I need to be honest, this feature is less fun for probably two reasons, one UC doesn’t make me laugh nonstop anymore, though I know he would if he could, but also that the music
this last year seemed just so boring. The inexplicable and the terrible have been replaced by the sadly predictable. Minimally, if we are gonna stay in this game, we should at least bring back this feature– where the mean record store clerk gives an internal monologue for your purchases. The best part is we could all hammer our favorite albums
Pitchfork listo here. Our previous 100-81 here. 80-61 here. 60-41 here. 40-21 here. Somebody should graph our output over the year. Diminishing returns? I think not. UC delivers! Suck it, All Music Guide!
It is done.
Previous here and in links.
2011 JUST IN TIME FOR 2012! And here. we. go.
100. Thundercat “For Love (I Come Your Friend)”
PP says: The intro on this is very free-form Spinal Tap jazz odyssey. Now I am wondering if this is a Destroyer-level joke/awesome ironic/serious take on something, but now I feel like it is cool kid irony reversal, make something so uncool that you can reverse direction on a dime and declare it cool when nobody is looking, guaranteeing that you will lead the charge. My feelings on this: jazz fusion is either great forever, or mostly never, but it is one or the other, and if you can’t explain it without using the context “no, this is cool now because it isn’t cool” then it is probably just a noodly wank. Novelty mixtape trashbin material, but inoffensive.
99. Ill Blu “Meltdown”
PP says: I’ll be honest. I have never liked jungle, or drum and bass, or dubstep. I am a certified loser, plus this sounds so dated- not even good Speak and Spell. It isn’t even terrible, but it is like a glitched up version of a song that sounds exactly the same called “Meh-ltdown”- wait— is that this song? They sound so alike, I can’t tell the difference between them.
98. Unknown Mortal Orchestra “Ffunny Ffrends”
PP says: LIKE. Kind of ramshackle and bouncy, you’ll do some subliminal dancewagon around this. Nick Neyland writes it up well, too.
97. Fever Ray “The Wolf”
PP says: I think we have already established, that instant chilly and creepiness is automatic from Karin from the Knife and Fever Ray, but without an ultra-creepy video to go along, this song is a veritable hug and hot cocoa compared to her other situations, where the aesthetics of the videos and songs turn into volcanoes of plural malevolences. This has enough extra stuff on it that it comes across as Trent Reznor-esque. I expect he would be a fan.
96. Peaking Lights “All the Sun That Shines”
PP says: I know we do the same thing when we say some band you’ve never heard of actually sounds like several other bands you’ve never heard of, and it is annoying because it gives zero meaningful context. Oh, you mean like:
A love song for the cavemen, “All the Sun That Shines” is the first big pop move from the post-Excepter school of psychedelic seekers (Sun Araw, Eternal Tapestry, et al). The rippling highlight of Peaking Lights’ album 936, this track finds Aaron Coyes and Indra Dunis in full-on devotional mode, chanting its single-line mantra skyward over a mesmeric wriggle of synths and snaking guitar. It’s a hypnotic performance, with Coyes and Dunis’ voices meeting in odd places as they attack the song’s central statement from all angles.
Easy, turbo. Oh, wait, I’m hypnotized. Actually, the song might sneak a little wiggly in there. I do not imagine cavemen copulation, however.
95. Kendrick Lamar “A.D.H.D.”
PP says: Sometimes comes across as a Dan Bejar of rapping. Laid back, kind of out of it. The wev of verses. Has a little bit of accent not clear where it is from. Little bit lifeless and tiresome. Understand why the kids might like it, but have to go grampa pants on it and feel all bored and been there. Sorry Kendrick, but you don’t care anyway, so it’s all good.
94. Sepalcure “Pencil Pimp”
PP says: I always want to know of the hundreds of techno tunes every year, what differentiates the ones they pick for this list and the ones they don’t. This one sounds like it has vocals by Antony from Antony and the Johnsons cut up over it, but I don’t know- didn’t get the media packet. Undistinguished. A UC KIL-LER for sure.
93. Wild Flag “Romance”
PP says: Love the sound on this- just pieces of sound all over the track. Feel like it doesn’t really come completely together- like wedges of ideas were pasted together into one song that are really 4 songs together. Don’t like the chorus/refrain, but some of a couple of bridges are good. OK.
92. Jacques Greene “Another Girl”
PP says: HAHA- this song writeup references the one where we went to YouTube commenters for (Girl Unit “Wut” at 17). This is much better than that, but roll the tape:
holy fucking? tune.
btyo1234 8 months ago
100afromullets, you saw it there first bitttchheeezzzz 🙂 gz? @thisisluckyme
curlyboy1992 8 months ago 15
when sbtrkt dropped this=heaven?
meeshymoo2 2 weeks ago
I FUCKIN LOVE THIS? SONG!!!
JordanMitch 1 month ago 7
this song is so beast!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!?
