Every year I do a top 10 list of my favorite albums released that year. I’ve also done lists of my favorite albums of the first half of the year. But I’ve decided to do something different this year. Instead of highlighting my favorite records from the first half, I want to highlight some of my favorite songs of the year so far. It’s likely that most of these albums will wind up on my year-end list (even though I haven’t heard the full Manchester Orchestra album yet), but for now let’s just take a look at the songs that stand out.
In No Particular Order
“Lookers”-The Menzingers-After The Party
The Menzingers have this really interesting ability to craft a sense of nostalgia. Not nostalgia for anything they are writing about specifically, just a general feeling of longing for past days. This has never been more present than in “Lookers”. The opening verse finds a lone electric guitar with vocals fondly reminiscing over an old photo, until the narrator realizes “but that was the old me and you, when we were both lookers.” From there the song moves into a soaring chorus that I can’t help buy yell along to. The Menzingers are edging their way in among my favorite bands, and with songs like this it’s no wonder why.
“Don’t Take The Money”-Bleachers-Gone Now
Jack Antonoff is near the top of the game of pop-songwriting. He has an unreal knack for melding unique production techniques and killer melodies, not to mention a poetic lyrical sense. This song mostly speaks to the ups and downs of relationships, but the phrase ‘don’t take the money’ can mean so much more. It encourages you to resist the urge to take the easy way out, that the gut feeling may not always be whats best.
“Legend Has It”-Run The Jewels-Run The Jewels 3
Some people are going to give me shit for including Run The Jewels 3 as a 2017 release, being as it was surprise released digitally on Christmas Eve 2016. The physical release wasn’t until January though and its my blog so whatever. “Legend Has It” is just a bad-ass song. The beat is unreal, and the ATL duo have never been more in sync. With a typical braggadocious rap style, Killer Mike and El-P burn through a ferocious 11 verses with a few interruptions chant based interludes and a gnarly AF breakdown. It’s a definite ‘get the party started’ kind of jam and gets my blood pumping every time it comes on.
Kendrick dropped “Humble” on us like a bomb, leading up to a very quick release of DAMN. With one of the sickest beats on any Kendrick track to date and a killer music video, K Dot proves his rightful spot as one of, if not THE, greatest rappers alive.
“The Gold”-Manchester Orchestra-A Black Mile To The Surface
GUYS. New Manchester!! I mean, if I’m being honest, this band could have released a cover of the alphabet song and I would think it was an incredible song. Luckily though with this track, my love is not wasted. A little more restrained than most Manchester songs, and teeming with influences from some of the band members’ recent work on the Swiss Army Man soundtrack, it sounds like this could be a great introduction to the direction the band is heading on the next full length due out in July. If this song is any indication of how good the album is, count me in.