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2020 - 01 - 11 - Tuba (marching)

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posted by alias Mississippi Snopes on Sunday 16th of February 2020 08:39:52 PM

This is the 4th year that I have put together a list of my favorite songs of the year based on my “meta-review” of every “best of” and “most popular” list I could find. This year, I listened to songs from more than 50 such year-end lists, including the lists from music-savvy friends, President Obama’s year-end favorites list, NYT, the Guardian, NPR, Rolling Stone, Spin, Pitchfork, Megacritic, the various Billboard charts, Robert Christgau (the Dean Emeritus of rock critics), and many more Last year, I discovered Popnable, a Bulgarian ranking service that shows the top songs by YouTube views from more than 90 countries. For the first time, it truly became possible for me to hear the most popular pop songs from all over the world. Popnable also enormously expanded the number of songs that become contenders for the annual favorites list. I’ve always had a hard limit of 100 songs on the annual favorites list, but 2019 was the first year that I actually had to apply it. Of course, this is my personal favorites list, which I do not pretend is any kind of “best of” list. Everyone’s personal preferences are different. I tend to be biased in favor of traditional country music, Americana, trap, reggaeton, punk, garage bands/lofi, strong bass lines, feedback and distortion, sweet harmonies, hooks, echo, short songs, and silly juvenile songs (especially about sex). I tend to be biased against long songs, slow songs (especially shoe gaze), intellectual jazz, remakes, modern country music, old school hip hop, gangsta rap, political songs, songs that use the N-word and the B-word, heavy production (autotuning, syndrums, etc.), and most of all songs that are not on Spotify. But there are many songs on this list that overcome my negative biases. The entire 2019 list, except one song (#99) is available as a public Spotify playlist called “2019 Snopes Favorites”. I find that links to Spotify often don’t work, but you might try it here – Here is the 2019 list, in reverse order, with a little commentary on each song. 100. Patient O - Paper Cut – When I was assembling this list, this classic garage band song made the first two cuts on its own merits. However, once I did some research about the band, all objectivity vanished and there was no doubt the song was going to make the 2019 list. The sweet-voiced lead singer, Tess Majors, was stabbed to death in December in NYC by a 14-year-old boy. Tess, a freshman at Barnard, was 18 when she died. The band was from Charlottesville, Virginia. 99. Mandili Trio - Samshoblo (The Motherland) - This is the only song on this list that is not on Spotify. The Mandili Trio is three young women who film themselves (apparently with a hand-held cell phone) walking around the Georgia countryside singing folk songs and shamelessly flirting with the camera. I think they’re a big deal in Georgia (they dominate the Popnable Georgia chart). 98. Stella Donnelly – Tricks Donnelly (now 27) grew up in small towns in Wales and Australia. 97. The HU – Yuve Yuve Yu The HU combine heavy metal with traditional Mongolian throat singing. 96. Santana - Do You Remember Me A time machine back to 1969. 95. Vampire Weekend - Harmony Hall Preppy band from the late 2000s comes back with more catchy pop. 94. Big Thief – Not Big Thief is a four-piece band whose members mostly are Berklee College of Music grads. They make complicated and atmospheric, but hooky, music. 93. Dyler - Kan Yo Mkan Dyler is coming out of the same post-Millenial genre as the better known Lil Nas X and 100 Gecs. At 16, he was an Instagram influencer who was prosecuted by the Saudi government for posting a (non-revealing) photo of himself sitting on the toilet. At 18, he is making sprung, Tik Tok(ish) rap songs that are going to #1 on the Popnable Saudi Arabia chart. 