details.

Why is this a risk any news org would choose to take, when it doesn’t have to? Look, it’s obvious that Trump has adopted a strategy of actively trying to game such headlines in his favor. Trump’s claims about Carrier jobs staying in Indiana turned out to be significantly less rosy upon closer inspection. And remember when Trump falsely claimed credit for keeping a Ford plant here that was going to stay anyway? It really doesn’t take much to convey it in a headline when Trump’s claim is in doubt.

Students in journalism programs learn this stuff. I can answer Sargent’s rhetorical question: click$.

George Michael and ‘ queer plausible deniability’

When David Bowie died almost a year ago, I remember no eulogists arguing that his place in the rock canon wasn’t deserved. His acceptance began in the late nineties as a generation of Billy Corgans absorbed his sounds and wannabe poseurs appropriated his queerness. When I adumbrated that his canonicity rested on how he presented himself as a fan first, hence the fascination with experiments, I was hoping no one saw him precisely as another Billy Corgan — a rock and roller who worked for appreciation in the conventional manner.

But the late George Michael never got these chances, Aja Romero writes, because unlike Bowie he saw himself as pop first:

This need to universalize Bowie’s gender and sexuality along with his music isn’t a coincidence. Prince and Bowie were queer icons, but they were allowed to be queer icons with plausible deniability precisely because their music crossed over into more universal forms of rock. As long as they could perform on stages alongside more traditional rockers, they could code themselves as queer without ever having to defend or justify their sexuality.

But Michael started out as a pop idol whose music was dismissed as frivolous by critics for decades. He was rarely taken seriously as a musician, so his queerness was never allowed to have plausible deniability. He was robbed of that deniability through his arrest and forced outing, but well before that, as we see in the Rolling Stone article, his attempts at coding — the longstanding Hollywood practice of identifying as queer subtextually, not publicly — were called out and dismissed.

To cut the yobs minor slack, Michael disappeared for half of the nineties. Yet when he released Older it got no American promotion; I still find it inexplicable that one of the world’s biggest stars could barely ship platinum in 1996 while breaking every British chart record. Then he got the same treatment every rocker over forty got in the TRL era.

I’ll get your number: The best of De La Soul

As much as it pained me to dismiss …and the Anonymous Nobody last August, I suspect they’ll be back. I want them to stay back.

1. Ego Trippin’ (Part Two)
2. Brother (Native Tongue Decision)
3. Eye No
4. In the Woods
5. A Rollerskating Jam Called Saturdays
6. Breakadawn
7. All Good
8. Potholes in My Lawn
9. Bittie’s in the BK Lounge
10. I Am I Be
11. Ring Ring Ring (Ha Ha Hey)
12. 4 More
13. D.A.I.S.Y. Age
14. Verbal Clap
15. Plug Tunin’ (Original 12″ Version)
16. What We Do (For Love)
17. Shopping Bags
18. Me Myself and I
19. Ring Ring Ring (Ha Ha Hey)
20. Royalty Capes

‘Lion’ meows through its paces

Lion is such a well-intentioned snooze that I know it’s going to clean up at the box office. The true story of how an Indian boy gets separated from his family, is adopted by white Australians, and twenty years later is reunited has an intrinsic holiday appeal. But Garth Davis shows little talent for dramatizing the story other than to coast on the audience’s good will. Don’t fret: it should do marvels for stock in Google Earth, the tool with which Saroo Brierley finds “Mum.”

The first forty minutes are Lion‘s strongest. Young Saroo (the terrific Sunny Pawar, whose eyes can stop cars) and older brother Guddu (Abhishek Bharate), residents of the village of Khandwa, are so poor they scrounge for coal to exchange for milk. At a railroad station Saroo mistakenly boards an out of service train; in the rush he and Guddu get separated. As the unfamiliar landscape whizzes by and Saroo’s calls for his mum and brother are met by at best curiosity from spectators, Lion’s purported theme — alienation from even the most familiar environs — gets realized. Davis’ approach is closer to Empire of the Sun than Pather Panchali; he prefers suspense to situating characters in alien contexts, such as when a group of other homeless children get abducted and Saroo has to run for his life across the foreign bridges and streets of Calcutta.

If Lion had concentrated on Saroo’s adventures in the streets, it might’ve been a harrowing little picture. But Davis and screenwriter Luke Davies remain tethered to the real Saroo’s memoir A Long Way Home, which means the adaptation trudges obligingly towards uplift and inspiration. After running away from a kind dabbawala who might have been a surrogate mother, he’s rounded up and put in an orphanage (running his picture in the papers has proven unsuccessful). Fortune’s wheel keeps spinning, however: an Australian couple John and Sue Brierley (David Wenham and Nicole Kidman) adopts him. They giggle around the dinner table as the little brown boy mispronounces “pepper,” in a scene directed as if it missed the chance for insertion into a scrapped India pavilion at Epcot. Saroo grows up to become Dev Patel, whose gorgeous beard and unruly hair are powerless against Kidman’s late eighties curls. Accompanying him is another adopted Indian boy, Mantosh (Divian Ladwa)