Nephtice808 1 month ago
amazing tune. can’t? like it enough !
kamgornia 3 months ago 4
Physically cant start listening? to this track without listening to the whole thing! :S
Jozzef458 4 months ago 3
Jeeeeeez! This is one of the greatest tracks I’ve ever heard. Everything? is just perfect – lovely production and all.
kidkustom 6 months ago 13
wertyoo 7 months ago 4
what an incredible tune… layer on layer of the reason we listen to this stuff… on? repeat!!
SPB157 7 months ago 9
This? one really works – love it
MickeysHits 8 months ago 3
HugoDesMusic 8 months ago 3
UC, I beg you, do not listen to this.
91. Thee Oh Sees “The Dream”
PP says: I love Thee Oh Sees- classico psychedelic garage revivalists, but their own thing too- kind of a surfy/scuzzy speed on top of the retro stylings, so viscerally underivative for some reason. They are hard to keep up with because they come out with new albums every 4 months it seems. Not sure how this ranks with the rest of their output this year, but they ride a groove on this one that takes the song into an almost krautrocky place. Good.
90. Grimes “Vanessa”
PP says: Vamehssa? 10 year old Kylie Minogue sings on this. It isn’t too bad, and I think it could grow on me. I lack a certain excitement. I feel dead inside. Music used to do the opposite. It’s not you, Grimes, you might be OK. It is this infernal list!!!!!!! Also, perhaps the hyperbole of saying some over the top BS about the 90th best song of the year that next year people will misremember as another song on the list, is a wee bit muchola.
89. SBTRKT “Wildfire [ft. Little Dragon]”
PP says: Basement Jaxx on ‘luudes. Nate Patrin, namechecks Ginuwine’s insane “Pony” so it can’t be all bad. PATRINN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Also, NP, “So, yeah” linkies to long-time nemeunfriendisis, Tom Ewing hahahahahaha-ing that only people that write on websites about musico can comment and lowly howling about year end lists is just so. not done. Don’t even comment- YOUR COMMENT IS PREDICTABLE AS IT IS SAD. YOUR VOICE IS NOTHING BUT INSIGNIFICANT BUZZING. WE PROVIDE YEAR END LISTS FOR YOU TO DIGEST IN SILENCE, NOT EXPECTED YEAR END CONVERSATION STARTERS. THEY ARE CONVERSATION ENDERS. END OF LINE. MORE BABPUPTEN. END OF LINE. Also, you did this in Twitter form two years ago.
88. Cities Aviv “Coastin'”
PP says: Rap over some ultra smooth easy listening John Barry-esque bedroom yacht eyes. Really good, and infinitely superior to Kendrick Lamar above, but that is more that Lamar was not my bag rather than being terrible. More like Lameh-r. I could definitely listen to this again. BATTLE RAP POWER* *this is not a battle rap, but it has effortless swagger. Kind of love it.
87. Zoo Kid “Out Getting Ribs”
PP says: Total throwback. A lo-fi Felt plus, as Stuart Berman mentions, a thick accent-callback to a Billy Bragg. Nice to see a song completely lacking in novelty and pretense on the list.
86. Blawan “Getting Me Down”
PP says: Pitchfork on dance music is weird to me. Not that I care. It seems like they are very picky about being just a certain amount of credible, but they’ll go for pop from certain artists that is also allowed to be popular, and this isn’t something they do for dance music, so we’ll never see something cheesy, though fun, with 45 million YouTube hits- like I don’t think they ever went for Duck Sauce’s “Barbra Streisand” or some such undeniable crowd pleaser. Just stuff like this. Something offputting and thin in this track- like the hint of a dogwhistle on the high end in the production, or at least the YouTube version. It is, indeed, getting me down.
85. Junior Boys “Banana Ripple”
PP says: This is OK, but it doesn’t have the spark that “In The Morning” had. These guys just do what they want- I’m sure this song is exactly how every blop an splort bleeped in their head. It is on that fine line between catchy and forgettable.
84. Iceage “You’re Blessed”
PP says: Damned+Wire+Cure? Very early 80s evolving punk into post-punk. Oh wait, Danish youngsters? Carry on. Novelty, but good novelty.
83. Tiger & Woods – “Gin Nation”
PP says: Something about the ol’ dance track. It’s gotta be eight minutes long. Now, I do kind of love the old school extended mix of the old faves, but that was taking something awesome and just making it awesomer. This is a track that I don’t know anything about, don’t know that it is basically a remix of something else. I do know that it is much more accessible than the usual track of this ilk.
I see that the latest youtuber on this:
this song’s awesome because? you can take a pee break & still make it back for the best part.
stills4589 6 months ago 33
It is OK, but jjjjjjjjj
82. John Maus – “Believer”
PP says: The Cars the band + Dream Academy + free reign at the planetarium + retro baseline plus showery synths. Kind of good, but as a usual lover of the derivative if it is done well, I am increasingly feeling the emptiness of highly mannered tracks like this. Basically, I’m not respecting myself in the morning.