92. Angelica Garcia - Jicama Beautiful, wispy song from a Richmond, Virginia singer of Mexican and Salvadoran ancestry. Thanks to President Obama for bringing Ms. Garcia to my attention on his interesting 2019 faves list. 91. Dejan Matic - Gde Ste Sada Prijatelji (Where Are You Now Friends) In listening to the Popnable charts for the various former Yugoslavia countries, I’ve really gotten to like the sound of the chant-like songs in Serbo-Croatian (as the common language used to be called). Dejan Matic and his twin brother, who both went blind shortly after their birth, are popular singers in Bosnia and Herzegovina. 90. Anitta – Combatchy Very popular Brazilian pop singer. “Combatchy” currently has more than 58 million plays on Spotify. 89. Dona Onete – Jamburana Dona Onete had a long career as a Brazilian history teacher, folklorist, and author of children’s books. She cut her first album when she was 73 years old. She was 81 when she recorded “Jamburana.” 88. FLA - Ice Cream Man The Popnable charts are very educational. Who would have guessed that the Mongolian pop charts are dominated by Atlanta/Colombia-style trap? “Ice Cream Man” is very catchy, but also don’t miss FLA’s “Ilt Lit,” his hilariously obscene declaration (in English) of his love for trap. 87. Orville Peck - Dead of Night Orville Peck is a pseudonym for a (self-declared) gay country singer who performs wearing a fringed Lone Ranger mask to conceal his identity. He sounds very much like the Magnetic Fields, whose “69 Love Songs” is one of my favorite albums. 86. Tinariwen & Cass McCombs - Kel Tinawen Tinariwen are Tuareg musicians from northern Mali who have been performing since 1979. Cass McCombs is an eclectic American musician who has performed with bands ranging from the Decemberists to Cat Power to the Meat Puppets. 85. Rat Queen - Northeast Ohio Rocks It’s hard to find out much about Rat Queen. Their Bandcamp page says they are Eleanor Linafelt and Robyn Newcomb and that they are “sometimes in D.C.” But some googling suggests they are from Wooster, Ohio. “Northeast Ohio Rocks” is their most popular song on Spotify, but it currently has only 2,000 plays (which is very unfair). 84. Miranda Lambert - It All Comes Out in the Wash If you wear a white shirt to a crawfish boil Stonewashed jeans while you're changing the oil When you find yourself dating the bridesmaid's ex You accidentally bring him to the wedding, whoops If you pour yourself a Merlot to go You dip your fries in your ketchup on a bumpy road You spill the beans to your mama, sister got knocked up In a truck at the 7-Eleven, don't sweat it 'Cause it'll all come out, all come out in the wash 83. Nella - Voy Originally from Venezuela, Nella is another talented grad of the Berklee College of Music. Voy is from her debut album. 82. Sailors – Wamlambez “Wamlambez” has been a huge hit in Kenya, with numerous homemade tribute videos popping up, including one of a former prime minister and another of mourners at a funeral dancing the wamlambez. There is even a Chipmunks version of the song. “Wamlambez” is the most popular song of the popular “gengeton” genre of music. Gengeton is characterized by its own slang words (all with dirty meanings). The Kenyan government has attempted to ban “Wamlambez” and other gengeton songs. The YouTube video for “Wambalez” is joyfully in-your-face. 81. Sault - Don’t Waste My Time Sault released two hooky, funky albums in 2019, but is not releasing any information about who they are. 80. Paul Cauthen - Cocaine Country Dancing Country music appears to be branching out to varieties of substance abuse other than alcoholism. 79. The Paranoid Style - An Endless Cycle of Meaningless Behavior “Endless Cycle,” by DC’s The Paranoid Style, is about Ayn Rand, Alan Greenspan, and Paul Ryan. 78. Mdou Moctar - Kamane Tarhanin Guitar hero Mdou Moctar is a Tuareg musician from Niger. “Kamane Tarhanin” is very good, but his live show is in a different universe. Go see him live if you ever have a chance. 77. The Golden Glows - When I Went to Leland The Golden Glows recorded an album of remakes of the field work songs of prisoners at Parchman Prison in Mississippi. “When I Went to Leland” is a complete reworking of this field recording by Alan Lomax in 1947. 