Category Archives: Music

2015: Best Words (#Longform)

People are writing and creating more text than at any other moment in human history. We also have myriad devices that allow us to read that text — tablets, laptops and phones which are causing us to walk to our deaths and ruin our posture — but catching up on all that reading can be daunting. (I recommend an app called Pocket.)

This year was no different. There was lots of great #content to be read, through blogs, newspapers, even Twitter.

There were lots of great pieces on sports, modern relationships, celebrities, politics and music.

Of course you can’t talk about the year in longform journalism without mentioning the demise of one of the great pop culture websites: RIP Grantland. I’ll miss it but on the bright side my daily productivity has increased 57 percent.

 

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“Swipe Right on Monogamy”

Charlotte Shane / Matter

 The problem with “only fucking” isn’t that sex is dangerous or wrong outside the confines of certain social containers like the boyfriend label or an engagement ring. It’s that in 2015 and before, casual sex, as practiced by straight Americans, was routinely bereft of physical pleasure, mutual respect, and interpersonal maturity. Hook ups were supposed to be fun but they… well, weren’t.

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“Inside Jeremy Lin’s life after Linsanity and the New York Knicks”

Pablo Torre / ESPN Magazine

Hard to believe Linsanity was over three years ago.

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“Augusta National is a Fake Southern Wonderland Inspired by Trench Warfare”

Spencer Hall / SB Nation

Hilarious take on a tradition unlike any other.

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“The Third Revelation of Father John Misty”

Sean Fennessey / Grantland

Everyone grows up eventually.

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“Ask Polly: Am I Too Smart for My Own Good?”

Heather Havrilesky / New York Magazine

All of Havrilesky’s “advice” columns are worth reading but this is the best of the bunch.

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“Has Europe Reached the Breaking Point?”

Jim Yardley / New York Times Magazine

Is the European Union experiment doomed?

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“The Late, Great Stephen Colbert”

Joel Lovell / GQ Magazine

Stephen Colbert on the eve of his Late Show takeover.

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“Ann Coulter is a Human Being”

Mitchell Sunderland / Vice Magazine

I AM VAST I CONTAIN MULTITUDES

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“How to Fix a Racist Frat”

Kate Dries / Jezebel

The kids are not alright.

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“What Kind of Person Would Vote for Donald Trump? These People”

Drew Magary / GQ Magazine

An in-depth look at the political base of our next president.

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“The Broad Strokes”

Rachel Syme / Grantland

Who says stoners are lazy?

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“A House Divided”

Ryan Lizza / The New Yorker

Inside the plot against John Beohner and the battle for the conservative soul of the U.S. House of Representatives.

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“The Katrina Disaster That Hasn’t Ended”

Michael Grunwald / Politico

This was the 10-year anniversary of Hurricane Katrina and for the occasion lots of people wrote retrospectives. I didn’t read many of them because I suspected they were overly sentimental or about jazz and New Orlean’s resiliency or George W. Bush, which is fine of course. But this article tackles a problem that played perhaps the largest role in the death and destruction resulting from that terrible storm: the self-serving relationship between Congress and the Army Corps of Engineers.

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“Out of Bethlehem”

Louis Menand / The New Yorker

How the greatest writer of her generation became a radical.

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“The Public Life and Private Doubts of Al Sharpton”

Eli Saslow / The Washington Post

Sharpton in Winter.

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“Against Chill”

Alana Massey / Matter

For well you know that it’s a fool who plays it cool
By making his world a little colder

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“Praise Kaitlyn Bristowe

Jada Yuan / New York Magazine

Let’s talk about sex, baby.

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“How to be a Friend Indeed”

Bruce Feiler / The New York Times

Practical advice on how to be a friend to those in crises.

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“The True Story Behind ‘Zola,’ the Epic Twitter Story Too Crazy to be Real”

Caitlin Dewey / The Washington Post

Background on the greatest story every written 140 characters at a time.

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“Sea of Crises”

Bryan Phillips / Grantland

Sometimes it’s all about the journey, ya know.

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“Da Art of Storytellin’ (A Prequel)”

Kiese Laymon / The Oxford American

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2015: Songs of the Year (25-1)

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Phillips Arena on June 20, 2015 in Atlanta, Georgia.

Here’s the conclusion to the year’s top songs along with a Spotify link to the playlist.

Pt. 1 can be found here.

25. “Jumpman” / Future and Drake

24. Major Lazer and DJ Snake (feat. MØ)

23. “Let it Happen” / Tame Impala

22. “Do It” / Tuxedo

21. “Hotline Bling” / Drake

Goofy, unconscious dancing and instant memability aside, “Hotline” holds its own as more than just another song about Drake holding women to standards the he would never abide himself. It’s a chameleon once again proving he can slip on any style and find gold. Drake is so plugged into the zeitgeist he can take a throw away track from a batch of internet leaks and top the charts. Praise be to the 6 God.