I liked this:
@vbmatak He professes a strong belief in exploration of expression and language, in his duty as an artist to ‘make intensive use of a major language’. An oracle is a genius, an authority, someone sage, someone who invokes the concepts of broader agency accessible to them through? study and inquiry into the minds of many via language. Considering the essential axia of many cultures, individuals, steeps a person to the point of perspicuity. He’s like Noam Chomsky or Steven Pinker.
daftrhetoric 4 days ago
@daftrhetoric What the? hell is a language obsessed oracle? How do oracles have anything to do with language obsession, and why “ought” these language-obssessed oracles be deep? I’m confused. But I love this.
vbmatak 4 days ago
81. Yuck – “Get Away”
PP says: People have a hard time remembering all the bands this sounds like, so they say stuff like Sonic Youth (true-ish) and mention that it is a early 90s scuzz sound, and they mention Sebadoh (true-ish), but this particular track reminded me most musically of Bettie Serveert. A lot of retro-ish bands that I enjoy are grounded in more of a genre and not exact aping of sound. This song is well done for what it is, but seems like a costume. I like this one better, which goes for the Yo La Tengo.
80. Fucked Up – “Queen Of Hearts”
PP says: When she comes in (the woman from Cults) on the duet is when it gets awesome. His screaming just says mannered to me because it falls just the other side of the plain shrill/emotive shrill divide. That being said, the band really gets into it for the last minute and compels me to feel excited. I say exciting as hell 2B but thrown out at 3rd. OR possibly 3B with a run scored on an error. I don’t know what I am saying. This might be a grower.
79. Kelly Rowland – “Motivation” (Feat. Lil Wayne)
PP says: Takes the latest in generic icy production and does it like a throwback slowjam, where it would normally be a dude just singing about doing it, but instead of using metaphors, just being explicit. But instead of the come on from the guy saying “this is what I’m gonna do” Kelly is all “this is what we are currently and will have been doing” so I guess she takes it from a boast to keeping it real.
78. Sandro Perri – “Changes”
PP says: Everything new is a rearrangement of something old. Sounds like a more-than-vaguely proggy Grizzly Bear, but now with many more tasteful decades of record collection to plunder. Kind of nice, but I become increasingly cynical. Is it more than the sum of its parts, or is it less because of the frankenstein way they are put together?
77. Cults – “Abducted”
PP says: The girl group+ boy/girl distilled through the shoegazer aesthetic should be 100% right down my alley, and the only thing keeping me from loving every single piece of Cults is that they picked the super trebly Slowdive shoegaze aesthetic that keeps me at a distance. Too trebly and thin- and I love the song.
76. Julianna Barwick – “Prizewinning”
PP says: Kind of like a female Panda Bear, not to be offensively reductionist. I think Seitz and UC will both like this. Swirly sound collage of goodness.
75. Washed Out – “Amor Fati”
PP says: I loved this kind of crap the first time around. Something about retro this derivative is that it feels too on the nose, or too calculating, that it is hard to love the second time around. Chintzy electronics are now an affectation not really just the result of what the band could afford. I think this song, which I like, would be superior in a remix that weren’t so cynically constructed from stereotypical ingredients. It is still good.
74. Dum Dum Girls – “Wrong Feels Right”
PP says: Yet somehow, this on the nose retro I love- perhaps I am sensitive to the aping of 80s New Wave in ways I’m not for the sounds of any other decade. I love this gal and her band. I like the A-side here (“He Gets Me High”) better. Also think they killed it on “Coming Down” from Only in Dreams, out later in the year.
73. tUnE-yArDs – “Powa”
Different little things going on here. Not gonna explain- very good. Sometimes sounds a little Prince, sometimes Nina Simone, but really is its own thing.
72. Britney Spears – “Till The World Ends (The Femme Fatale Remix)” (Feat. Nicki Minaj and Ke$ha)
PP says: Amy Phillips drops a serious turd with the writeup here of an even more anonymous remix of a supremely anonymous Britney club track. A review of Femme Fatale mentioned that while the album was laden with entertaining songs, they all had a generic sheen. There is nothing here, and Nicki’s crazy delivery is becoming more and more predictable rendering it just as generic. Also, this is not the best Britney since “Toxic”- that would be “Womanizer”. This one features Meh$ha.
71. The Men – “Bataille”
PP says: A lot of fuzz punk on top of a more swirling, less direct guitar. The clash of influences makes this better than the seeming simple sum of parts. I like it.
70. Holy Ghost! – “Jam For Jerry”
PP says: Joe Jackson “Stepping Out” and the song even says “stepping out” in it, then goes into some New Order-esque places, but really Joe Jackson. OK, disposable, 80s term-paper.
