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Exhaling And Wrestling: Top 100 Singles from the year that ended 11-and-5/6 months ago (yes, 2017)
koganbot
I finished this list mid February, then was beset by various blocks and distractions and by thinking I had to write something good, also that I'd waited and dithered just as long on the 2016 list. "At least I won't be as late as I was last year." And now I'm later.

And it feels like a different world: Over the past ten months American hip-hop became central for me again, so I'm wrestling again with and against a lot of tough talk, some of it atrociously retrogressive and seemingly stupid* but obviously I'm not ready to dismiss it or I wouldn't be wrestling. Anyway, if I were doing this list now Playboi Carti's "Magnolia" would be top ten. But I'm not doing it now.

Haley Georgia's "Becky" sounds as natural as exhaling — I can imagine someone coming across it unschooled and unaware and thinking it's in a genre that could do anything and go anywhere, make a song out of any old thing. And I don't know that this isn't true — I haven't been listening much to country this decade — but my sense of country is that it's the opposite: it's like trying to walk through grass-flavored cement. —Haley's subsequent EP, First Rodeo, from this year, 2018, may not totally shut the door on her promise, but doesn't renew the promise either, nothing like "Becky"'s skipping along from slide to single-note celebrations to conjuring David Essex out of thin air. I wonder where she can go for camaraderie and support. Too bad there's no Bali Baby for her in country to splash around with her and shoot stars every which way.

Lil Debbie did a duet with Bali Baby this year and it was Debbie sounding stuck in cement. Pondering Lil Debbie's "F That" as my 2017 number one, it seems kind of cute, the toughness so bogus — except when I listen it's still locked-in power, no matter how stiff Debbie is and unnatural in the idiom — I know that's a cliché, to call the white woman in hip-hop "stiff," but in this instance it's true and on this track doesn't hurt the music (white Bhad Bhabie's not at all stiff, but I'd still rate Bhabie's "Hi Bich" 5th to Debbie's "F That" at 1).

Here's the YouTube playlist, top singles 2017, and the list below, and more commentary at the end of that. I think the music's worth several hours, if you've got 'em. Beauty and surprise:



1. Lil Debbie "F That"
2. Jovi "Ou Même"
3. MC G15 "Deu Onda"
4. Haley Georgia "Becky"
5. Bhad Bhabie "Hi Bich / Whachu Know"
6. LOOΠΔ/Yves "new"



7. Ninety One "Su Asty"
8. Miso "KKPP"
9. Scooter "Bora Bora Bora"
10. Omar Souleyman "Ya Bnayya"
11. Bhad Bhabie "Cash Me Outside (DJ Suede Remix)"



12. Omar Souleyman "Chobi"
13. Pocket Girls "Oppa Is Trash"
14. BTS "Go Go (고민보다 Go)"
15. NCT 127 "Limitless"
16. CLC "Hobgoblin"
17. Juan LaFonta ft. Big Freedia "Bounce TV"
18. Koppo "Gromologie"
19. Pristin "Wee Woo"
20. Hyolyn x Kisum "Fruity"
21. Cherry Coke "Like I Do"
22. Lindsey Buckingham & Christine McVie "In My World"
23. Mr Eazi "Leg Over"



24. K.A.R.D "Rumor"
25. Twice "Knock Knock"
26. Franko "On S'assoit Pas"
27. Molly "Я просто люблю тебя (Dance version)"
28. Steps "Scared Of The Dark"
29. G-reyish "Johnny Gogo"
30. Yung Time Haaeeyaahaa!! ft. Mihney "Uh uh, uh hum"
31. Katy Perry "Swish Swish"
32. Boy TAG "Meet TAG Pt 1"
33. Nadia Rose "The Intro"
34. Zhonti ft. NN-Beka "ЗЫН ЗЫН"



35. Ashmute "Scenery"
36. Body Count "No Lives Matter"
37. Ninety One "Yeski Taspa Bii'"
38. K.A.R.D "Don't Recall"
39. Yellow Claw ft. Juicy J & Lil Debbie "City On Lockdown"
40. Miley Cyrus "Malibu"
41. Serebro "Пройдёт"
42. Twice "Likey"



