Well folks, it’s been a while since the last TT. The hype leading up to Kanye’s album was built very high…and when it released…I didn’t feel like writing about it. For reasons, I’ll get into when I do my year end music wrap up.
SPEAKING OF WHICH.
If you’ve followed along with the blogs over the past few years you know I’ve done year-end wrap ups of my favorite music of the year. You can check out the Top Songs of 2018, Top Albums of 2018, Top Songs of 2017 and Top Albums of 2017 here. For the real deep fans of the blog, here’s the Best of 2015 from the old site. Big trip reading this one.
I always have a ton of fun dropping these and doing a big lead up to them. This year I wanted to have more of a discussion beforehand though, and also introduce some new topics (what was the worst music of the year? What songs were underrated? etc.) So, I created a poll to see what my friends liked and disliked about the music of 2019. You can fill out the form from the link below, which I will also include at the end of the blog so you can still read the whole thing and then vote if you want.
I’m going to compile all the responses and do a list of my favorites but also a list of what the top responses were for each. I think this will be cool and hopefully get some more participation from all the people who like to contribute to the weekly Instagram polls. If you fill it out I’d really appreciate it, it’s been a weird stretch of blogs for the year but love the participation from people and think this will bring that to another level.
But before the year ends, we’ve got a few huge contenders for the Top Albums of the Year that dropped this week and a few cool singles to get to. But first, we’ve got some STEAMING HOT RAP BEEF STEW. Let’s take a lil sip out of this story shall we?
UH OH! Eminem and Nick Cannon Are In a Huge Rap Beef!
Nick Cannon recently found himself in a feud with Eminem once again after the rapper dissed him on Fat Joe’s “Lord Above.” Cannon instantly responded to the diss on his radio show, and later dropped off a pair of tracks directed at Em. Following the release of the first song, “The Invitation,” Marshall taunted Cannon on Twitter. “I demand an apology, Nicholas,” he tweeted. via Complex
Imagine caring about this. Hilarious. Eminem sucks bung and he knows it. He starts beef with irrelevant people like Machine Gun Kelly and Nick Cannon just to keep his name in the news for something other than using homophobic slurs in his songs still. This man is a loser and he’s out of touch with every single thing going on right now, the only people who actually care about this “beef” really need to grow up, just like FORTY SEVEN YEAR OLD Marshall Mathers picking a fight with Wild N’ Out Host and America’s Got Talent Host Nick Cannon. Dude won’t even come after another actual rapper because he knows he would get absolutely clowned on. Why don’t you relax and stick to tweeting out things that will make your 13 year old Monster-energy drinking fanbase laugh.
Let’s leave that irrelevance aside and get to the few hot singles of the week.
Future Nostalgia -Dua Lipa
Dua Lipa is really feeling herself lately, and it’s well deserved. Her single before this, “Don’t Start Now”, is a certified slapper. It’s getting the radio play, it’s on commercials, it’s a feel good funky time. Now this song comes out and it’s definitely on the weirder side. It reminds me a lot of songs that Katy Perry was releasing when she was getting a little more experimental, but better, obviously. It has a little breakdown section that sounds like a throwback to a Prince song and then adds some awesome piano to the instrumentals and it all comes together to form a really cool song. I’m all in on Dua Lipa and it looks like whatever she’s gearing up to release is gonna be full of heaters.
Futsal Shuffle 2020 -Lil Uzi Vert
It’s pretty hilarious that this starts off with a sample of Tyler the Creator’s “Boredom” and then transitions to a song that doesn’t sound anything like it. The beat sounds like what would come up if you searched “Crazy Frog Type Beat” on Youtube. It sounds very computerized and it kind of works? With Uzi’s signature flow over it and the heavy trap drums coming in it definitely works as an Uzi banger where you can sort of turn your brain off and sing the 5 lyrics you can remember. I love the shoutout to Nardwar at the end of the song too, an absolute legend. I guess there’s also a dance associated with this? Which normally is an easy boost to a song’s streams, but also, I don’t know how many people are gonna be able to learn this DDR set on Expert dance moves.
Look I can do the soulja boy, I can figure my way around the dougie, I can whip and also nae nae poorly, I understand that “doing the jerk” is just skipping backwards, but this? No shot. It’s a lost cause. Not sure how much I’ll like this song because I’ll just be angry I’m not smart enough to learn the cool dance move. But enjoying it for now until the masses get their dancing shoes on.
Now, let’s take a look at the full length projects that came out this week.
If you know who Kaytranada is already you’re going to like this album. It’s definitely a slight evolution from his last album 99.9% which I absolutely loved. If you don’t know his own songs, you probably know a song he’s produced. He’s worked on songs with Anderson .Paak, Mac Miller, and Chance the Rapper just to name a few. He’s know for adding some heavy bass and taking old soul samples and flipping them into deep house-sounding beats. They’re very cool and vibey, but definitely not for everyone. If you aren’t sure if this is your scene, I’d check out songs like “Gray Area (feat. Mick Jenkins)”, “10% (feat. Kali Uchis)” and “Midsection (feat. Pharrell)”. These songs have some well-known artists who compliment his beats perfectly.
If you like what you hear from there, dive into the whole thing and check out his old albums (along with his Boiler Room set if you get a chance, it’s FIRE).
