OK, this was a pretty interesting month. Pope Francis dropped a pop-rock album, Justin Bieber made a massive comeback, and Young Thug put out so much shit that I couldn’t keep up with it all. With that being said, there can be only ten best singles of the month (actually there’s more like twenty but shhhhhhhh), so here are my picks.
10. LOOKING UP – Elton John
When that new Elton shit drops, you know it’s serious. I’m actually surprised that this song didn’t get that much attention, given that A) it’s Elton John, and B) it’s a really fun song. It has a real old-school, almost Elvis-like vibe to it, and it’s got a cute message about staying positive and whatnot. It’s just a really nice song.
9. BOYS LIKE YOU – Who Is Fancy feat. Meghan Trainor and Ariana Grande
Apparently, there was a point where Who Is Fancy was some mystery singer who was building up a lot of momentum around the grand reveal of who Fancy is. I can honestly say that I missed that entirely. But I will say that after hearing this song, I understand what his fans see in him. First of all, it’s nice to see a gay dude in Hollywood who doesn’t represent the archetypal twink. He’s also just a good-ass pop singer. This one is another throwback, because every pop song in 2015 needs to sound like it’s from the ’50s, and it features the impeccable Ariana Grande, along with Meghan Trainor, who doesn’t add much to the song but is more tolerable than usual. Ariana is by far the strongest vocalist of the three, so her appearance at the end of the song adds some welcome escalation to the song.
8. UNTOUCHABLE – Pusha T
It’s been a busy month for Pusha T. After being named the president of Kanye West’s G.O.O.D. Music label, he announced two new albums, one coming in December and the other, highly-anticipated one coming some time after that. He also teased a follow-up to 2012’s Cruel Summer and, on top of all that, put out this new track. On the song, he addresses his new promotion, while also touching on topics like Donald Trump, Narcos, and U2 over a menacing Timbaland beat that samples Biggie’s verse on “Think Big”. Is he truly untouchable? Maybe not, but he’s definitely still got it.
7. IN THE NIGHT – The Weeknd
If there’s anyone this year belonged to in terms of music, it was the Weeknd. Or like, Fetty Wap or Drake. Probably the Weeknd, though. After an impressive run of monster hits, the Weeknd has finally released his best song to date: “In the Night”. The Michael Jackson-esque track is about a girl who’s a… vampire or something? Okay, it’s actually about a girl who experiences sexual abuse as a child. Not exactly conquered territory in pop music, but with this track already climbing the Hot 100 at a lightning pace, I think you’ll be seeing more of it pretty soon.
6. LA – Ty Dolla $ign feat. Kendrick Lamar, Brandy, and James Fauntleroy
I’m not exactly a fanatic for Ty Dolla $ign, mostly because I’m not really sure what to make of him. He’s not a particularly good rapper, or singer, but I’m not really sure which one he’s supposed to be. Anyway, this song makes a convincing case for him as an artist, and with the addition of the mellifluous melodies of Brandy and James Fauntleroy, as well as a killer verse from King Kendrick, this epic track is the best I’ve heard yet from ol’ Ty$.
5. BLACKSTAR – David Bowie
The king of the lizard men is back with a brand new track off his upcoming album, apparently inspired by Kendrick Lamar. And if this epic ten-minute satanic journey is any indication, we’re in for a treat. It’s spooky, but at the same time, it carries a certain sense of hope that very few artists can create better than Bowie. After all these years, no one does it better. This song is pure, uncut Bowie.
4. BLACK FRIDAY – Kendrick Lamar/J. Cole
Even though they’ve been teasing it for years, we never really thought that the J. Cole and Kendrick Lamar collaborative album would really be on its way. Then, by some Black Friday miracle, we got “Black Friday”, a project where Cole and Kendrick each spit three-minute freestyles over each other’s beats (Kendrick does “Tale of Two Citiez”. Cole does “Alright”.). While it doesn’t directly announce the duo record of the decade, Cole ends his verse by making it clear that something is dropping in February, and according to Kendrick’s sister, that February project is the long-waited collabo. Regardless, both artists go hard on each other’s beats, and both of the verses shed light on a number of topics (Yes, Kendrick is voting for Kanye), so I guess we got something out of all this either way. But they’d better drop that album.
3. WTF – Missy Elliott feat. Pharrell Williams
Yes, after a lengthy and agonizing break, her majesty Missy “Misdemeanor” Elliott is back, and as great as ever. In fact, while her ability to make great pop rap hasn’t faded, she’s actually an even better lyricist than she was back in the day. Pharrell’s verse, while not his strongest, certainly works well with the song. After a certain will.i.am ruined pop rap for everyone, it’s nice to see an artist in the genre who’s still interested in being good.
2. WAITING FOR MY MOMENT – Childish Gambino, Jhene Aiko, and Vince Staples
This song made waves a while ago (before it even came out) after it was announced that the Creed soundtrack would feature it, and that it was already submitted to the Academy Awards for Best Original Song. Now that we know what we’re dealing with, I’d say it has a fair chance of winning. While it’s not even in the movie that much, this song is phenomenal. It’s the most inspirational song I’ve heard in a long time, and one of the best. I’ve had Donald Glover fever for quite some time now, but goddamn he sounds so good on this song. Jhene is great, too, and the pair work off of each other really well. Vince Staples, while perhaps the weakest link on the song, still delivers a really solid verse.
Before we get to my #1 pick, here are some honorable mentions:
Do You Wanna Get High? – Weezer
Last Breath – Future
Magnificent – Young Thug
Youth – Troye Sivan
Broad Shoulders – Taylor Bennett feat. Chance the Rapper
Borders – M.I.A.
Officially Yours – T-Pain
Highs and Lows – PRhyme feat. MF DOOM and Phonte
LA Devotee – Panic! at the Disco
Workin – Puff Daddy feat. Big Sean and Travi$ Scott
And my #1 favorite song of the month is…
1. HELLO – Erykah Badu feat. Andre 3000
Andre 3000 is widely regarded as one of the best rappers of all time, and Erykah as one of the best R&B singers, so when they come together, that’s a big deal in and of itself. But Erykah and Andre actually go way back. In fact, they have an 18 year old son together. When Erykah announced her new mixtape, I don’t think anyone expected this appearance from Three Stacks, but it’s really something special. The beat is sunny and welcoming, and Erykah’s sweet vocals and repetition of “hello, hello, hey, hello, hello” add on to that feeling. Andre’s verse is one of the best of the year, as his verses often are. I have zero complaints about this song.
So, those are my favorite songs of the month. I’m working on a lot of end-of-the-year stuff, since the year is, believe it or not, ending, but I’ll try and put out some articles in the interim as well. Until then, like this post if you like it, comment if you think I missed something or if you have something else to say, follow my blog if you like it like it, you can also follow me on Twitter @thememe_supreme, and stay tuned.