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.#

Continue reading “Legit Bosses pt.3: The 40 Best Songs of 2020”

Necessary Evil 2020 pt.12 (20-16)

Oh my God! The top twenty! If you’re interested in a bit of insider knowledge, this has been the most difficult list to write yet, it’s caused way more stress in my personal life than any before it, and it’s getting harder and harder to defend as a humungous drain on my time. This may well be the final countdown I do. Unless you all start giving me money of course. Just leave the bank notes in a burlap sack near the aqueducts, as per usual.

Six more entries to go!!

#20 Hinds: The Prettiest Curse

I don’t want your compassion
‘Cause I was built for action

Hinds released their 2016 debut as an amazing idea for a band but frustratingly without the tunes to back up their sizeable identities. Their second album, 2018’s ‘I Don’t Run‘, was a welcome and marked leap up in quality, with the band obviously coming on leaps and bounds as songwriters and performers. This improvement has continued at such a pace that, with the release of their third album this year, they can legitimately noe be considered one of the greatest indie rock bands in the world.

Yeah, this post is going to be a little shorter, just so you know.

Continue reading “Necessary Evil 2020 pt.12 (20-16)”

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.

Continue reading “Necessary Evil 2020 pt.6 (50-46)”

Rumble in the Bumble pt.4

Part 1, Part 2, Part 3

I know I promised that I wasn’t going to do another one of these until next week, but over the period of about nine hours yesterday Bumble dragged me on a roller coaster of emotions, potential and of reaching ridiculously over my limits as a physically attractive entity*. I have to assume that you’ve all read Shawn Michaels’s esteemed memoir ‘Heartbreak and Triumph’? Well, that could well be the title of this episode of my delve into the grottiness of online dating. Except that there was very little triumph involved. ‘Heartbreak and Heartbreak’ might work a little better. Except that repeated word is a little functionally unnecessary, isn’t it? Yeah, the book of yesterday on Bumble would be called ‘Heartbreak’. Do you see where this is going?

675946._UY630_SR1200,630_

(* though… maybe… really below… my mental attractiveness…? I don’t want to be cruel… Well… maybe I do, just a little, but as will soon become brutally clear I really need to claw back some self-respect out of this hideous situation)

What’s that? You think I’m far too obsessed with wrestling? Really?? Let’s see if that comes into play.

Continue reading “Rumble in the Bumble pt.4”

42 Daughters: You Won’t Get What You Want

One of the greatest/worst aspects of life in 2019 is how we all have the power to fine tune and curate exactly what world we live in, edit and personalise what news we hear and what bent ideology it pours from. When I was a bairn, the whole country basically had the same experience, all the time. We all heard Love Is All Around until we all wanted to ruthlessly and repeatedly embed a screwdriver deep into our own eardrums until the flowing blood hopefully drowned out Marti Pellow’s smirk (not me though, Love is All Around is a fuckin’ choon). We all watched Coronation Street last night, so could debate the meaning of Mavis Whooptuck performing a blood sacrifice in order to bring Harold Hupptickle back from the dead (my memories of Coronation Street are a bit cloudy, I’ll admit). Most importantly, we all got the same news. Sure, many people would still buy utter horseshit like the Sun or the Daily Mail- or The Guardian if they were a little more middle class and, let’s face it, a bit twatty- but we kind of all agreed that if it made it to BBC News, then it was likely correct. Likely due to laws restricting the bias of TV news in this country and the very charter of the BBC forbidding any bias or political inclinations in the news reporting. It’s, of course, not perfect*, it’s not always 100% observed, but it’s at least enshrined into law and aimed for, meaning that everyone always tuned into the TV news at the end of the day expecting them to brush the propaganda from the day’s events and tell us what really happened.

“Julie, for fuck’s sake, can you put the brandy down for five minutes??”

(*there were shocking scenes earlier this year when a BBC news reporter had the temerity to suggest that, growing up with an Indian mother and Mauritian father, racism was actually really gross and that Trump’s racist comments actually sounded very familiar. That’s how seriously we take impartiality- a woman of Asian descent isn’t allowed to call out the racist president for saying racist things and say that racism was bad. Apparently, a lot of viewers were still undecided on racism and didn’t want the crazy hippy idea that it was somehow a negative thing shoved down their throat. A white BBC news guy said similar things, but nobody complained about that, because… y’know…).

