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I'm A Legendary Such And Such (Top Singles 2016) (yes, almost a year late I'm finally posting 2016)
Best-ofs for 2017 are already appearing,* and here I am finally posting my Top Singles for 2016. It's not that I've been ruminating all these extra months about 2016's music: I was done with this list in February, and I've refused to add to it since. It's just that I wanted to write something good before posting, or at least something interesting about some of these songs. And it kept just not happening, a combination of busyness and some sort of block. But here we are; I worked hard on the list back then, which is odd and deserves some explanation, that I worked so hard on it then and that I still feel it should be posted, no matter how late.

So here's a quasi explanation/justification, followed by an embed of the YouTube playlist, all 100, then the Top 100 list itself, and then maybe something interesting about several of these songs.

Quasi Explanation/Justification

When I was 12 I drew up lists of songs I liked, drawing stars next to each song to show how much I liked it: 1 star was good, 2 was very good, 3 was better than that, 4 the best. A very positive rating system. "Turned Down Day" by the Cyrkle was one of only two that got a 4, though I don't remember what the other one was. It's possible "Eleanor Rigby" got the 4, though she might have only been a — still impressive — 3. "(I'm Not Your) Steppin' Stone" certainly would've been a 4 except I stopped making the lists by then. And "Hanky Panky" and "Mother's Little Helper" were surely 4's as well, except they were older, from back in the summer, so I didn't feel I needed to list them. At least, I don't remember listing them.

(Why 'Turned Down Day"? That's a question to return to some other day, maybe.)

"Sunny Afternoon" was a 2 or a 3. "Sunshine Superman" was 2 or 3. Obviously they're connected in my memory. "Last Train To Clarksville," the band name Monkees meaning nothing to me yet, got 2 or 3. When the show appeared several weeks later, "(Theme From) The Monkees" got a 1. (That's a good score, remember.) Those are all I can recall, though I surely listed far more than just those.**

Why did I make such lists? Was one reason to remember song names? To remember which band did which song? Did I even write down band names?

One reason, I think, was that the lists made listening more exciting. And the ratings, they made it a competition, a car race, a competitive event. Making it a race drew me in, maybe even kept me listening more than I'd have listened otherwise.

Several years earlier when I was alone I'd run marble races on a track I had. Spent hours at a time doing it, scoring which marbles did the best. I'd play a game outside — also alone — where I'd throw a tennis ball against the basketball backboard nailed to a tree at the side of our driveway and try to catch the ball. One "team" was the thrower and the other "team" was the catcher, and if the catcher missed, the thrower scored a point, assuming the throw was in-bounds. First team to score 12 was the winner. I'd have tournaments. The teams were called Pic, Poc, Pook, and Peek. Each had its own throwing style and personality. Different windups, different arcs, sometimes different hands. Poc was my favorite and, not surprisingly, a frequent winner.

In retrospect this seems like a very boy thing: listings, scoring, winners and losers, competing.*** The imaginary tennis-ball competitors, though, had more specific criteria for winning and losing than songs do.

I never showed anyone my song lists, the ratings.

This doesn't mean there was no public purpose in this: remembering songs, knowing where I stood. But it was its own adventure, too.

So here we are. I'm still making lists, pitting songs against each other, sort of. Anyway, almost a year late, my 2016 list: as I said, I worked hard on it, listened a lot. Besides my public ongoing list I had a private YouTube playlist called "Borderlines" and another called "Interesting Songs Maybe, 2016," kept mining both for new entries, at the end had an extra 12 or 14 remaining on Borderlines that I kept relistening to, to make sure they shouldn't make the main list. I thought a lot about which songs deserved to be higher or lower, as if there was a difference between 58 and 68. (I'm going to be more casual tossing things in order this year. Just not going to spend the time.) All this on a blog which almost nobody reads anymore.

