Thursday, December 17, 2015

Top 100 Tracks Of 2015, 100-21


Music in 2015 echoed successes throughout various genres. From Dream Pop to Hip-Hop to UK Bass, there was no shortage of diversity on display for music listeners. What this meant is a slew of top tier tracks running through the mill from sources as expected as they were shocking. We saw the return of some old heads with the helming of new ones. Underground emcees began to make poignant discussions on sociopolitical thought, while others musicians found comfort in the inherent joy of music making. At the end of the day, and the end of the year, 2015 saw a bustling of remarkable tracks parading through on a daily basis. For comparison, or to dust off those memory cobwebs, here's my list from 2014. And here's Dozens Of Donuts' top 100 tracks of 2015. 

100. k-os | Spaceship | Can't Fly Without Gravity
99. Raury | Friends | All We Need
98. Drake & Future | Plastic Bag | What A Time To Be Alive
97. Mick Jenkins | Alchemy | Wave[s]
96. Viet Cong | Pointless Experience | Viet Cong
95. Future | Fuck Up Some Commas | DS2
94. Waxahatchee | Bonfire | Ivy Tripp
93. Freddie Gibbs | Rear View | Shadow Of A Doubt
92. MED, Blu & Madlib | Drive-In (Ft. Aloe Blacc) | Bad Neighbor
91. Jenny Hval | Heaven | Apocalypse, girl
90. Vince Staples | Dopeman (Ft. Joey Fatts & Kilo Kish) | Summertime '06
89. Blackalicious | The Blowup | Imani Vol.1
88. Dan Deacon | Learning To Relax | Gliss Riffer
87. Joanna Newsom | Anecdotes | Divers
86. Lupe Fiasco | Deliver | Tetsuo & Youth
85. Destroyer | Hell Is An Open Door | Poison Season
84. Joey Bada$$ | Paper Trail$ | B4.DA.$$
83. Battles | The Yabba | La Di Da Di
82. Deradoorian | A Beautiful Woman | The Expanding Flower Planet
81. The Underachievers | Rain Dance | Evermore: The Art Of Duality
80. Beach House | All Your Yeahs | Thank Your Lucky Stars
79. The Weeknd | The Hills | Beauty Before The Madness
78. Big Sean | Paradise (Extended) | Dark Sky Paradise
77. FKA Twigs | Glass & Patron | M3LL155X
76. Joanna Newsom | Sapokanikan | Divers
75. Empress Of | Icon | Me
74. Travi$ Scott | Oh My Dis Side (Ft. Quavo) | Rodeo
73. Bjork | Family | Vulnicura
72. Lupe Fiasco | Mural | Tetsuo & Youth
71. Deafheaven | Luna | New Bermuda
70. A$AP Rocky | L$D | At.Long.Last.A$AP
69. Jamie xx | I Know There's Gonna Be (Ft. Popcaan & Young Thug) | In Colour
68. Wilco | You Satellite | Star Wars
67. The Game | On Me (Ft. Kendrick Lamar) | The Documentary 2
66. Injury Reserve | Falling | Live From The Dentist Office
65. Unknown Mortal Orchestra | Necessary Evil | Multi-Love
64. Joey Bada$$ | Curry Chicken | B4.DA.$$
63. Miguel | Face The Sun (Ft. Lenny Kravitz) | Wildheart
62. Chelsea Wolfe | The Abyss | Abyss
61. Mac Miller | Weekend (Ft. Miguel) | GO:OD AM
60. YACHT | Miles & Miles | I Thought The Future Would Be Cooler
59. Beach House | PPP | Depression Cherry
58. Kendrick Lamar | For Free? (Interlude) | To Pimp A Butterfly
57. Death Grips | Inanimate Sensation | The Powers That B
56. Wilco | Magnetized | Star Wars
55. Cannibal Ox | Salvation | Blade Of The Ronin
54. Tame Impala | Nangs | Currents
53. Vince Staples | Surf (Ft. Kilo Kish) | Summertime '06
52. Grimes | Venus Fly (Ft. Janelle MonĂ¡e) | Art Angels
51. Arcade Fire | Soft Power | The Reflektor Tapes

