Monthly Report: December 2015 Singles
1. Brothers Osborne - "Stay A Little Longer"
It's always weird to do my December roundup after I've already done my year-end list, but hey, I'll take any excuse to write about the records I like some more. "Stay A Little Longer" was already high on my list of the best 2015 country singles, really looking forward to the album that Brothers Osborne are releasing next week. Here's the Spotify playlist I've been adding favorite songs to all year.
2. JR Castro f/ Quavo and Kid Ink - "Get Home (Get Right)"
DJ Mustard R&B tracks have been suffering from diminishing returns for well over a year now, but this one has really grown on me, nice variation on his usual sound and a great chorus. Quavo keeps sounding really good on features without the rest of Migos, it really feels like a matter of time before he starts to become a solo star.
3. Kevin Gates - "Really Really"
Kevin Gates has had 4 'retail mixtapes' out through Atlantic over the past few years but Islah is coming out in January as the big hyped up real album, and I'm interested to see whether it actually raises his profile past where he's already been for a while. The five songs that have already been released from the album are all pretty good, but so far "Really Really" feels like the breakout hit. I like how the Orioles hat Gates sports in the "Really Really" video has kind of become his signature look, dude is probably aware of how strong his following is in Baltimore.
4. Janet Jackson - "Unbreakable"
"No Sleeep" was a really pleasantly low key comeback single for Janet, but the title track to Unbreakable is also interesting as a follow-up, even more of a quiet restrained cut for 'adult' R&B radio. The album track is almost 4 minutes long, but the intro and outro get cut off for the radio edit, which is only 2 and a half minutes, making it feel like this really strange fleeting pleasure.
5. Conrad Sewell - "Hold Me Up"
300 Entertainment is mainly known as the incubator label for street rap stars like Fetty Wap and Young Thug, but their roster has some surprising people on it, like Coheed And Cambria and this guy, an Australian pop singer. "Hold Me Up" is one of his less successful singles in Australia, but it's the only one I've heard on the radio in America. I guess his guest vocal on Kygo's "Firestone" is his biggest hit, but I like "Hold Me Up" a lot more.
6. 5 Seconds Of Summer - "Hey Everybody!"
More Australians! 5 Seconds Of Summer occupy a weird cultural niche as a pop punk band marketing to the One Direction crowd. A decade ago Good Charlotte used to be the sellouts that "real" punks hated, but now Good Charlotte are part of the repertory of Warped Tour vets who write songs for 5 Seconds Of Summer. "Hey Everybody!" is one of their best and most obnoxious songs, and the shameless interpolation of "Hungry Like The Wolf" on the verses is really shrewd because aligning themselves with Duran Duran really does recall the fact that there have been bands caught between the worlds of punk and pop for decades now.
7. Silento - "All About You"
It's been over 6 months now since Capitol Records signed Silento, made "Watch Me" into a gigantic hit, and deleted all his other songs that he'd had on Soundcloud or wherever. And they've yet to release any other music from him, which seems dumb because they're just dooming the kid to be a one hit wonder without even trying to strike while the iron's hot with a follow-up single. But this song has been making the rounds on YouTube and elsewhere and they'd be stupid not to release it.
8. Chris Cornell - "Nearly Forgot My Broken Heart"
Cornell's guest vocal on the Zac Brown Band's "Heavy Is The Head" is by far my favorite thing he's done lately, but this song from his last solo record has grown on me lately.
9. Catfish and the Bottlemen - "Cocoon"
This song didn't do as well as its predecessor "Kathleen" and dropped off the rock charts months ago, but one of the local stations I listen to, DC101, has kept it in rotation and I really kinda love it. I've never been a fan of the jerky drunken lad rock Oasis/Arctic Monkeys end of the British rock spectrum, which is what Catfish And The Bottlemen remind me of, especially on "Coccoon," but I really like that chorus.
10. Tamar Braxton - "Catfish"
For every good song Tamar Braxton makes, she seems to have a couple ill-advised trend-chasing tracks. This song is a little of both, though, because it's called "Catfish" and has a chorus about flexing and should be completely embarrassing but it's really kinda great.
Worst Single of the Month: TK N Cash - "3 Times In A Row"
I didn't like these guys when their first single "Mind Right" was a minor hit months ago, and I don't like this one either. But mostly I'm just amused by them now because they responded to me complaining about them on Twitter.