Monday, January 4, 2016

Top 100 Songs Of All-Time, 100-91

Music has rapidly become the most important thing in my life, and only partly because of the rise of this blog. It provides me with inspiration, sources of understanding, contemptment, etc., you name it there's a track, an artist, an album that gives me that feeling. Along with the rise of my musical interests came an increasing habit of creating lists, rankings, ratings, and everything that makes the creative force that is music mundane. Regardless, doing said analysis leads me to developing further understanding of each aspect of music as I typically provide write-ups to each piece. In comes my top 100 tracks of all-time. Updated yearly, this list gives my fellow readers a perfect sense of how my musical scope has formed, the sporadic nature of its evolution, and the diversity it further engulfs itself in. Each Monday I'll post one part of this ten part series, leading up to my overall top 10. 

100-91 | 90-81 | 80-71 | 70-61 | 60-51 | 50-41 | 40-31 | 30-21 | 20-11 | 10-1

El-P | Stepfather Factory | Fantastic Damage | 2000

What a creatively intoxicating song. El-P's 2000's surrealist campaign, otherwise known as Fantastic Damage, sent futuristic shivers up people's spines following the attacks on 9/11. When he wasn't concerned with world views and apocalyptic foretelling, he took things in a more personal direction, focusing on the disgruntled relationships burgeoning out of middle class homes. Mimicking mass produced products, El-P turns his attention to stepfather's and their monotonous tenure bringing fake joy to a haphazard home, all their man-made robotics. Hip-Hop lyrical creativity at its finest

Nas | Memory Lane | Illmatic | 1994

Surely you can pick any song off Illmatic, it's an indisputable classic. But for me 'Memory Lane' is the best showing of Nas' style and the absolute influential production behind him. Possibly DJ Premier's best work, his sampling is impeccable, the scratching is dirty, the chorus is cheerful while rooted in the streets, while the drums, typically the biggest factor of a beat, is used merely as foundation. Nas is Nas, beautifully told poetry about those who've passed around him, but not through negative light, more so looking at them at their brightest while, as the song makes clear, sitting in the park

OFWGKTA | Oldie | The OF Tape Vol.2 | 2012

Odd Future is as loved as they are hated. One thing most can agree upon though is that 'Oldie,' the closer to their second collective tape, might be their best work. The beat doesn't try to be more than it should, allowing for each emcee to show off their talents as vibrant writers with a silly side. For your Internet age Hip-Hop, this song is essential to understanding the culture. Much of that is due to Earl's appearance, missing for upwards of a year, returning with possibly his best verse to date, the song centers around him and concludes splendidly with Tyler's mission statement

Pete Rock & C.L. Smooth | T.R.O.Y. | Mecca & The Soul Brother | 1992

A Hip-Hop classic. Few will ever deny that. It brought up everything great in Hip-Hop in the early 90's and loomed over it with an impenetrably serious tone. Rather than fantasizing about the world or obsessively rapping about violence, CL Smooth foretold a story of his upbringing with a teenage mother and the hardships those mothers in the hood face. The flow Smooth presents throughout was as effortless as it was sincere. Add in Pete Rock at his prime sampling era and you have a song that's as memorable as it is downright breathtaking. 

Ralph Myerz | A Special Morning | A Special Album | 2003

A mystifying electronic journey. That's what I like to call Ralph Myerz's downtempo affair. It coos and sways, a moaning female vocalist squeaks in, silent and wearying, before a organ-like synth dazzles in the background. The song, while keeping everything intact, is largely made up of two-halves, with a haunting male voice acting as the interlude. Alarming synths jut into the air as soft, non-compliant, whistles lose their breath in the same escaping breath. Everything just meshes together so nicely

Spiritualized | Won't Get To Heaven | Let It Come Down | 2001

Jason Pierce has a seeming obsession with coming to terms with his continually changing mental state. Much of those attempts come through the guise of religion and aspiring to reach the heavens. Many songs, not subtly, revolve around this want but none do it as despairingly as 'Won't Get To Heaven,' a 10 minute journey that begs for forgiveness. It has everything that makes Spiritualized a memorable musical group, one that throws the kitchen sink of genres at the wall, slamming Psychedelic against Gospel. The track ends in a euphoric high as a wall of choirs drown out Pierce's hope.

Big Boi | Objectum Sexuality | Vicious Lies & Dangerous Rumors | 2012

Before Big Boi and Phantogram came together for their Big Grams EP the emcee and group paired up multiple times on the former's Vicious Lies & Dangerous Rumors. The best of these was 'Objectum Sexuality,' a rousing bounce anthem that merged the two sounds flawlessly. While Big Boi's verses are complimentary as usual, the chorus is really where it shines, moving through morphed vocals and Sarah Barthel's baritone, giving off addictive measures that are deliciously SynthPop.

Caribou | Silver | Our Love | 2014

I still can't get over how exquisitely evolved this song is. What starts as a darling of a Caribou track, with drowning 80's synths and a simple, yet perky vocal sample, turns into a magnificent beast. There's times when the looming synths point to a dreadful turn, they're eery and force the woman's voice to wail at the sight of them. Surely, in the last two minutes or so, they take over, an alarming siren cues all the sounds to their max, the synths phase themselves into the foreground as an enchanting melody surfaces, bouncing between channels, as the song draws to a close. Remarkably produced.

Flobots | Handlebars | Fight With Tools | 2007

Forgive me for going through a teenage angst phase where sweeping statements supporting my just made opinions on politics lured me in. 'Handlebars' is the pinnacle of that, a song which lyrically pits simple accomplishments against brutal, power-manipulating goals to show how humanity puts its affairs in negative things rather than cherishing the good. The message is fine, the instrumentation however is what attracted me. Violins, guitar plucks, trumpets, and screaming voices was all new to me in Hip-Hop. For what it's meant to be, a politically-charged motivator for the youth, it's a worthy song.

Star Slinger | May I Walk With You | Volume 1 | 2010

Star Slinger has a way with joining oddball samples and new-age beatsmithing, to the point where nonsensical songs gather new light with an emotive tug. This may be one of the most joy-inducing songs I've ever heard. Taking Life Without Building's 'The Leanover's' oft-kilter vocal ramblings to new, beat-filled heights, Star Slinger evokes a jubilant affair bouncing along clouds as the singer dances amongst the subtle drum hits. It doesn't matter that the lyrics make no sense, in fact, it's that randomness that cues the grin from ear to ear.

100-91 | 90-81 | 80-71 | 70-61 | 60-51 | 50-41 | 40-31 | 30-21 | 20-11 | 10-1

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