Sunday, December 31, 2017

Pop Candy Arcade: The Songs of 2017, Pt. 3 (100-150)

And, at last, the final chunk of the alphabet. Tell me what you loved this year, link to your own lists, let me know if you've found something here you're surprised you like. And again: happy New Year!

The Spotify playlist is at the tail-end of this entry. Click through and scroll on down. 

101. “So Special” / MUNA Dark, inclusive, synth-pop from a trio that sounds like what might happen if HAIM never stepped out in daylight.

102. “Love$ick” / Mura Masa ft. A$AP Rocky Technically, the song has its roots in 2016, but 21-year old Alex Crossan's debut album as Mura Masa dropped this summer, and it feels as fresh as ever.

103. “White Lodge Simulation / Nmesh Somewhere between vaporwave and drum 'n' bass, Nmesh pulls samples form a spectrum of 80s and 90s pop detritus and throws it into a blender.

104. “Theme from Q” / Objekt Immaculately precise techno, light, glittery, and balanced.

105. “Adrift” / Octo Octa Octo Octa is using house music to tell her story, building a personal narrative through beats and atmospheres, and "Adrift" is dizzying and haunted, a moment of darkness in a repertoire of disco.

106. “Last Kiss” / OverDoz. Man, these guys look like they're having fun, right? They sound like it, too.

107. “Hard Times” / Paramore Paramore continues to evolve away from their original straight-up emo configuration to explore downer lyrics abstracted through a pure-pop lens. In this case, it's a trip through an 80's tropic-pop that's so much better than it has any right to be.

108. “Your Kiss is Sour” / Parris A creeping menace.

109. “I Just Can’t Win” / Perc At the center of this track is a repeated sample from pop artist Peter Blake and I wish I could explain to you why the looping of that audio sample in the midst of this heavy, thumping trudge is so immensely satisfying, but, alas, I cannot.

110. “Die 4 You” / Perfume Genius You put on this song. You are seduced by the song. It's done. You're in love with the song now. It's that simple.

111. “Bloom” / Pessimist If we're being really honest, one of the reasons I dug this album so much is that it reminds me of the N64 GoldenEye game. Pure in-the-zone doom.

112. “Ti Amo” / Phoenix Phoenix continues to make shiny, swelling, high-gloss pop, but I'm really here for the delivery on "I love ya". You knew that.

113. “Magnolia” / Playboi Carti Sometimes it's nothing more complicated than this: here is a song for parties.
114. “Jj” / Priests This is a band you must, must see live to understand just how to do politically-charged punk while still bringing the party.

115. “Brujas” / Princess Nokia Destiny Frasqueri has been Destiny, Wavy Spice, and - now - Princess Nokia. No matter the name, though, her style is recognizable and idiosyncratic in subject and style. "Brujas" embraces her Afro-Latina heritage in a way that's empowering, smart, and pastel goth AF.

116. “Last Breath” / Ravyn Lenae A recent graduate from the Chicago High School for the Arts who jumped on tour with Noname and is poised to break through in a gigantic way.

117. “Ordinary Superstar” / Rina Sawayama What I love about this song is how it is -essentially - the perfect encapsulation of a type of future-pop rock that could be found in every teen movie of the early aughts. It's a sound that only really ever existed in celluloid shopping malls: perfectly engineered, dreamy, nightmarish, great and terrible (that's high praise, really).

118. “Stellular” / Rose Elinor Dougall A former member of the Pipettes (remember them?) turns to a different type of pop romanticism.

119. “Purpleblue” / S Olbricht Blurred electronic genre boundaries, endless moods.

120. “Be Gone” / Sally Dige This year's winner in the Are They Heir to Siouxsie Sioux or Dave Gahan? category (again: that's high praise).

121. “Hints & Implications” / Samantha Urbani I am very curious to see what Urbani does next. Her debut EP was called Policies of Power - which skews intriguingly academic - and her beats are clearly the result of careful studies of late 80's and early 90's pop. I'm hoping for a dissertation in sound, basically.