Continue reading “42 Daughters: You Won’t Get What You Want”

Necessary Evil (47-43)

47 Blank Banshee: Metamorphosis

a0228938016_10

Zzzzzzzzzzzzum, weeeeeeeeeeeear-kazummazum… Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzum-wenkwenkwenk, zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzdoo-baba-doo-baba-doo-baba-doo-baba. Sing along at the back.

‘Metamorphosis’ is a stunning 20 minutes of the most lushly created electronic music you’re likely to hear in 2019. I don’t want to be ‘that guy*’ again, but it’s really a piece of work that needs to be consumed through headphones (consumed… through headphones…?) to really appreciate the power and complexity of the music. Listening to the layered quasi-ambient beauty of ‘Metamorphosis’ you appreciate how far Blank Banshee has come since he was originally considered within the constraints of Vaporwave (or, indeed, ‘Vaportrap‘).

img_0654
You can no longer get the singular tracks, so just listen to the whole thing you lazy fucker

(*’that guy’ being someone who just points out facts. Don’t you fucking hate that guy??)

Yeah. How’s about that. Some proper fucking writing there, huh??

Metacritic: n/a

Continue reading “Necessary Evil (47-43)”

Necessary Evil 2019 (72-65)

72 Kanye West: Yandhi

yandhi-and-the-legacy-of-kanye-west-leaks

You know what? I’ve got a funny feeling that this might not be my last chance to talk about him before this list is done, so I’m wary of squeezing out all my Kanye Juice before the real party starts. ‘Yandhi’ was the album that he was going to release as his follow up to last year’s ‘Ye‘ (I’m sorry, haterz/liberals, but ‘Ye’ was a pretty fine album, as were most of the eighty four records he released last year, let’s not let our reactions to his general behavior colour the history), but then it was delayed, then cancelled, then briefly revived with Ashton Kutcher playing the role of Kanye West, then delayed, then its name was changed to ‘Spunk Muffin and the Dudes With Attitude’, then it was cancelled again, then it was changed to ‘Jesus Is King’, then it was revealed that it wasn’t actually a name change but a completely separate record, then that record was delayed, then it was delayed again, until, finally, it was released, and Yandhi was cancelled, only briefly being released (seriously) as ringtones. Quite straightforward as Kanye West album launches go, really. I actually only sought out ‘Yandhi’ because I assumed it would contain intriguing scrappy demos of whatever tracks Kanye was working on for his next record (which at that point had been delayed so many times I assumed this would be the closest we’d get to a Kanye album this year), but it’s shocking to hear quite how complete a lot of songs on here are, and how realised many ideas are. New Body in particular sounds less than a tweak away from being a hit single, Nicki Minaj feature and all. Later, it was shocking how few of the songs and ideas on ‘Yandhi’ made it to ‘Jesus is King’. Like, pretty much none of it. Nicki Minaj? She’s gone. Hey, Kanye, maybe stay focused on one thing for more than three minutes? Might result in better albums? Perhaps I’ll get to debate this further later.

img_0557

Continue reading “Necessary Evil 2019 (72-65)”

Money in the Ranked part 3 (5-1)

OK, we’re definitely finishing this fucker…

Part 1

Part 2

5: Wrestlemania 24

00000001.jpg

How many words have I vomited onto my fingers then indelicately smeared across my keyboard in respect of Money in the Bank matches? Ten thousand? Fifteen? A million?? Probably closer to the latter*. A lot, I think we can agree.

