Wednesday, August 16, 2017

We Watched the 2004 VMAs

There was a boring party at our house on Sunday, and we were looking for something to do. So we dug through our big crate of tapes once again. With all the 2017 VMA announcements throughout August, we decided to settle on one that said "2004 VMAs" in big red letters. The tape begins in the middle of a Real World re-run that aired just prior to the red carpet pre-show and continued with the original commercials for the next six hours.

As the show progressed, we recalled when the Geocities version of TMK thoroughly covered this show, originally aired on August 29th of that year. Have our opinions changed over the past 13 years?

#1 The Death Count

The death count was way less devastating than in '95 or '99.

- Adam Yauch presented an award with the Beastie Boys.
- Although Proof didn't say anything, he presented an award with the rest of D12 (minus Eminem) along with Benji and Joel from Good Charlotte.
- Linkin Park unexpectedly won the Viewers' Choice award for "Breaking The Habit." Mike Shinoda and Joe Hahn accepted the award and seemed very surprised, although Chester Bennington was not present.

#2 Highlights

All the highlights were frustratingly fleeting compared to those within the VMA shows we watched last summer.

- None of the musical performances were thoroughly dope. Kanye West came closest, although poor Chaka Khan's cameo sounded like she had zero access to a proper monitor mix and was just rolling with it. Her singing is so gratingly off-pitch that it's actually pretty funny:

- Beastie Boys' last two VMAs appearances were in '98 and '99 when they bravely spoke at length about uncharacteristically un-fun topics. Although the shows had grown joylessly contrived and less spontaneous since '99, B-Boys seemed to be having a fun time. Ad Rock briefly said something to the effect of "There's something we need to let you guys know about," and a lot of people might have thought they were due for another heavy-handed lecture. But instead he said, "We wanna introduce the newest member of the band. Sasquatch, come on out here!" And then a Sasquatch came out and stood behind them while they presented the MTV2 Award to Yellowcard whose acceptance speech was basically upstaged by Sasquatch and the Beasties.

The Sasquatch moment wasn't necessarily spontaneous, but at least it was unexpected to the viewers at home. MTV tried out a few other similar "surprise" moments: Wayne Coyne approached the podium above the crowd in a giant transparent bubble; Matt Lillard literally crowd-surfed to the podium on an actual surfboard. Good effort on MTV's part, but it was a lot more fun during the '90s shows when the biggest surprises were unrehearsed.

#3 Other Notes

- It wasn't a bad VMAs, but it was pretty boring compared to '97 or '99. It sucks that the spontaneity and excitement from only five years earlier had diminished so rapidly. The atmosphere felt comparatively desperate to hold the viewers' attention with A.D.D. tactics - way more exhausting than fun. Camera shots were rarely held for longer than a full second. Every performance consisted of shortened songs, medleys, collaborations and multiple guest appearances. The only exception to this was a 3-minute performance from The Polyphonic Spree (satisfying the show's final oddball/WTF performance in the tradition of Fatboy Slim, The Edge lipsyncing to "Numb," and The Leningrad Cowboys).

- There were many noticeable issues with audio-mix and more live-TV mistakes than in previous shows.

- This might have been the first host-less VMAs. Dave Chappelle turned down their offer but had two brief monologues in the show's 2nd half. More Chappelle presence could have easily saved the entire show.

- We were bugged by the introduction to Alicia Keys' performance. Christina Milian and LL Cool J read from a teleprompter that she was prepped to be this generation's Marvin Gaye (lmao). Equally annoying, Sway loudly announced "You just witnessed history" after the special guest for her set was revealed as Stevie Wonder. Chappelle would have nailed moments like these.

- The emphasis on hiphop and r&b was appreciated and properly reflected the singles charts of that summer. The three rock performances of the night (Jet, Hoobastank and Yellowcard's trifecta of suck) were stuffed into a 7-minute rapid-fire rock block within the show's first 40 minutes. The Darkness or Slipknot would have been much better choices. (Later in the night, Jet won the "Best Rock Video" for "Are You Gonna Be My Girl" and no one cared.)

- It was the first show without Eminem or Britney Spears since 1998 even though "My Band" and "Toxic" were both nominated for "Best Video."

- Marilyn Manson and Mandy Moore were a great match. If they got married and swapped names, they would be Marilyn Moore and Mandy Manson.

- "Pieces Of Me" by Ashlee Simpson is one of the all time greats. Sung without lip sync, the pre-show's version sounded less than desirable. Two months later, her lip sync performance on SNL made headlines. By January, she was getting boo'd during the Orange Bowl. Poor Ashlee just can't get a break.

- Outkast's grand finale performance suffered the most from MTV's ADD-restrictions. It began amazingly with only one verse and one chorus of "Prototype," an '04-nostalgia jam for sure. But after 60 seconds, the groove rudely and awkwardly transitioned to "The Way You Move." Within 45 seconds, Bentley Farnsworth upstaged Big Boi with very intense dance moves during about 60 seconds of "Ghettomusick." Andre then returned seeming un-enthused. During a 5-second pause, he says, "for the millionth time goddamnit, here's 'Hey Ya.' One, two, three, EH."

Surprisingly, the song "Hey Ya!" closed the show in its entirety, but not until after two really annoying things happened:

#1. Sway interrupted the song right around the "What's cooler than being cool? Ice cold" part to speak into the camera and say "Thanks for tuning into the VMAs" or some similar completely unnecessary farewell message that could have been saved until after the song was over. (This reminds us of a similar event 10 months later during MTV's Live 8 simulcast when VJ's were instructed to interrupt Pink Floyd's first reunion performance in over 20 years.)

#2. MTV's Gen Y pandering centered the event around unrelenting Choose Or Lose branding. This wasn't just a few innocent "get out and vote" PSAs. This was self-righhteous and grossly soulless market-tested condescension. By the time Outkast closed the show, it was probably the 19th time Choose Or Lose was getting stuffed down the viewers' throats. Red, white and blue balloons and huge "Choose Or Lose" posters covered the stage. The paid-audience members were handed picket signs covered in vague "vote" messages. And the grossest part of all, dancers were choreographed to dance their way in and out of voting booths that were placed on stage.

We were very bothered by all of this in 2004, and our take has clearly deepened with time.

As for "Hey Ya!" we agree with Andre that it had grown annoyingly inescapable by August 2004. But thirteen years later, it feels weirdly absent from recent pop canonization (despite receiving near-perfect scores when it came time for end-of-decade lists in 2009). Even in the bizarrely irritating VMAs context, "Hey Ya!" feels irresistible, and we totally miss it.

Previous entries from our VMAs Summer Series:
| We Watched The '95 VMAs |
| We Watched The '97 VMAs |
| Oh Shit We Watched The '99 VMAs |

For more 2004: 2000 Jams from the 2000s: Part 5 (2004)

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Human Garbage

Wow, our blog is the worst it's ever been. LOL. We just got done posting the top 5000 songs of all time that came out during a year that feels like it happened about 7 years ago, so everything here is just great. The only other thing we've done here in 2017 is embedding MTVZ, but besides that it's a whole lotta nothin.

so Taste My Kids is fucking dead. Yeah, DEAD.

Well, as long as we're dead and as long as no one is reading, it's probably about time we started getting into some hot takes.

Hot Take #1: Calls us a buncha nutsos if you'd like, but we're starting to think this guy Trump might be a huge jerk. There's something off about him. Not sure what it is exactly, but we're not really into the cut of his jib. Nothing concrete yet, but it's possible the guy is a big jerk or at the very least a nazi apologist or something. The internet hasn't really been providing very much evidence to back this up, and it's tough to find info on this strangely uncovered media story, but we may provide more updates on this as they become available.

Hot Take #2: Go ahead and use the term "alt-left" as much as you want as long as you're ok with everyone knowing that you are a nazi apologist.

Hot Take #3: Jerkass doucheface fuckhead needs a zingier handle. As a nickname, "45" feels too forced. Why not choose a nickname with some sexy zing to it like "President Human Garbage?"

