Sunday, December 11th, 2016

Readers’ Week 2016 – the rest

We hope you enjoyed Readers’ Week this year as much as we did! While we only chose 15 songs, it was an agonising process to decide on them and there were a lot of other fine suggestions. Here is everything else, with words where we received them. Thank you for all of your suggestions and thank you as ever for reading.

Allie X – All The Rage
Rex Miller: Allie X is a star. Now the rest of the world needs to catch up. This glittering hook machine wasn’t the great introduction it should have been, but if she has anything up her sleeve even close to this it’s only a matter of time.

Banks – Better
Christie & the Dream Beats – Wasn’t My Fault
Cosmic Girls – Secret
GFriend – Navillera
Ivan Dorn – Ty Vsegda v Plyuse

K’naan, Snow Tha Product, Riz MC, Residente – Immigrants (We Get the Job Done)
Joe Newman-Getzler: “Immigrants (We Get the Job Done)” is a powerful track, recorded prior to Donald Trump’s election but even more explosive following it. The best rap song to deal with the travails of living as an immigrant since M.I.A. sat thinking on trains, Lin brings on four rappers to represent different immigrant groups: K’naan (born in Somalia), Residente (Puerto Rican), Snow Tha Product (Mexican-American), and Riz MC (British-Pakastani). All have different takes on being an immigrant, some just using their verse to lament the broken promises America has to offer (K’naan: “Man, I was brave, sailing on graves/Don’t think I didn’t notice those tombstones disguised as waves”) while others use it as a point of strength, showing how they outwork the ignorant white guys who try to prevent them from entering the country, as in Snow Tha Product’s verse. She also comes up with the song’s best line: “We’re America’s ghostwriters, the credit’s only borrowed.” As with the (fantastic) musical that inspired “Immigrants,” it’s on the nose but accurate. Some have complained the Hamilton whitewashes history too much, but I think tracks like this are proof positive that the show is primarily concerned with the more unsung heroes of America’s history. “Immigrants” isn’t about paying lip service to the constantly-lauded figures of American history; the fact that the quote from “Yorktown (The World Turned Upside Down)” that opens it is capped off by a blunt dismissal of ending enslavement from George Washington says a lot. True equality won’t be reached until all of America’s citizens receive equal acknowledgment, and the impeccably-produced “Immigrants” displays that perfectly. Looking forward to exploring these four talented rappers further.

Kero Kero Bonito – Graduation
Keyakizaka46 – Silent Majority
Lizzo – Good as Hell
MT Seas – I Can’t
Park Hyo Shin – Breath
Rich Chigga – Dat $tick
Serebro – Slomana

Taylor Swift – New Romatics
Wayne Zhang: One of 2016’s great joys was watching Kim Kardashian expose the great White Feminist Snake—but every time I try to disown Taylor Swift, she releases a song like “New Romantics” and I can’t help but fall in love with my problematic fave all over again. This isn’t a track; this is a declaration, every word and syllable weaponized with moxie (“I’m about to play my ace-AH!”). This is pretext for all of the Tom Hiddleston, Calvin Harris, Kanye West media bullshit; this is acknowledgement of her own faults and aspiration to self-awareness and improvement and redemption. Not just, “We’re play dumb, but know exactly what we’re doing”, but moreover, “The rumors are terrible and cruel, but honey most of them are true.” This is synths that sound like literal waves of nostalgia, pulsing while New York inhabiting, Max Martin and Shellback collaborating 26-year-old Taylor writes a letter to naive 14-year-old Nashville Taylor just getting started in the industry. Really listen: “We’re so young, we’re on the road to ruin.” This is the seventh and final horcrux single that will enshrine “1989” into eternity. This is a young woman with all the money in the world singing, “The best people in life are free,” without a hint of irony. Taylor owns every second.

Tyler Glenn – Shameless
Cameron Williams: “Shameless” may be the thesis statement of Tyler Glenn’s Excommunication, but it also sounds like a rallying cry for something far greater. This is not a song for the confident; they already live a life so shameless. This is a cry for 13-year-old me to stop apologizing and embrace everything he tried hiding away. This is a cry for 18-year-old me to finally stand up and take the first steps toward loving himself. Even now, at 24 years old, it’s the soundtrack to the commute home from a long day at work, or fist-pumping alone in my bedroom. These are spaces without an audience. But even in isolation, you can start a revolution where there is none.

UMNIA – Outer Spaceness

Reader average: [10] (1 vote)

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9 Responses to “Readers’ Week 2016 – the rest”

  1. Joe, you have such good taste with regards to your pick. “Immigrants” is straight up the best song off the mixtape.

  2. Thanks so much, Katie! I agree it’s the best song off the tape (that’s why I blurbed it), though “Helpless” and “Wrote My Way Out” are also strong contenders.

  3. every time i hear that line from new romantics i remember neil tennant talking about how taylor swift’s songs are actually about economics and her whole shtick gets really knotty and cool. like he definitely meant it as an insult but i think it’s a super interesting idea to take seriously—neoliberalism as both space in which music-making happens and subject matter.

  4. GFriend back for a reckoning, I see

  5. #OperationReviewNavillera failing like this. RIP

  6. this site gives taylor swift way too much credit.
    ya’ll are just as corny as her though, makes sense.

  7. you do realize this is a reader


  9. dang, we didn’t do “Good As Hell,” huh