Father John Misty | The Ideal Husband
I Love You, Honeybear

His blend of Folk Rock and Comedy seems to be Father John Misty's double-edged sword. At times it comes off as cheesy and unimpressive, other times it's delightful and full of passion, like on 'The Ideal Husband,' where imaginations of perfection run rampant over a slowly engulfing soundscape. It's a modern romp of grandiose chaos, with reckless drums, chimes, and guitars prancing about Father John's growing insanity. The progression on display instills a continued sense of intrigue and tension, as the artist rises with the music hollering about inconsistencies in his desires. 

Tyler, The Creator | Okaga, CA
Cherry Bomb

Amongst a litany of strange albums to come out in 2015 featuring artists pushing boundaries, Cherry Bomb was easily the most perplexing, even by Tyler, The Creator's standards. I still can't tell if I like or hate the direction Tyler took, but I do applaud it's differences. One of the few tracks to feature a concentrated premise was the closer, 'Okaga, CA,' a track that oozed escapism over bright synths, chipmunk vocals, and soulful chants. In other words, it wasn't like much of Cherry Bomb, but it's allure made it one of the album's best tracks. Leon Ware provides amazing background vocals, as does Alice Smith, both providing depth to this relationship full of expectations. It may have its faults, but 'Okaga, CA' certainly isn't one of them. 

Courtney Barnett | Pedestrian At Best
Sometimes I Sit & Think, & Sometimes I Just Sit

There were a lot of worthy tracks to be featured here on Courtney Barnett's debut album, but the lead single still showcased the album's merits best. Her half-sung/half-spoken word verses pouring out of self-depreciation put the newest Indie Rock darling in a place few have gone before. Never before has one been so blunt about their criticisms, disappointments, and lack of achievements than the Australian born singer. An exceptional chorus, ravaging guitar riff, and a raucous rousing behind her made 'Pedestrian At Best' an anthem for down on your luck, but still ready to rock, Indie lovers. 

Yung Lean | Hoover

Yung Lean is at his best when he becomes part of Yung Gud's fantastically deceptive beats. When the two coincide it's a glorified banger where lyrics are the least of anyone's concern. Anticipation began to wane following 'Kyoto,' the best track to pull this unison off, and the one that Lean fans and haters alike could adore. In comes 'Hoover,' with one of the filthiest beats I've heard all year. It's janky, industrial, and earth-shattering, and despite this still allows Lean to flow on it under the ramshackled bass. As has been the case with Lean, interest slowly decreases over the course of the song as his glaring technicals begin to show, but here, with two choruses bookending one verse, 'Hoover' does nothing but hold excitement throughout its duration. 

Titus Andronicus | No Future Part IV
The Most Lamentable Tragedy

Titus Andronicus' Punk odyssey was overlooked by many for its overwhelming 29 track format. It was a Punk Opera in every sense of the term, and if there were one track to stand out amongst the rest it was 'No Future Part IV,' a rocker's anthem that never dominated in any one territory, giving equal footing to Patrick Stickles and the production behind him. The track showed what made Titus Andronicus notable, a pungent singer screeching poetics about manic depression, a well-orchestrated drum and guitar breakdown, and catchy moments where the two coincide. There's times when it sounds like a montage sequence in one of the early 2000's teen flicks, and that's not a diss, for that sound always holds merit when its easily digestible. 