Hot Take #4: Eeeewwww poor people. So gross, right? Like I can't even. When I see them, I'm just like, "I can't even right now." I dunno, like, why don't they just ask their dad for a job or something? Or I don't know, just like go to Starbucks and fill out an application. I mean, it's not that hard. Or maybe try like Quicken Loans or Cheesecake Factory. Just like, I dunno, just get a life, right? lmao

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Lit As Fuck 2016 (The Big List)

| Follow "LIT AF 2016" on Spotify |

| #200 - 166 | | #165 - 131 | | #130 - 101 | | #100 -71 | | #70 - 41 | | #40 - 21 | | #20 - 1 |

| All 200 Songs |

200. Votaries "Trick Tomorrow"
199. Bear Hands "2AM"
198. Rihanna "Desperado"
197. No Age "Separation"
196. The Dean Ween Group "Mercedes Benz"
195. Satin Jackets featuring Scavenger Hunt "Feel Good"
194. Ariana Grande "Dangerous Woman"
193. The Spirit Of The Beehive "Natural Devotion"
192. Cavern of Anti-Matter featuring Bradford Cox "Liquid Gate"
191. Kvelertak "Nattesferd"
190. ScHoolboy Q featuring SZA "Neva Change"
189. Czarface "Two in the Chest"
188. Dinosaur Jr. "Goin' Down"
187. Tony Molina "No One Told He"
186. Consequence featuring Ty Dolla $ign "Ask Somebody"
185. Ben Grigg "Complications"
184. Mannequin Pussy "Denial"
183. Carl Sagan's Skate Shoes "(1)"
182. Left & Right "Mouse Drum"
181. Nick Jonas featuring Ty Dolla $ign "Bacon"
180. Kevin Morby "I Have Been to the Mountain"
179. YG "Police Get Away Wit Murder" / YG featuring Nipsey Hussle "FDT"
178. Total Slacker "Turn on the Lights"
177. Homeboy Sandman "Talking (Bleep)"
176. Dark Mtns "Wake to Dream"
175. No Age "Serf to Serf"
174. ScHoolboy Q featuring Miguel & Justine Skye "Overtime"
173. Weaves "Birds & Bees"
172. Horse Jumper of Love "Spaceman"
171. Omegas "Drug Zoo"
170. 2 Chainz "Felt Like Cappin'"
169. Underworld "If Rah"
168. Dowager "Sleep Paralysis"
167. Gucci Mane "At Least a M"
166. Pusha T featuring Jay-Z "Drug Dealers Anonymous"

165. Weezer "L.A. Girlz"
164. Flat Swamp "Don't Count On Me"
163. Two Inch Astronaut "Personal Life"
162. A Giant Dog "Sex & Drugs"
161. Solange "Junie"
160. Gary Young "Spit"
159. Frank Ocean "Ivy"
158. A Tribe Called Quest "Black Spasmodic"
157. Swim Team "I’m Fine"
156. Jackal Onasis "The New Ron"
155. Halfsour "Fake Sandwich"
154. Kamaiyah "Mo Money Mo Problems"
153. Lumpy & The Dumpers "I'm Gonna Move to New York"
152. Gucci Mane "Waybach"
151. Joey Purp "Photobooth"
150. N.O.R.E. "Queens"
149. PJ Harvey "The Wheel"
148. Frank Ocean "Pink + White"
147. Angel Olsen "Sister"
146. Nocturnal Habits "Echophilia"
145. Wrong "Mucilage"
144. Foodman "Otonarabi"
143. Horse Lords "Truthers"
142. Röyksopp featuring Susanne Sundfør "Never Ever"
141. Field Mouse "Out Of Context"
140. Chavez "The Bully Boys"
139. Kitty "Asari Love Song"
138. Jute Gyte "Palimpsest"
137. Kyle Forester "Won't Go Crazy"
136. Vince Staples "Prima Donna"
135. ScHoolboy Q "Black THougHts"
134. The Lemon Twigs "These Words"
133. KING "The Greatest"
132. Ruby Haunt "Honey"
131. Oranssi Pazuzu "Vasemman käden hierarkia"

130. David Bowie "Girl Loves Me"
129. Charly Bliss "Turd" / Charly Bliss "Ruby"
128. Melkbelly "Elk Mountain"
127. Wormed "Computronium Pulsar Nanarchy"
126. DJ Luke Nasty "OTW"
125. Witch Hair "Somewhere High"
124. Cloakroom "Big World"
123. Aphex Twin "CHEETAHT2 [Ld spectrum]"
122. BJ The Chicago Kid "Turnin' Me Up"
121. Stove "Graduate and Congratulate"
120. Future Biff "Redline"
119. Good Willsmith "A Disease You’ve Probably Never Heard Of Is Killing Kids"
118. Palberta "Ode to Honey"
117. Total Slacker "Olympus Hills"
116. Wolf Parade "Floating World"
115. Weaves "Sentence"
114. Lea "The Lorax"
113. CupcakKe "Jesus"
112. Rihanna "Woo" / Rihanna "Pose"
111. Vince Staples "War Ready"
110. Quttinirpaaq "Dead Birds"
109. The Avalanches "Colours"
108. Exploded View "No More Parties in the Attic"
107. Two Inch Astronaut "At Risk Student"
106. Soft Fangs "The Air"
105. Lil Yachty "Shoot Out the Roof"
104. Stove "Mrs. Robertson"
103. 75 Dollar Bill "Beni Said"
102. Flasher "Destroy"
101. Autolux "Brainwasher"

100. Mitski "Once More to See You"
99. Nails "You Will Never Be One Of Us"
98. Weaves "Shithole"
97. Chance The Rapper featuring Knox Fortune "All Night"
96. Bruno Mars "24k Magic"
95. Skateboard "Cowboy"
94. YG featuring Kamaiyah & Drake "Why You Always Hatin'"
93. Pinback "Thought Experiment"
92. Peaer "I.H.S.Y.A."
91. Rihanna "Close To You"
90. Uncle Acid & The Deadbeats "Remember Tomorrow"
89. Margaret Glaspy "Emotions and Math"
88. Wilco "If I Ever Was a Child"
87. Chance The Rapper featuring 2 Chainz & Lil Wayne "No Problem"
86. Brujeria "Viva Presidente Trump!"
85. YG "Who Shot Me?"
84. Jake Tobin "Around"
83. Stove "Tiny Gaze"
82. Potty Mouth "Smash Hit"
81. Weezer "King of the World"
80. Deerhoof "Model Behavior"
79. Gucci Mane "1st Day Out Tha Feds"
78. DNCE "Cake By the Ocean"
77. A Tribe Called Quest "Solid Wall of Sound"
76. Surface to Air Missive "Please No More"
75. Nocturnal Habits "Good Grief"
74. Lil B "I Was Born Poor"
73. Radiohead "Burn the Witch"
72. Wormed "Eukaryotic Hex Swarm"
71. Tweet featuring Missy Elliott "Somebody Else Will"

70. Swim Team "Dirty Work"
69. Noname "Yesterday"
68. Kanye West "Fade"
67. Radiohead "Identikit"
66. Big Ups "Meet Where We Are"
65. Surface to Air Missive "Time Being"
64. Kvelertak "1985"
63. Young Thug "Wyclef Jean"
62. YG "Still Brazy"
61. Weaves "Two Oceans"
60. Palm "Shadow Expert"
59. ScHoolboy Q featuring Jadakiss "Groovy Tony / Eddie Kane"
58. Ariana Grande "Into You"
57. Miguel "Cadillac"
56. Exploded View "Lost Illusion"
55. Goblin Cock "Your Watch"
54. Sumerlands "Haunted Forever"
53. Ty Dolla $ign "Stealing"
52. PJ Harvey "Guilty"
51. Rihanna "Love on the Brain"
50. Death’s Dynamic Shroud.wmv "Do U Like Me?"
49. Eric Copeland "Honorable Mentions"
48. Animal Collective "FloriDada"
47. Grandaddy "Way We Won’t"
46. A Tribe Called Quest "Kids..."
45. The Shins "Dead Alive"
44. Surface To Air Missive "Morning Thought"
43. Kanye West "Ultralight Beam"
42. Rihanna "Sex With Me"
41. Beak> "Timeshare"

40. Kamaiyah "How Does It Feel"
39. Domo Genesis featuring Anderson .Paak "Dapper"
38. Migos featuring Lil Uzi Vert "Bad and Boujee"
37. Carly Rae Jepsen "Higher"
36. Sad13 "Devil In U"
35. D.R.A.M. featuring Lil Yachty "Broccoli" / Young Thug featuring Travis Scott "Pick Up the Phone" / Fat Joe featuring Remy Ma & French Montana "All the Way Up"
34. Two Inch Astronaut "Andy's Progress Report"
33. Ty Dolla $ign "Zaddy" / Jeremih "oui"
32. Joey Purp featuring Chance The Rapper "Girls @"
31. Kanye West "Famous" / Kanye West "Feedback"
30. YG "Gimmie Got Shot"
29. Deerhoof "Learning to Apologize Effectively"
28. Margaret Glaspy "You and I"
27. A Tribe Called Quest "Whateva Will Be"
26. Rihanna "Yeah I Said It"
25. Kanye West "30 Hours"
24. Chris Weisman "The Paradox Of Thrift"
23. Autolux "Change My Head"
22. David Bowie "Killing a Little Time"
21. Miguel "Come Through and Chill"