76. The Regrettes - California Friends The Regrettes are a punky four-piece power pop band from LA. Except for the drummer, they are all women. 75. NOËP featuring Chinchilla - fk this up I still tell my English as a Second Language classes that the F-word is a highly offensive word that they should never use, but I feel like I’m lying to them. The F-word is so ubiquitous in pop music, movies, podcasts, etc. that it really can’t be viewed as a curse word any more. NOËP is an electro-pop musician from Tallinn, Estonia. Chinchilla is a female singer from London who styles herself as an “urban”singer (whatever that means). 74. Oumar Konate & Makan Camara - Koima Djinn Omar Konate is a superstar in Mali. 73. The bird and the bee - Hot for Teacher Boy-girl hipster duo from LA with a swing band-ish update on Van Halen’s classic, with new, more literate, but even smarmier lyrics. 72. Bones UK - Pretty Waste Somewhat bizarrely, Bones UK, whose most listened-to song on Spotify has only 6 million plays and whose 2019 debut album was self-released, was nominated for a 2020 Grammy for “Best Rock Performance.” They didn’t win, but still it’s weird. 71. Blackbear - hot girl bummer This sweetly melodic pop song prominently features the F-word. Blackbear is really Matthew Tyler Musto, who grew up in Florida, Atlanta, and LA. 70. Better Oblivion Community Center - Dylan Thomas Better Oblivion Community Center is a two person group with longtime emo star Conor Oberst (Bright Eyes) and indie musician Phoebe Bridgers. 69. 21 Savage - a lot 21 Savage is an Atlanta rapper. He uses the N-word a lot more often than I’m comfortable with, but this is a hooky and funny (if disturbingly self-loathing) song. 68. Purple Mountains – That’s Just the Way That I Feel David Berman of the Silver Jews had been a recluse with chronic depression for over a decade when he formed a new band, Purple Mountains, and recorded a jaunty album filled with erudite and witty wordplay about how much he wanted to die. He died of suicide the day before the Purple Mountains were to begin their tour in support of the new album. “The end of all wanting is all I’ve been wanting, And that’s just the way that I feel. ” It’s a brilliant, funny, sad album. 67. Sneaks - Holy Cow I Never Saw a Girl Like Her Sneaks is DC-based musician Eva Moolchan. She deserves huge credit for realizing that the great hook of “Holy Cow I Never Saw a Girl Like Her” could be fully explored in only 55 seconds. 66. Lana Del Rey - hope is a dangerous thing for a woman like me to have - but I have it Honestly, I’m really kind of embarrassed to have not one but two Lana Del Rey songs on this year’s fave list. 65. Blake Shelton - God’s Country Blake Shelton’s producers are masters of the echo chamber (or whatever the modern electronic equivalent of an echo chamber is). 64. Sego - Neon Me Out Originally two guys from Provo, Utah, Sego is now a bass-heavy four-member band based in LA. 63. that dog. - Just the Way LA-based alt-rock band. Lead singer Anna Waronker is the daughter of recording industry fat cat Lenny Waronker, so I’d love to be able to dismiss them as no-talent beneficiaries of nepotism, but they’re actually really good. 62. Midland - Cheatin’ Songs Midland’s 2019 album “Let It Roll” fell well short of their brilliant 2017 neo-traditional country “On the Rocks,” but “Cheatin’ Songs” is a really good reworking of one of the most well worn country genres. “Sometimes her jacket smells like cigarettes, but she hates the smoke.” 61. Hamada Helal - Ashrab Shay I listened to a boatload of hits in Arabic from the Popnable charts this year and my ears got familiar with the circular rhythms of those pop songs. This one by Hamada Helal, an Egyptian singer, was my favorite. 60. Lana Del Rey - Fuck it I love you Lake Placid, New York’s brightest star. And Lake Placid has hosted the Winter Olympics twice, in 1932 and 1980. 59. Enzo Inshall – Vanodherera Zimbabwean dancehall chanter. He has gotten in trouble with the government for videos that were perceived as having excessive sexual innuendo. 