It’s at this point that Lion ossifies into a picture of joyless banality. The grown Saroo, who moves to Melbourne to complete a hotel management course, falls in love with colleague Lucy, played by Rooney Mara as if she just loved the flight to Australia. But a chunk of his life remains in India, and he must find what’s left of it. Of course, Lucy ministers to him (“You underestimate her,” she scolds him regarding the neglected Sue. “She needs you”) because that’s what women do. Patel, an agreeable performer, devolves into an emblem of suffering. Blame Davis, who must have a kind of mercury poisoning in his blood to make rhythms this slack. When he’s stuck for ideas he includes a montage. Then another montage. And another. The picture has no tension, no sense of felt life. When Saroo, theoretically in great sorrow, confronts Sue with the news that he’s traveling to Sue, you might be forgiven for thinking what the big deal is; there’s no warmth between the pair. Kidman’s natural chill as an actor doesn’t help; she’s more apt to leave Saroo in the city and run without a thought (I’d cast her in a remake of the dingo drama A Cry in the Dark). “I feel like you adopted our past, and now we’re killing you,” Saroo tells Sue, who can’t catch a break — first by adopting him, then by weeping quietly in bed for the duration of the picture.

You know what happens next; I don’t even have to quote the end sequence title cards. Other critics might accuse Lion of being all heart, but its catatonic sentimentality repels emotion. It’s got an eye on grosses, and with its multinational cast, including one of the actors from the orientalist nightmare The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, it will do well overseas. Friends, keep your kids close.

GRADE: C-

On Paul Ryan’s health care death march

Some updates on the efforts to keep repeal of the Affordable Care Act as quietly as possible so that House Speaker Paul Ryan doesn’t reveal his cowardice:

Ryan and his allies envision a quick, surgical strike on Obamacare soon after Donald Trump takes office, via what’s come to be known as a “repeal and delay” strategy. The idea is to eliminate Obamacare’s funding, using a special legislative procedure reserved for bills related to the budget, while leaving most of Obamacare’s coverage provisions in place for a year or two or maybe three. In theory, the more than 20 million people now relying on the program would hold onto insurance while Republicans craft their replacement scheme.

Even conservative experts doubt this gambit would work out so neatly. Insurers that tolerated early losses in Obamacare marketplaces in the hopes of realizing future profits aren’t going to stick around for a market that’s about to disappear ― particularly if the repeal bill also takes actions, such as eliminating the individual mandate, that would tilt the insurance customer base even more toward unhealthy people with high medical expenses. If enough carriers flee, a recent analysis from the Urban Institute predicted, millions of people would lose their health insurance in just the first year.

And why would Ryan and his allies want to move quickly? Parts of Obamacare are popular!

Those elements include not just protection for people with pre-existing conditions but also the availability of financial assistance for people who can’t afford coverage on their own ― which, in a recent Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation poll, a whopping 80 percent of Americans said they support.

The same Kaiser Foundation poll found that roughly half of Americans want to keep Obamacare in place or expand what it does. Another 17 percent merely wants Congress to scale it back, while just over a quarter want full repeal ― and even that enthusiasm wanes when respondents learn that repeal might mean eroding the law’s consumer protections.

The Affordable Care act remains what Charles Pierce called “creaky, jerry-rigged contraption” that gets people “where they need to be” even if many in, say, Kentucky think their Medicaid expansions have nothing to do with the ACA. To my relief, the Democrats in the Senate have started to give Tom Price the side eye. Whether opposition is symbolic matters less than that the public watches the Democrats fight. That’s the point of symbolism.

I just want a chance to fly: Erykah Badu

Al Shipley’s list reminds me of what a deep, solid, weird catalog Erykah Badu has, especially when four albums, an EP stretched to album length, and a handful of odds ‘n’ sods constitutes the catalog of this wonderful artist, to me one of the most rewarding of the last twenty years. As usual I thank my sister, in the nineties several steps ahead as a hip-hop and R&B listener. A fall ’97 mixtape I made boasted “On & On” and “Next Lifetime” but I didn’t give Badu much thought until the “Bag Lady” remix became a hit a few years later. The tendency to exoticize her — “look at the turbans!” encapsulated much of the popular magazine coverage then — vanished as her collaborations with The Roots, Karriem Riggins, and Roy Ayres created some of the best grooves and quietest celebrations of the power of hip-hop, the love of her life. New Amerykah Part One (4th World War) remains my favorite album of 2008, with filigrees to discover and treasure with each listen; its sequel is only a shade less fantastic and phantasmic.

 

1. The Cell
2. Bag Lady (Single Remix)
3. Clevah
4. Me
5. Next Lifetime
6. Didn’t Cha Know
7. Danger
8. Tyrone (Live)
9. Gone Baby, Don’t Be Long
10. Window Seat
11. Booty
12. 4 Leaf Clover
13. Bump It
14. Appletree
15. Penitentiary Philosophy
16. Certainly
17. Hi
18. Back in the Day (Puff)
19. Hello (ft. Andre 3000)
20. Soldier