20. Desiigner "Panda"
19. Angel Olsen "Shut Up Kiss Me"
18. Rihanna "Same Ol' Mistakes"
17. Big Thief "Masterpiece"
16. Tweet "I Was Created for This"
15. Rihanna featuring SZA "Consideration" / Rihanna "James Joint"
14. Animal Collective "Golden Gal"
13. A Tribe Called Quest "We The People"
12. Rihanna featuring Drake "Work"
11. David Bowie "Lazarus"
10. Good Morning "Cab Deg"
9. Solange "Cranes in the Sky"
8. Surface to Air Missive "Full Love Wonder"
7. Rihanna "Kiss It Better"
6. CCR Headcleaner "Tear Down The Wall"
5. Strange Relations "Ceremonies"
4. A Tribe Called Quest "Conrad Tokyo"
3. Rae Sremmurd featuring Gucci Mane "Black Beatles" / Nicki Minaj "Black Barbies"
2. Kanye West featuring Kendrick Lamar "No More Parties In L.A."
1. Rihanna "Needed Me"

--Lit As Fuck Mix 2016 By The Numbers--

Artists with the most appearances (ties broken by album placements)
1. Rihanna (14 jams)
2. A Tribe Called Quest (6 jams)
3. YG (6 jams)
4. Kanye West (6 jams)
5. Ty Dolla $ign (6 jams)
6. Stove Hartlett (5 jams)
7. Alex Molini (5 jams)
8. Weaves (4 jams)
9. Surface To Air Missive (4 jams)
10. ScHoolboy Q (4 jams)
11. Gucci Mane (4 jams)
12. Jordyn Blakely (4 jams)
13. Chance The Rapper (4 jams)
14. Andre 3000 (4 jams)
15. David Bowie (3 jams)
16. Two Inch Astronaut (3 jams)
17. Boner (3 jams)
18. Miguel (3 jams)
19. Kamaiyah (3 jams)

The 3 songs from Anti (Deluxe) that did not make the Lit:
"Never Ending," "Higher" & "Goodnight Gotham"

Highest ranking songs that did not appear on "Best Albums of 2016"
1. Strange Relations "Ceremonies"
2. Angel Olsen "Shut Up Kiss Me"
3. Desiigner "Panda"
4. Miguel "Come Through and Chill"
5. Jeremih "oui"

Highest ranking albums with no songs in Lit Mix
1. Various Artists Sky Girl: Compiled by Julien Dechery and DJ Sundae
2. CupcakKe Cum Cake ("Jesus" from Audacious was #113)
3. Kyle Dixon & Michael Stein Stranger Things, Vol. 1
4. Sun Organ People In The Distance In The Dark
5. Brujeria Pocho Aztlan (non-album track "Viva Presidente Trump!" was #86)

Top 10 by Genre without repeating artists

1. Rihanna "Needed Me"
2. Solange "Cranes in the Sky"
3. Tweet "I Was Created for This"
4. Miguel "Come Through and Chill"
5. Ty Dolla $ign "Zaddy"
6. BJ The Chicago Kid "Turnin' Me Up"
7. DJ Luke Nasty "OTW"
8. KING "The Greatest"
9. Frank Ocean "Pink + White"
10. Kamaiyah "Mo Money Mo Problems"

1. Kanye West featuring Kendrick Lamar "No More Parties In L.A."
2. Rae Sremmurd featuring Gucci Mane "Black Beatles"
3. A Tribe Called Quest "Conrad Tokyo"
4. Desiigner "Panda"
5. YG "Gimmie Got Shot"
6. Joey Purp featuring Chance The Rapper "Girls @"
7. D.R.A.M. featuring Lil Yachty "Broccoli"
8. Migos featuring Lil Uzi Vert "Bad and Boujee"
9. Domo Genesis featuring Anderson .Paak "Dapper"
10. ScHoolboy Q featuring Jadakiss "Groovy Tony / Eddie Kane"

1. Rihanna "Kiss It Better"
2. Carly Rae Jepsen "Higher"
3. Kamaiyah "How Does It Feel"
4. Ariana Grande "Into You"
5. DNCE "Cake By the Ocean"
6. Bruno Mars "24k Magic"
7. Kitty "Asari Love Song"
8. Röyksopp featuring Susanne Sundfør "Never Ever"
9. Nick Jonas featuring Ty Dolla $ign "Bacon"
10. Satin Jackets featuring Scavenger Hunt "Feel Good"

Heavy Rock / Metal
1. CCR Headcleaner "Tear Down The Wall"
2. Sumerlands "Haunted Forever"
3. Goblin Cock "Your Watch"
4. Kvelertak "1985"
5. Wormed "Eukaryotic Hex Swarm"
6. Brujeria "Viva Presidente Trump!"
7. Uncle Acid & The Deadbeats "Remember Tomorrow"
8. Nails "You Will Never Be One Of Us"
9. Cloakroom "Big World"
10. Wrong "Mucilage"

Light Rock / Indie
1. Strange Relations "Ceremonies"
2. Surface to Air Missive "Full Love Wonder"
3. Good Morning "Cab Deg"
4. Animal Collective "Golden Gal"
5. Big Thief "Masterpiece"
6. Rihanna "Same Ol' Mistakes"
7. Angel Olsen "Shut Up Kiss Me"
8. Autolux "Change My Head"
9. Chris Weisman "The Paradox Of Thrift"
10. Margaret Glaspy "You and I"

Avant / Experimental
1. David Bowie "Lazarus"
2. Beak> "Timeshare"
3. Eric Copeland "Honorable Mentions"
4. Death’s Dynamic Shroud.wmv "Do U Like Me?"
5. Exploded View "Lost Illusion"
6. Palm "Shadow Expert"
7. 75 Dollar Bill "Beni Said"
8. Palberta "Ode to Honey"
9. Good Willsmith "A Disease You’ve Probably Never Heard Of Is Killing Kids"
10. Oranssi Pazuzu "Vasemman käden hierarkia"

Glory Days
1. A Tribe Called Quest "We The People"
2. Tweet "I Was Created for This"
3. Grandaddy "Way We Won’t"
4. PJ Harvey "Guilty"
5. Radiohead "Identikit"
6. Nocturnal Habits "Good Grief"
7. Weezer "King of the World"
8. Wilco "If I Ever Was a Child"
9. The Avalanches "Colours"
10. Aphex Twin "CHEETAHT2 [Ld spectrum]"

| Follow "LIT AF 2016" on Spotify |

| #200 - 166 | | #165 - 131 | | #130 - 101 | | #100 -71 | | #70 - 41 | | #40 - 21 | | #20 - 1 |

| All 200 Songs |

Friday, August 11, 2017

LIT AF 2016: #20 - 1

We are sad that this took so long to finish.

| Follow "LIT AF 2016" on Spotify |

| #200 - 166 | | #165 - 131 | | #130 - 101 | | #100 -71 | | #70 - 41 | | #40 - 21 | | #20 - 1 |

| All 200 Songs |

20. Desiigner "Panda"

Thiis duude ruules. Wee reegreet miissiing hiis Tooaad's Plaace shoow. The significance of the Panda may refer to animal t-shirts. Desiigner might be more stoked on his blessed life and success than any other one-hit-wonder artist of this decade so far. Desiigner is for the children. In a world full of fake goofs, his realness and positivity feel so crucial right now. P.S. We felt compelled to tie this with Kanye's "Pt. 2" - the preview for "Panda"'s eventual rap radio domination - but Kanye is already in this list enough, and it was essentially an album interlude.

19. Angel Olsen "Shut Up Kiss Me"
Angel: We'll never have your voice or your songs or your melodies the way you sing them. We'll never have your heart or your soul, but you have our skates. We know you took our skates, and we're coming for you. Everything we loved about this song is also in its video which we already wrote about. Also stress bangs.

18. Rihanna "Same Ol' Mistakes"
The last dope track Tame Impala ever recorded on their own was their "Stranger In Moscow" cover from 2014. While the fan base generally approved on their 2015 album, we felt something missing. Perhaps that something was remedied the following January. Perhaps that something was Rihanna, unleashing arguably her most polarizing musical moment. "It's literally a karaoke song," spoke the Twitter haters less than six hours after Anti first dropped on Tidal. 18 months later, it's the one Rihanna album track that we've heard most frequently at parties, blaring from cars or at the neighbors' backyard BBQs. Album-track longevity ftw.

This definitive version is also among the album's most crucial decisions. Within the album sequence (appearing after "Yeah I Said It"), it's the moment when the planets align. It's when Anti eclipses itself and swallows the sum of its parts. Two minutes longer than the second-longest track, it sugar-coats Anti's own legacy with a protective sealant. Rihanna achieves this with her patented, often-imitated, never-duplicated gaze of DGAF. She is the undefeated heavyweight world champion of not giving one single fuck. She's aware of the critique, and it shouldn't surprise anyone if she responds by including two more 7-minute Tame Impala covers on her next record just to prove how little she cares about what anyone thinks. Preparing ourselves for 2018: Rihanna joins the band Tame Impala as their permanent lead singer.