43. Die Antwoord "Love Drug"
44. Vince Staples "BagBak"
45. Alternative TV "Negative Primitive"
46. Taylor Swift "Look What You Made Me Do"
47. Reniss "Pilon"
48. Bảo Thy ft. Kimmese "Là Con Gái Phải Xinh"
49. Kenji Minogue "Oekomta Mekaniken"
50. Olamide "Wo!!"
51. Tenor "Kaba Ngondo"
52. Celine Dion "Les Yeux Au Ciel"
53. Seyi Shay ft. Eugy, Efosa "Your Matter"



54. Maahlox le vibeur "Un Bon Plantain"
55. Mani Bella ft. Tenor "Déranger"
56. BTS "Come Back Home"
57. Celine Dion "Je Nous Veux"
58. Jovi "Devil No Di Sleep"
59. Sevyn Streeter "Before I Do"
60. Egor Creed & Molly "Если ты меня не любишь"
61. Sevyn Streeter ft. Ty Dolla Sign & Cam Wallace "Fallen"
62. Miso "Pink Lady"
63. HyunA "Lip & Hip"
64. Playboi Carti "Magnolia"



65. Tata "Ndaleh"
66. Tenor "Bahatland"
67. Sunny Sweeney "Better Bad Idea"
68. Grimes ft. Janelle Monae "Venus Fly"
69. Bảo Anh, Huỳnh Anh, Mai Hồ ft. Mr. Siro "Sống Xa Anh Chẳng Dễ Dàng"
70. Luis Fonsi ft. Daddy Yankee "Despacito"
71. Tenor ft. Mink's "On T'a Lu"
72. LAPS "Who Me?"
73. Titica ft. Osmane Yakuza "Docado"
74. Reniss "Manamuh"
75. Kim Lee & Lil Debbie "Boss Bitch"



76. Kedr Livanskiy "Ariadna"
77. IU "Jam Jam"
78. Sunmi "Gashina"
79. Tchami "Adieu"
80. Tei Shi "How Far"
81. Ninety One "MOOZ"
82. Jessi, Microdot, Dumbfoundead, Lyricks "KBB"
83. Ghislain Dimai "On ne vous a pas laissé"
84. Boy TAG "Meet TAG Pt 2"
85. The Black Madonna "He Is The Voice I Hear"



86. Lady Leshurr "Unleshed 2"
87. Xesi x Masew x Nhatnguyen "Túy Âm"
88. Willie Nelson "Still Not Dead"
89. Serebro "Между нами любовь"
90. Leningrad "Real St.P Bullshit"
91. Snoh Aalegra ft. Logic "Home (Remix)"
92. Xuxa Santamaria "Hollywood Babylon"
93. Bhad Bhabie "I Got It"
94. Kah-Lo "Fasta"



95. Black Dial "Сөйле"
96. Olga Buzova "Мало половин"
97. Lartiste "Chocolat"
98. Stereo E "Bilem'GO"
99. The Can't Tells "Faulting"
100. Mink's "Gigolo"

STUFF THAT SOUNDS LIKE OTHER STUFF
Every few months I type "loona yves new spandau ballet" into Google and my searches always come up empty (find some song lists and such, but nothing connecting LOOΠΔ to Spandau Ballet). This is strange. There are always K-pop fans who notice even vague resemblances between one track and another and type "PLAGIARISM" and hit submit. But no one here. So let me be the first to point out that LOOΠΔ/Yves's "new" sounds like Spandau Ballet's "True." It's not a copy, but it's got the same poignant early eighties atmospherics, same pangs and puffs. Same feel. Even if I'm the only one who thinks so.

(For instance, listen at 40 to 50 seconds into "new" where it goes "알게 된 내 new days/all my life by my life/나를 봐줘 이제/all my life by my life," esp. the repeated two-note drop.)

STUFF THAT SOUNDS FUNNY
Zhonti ft. NN-Beka "ЗЫН ЗЫН": Knocking about Kazakh music to put the boyband explosion into context, I found an unfunny humorous video with a husky guy — haha — thinking he could pick up girls (and he gets to be a comic 'cause that's a path to sidekick popularity if you're overweight); but I kept it on repeat because the music stomps and rumbles. A couple months in they added English in the closed-captioning, and the words were along the lines I'd expected but somehow more good-natured. There's some maybe hick humor — perhaps offensive or perhaps not at all offensive, I wouldn't know — referencing the cities of Shymkent and Aktau. The gags and references all seem to set up the compelling three-note dance rhythm.