Free Nationals -Free Nationals
If you know me, you know this sound is right up my alley. These guys bring the funk. They were also the band that backs up Anderson .Paak and were heavily involved in the making of my favorite album of last year Oxnard. Now they’re releasing their first solo album and it’s SICK.
I think with the Harry hype this one sort of missed my radar but WOW it really surprised me in how fun it was. On the second song “On Sight” they’ve got a full roster including one of the breakout rappers of 2019 (in my book) J.I.D. His verse is sick on this and these instrumentals are so fitting for his flow.
We also get a feature from .Paak himself on “Gidget”, a standout in the middle of the album. It sounds like classic Anderson .Paak and any fan of his will surely appreciate this collab.
They switch it up a bit for “Cut Me A Break” with T.I. and this goes HARD. The production is so dope and easily captures what my favorite kind of rap beats are. I’m surprised T.I. really went on this one as I haven’t heard him really “go hard” recently. This is less than 2 minutes and it’s just BEGGING for a Rick Ross verse to make it a full 3 minute track.
Throughout the rest of the album though little gems are sprinkled in, like “Oslo”, “Lester Diamond” and “Apartment”. Throughout the album you can hear that it’s a full band which is unique especially with a lot of rappers on it, I love hearing the guitar solos they go off on, and you even get a heavy dose of almost Daft Punk-inspired synths on the vocals which you don’t get too often. I was really pleasantly surprised at how much I enjoyed this and anyone feening for some new funky soul R&B doesn’t need to look any further than this.
Fine Line -Harry Styles
Look, if you’re not on the Harry Styles train by now, BUY YOUR DAMN TICKETS. They only sell one-ways from the Styles Station and it only heads in One Direction, happiness. This man is an absolute treasure and I’ve been gassing him up to my fellow men for quite some time now. This, in my opinion, is the album where you either come to the light and understand that he is a genuinely talented rockstar, or you can continue to be a big dumb idiot who decides that because he was in a British boy band 5 years ago and is unbelievably better-looking than you that he’s not worth your time. If you read that and thought “you don’t know what I look like I could be better-looking than him”, you’re wrong. The man is objectively gorgeous. That’s just a truth hoop you’re gonna have to jump through in order to appreciate his music.
I loved his first self-titled album and this is a great follow up. I think my expectations were high once the first 3 singles were released. “Lights Up” does a great job of setting the tone of the album, “Watermelon Sugar” is also so groovy and funky and cool, and “Adore You” was a great blend of the two to round out the trio. When those first 4 tracks hit you expect it to slow down, as all the singles released are 2,3, and 4 on the project, but the next 8 songs that weren’t previously released hit HARD. “Cherry” is where Harry starts to show a more emotional side of the album revolving around his breakup with a famous french model (again, he is better looking than you, just deal with it).
This is one of my favorite songs on the album and really shows how unique of a sound he has and how much range he can have in his song-writing abilities. He can have the fun stuff but bring it down too in a Bon Iver sorta way, while still keeping the album coherent. We then get “Falling” a fan favorite on the album, “To Be So Lonely” and “She”. All of these are so unique in their own way but it’s definitely the run of the album where he’s in his feelings. It’s a pretty clear “Act 2” if this album was constructed as a play. “She” rounds it out beautifully and has some really cool instrumentals that I was surprised Harry 1.) Wanted to incorporate and 2.) actually succeeded in making sound good with the song. Some real serious guitar shredding that then calms down into a real smooth jazzy vibe. This 6 minute song is begging to have a couple of jam solos added into a live version.
We then get into this awesome 3rd act of very fun 70s inspired folky-pop songs. “Sunflower, Vol. 6” is probably one of the most campy songs on the album and (at least I think) cleverly makes fun of the number of songs titled “Sunflower” (Post Malone, Vampire Weekend, and Rex Orange County to name a few). This then goes into “Canyon Moon”, my current favorite song. It has the same acoustic jam vibes that I have been absolutely loving this year. Bands like Greta Van Fleet resurrected this from Led Zeppelin, Vampire Weekend took inspiration of this on their new album from Grateful Dead, and now Harry is taking a lot of those same queues and blending them together for a fun earthy song in the same vein of someone like George Ezra. (Also interesting to note that Vampire Weekend’s “Sunflower” from their album Father of the Bride led into a song called “Flower Moon” as opposed to “Canyon Moon”).
We end with Fine Line, an absolutely epic journey of a song that wraps up all the intentions of the album in a beautiful way, leaving you wanting to go back and start the album over again from scratch. I think what’s best about this album is that it’s got so much range in the vibe and sound, while keeping the same unique “Harry-ness” in each one, that it’s going to have a long shelf life. It feels the same way it does to listen to a Fleetwood Mac album front to back, each song brings something completely different to the table.
That’s huge for me when thinking about my favorite albums, which ones are going to last. Musicians who go all out with their marketing, have unique art and collaborations surrounding their albums, who promote it in fun ways that build a world and gain new fans, that’s what I love. I can tell this album is doing that and is solidifying Harry as his own artist apart from One Direction, and I can’t wait to listen to this again and again for a long while.
Well, there you have it folks. As we enter the last few weeks of 2019 we get some real solid contenders for best songs and albums of the year. It’s going to be tough to choose my top ones, but if you have your mind made up already, don’t forget to fill out the link below.
Thanks for making it this far. Have a great holiday, see ya in 2020 baby.