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Danny Brown - "25 Bucks"
Brown’s magnetic personality and jittery high on sugar-and-weed voice makes almost everything on Old compelling, but I’m not gonna feel sheepish for saying that luxuriously goth-y synth-pop hooks make me more likely to put rap songs on repeat.
Beyoncé - "Haunted"
One of the myriad interesting points about Beyoncé’s blitzkrieg is that it puts her outside of all our grubby critical evaluations for the year, forcing evaluation of her work that runs seperate and parallel. There is the best music of the year, and then there is BEYONCE, and it’s not like she’s anxiously checking a Google alert to see if anyone managed to shoehorn her into a list, last-minute. While her regal bearing continues to let her get away with lyrics that most anybody else would get scolded for, the sound of this one, especially in it’s slow burning/booming second half is just terrific. (Witch-house, validated at long last! Ha.)
Kanye West - "Black Skinhead"
First off, this is the best glam rock beat anyone’s come up with since forever. Maaaaaybe there was some revivalist who stumbled across something close on 90s alt-rock radio, or something, but minds that instantly flipped back to Gary Glitter or Adam Ant instead of Marilyn Manson were dead on. It gets much darker on top of that. It’s not eye makeup and glitter and grape bunches (although I'm sure that's a party Kanye would feel at home in). There’s a different sort of hedonism that comes from indulging in blind rage, when yelling your guts out just feels so good, so cathartic, that 100% coherence isn’t a vital concern.