Monthly Report: February 2017 Singles
1. DJ Khaled f/ Beyonce and Jay-Z - "Shining"
There's not much I can say about music's biggest power couple other than that their musical chemistry is kind of unremarkable. Out of a dozen or two collaborations over the years, this is only maybe the 3rd or 4th that I would describe as a keeper. With that kind of batting average, hopefully that duo album that keeps being rumored can just stay in the vault and they can let out the one or two tracks that came out this good. Danja is a genius and hasn't had many prominent credits in the last few years, so it's great to see his production credit on here. And this is the first Jay verse in the past year that I've really enjoyed. Here's the 2017 singles playlist I update every month.
2. Red Sun Rising - "Amnesia"
Red Sun Rising pretentiously uses the hashtag #WeAreThread to describe their genre music on some 'no genre fits us' shit, which is hilarious because they sound even more like Alice In Chains than most of the other neo grunge bands that have crowded hard rock radio over the past 20 years. I hated their first couple hits, especially "Emotionless," but their third single is a pretty spirited little rock anthem.
3. Adele - "Water Under The Bridge"
The 4th single from 25 is probably my favorite. But the backlash to her winning all those Grammys really speaks to how poor a job Adele and her label did of capitalizing on their giant blockbuster or building goodwill outside her fanbase. They didn't release the best uptempo track until over a year after the album came out, and instead of performing it at the Grammys she just did "Hello" again way after everyone got tired of it. It was cool that she let Greg Kurstin have a televised acceptance speech, though,
4. Thomas Rhett - "Star Of The Show"
Tangled Up had a lot of hits on it despite being a wildly uneven album, but I'm surprised Thomas Rhett put out a deluxe reissue with a new single this good when he could've really used "Star of the Show" to launch a new album.
5. Bishop Briggs - "Wild Horses"
This was the first Bishop Briggs song I heard in an Acura in 2015 that made me do some detective work and suspect that she was signed to a major label before Island Records officially announced it or released anything, and now it's her follow up to the radio hit "River." Everything they've released so far has made pretty good use of her whole trap goth trip hop alt rock soul sound, hopefully the album is on the way.
6. Sevyn Streeter - "Before I Do"
I've been waiting years for Sevyn Streeter to finally release a full length album, and the appropriately titled Girl Disrupted keeps getting pushed back. This is the 4th or 5th single they've released since last summer, her voice is really good for a gentle slow jam like this.
7. Mariah Carey f/ YG - "I Don't"
At this point Mariah is treated as this fallen pop superstar that no radio format change will touch, which is a shame because she still makes perfectly good R&B, and probably deserves to at least have a nice steady run of R&B radio hits like other past prime superstars like Usher or Janet Jackson or whoever. Mariah kicked off her run of rap collaborations with ODB of all people back in the day, so the fact that she continues handpicking these grimy non-superstar rappers for guest verses makes me feel like she's really just that serious of a hip hop head.
8. Eric Church f/ Rhiannon Giddens - "Kill A Word"
"Kill A Word" was never one of my favorite songs on Mr. Misunderstood, and Blake Shelton's "She's Got A Way With Words" did the whole heavy handed 'wordplay about words' thing even more awkwardly. But I like the song's backing from the Carolina Chocolate Drops, and the single version really benefits from CCD's Rhiannon Giddens singing lead on a few lines. Plus it's cool to hear a black woman singing on country radio, since Beyonce and Fantasia and K. Michelle's country songs last year didn't get any airplay.
9. 2 Chainz f/ Gucci Mane and Quavo - "Good Drank"
Migos were hilariously offended when 2 Chainz had a great line pointing out that Three 6 Mafia did the triplet flow before them, so I'm glad they all patched things up and went on to work together pretty often. I'm kind of impressed that Mike Dean can still do such an elegantly simple southern banger like this, I thought maybe he could only do those frilly overstuffed G.O.O.D. Music tracks now.
10. Zayn and Taylor Swift - "I Don't Wanna Live Forever"
Pretty much everything about this song made me want to hate it before I even heard it. Zayn and Taylor Swift uniting for their respective unconvincing R&B reboots to promote a Fifty Shades sequel and, presumably, to annoy Harry Styles in the process? Blech. But I like the melody and Zayn's whispery falsetto, it's really grown on me. I hope Jack Antonoff doesn't just spend the rest of his career as a Swift sidekick, though, I'd like another Bleachers album.
Worst Single of the Month: Alessia Cara - "Scars To Your Beautiful"
I love everything Pop & Oak do so I don't wanna hate on something that's been such a big hit for them, but this track has really become more annoying to me as it's become ubiquitous on pop radio.
Cara uses "beautiful" as a noun (instead of, y'know, "beauty") so that it rhymes with "beautiful" (used properly as an adjective the second time), it's just some hideous songwriting.