69. Neon Indian – “Polish Girl”
PP says: Lacks the then unexpected charm of the debut album, and the undeniable “6669 (I don’t know if you know)”. I think this is OK, but I’m probably at my limit for this sort of thing- do I feel like they are mocking, or taking the piss? Well done pastiche.
68. The Joy Formidable – “Whirring”
PP says: Arcade Fire spawned a little big thumping earnest sounding spark. The bass into the rising guitar is what is most 120 Minutes, though, not the chorus as Phillips stabs at. The bigness of the swirly outro is where they let go of the paint by numbers thing they are doing and is the reason I like the song.
67. Rihanna – “We Found Love” (Feat. Calvin Harris)
PP says: Unstoppable nanobot army destroying all resistance to everything anywhere. The Vengabus is coming and it will mow you down. I’m more partial for the cheese factory that pumped out Flo Rida’s excellent Etta James (now terminally ill- very sad)-sampling “Good Feeling”- but that doesn’t have the instant backstory of Ri Ri. This song gets old very quickly on a 2Hr radio rotation (Radio? What’s that?).
66. DJ Quik – “Killer Dope”
PP says: A pretty skilled flow going on. Just don’t know how much I’d want to listen to this after maybe two times. Definitely has some good lines, outside the tossed off gay baiting. I would not beef with this dude, you have the feeling he would be pretty mean. I wouldn’t even want Annie to beef with him, though there’s a 50/50 chance she tears him up.
65. Fleet Foxes – “Grown Ocean”
PP says: I recognize that this sounds wonderful, and tasteful and has that open/full spacious sound without emptiness so it still sounds organic and not overrefined.
64. Toro Y Moi – “New Beat”
PP says: Opens like it is going to be the Charlie’s Angels theme, then it morphs into the space funk band from Buck Rogers, then turns into indie disco, but played by the funk band from Buck Rogers. I think it is OK, but the song doesn’t transcend the cynical construction for me. All the sounds are too on the nose, and “New Beat” is just F*CK YOU ironic a titch. Toro Y Meh? I CAN’T BELIEVE I MADE A PUN OUT OF THE WORD MEH. IT IS NOT PREDICTED. DID I READ ABOUT DOING THAT ON TOM HOGAN PATRIN’S TUMBLR. Someday, Tumblr will become the Riunite on ice of blogs. Yes, it is a BLOG. I SAID IT.
63. Bon Iver – “Perth”
PP says: I have been completely absent from any interaction with Bon Iver this year. Bon Iver and myself are like conversations about water sports to Luke Wilson in Bottle Rocket. I guess I read somewhere that the sounds were a little easy listening on this platter. Everything about this track says neutered bigness. This isn’t hopping on the anti-Bon Iver band wagon, but the sounds are thinned out, and rendered in a manner tha would be consistent with tasteful new age jamming. It almost sounds like- hard to explain- I heard a little bit of the Twin Peaks theme in this, but I can’t say it is bad or uninteresting, but it doesn’t feel effortless in execution or conception. It has a whiff of wank about it.
62. Liturgy – “Generation”
PP says: I hope I don’t offend Liturgy by suggesting that I hear Smashing Pumpkins in this. Marc Masters nails it with the genre-dropping. I’d call this math metal. Tool sped up without the Tool bass. Or Maynard. But non-linear, more spiral. Boring to many probably, but comes out like these guys just went for exactly what they wanted. And what they wanted was to play this song, not construct it from tastefully selected pieces of focus-grouped sounds. Better than Bon Iver above.
61. Eleanor Friedberger – “My Mistakes”
PP says: Uh, awesome. Super awesome. Lyrically effortless, and just bounce along terrific. The kind of song you want to hear and experience live and secretly hope would be just as awesome as it is right now when I hear it for the first time. [added- you know what? Lyrically this comes off as a less oddball Dan Bejar- it is in the same league. Really love this]
60. Adele – “Someone Like You”
PP says: “Rolling in the Deep” was last year, and I’m sure that “Rumor Has It” would be knocked as too Winehouse-y, and wasn’t released as an official single, though it went to radio, and I like both of those tracks better than “Someone Like You.” There is something to be said for the believably honestiness that this song conveys. It is true that it doesn’t come across as so much bullshit as these ballads can, and Adele can sing. I don’t think my opinion has any meaning here. I’ll say that when it comes on I usually turn it, and I wouldn’t say that about the other two Adele songs I mentioned.
59. Mr. Muthafuckin’ eXquire – “The Last Huzzah! (Remix)” (Feat. Despot, Das Racist, Danny Brown & El-P)
PP says: Novelty retro, but super crazy flow. Basically lots of of lines for people to write about in reviews. Not quite a banger and I wonder how long this lasts as interesting when the novelty wears off. Totally baroque and over the top, but to what end. Kind of OK, but what kind of person can play this at a party?