17. Big Thief "Masterpiece"
Little known fact: All of the '60s country kids secretly wanted to start indie-rock bands, even though indie-rock had not been invented yet. The Flying Burrito Brothers were like "gee whiz, I wish indie-rock existed." Same thing with The Byrds, except they would have said "shit god damn" instead of "gee whiz." And when Dolly Parton, Crystal Gayle and Linda Rondstadt formed the band Trio, their unreleased bizarro split-paradox LP probably would have contained a couple jams that resembled Lucinda Williams' "Car Wheels On The Gravel Road" and a handful of bangers that weren't too far off from "Masterpiece" and its sister-jams on the Big Thief album of the same name. The Thief's wise-crack antics and their weirdly dank snare drum tone won us over super hard. [We're not sure why, but our notes for this blurb included the URL for the Bernie Sanders image displayed here, perhaps suggesting that Bernie's 1987 debut album was a true masterpiece.]

16. Tweet “I Was Created for This”
Tweet's first album in 14 years was sadly swept under rugs and failed to generate any hits as big as "Oops (Oh My)." "Somebody Else Will" (our #71) could have easily fit on WBLS's playlists, but the album was basically intended for diehard fans of Tweet and Missy Elliott who were equally psyched about their reunion. Among the year's best ASMR jams, "I Was Created For This" generates a weirdly dreamy and meditative aura. We use the word "weirdly" as a synonym for "unexpectedly" because of its inventively bizarre yet seamlessly unawkward time signature alternating between 10/8 and 12/8.

15. Rihanna f/ SZA “Consideration” / “James Joint”
A little while back, "Consideration" placed at #425 on our 500 Hottest Jams Ever thing, while "James Joint" also placed at #191. The songs had only been around for 3 months, but it felt like there was no way in hell we would ever not adore either of these. For Lit Mix, we got stuck tying them up here for a couple reasons:

#1 Contrary to popular belief, "James Joint" is technically not a 2016 song. It was first released on 4/20 of 2015 via Rihanna's soundcloud account as an album preview around the same time as "Bitch Better Have My Money," "American Oxygen" and "FourFiveSeconds." Possibly due to its "interlude" designation, "James Joint" was way less of a 2015 event than the other three songs. Despite this, it's the only one of these four that wound up on Anti.

#2 Album reviews rarely place emphasis on "memorable album segues" or "flawless sequencing." We considered blaming "kids these days" in the age of playlisting, although these are among the aspects of a truly classic album that only become more obvious upon the 20th or 30th listen - not necessarily obvious to those who need to turn in a full album critique in under 48 hours. Anti is full of song transitions that we're incapable of describing as anything short of "beautiful" or "breathtaking" or any other super-heavy terms to describe an exceptional work of art. "Consideration" into "James Joint" is the very first of these - a cold, abrupt outro into a Fender Rhodes jazz-chord separated by a full 1-second silence. The outro of "Consideration" starts to feel too heavy too quickly again. So instead of treading into the same old shit, she opens her purse (which only contains pre-rolled joints and a Zippo) and lights up in the studio.

"Consideration" seems universally beloved within our extended friend-circle, and it's weird that it wasn't pitched to radio. Rihanna and SZA's voices seem oddly interchangeable and unified. It's almost tough to tell who's who. As a grand entrance, it gets most legit right around "Oh darling, would you mind giving my reflection a break from the face it's seeing now?" She can still sing "Pon de Replay" but it must be strange thinking back to all she's seen and done since then.

"How you livin' love/like/fuck rules." They could have made it less obvious that "James Joint" was a Stevie Wonder homage, but why hide it? Cue the harmonica solo.

14. Animal Collective "Golden Gal"

13. A Tribe Called Quest “We The People”

12. Rihanna f/ Drake "Work"
There have been many unfortunate instances in the past decade where a guest verse actually did spoil what could have been an otherwise perfect pop song. The most egregious to us is probably Schoolboy Q's verse in "2 On."

"Work" is not one of these instances. It's kind of annoying how many online haters immediately shit on Drake's verse upon first listen and refused to budge on their opinion even after an entire year of ubiquity allowed the song's nuances to settle. "Work, work, work, work, work" over and over. Again and again. And it never once felt grating, even after Funkmaster Flex spun it for the 100th time in a row. Drake is obviously a flawed and often annoying celebrity presence, but none of this makes "Work" any less compelling. And we feel so strongly about this take that we're gonna break down his verse in an effort to prove its lack of suckiness:

- "Long distance / I need you / When I see potential / I just gotta see it through." Super unoffensive. So far, he's done a good job with sticking with the "work" theme. Nothing shitty found here. Nothing amazing either, but we're not trying to prove that it's amazing - just that it doesn't suck.

- "If you had a twin / I would still choose you." This is the most widely polarizing lyric of Drake's verse. The lyric is probably addressing Rihanna and suggests that his attraction to her goes beyond skin-deep superficiality, although this also suggests that he's previously faced a situation where he considered (or possibly chose) to bone someone's identical twin due to having no genuine attraction to her heart or her brain. And if faced with similar circumstances, he would rather work through it with Rihanna since her heart and brain are just as alluring to him as dat ass.

- "Sorry if I'm way less friendly / I got ****** tryna end me." Drake is paranoid for no discernible reason, perhaps as a brief glance down the same alley from Geto Boys' "My Mind's Playing Tricks On Me."

- "Rollin' rollin' rollin' rollin' rollin' / How many more shots until you're rollin'?" Obvious Limp Bizkit reference.

So there you have it. In our estimation, Drake does not taint any of the song's dopeness, and anyone still suggesting otherwise needs to chill the fuck out. We're assuming he wrote the vocal melody that he sings, and it's a refreshing aside from Rihanna's playfulness. "You took my heart and my keys and my patience." She had such a fun time during this vocal session that she continues singing "Work, work, work, work, work" during the fade out. It's an imperfect song, but working through the imperfections is what makes shit WORK. IT FUCKING FITS. [Note: "Work" placed at #441 on our 500 Hottest Jams of All Time back in April 2016. It's one of the GOATs.]

11. David Bowie “Lazarus”
We can only think of a few other complete records by artists who knew it would very likely become their last. Warren Zevon's 2003 album comes to mind; Queen's Innuendo arguably fits, although it's debatable whether Freddie Mercury knew he would pass away only months later. However, Blackstar is an anomaly. Bowie seized his responsibility with grace, acceptance and dopeness, appropriately closing his reign as The Greatest Rock Star Of All Time. Aside from Prince, it's tough to narrow down another pop culture icon whose 2010s passing had more global impact and even tougher to find another whose final chapter felt so complete. It would understate Blackstar to merely suggest that he made the most of unfortunate circumstances. The film closes with our hero sacrificing himself for the greater good, rescuing the world from certain doom while also causing a minor explosion that adds his head to Mount Rushmore.

10. Good Morning “Cab Deg”
Despite our resistance, we're very much down with the mid-2010s lofi-analog druggy-love-song subgenre that seems to have taken off ever since the success of Mac Demarco 2. Surprisingly, we're relieved that music blogs have yet to brand this style with a single word or phrase. Rubber Soul-core fits well enough since we know no one else would ever actually speak that phrase in public. (Many of these bands have since received fan videos on Alejandro Tafurth's Youtube channel.) Good Morning's "Warned You" from 2014 slipped far under our radar at the time, but now deserves serious canonization. "Cab Deg" was as good of a sequel as anyone could have anticipated. Innocent 4-chord weed-induced childhood-indie-pop.

9. Solange “Cranes in the Sky”
Free and floating above it all. "Away, away, away..." We're unsure if any bloggers have yet to point this out, but "Cranes in the Sky" sounds exactly like its song title. We haven't heard any other modern R&B vocalists nail the Minnie Ripperton impression as well as Solange in the outro. But even after such a triumphant record, it's unfortunate that Solange still might forever receive comparisons to her sister and their contemporaries. Lemonade is good, but it's an album that relied on Youtube, Twitter, Instagram, brand, hype, memes, and an army of stans in the year 2016 in order to become an instant phenomenon, whereas none of this context was applied to Solange's art and thus it felt far more genuine, timeless and universal.

8. Surface to Air Missive “Full Love Wonder”
"Sorry guys. I know we had a big recording session scheduled for today, but I seem to have misplaced all of the other drums besides the hi-hat and hi-hat stand." "Hey, no worries man. Set it up. We're going live in 10." "Hey, I have an idea. I'll just go fucking crazy on the hi-hat." "That's the spirit." "Yeah, and then maybe I could close out the song with a dope 16th-note picked bass solo during the fade-out." "Holy fucking shit dude. That sounds like heaven." [Note: The members of Surface To Air Missive don't actually talk like this, and their records are basically only recorded by one dude. Sorry, we couldn't think of anything good.]

7. Rihanna “Kiss It Better”
"Man, fuck your pride." Human perception. Why is Anti the most beautiful record of the 2010s? "Kiss It Better" may include the answer. Any pleasure or satisfaction derived at any point throughout Anti has a direct link to this song. Throughout most of the reviews and promo campaign, we heard very little praise for Rihanna's vocal perfomances - confidently exuding pure soul and wisdom more now than ever before. Any bratty Mouseketeer can fuck around with vocal gymnastics until they're blue in the face. But Rihanna's strengths have been learned through experience and are so second nature that she barely needs to try.