58. Our Native Daughters - Black Myself Our Native Daughters is a superstar group made up of four female African-American (biracial?) musicians. Rhiannon Giddens (formerly of the Carolina Chocolate Drops) is one of the best musicians working in America today. Allison Russell (who’s actually Canadian) makes gorgeous music with her husband as the Birds of Chicago. Leyla McCalla is very talented New Orleans-based folk musician. “Black Myself” is by Amethyst Kiah, from Johnson City, Tennessee, a banjo player who is the only member of Our Native Daughters whose work I’m not familiar with. 57. Ashley McBryde - One Night Standards In the 21st century, it’s not only the girls who all get prettier at closing time. 56. The Shivas - Gloria The Shivas are a hard working, steadily touring band from Portland, Oregon. 55. The Lumineers – Gloria The Lumineers are a very popular folk rock band from Denver. They specialize in shimmering beautiful multi-part harmonies. They’ve toured with Tom Petty and U2. 54. Miranda Lambert - Tequila Does Miranda Lambert had a great year, topped by this classic country alcoholic song. “Hand me a sombrero, 'cause Jose Cuervo is taking me home tonight.” She has two songs on this year’s faves list. 53. Injury Reserve featuring Rico Nasty – Jawbreaker Injury Reserve is a hip hop trio from Tempe, Arizona. 52. Rhiannon Giddens (with Francesco Turrisi) - Brown Baby My wife and I have been worshipful fans of Rhiannon Giddens ever since she led the string band Carolina Chocolate Drops (we saw them play on the high school football field in Fredericksburg, Virginia before an audience of maybe 75 people; Toni talked to them afterward about maybe coming to her elementary school to play for the students and they were open to the idea). It’s not that surprising to see Giddens progress to being maybe the most impressive musician working in America today. In 2019, she put together the African-American female super group Our Native Daughters and made the brilliant album “There Is No Other,” with Francesco Turrisi, a jazzy Italian multi-instrumentalist. Giddens glides between traditional music of the Americas, Europe, Africa, and the Arabic world and it’s breathtaking. 51. Ace Mo & John FM - Where They At??? There have been more house music “where the _____ girls at?” songs than I can keep up with. Ace Mo and John FM carry the meme to a whole new level, starting with the fairly standard, “Where the black girls at, nomadic girls at, Puerto Rican girls at, Dominicana girls at” to the somewhat more quirky, “Romani girls at, Estonian girls at,” to the truly bizarre, “where the cop killers at,” “exotic dancers at,” “where the freedom fighters at,” “where the sex workers at,” “where the brown berets at,” and on and on for a full 7 entertaining minutes. 50. Craig Finn – Blankets Craig Finn is the front man for the Hold Steady. I think I prefer his less staccato, more atmospheric storytelling on his solo albums. 49. Rhiannon Giddens (with Francesco Turrisi) - Little Margaret The New Yorker ran this fascinating biographical piece on Rhiannon Giddens this past year: Giddens has five songs on this year’s faves list – three with Francesco Turrisi and two with her supergroup Our Native Daughters. 48. 100 gecs – ringtone 100 gecs is an American experimental musical duo, originally from suburban St. Louis. This is one of two 100 gecs songs on this year’s list. 47. Lizzo – Boys Lizzo seems like she came out of nowhere this year to become a superstar, but her first album was released in 2013 and Time magazine named her a “musician to watch” in 2014. She has two songs on this year’s faves list. 46. Michete - Come Get It, Daddy Homophobes and the humorless should avoid this song. 45. Spoon - No Bullets Spent Austin’s finest haven’t put out an album since 2017, so this fine single was very welcome. 44. Sevdaliza – Martyr Sevdaliza (born Sevda Alizedah) was born in Tehran, but moved to the Netherlands at age 5. After playing basketball in college and for the Dutch national team, she began to make highly polished, sinuous music. 43. Todrick Hall - Nails, Hair, Hips, Heels Hall is a former American Idol contestant and has appeared on several RuPaul-related shows. He played Lola, a drag queen cabaret performer, in the Broadway production of Kinky Boots. 