When I put together these lists, I make a concerted effort to focus on music I really listened to and enjoyed. That may sound self-evident, like, what else would you base it on? But since I'm such a rabid consumer and fan of music criticism and year-end lists in particularI'm easily swayed by other voices, and my list threatens to become more Kitty sixx midnight rendevous what I should like than what I Kitty sixx midnight rendevous like.
This is compounded by Kitty sixx midnight rendevous busy and lazy I am, meaning I usually finish my list in the last hours of the year, with all the other lists swimming in my head. But I am still compelled to try and set down a record of what really ended up on my stereo and in my headphones in a given year, regardless of any external pressures or factors, an attempt to balance What Everyone Thought was Important with an honest appraisal of music that gave me personal pleasure.
So this year, for a time, I struggled with this number one. The surprise of Blackstar 's January release, the shock of David Bowie's death just two days later, and the clear message of the album as an artist reckoning with his own impending demise were all almost overwhelming. The music was, like so much jazz, sometimes disturbing, and sometimes unbearably sad, and at times not so easy to listen to. But the sheer monumentality—the audacity, the genius!
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Of course it turned out that Bowie was not to be the only profound loss in From Prince to Carrie Fisher to shudder Donald Trump, the consensus is that this has been a terrible year of grief and defeat. I experienced my own shock and loss in June when my father died, words that still feel unreal and nonsensical to write. While his death was unexpected, looking back to the weeks before he passed, both me and my family now feel we see signs that he somehow knew his time was limited: Who's to say, of course, but it's Kitty sixx midnight rendevous if Kitty sixx midnight rendevous made his last days about leaving the greatest mark he could, in his own way.
Returning to Blackstar in the fog of anxiety and mourning after his death was sharp with pain, too real to be cathartic, just staring into the abyss, black and cold. How, then, in this cratered moonscape of a year, in the face of profound personal grief and cultural loss, to separate this music from the context? How to remove the songs from what they represent, from what has happened, to me and to all of us?
The answer is, I won't. While it's positive, of course, to include "enjoyment" or "total plays on the stereo" as factors in a list such as this, I was reminded, listening to Blackstar again after spending the first Christmas without my dad, that art is not always only pleasant, and great art is sometimes the most devastating.
Moreover, I will take this year and the music in it as a whole, as agonizing and harrowing as that may be, since that is the only way forward. Blackstar is, in a way, a true story, theatrical and conceptual, sometimes atonal and collapsing in on itself.
At its halfway point, the sprawling title track literally falls apart. Blackstar is a soundtrack to life and death; that it is also groovy, wry, hypnotic and entrancing, is nothing short of miraculous. Oddly, I'm reminded of one of my at the time least favorite Bowie releases, 's Earthlingwhich seemed to tag along Kitty sixx midnight rendevous the drum 'n' bass and electronica trends just as they weren't really edgy any more. However, in retrospect Earthling loses that whiff of faddishness, and the songs emerge, utilizing jungle's skittering rhythms and textures to propel tales of darkness "Dead Man Walking" and despair "The Last Thing You Should Do"both titles that would be right at home here.
Blackstar 's majestic shortened and rerecorded version of two-year-old Kitty sixx midnight rendevous "Sue" revives this frenetic double-time syncopated rhythm with rock intensity while imagining the narrator as the bringer of death, rather than the dying, and its placement at the center of the album is a reminder of the core theatricality.
Additionally, Bowie's collaborators on Blackstar include jazz saxophonist Donny McCaslin, known for an Aphex Twin cover or two, and that cacophonous tension infects the entire album, even the strutting and almost glam "Tis a Pity She Was a Whore. And of course, there's "Lazarus"; see my notes on that in the Songs list Kitty sixx midnight rendevous.
Ten years ago, J Dilla's Donuts was unquestionably my album of the yearand that album shares with Blackstar a heartbreakingly uncanny similarity in its release date coming just three days before Dilla's death.
It is also perhaps its closest antecedent in terms of process, as it was recorded mostly in the hospital.
You can feel the awareness of death all around, and the music is suffused with nostalgia and now-clear messages of farewell. While Donuts ' frenetic collection of micro-songs could not be more different from the extended tracks on Blackstar, there's an adventurous, jazzy spirit recognizable in both.
Amazing, then, that Blackstar ends on another surprising note, the almost wistful "I Can't Give Everything Away," opening with unabashedly '80s synth pads and harmonica trills—I almost get a whiff of Supertramp's "Goodbye Stranger" in its plaintive chords. The Kitty sixx midnight rendevous of the title seems to allow the phrase to contain all its various possible meanings, both coy and heartbreakingly generous: And here, my friends, Kitty sixx midnight rendevous light.
