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PostPosted: Sun Jun 12, 2016 9:40 pm 
Master
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White Haven wrote:
I'm sorry, Lys; sometimes you've got a point, but not with those two 'A-rank' pieces, particularly the anthem of disengaged boredom that is The Hills. I Can't Feel My Face at least has a pulse, but The Hills...the only thing that saves it from F-rank is the fact that there has to be a category for actual abominations to avoid cheapening the lowest rating available.

That it's an anthem of disengaged boredom is precisely what makes The Hills so great. Much like Kavinsky's Nightcall it's the kind of music that makes me want to check out for an afternoon and get high on dissociatives. As far as i'm concerned any song that makes me strongly feel or crave something is by definition a great song.

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PostPosted: Sun Jun 12, 2016 10:45 pm 
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I'd just as soon not crave the sweet embrace of death, if it's all the same to you.

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PostPosted: Wed Jun 15, 2016 11:32 am 
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I don't tend to define a song that makes me feel horrific bilious rage against the people who made it, as being particularly good.

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PostPosted: Fri Jun 17, 2016 6:27 pm 
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Anger and disgust toward the song's creators were not the sort of feelings i meant. Honestly i forgot those were options since i don't really feel them. Though i do feel annoyance at bad songs, that is also outside what i meant.

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PostPosted: Tue Jan 17, 2017 2:27 pm 
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2016
Yearly GPA: 1.250




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As with most things in 2016, the music of the year was pretty bad, a formless drone of mediocre modern pop aimlessly floating from week to week. There were high points, as always, but the general thrust of the year was not one of the high points. Let's get this done.




Justin Bieber - Sorry
Number 1 song from January 23rd-February 12th, 2016 (3 weeks)
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Havoc's Grade: D
Christ, this song is douchey. "You are an asshole for getting mad at my honesty" is the sort of thing that supra-conceited douchebags say. The song itself is something called "Tropical House", which... yeah, your guess is as good as mine. The song's arrangement is the work of House wunderkind Skrillex, whose opinion on the piece is as follows:

"From the perspective of the producer, I find the muffled vocal chops to represent the people or situations in which Justin or the listener could be apologetic towards. The vocal manipulations make an ambiguous sound and a moment later Justin replies, 'Sorry.' I love that narrative. Justin's vocal delivery and the triumphant key of the song gave the narrative a warm color. I am most excited by music that allows the beat to tell a story as much as the vocal and in 'Sorry,' the beat is saying moving forward, and apologizing, can be exciting and fun."

Yeah... so... there we are.



Justin Bieber - Love Yourself
Number 1 song from February 13th-19th, February 27th-March 4th, 2016 (2 weeks)
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Havoc's Grade: C
A bitter, low-key song about tossing a douchey ex out the door, Love Yourself is... actually pretty decent if I'm being honest. I'm no Bieber fan by any stretch of the imagination, but this song's minimalist acoustic stylings, written by Ed Sheeran of all people, fits the song well, and it becomes clear in context what things like "go and love yourself" means. Best of all, unlike most songs that pretend that they don't care what people think, Bieber genuinely seems over the relationship, responding to the other partner not with hysterical denunciations but earthy, tired exclamations of "Oh good god, really?" It's probably the best song Bieber has ever done if I'm being honest, and while that's faint praise, certainly, it's genuinely meant. Love Yourself is all right. Well done, Bieber.



Zayn - Pillowtalk
Number 1 song from February 20th-26th, 2016 (1 week)
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Havoc's Grade: C
For those lucky enough to not know, Zayn is a refugee from British Boy Band One Direction, a band I hated far less than I suspect I should have. Pillowtalk, a song whose title I would never have guessed, is a strange one, a down-tempo electro-alternative R&B ballad, and... honestly, it's not bad. It's all in the arrangement here, a belabored sledgehammer beat over industrial guitar growling at a pace slow enough to give the song a bit of weight. I don't really love the song, but the chorus has enough of an interesting sound to warrant a listen. One could do a lot worse.



