Thursday, December 22, 2016

Top 25 Songs of 2016: #20-19

20. Breakers Roar - Sturgill Simpson: There's no denying the huge influence of pop and hip hop this year, but smack dab in the middle of that was Sturgill Simpson. Who? Yeah, that was the resounding head-scratcher that plagued millions when his name showed up in the f**king Album of the Year category at the 2017 Grammy nomination announcement two weeks ago. But that's neither here nor there, because this bonafide country saviour - no, not Dierks Bentley or... one of the other country artists people like - has drawn comparisons to twangy staples like Willie Nelson and Waylon Jennings. His old-school composition is simple, yet heartbreaking, while his lyrics are only the latter; they deliver the kind of poetry that weighs heavy on your chest, if you listen close enough. This swaying lullaby for his kid back home is pretty guaranteed to choke you up, but every syllable and guitar slide is totally worth it.

19. 30 Hours - Kanye West: And on the complete other end of the spectrum is number 16 on Kanye West's 19-track The Life of Pablo - a song I'll wager most hardcore Yeezy fans would vouch for as one of the best of the new lot. Similar to the other first singles released prior to TLOP ("No More Parties" and "Real Friends"), musically and lyrically, "30 Hours" was like stepping into a time machine. It felt so much like College Dropout, when 'Ye was playful, sometimes unpolished and self-deprecating, and all over his most prevalent un-gangster subject: messing up and growing up. The minimalist production - which on this song includes an Arthur Russell sample (something that made me really, really happy) - is just the foundation for his cunning wordplay. That, more often than not, is the way hip hop should be. My conclusion? I miss the old Kanye.

1 comment:

  1. I like the tune Father Stretch My Hands Pt. 1 better, the one where Kanye sings about his girl bleaching her asshole. That one is dope.