Legit Bosses pt.3: The 40 Best Songs of 2020

Hey! Top forty ! This is a nice, normal, manageable list isn’t it? Should I maybe have just limited 2020’s best songs to this workable and succinct top 40 list? What, and not mention Wock in Stock or I Don’t Know, Burn Stuff? I’m not sure I’d ever be able to forgive myself.

That’s all the introduction you’re getting, parts one and two were more than enough foreplay, there are some absolute modern classics in this final countdown, and if you’re as half as surprised as me at what comes out on top…

Maybe, I mean, I still might change it…

#40 Fiona Apple: Under the Table

A very ‘Fiona Apple’ Fiona Apple song, but that is obviously entirely a Good Thing. Lyrically, it’s untouchable, with Ms Apple taking issue with dinner party conversation and refusing to be silenced (“Kick me under the table all you want/I won’t shut up…I would beg to disagree/But begging disagrees with me”). Amongst the barbed and often hilarious response to tension, she also manages to squeeze in some absolutely amazing lyrical asides:

I’d like to buy you a pair of pillow-soled hiking boots

To help you with your climb

Or rather, to help the bodies that you step over, along your route

So they won’t hurt like mine

I’m going to be really noncommittal and say that Under the Table is definitely one of the best lyrics of the year. Don’t make me choose. No, seriously, don’t make me choose, you know I’d just give it to a 1993 Manics’ lyric and ruin the legitimacy of the whole operation.#

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My Life in Albums (part 2 97-06)

You want an intro? You got that in part one! Let’s get down to the dirty, sticky and dangerously unhygienic business:

1997

This was an important year for me, this was when shit got real. Yeah, Labour won the election, which I was aware I was supposed to celebrate but not yet conscious enough to know exactly why, just that ‘our team won*. Princess Diana died, inspiring a nationwide reaction that even 13 year old Alex Palmer recognised as being a bit fucking much**. All that was meaningless background noise though, as most importantly 1997 was the year that I became really switched on to new music. Before this point, most of the albums I’ve listed would have been discovered by me later and posthumously lusted after in the kind of nostalgic necrophilia that I would later grow to despise. Yeah, sorry if you’ve already imagined me as an incredibly cool seven year old bopping his head to Soon by My Bloody Valentine. From this point on, these important albums in my life and personal development were pretty much all discovered as contemporaries. Seriously though, ‘It’s Great When You’re Straight… Yeah’ was the first CD that I ever owned. Yeah. I’m that cool/weird.

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“Dad, this is why you’re only allowed to see me one weekend every other month…”

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Entry #5 Future: Mask Off

Phew, that last entry was a bit of a mess, wasn’t it? Barely mentioned the (excellent) song and just flew off into TMI land. It won’t be the last time that happens, I’ll often have something to get off my chest that I feel can’t wait until December, but I always feel that there has to be some overarching ‘point’ to each entry and this series is literally the only outlet I have for that. At least until I get around to starting ‘Sing of the Thrill’ [TITLE TO BE CONFIRMED], my long promised/threatened King of the Hill episode by episode retrospective that’s currently the second most eagerly anticipated literary operation behind George RRRRRR Martin’s ‘No, No, No, This is What Was Supposed to Happen!’. To make up for Entry #4, this time around I’m actually just going to talk about one of the greatest songs ever for a thousand words or so, all tangents and flights of fancy will be kept to an absolute minimum, and if anything I’ll be undersharing, yeah? We cool? We cool.

This post contains a lot of information cribbed from Simon Reynolds’s fantastic Pitchfork article from last year. I might call him a ‘contributor’, but the fact is that he’s very likely to sue me for royalties once the money starts rolling in.

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The Legit Bosses:136 Best Tracks of 2018

This is officially the end of 2018! And it’s only the 5th January [EDIT: Still only the 6th!]! Although there’s freaking one hundred and thirty six  tracks to get through, so this may well take until mid May! Happy Cinco de Mayo! No time to talk! A shit load of songs to get through!!

136 Candace: Rewind

Gorgeous, innit?

