(*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:
I’m allowed to still have Kings of Leon, right? You people will still consent to this? This is still OK, yeah? Nobody’s feeling mistreated in any way? I don’t want this to be one of those things where I was almost sure you were OK to me playing with my gross old man testicles while you watched holding back tears.
Remember that Simply Red song Holding Back the Tears? Well that’s what it was about. Mick Hucknall was so ahead of his time. He was trying to teach us, why did we refuse to learn? What’s that? It was actually called Holding Back the Years?? Well, shucks… Ah well, I’ve written it now.
I’ve done well, haven’t I? I’ve, like, mostly irradiated all the bullshit white guy rock that was honestly the entirety of all music I consumed before the age of about 19. I like to think that my end of year lists, while being a no way near exhaustive list of new music, is at least a forward thinking and progressive exercise in highlighting new and exciting progressions in style and presentation and in many different (and often new) genres. What’s your favourite Turmeric Trancotone album of 2021? Gotta be #26, right?
Halsey sits in that awkward position of being an extremely, very, absolutely great artist, but at the same time being weighed down by almost being suffocatingly overrated by some corners. Also, she’s often really annoying.
Now that last (factual) statement may actually be problematic. Would I refer to Halsey’s objective annoyingness if she were a man? Truthfully, if she were a man I’d probably call her a ‘cunt’, but I’m always aware of how vicious it can sound to use such violent language when referring to a woman, so I’m slightly more polite. Is that sexist? To self censor my language and treat women more ‘gentlemanly’? Am I actually doing it because I feel that the curse is hilariously infuriating to a man but actually hatefully offensive when said to a woman? Is that idea sexist?? Should I maybe not be calling anyone a ‘cunt’??
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!!
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‘.
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
Fucking hell, Jay, that haircut though… One hundred and thirty three more after the jump!
Guys, it’s absolutely fine to have a full album revolve around one song. Already on this list, we’ve had fantastic albums by Laurie Anderson and Kronos Collective (which basically centres around the strings kicking in on Nothing Left But Their Names) and Son Lux (so obviously centred around ensuring All Directions‘ impact is maximised) carefully and artfully centre their records around ensuring one particular genius song hits the listener just there.
This isn’t a slight on the albums. Just because a record centres its impact around one particular song it doesn’t mean the rest of the record isn’t utter genius. It doesn’t even have to necessarily be the best song on the record. ‘OK Computer’ is obviously designed to build up the euphoria when that guitar solo hits in Lucky, much like Best Record Of 2009™ ‘Tarot Sport‘ is constructed so that you lose your shit when Olympians kicks in almost exactly at the record’s middle, while Hotel California is obviously centred around Hotel California because it’s the first track and only song off the album that I or anyone else actually knows*, and ‘Bad Intentions’ by Dappy just wouldn’t be one of the most reverred albums of the 21st century were it not for the musical break in Yin Yangwhere Dappy recites the stages in the five step Razgar test and wryly questions what Roland Barthes would have said such constrictions on Appendix FM in the immigration law.
Son Lux are a little ridiculous. No, they’re hugely ridiculous. They’re unashamedly dramatic, oppressively portentous, and sing of ‘priest and priestesses’ and ‘phantom muses’. Every song will go ‘whoooooooooooooooah-ah-whoooooooah’ at least once. They make music that Andrew Lloyd Webber would turn down for the Phantom of the Opera sequel (‘P3: Phantom Resurrects Intolerably’) for being a bit much. They were all probably unbearable at college. Heck, they’re all probably unbearable now.
They’re all these things and more. Plus, if anything, more silly than you’d think. It must be hard for even their biggest fans to hold in a smirk when the singer is brave enough to break out his biggest operatic falsetto at the end of Dream State. They may be the least cool artist on this list.