1. “Blown to Bits” by Charlie Bliss. An existential crisis can be beautiful, in case you were wondering. “It’s gonna break my heart to see it blown to bits.”
2. “Uh Huh” by Jade Bird. Just enough 90s time machine, just enough now. And that voice.
3. “Hard to Kill” by Bleached. You face demons, you survive, you reflect with things like, “for all the cities that we’ve burned down / turns out I’m very hard to kill.” Plus, they pull off the not-so-funky-rocker-funk well.
4. “Sister” by K. Flay. I understand it doesn’t have all the parallels, but did she just make a dance-pop version of “Rebel Girl”? She’s ready for radio, where’s the hit?
5. “Nothing Else (feat. Jax Anderson)” by Chong the Nomad. All of the nervous energy at the beginning of a relationship fits into “Now you’re in my car / whoa.”
6. “Bad Idea (feat Chance the Rapper)” by YBN Cordae. On further reflection (covered here and here), Cordae’s potential, now that we know he can write a hook and sing a little too, is far greater than originally anticipated.
7. “Elastic” by Joey Purp. Just a party song.
8. “Do Yo Dance (feat. Kamaiyah, RJ, Mitch And Ty Dolla $ign)” by YG. I would apologize for the length here, but every time I think I’m done he brings that chorus back. Parliament roots.
9. “What If” by Amber Mark. Did you hear that bass? Did you hear those chords? Did you hear that groove? And then there’s Mark herself. I’ll continue to check out everything she releases.
10. “Stronger” by Ravenna. There’s a lot of pain and there’s a lot of redemption in this ballad. Gorgeous song.
11. “LOVE IS LIKE A MOSHPIT (feat. Rico Masty And Medasin) by DUCKWRTH. Sooner or later he’s going to have something takeoff. He’s got a different energy kind of like YBN Cordae that separates him. This too.
13. “Money Good” by Megan Thee Stallion. She’s got bars and a sense of humor. “I’m tryna get my pockets 99 Ricki Lake” is gold.
14. “Cocoa Butter Kisses (feat. Vic Mensa And Twista)” by Chance the Rapper. Welcome to a broader universe than SoundCloud. A reminder of why he’s become as popular as he has.
15. “Stay High” by Brittany Howard. I wasn’t sure what Howard solo was going to be, but if there’s more of this I’m in.
16. “Boys in the Better Land” by FONTAINES D.C. We have to land on a high energy note. “You’re not alone until you start kicking” are words to live by, and maybe (just maybe) in the tradition of “Fast Car” with a dose of Lou Reed he pleads, “if you’re a rockstar, pornstar, superstar / doesn’t matter what you are / get yourself a good car and get out of here / well, about the boys in the better land / you’re always talking about the boys in the better land.” Don’t just say it, do it. They certainly did.