58. PJ Harvey – “The Words That Maketh Murder”
PP says: Pretty intense and sounds great- with the folky acousticy Joanna Newson-esque bits interwined makes it a little bit edgy. Good.
57. The Weeknd – “House Of Balloons”
PP says: Seriously derivative, but well done I guess, but also just seems like an exercise in style. Leaves me cold. Then the talky rap part is just kind of dumb. Again, maybe if everyone were totally wasted or high or something I could get over being embarrassed at playing this in public. The production is phenomenal.
56. M83 – “Intro” (Feat. Zola Jesus)
PP says: M83 does a slowed down New New New Wavey Arcade Fire. And Zola just kills it. The fuzzy happy space planetarium waves crashing for an inevitable credit card commercial or maybe Olympics montage make me fatigued, but on another day I might say huzzah and feel reflective and sad!
55. Destroyer – “Chinatown”
PP says: I just can’t say anything about Destroyer. Dan is a genius, but I think this one just goes to novelty. I wonder if this is so steeped in aesthetic that it lacks some sort of permanence. I think the name of his next album should be “Heat Signature.” I think Deusner gets it wrong.
54. Jamie xx/Gil Scott-Heron – “I’ll Take Care Of U”
PP says:This doesn’t work for me a la Johnny Cash doing Nine Inch Nails. I feel like the rhythm treats Scott-Heron like a puppet because instead of his own rhythm he’s chained to the familiar backing tack-the only time it gains any traction is when he gets chopped up in the remixy bridge. Ill-conceived.
53. Real Estate – “Green Aisles”
PP says:Guitars smack between Johnny Marr at his most languid and Felt at their reverbiest and Stone Roses at their most whispery. This seems dialed in for my immediate love affair. Barely misses my heart, but nicely done.
52. Action Bronson – “Larry Csonka”
PP says:So much creativity directed towards the age old “suck my d*ck”. Maybe a few laughs but pretty boring at the end of the day.
51. Todd Terje – “Snooze 4 Love”
PP says: “Any problems?” “No, everything seems fine” “How long since your last cleaning?” “8 months.” “Let’s get these shined up. Just lay back and relax.”
50. Atlas Sound – “Mona Lisa”
PP says: Pleasant, nice, as usual good stuff from Bradford.
49. Katy B – “Broken Record”
PP says: Sub-Karmin (I mean that) pop nothingness. 1/100,000th as good as “Call Me, Maybe” (which came out last September). Apparently this is “amazing” because it is a little bit drum and bassy with some other dance stuff in it. What a very low bar.
48. Kreayshawn – “Gucci Gucci”
PP says:The whole list is this song. Worth a couple laughs but is basically a Choco Taco* *meant in terms of being an ice cream novelty, but perhaps I just invented a new category of combination insult? Maybe more of a Jello Pop.
47. Battles – “Ice Cream” (Feat. Matias Aguayo)
PP says: Battles’ mathy crunch and spurts are interesting, and you feel like you’ll be bouncing and crushing in a festival crowd. They are just doing their thing. I’ll shout out to UC “Meh-tias Aguayo?”
46. Ty Segall – “Goodbye Bread”
PP says: Nice little tunaroni. The Mr. garage band guy guitar kind solo of reminds me of Neil Young a la Mr. Soul era- and maybe took me out of it a little because it was so retro. Good stuff.
45. Drake – “Headlines”
PP says: I don’t love Drake, but this song is great for what it is- and it is both different and the same old, but they know they know they know kills- and in each case it is a different angle for what it is that they don’t know, and what exactly that means. Larry Fitz just kind of gets it exactly right, the beat builds effortlessly to nowhere, but it doesn’t matter because that is the facility of it all. This is a great and funny song, and wittier than you give it credit for.
44. Nicolas Jaar – “Space Is Only Noise If You Can See”
PP says: I guess it is OK for one listen, but I can’t seen ever wanting to listen to this again. Kind of like Luke Wilson’s character in Bottle Rocket RE: water sports.
43. Panda Bear – “Last Night At The Jetty”
PP says: I never found time in my life for a new Panda Bear album, though I loved the last one so much. Like a star falling back to earth, I forgot that I even bought this. I like it but doesn’t seem as compelling as it could/should be?
42. Jay-Z & Kanye West – “Otis”
PP says: Terrible. Would rather have had “…In Paris” on this list 50 times, like Jay and Yeezy playing it over and over in concert, because even with Kanye being kind of crap on that track, it still kills. BANG ON. This is nothing and will be forgotten. Also could have gone with the Frank Ocean AMAZING hook “No Church in the Wild” from this album. OTIS isn’t that bad, but doesn’t even use the once in a lifetime sample to any benefit. Kanye kind of sucks on this.
