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A Punk Votes For A Punk Again (Mid-Year Singles 2017)
A punk votes for a punk (again). Here's the playlist:

1. Lil Debbie "F That"
2. NCT 127 "Limitless"
3. MC G15 "Deu Onda"
4. Jovi "Ou Même"
5. CLC "Hobgoblin"
6. Miso "KKPP"

7. Juan LaFonta ft. Big Freedia "Bounce TV"
8. Pristin "Wee Woo"
9. Omar Souleyman "Ya Bnayya"
10. Steps "Scared Of The Dark"
11. Vince Staples "BagBak"

12. Cherry Coke "Like I Do"
13. K.A.R.D "Rumor"
14. Die Antwoord "Love Drug"
15. Alternative TV "Negative Primitive"

16. Lindsey Buckingham & Christine McVie "In My World"
17. K.A.R.D "Don't Recall"
18. Ashmute "Scenery"
19. Twice "Knock Knock"
20. Molly "Я просто люблю тебя (Dance version)"

21. Serebro "Пройдет"
22. Hyolyn x Kisum "Fruity"
23. G-reyish "Johnny Gogo"
24. Yungtime ft. Mihney "Uh uh, uh hum"
25. Nadia Rose "The Intro"
26. Mani Bella ft. Tenor "Déranger"

27. Reniss "Pilon"
28. Jessi, Microdot, Dumbfoundead, Lyricks "KBB"
29. Sunny Sweeney "Better Bad Idea"
30. IU "Jam Jam"
31. Maahlox le vibeur "Un Bon Plantain"
32. Koppo "Gromologie"

You once again get Debbie's nasty mug staring at you atop my playlist and my prediction is you'll get her all year. So — again — a punk's voting for a punk, me for Debbie. (See me a few months ago ripping in all different directions on punk, and a more malevolent punk voting for a more malevolent punk.)

As you may have expected, I've spent hours debating whether the CLC track ranks higher than the Miso or vice versa. I keep trying to throw Miso higher, for being the more powerful performer. But CLC get more help from their song, the zoom golly golly takeoff being seductive and razzy at the same time.

But Miso seems to have razz and seduction burned into her personality, or at least her persona: low-rent and going for instant ingratiation, which can be more alive and more enduring than art that has more forethought or money or integrity behind it. I really don't know how well I'm reading Miso, though, how much of this is just the low budget rather than the personality. In the video I think she's throwing herself at us, with smiles that aren't friendliness or niceness, so it's availability that's not altogether available, but a lot of wiseass fun. It's not unfriendly, if you wanna play along. Except as I said I'm just guessing here, and peering across cultures. The template is HyunA but without the immediate allure and playfulness (or without convincing me of the allure and playfulness); so where HyunA's strong and warm and emotionally accessible, Miso's aggressive and fast, but actually that's alluring too, a fast come-here-and-ride. A different allure. Or a video that couldn't afford a lot of camera setups.

As David Frazer points out, "KKPP" uses the same sample as "Canvas" by HyunA's old group 4Minute, though that song's not the group's most HyunA-centric.

Speaking of "Canvas," it's number 4 on my list for last year, the final version of which was finished in February but I still haven't posted the list; last year I thought Rihanna's product wasn't as good as the cheap Eastern European knockoff (Era Istrefi's "BonBon"); this year T-ara's going-out-of-business single isn't as good as "Johnny Gogo," G-reyish's poor-boy-sandwich of a "Roly-Poly" imitation; and of course HyunA's single with Triple H isn't as good as the two HyunA imitations on my list.

Speaking of imitation, there are complaints on the 'Net that my number 4, Jovi's "Ou Même," rips its interjectory style from my number 24, Yungtime's "Uh huh, uh hum," which had existed first on a mixtape. Maybe, or maybe that's just a way of trying to draw — deserved — attention to the latter. Anyway, copied or not — such interjections are pretty common in music — Jovi twists his music tighter while still being loose — tense and loose — hairpin turns while dodging hailstones, complicated, jittery, relaxed.

And Reniss "Pilon", produced by Jovi, number 27 on my list, isn't altogether noninterjectory.

[UPDATE: And I now discover that — as is standard on mixtapes — Yungtime used someone else's backing track, E-40s "Choices (Yup)," and "Choices (Yup)" uses the exact same interjectory style as "Uh huh, uh hum." Yup. Likely most listeners were aware of this, and for all I know the mixtape, which I haven't seen, credits E-40. And Jovi had been using interjections three years ago. So I'd say nonissue, except people everywhere make such things an issue. (And if they hadn't made an issue this time, I wouldn't have looked for the excellent Yungtime track.)

