Sunday, December 25, 2016

Top 25 Songs Of 2016: #14-13

#14. untitled 02 - Kendrick Lamar: Get Top on the phone! Something I still mutter when I have to make a phone call. untitled. unmastered, one of the best demo releases ever, dropped unexpectedly in March - and while the songs are off the cutting room floor of the prolific To Pimp A Butterfly sessions, they're obviously equally as brilliant. Because it's Kendrick. On the six-minute untitled 02, the woozy jazz and sinister beat coast under Kendrick's shaky croon, before the song transitions into laidback, but pointed, rhymes about money, women, God and sin. These topics clearly aren't uncommon in rap, yet Cornrow Kenny's enchanting commentary unpacks them in a way that only he could.

#13. No Woman - Whitney: This Chicago amalgamation of Unknown Mortal Orchestra and Smith Western members maintained my undivided attention throughout the year, beginning the first time I heard this song. The loneliness in this drifter's ballad is palpable; a real slice of Americana nostalgia delivered via trumpets, swirling guitar hooks and Julien Ehlrich's childlike falsetto. I watched these guys perform their debut album in a tiny dive bar in Texas, and it was really amazing to hear every bit of that weary, life-on-the-road contemplation come to life.

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