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DISCUSSION FORUM

I've been holed up for the past week or so writing about dubstep and associated genres but now that's out of the way, I have a thread. If you convulse at the idea of me writing about music then I highly recommend you get out while you still can because it's only gonna get so much worse.

As now is the case, we have two links to give out. Firstly the normal one http://myradiostream.com/station/flashplayer.php?s=s6&p=14748

But if that doesn't work, try this https://myradiostream.com/embed/free.php?s=loofrundry&btnstyle=default&id=465864&n=6&p=14748

And if that doesn't work, possibly try the first one again because technology makes sense.

If you wanna hang out on that day, shoot me a memo and I'll make a discord invite. That day is Friday this week, and that time is 4pm AEDT, so like 1.5 days from now almost exactly.
350Polo G with Lil WayneGANG GANG
349NgaiireCloser
348ASHWARYA feat. Vic MensaTO THE NIGHT
347Ed SheeranVisiting Hours
346Big ScaryStay
345Ed SheeranTides
344SlayyyterTroubled Paradise
343Band of HorsesCrutch
342MADAM3EMPRESSLocking Eyes
341Ash LuneBefore
340Kirsten SaltyExaggerator
339Teenage JoansIce Cream
338Ed SheeranOverpass Graffiti
337Unknown Mortal OrchestraWeekend Run
336Gretta RayThe Cure
335The WombatsMethod To The Madness
334CannonsBad Dream
333PendulumCome Alive
332AP & KamahumbleHEKA HORCY
331Kanye WestJail
330NavvyRock Bottom
329Hiatus Kaiyote feat. Arthur VerocaiGet Sun
328Pale WavesEasy
327Aly & AJListen!!!
326Kacey Musgravesjustified
325easy lifeskeletons
324HatchieThis Enchanted
323Flight Facilities feat. Your SmithHeavy
322Royal BloodBoilermaker
321Unknown Mortal OrchestraThat Life
320Arca feat. SiaBorn Yesterday
319Wolf AliceHow Can I Make It OK?
318Lucy DacusVBS
317Jaguar JonzeASTRONAUT
316Becca Hatch feat. Planet VegetaPlease U
315Hayley KiyokoFound My Friends
314Alan Walker & ISÁKSorry
313ShihadTear Down Those Names
312Taylor Swift feat. Phoebe BridgersNothing New (Taylor’s Version) (From The Vault)
311Jorja Smith feat. ShayboBussdown
310MICHELLEFYO
309Yumi ZoumaMona Lisa
308DayaThe Difference
307Molly PaytonYou Cut Me So Much Slack
306Holy HolyBelieve Anything
305Ed SheeranBe Right Now
304Beach HouseESP
303OceansCome So Far
302Molly PaytonHoney
301KESMARDelora
300Polo GRAPSTAR
299CXLOEClose
298Lucy DacusHot & Heavy
297Tyler, The Creator feat. Lil Uzi Vert & Pharrell WilliamsJUGGERNAUT
296Maple GliderBaby Tiger
295Moaning LisaWaste
294Kanye WestMoon
293The Lazy EyesFuzz Jam
292LØLØu look stupid
291Trippie Redd feat. Playboi CartiMiss The Rage
290Baker Boy feat. YirrmalRide
289Hope DHappy Hangover
288A$AP RockyRich Ni**a Problems
287JesswarMedusa
286Moaning LisaToo Many
285LOVADance For The Hell Of It
284Royal & the Serpenti can't get high
283Cardi BUp
282Baby Queen & MAY-AAmerican Dream
281Kanye WestHeaven and Hell
280J. Colei n t e r l u d e
279Shannen JamesSeparate Ways
278Lil Tjay feat. Polo G & Fivio ForeignHeadshot
277Fabich feat. Vetta Borne405
276Seconds Flat & Kirin J CallinanNew Music Friday
275AViVADEMONS
274Chief Keef feat. TadoeTuxedo
273Julia StoneFire In Me
272Yumi ZoumaGive It Hell
271The VeronicasJealous
270DuckwrthMask Off (Feelings)
269Lil Nas XMONTERO (Call Me By Your Name)
268The Lazy EyesWhere's My Brain???
267Koori MobOur Country, Our Life
266Lil Baby feat. EST GeeReal As It Gets
265Young Franco & Tkay Maidza feat. NerveReal Nice (H.C.T.F.)
264Megan Thee StallionThot Shit
263Crowded HouseShow Me The Way
262RÜFÜS DU SOLAlive
261DrakeChampagne Poetry
260Eliza & The DelusionalsSave Me
259grentperezClementine
258Methyl EthelNeon Cheap
257Wolf AliceLipstick On the Glass
256Liyah KnightMoon Baby
255Sarcastic Sounds feat. Claire Rosinkranz & Clinton Kanechange ur mind
254Niko WaltersSoul Food
253CHVRCHESViolent Delights
252Genesis OwusuGold Chains
251Yen StrangeDonnie Darko
250VerzacheAll I Need
249Bruno Mars, Anderson .Paak & Silk SonicLeave The Door Open
248SyccoMy Ways
247Kanye WestPure Souls
246GladesDancing In The Mirror
245Beach HouseRunaway
244Billie EilishHappier Than Ever
243BROCKHAMPTONDON'T SHOOT UP THE PARTY
242Bruno Mars, Anderson .Paak & Silk SonicSmokin Out The Window
241Sloan PetersonParasite
240London GrammarHow Does It Feel
239J. Cole with 21 Savage & Morraym y . l i f e
238Billie EilishOxytocin
237SpelllingAwaken
236The Lazy EyesNobody Taught Me
235bbno$ & Rich Brianedamame
234LordeMood Ring
233Swae Lee with Jhené AikoIn The Dark
232Bloc PartyTraps
231Moaning LisaInadequacy
230Kanye WestBelieve What I Say
229The ArmedAN ITERATION
228Cautious ClayShook
227Joey Valance & BraeDouble Jump
226Ruby FieldsR.E.G.O
225DrakePipe Down
224MoonbaseYour Hand
223TelenovaBones
222Bad Sounds feat. BROODSMove into Me
221paris jackson feat. Manchester Orchestraadagio
220Little SimzRollin Stone
219spill tab feat. Tommy GenesisIndecisive
218Nyck Caution feat. Denzel CurryBad Day
217Stellie22 Pieces
216亜咲花Party Fever Night!!
215Magdalena BayYou Lose!
214Olivia Rodrigogood 4 u
213SG Lewis feat. LastlingsAll We Have
212KučkaEternity
211Alisa XayalithHigh Fidelity
210Kanye WestJesus Lord
209CannonsRuthless
208Amber MarkForeign Things
207Big ScaryGet Out!
206ASHWARYAFLARE
205KALIToo Tired
204ArchitectsDead Butterflies
203Mura Masa2gether
202Mia WrayNever Gonna Be the Same
201King StingrayGet Me Out
200Nina NesbittSummer Fling
199Nessa Barretti hope ur miserable until ur dead
198Charlie CollinsF**k It
197SpelllingEmperor with an Egg
196Lennon StellaFancy
195LadyhawkeMixed Emotions
194Samsaruh333
193Hayley MaryWould You Throw a Diamond?
192Slum SociableQuestions
191Lucky DayeCandy Drip
190You Am IThe Waterboy
189亜咲花BELIEVE MYSELF
188Cat & Calmellget old
187BudjerahWash My Sorrows Away
186bülowFirst Place
185Years & YearsCrave
184The MillionStop/Go
183REI AMI feat. Aminédo it right
182Nessa Barrettcounting crimes
181Tkay MaidzaSyrup
180Annie HamiltonExist
179Gorgon CityDreams
178DixieThe Real Thing
177Tyler, The Creator feat. Lil WayneHOT WIND BLOWS
176CHVRCHESCry Little Sister
175Beach HouseOver and Over
174SpelllingTurning Wheel
173Methyl EthelMatters
172Caiti BakerMellow
171Madison BeerBlue
170The Jungle GiantsLove Signs
169Olivia Rodrigodeja vu
168Teen Jesus and the Jean TeasersAHHHH!
167亜咲花Bravery Song
166Soccer Mommyrom com 2004
165The BuoysLie To Me Again
164RÜFÜS DU SOLOn My Knees
163Hiatus KaiyoteRed Room
162Cautious Clay feat. SabaStrange Love
161Anfa RoseSILK ROAD
160CHVRCHESFinal Girl
159Alice GlassSuffer and Swallow
158Moaning LisaWorking Still
157Milan Ring feat. BLESSEDSydney Hue
156Holly HumberstoneScarlett
155Beach BunnyBlame Game
154Kanye WestNo Child Left Behind
153SZAI Hate U
152Baby QueenThese Drugs
151King PrincessHouse Burn Down
150Lucy DacusBrando
149Lil Nas XSUN GOES DOWN
148Brent Faiyaz & DJ Dahi feat. Tyler, The CreatorGravity
147Ocean AlleyTouch Back Down
146NyxenTunnels
145London GrammarLord It's a Feeling
144Hayley MarySullen Kink
143TiarnieSorry (Too Much)
142Ruby FieldsSong About a Boy
141Louis Baker feat. KingsOverdrive
140Tierra WhackBody Of Water
139Azure RyderLadder to the Moon
138The VeronicasGODZILLA
137JungleKeep Moving
136NorthlaneEcho Chamber
135KALII Just Wanna
134Psychedelic Porn CrumpetsPukebox
133Tyler, The CreatorSAFARI
132Shannen JamesSuperstitious
131CHVRCHESGood Girls
130Baby Keem feat. Kendrick Lamarfamily ties
129NGHTMRE & Zeds Dead feat. Tori LevettShady Intentions
128AURORAMidas Touch
127Nessa Barrettkeep me afraid
126Kanye WestNew Again
125Cat & Calmelltherapist
124Jessica MauboyGlow
123CLOVESScrews
122Magdalena BaySecrets (Your Fire)
121Holly HumberstoneFriendly Fire
120renforshortwannabe
119Baby QueenDover Beach
118Maya Jane Coles feat. Julia StoneGot Me
117Emotional Oranges feat. Biig PiigBody & Soul
116박혜진 Park Hye Jin feat. Clams Casino & Take A DaytripY DON’T U
115HalseyI am not a woman, I'm a god
114Jess LockeDead and Gone
113GarbageWolves
112Conan GrayTelepath
111LOSERSkyward
110Nothing But ThievesFutureproof
109TelenovaBlue Valentine
108Tkay MaidzaCashmere
107WILLOWLipstick
106BROCKHAMPTON feat. Danny BrownBUZZCUT
105MitskiThe Only Heartbreaker
104Tyler, The Creator feat. Brent Faiyaz & Fana HuesSWEET / I THOUGHT YOU WANTED TO DANCE
103Royal BloodLimbo
102Tkay Maidza with UMIOnto Me
101The Chemical BrothersThe Darkness That You Fear

