The magazine asked for a ballot, and, yeah, this ugly hyperlink should take you to a PDFF version: RollingStone-2020_SongsBallots. And the formatting’s still odd. I hope I added to several vote totals.
Here’s my contribution to the Pitchfork thing asking for the best albums released since the site’s inception. I haven’t tried retroactively aligning with history; these are the albums I submitted to Pazz & Jop since my first ballot in 2003, before which I contributed top tens to the Miami Herald and my college newpaper. PulpContinue reading “The best albums of the year since Pitchfork’s start”
When asked to contribute at the dawn of quarantine to Rolling Stone’s first update of 500 Albums Guaranteed to Piss You Off, I leapt at the chance to fuck with the proceedings. The editors didn’t need another voter with three Beatles, two Stones, and one Kind of Blue, no?
How fresh Vampire Weekend look! Such round faces! To scan the top fifteen is to wonder what happened to the radio smashes (“Till the World Ends,” “You and I”), adult R&B hits (“Climax”), and would-be’s (“Love on Top”). “Full of Fire” imagines a desolate landscape pockmarked by volcanic eruptions; it still sounds like nothing else.Continue reading “The best singles 2010-2013”
Few artists dominate conversation like Lil Wayne during this stretch. I had friend sharing mixtapes burned on CDs as if they came from a political prisoner writing messages to the faithful. Enjoy.
Female rappers and R&B artists ruled this moment, and it had Rolling Stone editors running scared enough to run one of those defensive ROCK IS BACK BOO YAH cover stories about a second-rate white rock band that Aaliyah wouldn’t hire to clean her pool. Enjoy.
A risible attempt at nostalgia porn that doesn’t even deign to show skin, “The Motown Song” was Rod Stewart throwing something together for the VH-1 crowd. A lot of Motown below, and I hope unexpected juxtapositions squeeze the schmaltz accrued over five (!) decades. The five years covered in this post span peak Aretha, peakContinue reading “The best songs 1966-1970”
Tough-dreamy R&B. Dreamy-tough Europop. Performers dramatizing themselves for an audience yielding to their minitrations. My favorite songs from this period don’t stop giving up their secrets. Enjoy.
Few songs make me as happy — as gay — as “Juicy,” and fee songs nail the frustration of class divides as “Common People,” so play them side by side. 1. The Notorious B.I.G – Juicy2. Pulp – Common People3. Garbage – Happy When It Rains4. Ginuwine – Pony5. Missy “Misdemeanor” Elliott ft 702 andContinue reading “The best singles 1995-1999”
Thirty years (!) later, “Vogue” sounds like an Imperial Phase single because it has the courage to begin not with hysteria but with quietude: the orchestral synth pad drones for a full twenty seconds before a sampled click and programmed bongos join, followed by bass and, at 0:50, a rhythm track announcing Madonna’s entrance. TheContinue reading “The best singles 1990-1994”
Infatuated with “Next Lifetime,” “Bag Lady,” and “Danger,” I still didn’t give Erykah Badu props until the release of her 2008 masterwork. “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 someContinue reading “The best albums 2005-2009”
A number of vets released some of their sturdiest material in years: behold Lou Reed, Sonic Youth, De La Soul, The Go-Betweens, Mekons, Merle Haggard, Robert Zimmerman, and Kylie Minogue. Hip-hop became the lingua franca. Caught between dueling instincts to gauzily eulogize an America perpetually on the verge of evaporating and to grind putative enemiesContinue reading “The best albums 2000-2004”