Necessary Evil 2020 pt.6 (50-46)

#50 Banoffee: Look At Us Now Dad

Banoffee’s debut album should act as an important reference point for Halsey. The subjects she covers here- from painful reconciliations to painful intergenerational trauma to, Jesus, why didn’t I just leave it as a one night stand with that prick??- are at least as weighty as those covered on Ms Frangipane’s latest. Banoffee simply covers them often more explicitly, with far more humour and raw openness. And, more importantly, does so with no shame about this being a pop album and with the mature knowledge that really shouldn’t take away from its artistic legitimacy. She’s not openly complaining about Band of Horses not being considered pop despite starting with the same three letters, she’s not arguing that her album being considered ‘pop’ and the Javier Muñoz Spanish language production The Occupant being considered a ‘movie’ is just more evidence of the suffocating patriarchy, she’s not pointing to the barbed wire around her wrist on the album cover as poof of how freaking metal she is. She has no qualms about being a pop artist and is confident in the utter magnificence she can still produce, how being a ‘pop’ artist doesn’t act as a barrier to producing such weird, challenging and effective music such as this.

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Legit Bosses: The 112 Best Songs of 2019

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.

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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…

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7 FKA Twigs: Magdalene

“Didn’t I do it for you?”

‘Magdalene’, despite it often raising both the tempo and intensity, sounds like one, thirty nine minute cry of exasperation. Isn’t this enough? Do you all somehow want more? Didn’t I, as it were, do it, if you will, for, one could argue, you?

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“Fuuuuuuuuuuck thiiiiiiiiiiiiis….”

 

FKA Twigs is looking at the consequences of her labour, both emotional and physical (something something fibroid tumours something something “fruit bowl of pain“), and is at once incensed and dejected that it’s seemingly all been for nothing. Her sacrifices in the past mean nothing now and she’s not the one who gets to decide how she’s perceived. No matter how much she learns to love herself, her body, and whomever else decides to share that love at certain points, they can all turn against her at whim and make all of this adoration seem wasted. “Sure, Alex”, I hear you craw, not deigning the situation important enough to stop shoving food into your fat mouth as you speak to me so that with every vowel sound I can see disgusting mushes of Tangy Cheese Doritos swirling around your decaying teeth, “you’re an amazing, Pulitzer-Prize level writer and I, for one, am enthralled, but what’s this all got to do with Mary Magdalene, that tart with the heart who washed Jesus’s feet with her hair, the filthy tramp, and who Dan Brown tells me painted The Last Supper, or something?”

Weeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeell…

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29 Future: Future

Emptiness, Nihilism, Emptiness

No artist on this list (few that you’ll encounter on any of the lists I produce once a year by screaming at the unfairness of life and smashing my tearing ducts against the keyboard) have taken me quite as much time to truly understand than Future. Now way near as much time.

Firstly, Future (real name ‘Marty McFly’, so he thought he best play up to the assumptions of time travel) is simply extremely difficult to keep track of: he releases albums and mixtapes at roughly the same rate that you might decide it’s time to buy new shower gel. He released two albums this year, and I had to decide to cull ‘Hndrxx’ from NE2017 when it became clear space was premium, and I had to start considering proper vowel usage as a prerequisite. His 2016 mixtape ‘Purple Reign’ was also unlucky not to make the cut (kayfabe) last year (sadly, due to its obvious play to my affections). He even released another mixtape in late 2017, which, I mean, come on Future, give a guy a break!

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52 Gorillaz: Humanz

Great Artists Steal. So Does Damon Albarn

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Wow, well this is pretty shameless, isn’t it?

Damon Albarn and That Other One were obviously struggling for ideas for the band’s fourth (proper) album, evidenced by the seven years it took them to follow up 2010’s ‘Plastic Beach’ (an album I really loved for about four months then forgot all about), so were forced to instead crib inspiration from perhaps the most artistically provocative writers of their time.

(Do I need to say that it took seven years and then state further that ‘Plastic Beach’ was released in 2010? Seems like a waste of words. In fact, if you include this little parenthesised section here, the addition of the conformation of the year two thousand and ten has added an  entirely unnecessary one hundred and nine words to this piece!! In retrospect, probably unnecessary. Unfortunately, I don’t think there’s any way to remove or obliterate anything you’ve written- to ‘delete’ it, if you will- so it has to stay in. Let me know of any potential solutions in the comments. Should I write the whole entry again?)

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The Legit Bosses: Best Tracks of the Year (80-71)

80 Radio Dept.: Committed to the Cause

Every time I hear this amazing song for the first two and a half minutes I wonder whether I’ve overrated it slightly, and perhaps it’s merely brilliant rather than the AMAZING required to be considered one of the year’s Legit Bosses, but then that musical break explodes into life and I remember how much I love the song

79 Beyoncé: Pray You Catch Me

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Yeah, you’re right, this’ll probably be the only Beyoncé song on this list. As an opening track, and intro to the album’s concept, style and tropes, it’s an utterly perfect song

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The Legit Bosses: Best Tracks of the Year (90-81)

90 Jamila Woods: VRY BLK

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

89 Chairlift: Unfinished Business

Fuck me, that chorus though…

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8 Danny Brown: Atrocity Exhibition

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…and within the first minute of this masterpiece record you’re introduced pretty comprehensively to Mr Brown’s modus operandi: he’s crude, he’s explicit, he’s in pain resulting from his own excess, he’s a little bit funny, he’s a horrifying train wreck, he’s absolutely captivating

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‘Modus operandi’ is a Latin word literally meaning ‘the mode of the octopus’, as the ancient Romans believed the fact that the creature was able to manage with eight legs meant it must be an uncommonly focused animal

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Not done one of those for a while, have I?

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