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2021

In the immortal words of Tkay Maidza, last year was weird, vol. 3. When it comes to writing about years like this, I feel like you get put in a quandary. It's not fun to read about someone being gloomy and miserable, but conversely, a lot of people do not want to hear about how 'actually 2021 was great for me', much less from someone privileged enough to live in Western Australia in These Times. So I won't make any declarations on that. 2021 was just kind of a year in which I did what I usually do: Stay at home, watch copious amounts of Jeopardy!, watch copious amounts of movies (I've now seen every single James Bond movie, AMA), die copious amounts of times in From Software games, and get into copious arguments about how I really wasn't just closing all the doors in Skeld. I wouldn't say I played many video games but many that I did were quite something. Slay The Spire was my year round addiction, Dark Souls 3 & Sekiro made me feel pain, Paradise Killer tapped the synthwave aesthetic long before The Weeknd, Outer Wilds made me feel many things and fear many things, to the point that you can now find very real footage of me coiling in fear on the internet. WarioWare suddenly had me very invested in finding ways to shave a twentieth of a second from a speedrun, [Unnamed mystery game] had me losing my mind over a piece of decisive evidence that spent 7 years lost in space, Muv Luv probably will have me feeling very big things but I haven't quite finished it yet. Papers, Please was a wonderful time that managed to be as hilarious as it was depressing. The Textorcist turned me into a person who now has very strong opinions about which Latin words are good and bad.

My philosophy with music is that it's a thing that I enjoy and I would like to go out of my way to enjoy it as much as I can. Ironically this means often not going out of my way because often times the effort can be unrewarding and the grind is never complete. I admire people who listen to a lot of music but they also scare me. I can remember well over a decade ago seeing people boast having heard some 500 albums in a year, which in all fairness is definitely possible if you care to do it. You'd also find people who seem to just conveniently have an opinion on everything, where I'd initially be skeptical of it because I question one's ability to constantly refresh that information and wonder how much of it is speaking out of one's own arse (if someone says 'x album sucked 20 years ago and it sucked now', they're either pretending that their very old opinion is still worth salt, or they're admitting that they even have the time to listen back to albums they supposedly hated, just to confirm it's still the case. I can't decide which of these two situations is worse). I did see a really interesting comment online recently about how whenever you see someone manage an incredible feat, just think that they represent the absolute peak of how much someone could possibly want to invest themselves in that craft. You didn't, but they did. In any case, no disrespect for the people who really put in the hard yards but it's not for me.

Music for me is exploring the things that make you tick, and enjoying it for that. There is no need to build up a massive complex about what is the right and wrong music to listen to, nor anything that is mandatory inclusion. If that song you like isn't on this list, that's fine and there's no need to spite whatever is here instead. In most cases I probably just didn't hear it, and even if I did, do not take my exclusion as an attempt to bury it. I just like what I like and that's it. It's actually one of the biggest challenges for me because I recognise that there are so many avenues into music that it ends up inadvertently saying something about you. In most cases I am endlessly scared of talking in real life about the music I like because I don't want to give fuel to preconceptions about myself as a person. This includes relatives, doctors, support workers, friends, basically people who have no reason to harbour ill intent towards me and yet I can't do it. Last month, a friend I've known for many years online and have always had a good back & forth with, asked me for music recommendations and I was petrified. I eventually got there but only after explaining my anxieties and begging for them not to tell me if anything's amiss. I think part of it is that I hate the archetype that I still probably represent. This person who thinks they know everything and is pretentious enough to think their obscure indie music is better than yours. I find myself hating that archetype the most probably because it's so easy to pin it to me (though I won't pretend that I didn't definitely have it in me many years ago). Whenever someone asks me what sort of music I like, I often have to default to saying something like 'mostly indie and pop stuff that's obscure without being cool'. Even saying that I think puts across an air of snobbishness, as if I'm begrudging the lack of popularity for any reason other than 'I would like to see this artist earn more money for their craft and hopefully be able to make more music that I like'.

I think in general a good philosophy that I always try to take to heart is to see the good in people. That sounds so basic as to be nothing so to further elaborate, I think it is so important to avoid building up a negative bogeyman based solely on limited, extrapolated perceptions. If you ever find yourself thinking 'I bet that person thinks [something bad]', ask yourself why you think that. Ask yourself what concrete evidence you have for thinking this. More often than not, this evidence doesn't exist, and it's just inventing a strawman and forcing someone to wear their suit of straw. Furthermore, if someone does something you don't like, ask yourself why you don't like that, and for that matter, what could that person possibly do to make you like them? If you have no answer, or the answer you have is not something realistically feasible in that person's shoes, you have to wonder to yourself if you're being rational at all. This sort of discourse runs rampant and all it serves to do is spread misinformation as the lines of communication Gartic Phone the original message from speculation to stated fact. Be very careful about carrying across any message that starts with 'I heard that...'. When you have the world's collective knowledge at your fingertips, the worst thing you can do is not use it. Just don't be an asshole honestly. Also NFTs suuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuck.
100. Celeste - Tonight Tonight

So like 18 months ago I tweeted a poll regarding what the name 'Celeste' means to people and by a decent margin the consensus is that the video game comes first. I may have coaxed this by the fact that on main I mostly tweet about video games but then on the other hand no one went for Danganronpa. But in the middle we had Celeste who was making a name for herself but perhaps didn't hit the biggest time until 2021 when she released her debut album to UK #1 fame. That's when I heard this song and was quickly taken in by its excessively hook-laden approach. The production is very lively and though one could say the chorus has its share of repetition, I really like the way it resolves the melody. Often times that 4th bar can be the most important one for me.
99. James Blake - Life Is Not The Same

(Words written before I realised I messed up). You have to think James Blake has done something special here because (oh you knew I was gonna mention it) it's allowed me to overcome the eye-sore of an album cover. Often times I worry I've gotten too cynical about new music when I listen to new James Blake and it just doesn't grab me like it once did in those heady days of 2013, which is not to say it's bad but just doesn't feel essential to me. So I was quite delighted to hear this which captured me in that same way. It's such a nicely controlled use of his vocal strengths.

Past entries:
2013Retrograde#5
2013Life Round Here#43
2020Before#34

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98. Olivia Rodrigo - drivers license

So I don't know if you have a story of where you were when you first heard this song but mine was the same as basically every other song, it was on New Music Friday. January's always a bit of an odd time where I'm especially keen to bring on the new stuff but a lot of the time it's just not there in droves. That week felt especially dry but I heard something pleasing in this song by an artist whose name I vaguely recognised as some teen starlet, but I put it on my playlist as a pleasant nicety. Then a few days later it was the biggest song in the world and I was basically forced to give it a little bit more attention. In doing so my appreciation started to grow as I looked at it as a whole. I'm always a fan of the thematic approach and I find this song excels in its use of driving as a framing device. I can't relate to it properly because I don't have a licence but I always did recognise it as a significant milestone of growing up, almost a status symbol of sorts. For Olivia in this song it represents an imagined future with a partner that never came into fruition, and something she can't escape mentally because it's attached to such a common, mundane task. I've seen it said that the song is immaturely written but I wouldn't change a thing about it, as it just expertly captures the thesis statement.
97. Jarryd James feat. Trapo - Overdue

