(*yeah, that song isn’t actually included. It’ll be on Legit Bosses 2022 though! I’m just a bit slow with these things…)
So, only 121 this year, a marked decline on 2020’s 125. So was it a notably worse year? Absolutely chuffing not. Despite the 2.928% drop in numbers, the quality on show is outstanding. Never mind the weight, feel the quality. The top maybe twenty songs especially are on some next level shit, and you haven’t seen so many GOATs since you traumatically happened upon Weird Uncle Colin’s problematic porn collection back in 92. I also shaved a few songs last minute, mainly because they were from albums due to be released in 2022 and I decided to make them Next Year Alex’s problem. Also, one or two I realised… weren’t… actually… that… good… So that just means the 121 that made the cut are all of such spectacular quality that you may want to warn the people around you before you start reading this list, as the floor between your legs is about to get soaked.
No, no, hey, maybe it’s you that’s too gross, ever considered that??
Anyway, let the festivities begin, here are the playlists:
It’s probably too late now, isn’t it? For you, I mean. This is it in your life. How old are you? Older than those kids you see on YouTube and on TikTok. What are you even doing watching YouTube and TikTok?? Both of those things are full of vitality and with ruthless optimism! Neither of those things are for you. How old did you say you were, I must have missed that? 28? Nah, dude, you’ve just not been counting recently, because your life is now a dehumanising repetition of routines and obligations, you’re actually 32 now. Shit, no, because of your meaningless demands and crushing inevitabilities, you couldn’t find time to read that last sentence all at once, you’re now 44. Shit! You’re now in your fifties!
It’s over though, right? Seriously, if you haven’t worked out your entire life by aged 21 you’re too late, and whatever you’re doing now – whatever you are – is officially set for all time. The only ‘change’ that is now permitted is a occasional change in the brand of washing up liquid you buy. And is that even allowed?? What will people say?? That person who works at the checkout counter in Tesco, the one you now know by name, what will they say?? No, you’re too old to be doing shit like this, people will mock you behind your back, say that you don’t even realise how monstrously old and past your prime you are. Put the washing up liquid back, Thomas, say in your fucking lane. Your past the era of change now, this thing now, these cruxes you’ve built to support yourself, these crosses that you’ve accepted to bear, this is your everything and shall always be. This is your life.
Now I’ve got to start at the first day again! And finish, because it’s currently close to midnight on Boxing Day while I write this, and numbers two and one of this year’s list will be announced before many of the millions (and millions) of fans of this blog get out of bed. Isn’t it a damn shame that I had to stop at fifteen consecutive days though? I hear that when you reach twenty consecutive days you actually start earning money for writing. New York Times columnists get paid $350k a year, and you know how? They just never stop their daily streak! Charles Blow is currently on a 16,939 [SIXTEEN THOUSAND NINE HUNDRED AND THIRTY NINE] daystreak! He started on his fifth birthday by harshly critiquing the level of presents that he was somehow expected to enjoy that year (“A Space Hopper, mother, really? And how, exactly, is one expected to improve one’s life by simply bouncing around on an inflated orange ball? What epiphanies is one expected to reach? Am I expected to gaze into that lifeless face and see myself reflected in his sad eyes? Perhaps this is intended to be Gerald Ford, whose ‘bouncing’ support is laughably intended to keep myself and others like me precociously and intermittently above the bottom line of the hard ground below us? And you said it talked. It definitely doesn’t talk, you fucking whore”. Yeah, some of Blow’s early work can seem a little problematic to modern sensibilities), and has just popped out another article every day since. Admittedly, he can sometimes obviously be struggling for material, His fourteen thousand eight hundred and seventy second article was just him ranking the different noises his chair makes when he sits down, his fifteen thousand and twelfth post was just the entire lyrics of Scatman’s World by Scatman John followed by the sentence “Is it not still the case? #ScatmanDidItFirst”, while his sixteen thousand four hundred and second post was just a piece of clickbait suggesting that Kylian Mbappe might be sighing for Liverpool. But you know what he did after writing each article? A spellcheck, yeah? To check the spelling? Or, perchance, the Spellling?? See, it all fits in, don’ tell me how to do my job.
Nick Cave album number three and a half! Or is it just number three? Do the last two doublet albums instead just count for one whole one? Whatever, it’s Cave’s twelfth Necessary Evil ranking album that he’s featured on, which I’m going to assume is a record seeing as The Manics (his only feasible challengers) only have a pitiful nine. Yeah, he’s been sneakily boosting his stats this year with multiple albums, but then The Manics boosted their stats with rereleasing ‘This Is My Truth Tell Me Yours‘ and ‘Gold Against the Soul‘, so no need to create a fuss, we’re all friends here. Warren. Warren! Put the knife down, yeah? It’s Christmas
Did you notice that thing that erupted in 2020? No, not Zandaya, though isn’t she just wonderful? Not Tiger King, no, come on, that meme’s been dead a long time. And, no, I am not about to make another Emily in Paris joke, I made one of those in my Big $ilky review and – honestly? – I feel that may already be too many. I mean the coronavirus, or COVID-19, the sickness so good they named it twice. Then kept naming it: Delta, Omicron, The Global Bastard, The Big Stink, The Worldwide Whoopsie, The Wuhan Cunt, and many more. Didn’t notice? Take a look out the window.It’s still happening. Haven’t seen Granny in a while? Yeah, because she’s dead, mate.Merry Christmas.