Tenor "Kaba Ngondo," "Déranger," "Bahatland," "On T'a Lu": Don't know how much of his freneticism is meant to be funny — English-language commentary mentions his sense humor — but it's exciting, it's rhythm, it moves.

Kenji Minogue "Oekomta Mekaniken": I don't always know how to read this duo, how much is funny on purpose (a lot, I assume, and that I'm laughing with them). I like the physicality of their video. Pupae, chrysalids, emerging. They're getting better every year.

Leningrad "Real St.P Bullshit." Drinking is more real than thinking? Seems like a copout, but I could be misreading this too, culturally.

HYOLYN
Hyolyn x Kisum "Fruity": Hyolyn's got the best voice in K-pop, often doesn't know what to do with it. This track — a Nestle commercial — is almost perfect, calls for fast notes with a smooth delivery; rolling over the music's little bumps produces nice little emotional yanks, deliberately low-intensity amid the lightweight fun.

GOING SOMEWHERE?
NCT 127 "Limitless." While typing up my Haley Georgia blurb I was thinking that BTS and NCT also have the sense of "oh, you can go anywhere and make a song out of any old thing" but in their cases, for all the international creativity going into K-pop, a lot of the apparent variety feels like heavy effort, a genre requirement. Maybe that's why I ended up rating breezy knock-offs like Miso's "KKPP" and the Pocket Girls' "Oppa Is Trash" higher. They feel freer. In the meantime, the K-pop wonder and adventure may be moving to Kazakhstan.

STUFF I DIDN'T HEAR IN TIME TO PUT ON THIS LIST
Mozee Montana "Hayastan Booming": Obviously, lots of songs could've been on this list if I'd heard them in time or given 'em better listens when I did hear them. But anyway, Mozee Montana has more lilt and joy than her Russian compatriot rappers. Adept simile: "Всех отсекаем их, будто Оккам," which Google translates as "We cut them all off like Ockham." She still waves guns, though. Guns, parking garages, nominalists.

CONFLICTED
Playboi Carti "Magnolia": This song is genius, the deep riff sliding in slow motion and the voice nailing the rhythm while seeming to also slide off of it, casually juggling and brushing by "rock," "sock," "cops," "opps" rather than getting stuck in 'em. Add the video to it and fun lines like the sampled "Yo, Pierre, you wanna come out here?" are accidentally ambivalent: first it's a friendly invite, later it might seem an invitation to deal or shoot or get shot at. Density of social reference, brag here, bang there, tribute between the lines — Atlanta rapper apparently tipping his hat to a defunct New Orleans housing project known as "Magnolia," once the home of Soulja Slim and Juvenile. As for my conflictedness — well, my conflictedness is old stuff and has been for decades. As someone who has to go to genius.com to understand the references I hope I'm not glib about this. But if I were thirteen and this song were the big deal around me I'd probably find the emphasis on dope, clothes, jewelry, guns, girls, and money oppressive and retrogressive (it goes back more decades than I do, was being beaten into the ground in the roaring 1920s) and also a bit boring, no matter how good the wordplay. Thinking back to when I actually was thirteen, in my virtually all-white junior high, I might have perceived some of the hoods as restless, others as immobile — I don't really remember — and probably thought them braver than they really were. It was a restless time and no category was stable, "hood" disintegrating into "greaser" vs. "freak." I'm hoping that all the drawing from emo and punk in current Soundcloud rap is a sign of genuine social restlessness. I'm not deep enough into the words to know, but I don't think so. It seems stuck. I can't say if this is an insight, but the "greasers" back in my high school veered "conservative" in the sense that though they might have seemed at odds with official authority — teachers and principals and such — they really weren't interested in changing the social system that typed them as greasers, given that "greaser"†† is where they got their particular social identity, their own sense of status.