I might irrationally hold a level of spite against Jarryd James because he cost me a decent amount due to my bad Hottest 100 gambling decisions (if you're reading this, gamble responsibly), but in general that's a crazy rewind to just 7 years ago when an Australian artist could come out of the blue, almost score a #1 hit and then drift into relative obscurity after that. I wonder how much of that comes down to international presence, where unless you're Hilltop Hoods (I want to say Guy Sebastian but even he's had a Billboard hit), you just can't sustain the hype cycle on Australian press alone. Anyway most people probably didn't realise he put out an album last year but from it I was pleasantly surprised by this track. It's very oddly structured, where Trapo's verse isn't used as a bridge or anything, it's kind of just tacked on for the last 2 minutes where Jarryd has disappeared and won't be returning. Mostly though I'm here for the explosive relief when the chorus does hit. It's a relentlessly sad song, perhaps about the fickle struggle behind fame and maintaining it. The emotion really comes through in the performance.
96. The Million - Last Call

It's very easy to be cynical about something you don't like. Typically because you want to validate your own opinions as justifiably accurate, to immediately retort anyone who does like it because you have the higher ground. You can hear a song and say 'there's no love in this, it is made purely to be a hit' or whatever, but it also often means being blind to when that sort of thing is aimed squarely at you. I can say that about a lot of these songs and maybe I will but certainly this song feels like it was worked, possibly focus grouped to the bone to nail that perfect upbeat synth pop experience. Maybe the only thing it's missing is a more charismatic vocalist to cut through and really sell it. But still, this is a joy to listen to every time, where you know all the tricks but the song's stop/start melody in the chorus is just unique enough that you don't get the same experience elsewhere.
95. twenty one pilots - Shy Away

I'm very self-aware of my situation regarding twenty one pilots in the past. Maybe the first sign of getting too old for music is when you start to reject the new hype bands because they're not as good as the old hype bands, YOUR hype bands. Like they don't deserve to hold that same podium. The self-awareness comes from seeing people older than you make the same comments about your sacred cows, the bands you figured were above criticism because anyone who listened to them would surely conclude greatness. I was an obnoxious Muse fan some years ago and I saw a lot of myself in twenty one pilots fans which had me conclude that if I were 5-10 years younger, I'd probably be obsessed with them instead. I still hold my reservations to some of their material but I'm trying to not be a jerk about it lately because I appreciate they do their own thing and admire that. In general though I've been warming up to their material and this, though admittedly probably not a shining example of their songwriting capabilities, just hits me on a pure level. The elephant in the room is that this sounds a lot like "Lisztomania" by Phoenix and oh yes it does, but it's still on its own with what it does in this template. There's a lot of charm to its progression, like the chorus that feels like it's over but keeps building into the bridge where it's not actually clear when if ever it stopped.
94. Surf Mesa with Madison Beer - Carried Away

I've seen it said before but it came to mind when I heard it again recently that "ily (i love you baby)" by Surf Mesa is truly one of the strangest hit songs. On the surface (hurr hurr) it's just another of those nostalgia bait songs where you don't even need to come up with a new hook because there's one Frankie Valli sang 50 years ago that's proven to work. I've always liked that melody (and in turn had a soft spot for Muse's outrageous cover of it). But Surf Mesa's is unusual because it's literally just that hook bafflingly stretched out to 3 whole minutes. It's like an experiment in how much you can do with so little, and it feels like a failure. Or maybe it's just perfect for TikTok because it works fine in short bursts but actually listening to the whole song is a bizarre experience that provides no relief ever, just a constant barrage of the same line over and over again, occasionally chopped up and mixed around. "Green Eggs and Ham" only contains 50 unique words in it but manages to get away with it but you just cannot escape how little there is to this song that was all over the radio at one point in time. Anyway, this time Surf Mesa actually wrote a whole song and it's been extremely charming to me since first listen. Madison Beer is on a hot streak of so many great singles and I'm glad I can finally fit one in the top end of one of my lists. The chorus of this song is no less repetitive than "ily (i love you baby)", but I love the palette of sounds he uses on this one. A bizarre comparison but I'm reminded of Lana Del Rey's "Video Games" where the tender string composition just made it stick out really pleasantly.
93. Kučka - No Good For Me

If Kučka wanted to cover The Prodigy I'm sure it'd be fire (perhaps it'd be "Fire"?). That's obviously not what we get here but we do get something quite nice. Perhaps the most notable thing here is that it's got quite a bit more tempo than I'm used to hearing from her. It provides a new sense of urgency in the music, where the plonky beats fill in the gaps between lyrics in the verses quite nicely. Once the big statement of the hook comes through, it feels like they coil back a little in fear, like when a big wham line comes in a visual novel and everyone stops in their place to process it.

Past entries:
2019Real#11
2020Contemplation#26
92. Drake with Travis Scott - Fair Trade

It's time for what you've all been waiting for, the 'In Defence Of Certified Lover Boy' rant. I guess the main thing I observed this time around is that almost nothing surprised me. Drake released an album that had too many tracks for its own good. No one seemed to like it very much but it dominated the charts and notably far outperformed the closely released Kanye West album which actually is possible to find defenders of, but Drake's always been a bigger commercial entity so that's not surprising either. Nothing much on the album really adheres to obvious pop hit so there was never going to be much in the way of longevity, and most of all, all discussion of the album boiled down to basically two things: 1. the lesbian lyric, 2. everything about "Way 2 Sexy". I've been keeping especially strong tabs on this and have found that the vast majority of opinions I see about this album will only ever bring up those two things specifically, and the rest is dismissed as boring filler. Here's the thing though, I'm an avid believer in our tendency to choose our own music opinions, I mean obviously you do, but I mean you will be heavily swayed by what you want to, and what you don't want to like. Your favourite band releases a new song? You want to like that, you probably will like that, and if you don't, well maybe you missed something, give it another go until it clicks. But when Drake releases a new album, what possible desire to like it does mostly anyone outside of his specific fanbase have? For that matter, what of a Drake album that gets thrashed by immediate criticism on the very hour that it comes out? I can tell you from experience that no one hears you say 'I actually thought that Drake album was alright' and lends credibility to your opinion. So many people don't want to like the album and yet they act so shocked when they don't like the album. I just feel like saying those people played themselves. My very specific experience as someone who makes a weekly chart of my favourite songs on the ARIA Chart am very invested in wanting to like big albums that take over the chart for a week, because it makes it a lot easier to fill in the gaps that are made by it. I obviously knew the reputation of "Certified Lover Boy" going in, so I was cautious, but I wanted to like it, and I came out with the feeling that it's probably best enjoyed as background music. Like, "Girls Want Girls" gets dismissed for that one line, but when I listened to it, I mainly just took away that Drake's producers know exactly how to set the vibe. There's something really pleasing about how that song sounds that lets me mostly ignore the premise. I also think that listening to an entire Drake album that has no familiar singles for the first time to tide over is an exhausting experience. Hardly anyone gets to the end of New Music Friday for the same reason. But I think there are a decent chunk of songs on the album that'd probably get considerably more praise if they were released on their own as singles. To be fair, "Knife Talk" and this did quite well on their own momentum, though that's potentially thanks to the guest appearances. I wouldn't say this song immediately grabbed me as it initially chugged along, but I was entirely enraptured with Travis Scott's verse when it came in, which had all the flair that a lot of his recent singles have been lacking, with flow switch ups everywhere. But then I went back to it and Drake's bit is great too, great hook, great sample, great mood. I will not provide a defence of Travis Scott's words and actions in 2021.

Past entries (Drake):
2012F**kin' Problems (with A$AP Rocky)#44
2012Poetic Justice (with Kendrick Lamar)#95
2013Hold On, We're Going Home (feat Majid Jordan)#56
2015Hotline Bling#26
2017Passionfruit#68
2018Nice For What#40

Past entries (Travis Scott):
2016Pick Up The Phone (with Young Thug) (feat Quavo)#25
91. Wet Leg - Wet Dream

I miss these kind of hype cycles. I often wonder if the problem is that when you're a young music fan, you cotton onto artists you like to the point that you have a bunch of them and it's kind of hard to introduce a new one into the fold. Like, it's hard to think of particularly many bands I've been especially excited about that have emerged in the last few years, and that adds up. It's why only the most established artists often can make big album chart splashes because they have fans willing to shell out like that but those same fans who might be fine with new music, have uncontrollable hesitation on new acts. Similar to how I've noticed in the Hottest 100, there are less and less new artists debuting in a big way to the lists compared to say 10-15 years ago. Maybe the problem is because now whenever an artist does hit it big, we get all the industry plant nonsense from aging Strokes fans. Now this is all being said with the fact that I'm not fully won over by Wet Leg but I love the fact that so many people are because we need that sort of energy going around. Wet Leg themselves do promise a fun future of pleasant indie rock tunes filled with all manner of silly lyrics. No idea how long they'll keep that premise up but for the time it's quite a delight.
90. Beach House - Pink Funeral

When I go back to this song I often find myself thinking 'this sounds a bit dark & brooding for a Beach House song almost as if it has a morbid title or something. I cannot help but admire that for a band who should be so easily pigeonholed into their sonic style, they keep finding ways to develop it. Most of the time you can easily tell which album a Beach House song is on for that reason, though at the time of writing I've only heard half of the upcoming one so it'll be interesting to see how it all comes together.

