Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Top 100 Songs Of All-Time, 90-81

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

Radiohead | Life In A Glasshouse | Amnesiac | 2001

Radiohead is good. Often enough though they're brilliant. One instance of that brilliance is 'Life In A Glasshouse,' the closer to Amnesiac. My love of this track is obvious, a track that varies even greater from the Radiohead catalog than the album in which it arguably varied the most. For once they dropped the Experimental Rock edge, the Art Rock finesse, and the Classic Rock foothold and went head first into a melodic Blues two-step. With blaring trumpets, slumped saxophones, and monotonous hi-hat taps all colliding, the room for Yorke to breathe his anxious, paranoid feelings couldn't have been better set. Forever prepared to predict the future, with 9/11 looming in the background, Yorke knew of the coming invasion of privacy, a look into everyone's lives where all the walls turn to glass

MGMT | Flash Delirium | Congratulations | 2010

Congratulations was MGMT's transitional album, and that's exactly what made it great. It had one foot in their Pop stronghold, and the other fully rooted in Psychedelic Fusion. Even though they later went on to disown their more Pop-ish roots, there were flashes of catchiness to be found on their second LP, 'Flash Delirium' a prime example of that. The progression the track takes swayed more in favor of an unstructured approach, but, even with its grand heaping of moment-to-moment mashing, evocative catchiness was found throughout. It seems as though with 'Flash Delirium' the band kept attempting to make each subsequent section more memorable than the last, concluding with Andrew Vanwyngarden's hectic, off the walls derailment.

Blue Sky Black Death | Sleeping Children Are Still Flying | NOIR | 2011

Blue Sky Black Death has their own sound, one that's hard to describe as well. It's kind of a mesh between styles, but what looms over it all is immaculate mastering. Each song sounds immensely detailed, with numerous layers connecting over each other like puzzle pieces. 'Sleeping Children' gives off this airy vibe that puts listeners in a trance-like state of perpetual dreams, gliding along the skies with these long, textures sounds moving along with you. The samples add to the allure, especially the haunting female vocalist appearing towards the end.

De La Soul | Me, Myself, & I | 3 Feet High & Rising | 1989

It's a shame the trio from the Bronx backtracked on their hippie labelling. Little did they know, with their positive preaching over Jazz Rap beats, that their sound would be replicated years down the road in niche sub-genres bread from the Internet age. Their most recognizable work is that of 'Me, Myself, & I,' a track that reaps in the merits of respecting oneself and not letting others become a burden to their way of life. Many artists make songs like this, few actually deliver on that worldview. De La was easily part of the latter, making a bonafide Hip-Hop classic that's lauded largely off its uniqueness in a genre that was filled with trend followers. 

Arcade Fire | Awful Sound (Oh Eurydice) | Reflektor | 2013

The first half of Reflektor was some of Arcade Fire's worst material, sans a track here or there. The second disc however was a journey through sound and Greek mythology. The kicker to that was 'Awful Sound,' detailing the origins of Eurydice's & Orpheus' story, in gripping, symbiotic detail. What keeps me coming back to 'Awful Sound' is its genre-spanning influences and its unwavering attempt at constant sonic shifts. From the progressive drum build-up, to the absolutely Boards Of Canada-inspired guitar oozing, to the Beatles chorus and 'Hey Jane'-like finale. It's all over the place but somehow fits as a whole, the story contained within keeping each part its own while making it cohesive.

Isaiah Rashad | West Savannah | Cilvia Demo | 2014

Outkast is my favorite group of all-time. There is no question about this. So when I saw Isaiah had a track named after one of their relatively unknown classics and a related line in the chorus I knew this would be one of the best tracks of 2014. 'West Savannah' is an absolutely gorgeous track, the production waves and bounces along with Rashad and SZA as they devolve into their romantic rendezvous. Of course it sounds like Outkast, what one album I couldn't tell you though. If anything it sounds like Southernplayalisticadillacmusik with a 2014, modernized approach. The star-lit synths parading around in the background make for an interstellar journey as they look up at the night sky. All this for a glorified interlude. Easily Rashad's best work off Cilvia Demo, and a possibly hint at his excessive talents in funky, low-tempo melodies.

Basement Jaxx | Where's Your Head At | Rooty | 2001

Towards the end of House music's run in the 90's Basement Jaxx came around and sparked things up, albeit for just a bit. A large reason for this was 'Where's Your Head At?' and it's more traditional instrumentation. While it still relied on Big Beat influences, electronic and aggressive drum loops, what made it stand out was a wild guitar riff that would rival any top tier Rock group. And, as with any classic vocalized House song, the repetitious lyrics are catchy and insistent, easy to sing on the dance floor, not easily forgettable.

P.O.S | Purexed | Never Better | 2009

Before Killer Mike and El-P were able to take over by successfully melding underground tones with mainstream appeal in Run The Jewels, P.O.S. was probably the closest thing to accomplishing that task. Not saying 'Purexed' would have been his smash hit, far from it, but the way P.O.S. spoke, clearly articulating himself with precise flows over inventive beats laid claim to enjoyable, yet thought-provoking tunes. 'Purexed' starts and evolves with a blaring organ, Alexander's flow meanwhile glides effortlessly over the non-conformist beat with insane fluidity. The chorus though, as hi-hats and rapid drums fill the space, drastically change the sound before returning to the calm, collected verses to show off a two-tone parity.

A Tribe Called Quest | Can I Kick It? | People's Instinctive Travels | 1990

This is one of Hip-Hop's untouchable tracks, altering it in any way would do it a failed service. It was chill before chill rap even existed. 'Can I Kick It?' was an evolution of Hip-Hop's cheesy origins, where things were more lackadaisical and not concerned with the well-being (or lack thereof) of their misfortunate upbringings. Where it really shines is through the simple chorus, now a staple in Hip-Hop culture, and the beat. The latter features a mellowing sample cruising around behind the drums, scratching and vocals, all the while subtle oddball sounds peek in and out of the colored palate.

Kendrick Lamar | Blacker The Berry | To Pimp A Butterfly | 2015

It's been talked about to death but following 'i's' strange turn to Pop Rap people were weary of Kendrick Lamar's direction. I was one who never doubted him and upon hearing second single, 'The Blacker The Berry,' it was clear I was right in doing so. The penultimate track on To Pimp A Butterfly, the rousing Political unraveling sees Kendrick fight against those who continually put him and his people down. Vicious lines going over a demented beat, it was unwavering in its commitment to instilling a message, doing away with any dazzling features for the sake of bars. An incredible track that once the dust settles will be seen as one of Hip-Hop's pedestal's, a track that undeniably shows the possibilities the genre itself can attain.

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

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