Sufjan Stevens | Death With Dignity
Carrie & Lowell

Sufjan with the facade turn back, that's what Carrie & Lowell, and its opener 'Death With Dignity,' represented. It's his most earnest, lyrical, and poetic work to date. The personal encounters actually turned me off from many songs here, as this album really did seem like it was made for two people's ears. As its opener 'Death With Dignity' needed to set a precedent, a synopsis if you will of feelings, which allowed me to welcome its pristine beauty with open, loving arms. Stevens' singing is as grandly silent here as it was on his earlier releases, relinquishing the power he retains for a more subdued feeling of intimacy. In unison with the constantly collapsing guitar work Stevens really comes off as a bedroom hopeful daring to escape the confines of his home, baring his heart to the two keeping him there

Beach House | One Thing
Thank Your Lucky Stars

It was side B to 'Sparks.' Scally's second go at a metallic-drenched guitar riff. This one, somehow, is darker yet more beautiful. LeGrand, with her breathless singing glazing over these rough layered guitars and drums is just a sight to witness. During the chorus her voice gets even more hushed, "remarkable, when a likeness comes, you're always out of reach" she desperately coo's, showing that Beach House can still remain entirely Beach House even when they attempt to reach to the depths of their influences. The piercing guitar solo closing out the track puts an immense cap on Thank Your Lucky Stars' standout track, a piece of riveting Shoegaze I hope to see from the duo in the future. 

Young Thug | Just Might Be
Barter 6

What a year Young Thug has had. While I see the merit of the artist and his unique take on Southern Trap the sheer size of his music in 2015 has been anything but welcoming. That's why Barter 6, with 13 songs chosen selectively rather than thrown out to the masses, was my favorite. Each track had purpose and saw the best sides of the artist, none better than 'Just Might Be,' the finale, which immediately made a statement with one hell of a flow. It's a chorus that moves faster than most people verses, and yet it still has enough space to sparse between the words. Strewn about are his ad-libs, perplexing one-liners, and that odd, but infectious voice. 

Dr. Dre | Animals (Ft. Anderson .Paak)
Compton: The Soundtrack

A billionaire making the sounds of his Compton streets two decades after living through it seemed to be anything but successful. Yet somehow Dr.Dre reeled in listeners with his unique perspective, especially on 'Animals,' which may be the best take on police brutality Hip-Hop has seen this year. Not to diminish him in any way it seems typical of Dre's career to leave the memorable moments of his songs to others. This time it's a DJ Premier beat, the first time the two have collaborated, and an absolutely stunning chorus from Anderson .Paak that stops listeners in their tracks with its brevity, wit, and concise critique on the growing disparity between black culture and how the rest of America views it. Not like it hasn't been done before, but .Paak speaking on behalf of racists calling inner-city youth "animals" really hits home with his desperate pleas of acknowledgement to the contrary. 

Kamasi Wasington | The Rhythm Changes
The Epic

Within the gargantuan Epic lies 'The Rhythm Changes,' a soothing melodic piece that soulfully graces all positive emotions. For the approximate hour before, filled with a gamut of Jazz influences and instruments, all silent with vocal accompaniment, Patrice Quinn suddenly appears with an absolutely adoring presence. It reeks of 70's Soul a la Stevie Wonder, and is a welcome detractor to Washington's lofty goals found elsewhere on the album. The track itself still clocks in over seven minutes, but with the goliaths surrounding it it comes off as small, inconsequential, despite being filled to the brim with bountiful glory. It'll never reach this plateau but 'The Rhythm Changes' bears a sound and scope similar to classic pieces in musicals, ones remembered decades down the road for their breadth of welcoming to all who listen. While The Epic can turn many off, this track hidden between its walls provides such a loving embrace that few can turn away. 

Earl Sweatshirt | DNA (Ft. Na'kel)
I Don't Like Shit, I Don't Go Outside

Earl's descent into the darkness came with a price; it was at times increasingly emotional. Nowhere was that shown better than 'DNA,' a track with Earl's best friend Nak who, moments before laying a presumably goofy verse whilst on LSD, was given news that one of his best friends had just passed. Rather than delay for another day Nak laid into his feelings like he's never done before, a paranoid-enduced verse is what remained. Over I Don't Like Shit's filthiest beat, the two parade around scattered drums and echoing pianos that linger long after the two finish. It also contains Earl's best flow throughout the LP, spitting vividly with direct passion that never halts and sways. 