6. CCR Headcleaner “Tear Down The Wall”
Without getting too politically overt, "Tear Down The Wall" as a song title and as a repeated shouted phrase has a different ring to it now than when the song first debuted. Even if the border wall never gets built (which it won't), the suggestion of its feasible reality is what the wall could metaphorically represent. But the title phrase's 2nd un-shouted, psychotic-sounding utterance is what really pushes this over the top. Drunken absurdity destroys reality. Prepare for the public crucifixion. About 20 years ago, Marilyn Manson premiered a video for "Man That You Fear" where Manson prepares for a public stoning not unlike in Shirley Jackson's "The Lottery." The last 2 minutes of both songs have brutally ugly noise outros - the actual tearing-down part. "The Wall" could also be a metaphor for everything that is blocking us from making any progress. If extremes are what it takes to get people to listen, then tear it down already.

5. Strange Relations “Ceremonies”
Heaven throws a rave. Jesus pumps up the volume and headbangs in slow motion. Teenagers make out far in the distance. The video for "Ceremonies" might be projected onto a huge brick building somewhere. The antisocial home-demo vibe feels incredibly summery, despite that the video was reported shot in the Winter (in Buenos Aries). Capturing the song's essence, the video displays blurriness, disconnection, the confluence of laziness and restlessness, and lots of daydreaming out of windows (after dark). There's a lot more public transport than in the "1979" video (when a handful of 17-year-olds were piled into 1 tiny car to alleviate adolescent boredom), and the Casiotone drums (a curiously absent element of 2010s indie rock) echo Smashing Pumpkins' "right of passage" textures just the same. Despite all of this, it's tough to pinpoint how a song with '80s Casiotone drums feels so distinctly of its time. But it's not a throwback at all. Strange Relations have constructed an area of extreme softness. Perhaps the rave includes an area designated for "ballet only."

4. A Tribe Called Quest “Conrad Tokyo”
A huge part of the magic that made We Got It From Here so special derives from its ability to rest within the same atmosphere of ATCQ's earlier discography while effortlessly reflecting the present day, current events, modern hiphop trends. Among the record's best examples is "Conrad Tokyo." The melancholy A- and bittersweet B-sections go back-and-forth under Phife's Dawg's calm yet urgent demeanor. He discusses the broadening economic divide and sounds well-matched alongside Kendrick Lamar. But the beat sounds like it should be Phife's final send-off. He has so much more to say and simply isn't ready to go, but the beat suggests otherwise: "Sorry, time's up. We gotta head out." This record was such a huge gift to the world, and it's a miracle that Tribe & co. were able to pull it all together one last time.

3. Rae Sremmurd f/ Gucci Mane “Black Beatles” / Nicki Minaj “Black Barbies”
We think Sremmurd might represent the quintessential modern rap group that really bothers old man Chuck D. "Respect the legacy," he'd say, while unable to get why Soulja Boy, Chief Keef or Rae Sremmurd could win over hiphop critics, despite that Kanye rep'd for all three very loudly. Nicki Minaj clearly loves them: She's on the "No Flex Zone" remix, helped out with "Throw Some Mo," and made her own version of "Black Beatles" her most memorable jam since "Truffle Butter." We incorrectly predicted Rae Sremmurd's one-hit-wonder status, then upgraded to two-hit-wonder, then one-album-wonder. Did the Mannequin Challenge save their career? It definitely didn't hurt its slow ascent from debuting at #90 all the way to eventually becoming their first #1 hit song. But also if the song was wack, no one would have cared nearly as much. Mike Will's beat might be the best and catchiest he's ever laid to tape. The kids on the playground sung along to that chorus for hours. Technically, it might not even be Hiphop, but it's proof that charting pop is alive and well.

2. Kanye West f/ Kendrick Lamar "No More Parties In LA"
Swish was a better album title. We're (probably) completely off-base, but fuck it: "No More Parties In LA" is about "Art vs. Status." Kanye isn't THAT crazy. He's begging Kim Kardashian to stop forcing him to associate with snobby, aristocrat-types who make him sick. There's no point in suggesting that Kim nor Kanye agreed to tie the knot at least partially to help solidify their brand. That much should be obvious. But Kim's motive was entirely status driven, while Kanye's incomprehensible complexities have convinced him that his marriage contributes to his struggle as a living, breathing artistic statement of a person. There's a lot going on within these six minutes - probably not too far off from his thoughts when being dragged to some shitty gala. Kanye's brain moves so quickly in so many different directions that it's often tough to keep up, whereas Kim's brain stays dormant and mostly concerns Instagram ("the best way to promote some pussy").

Kendrick is as sharp as he's ever been, enough that Kanye calls it "scary" and suddenly finds himself in a position to hone his best rap verse in nearly a decade. Hiphop critics have been shitting on Kanye's rap chops all throughout the 2010s, but "No More Parties" proves he can turn it on and off like a faucet anytime he wants. Content-wise, it's not too far off from what he explored in "Bound 2," as confusingly wild and intricate as in his interviews.

The deepest moment might be "My psychiatrist got kids that I inspired / First song they played for me was 'bout their friend that just died." The entire verse sounds like 3 months worth of therapy sessions crammed into 3 minutes. Artistic creation might be the only thing he has left to keep him from completely falling off a dramatically unbalanced tightrope of sanity. And of course, his session wouldn't be complete without getting in yet another mention of a laptop-stealing incident mentioned elsewhere on The Life Of Pablo at least twice. Kanye West is insane because being Kanye West makes him fucking insane because he is Kanye.

1. Rihanna “Needed Me”
It was too tough to decide which of the Anti jams from this page to place at #1. So when in doubt, go with the most disturbed option. The most popular hiphop singles of 2016 highlight an era of murk - often spacey and occasionally slimey. Somehow, the pack of "Panda," "Black Beatles" and "Work" were among the most inescapable songs of the year. (All three were #1 hits.) Harnessing this darkness while infusing the same organic raunch that once unexpectedly flooded early 2010s chart-pop, "Needed Me" effectively propels her DGAF-brand by sneaking a lyrical undercurrent metaphorically staring down the media and her haters. They need her WAY more than she needs them.

On March 30th, this song was released as a single alongside "Kiss It Better" - the Anti single intended to overtake Top 40 stations all summer while "Needed Me" racked up some spins on Hot 97. Ultimately, "Kiss It Better" earned 149 million Youtube views earning longevity thanks to fan support, but only peaked at #62 and didn't chart past late-June. Meanwhile, "Needed Me" hit #7 and charted into December. The double-single turned out to be a great decision for maintaining the album's radio presence but inadvertently preventing yet another brilliant single from radio domination thanks to grossly misguided music direction from the likes of iHeartRadio. (She also missed an opportunity to issue the best double a-side 7-inch of the decade.)

Within Anti's myriad wonders rests its tastefully inventive use of dance production's most tired and overused techniques. Most listeners wouldn't hear "Work" as reggaeton, even though it's probably the best reggaeton song of all time. Just the same, neither wubby dubstep beats nor Migos' triplet-rap swag have ever felt more compelling than in "Needed Me."

| Follow "LIT AF 2016" on Spotify |

| #200 - 166 | | #165 - 131 | | #130 - 101 | | #100 -71 | | #70 - 41 | | #40 - 21 | | #20 - 1 |

| All 200 Songs |

LIT AF 2016: #40 - 21

We did manage to throw together a "worst songs" for the first time since 2012, although it's mostly just stuff cherry picked from other people's lists. We haven't actively hunted for vomit music in almost 5 years. (lmao)

Not-Fire Of 2016
20. Macklemore & Ryan Lewis "White Privilege II"
19. Mike Posner "I Took A Pill In Ibiza"
18. Local Natives "Fountain Of Youth"
17. Meghan Trainor "Like I'm Gonna Lose You"
16. Meghan Trainor "No"
15. Natalie La Rose f/ Jeremih "Somebody"
14. Twenty One Pilots "Heathens"
13. Twenty One Pilots "Stressed Out"
12. Disturbed "The Sounds Of Silence"
11. Meghan Trainor "Watch Me Do"
10. Steven Tyler "Red White & You"
9. Meghan Trainor "Me Too"
8. Lukas Graham "Mama Said"
7. Macklemore & Ryan Lewis "Spoons"
6. Unkle Adams "The 90s"
5. Fall Out Boy f/ Missy Elliot "Ghostbusters (I'm Not Afraid)"
4. The Chainsmokers f/ Halsey "Closer"
3. Lukas Graham "7 Years"
2. Le Tigre "I'm With Her"
1. Train "Play That Song"

With more research, the list could have been even worse, but our stamina for vomit is not as hot as it used to be. Also bad songs used to be fun. Sadly, almost none of these songs are fun or "funny bad," except of course for Disturbed's "The Sounds Of Silence."