41. Frank Ocean – “Novacane”
PP says: This song this low shows how Pitchfork doesn’t really have the guts to be on a trend until it really blows up. You just have to hear this song once to realize this guy really is different. Never got added to the rotation on the R/B/Hip-hop station in the Big Tex, but would hear it on the H-town station when out and about. Really good, as a reworking of the usual usual.
40. Burial – “Street Halo”
PP says: Kind of like the sound on this. More there than the usual. Think this would be pretty cool in a club. Wish the vocals were less generic or something creepier or chillier- or even better- put Frank Ocean on this track. Kind of has some rolling distant thunder feel. Will I remember that I ever heard this?
39. Shabazz Palaces – “Swerve… the reeping of all that is worthwhile (Noir not withstanding)”
PP says: I am turning into UC. Like I am this high powered exec just shooting down pitches. “NEXT!” That is how UC is!!!!!!
38. Purity Ring – “Ungirthed”
PP says:Oooh bloop bleep doop dooop. Carrie Battan makes this seem more amazing than it is. It is really for your headphones, but it seems generic. Indie mishmash of electrop pieces.
37. ASAP Rocky – “Peso”
PP says: This is just maybe a calling card for someone doing the same old thing in a new way or with a different take on the production. This is all about the sound because the content is nothing and it is not clear that the flow does anything either. Outro is nice for two reasons, it sounds good and it is over.
36. Jamie xx – “Far Nearer”
PP says:I do love love love steel drums. doritos57 goes a little bit overboard on the youtube comment “I dont see why justin beiber gets so much abuse when shit tracks? like this exist?!?!??!?!?!??!?! Come on guys, lay down your hipster caps and macbooks and admit this is a bit bollocks.” Kind of funny. This song seems a little NYC Starbucks or maybe Abercrombie/Fitch changing room.
35. Charli XCX – “Stay Away”
PP says: Lindsay in the review says “80’s flecked”- yeah, I would say T’Pau+Sheena Easton+Siouxsie, but too straight up. Give me more Danielle Dax and I would be all over it. Needs more Goth.
34. Cut Copy – “Need You Now”
PP says: Still waiting for one of these 80s revisiters to really get me- will Cut Copy do it? Listening now. I do love my 80s. I feel like these guys know what they want and they can pull the ol’ Waver strings. This is worthy of my inner teen mixtape dreamer. Works in that cinematic driving at night John Hughes movie fake world where they cut to the highway lines flying by the car the wind in the hair the passengers sitting back listening thinking their teen angsty feelings. GOOD. His voice has a tiny bit of the OMD guy’s- just a little bit. Oh New New Romantics!!!!!!!!!
33. AraabMuzik – “Streetz Tonight”
PP says: So on the YouTube of this, half the commenters are burning down the house because this remix is like barely a remix apparently. All I know is that the original of this barfs up on one of my Pandora stations every now and then and it is inoffensive, and the only way a remix of it could be one of the best songs of the year is to be a completely new song, and not the exact same song that it is. Straight up trolling, Nate Patrin! KUE DOZE.
32. Cold Cave – “The Great Pan Is Dead”
PP says: Basically an Arcade Fire triumphant aesthetic filtered through an 80s mashup with some romantic gothicness. Tom Ewing mentions M83 in his writeup rightly, but it is as if the M83 guy watched some different movies or maybe more calculatedly picked his chocolate and peanut butter- less a futuristic museum piece recreating an unreal idea from the 80s, than a synthesis of two kinds of feelings. Like doing a cover in the production style of another era.
31. The Field – “Then It’s White”
PP says: In my ancient decrepitude, I realized I don’t have the infinite time that youth has to enjoy chilling out to winding blips of almost nothingness. The spacey music that fits the generic visuals projected on the club wall. Water dripping into a pond, clouds in sped up time, flowers growing and dying, you know the video. This is the music of a long subway ride when you are too tired to think. It is pleasant and unremarkable, but requires you bring your own issues to the table. It is a blank slate. The write up is BARF.
30. Clams Casino – “Motivation”
PP says:This is a beat that needs something happening on top of it, but you can imagine your own compelling track. It might be a killer. Or it might be some usual bullshit. Subtly cinematic, but still boutique shopping music without something more. Wish I had the money to shop at a store that would play this, but I would look ridiculous wearing these clothes.
29. Jai Paul – “BTSTU”
PP says: Triumphant production, both a novelty and a decent beat and hook. Everything is trend. This is Deep Blue concocting mysterious cool from an extremely sophisticated algorithm. I feel nothing. Respect at the technological marvel- especially the horns outro- killer.
28. Danny Brown – “Monopoly”
PP says: The flow is mysterious and kind of old school- weird- maybe a cross between Method Man and Cypress Hill? Words are execrable, but the track is a total killer and the beat is like an uptight Army of Me by Bjork on some sort of gas. Unlikable, but just totally sick, in the way where sick means “wo”.
27. The Rapture – “How Deep Is Your Love?”
PP says: Not compelling. Rapture, I like the idea of you in principle but not in practice. You’re cut, shushy!