42. Blanco Brown - The Git Up “The Git Up,” Brown’s debut single, has more than 161 million plays on Spotify and hit #1 on Billboard’s Hot Country Songs chart. Several critics have called it a sequel to “Old Town Road.” 41. black midi - Near DT, MI black midi is a guitar-heavy band from London, with strong influences from Eighties groups (notably the Cure), and an impressively talented drummer. Their debut album Schlagenheim is very good, but it frankly feels underpowered compared to their blistering live performances. The critical buzz about black midi started with this compelling 26-minute live video released by Icelandic radio station KEXT, which is way better than the studio album: Their live performance here in DC at U Street Music Hall was also far superior to their studio album (which is not to say the studio material isn’t excellent, but that this is an amazing live group). 40. Sefa & DopeNation – Shuga Sefa is a rising star in Ghana. She is a big girl who plays off a flagrantly sexpot image, as the “Shuga” video makes clear (she’s the lady in the orange swimsuit): She believes that fashion and music go hand in hand and is committed to wearing racy clothes that slay every day. “I just prove to people that your size doesn’t matter. Where what you love and love what you wear. Because it doesn’t matter what you wear, how well you rock it makes it nice.” Sefa also released a long video interview declaring her intention to finally lose her virginity in 2019, at age 24. 39. Tove Lo - Glad He’s Gone Tove Lo is a Swedish grunge-pop singer who has battled YouTube because of the sexual content of some of her videos. She was on my 2016 and 2017 faves lists and returns this year with this explicit but decidedly anti-sex song. 38. Ed Sheeran featuring Camila Cabello - South of the Border Sheeran released an album of duets with other big pop stars. The duet with former Fifth Harmony member Camila Cabello was the best of the bunch. 37. Rhiannon Giddens (with Francesco Turrisi) - Pizzica di San Vito There are many excellent performances of the traditional Italian tarantella, “Pizzica di San Vito,” but Giddens’ and Turrisi’s sparse take is unique. 36. Morgan Wallen - Whiskey Glasses - Alcoholic country music is alive and well (and well represented on this year’s list). 35. that dog. - If You Just Didn’t Do It The song with punchy melodies and crisp songwriting is the second from that dog on this year’s list. Apparently, the group was a big deal in the Nineties, though I don’t remember ever hearing of them before. 34. Orezi & Sheebah - Sweet Sensation Nigerian pop star Orezi and Ugandan pop star Sheebah team up for this sweet reggaeton tribute to … ummm … good sex. 33. La Santa Cecilia - I’ve Been Thinking La Santa Cecilia is a Grammy-winning, self-described bolero-punk/bossa-nova/soul band based in LA. The fathers of three of the four members died this year and “I’ve Been Thinking” is about their grief. 32. Chuck Mead - Shake Mead, a native of Lawrence, Kansas, was formerly a member of BR549, a virtuoso country group active from 1993 to 2006. “Shake” is from Mead’s fourth solo album, Close to Home, which has 11 songs on it. The album is so good that 8 of the 11 songs from Close to Home made my first cut of my favorite songs from 2019. I finally got it down to only two Mead songs on the final list, but it was tough. 31. Our Native Daughters - Moon Meets the Sun The Songs of Our Native Daughters by “supergroup” Our Native Daughters is an exploration of female African-American history. As you’d probably expect from such an intellectual enterprise, some of the songs come across as a little academic. But two songs (both on this year’s list) “Black Myself” and “Moon Meets the Sun” are gems. “You put the shackles on our feet, But we're dancing, You steal our very tongue..., You steal our children, But we're dancing, You make us hate our very skin But we're dancing, But we're dancing.” 