And now for a change of direction, here are some very lit jams. We are nervous that our friends will see us writing about their bands and think we suck so go easy on us.

| Follow "LIT AF 2016" on Spotify |

| #200 - 166 | | #165 - 131 | | #130 - 101 | | #100 -71 | | #70 - 41 | | #40 - 21 | | #20 - 1 |

| All 200 Songs |

40. Kamaiyah “How Does It Feel”

If songs like "Pump Up The Jam" still charted, we suppose "How Does It Feel" would have been a much bigger song. Hannibal Burress tweeted about it at some point, but we forget what he said because we can't find the tweet.

39. Domo Genesis f/ Anderson .Paak "Dapper"
Where can we buy those "DO YOUR CHORES / SMOKE BEER" shirts? Odd Future figured out how to rip off Earth Wind & Fire. One sweep of the Fender Rhodes from "Dapper" is like an instant time machine back to the breezy frustrations of Summer 2016 - a bummer summer for sure, but the music was dope, and at least Bojack S3 and Stranger Things were sick. Coulda been a lot worse. "I could turn a pussy to a kiddie pool" might be our guilty pleasure lyric of the year.

38. Migos f/ Lil Uzi Vert “Bad and Boujee”

Last minute addition. Amazing chorus. We had to.

37. Carly Rae Jepsen "Higher"
The journey through Carly Rae's various hair excursions began early in the promo-cycle for E•MO•TION. The red hair from her album cover was dyed black early enough to not appear in any videos. But these adventures wouldn't have grabbed our attention had it not been for our official 2016 "Mullet Of The Year" award. We're having trouble remembering when the mullet debuted, but it appeared on her socials in a round of photos that were intended to showcase things that were not her mullet. Unless we're mistaken, she never attempted to engage fans with a mullet announcement, almost as if she didn't give a shit and was like "yea, I dunno. I guess I have a mullet. Who the fuck cares" and then just continued on with her life. This made both Carly Rae and her possibly accidental mullet even more endearing. And also, "Higher" is a really good song.

36. Sad13 “Devil In U”
The devil is on one shoulder growling, "La Croix is the best. Buy lots of La Croix right now. Fuck all that other shit." Devil tempts you to think with your dick only. The angel is on the other shoulder gently whispering, "Dude, go for Schweppes. It's a good choice, and it's on sale." The angel wants you to think with your heart and do the right thing. At the last minute, you impulsively choose some weird brand like IZZE. Devil and Angel are both facepalming like "omg you idiot" and are very disappointed in you.

35. D.R.A.M. feat. Lil Yachty "Broccoli" / Young Thug feat. Travis Scott "Pick Up The Phone" / Fat Joe feat. Remy Ma & French Montana "All The Way Up"
Now That's What I Call Vape Vol. 1.

34. Two Inch Astronaut "Andy's Progress Report"
Spotlight on Andy Cherv. The phrase "Progress Report" and the song title "At Risk Student" incorrectly places our heads in a high school setting throughout most of the Personal Life LP. No, it's not a concept album. But our heads always envision high school music videos anyway because it feels like an experience when human dignity is at its most vulnerable. "Andy's" sounds like disillusionment and isolation while watching the slow dances at senior prom. After crushing on some babe for four years, you get to see whoever it is making out with someone else from the other side of the room and you're just like "oh cool" and knock over some tables on your way out. "Done learning my lesson."

33. Ty Dolla $ign “Zaddy” / Jeremih “oui”
"Oui" was technically 2015 but we saw it show up on many 2016 lists, so it's fair game. And we tied it to "Zaddy" because both songs are great examples of why we should never hope to live in a world without smooth R&B crooners charismatically boasting their natural heat. We're pretty sure that 107.5 WBLS has yet to fully embrace Ty Dolla $ign, but we remain hopeful for his eventual dominance over R&B airwaves. WBLS is gonna get renamed WBL$ by the time this is over.

32. Joey Purp f/ Chance The Rapper "Girls @”
Joey & Chance went for the tongue-in-cheek approach: "Where the girls at with the credit cards?" Seriously. It's 2017. Musicians are broke and can't afford luxurious dates (although Chance probably still has some leftover Kitkat money). Pitchfork sneakily snuck this song into the curiously high #43 position on their end-of-year feature - a surprising choice since they usually don't rep for fake-Neptunes summer party jams. The differences between this song and 2013's "Get Like Me" are anything but textural. Chance and Joey are hot right now. That's basically it. In the future, Pitchfork SHOULD rep for these types of songs. The world needs party jams more than ever. But anyway, back to the subject of broke musicians: "With the 'why'd I let him drag me here?' look in the club." Special shout-out to tall girls, small girls and of course, who could forget mid-size girls? The video captures it all pretty nicely: Low budget, extremely Chicago, no beaches, summery fun, chillin' on the hoods of cars.

31. Kanye West "Famous" / Kanye West "Feedback"
We recently read through the chapter in Klosterman's I Wear The Black Hat about how fun it might be to witness Kanye failing at something just one time: "I believe a cataclysmic Kanye West collapse might be the most dramatic thing he'd ever create. It would be the musical event of the decade."

This got us thinking about the true current value of music, regardless of its commercial or critical merits. 2017's attention-based musical economy rewards the music that is discussed most frequently. Within this universe, West currently releases the most valuable records. One could also make a good argument for lone-competitor Beyonce, except that her self-titled and Lemonade sparked far more conversation than her first four solo releases, whereas Kanye has consistently stimulated widespread discussion since at least Graduation in 2007, if not earlier. He's the MVP every season because he makes the records that everyone discusses.

Within the hours and weeks of its release, The Life Of Pablo was labelled by a few people as his inevitable trainwreck album even though it appeared on almost every major EOY list ten months later. It's his least immediately impressive record (with 808s and Heartbreak coming in 2nd place), but hiphop and pop fans tend to be unforgiving of growers. The saddest aspect of Klosterman's "failure" discussion is the lack of forgiveness this failure-record would receive from social media and bloggers. No matter how endearingly human of a moment, this would not prevent The Pitch or some equally exhausting thinkpiece medium to fill itself with approved pitches from writers desperate to get paid for headlines like "The End Of Kanye, and That's Okay" or "Should We Care About Kanye West Anymore?"

Miley Cyrus & Her Dead Petz had no effect on Miley's current chart success. She did not "bounce back" into the Top 40 because she never went away. An artist at Kanye's current level of success would easily survive a trainwreck, especially for someone who could throw together a totally redeeming forward-thinking summer-banger mixtape within six months. Post-millennial critics in the 2020s might even label the trainwreck LP as a "brave attempt" when viewed within the span of his entire discography. The Life Of Pablo was not this moment, no matter how much anyone wanted it to be.

30. YG “Gimmie Got Shot”

A cautionary story. If Gimmie doesn't watch himself, Gimmie's gonna get shot. And then some back-up singers will arrive without warning and start singing "Gimmie Gimmie Gimmie Gimmie..."

29. Deerhoof “Learning To Apologize Effectively”

28. Margaret Glaspy “You and I”

27. A Tribe Called Quest “Whateva Will Be”

26. Rihanna "Yeah I Said It"
A lot of what we wanted to say about "Yeah I Said It" was relying on "I want you to homicide it" being a misheard lyric, which it is not. Those are the real words. However, we did just discover a huge shocker: The producer responsible for the introspective-sounding beat is none other than Timbaland, who has been sadly absent from our Hot/Lit Mixes since at least 5 years ago, if not longer. But this is also kinda sad since Timbaland now just immediately makes us wonder about what Aaliyah might have been up to in 2016/2017. It's very likely she would be pumping out hit records that sound like Anti.

25. Kanye West "30 Hours"
Kanye's last-minute extra credit assignment totally suckered people like us who want a hotass beat and the type of energy that only stream-of-consciousness can deliver. The dopeness establishes itself within seconds, allowing Kanye to ride it out and speak his mind about whatever was happening that day."Check it out. This the bonus track. My favorite albums used to have bonus joints like this." In the first 2 minutes, it sounds like he's building to a point. "You had me drivin' far enough to switch the time zone / You was the best of all time at the time tho / You wasn't mine tho / But I still drove 30 hours." Relating to "common people" emotion is beneath Kanye West, although it seems like he's oddly shooting for this within a few lyrical passages.

"Chicago to St. Louis / St. Louis to Chicago." So what's going on in St. Louis? I hit the gym / All chest, no legs. He then refers to Andre 3000 as "Three Stacks," a nickname that no one has used since "Int'l Players Anthem" in 2007. Kanye hypes Andre's contribution with a nickname, even though it amounts to little more than the titular phrase sung once and copy-and-pasted 18 times. (We counted to see if maybe he pasted it 30 times.) It might also be noteworthy that 30:00 (30 hours & zero seconds) spells out "3000" with the colon removed.