26. Beyoncé – “1+1”
PP says: B just does whatever the hell she wants and her vocal tics become increasingly annoying, though her vocals seem more and more straight takes- that is the tics are not the usual, and they might give someone a feeling of genuineness. What I love is that previously B was in the P-fork lists as a straight up pop situation, but her last album was a pretty big fall off- it just wasn’t an unstoppable machine, but here she still is, beloved by all her P-fork fans. There is something more raw and real about this that the average ballad by far, but it seems a little bit of a mess. So for old times, 1+1=meh.
25. Soulja Boy – “Zan With That Lean”
PP says: Heh. So terrible. Like a Fisher-Price drugs/money float along. This would kill UC. Glad there wasn’t any better song that could have been here!
24. Kurt Vile – “Jesus Fever”
PP says: I feel like I really do like Kurt Vile, but am always worried about the musical chintziness wearing away my like if it were to grow old after a bunch of songs. This is OK, but it’s not “Freeway”.
23. Adele – “Rolling In The Deep”
PP says: Really an unstoppable pop masterpiece. Slag it all you want, Adele has got something.
22. Bill Callahan – “Riding For The Feeling”
PP says:This is good and it grows. Have to see it all the way through. Not my bag, but really kind of like.
21. Drake – “Marvins Room”
PP says: I can’t argue with this. A huge song that has more than a millimeter of depth or if not still resonates, even if it is mining the sorry for himself shtick that could get old fast. Drunk dialing is just so goddamned compelling- I’m serious. Good, not too heavy, great sound. Hats off to Drake and to old 3B nemesis Marc Hogan, with whom we agree completely about this song. Though, maybe just a teensy bit too heavy on the “poor me” and less effective in the non-clean version, and after a few drinks, that goes away, because a good sulk is great.
20. Gang Gang Dance – “Glass Jar”
PP says: Youtube comments suggest that this is sexy time music. I guess I have a lot more songs on my list before I get to this one, and I would have to be Wilt Chamberlain to get this far.
19. Lana Del Rey – “Video Games”
PP says: It doesn’t matter what anyone thinks about Lana Del Ray and what her legacy will be, through the waves of hype, the backlash, much of it completely undisguised misogyny- as if there weren’t any derivative or packaged artists or sounds on the rest of this list- or these lists every year- even though there are different rules for LDR, her aesthetics on this song and its video made an impression. I was kind of reminded of Fiona Apple’s “Criminal” in terms of visceral impression of voice plus visual just kind of freezing you for a moment. Maybe that feeling turns to indigestion, but it is not fair to deny the naive response.
18. St. Vincent – “Cruel”
PP says: This is a fantastic song, and there could even be better ones on the album, I always suspect these placings are the songs everyone heard of the album, whereas the obscure shit on the list is the stuff passed around the hypothetical P-fork office [note, I know there isn’t one]. I wonder if there is an even better one? I should have this album, it is just that I pay for music, have no energy to listen, blah blah blah, but I think Annie Clark is great, and this is very good.
17. Oneohtrix Point Never – “Replica”
PP says: Chill out, you’re sad. More rain drops in pond water music, and rolling clouds. Would be good for the nature breaks in a Mallick film.
16. Tyler, The Creator – “Yonkers”
PP says: Ian Cohen wrings his thesaurus hands a little bit about how Yonkers takes him back to the day when we were all just innocent of that messy messy hurtful Odd Future, when they were just so new and sparkle rainbows shine out of our behinds. Maybe when Tyler stopped being a blank slate for music people to project a bunch of bullshit on, everyone had a sad because he took the joke/non-joke? too far. Same old story here, probably got a ton of talent with the word smithing, and he ups the homophobic/misogynistic game to the point where the bandwagon fell apart. Oh well, on to the next one.
15. The Weeknd – “The Morning”
PP says: Production is immaculate, and I think more immediate that the standard R/B, and here the production is much more modern. Not my bag, because the more skittery the beat the more I think the sound will be over soon, so I’m listening to the musical equivalent of glasses without lenses, and I think he’s really mining the same old clichés. The Weeknd- The Mehrning (sorry, world).
14. Girls – “Vomit”
PP says: This is all about a clean, almost Bends-y, or maybe something else 90s tasteful sound with the edge played out in an American way instead of those guys across the pond. A retread but these guys do emotional repetition pretty well for their fans. They don’t exist anymore but this worked better for me on first listen than their breakthrough from two years ago “Hellhole Ratrace”, even though the epic feel of that one was undeniable.
13. tUnE-yArDs – “Bizness”
PP says: Always reminds me of Laurie Anderson, but this is like some kind of primal global blues over a McFerrin/jazzy polyrhythm. She’s really good. This one builds and I like it more and more, feel like “Powa” grabbed me more the first time, but she’s got it. End of song is a funkier, earthier St. Vincent, but with sax and cut up vocals. GOOD.
