Monthly Report: May 2012 Singles
1. Norah Jones - "Happy Pills"
Now that Danger Mouse has no doubt made a nice amount of money, I think he should finally go ahead and treat himself to a new snare drum sound, preferably one that's not so flat and dinky. That said, I do really like this song and enjoy hearing NJ's voice on something more modern. "Sunrise," still my favorite thing she's done, was an intriguing early glimpse at what she can do outside of a trad jazz ballad context, and it's cool to hear a further step out. I enjoy how the title lyric is kind of buried in the first verse. Also, lord, she's just the most gorgeous person in pop music, always nice to have her around.
2. Dead Sara - "Weatherman"
I had a great mindmeld moment with Maura recently where we both discovered this band and this song the exact same way in the same week, browsing Billboard's rock chart Spotify playlist and being blown away by this roaring female-fronted hard rock band, who are a bit more awesome than Crucial Taunt flashbacks I was getting from Halestorm last month. The Dead Sara album is really great, too, if I'd heard it a little earlier it'd definitely be in my April ablums list.
3. Rihanna f/ Chris Brown - "Birthday Cake (Remix)"
I always loved the original minute-long "Birthday Cake" album cut, and when it became a huge radio hit in the Chris Brown remix incarnation, I felt as conflicted as I do anytime that shithead is on a song I enjoy, although I have grudgingly featured him in this space in the past (most recently with last year's "Yeah 3X"). Obviously, him working with Rihanna again makes this all too complicated to get into, and I wonder if them unfollowing each other on Twitter, in the latest chapter of this weird tiresome unpleasant saga, lets me off the hook slightly to say I like this song. But I dunno, fuck it, this is a good track.
4. Young Jeezy f/ Future - "Way Too Gone"
This was a huge standout for me on TM 103 when it dropped, an amazing track that finally made me understand the buzz around Mike Will's beats, and at the time all I wanted was for the album to be successful enough that this track would get some burn. Six months later, it's the biggest radio album in Jeezy's career (three top 5 R&B chart hits where each previous album only had one top 10 hit), and my favorite song finally has a video and a little bit of mix show play.
5. Foxy Shazam - "Holy Touch"
Over the next few months, people will try to tell you that fun.'s "Some Nights" is a good Queen homage, and I want you tell those people to shut up and listen to Foxy Shazam's "Holy Touch" instead. It's not as good as their previous single, "I Like It," but it's also not as offensive, so there's that. Also, best ending of any song this year.
6. Ashanti f/ Busta Rhymes - "The Woman You Love"
When people talk about those dark days of 2001-2002 when Murder Inc. ran shit, they tend to focus on how wrong it was that Ja Rule was arguably the biggest star in rap, when it was really equally offensive that Ashanti was arguably the biggest star in R&B for a minute. I've found myself appreciating her more in her commercial decline, though, as she's made some really dope songs like "Only U" and "Good Good" and now this big awesome banger.
7. Foo Fighters - "Bridge Burning"
Three months ago I grudgingly listed "These Days" while once again griping about what a lame choice it was to follow-up "Walk" with the closest thing to another song like "Walk" when there are so many great uptempo songs on Wasting Light. But the Foo Fighters finally threw hard rock radio a bone and released the fastest, heaviest song on the album as a single, albeit belatedly and without a video, when it really should've been in the middle of the singles campaign like "No Way Out" a couple albums back.
8. The Offspring - "Days Go By"
The Offspring have always had a pretty strange, unpredictable creative process, to whatever degree you can even say they have a creative process. There was the time they convinced Rancid not to sign to a major label, then did so themselves, and their first single was the fastest punk song they'd ever done, and then the follow-up sounded like The Cult, and then they had a weird period as a jokey rap/rock novelty act. Now, perhaps realizing that the Foo Fighters have had a much better career in recent years, they've done the logical thing and transparently rewritten "Times Like These." But I like "Times Like These," and this is a surprisingly listenable knockoff. Still, these fuckin' guys.
9. T.I. - "Love This Life"
As the initial buzz from his run of post-jail remixes dissipates, the run-up to Trouble Man is starting to feel just as listless and inauspicious as
10. Kanye West, Big Sean, Pusha T and 2 Chainz - "Mercy"
As 2 Chainz continues to become more ubiquitous with every passing week without generating much actual excitement, I'm starting to feel disappointed in dude that he's not making the most of the opportunity and killing more of these features -- that awful "Beez In The Trap" verse being the most glaring example, but there are many. This is one song where he really does deliver, though, and makes me enjoy a track I generally have a lot of mixed feelings about. I love when DJs just skip past Big Sean and Pusha and just play that weird Kanye beat switch and the 2 Chainz verse.