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The Official Charts of 2017

You can also experience this post in the form of a Spotify playlist.

Top tracks

Against the homophobia of innocence

In a post on the NYRB’s web site about Carol, Francine Prose writes:

Ramping up the drama is the fact that we are never permitted to forget the social pressures and restrictive mores of the mid-twentieth century. In one scene, the bewildered Therese asks her even more clueless boyfriend Richard (Jake Lacy) if he’s ever heard of a woman falling in love with another woman. It’s an innocent, almost comical moment…. Therese asks if he’s ever heard of ‘two people who fall in love suddenly with each other, out of the blue. Say two men or two girls’. Has he ever been in love with a boy? Of course not, says straight-arrow Richard.

I think this misses something important about the film, though, which is how clearly it rejects what you might call a homophobia of innocence. Read more↴

Sensational communism

I generally find out about TV shows either through links to thinkpieces posted on Twitter, or through gifsets posted on Tumblr. I suspect the gifsets have tended to be a more reliable guide to good shows than the thinkpieces, a suspicion that was reinforced when I finally got round to watching Sense8 recently. As the gifsets promised, it’s great, but it’s great in a particular way – formally challenging, conceptually fascinating – that I’m surprised I didn’t see more thinkpieces about it. Read more↴

The Official Chart for January 2017

So, maybe I’ll continue to do this regular music post thing, but once a month? And rather than struggling to find something to say about every track I hear that I like, I’ll just write about the tracks I know I’ve got something to say about, and stuff the rest on a Spotify playlist (and my tumblr; my plan is to update them both throughout the month).

The song I’ve been most excited about this past month actually came out at the end of last year, “Back to Me” by Lauren Jauregui (from Fifth Harmony) and indie-ish electronic band Marian Hill. I love songs that are built from a number of exaggeratedly discrete components, like a bunch of machines that have been left running and have fortuitously come together to produce a song. Read more↴

The Official Charts of 2016

In no particular order, and somewhat arbitrarily selected from a bunch of other great stuff that came out in 2016 (and also collected in a Spotify play list)

Top tracks

  • Karó, “Silhouette.”
  • Florrie, “Real Love.” A bass line like a thunderstorm.
  • Carly Rae Jepsen, “Fever.” “My breath was lost when you said ‘friends’ / well that could work but I’m still hot for you.”
  • Brandy Clark, “Since You’ve Gone to Heaven.”
  • Little Mix, “Power.” On the one hand, Glory Days was a kind of disappointing album, but on the other hand, “Motorbike / motorbike / motorbike / motorbike / bike bike / bike bike / bike bike bike bike / bike bike whoo!”
  • Rihanna, “Work.”

Read more↴

The official chart for August 21

New Britney! When I first heard “Do You Wanna Come Over?“, I thought “Britney doing Girls Aloud,” although actually the guitars are more “Sweet Dreams my LA Ex”; either way, this has something of the sound of mid-2000s British pop, the golden age of popism, a sound Britney didn’t embrace at the time (though there is the unreleased recording of “Graffiti My Soul” to speculate about). I didn’t like “Private Show” at all (I don’t know if it counts as a single, but if it did it would surely be Britney’s weakest), but the two songs from Glory released since then have been pretty good; obviously the release of a new Britney album is a stressful time, but the quality of “Clumsy” and now “Do You Wanna Come Over?” is making that stress more about anticipation than trepidation. Read more↴