But I keep wanting to do these lists. It's one way of organizing my listening, keeping at least some of it contemporary, now that no one's paying me to review and I myself am not remembering to even look at the Great Competitive Election like the Voice's year-end poll (if it's still even a thing; I have no idea who won last year).

Of course there are plenty of other ways I organize my listening, and plenty of other questions I ask of music and of myself besides the big blunt-instrument ones, "How good is it?" and "Do I like this more than that?" But there's something pretty basic here, the question "Do I like it or not?" and "What's good?"; maybe even basic because the answers are so unsteady and the reasons so opaque.

Also, you're not seeing enough of my other questions anymore. I keep saying I'm going to post more. Maybe one reason the lists at least get posted — even this one, so horribly late — is that they have a timeline: first quarter, half year, three quarters, year's end. This one sort of has a deadline too (I'm on my sixth or seventh): at what point is it even beyond ridiculous to post it?

Here's an embed of the playlist. Honestly, I'd be surprised if anyone gives it the afternoon it would take, but I urge you to anyway. Just let it go in the background.

1. HyunA "How's This?"
2. Britney Spears ft. G-Eazy "Make Me..."
3. Crayon Pop "Vroom Vroom"
4. 4minute "Canvas"
5. FAMM'IN "Circle"
6. Céline Dion "Encore un soir"
7. Tiffany ft. Simon Dominic "Heartbreak Hotel"
8. Era Estrafi "Bon Bon"
9. DLOW "Do It Like Me"
10. Wonder Girls "Why So Lonely"
11. Kenji Minogue "Luxevrouwe"
12. Céline Dion "L'étoile"
13. NCT 127 "Fire Truck"
14. Serebro "Slomana"
15. Mike Larry "Such N Such"
16. Die Antwoord "Banana Brain"
17. Aommy "Shake"
18. Tiggs Da Author ft. Lady Leshurr "Run"
19. Céline Dion "Si c'était à refaire"
20. Oh My Girl "Windy Day"
21. Serebro "Let Me Go"
22. Serebro "Chocolate"
23. Yoonmirae "Jam Come On Baby"
24. MOBB ft. Kush "Hit Me"
25. Snow Tha Product ft. W. Darling "Nights"
26. Grimes "Kill V. Maim"
27. M.I.A. "Bird Song (Blaqstarr Remix)"
28. M.I.A. "Bird Song (Diplo Remix)"
29. Riton ft. Kah-Lo "Rinse & Repeat"
30. Your Old Droog "42 (Forty Deuce)"
31. Blackpink "Whistle"
32. NCT U "The 7th Sense"
33. Crayon Pop "Doo Doom Chit"
34. Shide Boss ft. Zack Knight "Women"
35. French Montana ft. Kodak Black "Lockjaw"
36. Future "Wicked"
37. BTS "Blood Sweat & Tears"
38. Kiiara "Gold"
39. Martin Solveig ft. Tkay Maidza "Do It Right"
40. ScHoolboy ft. Kanye West "THat Part"
41. Snow Tha Product "AyAyAy"
42. Reniss "Dashiki"
43. Young M.A "OOOUUU"
44. St. Lucia "Rescue Me"
45. Charles Kelley "Lonely Girl"
46. Leonard Cohen "You Want It Darker"
47. Erasmus "Ti Recordi De Me"
48. Selena Gomez "Kill Em With Kindness"
49. Oh My Girl "Liar Liar"
50. Wanna.B "Why?"
51. Luna "Free Somebody"
52. Tacocat "Talk"
53. Taylorgirls ft. iamtrinitytaylor "Steal Her Man"
54. Ladies Code "Galaxy"
55. Twice "Cheer Up"
56. Badkiz "Ear Attack 2"
57. Oh My Girl ft. Skull & Haha "Listen To My Word"
58. Vince Staples "Prima Donna"
59. Titica "Me Beija Só Na Boca"
60. Mamamoo "Taller Than You"
61. Die Antwoord "Dazed And Confused"
62. Jinco "Tokyo"
63. Tymee "Cinderella"
64. Tekno "Pana"
65. Motez ft. Tkay Maidza "Down Like This"
66. Cubicolor ft. Tim Digby-Bell "Falling"
67. Zay Hilfigerrr & Zayion McCall "Juju On That Beat"
68. Dev ft. Nef The Pharaoh "#1"
69. Die Antwoord "Fat Faded Fuck Face"
70. Rihanna "Needed Me"
71. Blackpink "Boombayah"
72. Wonder Girls "To The Beautiful You"
73. Far East Movement ft. Tiffany & Big Chain "Don't Speak"
74. Yemi Alade "Kofi Annan"
75. Sistar, Giorgio Moroder "One More Day"
76. Oxxid ft. Mind Invaders "Riser"
77. Young M.A "Quiet Storm"
78. Pussy Riot ft. Desi Mo & Leikeli47 "Straight Outta Vagina"
79. Die Antwoord "Bum Bum"
80. High 4:20 ft. Hwasa "HookGa"
81. Femm "White Noise"
82. Bobby "Holup!"
83. Jermaine Du Pri & Da Brat ft. The-Dream "F U Pay Me"
84. Warpaint "White Out"
85. Warpaint "New Song"
86. Perfume "Flash"
87. A Tribe Called Quest "We The People...."
88. Mickey Singh "Phone"
89. Alicia Keys "In Common"
90. KittiB., Jace ft. Kanto & DJ Juice "So Busy"
91. Snow Tha Product "Uhh"
92. Alicia Keys ft. A$AP Rocky "Blended Family (What You Do For Love)"
93. EXO-CBX "Hey Mama!"
94. Mozzik ft. Arta "Kom dasht"
95. King Bubba FM "Calling In Sick"
96. Hey Violet "Brand New Moves"
97. Wilkinson ft. Karen Harding "Sweet Lies"
98. Tacocat "I Hate The Weekend"
99. Clams Casino ft. Vince Staples "All Nite"
100. Carnao Beats "Love You For Tonight"