Rihanna, featuring Drake - Work
Number 1 song from March 5th-May 6th, 2016 (9 weeks)
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Havoc's Grade: D
A patois-laden rambling pile of dancehall-reggae crap, Work is an almost aggressively boring song, to the point where I struggle to find anything to say about it. It just goes nowhere, rambling and meandering with a boring beat and boring, slurred vocals. I don't care how "culturally pure or "non-appropriative" the song is, it just sucks, almost to the point of the dreaded F, though ultimately it's not interesting enough to merit that terrible score.



Designer - Panda
Number 1 song from May 7th-20th, 2016 (2 weeks)
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Havoc's Grade: F
Ugh.

What the hell is this trap beat crap? For those happy enough not to know, Panda is an extended ad for BMW X6 cars in black and while, and I'll be damned if I can figure out anything else about this awful excuse for a song. Between random chortling, endlessly repeated lines, and the nonsense that are its lyrics, this song sounds like a homeless guy on a bus rambling to himself about something nobody else understands. To hell with this.



Drake, featuring Wizkid and Kyla - One Dance
Number 1 song from May 21st-27th, June 4th-August 5th, 2016 (10 weeks)
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Havoc's Grade: D
So this is "Dancehall", eh? Well it sure is a thing that exists. One Dance is a song with a couple of interesting musical decisions, but that don't really amount to much. The song is minimalist mulch, and so is my rating.



Justin Timberlake - Can't Stop the Feeling!
Number 1 song from May 28th-June 3rd, 2016 (1 week)
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Havoc's Grade: C
Can't Stop the Feeling! is a song designed to debut with a Dreamworks animated movie about Troll dolls scheduled to come out in November, one that I've never heard of and likely will not have anything to do with once the time comes. The song... well I can't quite figure out why I don't like the song more, a pop-disco overture in Timberlake's normal style that I originally couldn't get into at all. But over time, repeated exposure has softened me on the thing, and I've decided to (barely) give it a passing grade.



Sia, featuring Sean Paul - Cheap Thrills
Number 1 song from August 6th-September 2nd, 2016 (4 weeks)
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Havoc's Grade: C
Around these parts, the first line of this song plays "Come on, Come on, turn Alice radio on", as part of a promo with a local radio station (Alice 97.3). This is not the sort of thing that endears a song to me.

I've been a fan of Sia's since 2014's Chandelier, but this song is just... okay, despite the fact that it does a lot of things I normally like, such as a Sean Paul Reggae feature, and a strong electro-pop undercarriage. The song just never seems to burst its banks, so to speak, and transcend to a higher level the way that Chandelier did, but then I suppose they can't all be winners. Still, not a bad song, just less than Sia is capable of.



The Chainsmokers, featuring Halsey - Closer
Number 1 song from September 3rd-November 25th, 2016 (12 weeks)
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Havoc's Grade: D
I've heard this song described as "infectious", which I agree with in the sense that it's a bacillus that seems to have infected everyone nearby. I really dislike this song, which has a choral bridge that sounds like it was being played on a Fisher-Price playtime soundboard for three year olds. It's actively annoying, and the only thing that keeps it off the dreaded F level is that the annoying sections are brief.



Rae Sremmurd, featuring Gucci Mane - Black Beatles
Number 1 song from November 26th, 2016-January 6th, 2017, January 14th-20th, 2017 (7 weeks)
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Havoc's Grade: C
Black Beatles is a weird one. On the surface it's just another rap song about bitches and hos, partying, being rich and awesome, etc, but it's completely undercut by the beat and dour sound of the thing. I can't really say I like it, but I don't hate it either, as there's something rather odd about the mood of the song, something which makes all the bragging feel empty and hollow. Of course this song didn't get popular because of deep stylistic analysis, it got big because of the Mannequin Challenge viral meme, which consists of people trying to pretend they are mannequins while this song plays in the background. I'm glad to know the internet is still as strange as ever.