Seriously, three years ago today for serpentwithfeet’s previous album. No, no, duuuuuude, I’m not even joking, Josiah Wise’s previous album – the dark and forbiddingly sensual ‘soil’ – reached #28 back in 2018, and I wrote the blog post about it on December 24th 2018!! Dude, don’t you realise?? Today’s December 24th 2021!! You telling me that’s just a coincidence??
A synthesised orchestra bursts into life. And I mean bursts. If this were in a Disney movie and meant to signify the first buds of spring in some fantasy netherworld ruled by a giant and intimidatingly amiable field mouse, you’d still ask them to tone it down a bit. The orchestra repeats itself for a few bars, as if sweeping its arms across the landscape. Isn’t it beautiful?, it says, this world you believe to know? Isn’t life just idiotically charming when you don’t know any better?? Then, the orchestra stops, to be replaced by a single foreboding organ while the sounds behind it seem to be dripping out the last of their good will. Drip. Drip. Drop. Drip. The droplets seem to both become sparer and start to resemble a ticking clock, winding down to some unknown but anxiety inducing conclusion. The same music that had previously swept its hands in overt astonishment as the landscape that is now starting to melt away, now grabs you roughly by the collar and pulls you forward. It opens a hand to you containing a red pill and a blue pill. Before throwing them both in rage at the still deforming landscape.
“Nah, fuck that”, they say. “That trope has been done to death to such a point where it now somehow represents Men’s Right Activism. There aren’t just two routes anyway, there are an infinite ways to comprehend reality, let me show you them all“.
It’s a long way to the end if I want to jack you off. Year four of my approximately thirty year crusade to revisit and document each Prince album annually. I’ve so far found that His first two albums, unfortunately, really don’t stand up to modern scrutiny, but his third album ‘Dirty Mind‘ was as demonstrative a mark of His genius and as revelatory an LP in 2020 as it was in 1980. That album reached #7 on the year end chart and, fair warnings, we’re going to see a fair few of his following albums do the same, as that masterpiece officially kicked off one of the greatest run of albums any artist has done, ever.
While ‘Dirty Mind’ is much lauded over and intensely debated to this day, and His fifth album frequently joins it on lists of greatest albums ever (as does His sixth. And His seventh. And His eighth. And His ninth. And occasionally His tenth. Probably not His eleventh though), His follow up and fourth album ‘Controversy’ doesn’t get anywhere near the same attention. It seems to be looked upon as merely a transitional point between Prince really nailing down the style and the look on ‘Dirty Mind’ and then later finding the right mix of invariables to make him the biggest star in the world.
Self Esteem’s Rebecca Louise Taylor will not… Oh, I’m sorry, they hadn’t finished…
Roaw! Roaw! Rrrrrow-oooh!
Is that a woman making that noise?? Is it Rebecca?? It really sounds like a dog. Kudos to whomever makes those barks. Especially if it’s actually a dog, because dogs always deserve kudos
Sorry about that. As I was saying, Self Esteem’s Rebecca Louise Taylor will not rein in her need to be completely free, even if that freedom needs to occasionally be protected by imitating a pack of dogs while out with her friends. When men talk about protecting our freedoms, it’s generally concerned with not being forced to choose ‘English’ as our language when using ATMs or having to wear dirty Communist masks to stop people dying of an infectious disease (which is exactly the same as fucking Hitler by the way! The Nazis was all about mildly inconveniencing people in order to save lives! Wake up sheeple!). When women in 2021* talk about protecting their freedom, they generally mean having to go out of their way to protect their freedom to exist, to protect their freedom of their own agency, protect their freedom to, y’know, live, when roughly 50% of the population are the people who have shown time and time again how much they hate you and would happily rape and murder you. Oh, and I guess if you’re a man – especially in countries that generally have a more laissez faire attitude over killing machines, our freedom also includes the right to kill other people. Maybe women, I dunno, stop trying to politicise my bloodlust!!
DAWN (née Richards) is quietly becoming one of the world’s most astonishingly unique, progressive and essential artists. Well, I say ‘quietly’, there is absolutely nothing ‘quiet’ about her sixth studio album. It’s an extravagant, extraverted, shameless parade of confidence. Continuing the dissection and celebration of what New Orleans means to her that began on the (already fucking amazing. Already fucking. It fucks. That album fuuuuuucks. This one might even fuck harder. I have been violently pegged by this album for eight months now) 2019 album ‘New Breed’.
But ‘Second Line’ expands its focus far past the Louisiana city, aiming to use its Afrofuturism to comment on wider instances of black people migrating across state lines and why they ever felt moved to do so. Even when the lyrics or the spoken word montages from DAWN’s mother don’t explicitly make the statement, DAWN’s incredible amalgamation of seemingly every black musical culture of the last 500 years – jazz, obviously, but DAWN also ensures that you’d be able to consider her but never box her in as an artist performing funk, R&B, soul, hip-hop, blues or even grime – is still a pronounced statement on both the artist’s continued existence despite so many barriers, and also to the communities that were able to inspire that. There’s a lot going on here! Which is one of the reasons I love it!!