Me and Wifey make a movie. It's all spoken adlibs for the last 3 minutes, sounding hastily recorded, mixed and mastered the day before the album dropped. And then Gabe calls. Is that Kanye's real ringtone? And even if it was, why would he be holding his phone so close to the vocal mic? "That's Gabe calling. Yo Gabe. I'm just doing an adlib track. What's up?" We never find out what was up. The odds are not tremendously great that this was a genuine phonecall.

24. Chris Weisman “The Paradox Of Thrift”
While searching for the Bandcamp stream of "The Paradox Of Thrift," we came across this cover version that appeared on a tribute comp from 2014, leading us to believe the original version of this song is not the one from 2016's Hi LP, or that Hi is either an OSR reissue or a collection of previously released songs. He might have over 1000 recorded songs by now; plus, OSR Tapes (R.I.P.) has packaged them up in a few different ways, making it difficult to tell when these albums were first issued; plus, the history of his work is not meticulously detailed or easily available online (which is actually way cooler and adds to the mystique - not complaining at all). Does it technically fit into a "Best Of 2016" feature? Yes, it probably does. We still think Tina Belcher would connect with Chris's music, and we anxiously await the episode when she discovers C30 tape culture. For some reason, this song reminds us of Nillson Schmillson.

23. Autolux "Change My Head"
We're as shocked as anyone. Failure and Autolux released mid-2010s LPs only nine months apart from each other. Many people would have lost that bet.

And now that the smoke's cleared, forgive us as we indulge in yet another exciting edition of "Nerdy Fanfic Bizarro Discography." This time, we'll be examining a topic we briefly discussed in Hot Mix 2015: "What If" Failure hadn't split into separate projects and continued into the early 2000s?

In our bizarro universe, we will designate May 15, 2001 as the release date of Failure's 4th album. This coincides with the date when Tool and Weezer both coincidentally dropped Lateralus and "The Green Album," respectively. (Both were long-awaited follow-ups to records released in September 1996, one month after Failure's Fantastic Planet). This record might have collected many of the songs and ideas that were spread over 7 or 8 releases in bands like On, Year Of The Rabbit and Autolux. It would also include "Future Perfect," a song that was available in two different demo versions until finally appearing on Autolux's Pussy's Dead 15 years later as "Change My Head."

Hot Album by Failure
1. "Hunted"
2. "Petting The Carpet"
3. "Segue 4"
4. "If I Get To Feel You"
5. "Underorbit"
6. "Burn"
7. "Your Sister Says John"
8. "C'Mon Collapse"
9. "Segue 5"
10. "Wake Up"
11. "Future Perfect"
12. "I Can See Houses"
[Bonus Track: "Enjoy The Silence"] Did bonus tracks still happen in those days?

22. David Bowie “Killing a Little Time”
There aren't nearly as many songs with crazy drums anymore. Bowie's Earthling LP from '97 stretched into this a bit with the drum-and-bass freak-outs on "Little Wonder," but a song like "Killing A Little Time" required similar frantic, maddening urgency to a pair of late '90s jams: Nine Inch Nails "The Perfect Drug" and Fiona Apple's "Fast As You Can." He knows it's a losing battle no matter what, and it's tough to hear him cope: "I'm falling, man ... I'm fading, man..." But he wants it to end on his terms. By maintaining desperation to keep his momentum as wild as possible, he then maximizes as much stolen borrowed time as he's capable of collecting. It's also remarkable how great his voice sounds - arguably among the very best voices of any recent legacy artist, since so many of them experienced drastic vocal changes after years of abuse from cigarette smoke or worse. Bowie's voice is among the great treasures of rock history.

[Regarding Bowie's voice: We talk about Rick & Morty way too much here. But in the Season 2 commentary, Justin Roiland and Dan Harmon revealed that they tried to get David Bowie to voice the Fart-cloud who sings "Goodnight Moonmen." Sadly, they found out why he was unavailable to help a few months later.]

21. Miguel “Come Through and Chill”
There are ONLY two ways to interpret the lyric "Put your sweats on for me."
#1 Miguel wants to "____ all night" in sweats to satisfy his sweats fetish.
#2 Miguel is busting out ALL of his most classic lines, suggesting You're beautiful, no matter what, even when you have your sweats on. He knows damn-well what's happening by the time the song is over. The sweats are coming off either way. Miguel - you little sneak.
Also of note: We're bummed there wasn't a 2016 volume of the Art Dealer Chic series, which normally drops between Miguel's album promo cycles. But the summer 2016 roll-out of non-album jams did include 3 fully formed songs. So it was basically the same amount of material released over 3 months, which isn't so bad. "Come Through and Chill" was the most underrated of the summer singles.

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LIT AF 2016: #70 - 41

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70. Swim Team “Dirty Work”

69. Noname “Yesterday”
"Back in the days / When I was young / I'm not a kid anymore / But somedays, you know / I wish I was a kid again." - Ahmad, 1994

"Why is it that every time I turn on the radio I hear the same five songs fifteen times a day for three months?" - Sagat, 1994

Hiphop fanatics love their member berries. Respect the legends. Respect the canon. Illmatic is untouchable, etc. The history of hiphop radio has not been kind to member berries. The answer to Sagat's question: Because many hiphop stations remain, at their worst, as notoriously shallow as any other format. NYC gets spoiled by Hot 97, as they should be. But not everywhere across the U.S. has it so easy. And before you know it, the inevitable occurs: Old man Chuck D gets angry at a cloud. Any era of popular music has its fanatics that get angrier and angrier as more and more hits arrive that pull the genre farther and farther from the way it sounded when they were 17-27 years old.

Underground rap (not backpacker rap, but actual underground street rappers) remains the one pocket of critically revered hiphop that's never strayed far from member berries. Noname, Joey Purp, Chance and the rest of their Chicago clique are the current rulers within a subgenre that avoids trap and other radio trends while still exciting the kids; the extreme warmth in "Yesterday" is one of the best examples of this.

68. Kanye West “Fade”
The spin-class jam of 2016. Or if you prefer, the pilates jam of 2016, the Planet Fitness jam of 2016, the Zumba jam of 2016, the elliptical machine jam of 2016. Or whatever this P90X-related gif is all about:

67. Radiohead “Identikit”

66. Big Ups "Meet Where We Are"
Corporal punishment disciplinarian stares down every kid making sure their spinal cords are uncurved and uncomfortable. No one is allowed to utilize this time wisely. The detention hall is sealed. No exiting. No one can use the bathroom. Just shut the fuck up and sit up in your shitty wooden $6 desk/chair combination. A clock above the door ticks very fucking loudly. TICK!! TICK!! After an eternal 45 minutes of pressure, one poor kid in the back finally loses his shit and starts screaming bloody murder. "BLOODY MURDER!" This kid screams out the actual words. Disciplinary man approaches the station slowly as everyone else holds their breath in anticipation. This dreadful, slow approach is the crunchy part about 3 minutes into the song "Meet Where We Are," the largest departure from Big Ups' earlier capital-P "Punk" albums. Perhaps now they are "Post-Ups."

65. Surface To Air Missive "Time Being"

The big hit.

64. Kvelertak “1985”
The song's title comes from the release year of Loverboy's signature song, "A pig and an elephant DNA just won't splice." Kvelertak cares not for the laws of science, unnaturally crossing the protons and electrons of classic deathmetal with AOR riffage. The vortex should collapse onto itself, yet they're probably the most oddly seamless metal-fusion since the days of Andrew WK and The Darkness.

63. Young Thug "Wyclef Jean"

62. YG "Still Brazy"
Young Thug's 2015 album title was changed after Lil Wayne's lawyers threatened him, but Barter 6 is actually a way better title. A year later, YG indulged the Bool, Balm and Bollective on "Still Brazy." YG knows as well as anyone else that privileged suburban kids love Urban Dictionary and Rap Genius, so there's no point in hiding the "switching C's to B's" thing. As a whole, the album and most of its beats feel largely influenced by late-era 2Pac jams like "Me Against The World," "All Eyez On Me" or "Death Around The Corner." Still Brazy's sequencing seems to tell a story with the title track acting as a "before and after" moment of sorts. The songs that follow (including "FDT" and "Police Get Away With Murder") could have been from an entirely different album as the prior 2/3's.

61. Weaves “Two Oceans”
"I want two oceans. Give me two oceans tonight." It's not like they're asking for all four oceans, and they did a favor by not asking for any of the seven continents. Just any two oceans will nicely suffice, although it would be cool if either the Pacific or Atlantic could be included. But if you can't make that happen, it's all good. They'll gladly accept the Arctic and Indian, because that's still two entire oceans; however, this does raise a problem because those are the two oceans that don't share a border. It would just be a lot more convenient if you could include either the Pacific or Atlantic. If this task seems "impossible" for whatever reason, they would also accept Frank Ocean and Billy Ocean as a consolation so that the two might collaborate on a 2017 remix of "Get Outta My Dreams (And Into My Car)." Hit me back when this happens. Thanks.