30. Tanya Tucker - I Don’t Owe You Anything Tucker’s 2019 comeback was delightful. Her Grammy-winning “Bring My Flowers Now” was the last song cut from this year’s 100 faves list. “I Don’t Owe You Anything” is even better, the perfect “drop dead, asshole” song. 29. Stef Chura - 3D Girl - My girl is three dimensional “3D Girl” is great, although I have to admit that its lyrics are so cryptic that I have no idea what it’s about. Detroit-based Stef Chura’s second album Midnight is produced by Will Toledo, frontman of Car Seat Headrest, one of my favorite current bands. Chura has a tough, spiky, guitar-driven sound that is reminiscent of Courtney Barnett and, perhaps unsurprisingly, Car Seat Headrest. Midnight is terrific. Chura has three songs on this year’s list and it took a real effort to limit her to only three songs. 28. Poppy - Concrete Poppy grew up in Nashville and relocated to LA when she was 18, where she established a wildly popular YouTube channel “Poppy.” She has also created a member organization known as “PoppyChurch.” Poppy has also published a graphic novel and has starred in The Jester’s Tale, “an augmented reality experience.” Poppy is deeply silly, but “Concrete” is a good song. Some critics have called it part of the “baby metal” genre, but I’d say she’s channeling Queen. (Update: My son informs me that Poppy is the creation of a male Svengali. So were the Monkees.) 27. Arthur Hanlon - Como Suena el Piano Irish-American from Detroit who has become a prominent Latin jazz band leader. 26. YG, Tyga & Jon Z - Go Loko Mariachi meets trap (warning for sensitive ears, this song is filthy). 25. Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers - For Real I miss Tom Petty so much. 24. DakhaBrakha - ПЛИВе ЧОВеН I have no idea what this gorgeous song by a group from Kiev is about. Google translates the title (in Ukrainian) as “Swimming Man.” 23. Purple Mountains – Darkness and Cold Purple Mountains have three songs on this year’s faves list. All three are so witty that they are fun to listen to, even though they’re all about deep depression and suicide. But the promotional video for “Darkness and Cold” is hard to watch: 22. Mikolas Josef - Abu Dhabi Josef (a Czech) has spent years busking throughout Europe. This insanely catchy song should be his breakthrough to the big time, but it inexplicably has fewer than 2 million listens on Spotify. 21. Stef Chura - Scream - Detroit girl (watch the video) 20. Billie Eilish - Bury a Friend It’s fascinating that Billie Eilish and her brother were homeschooled. I can’t say they are particularly well adjusted socially. 19. Fontaines D.C. - The Boys in the Better Land “You're not alive until you start kicking, When the room is spinning and the words ain't sticking, And the radio is all about a runaway model, With a face like sin and a heart like a James Joyce novel, Saying "Sister, sister, how I missed ya, missed ya, Let's go wrist to wrist and take the skin off of my blister.” If you're a Rock Star, Porn Star, Superstar, Doesn't matter what you are, get yourself a good car, get outta here.” Despite their name, Fontaines D.C. are Irish and have nothing to do with Washington, D.C. They added “D.C.” to their name when they learned that another band in LA had the same name. “D.C.” stands for “Dublin City.” 18. Mountain Goats - An Antidote to Strychnine Cult hero John Darnielle (who is the only consistent member of the Mountain Goats – one of my top five active bands) has a podcast called “I Only Listen to the Mountain Goats.” 17. Dry Cleaning - Magic of Meghan This cerebrally jagged tribute to Meghan Markle is the polar opposite of the Sex Pistols’ “God Save the Queen.” 16. girl in red - bad idea - From Wikipedia:” Marie Ulven Ringheim (born 16 February 1999), known professionally as Girl in Red (often stylized in all lowercase as girl in red), is a Norwegian indie pop singer-songwriter…. Ringheim has been named a "queer icon" by Paper, and a "phenomenon" that is "one of the most astute and exciting singer-songwriters working in the world of guitar music" by New York Times. She is known for appealing to young teenagers with her "bedroom pop anthems about queer romance and mental health." Her music, which is made from the comfort of her bedroom has amassed over 150 million streams as of October 2019.” girl in red has two songs on this year’s faves list. 15. Stef Chura - Sweet Sweet Midnight Will Toledo of Car Seat Headrest duets with Chura on this song about a friend who died while on vacation. The melodies and screams are both good. 14. 