Travi$ Scott | 3500

Possibly one of the most surprising releases of 2015, Travi$ Scott's Rodeo featured a wide variety for a glorified Southern Trap impersonator act. The lead single, a nearly eight-minute Trap banger, was, and still is, its star track. '3500' features two Southern leaders, Future and 2 Chainz, who both kill their features over a highly-refined beat with haunting pianos, endless drums, and a bass that rips through speakers. The chorus, distorted and cut up Chopped N' Screwed style, is catchy, addictive, and easily mimic-able. 2 Chainz verse is absolutely hilarious and leads into the surprisingly somber finale, which sees Scott repeat his bridge from the beginning before winding everything down to a cold, calculated collapse. 

Beach House | Days Of Candy
Depression Cherry

The haunting finale to Beach House's latest work of art. 'Days Of Candy' offers up a true conclusion, presumably, as we never know with Beach House's typical cryptic nature, with a death of a close one. Victoria LeGrand superbly hums off to space as she mouths that "the universe is riding off with you," a line that will soon never be forgotten. The progression, starting with a slow-moving ballad featuring an 8-piece choir, evocatively evolves through increasing movements of emotion, culminating in a send-off that's too good to not hear. While other Beach House songs, even on Depression Cherry, offer up catchier rhythms, more addictive melodies, and sharper lyrics, there may not be a greater song in Beach House's catalog as a whole than 'Days Of Candy,' a perfect surmise of their sound with a hard touch of emotional embrace. 

FKA Twigs | Figure 8

'Figure 8' takes the subtle experimentalism found within FKA Twigs' Art Pop design and exploits it, blowing it up, exposing it for all to see. The beat crackles, snaps, and quivers under Twigs' haunting melodies. It's beautifully orchestrated to allow for small synths to weave in and out of massive bass hymns thumping in the background. While 'Figure 8' lacks the concentrated concepts located throughout the rest of M3LL155X, it excels in production quality, especially when woozy synths soar behind a highly-distorted Twigs breaking down into a unexpected rap verse. It's a vicious moment that shows off the quality of her alter ego, one that twists and turns around the internalized feelings Twigs the artist has for experimentation.. 

Kendrick Lamar | King Kunta
To Pimp A Butterfly

Before many heard the Funk brilliance of To Pimp A Butterfly, many encountered rumors of 'King Kunta' being hailed as the early album spotlight, and, in retrospect, why shouldn't it be. The track concludes the three song opening in which the newly-famed rapper purchases everything and more, disowns his home, and prances braggadociously about, all before the poem emerges which continues the arc of the album. On its own, 'King Kunta' is the most radio-friendly song here, a Funkadelic romp with a Thundercat-assisted bass guitar, oddball quirks, and chippy female vocals. In other words, it doesn't belong on the radio at all but exists there strictly off its merits to incite nauseous head-nodding. Lingering beneath though is one hell of a progressive track, bouncing through rhythms, executing a variety of aspects flawlessly within themselves, jumping between moments signaled by stop/go beat breaks. 

Nosaj Thing | Don't Mind Me

Nosaj has a way with bringing out the strangest of feelings. His mixture of early Flying Lotus with new age Glitch Hop eases tensions despite creating music that sometimes sounds convincingly creepy. And yet, it's when detached vocals are added to his music that they add yet another layer to his growing aura. On 'Don't Mind Me' Whoari ghostly whispers over the track, creating a track that might be the most melodically serene of the year. Each voice is mulled over, extracted the crunchiness of human creation, as they turn into unearthly beasts that sound plucked from the distant stars of space. As is the case with Thing's production, with the two merging into a seamless blend that sounds like Burial with a hangover, the ease in which he's able to conjure nostalgic bliss is unmatched in today's age. 