In a year of hip hop renaissance, with towering and legendary artists returning from hiatus or revolutionizing their output see belowhow wonderful that the most exciting sound of the year came from a year-old queer Haitian-Canadian producer still living with his mother. It's not fair or right to even call this hip hop, really, although in it is, and it isn't: Whenever you try to pin down There is indeed a "bedroom vibe" to the album's sometimes delicate, snappy beats, like on the glitchy opener "Track Uno," and Kaytra clearly looks to classic soul, disco and house for inspiration.
But the emphasis here is on soaring, unexpected chords oh, the chords! The minute I say that, though, I remember there is some stomp and bass and futurism, from the spare trap intensity of "Drive Me Crazy" and Anderson.
Paak collab Kitty sixx midnight rendevous Up" to "Vivid Dreams" and its low end throb. It's an album that doesn't just willingly ignore genre and its racial restrictionsit just acts as if genre never existed.
For such a young artist, the album is maturely paced, with a couple 2-minute classic-soul interludes, just as stupendous as any other tracks on the album, especially the hypnotic "Bus Ride," which evokes the psyche-lounge of David Holmes' classic Kitty sixx midnight rendevous Get Killed.
But the jams, they are a-plenty, and what jams! And let's not forget "Lite Spots," which I'll talk about below. It doesn't seem like too much of a reach to compare It was track 29, "Bye.
While both Donuts and house music are cleraly close to my heart, it never occured to me to combine them, and so when I heard British producer Vynehall's simple yet stunningly effective use of the same sample in 's "It's Just House of Dupree ," I was thrilled and a little envious.
The loop is so perfect and uplifting, perfectly pitched into three rising tones, I wished it could go on forever. Even so, Vynehall's full length debut that year Music for the Uninvited still took me somewhat by surprise, as it expressed a breadth of musicality and an almost symphonic approach to composition I was not expecting.
It ended up at 9 on my best albums list. After two years, Vynehall reappeared early in with a stupendous one-off single, "Midnight on Rainbow Road" see the Songs list belowwhich showcased an even greater maturity in his songwriting and production skills, but again, I was utterly unprepared for the glorious work to come. Rojus Designed to Dance is, nominally, a concept album, inspired by the mating rituals of birds of paradisea seemingly simple premise that expands in meaning and depth the more you listen.
The compositional complexity I appreciated on "Uninvited" has grown exponentially on Rojuswith layer upon layer of sonic texture and melody, a lush tropical jungle of sonic beauty. Similarly to "It's Just" in its reorienting of a J Dilla sample, track 2 "Saxony" seems to house-ify Flying Lotus, its cheeky retro choir's Kitty sixx midnight rendevous evoking Lotus's breakout "Massage Sitaution.
While the album functions best as a whole, "Blush" is a standout, its epic strings and swirling effects hypnotic and ecstatic, and its accompanying video watch the linked birds of paradise video above first!
Of course, Vynehall is making a point here, that our dancing and flashy clothes "peacocking," anyone? But he's also doing something more straightforward, and something more complex. First, I'd say there's something of a "tribute" in this album's nature, honoring the sheer beauty and ostentatiousness of these birds' displays, like Vynehall was just attempting to create something to approach the glory of nature.
But I'm also fascinated by a connection made explicit on "It's Just," Kitty sixx midnight rendevous opens with a sample of Willi Ninja from 's "Voguing: In a year where house music seemed to fall off the critical map entirely, and queer expression seems doomed to retreat, Rojus is a reminder of its glorious power. The album doesn't run from sorrow, it dives right in, and in doing so feels like a warm embrace for those in pain.
Track 2, "Weary," kicks off with a timeless vibe, a basic beat and simple piano line, but is joined by spacey video game tones and blips, placing the exhaustion of the lyrics firmly in There's something familiar about the vaguely '80s funk of "Don't You Wait," but the drums are strange, distorted, and synth pads swirl evocatively in the background.
Much has been made of "Don't Touch My Hair," rightly, which more than any song perhaps in history seems to embody the term "quiet storm," so quiet and delicate and yet so fierce. While Solange's voice is perfect as the centerpiece to this album, emotional and genuine, there was no more appropriate choice than Sampha to plead in the chorus, again and again, "What you say to me, what you say to me. Pitchfork rightly called this album "a miracle that barely deserved," and every moment of its 16 songs feels that way.
More so than just about any hip hop act, Tribe had been a symbol of a lost time of creativity in the genre since their last album inthroughout the crunk oughties and more or less empty early oughty-teens. It's incredible, and a sign of the creative resurgence of hip hop, that their new album sounds so relevant and contemporary.
Things kick off boldly with what feels like a signature Tribe beat and electric piano lick, and how welcome the sound of Q-Tip and Phife's voices, Kitty sixx midnight rendevous again with the thoughtful brand of what Robert Christgau called "conscious black humanism," imaginations soaring into space.