100 gecs - stupid horse Best YouTube reader comment on “stupid horse” (from JoetheToe): “The 21st century has peaked, cancel the next 81 years.” 13. Natti Natasha - Oh Daddy (Spanglish version) Cover songs are usually a turnoff for me. But this transmogrification of Richie Valens’ “Donna” (1958) by Dominican star Natti Natasha is exhilarating. 12. Shawn Mendes & Camila Cabello - Señorita It seems like Cuban-American Cabello did duets with every singer in the world this year. She should gotten lead billing on this seductive song. Apparently, she and Mendes are now a thing: 11. Otoboke Beaver - Don’t light my fire There is a tradition of good Japanese noise bands, but these three women are the best ever. 10. Chuck Mead - Billy Doesn’t Know He’s Bad “Psychopathy is a constellation of psychological symptoms that typically emerges early in childhood and affects all aspects of a sufferer’s life including relationships with family, friends, work, and school. The symptoms of psychopathy include shallow affect, lack of empathy, guilt and remorse, irresponsibility, and impulsivity.” 09. Gary Clark, Jr. - This Land Ordinarily, I would dock even a great song a few notches for overt political content, but this song so perfectly fits my politics (and my anger about where we are) that I made an exception and left it alone and undocked as one of my ten fave songs of 2019. WARNING: This song features repeated use of the n-word and not the bowdlerized version of the word that ends with an “a.” 08. Lizzo - Juice “Gotta blame it on the goose” 07. Kevin Morby - Oh My God My wife actively participated in the final stage of assembling this year’s favorites list, once I’d culled the candidates down to the last 250 or so songs. As soon as I cued up this ethereal song by Kevin Morby, Toni immediately said, “That really sounds like that Ethiopian nun” -- referring to Ethiopian composer (and nun) Emahoy Tsegué-Maryam Guèbrou, who is still alive at age 93 and is well worth googling to discover her amazing body of work. Toni’s right, Morby is clearly channeling Guebrou here. [NOTE: A big thank you to Matt Fenton, my favorite opposing counsel of the year, for turning me on to Morby.] 06. The Specials - 10 Commandments Around 1980, we bought a used 1976 Volvo from a guy we found in the Washington Post classified ads. It was by far the nicest car we’d ever had (I think it cost more than a thousand dollars). But it turned out that 1976 was the only lemon year that Volvo ever had. Problems were unending. The air conditioning broke on a nightmarishly hot family trip to Mississippi (Elizabeth screamed her protest for hours). But the silver lining was that a tape got stuck in the Volvo’s cassette player and couldn’t be ejected for months -- and it was the Specials’ wonderful first album. “10 Commandments” is a worthy successor to that opinionated and beautiful masterpiece. How many other bands from 1979 are still making great music with sharp elbows? 05. Movimiento Feminista - Un Violador en tu Camino Live from Chile - 04. Billie Eilish - Bad Guy “In the United States, "Bad Guy" ended the record-breaking 19-week run of "Old Town Road" by Lil Nas X featuring Billy Ray Cyrus.” [Billboard headline] Eilish has two songs on this year’s faves list. 03. Lil Nas X featuring Billy Ray Cyrus - Old Town Road “Winner's Circle: Lil Nas X's 'Old Town Road' Breaks Record With 17th Week Atop Billboard Hot 100” [Billboard headline] 02. girl in red - dead girl in the pool FWIW - girl in red also had the #2 song on my faves list from 2018 (“i wanna be your girlfried”) 01. Purple Mountains - Margaritas at the Mall The Purple Mountains album is really a solo album by David Berman (formerly of the Silver Jews). Coupled with the last episode of The Good Place, this album might make 2019-2020 the era of the jaunty, life-affirming suicide. “How long can a world go on under such a subtle God? How long can a world go on with no new word from God?”

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