60. Palm “Shadow Expert”
During Napster days, it was a lot more common for early versions of songs to leak months before the official album version, leading to a slight demoitis outbreak among fanatics of specific bands. "Shadow Expert" is not exactly the same scenario, since the only real differences between the early VHS Sessions version, the Audiotree version and the final version from their June 2017 EP are subtle variations in fidelity. But we have to admit, we really enjoy the super-lofi January 2016 version the best (back when it was titled "I Don't Want To Know").

59. Schoolboy Q f/ Jadakiss "Groovy Tony / Eddie Kane"

Holy shit. Schoolboy Q takes breakfast really seriously.

58. Ariana Grande “Into You”
Out of the current ubiquitous pop superstars whose discographies appear largely market-tested, Ariana is arguably the most widely beloved. No one hates her, and anyone who does is probably an especially sad shitsack of a human. God, TMZ is so pathetic: They tried to trash her good name by digging up a donut licking video that no one cared about. And that was the worst they could find. We really have nothing interesting to say here. We forgot where we were going with this.

57. Miguel "Cadillac"

We saw one episode of The Get Down last summer, and it seemed like a fun show. But we didn't know this was a Hot Chocolate cover until 5 minutes ago. Miguel's updated chorus receives our "definitive version" tag; it deserves credit for staying looped in our heads for two entire weeks last August.

56. Exploded View “Lost Illusions”

Ee-LOO-xion. Viva political revolution.

55. Goblin Cock "Your Watch"
During a lonely sweltering evening in Hell, The Dark Lord (Bill Zebub) starts getting immersed in math-rock and decides he wants to learn how to get super mathy in a way that's still totally Satanic. He becomes especially impressed with They Mean Us - the standalone 2006 LP from The Ladies - and spontaneously appears later that night in San Diego at the doorstep of Rob Crow, whom Satan has deduced as the world's finest purveyor of math-rock. Rob answers the door, and Satan's all like "dude, I wanna get way into math." Rob says, "that's cool, but I don't really have time right now. I have like kids n stuff." Satan is like "but dude, I'm Satan. I'll make it worth your while." Eventually Rob gives in half-way and says he'll do another Goblin Cock album just for Satan, who responds, "Well that's mighty kind of you my good sir." True story.

54. Sumerlands “Haunted Forever”
Sumerlands is an "Unchain The Night" type of band. They understand a hugely essential and frequently misunderstood aspect of '80s hair metal, more musically fulfilling moments of sadness that didn't necessarily reveal themselves in sappy monster ballads. It's the '80s metal that plays loudly at night while en route (always in a car, sometimes driving, sometimes as a passenger, bonus points if you're stuffed in the backseat with 1 or 2 others) to a destination and late weekend evening that might change your entire life. It also might not (and probably won't) but you never know until the journey's over and done with. Dokken's "Unchain The Night" fits, as well as Ozzy's "Shot In The Dark," Sabbath's "Children Of The Sea," Def Leppard's "Armageddon It."

53. Ty Dolla $ign “Stealing”
So what's the deal with Stealy, the interdimensional cable character from Rick & Morty? Does he have any relation to "Steely Dan III from Yokohama," the dildo from Naked Lunch whose name was borrowed by a multiplatinum jazz-rock collective? And most importantly, is he a fan of the song "Stealing" by Ty Dolla $ign? We would like to think he is, since the song is about the activity that Stealy loves the most (which would be stealing).

52. PJ Harvey “Guilty”

In a different time, "Guilty" might have been forced onto Hope Six Demolition Project's tracklist, but it's remarkably strong within a separate context. We've probably been more psyched than most people to see so much emphasis on non-album a-sides and "bonus tracks released as singles" in the 2010s while still not devaluing the importance of full length records.

51. Rihanna “Love On The Brain”

50. Death’s Dynamic Shroud.wmv “Do U Like Me?”
It's tough to remember what the hotties of Instagram did with their lives before Instagram. But "Do U Like Me?" could still exist outside of that context. It could refer to a straight up dude like Special Agent Dale Cooper, a friendly open-minded eccentric who does everything within his power to ignore his pant fulla bone when Audrey gets all up in his shit. But this isn't a simple story of lust and temptation. The iPhone notifications sounded gratuitously absurd until realizing they're pulling the context into present day: A loss of oneself down a sexting rabbit hole; the emotional extremes as social media feeds into FOMO-induced anxiety; the race to be the first creepy "like" or vapid compliment on a hot pic; addicting endorphin rushes and ensuing jolts of self-worth; the CEOs and upper management of Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat who rely on this cycle to keep their businesses hotter than everyone else's. The song's 2nd half reflects the dark underbelly of social media in a frustratingly confusing dreamy haze of thick muck. Very Mulholland Drive. Very Twin Peaks.

49. Eric Copeland “Honorable Mentions”
Poolside chillin'.

48. Animal Collective “FloriDada”

47. Grandaddy “Way We Won’t”
Are we remembering wrong, or was Grandaddy's "The Crystal Lake" included as one of two free mp3s that came with every copy of MS-Windows 2000? Google reveals no answers. Grandaddy called it quits in 2006 - six years after Bill Gates awarded them their break into the big time - but reformed in 2012. In between, a Pixar movie called WALL-E felt like an unofficial void filler: Vast, barron, post-apocalyptic, lonely, artificial intelligence, cleaning up the messes of the past, remarkably low-key for its scope, minimal. WALL-E was also around the time Jason Lytle released solo jams like "It's The Weekend" - arguably the most depressingly pensive mid-tempo major key song about the weekend of all time - and the brilliant "Your Final Setting Sun," which felt like it deserved a full band arrangement. "Way We Won't" is undeniably Grandaddy, bringing us full circle back to the enormously grand anticlimax that surrounded "The Crystal Lake" in Y2K-America.

46. A Tribe Called Quest “Kids...”
It's an event anytime Andre 3000 contributes guest vocals to anything. His last album was in 2006, and he appears on this list at least four times. Maybe more. We lost count. The '90s was a decade when hiphop might have been viewed like a local sports team; if their home base was closer to where you live, the music meant that much more. And so to oblige with their local pride, NYC rappers rarely collaborated elsewhere. Just the same, ATL collaborated with other ATL rappers. Houston stuck with Houston. Chicago stuck with Chicago. Even Bay Area rappers rarely mixed with LA rappers. So it felt like a historical revelation hearing Andre 3000 and Q-Tip playfully trading bars on "Kids..." like they had been rehearsing for this moment for years.

45. The Shins “Dead Alive”
If you're anything like us and you loved Chutes Too Narrow but haven't enjoyed much else from The Shins ever since, you may have been in luck upon discovering "Dead Alive" last October. It's ironic (or maybe on purpose) that the song is named after a zombie movie since it sounds like they applied electro-shocks to a long dead songwriting method. It follows the same classic formula as 14 years ago, but their more modern (post-Wincing) recording style was applied too heavily. It still rules (especially the subtle free-jazz piano in the song's outro) but something about it feels like a dead Shins song that got buried in the pet sematary. What come out ain't what ya put in. Don't bury your boy in that graveyard. It's still their coolest song in years though. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the new album dropped earlier in 2017 with no other songs that were nearly as interesting as "Dead Alive." Congrats to Sub Pop (or The Shins or whoever it was) on choosing the dopest possible album preview tracks for grabbing the attention of basic jerks like us.

44. Surface To Air Missive “Morning Thought”

43. Kanye West "Ultralight Beam"
Kanye usually gets enough star power crammed into his albums to satisfy at least one-and-a-half of those embarrassingly shitty charity singles: "Hands Across America," "Voices That Care," "Stars," "Do They Know It's Christmas," "What's Going On." There haven't been as many in the past decade, (although at least one of them - "We Are The World 25" - was crowned our worst song of 2010).

Say what you want, but Michael Jackson's contributions to "We Are The World" saved the song from sounding gross. Nothing like it had ever been, and the star power was too immense. For a certain type of music listener (and especially if you were younger than 10), "We Are The World" might have felt like the hugest song ever recorded. Michael would try again on his own with similar one-world hand-holding gestures like "Heal The World" or "Man In The Mirror."

Kanye's version of this takes up the first 6 minutes of The Life Of Pablo. "Ultralight Beam" was the "We Are The World" or "Hands Across America" that 2016 desperately needed, setting the tone for the album with a comforting gesture straight to anyone who was down to listen: Everything is completely fucked right now, but we have to stick together no matter what happens. Ride it together. One world; one love.

42. Rihanna “Sex With Me”

41. Beak> “Timeshare”
Beak> debuted their newest band member in 2016 and contributed a handful of new and old jams to the Couple In A Hole soundtrack. We were unable to locate evidence of "Timeshare" appearing on a previous Beak> record, which means it's fair game for Lit Mix 2016.

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