Supplemental Songs

Bad years always beg the question of whether or not the year itself sucked or if the best music simply didn't hit number 1. Let's find out which one 2016 was.



Elle King - America's Sweetheart
2016 Billboard Top 100 position: N/A
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Havoc's Grade: B
Sometimes you just want a good country-rock song, and for all the genericism of its premise and concept, America's Sweetheart is one of the better ones I've heard in the last year. A big EDM-and-drum-infused banjo rock song is something I'm always gonna pay attention to, whoever it's from, and Elle King is one of the few throwback artists still making good music in this blighted year. Sometimes you take what you can get.



AWOLNation - I Am
2016 Billboard Top 100 position: N/A
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Havoc's Grade: B
Yes, technically this was released in 2015, but 2016 was the year it first got a single release, and so it counts. A strange, highly atmospheric electro-alternative rock song, of the sort that doesn't get made a lot any more. I really don't know how to describe this song, an operatic, deliberate piece of electro-rock put together in a way that I find particularly earwormy. All kidding aside, I really like this song, more than I did Sail, their previous entry on this list. I'm sure your mileage may vary, but this has always been a personal list.



OneRepublic - Let's Hurt Tonight
2016 Billboard Top 100 position: N/A
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Havoc's Grade: B
Sheer sincerity and desperation will get you a long way in my book, and so it is that we come back to OneRepublic, a band I've always liked, and whose frontman Ryan Tedder, is one of the best songwriters working. This song may seem overwrought to many, but I have always liked music that commits to its emotional themes, as this one does. It's a crying, painful, torn anthem of agony and yearning, and I have to admit that I really like it, the orchestration, the percussion line, most everything about it. It does kind of end on a whimper, which is a real shame, but I like this song all the same.




Other noted songs from 2016:
21 Pilots - Stressed Out <--- I actually kinda like this song, weirdly enough
The Chainsmokers, ft. Daya - Don't Let Me Down
Lukas Graham - 7 Years
Flo Rida - My House <--- Better than most Flo Rida songs
Mike Posner - I Took a Pill in Ibiza <--- Waaaaay better than it has any right to be
Calvin Harris, ft. Rhianna - This is What You Came For
DNCE - Cake by the Ocean
Twenty One Pilots - Heathens <--- Associations with the worst movie of the decade do not do this song credit
Adele - Send My Love (To Your New Lover) <--- Wake me up when Adele starts singing something different
Shawn Mendes - Treat You Better
P!nk - Just Like Fire <--- Wake me up when Pink starts singing something different
Gnash, ft. Olivia Brian - I Hate U, I Love U <--- Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzz
Charlie Puth - One Call Away <--- Not terrible, actually
Charlie Puth, ft. Selena Gomez - We Don't Talk Anymore <--- Terrible, actually
Selena Gomez - Hands to Myself
The Weeknd, ft. Daft Punk - Starboy <--- I kinda like this one
Lil Wayne, Wiz Khalifa, and Imagine Dragons, with Logic and Ty Dolla Sign, ft. X Ambassadors - Sucker for Pain <--- ... I'm above these jokes.
Ruth B. - Lost Boy <--- This song is just weird and unsettling. I have no idea what to think of it.
Adele - When We Were Young
Hailee Steinfeld and Grey, ft. Zedd - Starving <--- Utterly boring
Zayn & Taylor Swift - I Don't Wanna Live Forever <--- Actually pretty decent, mostly due to the orchestration

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PostPosted: Tue Jan 17, 2017 9:01 pm 
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It amuses me how many of these songs i have haven't heard. In fact i've only heard three: Sorry, Stressed Out, and Heathens. There are years in this list from before i was born that have more songs i've heard.

Douchey or no, Sorry is my favourite Justin Bieber song. Like i remember when i first heard it on the radio in my mother's car, and i was dancing along to the tune, not knowing whose it was. Then the radio guy comes on and announces it's Sorry by Justin Bieber, and i just about did a spit take, impressed with how much he'd improved. Also it probably has the best lyric video ever. In fact until literally just now, i wasn't even aware there was another official video for that song, or that it's as generic and terrible as the lyric video is innovative and great.