Godspeed You! | Peasantry
Asunder, Sweet, & Other Distress

It's still sad to see Post-Rock legends Godspeed do, for the first time in their history, the same thing as they did before. But that's essentially what Asunder, Sweet, & Other Distress did to follow-up 2012's 'Allelujah!'. But, for beginners, opening track, a ravaging 10-minute journey set the stage for an album which failed to reach it again. 'Peasantry' is a gorgeously apocalyptic piece that crunches with hard drums and snarling guitars. As per typical Godspeed fashion though, things turn towards the more organic, as beautiful horns, strings, and organs join in midway through to create a falling melody that carries the track from there on out. How these all mesh together competes with some of Godspeed's best moments throughout their whole discography, it's just a shame nothing past this had much to show. 

Julia Holter | Silhouette
Have You In My Wilderness

When Holter shies away from his dark origins she gets brilliantly evocative. 'Silhouette' sounds like a midday frolic amidst grassy knolls. It's immensely theatrical and orchestral, her voice caressing the handful of strings tossing and turning behind her. In certain senses, especially when she begins new verses, the track sounds like an odd fairy tale from generations ago in northern Europe. With disunion forming the first half of the track, the unity with all the strings in the second half, building in anticipation of a clear falloff, is perplexingly creepy and off. Her voice hauntingly coo's in between the instrumental chants, leading to Have You In My Wilderness' greatest work of progression, rhythm and sound structure. 

The Social Experiment | Familiar

If you ever need to see the potential of positivity, look no further than 'Familiar' and its ability to turn Quavo from Trap outfit Migos and King Louie from the Chicago Drill scene into gushy, hatin' players with a smile on their face. Nearly every line is hilarious ("If this bitch from Paris than Paris is terrible") and the song progressively gets better, which is a shock considering Chance leads it off and Quavo concludes it. It's one of the most vibrant Hip-Hop songs of 2015, with flutes, African drums, and, of course, trumpets parading around these three emcees. Crazy to think that on Surf, an album filled with zany, unbridled joy, the track that best exemplified that showcased typically hard-nosed emcees taking an edge off, resulting in a fantastic track. 

Panda Bear | Mr. Noah
Panda Bear Meets The Grim Reaper

Yes I know it was released as a single in 2014, but Panda Bear's 'Mr.Noah' excelled in its spot on his third LP Panda Bear Meets The Grim Reaper. The whimpering dogs, hazy and humid for a barrage of vocal effects layered over them, provided a welcoming spot for Panda Bear to return to his long-forgotten zaniness. Unfortunately the rest of the LP didn't live up to such expectations, but the lead single soared with what was effectively two choruses bouncing between each other. The synths and effects were crunchy, palpable, and complimented his whiny vocals pristinely. In other words, it was chaotic in all the right ways, wired with a handful of synths and drums to such absurd levels that still, to this day, I find new sounds scoured within. And yet, above all the production majesty going on here, Lennox's choruses was the best part, having a true sense of purpose, speaking on behalf of an injured dog's failure to rise from bed. 

The World... | I Can Be Afraid Of Anything

This emo outfit sure has a lot of depth when they want to pursue it. The nine person outfit showed flashes of brilliance on their second LP Harmlessness, the best was the climax 'I Can Be Afraid Of Anything,' a seven minute tour de force that continually hardens itself through various movements. Melodic moments padded against cascading guitars make this epic chalk full of elegant transitions and soaring bullet points. Not everything is dense or purposefully panicked, weaving plugs drip things into genres far and away from designated Emo. There's a glimmer of hope here as well, not expected in the genre but appreciated, matching disparity with preparations ("I really did dig my own hole, I'm climbing out").  In line with their name it showed that not everything has to be depressing

Busdriver | Worlds To Run

Thumbs may have been a bit sporadic as a whole, but surprisingly when Busdriver slowed things down was when he was at his best. Throw in another stellar verse from Milo, Anderson .Paak topping the chorus with some Soul, and a trumpet-lead finale and you have 'Worlds To Run.' It was Driver with peace, understanding and structure, a pattern he and the Hellfrye Club are unaccustomed to but succeed at flawlessly. One of the best aspects of the track is its overall thematic cohesion and progression, even within verses with Milo slowly gaining strength and confidence through his mostly downtrodden path. 'Worlds To Run' showcased a tenured artist not afraid to expand what's made him known, taking a melodic approach to strikingly clear and concise effect. 