12. Jay-Z & Kanye West – “Niggas In Paris”
PP says: Totally bangs. Makes me go insane when he refs Jordan beating my Jazz in Game 6. Saved by a beat so great, propped up by decent Jay that it can support a hit and miss Kanye, a pathetic Will Ferrell break, and an outro that kills what should just be 10 minutes of ball so hard. Still love it.
11. James Blake – “The Wilhelm Scream”
PP says: This is so minimal it makes the muted Weeknd sound like R. Kelly at his most histrionic. This is a production spot on the list. Chilly was in last year, and this does sound superb on headphones. In a way I think a lot of these songs are the Kid A influence on music. Songs sublimated to tones and bloops and aetherialness. I can even remember what was out last year, but I wouldn’t mind a few straight ahead tunes.
10. DJ Khaled – “I’m On One” (Feat. Drake, Rick Ross and Lil Wayne)
PP says: Wayne sounds totally wasted here and Rick Ross is like a rapping Santa Claus cartoon and Drake is being all serious. Cinematically disposable and dated, but I wouldn’t quibble with this at 99, but this means I got about 89 problems and this sitch is one.
09. Azealia Banks – “212”
PP says: Holy crap this is really cranking hip hop designed for the club because she raps straight over a club track, but not euro cheese just effervescent and smiley while you get assassinated. Her attitude weirdly reminds me of Lords of Acid in its unabashed female sexuality and DOES NOT GIVE AN EFF, also AB goes back a way for her club beats, very retro. She should do “I Sit on Acid”. NSFW.
08. Cass McCombs – “County Line”
PP says: I know I listened to this song the other night, but nothing about it remains in my memory. The most capricious and arbitrary thing about Pfork this year, is how traditional and straight-ahead this one is. Either subtle and sophisticated or light and nothing (depending on if you are a fan or not), but certainly not a gimmick by any sense. Weird.
07. Beyoncé – “Countdown”
PP says: Beyoncé just irritates me more and more, though this song has some undeniable charm. Nothing new under the sun in cloaking traditional gender roles in fake empowerment. I don’t know why radio turned its back on this. Once guy at Clear Channel probably was constipated. Glad this won’t show up in the recurrent charts. Me and B will always have “Crazy in Love” and I will never tire of that one.
06. Destroyer – “Kaputt”
PP says: I don’t get anything about this, or Dan Bejar, but he maintains a high percentage record of hypnotic oddness that seems to convey something more. Or at least the idea of musical experimental poems. The words always seem to convey a feeling or a time and place, but of an alternate reality, not the retro caricature you might predict from the attached soundscape. Hater: did you see what he was wearing? 3B Dignan: Yeah, pretty cool.
05. Real Estate – “It’s Real”
PP says: I should like everything about Real Estate and this is a pleasant trifle, but when the shimmer gets a little thin or trebly it becomes offputting. These guys probably love their New Zealand bands (Bats, The Chill), but the sound back in the day was a little more filled out. I wonder if I bought this? I should check the ol’ hard drive. Inoffensively pleasant.
04. Nicki Minaj – “Super Bass”
PP says: This is a gigantic artifact now on this list at a late date. A prefabricated song that doesn’t really transcend anything, though will admit that Nicki knew what she was doing- just give them what they want. Kind of unbelievable that the same artist can drop “Did it On ‘Em” and this. Funny. Inessential!!!!!!!!!!
03. EMA – “California”
PP says: Her attitude sails her through open mic night at the poetry slam cafe and the music ties it all together into something if not compelling it holds your attention. I guess I’m too cynical to say gripping, but I guess I wouldn’t be surprised if I experienced a facsimile of being gripped! Jayson Greene seems to get halfway there in his writeup, but I would say that it isn’t the words that do it, its the fact that you hear them but instead you feel the music, the whole package. This is the kind of song that gets disavowed when they do the decade list, but I’d listen to it again.
02. Bon Iver – “Holocene”
PP says: I think this is an OK song. Full disclosure: I just listened to it right now!!!!!!! I have nothing useful or important to say, haha BUT YOU KNEW THAT.
01. M83 – “Midnight City”
PP says: More directly retro and nostalgic for a time kids these days never knew, but our writers and voters in their aging remember maybe a little bit. Same vein but even more so as the LCD Soundsystem pic a few years ago. Always pick up some Psychedelic Furs in this one, plus the feel that Neon Indian’s “6669” gave me the first time I heard it (that bouncy 80s new wave romantic electronic feel) except French guy here has the good sense to not wash out the whole thing in cassette tape veneer. I will say that maybe in this one instant, with Goob just punching me in her sleep, but snuggled all in with GC and I, and Smokey Dog too, because they don’t like thunder and lightning, I might be even more susceptible to this kind of blatant tugging on my aging heartstrings than usual.