@@@ Vanessa Rossetto: 1-4 early girl (Erstwhile Records, 2022) This could be my last listen off this Stereogum best of experimental records list as I have not been as impressed with this list as other Stereogum best of year lists. This is the fourth track on the record and it appears to be a spliced or long running field recording of folks in an urban environment. Maybe or maybe not on the urban part. I’m about halfway through and it definitely feels spliced with radio excerpts, vehicle sounds, etc. I like the handful of big jumps in environment that you you experience during the track but I’d like more going on here.
@@@ Tigercub: The Perfume of Decay (N/A, 2023) I got to this arena sized guitar driven rock via a music publicist. It’s most notable for the guitar shredding as wells as the contrast of soft dare I say shoegaze-y vocal stylings. The rhythm guitar is pretty standard with growling tones and big splashy rock drumming. I really like how the long, descending, somewhat rock star/somewhat non-rock star guitar riff drives the whole track and lifts it. I wish they had done a bit more in other areas but normie mainstream music can roll like that, it usually does.
@@@ Bassidi Kone: Kaira (Self-released, 2023) Oh man, if you’re up for some insane hand drumming to start or continue your day, check this guy. The music itself is very very layered with multiple string players, a strong female singer, electric bass, and a lot of rhythm tracks. I skipped to the next track, An Ka Ben, which throws an African marimba and a horn section into the mix. Oh Lord, it’s an incredible stew with the hand drumming slicing through like crazy. That’s right like crazy is an acceptable music review term. The playing here is at a very very high level and it is a unique listening experience. The large ensemble sound of all musicians playing organically is beautiful.
@@@ Young Fathers: Heavy Heavy (Ninja Tune, 2023) Off this week’s All Music notable release email. These guys are black (Afro-British and they bring a little swing and black music tradition to their mash of rock and mainstream music. I correct myself, this is not rock, it’s pop rock music with big melodies. I like the energy and I like the vocal melodies but I need more. I can see this going somewhat big here in the America with the epic pop music fans.
@@@ Melt Yourself Down: Pray For Me I Don’t Fit In (Decca, 2022) I got to this major label slightly punky and brash rock that hit the Guardian’s best at mid year list. I like the attitude, and after that it’s pretty manicured which as I’ve been through a million times before is contradictory to the pose. This is attitudinal music for centrist people who get a bit disoriented when shit gets hectic and out of hand. I like the bass player, he/she/they are killing it and then you know it’s less interesting. It’s not disappointing it’s just aimed at another set of listeners of whom I’m not a member.
@@@ Blood Incantation: Timewave Zero (Stargate Research, 2022) This is a top metal record of the year if you believe the website Vulture. I’m not sure so I’m listening. I may have heard this earlier in the year as it has a distinctly dark ambient feel to it and I remember hearing a metal record like that earlier in the year. Yeah, I’m clicking through the first three tracks and I’m hearing dark ambient stuff and it’s okay but I’d rather hear a dark ambient smashed into metal feels to be honest. I’m guessing the composers of this list do not know of the plethora of great ambient music out there.
@@@ Rosalia: Motomami (Sony, 2022) Some Spanish language electro dancefloor banging off this Vulture list which I think I’m done with. It’s got a little Prince to it, some chanting/piled vocal hooks and I would like it more if it had a groove. Ooops that was quick and we’re onto a tinkly ballad thing. The next track, Diablo, is more fun with a stripped boombaton beat, some glitched/pitch shifted vocals and a clearer funk intention. I like the keyboard vamp, it’s awesome. There’s some creativity at work in this record for sure. I don’t think it’s a best of 2022 bomb for me but I recognize freshness even if it comes from a major label.
@@@ Rihanna: Born Again (Def Jam/UMG, 2022) I’ve never really understood why Ri Ri is such a big deal musically. I understand she’s a cultural and business force but I find her music to be pretty unremarkable. This is slow piano jam, a tearjerker but she brings it mostly with a strong powerful vibe so it’s a blend of sadness and empowerment which I think works for the new Black Panther movie. There’s a strange break where she’s sort of grunting/chanting and I think it signifies struggle. Points for weirdness. That’s actually the end of the song and it’s a strange end to a track. I think it’s an alright track, nothing to special so my perception is reinforced.
@@@ Margo Price: Lydia (Loma Vista, 2022) This is another slow jam, this time with strummed acoustic guitar and cello. Price comes in almost mouse-y and I dig that as the epic vocalizations can get tiresome. There’s alot to like here — the plainness of the production and the sparseness of the arrangement really emphasizes the lonesome nature of the lyrics which I believe is an ode to a woman who’s having a rough go. Addiction, aloneness it’s in that neighborhood. It’s a 6 minute banger so I hope it morphs a bit to keep me interested. It’s not an all time track for me but I like it.
@@@ Customer: Floorboards (Customer HQ, 2022) More the angular ’80s punk than the old school hardcore business. Don’t like the guitar in the verse but the chorus it breaks out into a nice bit. It’s not too much art school for me, but it’s pretty close. Female singer, she’s flat but that’s the gig and she works it up a bit in the chorus. There’s a B side to this single and it’s got more gas in the tank, the drummer is doin’ it for sure. Solid business, not blowing my mind but most of the way to whipping the kind of shitty I enjoy. Nice guitar blastoff in the second half of the second tune.