Big Grams | Goldmine Junkie
Big Grams

Big Grams wasn't great, but it was better than expected, after the poor first two singles. Those two, 'Fell In The Sun' and 'Lights On,' were the worst two on the EP, a handful of others were amicable, but 'Goldmine Junkie' was stellar. A well-oiled, bombastic chorus that sets the tone in similar fashion to the groups other best work, 'Objectum Sexuality.' Throw in some orchestrated piano work fiddling underneath Big Boi's verse, a back-and-forth between the emcee and singer, and another chorus for good measure and you got Big Grams' potential on sight for all to see. The collaboration, thankfully, allows for variety that's typically unfound elsewhere, and this song has it in spades. A chorus, a rap verse, a back-and-forth, a second chorus, a singing verse, a final chorus, and a winding downspell accounts for this track's entirety, repeating only on the final chorus. A song that has all spades to show, and flaunts them boisterously

Fashawn | Man Of The House
The Ecology

Fashawn's The Ecology showcased the best rappers talents, but maybe half a decade too late. The drowned out underground West Coast sound has already seemingly fizzled in place of larger, more declarative artists like TDE or Odd Future. What Fashawn's latest did thrive at was perspective, living a typical life raising a young one in a neighborhood surrounded by violence, seeing the light that shines between the houses. Sometimes they reflected on past brushes with crime, like 'To Be Young,' but other times they focused on the present, like 'Man Of The House,' when an aging Fashawn comes to terms with his growth in maturity as a new father. It wasn't your stereotypical father abandonment record, although he's experienced that too, but more an evolution of one's own faults, the reassurance of knowing that life will change for the better if you change with it. Fashawn, per usual, tells it through a story over Exile's heart-warming, child-like beat that uses chimes, strings, and pianos to instill a nostalgic factor into the mix. The chorus and progression of the track help to make it one of underground West Coast Hip-Hop's best, not just in style but in content as well. 

Deerhunter | Take Care
Fading Frontier

While never being initially labelled as such, Deerhunter has always tip-toed the line near Dream Pop. With persistent progression, a patterned flow that glides off each note, 'Take Care' might be their strongest nod to date. It bears resemblance structurally to some of Beach House's later works, especially 'PPP' off Depression Cherry with its constant commitment to alluring the senses. Relentless synths bounce under Cox like Christmas chimes before the chorus takes hold, bringing their Psychedelic edge back to fruition. No words, no complexities, just soft humming and an overwhelming production style that brings in all Deerhunter's assets. 'Take Care' stands as Fading Frontier's centerpiece, carrying the chorus to exhausting pleasure levels for minutes on end. Whenever they defer from the standard template Deerhunter immediately makes an impression, and for Fading Frontier that's exactly what 'Take Care' was, a grandiose statement made halfway through the record where they weren't contained to a strict format. 

The Internet | Palace / Curse
Ego Death

The Internet's latest LP Ego Death saw the band evolve into more daunting grounds. While Contemporary R&B still echoes strongly throughout the record, their focus on Neo-Soul made for a more progressive sound that treaded on atypical grounds. Whereas the first half of the two-part finale sees Tyler parade around his bouncy synths and distorted voice, making a Disco nights dance record out of it, the second half, with a stunning guest performance from Steve Lacy, is really where the song stands tall. Not meant to outshine Syd, but totally does, Lacy steals the show with the greatest chorus on all of Ego Death, and easily one of the best of the year. With the simple production, large synths fizzling around twinkling stars and light tambourines, 'Curse' concludes the LP in stunning fashion, beautifully pairing elegant Jazz with modern day R&B to boot a chorus-driven song to excellence. 