Past entries:
2006Auburn and Ivory#58
2008Heart Of Chambers#12
2008Gila#94
2010Walk In The Park#61
2012Myth#3
2012Lazuli#5
2012Wild#60
2012Troublemaker#71
2012Wishes#88
2015Space Song#11
2015Elegy To The Void#27
2015The Traveller#52
2015Sparks#61
2017Chariot#99
2018Drunk In LA#37
2018Dive#63
2018Black Car#79
2018Lose Your Smile#83

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89. Kacey Musgraves - simple times

I know it's a massive cliche, but it's one that still resonates with me sometimes. The weight and significance you find yourself putting on the mundane moments of the past, which you in that moment felt nothing for. I think maybe being uprooted and moving interstate is a big part of that, as it's really easy to pinpoint my memories before and after that, and truly it feels by-gone since I've not been to my hometown since then, almost 12 years ago. It's another song that also resolves its tune quite nicely. Perhaps fitting that it finishes on a low note to capture the regret.
88. MAY-A - Central Station

I'm writing this before the Hottest 100 happened so I don't know if MAY-A has really turned out to be a big name yet but she definitely has the tunes for it. It's another one of those 'this sounds like a big pop smash just it didn't have the reach to the right ears to facilitate that. There's something so admirably cute about expressing love via means of absurd idea, like in this case of living on the train purely to preserve the present moment of bliss. Kind of like "Black Coffee" by All Saints y'know.
87. Beach House - Once Twice Melody

Now, I'm not saying that Beach House are intentionally leaning into their viral success with "Space Song", but it sure is interesting that their first new single in the last few years also has an ascending repeated riff that evokes pleasant feelings. Though in this case it is a through line for the entire song that goes on something of a journey. I'm reminded of certain Rare games back in the day where a level's music would modulate depending on where you were, like for instance you go underwater and it sounds more swamped out. It's all just very, very, pleasant.

Past entries:
2006Auburn and Ivory#58
2008Heart Of Chambers#12
2008Gila#94
2010Walk In The Park#61
2012Myth#3
2012Lazuli#5
2012Wild#60
2012Troublemaker#71
2012Wishes#88
2015Space Song#11
2015Elegy To The Void#27
2015The Traveller#52
2015Sparks#61
2017Chariot#99
2018Drunk In LA#37
2018Dive#63
2018Black Car#79
2018Lose Your Smile#83
2021Pink Funeral#90

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86. Ruby Frost - Never Be Your Baby

This immediately grabbed me because it really goes out of its way to grab you. Everything about it is just immensely catchy. It's good to see enough time has passed that we can unironically have a chorus in a song again that says 'never gonna...' repeatedly. Kind of the opposite tone to Rick Astley though in this case, and it's another thing that's really appealed to me about this song. It's a breakup song that holds a decent amount of spite towards the ex, but the main prevailing tone is disappointment and regret. In that sense the choice of words in the chorus is important. So much of it is like an imagined hypothetical future that's already been played out in her head only for it to be ripped away.
85. Sarah Saint James - Heather

Dear mum & dad I'm doing fine, you guys are on my mind. Like I'm sure this doesn't intentionally sound a bit like the Total Drama theme in more than a few ways, but I probably started enjoying this song more once I started making those fun connections. The chorus is definitely what Lindsay said when she got bleeped out. That being said, based on the history of this song, the real life Heather(s) are probably much worse, though one would like to imagine they too had character development. At least Sarah got to be famous.
84. 亜咲花 - Seize the Day

If you're expecting more pop rock infused with dubstep, well you've come to the wrong place this time. This was one of those 'hey let's look on their Spotify page-ooh what's that' moments I'm prone to. So this has nothing to do with Higurashi but instead another anime which I think is called Yuru Camp. Maybe it should be notable because the opening theme for the first season is actually Asaka's most streamed song, honestly it's really hard for me to gauge the popularity of Higurashi in general because visual novels and associated anime are so relatively niche. The only reason it feels notable to me is because so many people I know through other means were already fans of it. Anyway though, this is fun, cute & upbeat, but the most hilarious thing I've learnt is that she released an album last year that contains both this AND "I believe what you said". Talk about range.

Past entries:
2020I believe what you said#3
83. Julia Jacklin & RVG - Army of Me

I think I've gone on record as saying that cover versions are a hard sell for me. It's not necessarily that I think legacy is being desecrated, but it's just hard for me to get excited about re-hashing something old unless something exciting is done with it. The novelty of hearing an old favourite in a different way runs dry, and I think as you get older, you're less likely to accidentally get into a song you never even realised was a cover. Usually 'Spotify Singles' is the only thing that prompts a skip for me, I just don't care to find out about them. So this cover still generated a bit of skepticism for me but I gave it a go and was pleasantly surprised. Björk is generally untouchable in most ways, and here's one of her signature tracks. What we get here is a much more guitar-driven rendition. In theory getting rid of those pulsating industrial electronics feels like taking away the heart of this track, but I think the transposition allows this version to shine too. I honestly go back to the original sometimes thinking it's much more restrained than I remembered. Especially for the coda where this track really shines on a stunning guitar solo.

Past entries (Julia Jacklin):
2016Coming Of Age#72
2018Body#90
82. Little Simz feat. Cleo Sol - Woman

I will admit it's largely my lack of time devoted this year around but I did feel like Little Simz' new album was one that was getting a lot of buzz where I could only think 'Where were you all last album then?' For my money she put out a stellar project then as well, perhaps more so I would think on the basis of weighing up the Cleo Sol collaborations. Happy for her to get more of the spotlight though, which feels like a long time coming and who knows, maybe Americans might finally listen to the international rap scene. This song is still super chill anyway.

Past entries (Little Simz):
2019Pink Youth (with Yuna)#1
2019Wounds (feat Chronixx)#7
2019Selfish (feat Cleo Sol)#30
2020might bang, might not#77

Past entries (Cleo Sol):
2019Selfish (with Little Simz)#30
81. Bianca - King

The wildest thing about this song is discovering that Bianca is Bianca from Max & Bianca, which is a name I'd not thought about in a long, long time. I don't even remember anything about their music or what I thought about it, and I usually remember every mundane music thing, I've got the chorus to "Crazy People Rock" in my head as I write this. But still what a banger. It feels somewhat restrained with a beat that only does the bare minimum to engage, while Bianca doesn't really let loose until the last chorus, but nonetheless it's a fine example of the classic 'just make a song that sounds like "Solo Dancing"' formula that I lap up so often.
80. Baby Queen - Raw Thoughts

For approximately 2 seconds, this song sounds like "212". I like to think the song itself represents raw thoughts but I don't think you wake up and suddenly start rhyming benign with labyrinthine, though maybe I should try that in a Jackbox rap battle some time. It's a song that does quite a bit with its run time though, which means it only fits its chorus in twice. For that matter, it makes the 2nd chorus a treat just because it decides to flip a switch and activate the drop much earlier the second time around.
79. Alice Ivy & Sycco - Weakness

From the scattered singles I've heard over the years, Alice Ivy has a pretty eclectic approach to production. This is also pretty true of Sycco who often finds a way to squeeze in something unusual into a lot of her songs. Anyway if you put them both on the same song, you get something peculiar in a lot of ways. Perhaps the strongest hook in this song is any of the parts with the chopped up vocal sampling. It's something that in theory should always sound abundantly obvious as to be distracting, but I find that with the bouncy guitar in this track, it fits in bizarrely well. I mean the whole thing is still a mess but it's a good mess.

Past entries (Sycco):
2020Dribble#5
78. CHVRCHES - California

CHVRCHES back and potentially better than ever was a nice surprise in 2021. They've definitely evolved a lot in this time frame as you can tell just by listening to anything on their debut vs. "Screen Violence", where it makes even the best songs on there feel undercooked in hindsight. "California" has one of their biggest choruses to date, punctuated by a very effective hook that feels silly but just works.

Past entries:
2012The Mother We Share#10
2013Gun#6
2013Lies#71
2015Playing Dead#44
2015Clearest Blue#63
2015Keep You On My Side#72
2018Get Out#94
2019Death Stranding#12
77. 彩音 - Resonant fragments

No, this isn't in the Higurashi anime either, but it IS in a Higurashi Pachinko game and I must use this space to criticise pachinko machines for their scummy, predatory method of taking people's money. Anyway this did end up as a b-side to one of Ayane's OPs so it still counts. No dubstep again I'm afraid but otherwise it's in the same mould. Given how much of the second season revolves around memory fragments you have to wonder if this was initially considered for an OP but pushed aside. Admittedly there's something about the pace of it that doesn't quite work as well as what they ended up using.

Past entries:
2020God's syndrome#36
2020Frustration#89
76. Billie Eilish - NDA

One of my favourite career arcs is when an artist in a position to dominate the charts with their unrivalled attention skips the easy route and provides some of the strangest songs we get to see on the charts. I just can't fathom the notion that "NDA" was written to be a hit at all because it just refuses to conform to expectations. It honestly does end up working really well though, with all the disparate elements complimenting each other. The thudding bass, the Among Us type beat, the drawn out vocoder hook that builds up to a single syllable.

Past entries:
2017bellyache#70
2017idontwannabeyouanymore#76
2019WHEN I WAS OLDER#2
2019everything i wanted#4
2019bad guy#85
2019bury a friend#92
2020my future#95
75. Wolf Alice - Play the Greatest Hits

I believe it was last year I mentioned the idea of feeling disconnected to a hype cycle that you're attached to solely because your approach into it is different than others. Like if two people think something is great but for different reasons are they really in agreement? Or does it just suggest that their potential agreement is going to go sour down the road when things don't line up the same way? Yes it's the 'I like different songs on the acclaimed album' thing again. Maybe I'm pre-disposed to liking this more simply because it's a throwback of sorts to the band's rougher edges that attracted me so much in the first place. Maybe it's just because it sounds so distinctly unlike anything else on the album that I can't help but want to gravitate to it. Either way whenever I would look at the album for something to put on, this was very often my go-to, as a quick, satisfying way to let off energy. Honestly I wouldn't mind if it were a bit louder or something like that.

