A marvelous week, led by two dance tracks of real sinuousity and a meticulously arranged Mountain Goats narrative. The year’s most discussed country hip-hop single got reviewed too in its Billy Ray Cyrus-free version.
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Peggy Gou – Starry Night (9)
Jayda G – Stanley’s Get Down (No Parking on the DF) (9)
The Mountain Goats – Younger (8)
Nilüfer Yanya – In Your Head (8)
Kindness ft. Robyn – Cry Everything (7)
Rosalía & J Balvin ft. El Guincho – Con Altura (7)
Alec Benjamin – Let Me Down Slowly (5)
Lil Nas X – Old Town Road (5)
Ariana Grande & Victoria Monét – Monopoly (3)
Why Don’t We & Macklemore – I Don’t Belong In This Club (1)
Zara Larsson – Don’t Worry Bout Me (0)
The victim of a social media — I hesitate to dignify the farrago — discussion about whom she’s recording music for, Billie Eilish is no different than artists of any age or gender tackling the world with a laptop, spaghetti strands of melody, and attitude. I’m still thinking about When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go? and will review it soon. Continue reading
A solid top three emphasizing narrative, instrumental dexterity, and star power, respectively.
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Jenny Lewis – Wasted Youth (7)
Stella Donnelly – Tricks (7)
Lizzo ft. Missy Elliott – Tempo (7)
Dustin Lynch – Ridin’ Roads (6)
Schoolboy Q – Numb Numb Juice (4)
Andra – Supereroi (4)
Shura – BKLYNLDN (4)
Ravenna Golden ft. Dorian Electra – Open My Eyes (3)
G Flip – Drink Too Much (3)
Thomas Rhett – Look What God Gave Her (2)
YOUNGOHM – Thararat (2)
Bryce Vine ft. YG – La La Land (1)
As my score for Thandi Phoenix’s collaboration with Sigma indicates, there will never be a time when I underrate pop house. I danced away the blahs of 2 Chainz’s most predictable single release (gotta take advantage of those Ariana Grande streams!) and Solange Continue reading
Boy, what an uninspired week, to which I turned with enthusiasm to Tierra Whack, whose album last year I overlooked, and The National, still clinging and clanging away, testing the limits of their sound. Continue reading
A fascinating idea of a pop star, P!nk has become one of this decade’s chart stalwarts without recording much memorable music — an arena rocker in an era without need for arenas. Her latest single is deeply meh. What if she recorded country? What if she had sung “Stronger Than the Truth” instead of Reba? Continue reading
Resigned to her ossifying into Adele for the Pitchfork era but without Adele’s pop craft, I listened to last year’s “Overtime” with increased appreciation — finally, she gets down. “Adore You” is the kind of kinetic ballad she should release more of. Continue reading
From what I’ve read by colleagues in the last two weeks I’m the only enthusiast for the meme-ready “Break Up with Your Girlfriend, I’m Bored,” Ariana Grande’s valentine to a fuck-worthy boy toy and to strategically placed commas. Continue reading
At the same time she has explained Ryan Adams’ malignancy, Phoebe Bridgers has been promoting excellent music she co-wrote with Conor Oberst under the Better Oblivion Center moniker. Give it up to Mariah Carey too, who recorded her best album since the Clinton years.
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Mariah Carey – With You (8)
Better Oblivion Community Center – Dylan Thomas (7)
Russ ft. Taze, LD, Digga D, Ms Banks & Lethal Bizzle – Gun Lean (Remix) (6)
Shizzi ft. Mayorkun & Teni – Aye Kan (5)
Dua Lipa – Swan Song (5)
Mabel – Don’t Call Me Up (
Hozier – Almost (Sweet Music) (4)
Josh Ritter – Old Black Magic (4)
J. Cole – Middle Child (4)
Kacey Musgraves – Rainbow (3)
Greta Van Fleet – You’re The One (3)
Sabrina Carpenter – Sue Me (2)
Julia Michaels ft. Selena Gomez – Anxiety (2)
Martha – Love Keeps Kicking (1)
Meaty and bouncy, with a worthwhile intellectual’s distillation of a crisis in clear English, “Harmony Hall” augurs well for Vampire Weekend’s first album in six years (here’s how long it’s been: Spotify didnt yet count toward album “consumption”). But it’s barely better than Luna and Mero’s efforts, and Cardi B’s credited co-writer came up with decent rapping on his own. Continue reading
Fresh off almost topping ILM’s list of 2018’s best tracks with “Boo’d Up,”one of the rare female R&B singles to cross over without hip-hop accompaniment, Ella Mai faced more TSJ resistance with “Shot Clock.” But Park Hye Jin, Kehlani, and Charlotte Adigéry stepped into the breach, Marren Morris to a lesser extent.
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Ella Mai – Shot Clock (8)
Charlotte Adigéry – Paténipat (7)
Park Hye Jin – I Don’t Care (7)
Kehlani ft. Ty Dolla $ign – Nights Like This (6)
Maren Morris – Girl (6)
Tanya Tagaq – Snowblind (6)
Ariana Grande – 7 Rings (5)
Logic – Keanu Reeves (5)
A Boogie Wit Da Hoodie – Look Back At It (5)
Bad Bunny – Solo de Mi (4)
Calvin Harris & Rag’n’Bone Man – Giant (4)
Westlife – Hello My Love (3)
At The Singles Jukebox we publish mid-career reports a couple times a year. We decided Britney Spears deserved one. Boy, did we. I don’t remember previous retrospectives inspiring so many blurbs, and so many blurbs in which colleagues outdid themselves: Edward Oculicz’s “Born to Make You Happy,” Sabina Tang on “Perfume,” Isabel Cole on “Get Naked (I Got a Plan)” and “Do Something,” Joshua Copperman on “Do You Wanna Come Over,” so many.
In 2017 I ranked her best tracks.
Below are my blurbs:
“Heaven on Earth” [7.43]
Beginning with a rattling sequencer out of 1977 that signals Britney’s intention to feel love, in the flesh or cybernetically depending on her mood, “Heaven on Earth” ravishes praise on a guy whose taste, touch, tongue, his big toes too, I’m sure, evoke what it must be like to see the face of God. Had Robyn released “Heaven on Earth” in 2005, we’d have praised the expression of man-machine lust. With Britney Spears there’s always a sense in which we expect such lasciviousness. “Fall off the edge of my mind,” she coos in the last third before the beat returns for a last round of thwacketing. The pleasure of her text should have set Barthes studies alight.
“Seal it With a Kiss” [6.43]
Pushing the synthetic virtues of her endlessly recombinant pop to their extreme, Femme Fatale is Britney’s peak, a souped-up techno shock masterpiece whose love-you-downs contrasted sharply with Lady Gaga’s virtue signalling in Born This Way. Dr. Luke and Max Martin know their employer, understand her strengths. She’s not an erotic presence; she suggests an erotic presence like organic ketchup suggests tomatoes. Anchored to insistent ooh-ee-oohs and Spears’ electro-puckered sigh, “Seal It With a Kiss” insists on keeping its titular promise.