Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Taking On 2013: Top Tracks (Q1 Quarterly Review)

Sure it has only been a few months, but we are presently DEEP into the year marked on calendars with the number 2013, which also means that I have been listening to some stuff (not enough though), watching some other things (not enough though), playing some games (more than this time last year, still not enough), and even reading some books (or book, and even that up and down). Still! Time moves like the bare branches on the trees as mother nature refuses to take winter back, and since we are through the first three months that means it's time to begin Quarterly Reviews once more. And, as usual, we start off with the best tracks of 2013. I've linked to Youtube, and I'm continuing to update my longlist of considerations on this Spotify playlist, so subscribe to that to track everything. But that's enough set up, let us get to the damned list!

Undeniably, 2012 was the year that finally brought back the triumphant return of the dollar sign to replace the letter 's' with the rise of A$AP Rocky and Pro Era's Joey Bada$$, but in some cruel joke the two of them never shared the same song. This year quickly remedied that while also collecting a bunch of other great rappers (and YelaWolf) on to a single track. Sure we are removed from 2011's reemergence of the posse track, but I can wait two years between the great ones if it means more songs like "1Train" (or, preferably, "The Last Huzzah").

With "Dropla" Youth Lagoon takes the insular tracks found on The Year Of Hibernation and expands the scope. There's still the presumption of personalization on something like "Dropla", but it spends just as much time mingling with much larger ideas that kind of define his songwriting. The lush instrumentals, notably more prominent throughout Wondrous Bughouse, work well with this more expansive track to build a sense on melodious tragedy. It's an evolution, and as such there are some aspects that need a bit more refinement, but "Dropla" is still a great track that shows even more promise for Youth Lagoon's future.

3. "DEAD ISLAND" - kitty

As the year continues (at this point I find it hard to believe either this or "R.R.E.A.M." won't make the year end list) I hope to learn how to properly spell "DEAD ISLAND" on Blogger, but until that time we can just kind of focus on the song's accomplishment as, you know, a great song. Though brief, kitty packs every line with a ruthless lyricism that isn't only highly quotable, but also is just damned striking. It's not really boastful, it's powerful. Which is pretty fucking exciting.

2. "Heart Attack" - Demi Lovato

The two year album cycle thing kind of hits hard, huh? It was in 2011 when Demi Lovato's Unbroken almost topped my own personal albums list, and if "Heart Attack" is any indication she will continue to make strides as an artist from album to album. Demi's voice has always been strong, but her songwriting is what sets her apart from other artists making the kind of music in her wheelhouse. On all of her albums thus far she's played with the idea of tension and juxtaposition, and that continues with the core idea in "Heart Attack" when she uses this arresting event to play against common romantic notions. It's almost John Donne~esque in its construction, which is a huge compliment for any artist.

1. "Kush Coma" - Danny Brown

The logical extension of Brown's XXX standout (or, you know, one of the many standouts) "Blunt After Blunt" comes the pulsating beat and raw lyrics of "Kush Coma." However, the quick delivery is more in line with "Witit" than the previously mentioned XXX track. It's so easy to go off the rails when rapping so quickly, when jamming so much wordplay in to lines, but the way Danny Brown balances it is a testament to his strength. It's also the reason, in some capacity, that he's always making this list each year.

On The Bubble

"WHOA" - Earl Sweatshirt
"Yay Yay" - ScHoolboy Q
"Burning Desire" - Lana Del Rey
"Retrograde" - James Blake
"Closer" - Tegan and Sara

So what did I miss out on? Let me know in comments and I'll rectify it by the next time we get around to a top tracks Quarterly Review. And keep an eye out in the coming days for the top albums and films of the year 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/r_thor1.

And if you want to know what I'm watching, listening to, playing , and reading you can follow my tumblr account!
© 2013 Richard James Thorne

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