*And of course tough talk and dick-waving and stupidity aren't new, and of course stupid talk and dick-waving are banging us daily from the presidency, but that's not new either, though the dick talk is even louder and more insistent with Trump than it had been when Nixon was afraid of America becoming a pitiful, helpless giant. [EDIT: Btw, I'm not saying that "Magnolia" is dumb like Trump. Trump's not one for wordplay, among other things. But stuff like "Magnolia" does somewhat play into Trump's vision of life and how he tries to portray black culture. IRL most people aren't selling dope and shooting at each other. But art often likes melodrama, for better or worse.] [ANOTHER EDIT: And "tough talk" probably doesn't get Playboi Carti's flavor right, either. I'll think some more on it.]

†Producer Pi'erre Bourne also produced 6ix9ine's "Gummo," which for about a minute is just as compelling but then, without really changing, kinda runs out of gas.

††But I wasn't close enough to the greasers to know if, for instance, they even called themselves "greasers." In high school they called people like me "hippies," which by then — '68-'72 — was a word no one in our school used to describe themselves, and they didn't seem to distinguish between "liberals" like me and the actual "freaks" (though I guess I eventually became a freak-leaning liberal; anyway, people tend not to be neatly "in" any of the categories that swirl around them, and I'm guessing that was as true of the greasers as it was of me). Maybe I was failing to notice equivalent distinctions in the neighborhood of "greaser," and I actually wondered about this at the time (though didn't genuinely try to find out). [Btw, if the terminology "greaser" and such is unfamiliar to you, most but not all greasers were from working-class backgrounds, and most but not all freaks were kinda what I call the sideways middle class (as opposed to the normies, most but not all of whom were also from middle class families, and "normie" wasn't really a term people used on themselves. Most students weren't labeled, but nonetheless they all existed in the social landscape that the labels more-or-less described.]

This entry was originally posted at https://koganbot.dreamwidth.org/372325.html. Comments still welcome here, there, and anywhere.


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Cool!

They also say it was inspired by John Woo's "Face/Off": it's a thriller where John Travolta and Nicholas Cage get to imitate each other. Not sure I see where IDOL is like this, but I don't know the BTS characters well enough to see who is imitating whom.

For some reason my favorite recent BTS has been B-sides and album tracks (by B-sides I mean songs they used in their promo performances, usually) rather than their official singles.

Back in 1966 the Byrds did a TV lipsynch of "Set You Free This Time" where Roger McGuinn and David Crosby imitated each other:



Edited at 2018-12-27 10:37 pm (UTC)

Hey Frank, the nice people at livejournal sent me a mail notifying me that you posted an entry for the first time in a while. I see now it's not been that long, but I've been bad at checking in on livejournal blogs, so I'll try to catch up.

I've had a glance at your list and there's a lot I haven't heard -and I was about to say, here are songs for me to steal and put on my year-end list, but then, as I had already forgot, this is a 2017 list!

Enjoyed reading your thoughts on Magnolia.

Mat — Great to hear from you! Do you have any of your own lists posted anywhere?

If you want to see what I'm liking this year, I have a YouTube playlist of my favorite 2018 singles that is always under construction; at the moment it has 86 tracks on it. You can glance at it quickly here if you don't have time to play it.

https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLshHxICULapn8RIAxTi7mC5z7y4j2AFKu

Re: My 2018 playlist

I'm afraid no official master list. I operate with youtube playlists like you, but separated into genres and other labels and with stuff added with no prejudice.

Took a glance at your youtube list and found some overlap. And some unknowns. Lots of hip hop. My favorite discovery among the sounds of 2018 may be a Korean rapper called Jvcki Wai - she's been bubbling under the surface (I didn't know that then, but I've read it since) and started appearing above it last year, it seems, getting some online hits. This is one song I really like:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r076sitx4AE

That's a beautiful use of autotune, to me.

This month she got a legitimate hit. A #1. With some guys, but she's bringing both the hook and the first verse (Melon tells us she gets extended songwriting credits the other guys rapping don't get).

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KBouh6xLbdo


Edited at 2019-01-15 04:23 pm (UTC)

Re: My 2018 playlist

In the first song she namedrops Kim Jong Un, but youtube k-pop video distributor 1theK have censored it.

