Monday, January 25, 2016

Top 100 Songs Of All-Time, 70-61

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

LCD Soundsystem | Someone Great | Sound Of Silver | 2007

While 'All My Friends' gets all the shine, and rightfully so, it's little brother steams along with a more reserved pace, despite also bringing across heavy-handed topics through danceable beats. These two behemoth's position themselves in the middle of Sound Of Silver, which makes for an awkward sound after the fact, but during it these two could not be better handled. Lingering around the birth of life and death of one too, 'Someone Great' takes a new take on the meaning of lyrics, plainly discussing the hardships between a couple transitioning in more than one way. Also it helps that it sounds amazing, with some of the best production work I've ever heard

MF DOOM | Bell Of DOOM | Unexpected Guests | 2009

One of DOOM's rawest tracks, and one of his most under-appreciated. Nestled away in Unexpected Guests, a lackluster compilation album, is DOOM at his best, spitting bars that sees the often half-assed artist at his best. But what made 'Bell Of DOOM' so memorable was the beat, rife with samples, vocal ones and backing ones, that rear their head at ever bend. It's a chaotic track that doesn't meander for longer than 10 seconds before switching things up, whizzing by with a disjointed bell acting as the backbone. There's times before and after DOOM's verses where the bell comes in full chime, turning itself into a beat that morphs into an inverted version of the actual beat. Those two moments, just mere glimpses, lay hold to one of my favorite beats of all-time. But there's enough to chew on here, with every passing second inviting something new into DOOM's twisted world, that 'Bell Of DOOM' shouldn't struggle to find its way onto a list of this nature

Animal Collective | The Purple Bottle | Feels | 2006

The centerpiece to Animal Collective's Feels is a journey. I wouldn't wish the rest of the album to sound like it, no matter how much I enjoyed it, cause that would ruin the integrity of this song. A song that stands as the only resemblance to their next album, with a grandiose sound, moving segments, and a strange, yet modernized sound. It's easily the most complete work on Feels, with Avey Tare's vocals of lost love lust pouring out the seems with a clear smile on his face. A riveting production compliments him, with a odd Freak Folk sound that incorporates ridiculous instruments to create an other-worldly sound. Later on the song morphs into this inverted version of itself, with Tare's vocals hollering about like a dance around a fire. It's a strange, lovely song

Blu | Cold Hearted | Below The Heavens | 2007

Back when Blu had promise, 'Cold Hearted' was possibly his greatest showing of that potential. Exile's fabulous production, carrying a chopped-up vocal sample throughout, helps Blu evoke a story of growing through your mistakes while witnessing what could happen if he doesn't change. His textured verse layers gun violence with the struggles his mom faced with numerous lovers, some causing her to lose her unborn son. All this turmoil is told with breathtaking beauty, as Miguel joins Blu for some soulful singing to introduce the song and conclude it, sparingly adding his coo's throughout. More than anything though, 'Cold Hearted' showed an emcee with a vision to become more than what he's seen. 

Frank Ocean | Pyramids | channel ORANGE | 2012

An epic within an epic. 'Pyramids' was channel ORANGE's masterpiece, centerpiece, whatever you wanna call it. The fact that the 9-minute 'Pyramids' was the second single to the album is a testament to Ocean's willingness to risk it all, even though, in the Internet age, there's no way this stunner would fail. That's largely cause it has everything, a woozy dance rhythm, a psychedelic breakdown, a Southern-tinged Trap beat, and an autotune, acid-drenched guitar solo to close things out. All of this wrapped in a story of degradation, as the Queens of the old age have now disintegrated into strippers used to gawk at meat. In each sense, like the clubs of Las Vegas, they were both referred to as Cleopatra, just with starkly different meanings. 'Pyramids' is a world-defining parallel made about what's now considered high-end and the similarities it has towards the elegance of African royalty

Chemical Brothers | Close Your Eyes | Push The Button | 2005

While their style did change and much of the sonic structure became streamlined, I still feel The Chemical Brothers have worthy records to pull from the 2000's era that is comparative to their 90's dominance. One such track is 'Close Your Eyes,' a touching song with hushed vocals, repetitious sampling, and a plethora of movements that evolve upon one another with one foot in the previous sound and another in the coming. Serene melodies guide the entire track, as simple piano melodies allow for expressive refrains. "What if it all were to change like I thought it would" becomes a rallying cry by the end of the song, with swelling instrumentation accompanying this couple singing about their regrets in life. The music becomes louder as a coming train steamrolls into the duo, forcing them to convey their vocal range even greater. It's just a beautifully organic track, a statement considering its technological rooting.

Jamie xx | Gosh | In Colour | 2015

I've talked about 'Gosh' ad nauseam ever since it's release, and for good reason. It's one of the most wonderful House tracks I've heard in a long time, so much so that I'd argue it single-handedly, at least for a moment in the music spotlight, brought the genre up from the grave itself. With a handful of pieces moving in fluid, yet structured unison, all conducted by an out of control synth, Jamie xx's kickstarter to the equally great In Colour saw brilliant vibrancy dazzle on the surface and underneath. The murmurs of DJ's pumping a crowd up, the overwhelming bass that rattles car systems, the collusion of it all, makes 'Gosh' a behemoth that won't soon be forgotten.

Arcade Fire | Backseat | Funeral | 2004

I could make a valid argument that Regine Chassagne is of bigger importance to Arcade Fire than her husband, Win Butler. In reality each cog works fluidly together, but without Regine the fabric crumbles. Her presence, as seldomly used as it is, signifies a change, a momentous shift in the music or a defining factor. 'The Backseat' was that song for Funeral. It wrapped together the sounds, the styles, the emotion, and the messages into one package of death, despair, and lost youth told through a quivering women who was going through it. It's some of the most beautiful poetry put to tape in the 21st century too, talk of witnessing life pass you by, car crashes, and leaves falling all come together in a masterpiece of a movement. Much like how 'Neighborhood #1' was the synopsis of what's to come, 'The Backseat' is the finale with the screws coming loose.

Aesop Rock | Coffee | None Shall Pass | 2007

Aesop Rock is a prime lyricist in the Abstract age of Hip-Hop's forced density. It doesn't appeal to many, but where he thrives elsewhere lies in his flow, with 'Coffee' bearing the brunt of this greatness. His pronunciation is on point and distinct, highly intricate, balancing on the flimsy beat like a high wire walker. But that's not the only thing holding 'Coffee' together, in fact it boasts the one of the catchiest underground choruses and bridges known to man, levitating high above a subgenre typically not known for its addictive replayability. I still find myself murmuring 'T-A-K-E-N-O-P-R-I-S-O-N-E-R-S' time and time again.

Modest Mouse | Talking Shit About A Pretty Sunset | This Is A Long Drive | 1996

While This Is A Long Drive was a worthy album, and for most group's career would be their defining release, it gets rightfully overshadowed by Modest Mouse's next two stellar albums. But one track nestled in the back stood out as a clear indicator to the talents Issac Brock and the group can achieve, that being 'Talking Shit,' a beautifully organic song that evolves with a sincerity of fluidity within the moment. How the song progresses, revealing stances as Brock disintegrates into severe depression, is just a thing of work, something to witness wide-eyed at the stark reality hitting the notes on a pad without a quiver of thought. And yet, the best thing here is the revitalizing finale, a resounding 2+ minute instrumental cue of one re-discovering themselves. It isn't downtrodden, weak, or punctured, but gorgeous, entrancing, and above all else, exciting for the hope of a new life.

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

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