@@@ Babehoven: Often (Double Double Wammy, 2022) I got to this record via the Twatter, the new and improved Elon Musk Twatter which doesn’t seem that different. This is the last track on the record and it’s a strummed acoustic guitar and mopey singing and then a little epic stuff in the background and then a very nice electric bass line. The bass player is the star here and the singer is kinda letting me down. I know America loves a mopey indie vocalist. Let’s give a quick peep I don’t like sending an opinion out there based on the last track on a record. The opening track also commences with acoustic guitar. This track gets a full drumkit and a slack vibe, so it’s the classics people. Same thing you can love the singer while I’m agnostic.
@@@ Guchi: Taken Over ft. Ladipoe (Mad Solution, 2022) I’m going bottom to top today and this is my second listen off the African section of Apple Music. It’s very similar to the track below with a chill sitch and lower tempo. Let’s skip over to the track which is clipped below. More smooth loverboy business but from the female point of view. I really like the keyboard part and the beat is all right but it’s too normie for me. African normie is still normie. A bit of a bust today with the African Apple recommendations.
@@@ Asake: Terminator (Empire, 2022) I’m checking out the African section of Apple Music and this guy is towards the top of the recommendation list. It’s a chill electro r&b with plenty of call and response, but very influenced by American r&b. Big big loverboy feels when the lead vocalist comes in. A nice single line clean guitar solo, then back to the autotuned vocals. It’s a solid groove but this is for the ladies, smooth business.
@@@ Connie Constance: Hurt You (Play it Again Sam, 2022) Two listens off this week’s Line of Best fit email. Slotted as alternative on Apple Music this tracks opens very pop rock with a big crushed drum sound and a rock bass pumping under Constance’s voice. No grunge guitar it’s more of an ’80s sound and no big guitars though we haven’t hit the chorus. This is the way, this is the way that I hurt you. Think Duran Duran but female powered. It’s very manicured and structured which works for a lot of people but less so for me. I’m giving a quick peep to track 5 Mood Hoover because it’s got a nice title. I like this track more than the one clipped below. In the end I like a shitty well whipped and this whips no shitty.
@@@ Caity Baser: X&Y (EMI, 2022) Major label pop music with the vocal hook you’re not my X, you’re my Y. Oy, this track is structured similarly to the track up top but Ms. Constance doesn’t traffic in the cheese that this young lady does. It’s even got a whistle solo. It’s more the junior high lyrics that annoy me. This is a waste of time, some drums, a fat panned bass, and then her. No soul, just sass, and some time I will never get back.
@@@ Lil Baby: It’s Only Me ( , 2022) I know Lil Baby is a big deal but I’ve been finding a lot of mainstream hip hop these days pretty disposable but I do hear on this first track Lil Baby is a cut above. I don’t know if he’s the king but that’s not my call to make. He’s got a slippery flow, you can understand what he’s rhyming and he still melts it and makes it play doh his style is interesting. It’s a pretty stripped arrangement which works to center his shit. The second track opens with some half cheesy piano and guitar before Lil Baby hops in and starts throwing around strong statements about his lifestyle and what he does when he gets in the joint. I think the key here is how he just rhymes right in the middle of these beats, he’s rhythmically in and out like a boxer. Lil Baby ain’t lazy, he’s a craftsman.
@@@ M.I.A.: MATA (Island, 2022) Off the front page of Apple Music’s new music playlist it opens crazy energetic with big ensemble hand drumming before it gives way to a children’s chorus. M.I.A.’s no fucks given vibe remains undefeated, she really does not give a fuck. The second tune is Freedom is a State of Mind Part 2 and it settles into a slightly ethnically flavored electro track with fat bass and M.I.A. rhymes. It recycles some sounds from the previous track which is Freedom is a State of Mind Part 1. I like this as it rides the fine line between structure and total blown out chaos. I can’t say that I absolutely love the children’s chorus in each track but it’s part of the package and her flow. Tons of energy, plenty of weirdness, a healthy amount of non American sounds and cultures, overall a version of mainstream culture I think is not meaningless.
@@@ TSHA: Running (Ninja Tune, 2022) This is slotted as electronic music but it opens with an insistent guitar vamp that gets some panned out wide wooden sticks added, then a tambourine and a diva sample. It’s pretty unique and I hope it holds up for the whole track. Dramatical but not crazy cheesy, this is mainstream music you can kinda get with because it’s not over the top. It’s got the classic four on the floor and the diva samples but it’s got some sectioning going on, the guitar drops out with just the rhythm, the rhythm drops out in places and then the guitar and the rhythm come back to take you out. I’m giving a quick peep to Track 2 The Light and it’s got the same funky and focused arrangement style. Oh shit they got a steel drum up in this banger, you can’t fuck with that. I’m going to circle back on this record as the two tracks I’ve checked out have been pretty hot.
@@@ Charlie Puth: Loser (Atlantic, 2022) Maybe from the hat I thought Puth was a sexy new country dude but he’s more than just that, he’s a mainstream hottie and you get a big electro pop biscuit when you tune into this track. He doesn’t have that goofy likability of Ed Sheeran, he’s more of a sexy thing. Musically it’s pretty derivative stuff, a bit of funk but not too much for the suburban shopping mall young women out there. Lyrically, it’s just as derivative. To me this is pretty meaningless business and not worth anybody’s time.