Monthly Report: May 2017 Singles

1. Niall Horan "Slow Hands"
The Harry Styles album is, justifiably, getting all the attention at the moment. But Niall's 2nd single has quietly become, I think, my favorite solo single to come out of One Direction so far (to be fair, Louis and Liam have released absolute crap, but still). "This Town" was a nice little song continuing in 1D's folky side, but "Slow Hands" has this sleazy bass-driven light rock groove with a weird gated vocal effect that I just love, and Niall's voice even drops that cutesy tone that he usually sang in with the group. Here's the Spotify playlist that I update every month of favorite 2017 singles. 

2. Trey Songz "Nobody Else But You"
For over a decade, nearly every single Trey Songz has released has gone swiftly into heavy rotation on R&B stations, but for some reason Tremaine has been very slow to yield a hit, and I think it's a shame, because this is one of his better singles from one of his better albums. And it has this gentle romance to it that, for whatever reason, he rarely does well on his oversung slow jams. 

3. Rick Ross f/ Young Thug and Wale "Trap Trap Trap"
The interchangeable parade of 'trap' songs that Rick Ross has made since "B.M.F." usually bore me, but the song where he literally just says "trap trap trap trap trap trap" for the hook switched up the sound enough that I really enjoy it. Young Thug and Wale was a weird awkward combination way back on the "Stoner" remix so I'm pleasantly surprised that this lineup works as well as it does. 

4, Tee Grizzley "First Day Out"
This song wants so badly to be Meek Mill's "Dreams & Nightmares" that it cracks me up. But that's maybe my favorite rap song of the last five years, and there's not much else that has that vibe, so I appreciate the attempt. 

5. Dua Lipa f/ Miguel "Lost In Your Light" 
For most of this decade, R&B has disappeared from pop radio, replaced by clubby EDM pop, sometimes by R&B singers who are just adapting to maintain their career. But lately there's been an odd phenomenon of R&B singers who haven't crossed over with their solo work guesting on hits by pop artists (Frank Ocean with Calvin Harris, Ty Dolla $ign with Fifth Harmony, etc.). I don't know if that will happen with this record, but I really love it and feel like it puts Miguel's voice in an interesting new context that I'd love to hear more of, I wouldn't mind him trying to really do the Prince thing and make a pop star move. 

6. GoldLink f/ Shy Glizzy and Brent Faiyaz "Crew"
This song has been running D.C. and Baltimore radio for months and I'm annoyed that even with a good amount of national attention for GoldLink's album, "Crew" hasn't climbed the charts at all. Great song, though, I had no idea someone named Brent could ever sing an R&B hook this smooth. Shy Glizzy tried to change his name to Jefe shortly after "Crew" was release, and I think its success, with him credited as Shy Glizzy everywhere for it, really killed the name change, which I don't mind, I don't really wanna call him Jefe, Great verse, though, I like how he kinda takes Gucci's "I Think I Love Her" flow and makes it his own.

7. Switch "Pull Up"
This song started to get spins around the same time as "Crew" and for a minute those two songs got kind of intertwined with each other in my head, they just sound similar to me. "Pull Up" kinda disappeared, though, I thought it was about to be huge. 

8. Chance The Rapper f/ Knox Fortune "All Night"
This always stood out to me as one of the most immediate and fun songs on Coloring Book, I'm glad it finally got a single release more recently. Maybe it only being 2 minutes long held it back, but I dunno, "Father Stretch My Hands Pt. 1" was even shorter.

9. Maren Morris "I Could Use A Love Song"
Maren Morris recently wrote a pretty interesting essay about what it's like to be a woman in country music, and one of the things she mentioned is that she'd been told "girls can't successfully release ballads to country radio." And it hadn't even occurred to me, but it's true that in the overwhelmingly male and overwhelmingly uptempo country radio landscape, there are practically no big ballads by women in the last few years. I was hoping that "Once" would be Maren's next single after she performed it at the Grammys, but perhaps her label was worried about that and instead chose "I Could Use A Love Song," which is a little more tender than her first two singles but less of a ballad than "Once." Either are great choices, though.

10. Charlie Puth "Attention"
I hate Charlie Puth and his stupid simpering voice so much, but I kind of feel like it's a good indication of my open mindedness or my ability to separate artists from their material when I can be impressed with something by an act I usually hate. I still kinda wish he'd given this track to someone else, like when Trey Songz redeemed "Slow Motion," but it works, that bassline jams.

Worst Single of the Month: Dreamers "Sweet Disaster" 
Mainstream alt rock radio had gotten pretty decent to my ears in the last few years, but I feel like now the floodgates are just open where we've got all these shitty new bands who sound like lesser versions of bands who weren't that great to begin with like Foster The People and Imagine Dragons. And this song is just the most horrifyingly bad one in rotation lately, the opening lyrics are actually "Drifting like it's 1974, dressing like the Rolling Stones/ hey ho let's go get some more like young Ramones."
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