However the best song of 2016 is obviously Stressed Out, which i suspect would remain true if i were to listen to rest of them. It's a fun catchy little tune about how much it sucks to grow up (about mutant donkey quad-balls), how all the fuckers lied about it, and how nice it was to have less things to worry about. Because contrary to how you were told you'd grow out of your old worries and into new ones, they seem to just pile up on top of each other. Also it has a neat video, where we get to see our band due running around dressed and acting like overgrown children, it's great.

Heathens is a song that starts out really strong, because its chorus is amazing and it leads off with it. However, the the entire rest of the song is just disappointing, and i don't understand why he couldn't just sing the entire song using the same voice he uses during the chorus parts. He does in the ending and that's pretty good, but everywhere else it sounds like he's trying to rap rather than sing and it doesn't work at all. It's too bad, it could have been something wonderful.

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The pretty flowers remind me of a song of elves.


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 17, 2017 10:45 pm 
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See... I've not heard ANY of these songs, because I listen to Rock, not Pop.

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PostPosted: Tue Jan 17, 2017 11:14 pm 
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Yes well i listen exclusively to Filk Metal about the Silmarillion, everything else is just something i accidentally heard that one time.

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Lys is lily, or lilium.
The pretty flowers remind me of a song of elves.


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PostPosted: Fri May 11, 2018 4:36 pm 
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2017
Yearly GPA: 1.577

In keeping with the theme of the 2010s, 2017 represents a pretty heavy score-shift away from 2016's lows. Not that the year rocked out or anything, but a series of actually pretty strong songs, even from genres I have little use for, managed to elevate it above the average pile of crap.

Sorry about the lack of a chart, BTW. Photobucket's demise knocked everything offline.




The Weeknd, featuring Daft Punk - Starboy
Number 1 song from January 7th-January 13th, 2017 (1 week)
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Havoc's Grade: C
Behold Daft Punk's first, and to-date only, number 1 hit. This one comes from exceedingly strange Ethiopian-American singer The Weeknd, an artist I have some respect for, when I can figure out what the hell he's doing, that is. This strange R&B/Electropop piece is riiiight on the edge of that. I do like the sound and dour groove of the thing, but the lyrics are so insane and homeless-man-rambly that it's very difficult to work out what the hell Weeknd is supposed to be getting at. I'm a music-over-lyrics kind of guy, but there is a limit, even for me. Still, I can't pretend the unique sound of the thing doesn't intrigue me at least a little.



Migos, featuring Lil Uzi Vert - Bad and Boujee
Number 1 song from January 21st-27th, February 4th-17th, 2017 (3 weeks)
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Havoc's Grade: C
I'm as astonished as anyone to be giving this thing a passing grade, but it's all in the sound of the thing, the smooth, restrained beat, the soft flow, the strange feel that the thing has. It kind of collapses by about the third verse, but it's still interesting enough to be worth the occasional listen. I'm too old to tell you much about the internet meme this thing spawned, but I will tell you this. 'Boujee' is actually a corruption of "Bourgeois", and refers to someone with cheap, decadent tastes. Yes, Bad and Boujee is Communist dialectic.

No, not really, but we can dream.



Ed Sheeran - Shape of You
Number 1 song from January 28th-February 3rd, February 18th-May 5th, 2017 (11 weeks)
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Havoc's Grade: D
Ed Sheeran singing about sex? Uhhhh no. No, no thank you whatsoever. Filled with vaguely icky lyrics and a troll video, this song is just boring, ultimately, which is why I can't quite figure out what the hell this thing's doing as the number one song of the year. Not that this is the first time. Apparently this song was originally written for Rihanna, which I can at least see, as its dancehall/house beat fits her style a bit better, but in any form whatsoever it's a mess. Pay it no mind.