Past entries:
2013She#32
2014Moaning Lisa Smile#16
2015Fluffy#9
2015Bros#100
2015Giant Peach#49
2017Planet Hunter#3
2017Don't Delete The Kisses#8
74. Noname - Rainforest

I'd known Noname for quite a while mainly because for a lot of people if you look through the top rated albums of all time on Metacritic, she is possibly the first name that makes you scratch your head in obscurity (until that bizarre J. Cole song came out of course). I did finally listen to "Room 25" last year though and yeah it's great. I believe this was supposed to be on an album that she's since scrapped so I've no idea if or when it'll ever get followed up, but it's a nice compartmenting of her skills as an MC.
73. Best Coast - Leading

It'll probably be worth repeating but late releases made this list particularly tricky to put together, as December is usually a lull period for me but I just kept finding gems that had no business being so good, and so close to the finish line as to make me scramble to weigh up on them in time. Not to mention I didn't realise how much I was clamouring for Best Coast this time around. It uses a lot of familiar tricks along the way (oh make me over) to make a familiar pop rock sound, but it's so tightly polished and barely ever wastes a second.
72. Clairo - Amoeba

I still haven't actually gotten around to listening to this album although last time around I didn't especially gravitate to anything outside of the singles I already loved so maybe I'm saving myself the disappointment. This is a lovely song though. Possibly the most low key song to ever feature a big final chorus key change, or what sounds like one, and just filled with so many small, minor sound effects that wrap it up together into a complete package. I'd be inclined to say that it sounds totally unique or at least that's what it felt like at the time.

Past entries:
2019Bags#10
2019Sofia#69
71. Claire Rosinkranz - don't miss me

I legitimately thought this sounded like a parody of "Amoeba" when I first heard it. It just had enough in common and even an artist name I didn't recognise (despite having extensively listened to one of her songs earlier in the year) that also sounds like it's leaning in, while the whole song is the reason the word lackadaisical exists. That's ignoring the fact that while Clairo has traded on songs about regret over relationships ending, here's a song that bypasses the whole situation by imploring people not to even start them because the mess is too much to deal with. The whole situation got even more amusing to me when I started to extrapolate the two songs reaching similar peaks for me on my chart and having to decide which of the two I liked more, which became such an arduous process that this happened. Also the hook in this song sounds like a human kazoo so obviously we're all thinking about breaking the fabric of the universe in Outer Wilds again.
70. 亜咲花 - NO MORE PEAKY MODE

Oh you thought I was done? So when I did listen to "Seize The Day" I noticed that it also had two b-sides which I quite liked as well but I decided to just stick the A-side on my chart and deal with the rest now. With the exception for having to wait a solid month usually to get the whole track, I like that a lot of Japanese releases stick so prudently to these standards because it means getting more tracks to listen to. This song is tragically left out of the conversation of pop punk revival, which I won't blame on the goofy title because "t r a n s p a r e n t s o u l" exists (also it's extremely relevant today, if you know, you know). No dubstep I'm afraid btw.

Past entries:
2020I believe what you said#3
2021Seize The Day#84
69. Magdalena Bay - Chaeri

I have a feeling that this will age tremendously well and I'll look back wondering why I put this so low other than to say 'nice'. For a song with so much going on, it feels so effortless. Especially true with all the vocal melodies where it never stops feeling like a hook and they're not short on ideas of how to bring that across. It could stop at just that but it just keeps going, with an outro that keeps getting increasingly huge and hyperbolic, with all the hype in the world you could possibly imagine leading into what can only be described as a cataclysmic sudden end.
68. Beddy Rays - Week on Repeat

This can only be described as 'What if "Sobercoaster" were released in 2021?' Certainly it's a good way to latch onto people like me who feel like they missed the boat that first time. It also is a bit of a throwback to me when in 2014/2015 I couldn't help but notice that "Tragedy + Time" from Rise Against's new album sounded quite a bit like the title track to Anti-Flag's 2008 album "The Bright Lights Of America", to which nobody could possibly care about that comparison (side note, for a band with multiple songs well into 8 digit play counts, that entire album has nothing over 1,000,000 on Spotify. Once again I am making top tier observations of 'x sounds like y' that no one in the history of the world has thought of). Anyway what I mean is that a little bit of the chorus of this song sounds like it too. At the time of writing, Beddy Rays' 96 Twitter followers continue to await the band's first ever tweet.
67. Gretta Ray - Bigger Than Me

She has come a long way from her quaint upbringing in Retty Gray. Strangely enough this might well be the most important song she released in 2021 for me because it is highly responsible for making me continue to seek out more, even if mostly inadvertently. I only with a hint of hesitation decided to add it to my playlist because I thought it was getting better towards the end and that made me want to look into the b-side as well. This song just kept growing on me though. There's an initial whiplash with the hard to avoid comparison that it sounds quite a bit like "You Need To Calm Down", though in classic Australian singers I like fashion, this song was written before that even came out so it could be a funny coincidence. The song does sound a little goofy but it packs in a lot of solid ideas to keep you chugging along. The chorus keeps getting bigger than before every time it arrives, and the lead in from the bridge is just countable in delights: 1. THIS LOVE HIT WITHOUT A WARNING, 2. *dun dun dun*, 3. DAWNED ON ME *jazz music stops* 4. THIS LOVE WILL *dun* 5. Every single '(bigger than me!)' refrain around the place. I have no idea who this is for and I don't really ever see anyone seem to care about it but I have a blast with this.

Past entries:
2016Drive#1
2017Towers#28
2018Time#65
66. Vera Blue - Temper

Honestly Vera Blue just has a habit of dropping bangers near the end of the year. The song itself is rather cute in the roundabout way of saying you're angry in a lot of words. It feels like so much plot develops in so little time when we're led into the chorus with a 'Please excuse my temper, I don't mean to be rude', and quickly escalating to 'Getting pretty good at testing out my temper'. It's a delightful glass half full way of looking at things. Speaking of looking at things, I assume the line 'how rapidly I'm seeing red' relates to an experience in a whole omniverse.

Past entries:
2016Settle#46
2020Lie To Me#64
65. MAY-A - Time I Love to Waste

There's a certain silly juxtaposition in this song where it can't help but be extremely complimentary. The entire song is how she'll do anything for her or let her do anything for herself and then when we get to what the name song we just go with 'she's the time I love to waste'. Mind you if like me, you value time over money in many cases, it's quite the statement to make.

Past entries:
2021Central Station#88
64. merci, mercy - Winnie Crush

Anyway we continue our run of songs with strange depictions of romance. Here's merci, mercy of 'I keep thinking that the cover photo for the 'big on the internet' playlist is her and therefore keep thinking one of her songs is blowing up' fame. Here she is passing the buck by insisting that she's not f**king herself up this time but instead she is losing trust in the Winnie Blues. It does have a bit of G Flip energy in that the liberal use of the less offensive f-word borders on distracting where you have to wonder just how much she insisted on finding a way to write it in. Arguably it's a hook in this song with how much the pre-chorus hangs on the first drop.
63. Garbage - No Gods No Masters

Wow, spanning 4 decades. You can tell that Garbage are born from the '90s because they've done the "Hey Boy, Hey Girl" trick of altering the title for no explainable reason once it actually arrives in the song. Every now and then I come across new Garbage music that I'm super into while fully aware that they've been a fanbase only band for perhaps a solid decade at this point. I don't know if I properly qualify as being part of that fanbase though I've had positive feelings towards the band for a long time, perhaps more so than the average person.

Past entries:
1998Push It#45
1998Temptation Waits#78
1999The World Is Not Enough#30
2001Cherry Lips (Go Baby Go!)#15
2001Androgny#33
2005Why Do You Love Me#87
2016So We Can Stay Alive#37
62. BROCKHAMPTON - THE LIGHT

Won't lie, it's pretty bittersweet to be writing this with the knowledge that it might well be the last time I ever put BROCKHAMPTON on one of my lists, but it sure has been a while ride these past 4 or so years! I kind of wonder if they didn't have quite the self-sustaining success to justify it, where a lot of people just didn't really stick with their albums long after the initial release, something I know I'm guilty of. Not having a big crossover hit ("SUGAR" is close but not quite) also might have limited their audience, while they've always had a weird space in US hip-hop where they don't go through the usual pipeline that allows everyone within two degrees of separation from Drake do numbers. I guess it's because hip hop doesn't really fully encapsulate what they do, perhaps if I'm lucky you're reading this sentence right as the prog rock guitar shreds through here. I rather enjoyed "ROADRUNNER" but this was one of those moments that had me stunned as I didn't realise they could pull off something like this.