00000001

(*Or should I say, probably closer to the LADDER?!?! Yeah. A good, solid pun. My worry is the word ‘latter’ is probably not in wide enough usage for the fucking killer joke to really hit home. I know, it’s not fair, my burgeoning comic career is being badly hampered by my audience’s lack of vocabulary. Again. It’s like when my 12 night stand at the Comedy Club received scathing reviews (“If AIDs had sex with cancer, and frequently drank moonshine during the pregnancy, the severely mentally disabled child would be Alex Palmer’s stand-up set” – Time Out) because nobody understood my hilarious observation of how the word ‘Brexit’ kind of rhymed with the third person singular active indicative of the Latin word for ‘understand’. Screw you, plebs, my 45 minutes on the topic are killer and I ain’t dumbing it down.)

Continue reading “Money in the Ranked part 3 (5-1)”

Money in the Ranked part 1 (22-11)

All 22 WWE Money in the Bank ladder matches ranked. Listen, I thought the title would work better than it does, just go with it, OK?

0001

The Money in the Bank (from hereon in referred to as ‘MITB’, because I’ve got a lot of writing to do and I am a very, very lazy man) ladder match is the best idea that WWE have had since Steve Austin’s turn to the dark side at the end of Wrestlemania 17 in 2001 signalled the end of the Attitude Era and drew the curtain on the last period which wrestling seemed in any way relevant or widely notable. It’s arguably the only good idea they’ve had in that 18 year period. Save perhaps having The Miz replace Ted DiBiase jnr. as the lead actor in ‘The Marine’ franchise from ‘The Marine 3: Homefront’ onward. Yeah, WWE make movies now. And yeah, they’re all terrible.

000001
There have seriously been 6 of these fuckers

The premise- 5-10 wrestlers battle to use ladders to reach a contract swinging over the top of the ring which allows them a shot at any title they choose at any time they want over the next 12 months- is simple but ingenious, and allows for great storytelling potential and the chance to quickly promote a wrestler into the main event picture. Of course, this potential is more often than not completely squandered, because WWE are generally incompetent and we’re not allowed to have nice things.

Ranking the matches is difficult, because save a handful of amazing bouts and a smaller, Jeremy Beadle sized handful of slightly poorer ones, they’re almost always a similar level of ‘alright, pretty good, I suppose’. However, I am perhaps the greatest blogger of my generation- the ‘Heart Blog Kid’ Blog Michaels, or ‘Stone Blog’ Steve Blogstin, if you will- so I knew I had the ability to do it. I had initially planned to write this list in the build up to the 2018 Money in the Bank pay per view, back when there had been exactly 20 matches, and it would have made so much more sense. Alas, now there are 22 and, to be completely honest, I can’t even promise to finish it in time for 2019’s event exactly two weeks from today. But it’s a cash cow that the WWE are unlikely to put down for a long time yet, so there’s always the chance of a top 24 in 2020. Or perhaps a top 26 in 2021. I mean, I’ve started it now and I’ve already realised it’s going to have to be two parts…

Let’s see how long this takes!!

Continue reading “Money in the Ranked part 1 (22-11)”

28 serpentwithfeet: soil

My mate Paul said he saw a serpent with feet one time. He says he saw it with his bare eyes, about thirteen foot long and around 350kg, dark olive brown with a white underside. I grew more sceptical as he sold me how this serpent with feet would feast on fish, gar and turtles, and was obviously cold-blooded judging by the amount of time this serpent with feet would spend lazing around in the sun. It was when Paul started excitedly pontificating to me of how this serpent with feet had incredibly strong muscles with which to snap shut its jaws, but relatively weak ones to open it, that I couldn’t help but intervene. Paul, I said, this ain’t no ‘serpent with feet’, you cretin, it’s a fucking crocodile. I’m not having you going around claiming to have seen a serpent with feet when all you’ve seen is some dumb crocodile.

000001

Paul dismissed me, saying this serpent with feet had a far wider, U-shaped snout than you’d expect with a crocodile. Also, this serpent with feet definitely inhabited a freshwater marsh, and he was a little offended that I didn’t know crocodiles tended to live in saltwater. Through gritted teeth, I said fine, but I wondered whether he’d considered that this serpent with feet might have been an alligator. He scoffed, asking me where alligator’s usually live. After a quick internet search, I replied North America and parts of China. Then how could I have seen one?? He laughed, I’ve never even been to North America or China!

Continue reading “28 serpentwithfeet: soil”