This is a weekly segment where I look at my top ten favorite new singles of the past month. This one has been yet another eventful one, with the return of some old favorites and a ton of new albums. With the Adult Swim Singles program in full effect and the new season just starting, there’s plenty of new music, but which stands out the most (in my opinion)? Here’s the top ten.
10. REALLY? YEAH! – Kyle
I first heard about Kyle (or Super Duper Kyle, as he’s apparently also known) from his goofy appearance on Donnie Trumpet and the Social Experiment’s Surf album earlier this year. He seemed like a pretty fun dude. It turns out, he’s an up-and-coming California rapper who’s album Smyle dropped just the other day, and who’s got a fun new single called “Really? Yeah!” The title is a pretty accurate portrayal of what the song is: a fun, enthusiastic song with a unique spirit. In a game where personality is key, Kyle delivers in spades. Don’t go into this song expecting a ton of lyrical dexterity: it’s just super fun.
9. THE LAVISHMENTS OF LIGHT LOOKING – WOKE (Flying Lotus, Shabazz Palaces, Thundercat) feat. George Clinton
And now for something completely different, a trippy funk/rap track from supergroup WOKE. While it’s certainly lyrically capable and well-produced, what really sets this song apart is just how weird it is. It’s got soundbites like “Sitting in the corner of a circle”, a surprisingly futuristic sound, and is made up of about 50% spoken-word interludes. Clinton and Thundercat produce a sound very similar to what we’ve already heard on To Pimp a Butterfly already this year, and Shabazz Palaces’ verse is nothing to write home about, but it’s Flying Lotus’ signature sound that really ties it all together.
8. RUNNIN’ (LOSE IT ALL) – Naughty Boy feat. Beyonce and Arrow Benjamin
As cliche as it sounds, this latest track from Beyonce sort of suffers from not having enough Beyonce. She has to split up time with the underwhelming Arrow Benjamin, who as far as I can tell has nothing to offer other than being on that one Beyonce song. It’s not even technically a Beyonce song; producer Naughty Boy gets top billing. It is a really good beat, to be fair. I just wish it had a little less Arrow Benjamin.
7. $AVE DAT MONEY – Lil Dicky feat. Fetty Wap and Rich Homie Quan
Jewish rapper Lil Dicky makes the list once again, this time with a track about saving money. Dicky’s parts are OK, and certainly very funny, but what really sets this song apart is the featured guests. I love it when real big name rappers agree to do comedy rap, even though Rich Homie Quan’s part kind of feels like cheating. The song thrives because it feels so genuine. It uses a generic trap beat courtesy of Money Alwayz, a chorus by Fetty Wap, and occasionally dives into flows that wouldn’t be out of place in a Meek Mill song. If you weren’t paying attention to the lyrics, you’d think it’s a standard brag rap. And that’s why it’s so good.
6. IN FOR THE KILL – Shamir
Shamir is an artist who’s only been on my radar for a couple of months, but he’s got a lot of potential. For example, his latest track “In For the Kill” is one of the best pop songs I’ve heard recently. The beat is so hectic that it takes a half dozen listens to figure out all the elements that make it come together. It’s way too upbeat for a song that seems to be about human sacrifice, but that pretty accurately sums up what Shamir’s all about. It’s just a lot of weird elements coming together in weird ways making weird music that I weirdly love.
5. VICTORIOUS – Panic! at the Disco
This upbeat party track about murder and being bad at sports is the latest single off Panic!’s upcoming album. It’s rare that an album produces three singles before anyone knows anything about it, but based on what we’ve heard so far, it’s shaping up to be a really solid record. This one, like the others, has a funny way of feeling familiar while also being wonderfully unique. I can’t really describe it in a way that does it justice, but suffice to say, it’s a bit too much.
4. ‘TIL IT HAPPENS TO YOU – Lady Gaga
Yes, out of pretty much nowhere (not that I’m complaining), Lady Gaga is back! And this time, she’s cooked up a… super heartfelt song about sexual assault. I really dig this song, and I can’t normally get into sad music. Maybe it’s the beat. Maybe it’s Gaga’s vocals. Maybe it’s the subject matter. But this song hits you really hard. It’s sort of like this year’s “Take Me to Church”, although all things considered it’s probably better.
3. VICE CITY – Black Hippy
I’ve definitely listened to this song more than any other one this month. Not because it’s particularly catchy or resonates with me that much. It’s just that every time I listen to it I feel differently about it. It’s basically a brag rap, although it has these weird sporadic bursts of self-loathing. The slurred flow and sinister beat add to the very warped image of success that the song paints. But on top of that, looking at it as a simple posse cut, it’s still really solid. Black Hippy works off of each other better than any other rap group around today, aside from the occasional Slaughterhouse and such. They all have really funny, intricate verses that make great use of this super unique flow. There’s also this sung part that comes up a couple times that’s like “I’m focused feeling blessed ’cause my eyes be the truth”, and I think it’s sarcastic but I’m not really sure what it means. And there’s so much other shit going on in the video. It’s just really good, okay?
2. BURNITUP – Janet Jackson feat. Missy Elliott
Shit, man. So, Janet Jackson has been putting out new singles for the past couple months, but this one in particular struck me because Missy Elliott is on it holy FUCK. We’ve been hearing about Missy’s upcoming new album ever since her appearance at Katy Perry’s Super Bowl halftime show, but this is a monumental occasion: we’re getting actual, real NEW MUSIC from Missy Elliott. This song is effectively Jackson and Elliott’s proclamation that they’re back and better than ever, and they just may be right. It’s an infectious banger from two legends of the industry. What could be better than this?
Well, before I tell you, here’s some honorable mentions:
“Lively Hood” – DOOMSTARKS (MF Doom and Ghostface Killah)
“The Bloom” – Wale feat. Stokley Williams
“My Own” – Kwabs
“Slow to Me” – Tech N9ne feat. Krizz Kaliko and Rittz
“Can’t Sleep Love” – Pentatonix feat. Tink
Alright, here it is. My favorite song for the month of September:
1. AIN’T THAT FUNKIN’ KINDA HARD (REMIX) – Funkadelic feat. Kendrick Lamar
One of my favorite bands and one of my favorite rappers have teamed up for ten minutes in heaven: “Ain’t That Funkin’ Kinda Hard”. It’s a flawlessly executed masterpiece of funk, asking the ever-important question: ain’t that funkin’ kinda hard? The answer is, of course, yes. But George Clinton and co. manage to pull it off yet again, with the help of current funkmaster general Kendrick Lamar. There’s an abridged 4-minute version for the radio (you know all the top 40 stations are clamoring for that new Funkadelic shit), but the ten minute version is more than worth it.
Well, those are my favorite songs of the month. I’ll be getting back into the swing of movie reviews, since these next few months are pretty loaded, but I’ll also deliver a good amount of music articles, hopefully. Like this post if you like it, comment if you’ve got something to say, follow my blog if you like it like it, you can also follow me on Twitter @BreakingPOORLY, and be on the lookout for my The Martian review dropping tomorrow.