Past entries:
2017BOOGIE#4
2017GUMMY#27
2017ZIPPER#33
2017QUEER#47
2017SWEET#57
2017SISTER/NATION#84
2017STUPID#89
20181999 WILDFIRE#42
2018HONEY#62
20181998 TRUMAN#74
2019NO HALO#76
61. Aly & AJ - Don't Need Nothing

I suspect sometimes I might maintain a hint of bias whenever I do one of my 'this sounds like other song and therefore I like/dislike it'. It's really hard to avoid it and I think a lot of it comes down to whether or not you're okay with certain artists seeming to skate by on what feels like cheating a hit. If you like them it's a genius move, if you don't, it's devilish, underhanded, and I can't believe people are letting them get away with it. Anyway this song sounds like "Heartbeat" by Annie and that is an absolute classic, never to be altered, never to be repeated. That said, something Annie doesn't do is arrange the song in such a way that the title is a memorable hook, but the other memorable hook is the monstrous album title and now it's an immensely long title that I can remember word for word for a reason other than it's funny to make jokes about The 1975's 2nd album title. Also I am a known lover of run-on sentences as anyone who's read one of these things before has probably noticed.

Past entries:
2013Hothouse (as 78violet)#67
60. Gretta Ray - Human

In part 2 of this Gretta Ray song reminds me of a popular song of the past, this hook is about one word away from perfectly replicating the theme to Dawson's Creek in just about the same rapid fire cadence. There's probably also something in the verses I can't quite pick. My mind is going to 'what if "Perfect" by Vanessa Amorosi was a bit faster but I don't think that's quite right, maybe it's something from that era though. Another funny aspect of it is that it's hard to think of a song that crams in the ending so suddenly. If you discount the brief silence at the end of it, you're still on the bridge when there's only about 20 seconds left of the song. Not naming names but some artists I like have a tendency towards relatively predictable song structures so I like when something feels out of the ordinary, you might say it couldn't be more-BOOOOOOOOOOO!

Past entries:
2016Drive#1
2017Towers#28
2018Time#65
2021Bigger Than Me#67
59. Spellling - Always

Honestly I like to pretend that this is the opening track for "The Turning Wheel" because often when I went back to it, I fell prey to my classic trap: I've already listened to the singles so much that I don't need to hear them as part of the album. That one of those is at the front of the album honestly invites me sometimes starting from track 2, no offence possibly, no spoilers always. Except that I'm now spoiling the position of "Always". Anyway have I ever directly mentioned that one of my favourite things in music is extremely delicately arranged music that sounds utterly lovely but complimented by vocal melodies to piece it all together? Maybe I haven't said it like that but I've definitely shown proof of the case, although I definitely struggle with writing it as I've learnt whenever I give the foolhardy problem to myself of having to write about a lot of Beach House songs. Spellling is possibly operating on a similar level.
58. Beach House - Superstar

I know what you're thinking, finally a song that addresses object permanence, and for that matter, the nebulous concept of conceptual existence. In this essay I will

Past entries:
2006Auburn and Ivory#58
2008Heart Of Chambers#12
2008Gila#94
2010Walk In The Park#61
2012Myth#3
2012Lazuli#5
2012Wild#60
2012Troublemaker#71
2012Wishes#88
2015Space Song#11
2015Elegy To The Void#27
2015The Traveller#52
2015Sparks#61
2017Chariot#99
2018Drunk In LA#37
2018Dive#63
2018Black Car#79
2018Lose Your Smile#83
2021Once Twice Melody#87
2021Pink Funeral#90

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57. Mitski - Working for the Knife

This is a very strong argument for why chart peaks are a dumb metric for comparing popularity and success because on a very basic surface level, this would be seen as Mitski's biggest hit, the song whose success is the focal point of all of Mitski's attention, which is potentially what happens when it's looked upon by future, 'wasn't there' types. I kind of wonder how often I've made the same fallacy. This is not at all to diss "Working For The Knife" as I think it's rather great, but evidently as a lead single it doesn't feel like it's shooting to lap up the appeal of her biggest hits as a 'comeback single', whether you're a "Puberty 2" or a "Be The Cowboy" sort of person. The best I can say in that regard is that some of the instrumental swells call back to the enormity of some past songs. I think it's a peculiar hook too because 'knife' is a strange word to build up to that doesn't quite have punchline or catharsis appeal.

Past entries:
2016Happy#97
2018Geyser#1
2018Why Didn't You Stop Me?#30
2018A Pearl#32
2018Washing Machine Heart#39
2018Remember My Name#57
2018Me And My Husband#99
2020Cop Car#9
56. WILSN - You Know Better

At the time of writing this, Jessica Mauboy has the most played song currently on Double J. That's quite spectacular for multiple reasons. In part I wonder how different her career could have been if not tied up with Sony but then at the same time it's hard to deny that she's had quite the eclectic mix of sounds and styles over the years as well. I only bring this up because I think you could trick someone into thinking that this is her song, and in fact I was tempted to switch the meta-data purely for this purpose and see if I could catch anyone out on it. Really though the lesson is that Jess has been on the scene for so long that I can readily believe that she's influential at this point, because her blueprints are all over these vocal runs.
55. Telenova - Tranquilize

Some consonants just sound extremely pleasant. I don't know if it's through rarity but that 'q' sound sticks out a bit. Or if you want to go by past performance, then there's the proven 'ize' sound because imagine if there was a song that said 'crystalise' or something. I'd be all over that. My experience based on roughly 3 songs is that Telenova definitely trade on these vibes and maybe "Tranquilize" is my favourite because I heard it first. Then again, for such a chill song, it feels like the stakes go way up on the bridge.
54. CLOVES - Manic

This is probably my fake Ainslie Wills song of 2021. I heard it at the same time as another song with similar levels of intensity, which I perhaps ended up liking a bit more but for a while it was pretty close. I adore these vocal runs; it makes the song feel huge. I could maybe see the argument that the hook feels rather goofy alongside it but I think it's handled well. There's just the right amount of glitchiness to it that it feels like a necessary tension to balance it out. Won't lie, I had no idea CLOVES had this in her, but I suppose I've been finding hits out of unexpected places this year *queue the Beach House song*.
53. AURORA - Cure For Me

I feel like this song needs some level of suspending your inhibitions. I only say that because it sounds so goofy that it's easy to dismiss as that. Basically I think it all comes down to how you feel about the song's main riff as a make or break. Evidently I fall on the side of 'oh shit what a bop' and I've never questioned it since. You have to imagine that AURORA wasn't quite ready for one of her most self-serious songs to go viral shortly before the release of this which I can't imagine capitalises on it at all. It's different for AURORA but it still works for her. I've always loved the menace that arrives with the pre-chorus, which aside from reminding me of "The Rat" by The Walkmen, really is something only she can do.

Past entries:
2015Murder Song (5, 4, 3, 2, 1)#39
52. 亜咲花 - RED ECLIPSE

Oh wait but of course there's more. "RED ECLIPSE" is another b-side but it's got nothing to do with "Seize The Day" because Asaka clearly gets around. In 2021 she performed the theme to another anime which I'm just now learning is called Shikizakura. I have no idea what it's about. It's another big rock banger though. I cannot help but distressingly inform you about the lack of dubstep, because it's very much lacking here, weird how that keeps happening.

Past entries:
2020I believe what you said#3
2021NO MORE PEAKY MODE#70
2021Seize The Day#84
51. Odette - Amends

For a few weeks this was my favourite song of 2021, which has got to count for something. Odette frequently writes songs that are big on emotion & concept. This is probably one of her less idiosyncratic tracks but that doesn't mean it isn't unique. The brass section gets a surprising amount of ear time, and what am I if not a person who enjoys jazz music tropes being diluted into more conventional sounds. Whiplash was a fun movie too, I say as jazz purists clobber me with drumsticks.
50. Beach House - New Romance

There's definitely a time when I found the idea of songs whose titles aren't in the lyrics was a fun novel thing. Done right, it can evoke an image of the song that strengthens its intrigue better than a key phrase ever could (similarly a bad choice of title can make the titular lyric stand out too much). Like what title would you give to "Smells Like Teen Spirit" or "Bohemian Rhapsody" that would actually fit well and not detract from them? Or maybe I just say this from the perspective of these being the titles I've known and really it would've been fine. Anyway though, a good title helps me remember how a song goes, and that's good because not being able to recall something is irritating. This is all a complete misdirection because "New Romance" does use the title in its lyrics, but it's tucked into the second verse which has given me trouble remembering how this goes, and I want to believe that's why it took this one a little while to grow on me. I suppose just like before, I'm not sure what title you'd go with here, the idea of a Beach House song called "ILYSFM" just feels to be so intentionally attention grabbing as to be off brand, even if I think it IS on brand with the band's dry sense of humour.

Past entries:
2006Auburn and Ivory#58
2008Heart Of Chambers#12
2008Gila#94
2010Walk In The Park#61
2012Myth#3
2012Lazuli#5
2012Wild#60
2012Troublemaker#71
2012Wishes#88
2015Space Song#11
2015Elegy To The Void#27
2015The Traveller#52
2015Sparks#61
2017Chariot#99
2018Drunk In LA#37
2018Dive#63
2018Black Car#79
2018Lose Your Smile#83
2021Superstar#58
2021Once Twice Melody#87
2021Pink Funeral#90

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49. FRITZ - Die Happily

It's really hard to describe this song in a way that makes it sound good. FRITZ's previous songs I'd known were upbeat, sunny, fun. This song drags its feet from the opening bars and never speeds up. It's absolutely swamped out in guitars that I can't imagine sound good at all if you heard this next to anything else. It's so swamped out in fact that the vocals are probably mixed a tad too low, not that they exhibit much enthusiasm anyway. And yet when I think of this song in my head and when I hear it, I have a good time. It feels like it's close to being straight up shoegaze but never really going hard on the fuzz, so all you do get is the general vibe which is known to work quite well with pleasant melodies on top of it.
48. Jaguar Jonze - CURLED IN

This song has a terrific intro. Honestly everything that happens after that fact is gravy but it sets such a menacing tone. I honestly don't think I have much to add to this because really it's just another chapter in the book of Jaguar Jonze knows what she's doing.