As it happens, I like E-40s original the least of the four interjectory tracks under discussion. Is too bright and heavy in its raps and interjections, nowhere near the sprite-like flexibility of Yungtime, Reniss, and Jovi.]

I haven't yet devoted hours determining whether the Serebro should actually go higher than the Molly. The latter is one up for now because its melody reminds me of Fairport Convention's "Genesis Hall." Maxim Fadeev, producer of Serebro and Molly, could produce an effective cover of "Genesis Hall." Would lack Sandy Denny's sandpaper voice but would also lack her folkie finishing-school restraint. Would be altogether more voluptuous.

Btw, does anyone reading this speak French or Russian? I don't understand either language, which means I don't know a lot of the lyrics here. Obviously, jibing with my sensibilities isn't a requirement for making my list, but I'd like to know if there's something really destructively bad in there, say deadly homophobia. It might not knock a song off my list, but I'd like to know.* I don't speak Korean either, and am rather lax about making my way to the translation sites. But given the idol world's censorship and timidity you know that, even with all the normative romance and objectification etc., you're not going to get something wildly extreme.

*[UPDATE: Interesting what it says about my state of mind that I didn't write about wondering what adventure, insight, or beauty I was missing in not knowing the words. To be honest, and fair to Jovi, whose song I've embedded a few paragraphs up, one of the things that set me worrying about homophobia was that a YouTube commenter on a song by another francophone West African — not Jovi, and not someone on this best-of list — seemed to be asserting that the performer wanted "to fight homosexuality," though since I don't understand French I was trying to work out what the comment was saying through Google Translate: I couldn't truly identify the tone, but it seems to be a wisecrack ("it's a secret strategy," the comment went on to say), probably having to do with all the closeups of women's big butts, twerking etc., men dancing close to women and thrusting their pelvises at them, the gag maybe being that this pulsatingly massive emphasis on hetero sex is a counter or antidote to other sex. Think it's the commenter being a jerk not the performer, but I don't know. [EDIT: Now I do. See me down in the comments. The lyrics and video are most definitely not homophobic. As I suspected, it was just some commenter being a jerk.]

Cameroon and Russia are both officially homophobic countries. But that's not the fault of the whole population. Imagine if I met someone from another country, whose attitude toward Americans was entirely based on current news reports. Imagine her saying to me, "Since you're from America, I have to ask: are you someone who hates Mexicans?" Wouldn't be fair, would it? That said, most of these francophone West African hip-hop videos are aggressively heterosexual, though that hardly implies they're homophobic. They make me uncomfortable anyway. Those continual and constant closeups of women's big butts. Not that I'm against women's big butts, just that there's a social imperative here I'm not down with, a sense of what life is like and what it's about.** I'm not comfortable with a lot of stuff in the world, some of the discomfort because I understand it and some of the discomfort because I don't.

In any event, the footnote I first wrote here was all tangled up. A lot of emotional energy. This is approximately the sixth eighth rewrite.

**To quote Mark Perry of Alternative TV (see number 15, though this quote is from about 39 years ago), "Too bad I'm livin... it's too bad I'm livin... it's too bad I'm livin... it's too bad I'm livin... where sex is the expected thing on people's minds."]

This entry was originally posted at Comments still welcome here, there, and anywhere.

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Okay, to be a bit more frank, I lied in the post: it actually is one of the songs on my list that I was worried about, Maahlox le vibeur's "Le Bon Plaintain," because of that YouTube commenter claiming (most likely as a wisecrack), "C'est décidé.. MAAHLOX veut definitivement lutter contre l'homosexualité!!!!! Je vous assure c'est une stratégie secrète de MAAHLOX," which Google Translate renders as "It's decided .. MAAHLOX definitely wants to fight homosexuality !!!!! I assure you it is a secret strategy of MAAHLOX." The reason for my lie was I didn't want to suggest that Maahlox might be homophobic until I'd found out for sure, especially when the only reason to think he might was that some idiot commenter was making what was probably a dumb joke about it. Anyway, a friend of mine, a native speaker of French, says there's nothing homophobic in the lyrics whatsoever. So it is just a case of an idiot on a YouTube thread — but not Maahlox, absolutely not Maahlox — intimating as a gag that an aggressively heterosex-positive video is something that secretly undermines gay sex.

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