These casual revolutionaries slipped in under the wire, with an album released just days after Trump's win, an album that shouldn't even be here, and made us remember we could get up again when we get knocked down, and Kitty sixx midnight rendevous it from here. While Hyperdub is known for almost incomprehensibly frenetic and furutistic footwork releases, Jessy Lanza indulges without shame in '80s tropes like freestyle and twinkly synthy pop, like FKA Twigs fronting The Jets, or a reimagining of Madonna's first album, yet twists them subtly to her own ends.
She confidently inhabits and inverts these classic tropes—a purr of "I just wanna impress you"—with layers of irony and knowingness, the music flirting both with glittering cliche and Kitty sixx midnight rendevous to fall apart into glitched out computer errors at any second. Maintaining this tension is no mean feat, and like all great pop music, it allows you, begs you, to hum along, while hinting at great depths.
There's a distaste in our culture nowadays for directly addressing the political in art.
Witness the furious backlash any actor or comedian gets when they make any public statement about, you know, the world or whatever, and music that talks too literally about current affairs is looked down on as cheap or gauche, unwisely abandoning any ability to be relevant beyond the next week or so.
Into this troll-filled firing line charges Kitty sixx midnight rendevous righteous warrior ANOHNI, with a new all-caps name, fiery electronic minimalism assisted by Oneohtrix Point Never and Hudson Mohawke, and a willingness to sing what seemed unsingable.
It's easy to overlook, with this lyrical power, that behind it is some powerful and forward-looking future bass.
ANOHNI's voice seems more versatile and mature than ever, at times a delicate falsetto, other times richly soulful. She told Pitchfork that she was inspired by the political music of the '80s, and Hopelessnessironically, gives me hope, reviving that forgotten spirit of fury at the overwhelming injustice of our world, joined with a rousing commitment to new forms of beauty and joy.
Gospel music is not going to be a touchstone for me, but former church performer. Paak's lyrical flow and the Kitty sixx midnight rendevous, lush tone that brings it all together.
I suppose post-"Get Lucky" I shouldn't be surprised, but I'm still so happy that one of the hottest rappers in the world who first got noticed on last year's Dr. Dre album Compton feels confident enough to create the disco-riffic throwback "Am I Wrong.
Like the other great hip hop albums on my list, Malibu seems to mine lost seams of precious material from the past, creating new forms. While I've been resistant to Kitty sixx midnight rendevous experimental ambient music in the past with my conservative insistence on songs and structure and stuffthis year really seemed to throw open the gates to some spectacular work in the ambient field.
While there were many good albums see some below on my list from nonkeen, Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith, and Tim Heckerit's Centres which emerged as my favorite this year. The Vancouver-based Craig works, apparently, mostly in variously altered and intermittently functional tape players, and as someone who still treasures my disintegrating old cassettes, I find the organic decay layered on top of the fuzzy drone here deeply Kitty sixx midnight rendevous.
While at times this minute experience swirls like the snowy static of a distorted broadcast, it's held together by the gravitational pull of Craig's operatic voice, and what feels like real control over the chaotic forces at play.
You'll have to give this album a real chunk of time, but the reward will be a moving and cathartic experience. Norwegian artist Hval goes metaphor-wild on Blood Bitchnodding at vampirism and menstruation, the moon and ritual sacrifice, but as the Quietus put itthe album is not a single Kitty sixx midnight rendevous or easily reduced to a darkly romantic horror show, but instead a " palimpsest of ancient themes Pitchfork put this track at 30 on their Best Songs list, but the dude assigned to write about it seemed like he wasn't super stoked on the assignment, snarkily calling the track's astute sampling a "business model" based on "stamping [Drake's] name on" something he likes.
Now, not fair, Pitchfork; your top 29 is pretty full of big business-driven pop and hip hop, from what I can see. Moreover, I'm a firm believer in sampling, just as I'm a believer in mashups and bootleggery and culture jamming of all kinds, and the minute you put a upper-level income cutoff on the legitimacy of that process, you're a hypocrite.
Now, admittedly, even though I'm employed by one of the biggest Drake-pushers in the worldKitty sixx midnight rendevous must admit to being totally out of the central flow of the pop culture river these days, so it's possible the ubiquity of "One Dance" and Drake Inc. But honestly, I heard this song a lot this year, and I never, ever got tired of it. In fact, the more I heard it, the more beguiling it became.
But to my mind, "One Dance" is Drake finally successfully channeling Mr. Last Night   (composer) 12 composer, lyricist) First Rendez-vous  Denis Vanzetto  (mix, recording) # 1  Lizzie Grey  (writer) Mick Mars  (instrument) Nikki Sixx  (instrument.
producer) Gary Starr  (engineer) Kitty Haywood  (vocal) Lennie Pirani . United in Blood is a special night presentation of scary movies British hard core gamer and horror film enthusiast Jonathan Hughes has dedicated the past six months and Hughes plans to make it an annual rendezvous of female horror Kitty Kitty · Emma Dark · WIHM Official Selection · In You To Give.