Céline Dion "Encore un soir." Seeming to be very gentle with what could have been a rousing anthem from a tune similar to "I Will Survive." So instead of flames of feeling we get little flicks of steel, while the track unobtrusively builds and builds. (I say "little flicks of steel" for that thing I can't describe in her voice. A glinty edge? It doesn't seem to be part of the discussion of her singing — not that I've visited much less taken part in many discussions of her singing.)

Tiffany "Heartbreak Hotel." Makes sense that, e.g., HyunA gets a solo K-pop career, with her warm jets of personality shooting out in all directions. Whereas Tiffany Hwang is a surprise, three powerfully passionate singles in one year: this track and "I Just Wanna Dance With You" and as the featured singer on Far East Movement's "Don't Speak." As I told [profile] arbitrary_greay over on ssnd-ffa, Tiffany's singing had previously seemed precise but rather characterless to me. "But 'characterless' turns out to be the perfect character for those tracks. The songs bring their own emotions, and a thin surgical voice is just the thing to not overwhelm them."

Kenji Minogue "Luxevrouwe." Heard of this duo when [personal profile] katstevens praised their turn as the fictional kuduro band Erasmus, also on my list at 47. Kenji Minogue's back catalog turns out to be disappointing, but their future (i.e., 2017) sounds good so far. So maybe it just took a while for their goofiness to overtop itself and become a vehicle for being extravagantly expressive.

Yoonmirae "Jam Come On Baby." My impression based only on occasionally dipping into Yoonmirae's oeuvre was of a respectable, socially committed Lauryn Hill type without Hill's fire. Whether that's right or not, "Jam Come On Baby" smolders beautifully. (Sorry, my writing seems to be stuck on a fairly impoverished set of heat and fire metaphors.)

