This is probably the only reason i still do this stupid fucking list that nobody reads and the one post that I actually enjoy writing (because it’s basically just me making lots of pretty pictures), statistical motherfucking analysis!! The numbers, the records and the science, yo! behind Necessary Evil 2019. Let’s start with with what (spit) other music journalists thought.
OK, we all actually agree on the nest album of the year, so the critics are actually correct for once. Chill out on Jamila Woods and Michael Kiwanuka though, yeah?
OK OK OK! There were 112 amazing songs released in 2019 (or, erm, released earlier but I just listened to them a lot this year), and here is the definitive, objective and scientifically proven ranking. You can disagree all you want, just remember your disagreement is merely an opinion and this list is fact.
Or maybe not. I made a big change of tablet and therefore music player this year, and I might not have remembered all of the songs I deemed to be Legit Bosses earlier in the year. But whatever, here are 112 amazing songs, here’s the YouTube list and here’s the Spotify playlist, now please leave me alone, yeah?
Starting at number 112 wiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiith…
Just… gorgeous. ‘Bigness’ seems almost like it was intended as something of a wry, ironic name, as Mr Darling deals in ostensibly small scale music. His songs can initially seem so slight, polite, inoffensive and casual, all linked with a voice so hesitant and unassuming that it’s the volume and urgency that a fruit fly might adopt if it wanted to get the waiter’s attention at Costa Coffee to inquire as to what was taken its Hazelnut Praline & Cream Latte so long but didn’t want to make too much fuss. The tags that the album is identified with on Bandcampare alternative; bedroom pop; christchurch; new zealand; pop; indie; indie pop; Christchurch, which tells you one thing… Well no, it firsts lets you know that Pickle Darling is from Christchurch, New Zealand, as he’s so keen for you to realise that that he states it twice, but the second thing that the tags tell you is that ‘Bigness’ is a bit of a cheery, unassuming and- in the words of Helltown– ‘bedroom bullshit‘ kind of record. It’ll be fine. It’ll be cheery, a little bit twee but well meaningfully pleasant. Most of all though, it’ll be small.
OK, let’s just quickly get this out of the way: this is definitely Bongiovi “Bon Iver” Iverlenko’s weakest album. OK, OK, OK, I never listened to his second album as much as I would have liked, but… yeah, this is his worst. Actually, his second album was self-titled, which as I’ve previously mentioned I frigging hate, so… maybe… that takes it down toooooooooo… No. No this is his worst.
‘i,i’ was actually dead last on this list for the longest time when I first heard it, before Chance the Rapper’s ‘Big Day‘ redefined and lowered the bar on what dog shit I’d let onto the countdown. When I first heard it, I hated it. It sounded like a poor man’s retread of his previous album- ’22, a Million’, one of the decade’s legitimate greatest records- with none of the songcraft, little of its experimentation and fucking none of its autotune! Don’t you dare take my autotune, you flannelly fuck!! The more I listened to it though, little by little it began to climb up the ranking. New nuances presented themselves, little wonders that I hadn’t previously noticed revealed themselves to me like Bon Iver politely flashing me his genitals as I walked home through the park after dark. Even now, on roughly the 7’654th listen I keep noticing and appreciating things about this actually rather accomplished record. If this year continued for another 12 months (clerical error), could it eventually reach number one???
So Kanye ditched ‘Yandhi‘, which was late in its production and looked like it might become very worthwhile, to instead work on a completely new album. OK. I mean, switching projects completely so rapidly and frequently might not bode well for general standards of quality, but who am I to speak about artistic methods? I do this list every year and yet still manage to never let the quality slip below pelvis shattering power, so I’m sure lesser artists like Kanye will be able to ensure standards are still high. And it’s a gospel album?! Well colour me intrigued! Perhaps Kanye will be able to put similar spins on (and analysis of) the genre as Chance the Rapper did on ‘Coloring Book‘! Back when Chance was good! Perhaps, in the future, we will look back on ‘Yandhi’ as Kanye’s ‘Black Album‘, Prince’s mythical 1987 album that he allegedly dropped work on after experiencing a spiritual epiphany while on pills* and decide to instead focus on the gorgeous paean to the struggles of good over evil (and, y’know, shagging) that was ‘Lovesexy‘. Perhaps something happened to Kanye similar to Prince coming up and seeing the light. Kanye West doesn’t take good drugs though, guy has far too much upper body tension, so it’d be an experience more suited to him. Maybe he saw someone else wearing leather jogging pants- his invention!!- and it just pushed him over the edge. Maybe he realised the president he’s such a fan of is an unashamed racist and wants many of his fans removed from the country. Hard to say. Perhaps ‘Yandhi’ will finally receive a proper release in 7 years time and people will be ever so slightly disappointed
(*described as a ‘bad experience on MDMA’ in the Wikipedia article, which, hehehe, no. Taking a pill and then deciding to drop the darker work you’re doing in favour of positive stuff that tries to bring love to everyone isn’t a ‘bad experience on MDMA’, it’s just what happens when you take pills)
Seriously, what the fuck is this? It’s almost depressing that this is technically the debut album from arguably one the most influential and critically adored rappers of the past ten years. Previously only releasing music through free mixtapes, it’s a little baffling that Chance has decided the album that sees him starting to go after that Bruno Mars crowd should be the one that people should have to pay for.
Has this even been a decade? Like, other decades were definitely decades, weren’t they? The 70s were definitely a decade, I’ve seen pictures. It was all flared jeans and Ashton Kutchers. I remember the 80s, it was all primary colours and He Man toys. Except I’m 29 years old, which now unfortunately means I was born in 1990, so I don’t actually remember the 80s. Shame.
The NINETIES though! Remember the NINETIES?! That was an unarguable ‘decade’! There was a undeniable vibe to the 90s. The 90s was the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air doing the Macarena after scoring the winning penalty against Ginger Spice in the Euro 96 quarter finals. Remember that? It definitely happened and was definitely 90s!!
I turned 16 (or possibly 10) three days before the year 2000, and since then life doesn’t really deal in decades or conveniently distinct periods of time anymore. Every decade, every year, every day is now a seemingly unending trudge through hideous adulthood. Life and popular culture just trundles off in a different direction and your major marking points become all the more onanistic and self-centred. I started getting fucking old. And when you’re fucking old you’re beaten down by capitalism’s endless rat race that you don’t even fucking care what year it is.
I’ve no idea why I love this song so much, it’s mostly just a reworking of that irritating ‘Hello Operator’ kids song with more racially conscious lyrics. But it has something, from the alluring wavey intro to the euphoric chorus of ‘I’m very black, black, black/Can’t send me back, back, back/You take my brother, brother, brother/I’ll fight back, back, back’ that gets me evry tm