December is an exciting month. The weather gets interesting. The days get shorter, the nights get longer. You have your Christmases and your Hanukkahs (other religious celebrations, and spellings of, are available). Without a doubt, the most exciting thing to happen in December is the plethora of end of year lists that every single blog, website, magazine or message board pumps out. Seeing as I’ve already contributed to one, I thought I should make yet another pointless list and run down my five favourite songs of the 2011, the year in which no-one was saying Swag. So without further ado…..
5. The Weeknd – House Of Ballons
Remember Indie RnB? It was a thing for all of about five minutes. The best thing to get lumped into that was Canada’s The Weeknd, a somewhat mysterious group of dudes with a Tumblr and a Drake cosign. Both of their mixtapes pretty much broke the internet when they got released and with good reason. I actually reviewed the first mixtape here and most of what I said still stands true. ‘House Of Ballons’ is my favourite song they’ve done. It’s like R. Kelly on downers. Or something less trite. The Weeknd leads nicely onto our next entry, which is…..
4. Drake – The Ride
Anyone who knows me will probably be able to tell you how much I like Drake. Yes he’s soft as baby’s thighs or a glove full of lotion or whatever you want to say. I don’t care. I don’t listen to rap to be a snob – that’s why I still listen to hardcore. ‘The Ride’ is one the best songs from Take Care. The beat is not as good as ‘Lord Knows’ but lyrically it’s better. The reference to French Laundry is particularly endearing. I’m hoping it starts a new trend. I look forward to hearing someone name-drop Momofuku. I reckon Ye eats there.
3. Nicki Minaj – Super Bass
At this point you might be able to guess that I have the worst taste in rap music. It’s on a par with that of a fiftenn year old girl. Hence why I like Nicki Minaj. Part of me genuinely thinks she can be a legitimately good rapper. She’s certainly capable of delivering a good verse or two (see this or this for proof). So why does 90% of her solo stuff suck? Aside from ‘Super Bass’, pretty much every single solo song she’s had since ‘Massive Attack’ has been an obvious attempt to mould her into a pop star. I have no problem with this really, it’s just a shame she hasn’t released a good song for about two years. Aside from this one . ‘Super Bass’ is a prefect song for Nicki Minaj as it marries her (label’s) desire to be a popstar with her ability to rhyme, unlike her other singles. That almost makes me sound like I know what I’m talking about. I don’t really.
2. Wrangler Brutes – Rap Music
Just to prove that I like proper, serious music, made with guitars and real instruments, number two on my list is a punk rock song. The song is called ‘Rap Music’ – do you see what I did there? It’s like there’s a theme running through this. Technically this song did not come out this year. It’s actually about ten years old. I only started listening to Wrangler Brutes this year so I’m going to include it because this is my list and they’re the only guitar band I’ve got into this year.* As they say “everyone listens to rap music now”. Anyway, Wrangler Brutes are awesome on all levels – great lyrics, great guitar playing, fast and shorts songs. Perfect hardcore. If you would prefer a song from this year, please consult Countdown by Beyonce.
1. A$AP Rocky – Peso
Where to start? It says a lot about A$AP Rocky that I first saw this video on a message board thread about men’s fashion. Rappers name-dropping labels is nothing new but to drop something as obscure as Raf Simons and Rick Owens is really pushing the boat out. Or it is as far as my rap tourist knowledge is concerned. I bet Kanye is gutted that the best he could come up with was Margiela. And don’t even get me started on Tinnie Tempah dropping Kurt Geiger. So score one for A$AP Rocky. Point two is the production. Point three is the rest of A$AP Rocky’s two verses. Point four is the video. Point five is the fact that the song is less than three minutes long, which is the perfect song length, unless you’re The Boss, in which case, yes, I would like a six minute saxophone code, thank you very much. A$AP Rocky has recently been signed for $3 million. In this day and age, who the fuck gets signed for that amount of money? Either A$AP Rocky has shit loads of potential and this is just the beginning of something really awesome, or he’s going to blow the whole lot on some goth ninja jawnz. Just like the dude from American Nightmare. Watch the video and see if you don’t agree that this song is brilliant.
That’s for this year. Have a Cash Money Christmas everyone.
*This is actually not true. There have been some really good bands coming out of the DIY scene. Satellites Of Love play a weird blend of arty hardcore and violent post-punk, like a cross between Moss Icon and The Birthday Party. The Lowest Form are a little bit like Void. Sauna Youth released another great single this year, as did The Shitty Limits. I also got quite obsessed with The Monorchid this year, but again they’re an old band. Also, Facel Vega have just released an album. I’ve not heard it yet, but I saw them two days ago and they were awesome so unless they’ve done something drastic, I would imagine it’s a stellar record.