Kendrick Lamar - Humble
Number 1 song from May 6th-12th, 2017 (1 week)
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Havoc's Grade: D
I don't mind staggering arrogance in a song, believe me, but I do need it to be backed up with something, and endless droning repetitions of "Bitch, be humble" do not qualify. Pitchfork and plenty of other publications dosed this song with piles of praise, none of which interests me in the slightest. It's just another trap-beat song of no particular interest.



Bruno Mars - That's What I Like
Number 1 song from May 13th-19th, 2017 (1 week)
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Havoc's Grade: D
This is not what I like. No, it's not godawful, Bruno's own charisma prevents that, but it's an entirely forgettable New Jack Swing throwback song, one that does not distinguish itself like the best of Bruno's work. It's too polished, too clean, and too adult-alternative for me. And bear in mind my tastes. Bruno got accused of ripping Beyonce off for this one, but I have no opinion on that tempest in a teapot.



DJ Khaled, featuring Justin Bieber, Quavo, Chance the Rapper and Lil Wayne - I'm the One
Number 1 song from May 20th-26th, 2017 (1 week)
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Havoc's Grade: D
A four-chord trap beat song, eh?

I'm the One's a song I almost had some mercy on, but... no, sorry, I can't tell anyone apart on this song. Most of the artists aren't as annoying on this one as they typically would be, but by and large, the song is pretty lackadaisical. I don't have much use for it, and so this is the grade it gets.



Luis Fonsi and Daddy Yankee, featuring Justin Bieber - Despacito
Number 1 song from May 27th-September 15th, 2017 (16 weeks)
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Havoc's Grade: C
Despacito is the first Spanish-language song to headline the charts in 21 years, since the Macarena of 1996, as tied for the longest reign atop the charts of any song ever. I gave it this grade on a very narrow margin, as the song is too damn busy for its own good, but ultimately I do see why this one dominated the entire summer of 2017. It has a really relaxed Reggaeton sound to it, smooth and unprepossessing.



Taylor Swift - Look What You Made Me Do
Number 1 song from September 16th-October 6th, 2017 (3 weeks)
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Havoc's Grade: C
I... actually kind of like this.

I know, I know, this is a deeply un-hip song to like, but I can't really help it. I like Electroclash in small doses, and I like Dancepop in slightly larger ones. The sound here is a little too dubsteppy for my tastes ultimately, but not so much that I'm going to condemn it. I know that this song was more of a media event than a song, thanks to Taylor's public meltdowns concerning her media portrayals, but the meta-aspects of this song couldn't interest me less. I like the sound. What do you want?



Post Malone, featuring 21 Savage - Rockstar
Number 1 song from October 28th-December 22nd, 2017 (8 weeks)
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Havoc's Grade: D
That isn't to say that I've gone completely insane. Rockstar, yet another slow trap song, isn't awful, but is pretty damn generic, elevated slightly by a video that is filled with blood and violence, a send-up to Kill Bill and other samurai movies featuring Post Mallone killing his way through some kind of Yakuza gang with a katana. This is far more interesting than the song is.



Ed Sheeran - Perfect
Number 1 song from December 23rd, 2017-January 28th, 2018 (6 weeks)
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Havoc's Grade: B
I could have sworn that Perfect is a note-for-note remake of something, but I can't place it, and apparently nobody else can either. What it is, however, is pretty great, a slow, classical-style love song one that has been sung alongside everyone from Beyoncé to Andrea Bocelli. Indeed, it's Beyoncé's duet version that technically charted, but that version makes no sense musically or otherwise, and so it's the original I've decided to count. By now I'm well aware that it's too slow and too soft for everyone else, but that hardly matters. Perfect is an excellent song, and deserves the grade it's got.






Supplemental Songs

2017 had a number of songs in it that I didn't mind. Some actually made the top of the charts, but those that didn't are hereby recorded.