MOBB ft. Kush "Hit Me." Starts with a one-syllable Joey Ramone sample, then launches right into a shouty Joe Strummer imitation, eventually working its way into exhilarating hip-hop shoutalongs. Lacks the Clash's heat, and the rebellion is totally staged, but all told it's a lot of fun. See also MOBB guy Bobby in track 82.

Tacocat "I Hate The Weekend." My wife's old neighborhood had been rundown and affordable, then gradually with the redevelopment around Coors Field it became a land of upscale bars and clubs, and weekends of yuppie hijinks. So Tacocat's rage at how weekend noise oppresses a neighborhood hits home, especially when that noise heralds gentrification.**** But I'm also ambivalent about this song's sentiment; don't think there's an ontological difference between having one's peace disturbed by drunken business boys and having it disturbed by the derelicts still holding on at the Jesus Saves mission a few blocks north, or having it disturbed by working-class weekend blowouts, or by marginal artists and intellectuals on a night of agony and fun, or by the kids getting out of hand in the MC5's "High School." Noise comes in all shapes and classes. That said, I love this song anyway because it captures a facet of my particular resentments. I also recommend "Generic Anger Poem" by Richard Meltzer,***** a poem that's neither generic nor all that angry. It kind of comes from the other side of "I Hate The Weekend," the anger here being at the successful artist loft types who forced the closing of a local punk club, except Meltzer manages to argue with himself and do right by the emotions from the other side, without losing his sense of being pissed off. It's actually kind of beautiful. But he does play up the same style of class justification Tacocat does, which I'm not really buying — though that I don't buy it doesn't mean I don't feel it. (Also doesn't mean that class isn't an issue at all: there are class inequalities between who can inflict noise and who can buy silence. And Tacocat has its own inherent ambivalence on the subject, since they are a band and a band is noise and bands live off the noise of weekends and this band is smart enough to make the video a party video.)

*Too fucking early as I was first writing this, about December 9.

**"I Had Too Much To Dream (Last Night)" was that fall, so was "With A Girl Like You." "Psychotic Reaction" was still getting airplay, so was "Cherry Cherry" and "Time Won't Let Me." Significantly not on my list was "Yellow Submarine," which bored me. Raucous and unmusical. (I still think so.) "96 Tears" gave me the creeps, the utterly insinuatingly mockingly snide way the singer went, "Cry, cry cry cry," examining our crying at arm's length, like dog doo. It was junior high school, though so were the rest of them. This one just went too far for me at the time. (Obviously not now, though maybe there's a current masterpiece that I'm loathing; I can't think of any current song that scares me like that did, immediately and viscerally. Maybe I oughta be as scared by a lot of what I like, but the fear isn't visceral when I hear it.)

***Though what do I know about girls and games and what they invented when they were alone. Or other boys, for that matter.

****Same thing happened in the area around Ellsworth and Broadway near where I was forced out a few years ago.

*****In his collection 17 insects can die in your heart.

This entry was originally posted at https://koganbot.dreamwidth.org/367192.html. Comments still welcome here, there, and anywhere.

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From Tacocat's anti-smartphone "Talk":

But I wanna talk
Talk until the neighbors knock
And I wanna move
Move the furniture around the living room
You may have noticed I ranked "Talk" higher than "I Hate The Weekend," mainly for the beautiful pang I get out of the former's melody and singing. But "I Hate The Weekend" is better than "Talk" to talk about. I don't have a lot of insight into why some pangs sound good.

Anyway, I haven't followed Tacocat fore and aft,* so don't have enough of a feel for them to know if they're aware of the tension between complaining about noisemakers in "Weekend" and wanting to be the noisemaking disturbance in "Talk." For all I know not only are they aware, they create these tensions deliberately.

Me, in my review of GN'R Lies:

To note that rock 'n' roll has contradictions is to do no more than note that, say, roller coasters have inclines and boxers have fists. Contradictions are functional equipment, just like amps and drums. The more unlivable the contradiction, the better.
*Though Clare points out the band name is a palindrome.

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