Monthly Report: March 2017 Singles
1. Migos - "T-Shirt"
I feel like Migos are just a magnet for hyperbole, and even when they're good, they're not half as good as people say they are. So "Bad & Boujee" isn't really anything special to me, particularly because Takeoff's if-MJG-was-Rick-Ross flow is one of my favorite things about the group and he's not on that one. So I'm glad that Takeoff gets a chance to shine on the follow-up single and that it's doing well, the beat is really amazing, just the way something resembling amp feedback kinda hangs over it. Here's the 2017 singles playlist I update every month.
2. Bruno Mars - "That's What I Like"
"24K Magic" has really held up well as a song I still listen to every time it comes on the radio, 5 months later. But it's also the first time one of the first 2 singles off a Bruno Mars album hasn't gone to #1, which doesn't bode well for him going whole hog on this campy retro player pimp aesthetic for the whole album cycle. But "That's What I Like" is a great 2nd single choice and I feel like he's selling it well with a standout Grammys performance and a music video that deserves some awards.
3. Jon Pardi - "Dirt On My Boots"
I feel like PardiNextDoor is really earning his country traditionalist cred by scoring two back-to-back hits with "boots" in the title. Plus this probably has the best prominent fiddle part I've heard on country radio in recent memory. I love the way he bites down on that "I can only get so fancy!" transition into the chorus.
4. Florida Georgia Line f/ The Backstreet Boys - "God, Your Mama, And Me"
Country radio and especially country award shows are rife with stunt collaborations with non-country artists, and Florida Georgia Line are poster boys for that since they had their biggest success with a Nelly remix. So when I saw that they had a collaboration with Backstreet Boys, I rolled my eyes, but I kind of instantly fell in love with this song and have listened to it a ton, I guess the song would've worked with a more respectable artist but I can't complain.
5. Incubus - "Nimble Bastard"
There was a day recently that Linkin Park and Incubus released lead singles on the same day, so I listened to them back to back, to kind of see what some of the titans of early 2000s nu metal crossover are up to in 2017. And Linkin Park's "Heavy" is a really craven attempt to reconnect with Top 40 radio, where "Nimble Bastard" finds Incubus back in their late career groove of loud, guitar driven anthems. And I've always enjoyed their more aggressive stuff, so this song really hits the spot.
6. Ariana Grande f/ Future - "Everyday"
I never really listened to Dangerous Woman enough, because it was a good album but I never wrote about it and totally forgot how much I liked this song until it was released as a single. It's really kind of refreshing to hear Future on a Max Martin track with Ariana Grande and it actually works, a big contrast from that 2013 era when he was doing songs with Miley and Bieber and it just didn't work that well. The chorus "he givin' me that good shit that make me not quit" is kind of an awkward lyric, but I was so relieved to verify that Ariana Grande wasn't saying "make me nut quick."
7. Zara Larsson f/ Ty Dolla $ign - "So Good"
I don't know if Zara Larsson fits in this hip hop adjacent pop lane as well as someone like Ariana Grande, but I don't mind that her recent singles are leaning in that direction. I hope she gets to release an album soon.
8. Keith Urban f/ Carrie Underwood - "The Fighter"
I'd never heard of busbee before he produced and co-produced Maren Morris's great album, so it's nice to see him all over the country charts right now with singles by Lauren Alaina, Lady Antebellum, and this Keith Urban track. Keith Urban is always trying these stylistic flourishes that work better than they should, and I like the synth pop vibe of this song.
9. Wale f/ Lil Wayne - "Running Back"
Since I live near D.C. and have a couple of D.C. rap stations programmed into my car radio, I always hear a lot of support for whatever Wale's doing regardless of how it's doing nationally. And it's been kind of depressing to hear them hype every single he's released in the past year and give it lots of spins except for the one that was actually good, "Running Back." It's crazy to hear him on a song with Wayne and realize it's been 9 years since "Nike Boots." Wale has really had a good career that nobody wants to give him credit for, partly because he has so few singles like "Running Back" that play to his strengths.
10. Jeezy f/ Bankroll Fresh - "All There"
There's kind of an interesting history of artists who died young and then ended up with one of their biggest songs being a posthumous feature on a major artist's single (Soulja Slim on Juvenile's "Slow Motion," Static Major on Lil Wayne's "Lollipop," etc.). So it's cool that Jeezy put out a track with Bankroll Fresh that ended up being the biggest song on Trap Or Die 3.
Worst Single of the Month: Big Sean - "Moves"
I feel like just as I kind of came around to appreciating Big Sean for who he is, he started doing these singles with Future's producers like "Bounce Back" (which bites the chorus of Future's "Trap N*****") and "Moves," which is just maybe the worst song of his career, I really don't think Big Sean sounds good rapping in a lower register on ominous trap beats. And even worse is the "Moves" video, where Big Sean does a blatant wannabe "Hotline Bling" with embarrassing moves like miming the lyric "she made her titties move."