Re: My 2018 playlist

Oh, "Enchanted Propaganda" is definitely a candidate for my 2018 Top 100, and "Work Out" (Jvcki Wai, Kid Milli, NO:EL, Young B, Swings) will almost certainly make it. Despite what I hope is an outlook that's drastically different from 6ix9ine's, the rappers on "Work Out" manage a quietly intense analogue to that frenetic song where 6ix9ine quotes the old bounce tracks about "Don't start no shit, won't be no shit," but "Work Out" does it inside out, kinda, where it's the background that's giving the musical warning. (Well, I guess you could say that 6ix9ine's backgrounds are always giving an eerily sad musical corrective to his posturing and risk-taking.) Meanwhile (back to "Enchanted Propaganda") I can imagine Jvcki Wai joining Bali Baby in jamming pretty sandpaper treble into listeners' ears.

Edited at 2019-01-27 04:32 am (UTC)

Re: My 2018 playlist

Also with a solid shot is this Jay Park trap song:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CFICSD0P1p0

(My private "borderlines" playlist is as long as my Ongoing Singles playlist, all 86 tracks on the borderlines list being legitimately worthwhile candidates.)

Speaking of New Orleans bounce, Chicago's Queen Key does a remix of "Project Bitch":

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZO8czlC04tQ

Re: My 2018 playlist

That's a great Jay Park song I somehow had missed out on. I see some comments say it's not his best, but I'm guessing that's just a reaction to Jay Park taking a step away from the Korean scene. The guy is prolific, and tries a lot of different stuff. I also liked him showing up in Hoody's latest 'dance visual' video.

I guess one thing I like about Jvcki Wai is her ability to move so smoothly between flows, to hooks, to jamming freely and dreamily. Anarchy is a good example of that. She's working double time.

Speaking of Work Out, that label Indigo is really taking off. They had a show a couple of days ago and it seemed pretty electric. Here's Jvcki being taken aback by the power of the audience's response https://youtu.be/Xe3fzIif3_M

Work Out: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UIanAcZu8Qc
Dding: https://youtu.be/nrrUjyEF-7c



(Do you prefer replies on dreamwidth? I hadn't caught the move before now)

Re: My 2018 playlist

Jvcki's like a sixteen-year-old who's just discovering anarchy and anticlericism — which is pretty appealing, even in a twenty-two year old.

Replies on LiveJournal are fine: lj is where most people link me, and where I link to on my Twitter and Tumblr feeds. If you want to double-comment on both lj and Dreamwidth that'd save me the effort of transferring comments from one to the other, but I don't really mind doing so.

(Not to say many people are paying attention to either my lj or my Dreamwidth.)

Re: My 2018 playlist

She seems to have plenty enough reason and experience to hate the Korean church, anyway https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xl3gp6oCVQg

Re: My 2018 playlist

Very good Project Bitch remix.

belecrivain writes:

I think you're counting Ah Yah Mah! as a 2018 single? IIRC it was released at like 11:30 pm on 31/12/17 Almaty time (which still makes me laugh). The newest single is set to be released 1/1/19 at midnight Almaty time which is (checks clocks) about noon my time, 10 am your time still in 2018.

Tbh my favorite Bhad Bhabie single so far is "Geek'd," although I keep cringing at her guest rappers: y'all she's 15 tone it down a little, that kind of thing.

For what it's worth, Black Dial appears to be dead: the two rappers left in a hailstorm of drama in late 2017; the other three were posting covers earlier this year but their channel has since vanished off YouTube. I suspect whatever plans Yesbolat Bedelkhan had for them may have been disrupted by the tenge's slide, but I don't have hard evidence -- my main source for Q-pop gossip went offline midyear. The rappers, who were going by the stage names of L and Teddy when in Black Dial, have resurfaced as EQ: here's their first single.

Re: Belecrivain writes

Oh, I'm definitely counting Ah Yah Mah! as 2018 — if you click the link in my reply upthread to Mat, you'll see it currently at number 4.

I'll often assign December songs to the year that follows.

"Y'all she's 15 tone it down a little. What are you trying to do? Come on as 12-year-old boys?"

Edited at 2018-12-31 04:41 am (UTC)

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