Continue reading 2015: Songs of the Year (25-1)

Best of 2014: Top 50 Singles (#25-1)

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Welcome to the 50 Best Songs of 2014. After listening to every single sound recording released this year, without bias, I have determined the 50 catchiest, provocative and just plain best songs of the year.

Catch up on part 1 here and check out the complete list on Spotify.

25. “Prince Johnny” / St. Vincent

What Instagram filter would you call this song?

24. “Heavy Metal and Reflective” / Azealia Banks

The Ice Princess closes her Twitter app long enough to make a hot song.

23. “Money Baby” / K Camp (feat. Kwony Ca$h)

So disrespectful SMDH.

22. “Lazerray” / TV on the Radio

This is as close to the majesty of Dear Science as you will get.

21. “West Coast” / Lana Del Rey

Not quite “gangsta Nancy Sinatra,” but more like “stoned Bette Midler.”

20. “Move That Dope” / Future (feat. Pharrell WIlliams & Pusha T)

This may finally be the rap song that convinces me to start selling drugs.

19. “Bet” / Tinashe

Slow builder that Tinashe wrecks.

18. “Shake it Off” / Taylor Swift

PUMPKIN SPICE PUMPKIN SPICE PUMPK

17. “Sanctified” / Rick Ross (feat. Kanye West & Big Sean)

(Prayer Hands emoji)

16. “Ain’t it Fun” / Paramore

#NoRegrets.

15. “About the Money” / T.I. (feat. Young Thug)

T.I. hasn’t sounded this interested in making hot music in years.

14. “Seen it All” / Young Jeezy (feat. JAY Z)

According to Jeezy, Jay Z cried while recording this song. I don’t believe it for one second but I want to.

13. “Do You” / Spoon

Dad Rock for dudes without kids.

12. “Drunk in Love” / Beyonce (feat. JAY Z)

Jay Z rhymes “foyer” with “foreplay.” Respek.

11. “Cadillactica” / Big K.R.I.T.

O-U-T-K-A-S-T.

10. “Your Love Will Blow Me Away When My Heart Aches” / Son Little

I got tha blooze.

9. “Turtles All the Way Down” / Sturgill Simpson

All ya need is love. And maybe some LSD.

8. “Seasons (Waiting on You)” / Future Islands

Let this hypnotize you.

7. “Telegraph Ave. (“Oakland by Lloyd”)” / Childish Gambino

Weirdo finally finds perfect combination to the rapper/singer formula.

6. “Water Fountain” / tUnE-yArDs

I wish this song came out when I was four. I would probably be a rock star by now.

5. “Flawless (Remix) [Live in Paris]” / Beyonce (feat. Nicki Minaj)

I still have no idea what happened at this concert after this performance.

4. “0 to 100 – The Catch Up” / Drake

Yep.

3. “Two Weeks” / FKA Twigs

Absolutely filthy.

2. “Who Do You Love” / YG (feat. Drake)

DJ Mustard, YG and Drake ride in on their noble steeds to set The West ablaze.

1. “2 On” / Tinashe (feat. Schoolboy Q)

I once made a list of the best songs from the 2000s. About 60 percent of them were produced by Lil Jon, Timbaland and the Neptunes (a full 100 would include Kanye and Just Blaze). I have no doubt that when I put together a list a decade from now DJ Mustard will be dominating it. No producer owns the pop music zeitgeist like him right now.  He is ruler of all that he surveys. (And somehow he still got snubbed for a Producer of the Year Grammy nod!)

This ode to getting drunk and hashtag turnt is his slickest work yet. Tinashe slinks all across the track. Schoolboy Q comes in with a nasty rap that doesn’t even dirty the track. The perfect party anthem.

Best of 2014: Top 50 Singles (#50-26)

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Welcome to the 50 Best Songs of 2014. After listening to every single sound recording released this year, without bias, I have determined the 50 catchiest, provocative and just plain best songs of the year.

50. “Man of the Year” / Schoolboy Q

Jackie Treehorn treats objects like women.

49. “Doses and Mimosas” / Cherub

I tried to put this song on a playlist for my friend’s birthday. He removed it and said he didn’t want to attract what he calls the “Molly element.”

48. “Easy Rider” / Action Bronson

“I heard ya bitch still wears Ecko.” Well-played, Bronson.

47. “Lost on the Way Home” / Chromeo (feat. Solange)

Not the greatest lyricists but these boys work a groove nearly as hard as their forefathers Hall & Oates and Steely Dan.

46. “Blue Suede” / Vince Staples

As far back as I can remember, I always wanted to be a gangster.

Continue reading Best of 2014: Top 50 Singles (#50-26)