122. “For Piano” / Sarah Davachi Davachi's album is a study in single instrument sounds and arrangements. Beautifully minimal, bizarrely tense.

123. “Synthetic Love” / Sarah Jaffe I can't figure out why I'd never heard of Jaffe before this year, or why I still don't see much written about her. She seems to be a case of bad marketing at a moment where she should be thriving. This is smart, cautious narrative pop that attends to the cultural moment.

124. “Motion Keeper” / Sawlin Named appropriately. It feels like a perfect, driving stasis.

125. “Bad Liar” / Selena Gomez And then Selena Gomez sampled a Talking Heads bass line and the internet begins an immediate reappraisal of someone they never understood in the first place.

126-127. “Libertine” and "Shahmaran" / Sevdaliza Sevdaliza is one of my 2017 album obsessions. She has a sound I'm a sucker for; rich, dramatic, cinematic in ways that allow short songs to become transformative works that allow you to see spaces in new ways.

128. “Shine a Light” / Shabazz Palaces ft. Thaddillac One part of a psychedelic, hip-hop space opera.

129. “Good Spirits” / Shanti Celeste Workaday, staccato-punctured minimalist techno.

130. “Go Get It” / Slowdive A stargazer. Everything I want from a Slowdive song.

131. “Fuck This” / Smidley Well, this should be an anthem, shouldn't it?

132. "Look Like That" / Sneaks How do I describe this. WHAT DOES IT SOUND LIKE? IT SOUNDS LIKE THAT.

133. “3,05” / Sophia Kennedy A dance-adjacent, tricky to define track with a pool of influences and vibe that reads theatrical in the way of Roisin Murphy.
134. “Los Ageless” / St. Vincent And behold: in 2017 St. Vincent delivered an album as chilly and arty as it was emotionally raw.

135. “New York” / St. Vincent And behold: her lyrics have only gotten better.

136. “Something for your M.I.N.D.” / Superorganism This, like, The Horrors track earlier in the list, seems to speak to a crate digging version of 90s nostalgia, a strange, art-pop turn I'm here for.

137. “The Weekend” / SZA The prodigal daughter returns to a scene now truly primed for her critical domination.

138. “Loser’s Hymn” / Talaboman I don't know whether to run, dance, or just do some combination of both until I'm totally exhausted.

139. “Them Changes” / Thundercat I went back and forth on including this Thundercat song and when I interrogated just why that might be, it proved to be a case of just feeling like it had been around forever. Then i thought: is that a problem?
140. “Disco Tits” / Tove Lo Do you want to know what song I have probably played more than any other 2017 release this year? Because, yeah, you guessed it. "Disco Tits." Imma take this to a roller rink one day.

141. “Blood Type” / Turtle ft. Eliza Shaddad One of the total idiosyncrasies of this list, a song I'm sure you will find nowhere else, and a sound that I could actually just live in. I need my dose of downtempo chill and there's just not enough of it these days.

142. “See You Again” / Tyler, The Creator I've never had an issue with the oft-controversial Tyler, The Creator, but even so, Flower Boy was a hell of a wonderful surprise. This is a stunner of a rap album: luxe, gorgeous, introspective, and sonically inventive in ways that finally speak to Tyler's talents.

143. “911/Mr Lonely” / Tyler, The Creator Seriously. All of the above. I listened to this album a lot, people.
144. “Big Fish” / Vince Staples A narrative shuffle.

145. “Thinking of a Place” / The War on Drugs A song for road trip mixtapes, long as the journey ahead.

136. "Don't Delete the Kisses" / Wolf Alice A rushed, ethereal meditation on the urgency of high school feelings.

147. "Loser" / The World Hey. Hey you. You like X-Ray Spex? Yeah? Listen to this.


149-150. “Raingurl” and "Therapy" / yaeji The end of the year belonged to yaeji, a young dance producer who splits her time between NYC and Seoul and whose music slips between English and Korean in ways surprising and which occasionally offer interesting cultural observations.

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