Destroyer | Dream Lover
Poison Season

It doesn't get much more Indie Rock than this. Posion Season's first single, 'Dream Lover,' sets for stardom and sails to it with reckless abandon, throwing everything Dan Bejar has gathered throughout the years in a four minute fever pitch. The instrumentation showcases the pinnacle of New York Sophisti-Pop, with progressive guitars, drums, harmonicas, saxophones, trumpets, and everything else thrown into a blender. It represents a catastrophic feeling, but not one of negative connotations. It's the first moments of true love, that feeling when both embrace under the lights of Manhattan, gazing at each other knowing that love is mutual. And then, with the last minute of the song, they run through the night with no care in the world, the soundtrack to their life rising in tide with the blissfulness that surrounds them. Somehow, musically, it all still works, despite the intensity of so many moving cogs. 

Heems | Patriot Act
Eat Pray Thug

An eye-opening tale of brown people in America. Heems' Eat Pray Thug may have been chaotic and lacking in structure, but when he focused on a singular topic things took a drastic turn to the provocative. His closer was a stunning realization of one's encounter with first-hand racism following 9/11, a world where families were deported purely off their looks, relegated to Osama Bin Laden clones, and called dishrags to ignorant citizens living a privileged life. During the track's opening minutes Heems teeters on absurdist conspiracy theorist, but when jolted back to his middle-eastern descent with a beat switch reminiscent of his heritage, the gravity of his situation, one a decade removed, begins to set in. As he holds back tears, the former Das Racist emcee spits for two-plus minutes over the depravity he and his family faced living in New York City at the turn of the century. Never before have we seen, especially in Hip-Hop, the difficulties minorities faced following everyone's most remembered world-changing event. 

David Bowie | Blackstar

"Bowie's back" is a phrase fans of the artist have been decrying for years, dating back to his string of lackluster releases of the 90's. With influences apparently ranging from Kendrick Lamar to Boards Of Canada, it seems his soon-to-be released 25th LP may finally achieve that quote. And the 10-minute, video included, lead single title track seems to warrant such discussions. It's a masterfully produced sound collage that moves elegantly through movements, including sporadic drums, distant vocals, soothing horns and strings, bouncy synths, and a mid-track switch-up into 70's Pop. In essence, 'Blackstar' seems to attempt to whittle Bowie's entire catalogue down to a 10-minute opus, and does so adequately. The lyrics paint a complicated picture, one that clings to hope despite humanity's growing despair. Thanks to the music video, 'Blackstar' returns to Bowie's obsession with fantastical elements, incorporating scenes of space, scarecrows, and irritable dancing in the work, positioning the track as a form of revitalization for a new civilization. It'll be interesting to see where the album goes from here, but its first hints are insanely positive. 

Waxahatchee | Air
Ivy Tripp

On 'Air,' the first single from Ivy Tripp, Katie Crutchfield revels in self-reassuring poetics over noise-less Pixies production. What resides is a stunningly clear vision of a relationship gone off the rails, with no room with fluff or extra thought. Simple, cascading guitar strings and even simpler drum loops give Waxahatchee a space of air to breath in her passing moments. Her haunting coo's during the chorus, with the impenetrable silence of it all, details a singer losing her edge, the prettiness of it all makes it a musical delight. Her second verse begins with poetic clarity akin to Fiona Apple, "I left you out like a carton of milk, you were quick to query me, but I wanted you still" she says nimbly, falling over her words, singing in a flow that bounces of each guitar string. Even though it barely escapes three minutes, the moving sensations Waxahatchee encounters on 'Air,' from quietly regressing into the background, to hollering defiantly in the foreground, is a sight to behold. 

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