Past entries:
2018You Got Left Behind#16
2019Kill Me With Your Love#66
2020DEADALIVE#16
2020Rabbit Hole#44
47. Tkay Maidza with Yung Baby Tate - Kim

Just like Moaning Lisa a few years ago, this is a song that challenges your initial pre-conceptions. Or rather when you just hear the name "Kim", which surname you append to that and whether or not it's a mark on your character if you're wrong or right. But no it's not Kim Deal again instead it's continuing on from the foundation laid by Jack Harlow last year as we've gotten to the 'referencing Kim Possible' era of rap music. Yung Baby Tate even mentions Shego just like Jack Harlow does as well. So this must be one of those rare cases where they have to work together, to thrilling results.

Past entries (Tkay Maidza):
2014U-Huh#40
2015Ghost#97
2018Glide (with Hoodboi)#31
2019Awake (feat JPEGMAFIA)#32
2019IDC IF U BE DED#44
2020Don't Call Again (feat Kari Faux)#1
2020Grasshopper#18
2020Shook#74
46. Wafia feat. Ta-ku & Masego - Wide Open

We've done this dance before. Wafia & Ta-ku put out a mini-EP together and perhaps bizarrely for the time even made the ARIA Chart and not the Hottest 100. Sometimes makes you wonder if the driving force is name power at the time or if some songs really do just slip through the cracks and get forgotten about come crunch time. This time Wafia takes more of the spotlight an arguably rightly has top billing for it. The mix of different voices is a big driving factor in this song though, seeing both of their takes on the same lines. Masego is a new entry to the mix who also works well with a fun verse that's full of memorable moments.

Past entries (Wafia):
2016Love Somebody (with Ta-ku)#58
2018I'm Good#7
2019Flowers & Superpowers#49

Past entries (Ta-ku):
2016Love Somebody (with Wafia)#58

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45. Biig Piig - Lavender

This song is definitely one that just nails the general vibe and doesn't have to do much after that point. It's for the better that it does though, as it has a satisfying pay off when the beat switches up mid chorus. It is a song that wants to feel the bass hit, and in that sense it might be one of the most mellow songs to unquestionable have a banger of a drop.

Past entries:
2020Don't Turn Around#67
44. BROODS - Piece Of My Mind

Honestly this one's in a similar boat to AURORA for being so shamelessly catchy that I can see cynicism a mile away. I guess it's not new territory for BROODS, and I think you gotta admire anyone who knows they wrote a killer hook that goes the extra mile in singing it loud & proud. Perhaps one day in the future, there'll be a BROODS album cycle that has an amount of big hits for me on my chart that is not 1, there's still time.

Past entries:
2014Everytime#19
2016Free#35
2019Hospitalized#33
43. Luke Hemmings - Motion

Look, me and 5 Seconds Of Summer go way back. It was just 8 and a half years ago that I waged long distance secret espionage onto them. Only for it to blow up in my face because THE SYSTEM IS RIGGED, PEOPLE, but I got a decent consolation prize out of it. I did want to root for them too but I felt especially with their earlier material I had to go in roundabout ways to enjoy it. Like the raw versions of some of their singles are quite a bit to my taste, which makes me wonder how much I can really rail against them for some of the egregious elements that they might not have had a say in. Major label stuff is rough. I have warmed up to them more in general though, and they weren't even far off making this list last year, so for the next best thing, here's Luke. I love me some psychedelic rock, but I don't think the template is quite enough. A lot of the stuff I do hear sometimes comes across too muted that there's nothing to latch onto. "Motion" is a winner in that regard though. Extremely hook-laden, and with huge guitar transitions. I used to be voting Tame Impala against 5 Seconds Of Summer, now I just hope their next album sounds this good.
42. Micra - Undercover Lover

I do wonder just how specifically my taste has been shaped by the very specific time that I started listening to triple j and the kinds of sounds that were popular at the time. Maybe a lot of it really is innate (or itself developed by video game soundtracks but that's another conversation), but either way, 2006-2008 sounds just hit different for me. Something you got a lot of back then were rather harsh or wide dynamic sounding songs with sweet vocals on top. Think Blonde Redhead, theredsunband, Howling Bells and the like. Everything Micra does in this song just sends me back to those carefree (but not really carefree because schoolwork really stressed me out) days. I love the extent to which they pile on so many effects, and of course, that people are still making songs that sound like this.
41. Kevin Abstract feat. $NOT & slowthai - SLUGGER

Kevin Abstract & co.'s production ideas never cease to impress me. The first song I ever heard from BROCKHAMPTON was "GUMMY" which is quite the opening statement, and also quite singular in their discography. Just that not-quite g-funk synth is just instantly iconic, and a similar idea cottoned me onto this song pretty quickly. In all fairness it may as well be two songs with how abrupt the shift is, apart from a brief revisit near the end. It's an effective minor posse cut though, I don't think there's really ever a part that dampens the excitement.

Past entries (slowthai):
2020My High (with Disclosure)#24
40. Wolf Alice - Feeling Myself

Honestly there's not a whole lot to this song but I love the ride it takes you on. To me Wolf Alice are often at their best when the soundscape is a sprawl, and this ends up sticking out a bit as there's nothing else quite like it on "Blue Weekend". The last build in particular is a strong highlight. Or in the common parlance, I'm feeling it now Mr. Krabs.

Past entries:
2013She#32
2014Moaning Lisa Smile#16
2015Fluffy#9
2015Bros#100
2015Giant Peach#49
2017Planet Hunter#3
2017Don't Delete The Kisses#8
2021Play The Greatest Hits#75
39. Arlo Parks - Hope

Probably need to do an extensive study on the effect of using second person pronouns on inspirational sounding songs. Probably won't be the last time it happens. And yeah, you can probably already run cynicism into the true intent of it, and what parasocial relationships can really offer you as a recipient. But on the other hand, it can just be really nice to hear someone tell you that you're not alone. I also started feeling that when Arlo Parks started getting praise for her material which I was getting into.
38. Bruno Mars, Anderson .Paak & Silk Sonic - Blast Off

It's amusing to me that this is the last track on "An Evening With Silk Sonic" when so many of the lyrics suggest it could easily be the opener. It makes me wonder if that was ever a consideration. Otherwise this totally justifies the whole project on its own for me. Cheesy space puns are fun too. I can't help but associate it with the several hundreds of times I sent a rocket blasting off into space in Outer Wilds in 2021 where the inevitable fate was typically death 99% of the time, but you never quite know how you're gonna get there. Absolutely killer guitar solo too.

Past entries (Anderson .Paak):
2016GLOWED UP (with KAYTRANADA)#10
2016Unique (Louis Futon Remix) (with GoldLink)#17
2016Dang! (with Mac Miller)#44
2018Tints (feat Kendrick Lamar)#48
37. LAVA LA RUE - Magpie

One of the most instantly memorable hooks of 2021, which prefaced with the strange intro made it an easy song to remember despite title shenanigans. It's a really strong showcase of her talents when you realise that both parts of the song are the same person. Also goes on a really interesting trip towards the end, making for a song that never at any point gets boring.
36. Spellling - Revolution

Spellling is my favourite Disney princess. Everything about this album is theatrical, but I think this track in particular goes above and beyond in terms of interrupting convention to go on strange instrumental journeys. They end up being a strong highlight of it. Much like how I often mistake "Always" for being the opening track, this feels like it should be the closing track. Spellling disappears from the track for the last 2 minutes but it ends up being a highlight portion anyway where the constantly shifting music manages to show emotion in its own way.

Past entries:
2021Always#59
35. The Wombats - Ready For The High

I can't say for certain how instantly this song hooked me but I feel as though this song would be significantly lower on the list if not for what is inexplicably one of my favourite 2 second moments in music in 2021. That is towards the end of the track when the chorus returns but without much of the music but on the word 'bang' we get a nice drum fill and on the word 'dynamite' everything comes back immediately. I can't help but wonder if The Wombats just release so much music that reaches my ears that every now and then they just stumble on something special by accident, but then by similar virtue to "Our Perfect Disease", it's a song that actually ends up doing a lot of things I like along the way anyway.

