Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Taking On 2012: Top Tracks (Q3 Quarterly Review)

With the winds of autumn blowing in, with them also comes the final portion of the year. And as the end draws closer that means that it's about time to start recapping the year so far. Following up the previous list of top tracks from the beginning of summer, some changes have already occurred as even more exciting albums on the horizon promise other changes in the future. Be sure to click on the track names to listen to all these great songs and check in with the first two Quarterly Reviews of tracks to see the changes.

While there's much to love about the latest album from The Tallest Man On Earth, it is this short burst of lyrical emotion that pours out of every second of this song. One of the most notable changes from my first and second Quarterly Reviews is the refocus back on lyrical accomplishments, and as such there are few songs more deserving of a slot than this one.

In actuality one could probably select any number of songs from Apple's latest album to occupy this slot, I am particularly drawn to the compact qualities of this one. The use of simile is out in full force here, but the songwriting is enhanced by Apple's voice. It's just so mesmerizing.

It kind of wouldn't be a list if Danny Brown didn't at least show up once, and while the pairing with Ab-Soul, the most lyrically complex member of Black Hippie, seems unlikely it is through a bit of stylistic juxtaposition that the two find a harmony. Mixing abstract with concrete, the two make magic.

Though this track has slipped a bit, let that not be a testament to any waning feelings on my behalf. There's still this central shaking beauty, and the gut wrenching video that is attached, which rivals the year's best. The length can be intimidating, but while listening it's easy to forget and just be swept away in a sea of melancholy.

Hearing this on a Taco Bell commercial was a bit jarring, especially considering the central heartache at the song's core. But, damn if that core isn't beautiful. I love the interplay between hope and tragedy, determination and defeat. It's really a wonder that this song captures all that in three short verses, and that it doesn't make it overbearing or trite.

The year's most lasting anthem is kind of the perfect collaboration between two of hip-hop's rising stars. There's kind of not a more life-affirming song. This kind of embrace of living within the moment. A call to hedonistic revelry. What's so bad about that?

Realistically this spot should be shared with a Capital STEEZ song or ought to be occupied by "Survival Tactics" because it lets me talk about how great both Joey Bada$$ and Capital STEEZ are, but when I think about 1999 the song that most sticks out is "World Domination." Paired with an MF DOOM beat and featuring Joey Bada$$ as his most lyrically cutting, this song is a certified BANGER!

Regardless of what one thinks about Centipede Hz (I for one really loved it), this half of the band's earlier 2012 EP is a song that sort of bridges the gap between Merriweather Post Pavilion and the new album. The sounds that bleed out of the speakers are so captivating, the lyrics so seamlessly intergrated with teh tone of the song, that it's near impossible not to be completely absorbed.

Aside from the new entries, this is the only song to rise on the list. And that's with good reason. Beal's lyricism, the song's simplicity, and the emotional rawness of it all have the makings of the year's best song. Really, it probably should be, as it has just about everything that I find creates a great track. He really is one of 2012's greatest discoveries.

However, simply towering over all other competition is the latest team up between Kanye West and labelmate Pusha-T (and Ghostface Killah, depending on which version you're listening to, I suppose. I prefer the original). Other songs are a shot of energy, a jolt to attention, but "New God Flow" is kind of this complete body altering experience that rivals the likes of "Power" and "Runaway" in terms of energy if not scope. When Kanye goes near A Capella, it's amazing. Sure Cruel Summer was a notable letdown rivaling Watch the Throne, but unlike West's previous Jay-Z team up at least this one produced at least one incredible song. And if this doesn't hold the same slot come January it might end up being the best year for hip-hop ever.

On the Bubble

So what do you think? Did I absolutely miss a great song? Am I miraculously 'right' this time? Let me know in comments and check back soon for Top Albums and Top Films so far!


Comments are welcome and, for anyone with a literary mind, I encourage checking out my poetry blog filled with all original works for your reading pleasure.

Also, I am on the old Twitter thing so I guess you can follow me at twitter.com/FLYmeatwad.

And if you want to know what I'm watching, listening to, playing , and reading you can follow my tumblr account!
© 2012 Richard James Thorne

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