135 Epic Reflexes: Cha Cha

While Z-Tape’s ‘Spring’ collection was veritably busting at the seems with Legit Bosses, as you’ll soon see, this is the only similarly legitimate position of authority from their ‘Summer’ collection. They’re all still great though, as is the Epic Reflexes’s album ‘ChaChaChinatown‘.

134 The Carters: Apeshit

I had a lot of problems with ‘Everything is Love’, the surprising debut release from Beyonce and Jay-Z. Part of the reason I struggled with it was that I wasn’t sure how canonical it is. Like, is this it, Bee? Is this underwhelming collection of occasionally very entertaining rap boasts officially your actual follow-up to one of the most acclaimed albums of the 21st century? It’s an album about how two very rich people love each other but probably love their money more, that includes the line “My grandchildren’s grandchildren already rich” which, despite Kanye’s crisis of publicity, is by far the line from 2018 that Donald Trump is most likely to high five in a men’s locker room. Also, there’s a moment on the opening track where Mr Carter drawls out “Let it breaaaathe, let it breaaaathe” like JB Rockefeller basking in the glory of a fart he’d just released under the bedsheets, which marks the first time in more than two decades that I’ve thought to myself that I don’t think I really like Jay-Z. However, he often wins me back with the later claim that he’s “Good on any MLK boulevard”. This song’s pretty great though

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Fucking hell, Jay, that haircut though… One hundred and thirty three more after the jump!

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32 Jay-Zed: 4:44

Poking a Hornets Nest for 444 Word

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“OJ like: ‘I’m not black I’m OJ’/OK…’

Firstly, if you even mention the OJ Simpson case to me, you automatically have my full attention. Ever since I watched the astonishing ‘OJ: Made in America’ documentary (kayfabe) last year In have come to realise that the story of the trial is in fact the most important news story in America in the latter half of the 20th century*, narrowly beating Fabio getting hit by a goose in 1999 whilst on a rollercoaster at Busch Gardens, Williamsburg (I cannot stop referencing that incident). This is chiefly because I finally realised why he was nicknamed ‘The Juice’, and concluded that’s definitely the best nickname ever (again, narrowly beating Fabio, whose nickname later became ‘The Goose’). I have seriously watched the entire season maybe 10 times, and if I ever learned of a cinema showing its full 467 minutes run time in one sitting (which has been done in the past) I would run there faster than The Juice himself running to score a lineback overtime dunk (I’m still not sure what sport he played) or, if you prefer your similes to be a little fruitier, I would run there faster that OJ Simpson ran from [DELETED ON LEGAL ADVICE] after he [DELETED ON LEGAL ADVICE] in his [DELETED ON DATED REFERENCE ADVICE]. Ooooooh, you’re a saucy one, Alex!

The line at the top of this ‘review’ is from the man himself and quoted in one of many album highlights The Story of OJ

The thing is…

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#ClickBait (wait, is that one word…?)

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You’re Looking at the Real Deal Now

 

In 2010 Spin Magazine listed the greatest albums released since the magazine’s conception in 1985, since I’ve been (ahem) alive for a large part of that time I’m going to quickly list the top 20 and briefly state why they’re now way near as good as the top record of 2016*:

*erm, assuming that all the records released between 2010 and now were comparatively garbage

 

20 My Bloody Valentine: Loveless

Speak up, mate, speak up! I can’t bloody hear you over all this racket! Also: know how many albums Ireland contributed to this year’s Necessary Evil? None! Your country’s a musical nonentity!

my bloody valentine

19 Jay-Z: The Blueprint

Oooooh! Look at my big cigar! A guy smoking a cigar this big couldn’t possibly be subconsciously compensating for something else could he?? Pathetic!

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11 Yeasayer: Amen and Goodbye

What’s the best song of the 10s?

+21

yeasayer

No, idiot, not the best songs of 10AD, as I think it’s universally accepted that the only music of that era that really holds up today is Ovid’s absolute banger Epistulae ex Ponto Bonko

+23

That’s where the term ‘put an Ex Ponto on it’ comes from, fact fans

+14

No, idiot, not the 1010s, though if we were then I would suggest Prime Tortoise of the Record Bureau, though of course you could make a point for anything in the ‘Four Great Books of Song’

+32

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