Monthly Report: July 2016 Singles
1. Phantogram - "You Don't Get Me High Anymore"
"Fall In Love" was one of my favorite singles of 2014, but I like that they don't really have a particular sound they lean on, every single they come out with sounds fairly different from the others. I wasn't sure about this one at first, and I thought the 20-day countdown clock on their website for a moderately popular group to release a new single was kind of ridiculous. But it's grown on me, the quiet pre-chorus is a great contrast to the hard-charging beat of the rest of the song. Here's the favorite 2016 singles playlist I add songs to every month.
2. LÉON - "Tired Of Talking"
I heard this song on a local pop station once and am basically obsessed with it now, she's a Swedish singer who released an EP on Columbia last October, and this song has 28 million plays on Spotify, but it hasn't really broken through and charted in America yet. I'll be surprised if it doesn't, though, it fits perfectly in with the sound of Top 40 radio right now but has this unusual relaxed lilt to it that not enough hits have these days. The whistling bit will probably help it but I feel like the song doesn't need it.
3. Fergie - "M.I.L.F. $"
I've always kinda rooted for Fergie's solo career, her only album came out almost a decade ago but it had more great singles than nearly any pop album since. And while 2014's "L.A. Love" rode DJ Mustard's coattails pretty well, it just wasn't quite the comeback single she needed, and "M.I.L.F. $" reunites her with the producer of some of her early hits, Polow Da Don, for something a little closer to that bonkers Fergie swag that only she can pull off. The cameo-filled video made a big splash when it was released, but I'm not sure if it will take off at radio -- it kind of reminds me of songs like Nicki Minaj's "Stupid Hoe" or Britney's "Work Bitch," things that were a little faster and trashier than everything else out and got kind of shut out of radio play. I love it, though, it's ridiculous.
4. Jon Pardi - "Head Over Boots"
Jon Pardi has been kicking around the country radio charts with some minor hits for a few years, but this is his first big top 10 hit, and it's really grown on me, the kind of cheesy sweet little song with slide guitar that is sadly rare these days. I kinda want him to be really successful just so I have opportunities to refer to him as PardiNextDoor.
5. Lloyd - "Tru"
It's been 5 years since Lloyd Polite, Jr.'s excellent last album King Of Hearts, and it was a really pleasant surprise to turn on the radio one day and hear him explaining his absence on this bittersweet autobiographical ballad.
6. Ingrid Michaelson - "Hell No"
The single from Ingrid Michaelson's last album, "Girls Chase Boys," was this kind of surprising perfect pop jam from someone who'd built a little indie Adult Album Alternative empire without those kinds of big uptempo hooks. "Hell No" isn't quite as good as "Girls Chase Boys," but I'm glad she's still pushing in that direction, it works for her.
7. YFN Lucci f/ Migos and Trouble - "Key To The Streets"
YFN Lucci has been growing on me lately, especially after I realized that Wish Me Well 2 is full of piano ballads. "Key To The Streets" is a decent radio breakthrough, it's odd to get a leg up from Migos when they seem to be on their way out of fashion, but Lucci and Quavo's voices sound good together on the chorus.
8. Anthony Hamilton - "Amen"
It amuses me how this song practically takes Meek Mill's "Amen" and just reshapes it to be less sacrilegious, but really Anthony Hamilton is always a welcome presence on R&B radio and this is his best song in a minute.
9. T.I. f/ Marsha Ambrosius - "Dope"
The idea of a T.I. track produced by Dr. Dre with an Aaliyah sample seemed really dull and lame on paper, but this song grew on me. Tip hasn't had a good smooth R&B single in a while and he has a great flow for tracks like this.
10. Brad Paisley f/ Demi Lovato - "Without A Fight"
I like both of these artists, and I don't wanna sound like a prude, but it is a little weird for Paisley, a 40-something who's married to someone his own age, to do a steamy duet about makeup sex with a pop starlet 20 years younger than him. This song has a nice Stonesy riff, though, it works musically.
Worst Single of the Month: Kiiara - "Gold"
This kind of "trap indie pop" has been some of the worst music in the world for a while now (and I say that even having praised the Bishop Briggs single last month). But man, all the wonky vocal loops that have been big on the last Bieber album and other big pop records lately, they really jumped the shark with this song, it's just incredibly annoying, I'm ready for this sound to die.