Monthly Report: July 2017 Singles

1. Midland - "Drinkin' Problem"
I love country songs about drinking, particularly George Jones's songs about drinking, the way they range from celebrations to laments; I even made a playlist of them last year. And this song, co-written by prolific Nashville pro Dann Huff, lands right in that same strange little sweet spot of gallows humor about alcoholism that could actually be a festive singalong at a bar. Here's the Spotify playlist of favorite 2017 singles that I update every month.

2. Dej Loaf - "No Fear"
I was really impressed by how much Dej Loaf had improved as an MC on last year's All Jokes Aside, and I was disappointed that it seemed like everyone had already stopped paying attention to her to notice. So I get why she had to focus back on her ear for melody to really grab people again, and in fact I kind of dig how she just went all the way out with a funky summer jam that's so in line with current trends. I also like how the cadence of most of the vocals makes me think of Mary J. Blige's "Real Love."

3. Cardi B - "Bodak Yellow (Money Moves)"
In the current hip hop climate, where guys routinely jump out the window if they think Drake flowed like them for a few seconds, I think often of a Complex piece I wrote 3 years ago about the weird grey area that flow occupies in discussions of credit and plagiarism. "No Flockin'" is basically Kodak Black's signature song, first released in 2014 but became his first platinum solo track just earlier this year. And Cardi B at least gave a nod to him with the title of "Bodak Yellow," but her song has already charted higher than his ever did. Normally I might be bothered by that, but I like the idea of a woman upstaging a shitty rapist dude.

4. YFN Lucci f/ PnB Rock - "Everyday We Lit"
After a few years of people saying "lit" constantly, this has emerged as the biggest "lit" song on the charts (Buckcherry doesn't count). Think It's A Game Entertainment really deserves more recognition for what they're doing as an independent label. They launched Rich Homie Quan's career, and he's yet to have another hit since leaving them and signing to a major, and meanwhile Think It's A Game has done a pretty good job of putting Lucci in the spotlight.

5. Demi Lovato "Sorry Not Sorry"
It cracks me up how this song sounds like it could've been made by someone googling "Chance The Rapper type beat." I don't know how much I can love any song that rhymes 'savage' with 'bad bitch' in 2017, but this really feels like the right song for Demi at the right time that kind of fits with her public persona and her tendency to be kind of willing to piss people off a little.

6. The Killers - "The Man"
It's been a solid decade since Sam's Town, so it's hard to really imagine getting excited about The Killers even to the extent that it was ever possible. But I was pleasantly surprised by how immediate and hooky their new single is, just a big strutting Kool & The Gang groove. As usual Brandon Flowers surrounds his good ideas with embarrassing ideas, but here it kind of fits well with the false confidence of the song's unreliable narrator.

7. LeAnn Rimes - "Love Is Love Is Love"
I turned on a pop station one day and heard the last minute or so of this song and it just sounded like the most perfect bubbly '90s Mariah single that never happened. I was shocked to learn that it was LeAnn Rimes, who I'd thought had kinda fallen off the pop radar entirely. Turns out this is actually her 3rd single to top Billboard's Dance Club Songs chart in the past decade.

8. Computer Games - "Every Single Night"
This band is fronted by "Glee" star Darren Criss and is just a painfully on the nose pastiche of '80s pop. But it's really got an irresistible hook and I just have a weakness for this kind of shameless '80s bubblegum, I love the synth horn riff.

9. Tamar Braxton - "My Man"
My favorite part of this song is toward the end when Tamar is just riffing and ranting about the woman who took her man and yells out "HEIFER!" in the middle of all the runs and ad libs.

10. Ne-Yo - "Another Love Song"
I feel like the backlash against Ne-Yo doing dance pop never really went away, even though his voice is much more well suited to that kind of stuff than your average R&B star, and projects like the Calvin Harris album have done a lot to destigmatize that kind of thing by now. His other recent single "Earn Your Love" is pretty good too.

Worst Single of the Month: Muse - "Dig Down" 
Muse has a handful of singles that I really enjoy, and "Madness" is one of them. The new one, which more or less sounds like a transparent attempt to rewrite "Madness," is not one of them. But somebody on Twitter said they heard this on the radio and thought they were singing "dick down," which is pretty funny.
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