Ed Sheeran - Castle on the Hill
2016 Billboard Top 100 position: 40
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Havoc's Grade: B
Another reviewer described Castle on the Hill as like a forgotten U2 song, which is entirely a product of the infinite guitar work being done in the background. Sheeran himself claims it was inspired by Snow Patrol, which I also hear, but whatever source it comes from, Castle on the Hill is a great song, a nostalgic reminiscence of days gone by, when things were simpler and life was different. It never quite cuts loose the way the best U2 songs do, being kind of all buildup and no payoff, but it's still a wonderful achievement, a folk-pop anthem that is my favorite thing Sheeran's done to date.



Kesha - Praying
2016 Billboard Top 100 position: 67
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Havoc's Grade: B
Now here's someone I never thought to hear from again.

Kesha, for those who don't know, just recently exited a horrific legal battle with her former producer, Dr. Luke, a rapist and general scumbag who apparently not only signed her to a contract that amounted to slavery, but also sexually and physically abused her for years. The whole party girl image Kesha held for so long was his idea, not hers, and this song is the first one she managed to put out after the ordeal, a spiritualist piano-and-choir ballad directed squarely at the monster who ruined her life for so many years.

Though intended as an empowerment anthem, Praying is also one of the most violently bitter songs I've ever heard, as Kesha sings triumphantly about bringing thunder and pain to her abuser, and ruining him so thoroughly that everyone forgets his very name. The Praying of the title is what she hopes he's engaged in, for the sake of his soul and for mercy, because he is to expect none from her. Now that is a sentiment I can get behind.

I really like Praying, for its honesty, its vocal stylings, the violence of its hatreds and the relief of its liberation. It's an incredible feat for someone who's been through what Kesha went through, and I can only hope it's the first of many songs to come.



Walk the Moon - One Foot
2016 Billboard Top 100 position: N/A
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Havoc's Grade: B
The opening five seconds of this song sound so much like Maroon Five that I damn near failed it right there, but fortunately, One Foot gets better as it goes, ending with an extremely strong final chorus and bridge. With a video filmed in Joshua Tree during the 2017 total eclipse, this is just a really good power-pop/EDM song, and I really enjoy it, just as much as I did Walk the Moon's previous work.



Missio - Middle Fingers
2016 Billboard Top 100 position: N/A
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Havoc's Grade: B
I have no idea what Indietronica is, nor why I like Middle Fingers so much. I assume it's the underlying sound, which is driving and synth-laden in the ways that I like. Or perhaps it's the theme, of flipping the world off when it demands your adherence to someone else's plan, of defiance as a life choice. It's a weird little ephemeral song that isn't about much. But I like it. And that's all there is to the matter.




Other noted songs from 2017:
Sam Hunt - Body Like a Back Road <--- Bro Country lives on, it appears.
Imagine Dragons - Believer <--- Not bad, but not as good as the Dragons' best stuff
Bruno Mars - 24K Magic <--- Shameless repetition of Uptown Funk wihtout being as good
Charlie Puth - Attention <--- Waaaaay better than I expected.
Shawn Mendes - There's Nothing Holding Me Back
Alessia Cara - Scars to Your Beautiful <--- Why are these empowerment anthems always so stupidly-written?
Logic, ft. Alessia Cara and Khallid - 1-800-273-8255 <--- A Suicide Hotline number.
The Chainsmokers - Paris <--- Okay.
Portugal: The Man - Feel it Still
Katy Perry, ft. Chip Marley - Chained to the Rhythmn <--- Boring.
Sam Smith - Too Good at Goodbyes <--- Boring.
Hailee Steinfeld and Grey, ft. Zedd - Starving <--- Boring.
Pink - What About Us
Adele - Water Under the Bridge
Shawn Mendes - Treat You Better
Lorde - Green Light <--- Not bad.

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Havoc: "So basically if you side against him, he summons Cthulu."
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 11, 2018 1:00 pm 
Disciple
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There's something about Ed Sheeran as a vocalist that I can't help but feel sounds bored in a lot of his songs, even the ones you rate well. Just takes the energy right out at the knees. And as for Praying...I see what you like in it, I do, but good lord it takes too much of its run-time to get anywhere, musically-speaking. Once it does, sure.

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