Past entries:
2007Let's Dance To Joy Division#77
2011Our Perfect Disease#15
34. Bad/Love - Feel Good

I just have to say that living through 2007, it was very easy to believe that Klaxons were the future of music and they just operated on a level that no one could really understand or replicate. Trends change pretty quickly though so by the time they got to their 2nd album, there wasn't much interest in their style of electronic rock music which tended to fall to the wayside pretty quickly. I suppose you still sometimes see it pop up, I think Ocean Grove have that vibe on occasion with their goofy but aggressively catchy riffs. When I heard this song for the first time though, it just felt like the exact middle point between the two, hard rock but written in such a way it could easily be transposed to Klaxons. I wish there were official lyrics online because I don't remotely believe the ones that are posted on genius and I really want to know if they actually say 'among us' on the pre-chorus. Also I don't know if I'm just completely off base whenever I want to shout 'I WEAR THIS VERTIGO, LIKE A WEIGHTLESS CROWN' (shout out also the backing vocals on the last chorus for that).
33. Deb Never - Someone Else

I came for the 'this sounds like "Myth" by Beach House', I stayed for the everything else. It's very much a surprise the first time around as you wonder how exactly you got where you ended up. I like the way that the song teases it for so long too, just slowly making minor adjustments in the production before sending you way off course into drum & bass world. Maybe that's an idea for Beach House to steal next month when they release the last part of their album.
32. Kanye West with André 3000 - Life of the Party

I like "DONDA" a lot with an asterisk. Yes, it's too long. Yes, it's still too long even when you take out the Pt. 2 bonus tracks. Yes I just wish this wasn't the clean version. Yes I am not very much into Kanye's latest ideas to court controversy as much as I can understand his perspective in doing so (I think it's very important when considering unpopular celebrities what you would do in their situation, or what you think they should do that's a logical decision from their perspective. When you consider how unforgiving and relentlessly toxic people can be under the apparent guise of righteousness, it's easy to understand why the olive branch is rarely extended). Yes, I think Kanye's occasionally limited skills as an MC are getting more frequent and he needs to be carried by his guest stars. Yes I think the deluxe version is an absolute mess in every conceivable way except that it gave us this gem. I suppose what matters the most to me is that it validates my often wayward opinions on music. I do often get worn out by consensus opinions on music that seem to a lot of the time just coalesce on middle of the road. As I've often said, my favourite songs on the notable album are not anyone else's, and this is absolutely true of "DONDA". It's why I love that it's a completely curatable album. Most artists write a lot more songs than they actually end up releasing, and when you're a major label artist like Kanye West, a lot of that decision making may need to come down to giving people what they want. Who can even imagine how many potential all time favourite songs of mine have just been permanently shelved from not making the final cut? No doubt if Kanye had an editor or a not-always-yes man, we'd get a concise album that wouldn't kick up much of a fuss, but we'd be stuck with fewer gems to dig out. I'll probably never listen to the whole album again, but I've got more than enough songs to go back to that it's absolutely been a worthwhile project. Anyway though my favourite "DONDA" song isn't actually on the proper album. This shouldn't come as a surprise to anyone. I've always loved Kanye's more introspective and sombre tracks. I don't know if he's necessarily doing a good job or just being carried by incredible production but I'm always captivated. Oh and we've also got André 3000 which is certifiably always A Good Thing.

Past entries (Kanye West):
2003Through The Wire#45
2004Jesus Walks#9
2004All Falls Down (feat Syleena Johnson)#30
2004Slow Jamz (feat Twista & Jamie Foxx)#43
2004Never Let Me Down (feat Jay-Z & J. Ivy)#61
2004Two Words (feat Mos Def, Freeway & The Harlem Boys Choir)#72
2004We Don't Care#81
2004Talk About Our Love (with Brandy)#100
2005Diamonds From Sierra Leone (Remix) (feat Jay-Z)#1
2005We Major (feat Nas & Really Doe)#2
2005Roses#20
2005Diamonds From Sierra Leone#27
2005Gone (feat Cam'ron & Consequence)#36
2005Hey Mama#72
2005Bring Me Down (feat Brandy)#85
2005Drive Slow (feat Paul Wall & GLC)#90
2007Flashing Lights#42
2008Paranoid (feat Mr. Hudson)#18
2010Power#2
2010Runaway (feat Pusha T)#3
2010Gorgeous (feat Kid Cudi)#30
2010All Of The Lights#42
2010Dark Fantasy#55
2010Monster (feat Jay-Z, Rick Ross, Nicki Minaj & Bon Iver)#56
2010Devil In A New Dress (feat Rick Ross)#62
2010So Appalled (feat Swizz Beatz, Jay-Z, Pusha T, Cyhi the Prynce & RZA)#66
2010Alors on dance (with Stromae)#99
2011Ni**as In Paris (with Jay-Z)#6
2011Otis (with Jay-Z) (feat Otis Redding)#42
2011No Church In The Wild (with Jay-Z) (feat Frank Ocean)#69
2012Mercy (feat Pusha T, 2 Chainz & Big Sean)#23
2012Clique (feat Jay-Z & Big Sean)#90
2013Thank You (with Busta Rhymes)#15
2013Black Skinhead#16
2013New Slaves#48
2013Blood On The Leaves#81
2013I Am A God#86
2015All Day (feat Theophilus London, Allan Kingdom & Paul McCartney)#73
2016Ultralight Beam#3
2016No More Parties In LA (feat Kendrick Lamar)#31
2016Real Friends (feat Ty Dolla $ign)#50
2018Ghost Town#20
2018everything (with Nas)#47

Past entries (Andre 3000):
2016Kids... (with A Tribe Called Quest)#74
31. Gretta Ray - The Brink

In part 3 of this Gretta Ray song reminds me of a popular song of the past, remember that dubious Wayan Brothers movie from the early 2000s? Anyway, a sad thing for me in 2021 was hearing an okay Westlife single because it ruined my frequent adage that every song named "Starlight" is an absolute banger. We have to rebuild somewhere though so perhaps "The Brink" has some potential. This is a song that carries its momentum hard, constantly shifting around to find new ways to sound huge. Also, in a vague continuation from my previous blurb, you're telling me this was JUST a B-Side?!

Past entries:
2016Drive#1
2017Towers#28
2018Time#65
2021Human#60
2021Bigger Than Me#67
30. Amber Mark - Worth It

Honestly, it's really hard to write about this without just repeating everything I said about Arlo Parks. This song hits that same spot just a little higher even though it's definitely not supposed to be an audience surrogate. After all, let's talk about impostor syndrome. It's probably the thing that hits the hardest for me and why I feel like I constantly have to prove myself to my own detriment. That manifests in me being an absolute try hard who gets way too competitive in the most frivolous of games and constantly ends up a villain in the grand scheme of things (I recently finished a 3 month game of Advance Wars where for much of that time I was being secretly conspired against by basically everyone). It's another of those symptoms of my upbringing and feeling like an outsider in every conceivable way: I was the one who moved in interstate, I was the one who was younger than everyone, I was the one without common sense and intuition in real life. So I always needed to prove myself because positive feedback is something that really lifts me up, while negative feedback is the complete opposite. It's probably why I ended up min-maxing in real life, being hopeless in athletics, but a mathematical wunderkind. Then some other things happened and 4 years ago I became a world record holder. It's not especially something that will change your life overnight, but for me it gave a position of respect that helped me feel comfortable. After all, self-doubt kicks in a lot and in a lot of cases I feel unqualified to speak my mind unless I feel I have a perspective only I can share. It's probably why I can have such strongly held opinions at times, because often times they're so specific that I can't rely on someone else to do the talking for me. Nonetheless, the funny thing about impostor syndrome is that it kicks in regardless of the circumstances. If you're knowingly mediocre at something, you question if it really is your calling (for instance, I do not fancy myself an adept Rocket League player. Literally every player I ever go against in ranked games has technical ability that far outscales my own, so it ends up feeling like I've somehow fluked my way into a rank I don't belong in. It's quite disheartening when I get a teammate who will call me out on this and I can't really respond because even I don't know what makes me as good as them). On the other hand, if you are apparently good at something, and often have it said to you, you start to question if you're a fraud, if everyone's just being nice to you because it's common courtesy. I'm always seeking out new accomplishments to improve my sense of well-being but it's so easy to write them off. Even as I write this piece I wonder if I'm running my life story into the ground for the umpteenth time, especially with the knowledge that I'm very privileged to be given the opportunities I've had in life, and really everyone has their struggles, some are just less open about it. I've dragged this on too long, but my main point here is that Amber Mark's message of 'you think you don't deserve it, but you are so damn worth it', is a really powerful one, and it's something that helps lift my spirits at the worst of times.

Past entries:
2019What If#18
29. Triple One - BLOOD RAVE

This is a fairly depraved Frankenstein of a song. The best I can say is that it's like old school Linkin Park gone more electronic (while decidedly not really sounding like Linkin Park when they actually did that). So it may not have loud guitars but it has all the right makings of budget Chester and budget Mike. All those big sounds struck me immediately but I do like the functionally out of place sadness to the instrumental. At times it reminds me of the bridge of Big Grams' "Goldmine Junkie" which always hits me in the right spot. As long as you don't pay attention to some of the specific innuendo being thrown around, there's a really strong grasp for pop sensibility in the writing here. The song ends up being really quotable because there are so many lines that stand out.
28. Middle Kids - Today We're The Greatest

Are school year mottos a common thing? For that matter, does the democratic process for deciding them really matter? Entirely possible I just wilfully sat that out but who's to say? Anyway I got stuck with 'Carpe diem', something that is not at all worth bringing up on any other song on this list. What's also strange and definitely not the Mandela Effect is that I have a senior year jumper in my cupboard which should in theory say it, but now I see with no recollection that it really says 'Nothing ventured, nothing gained', it's not far off I suppose but it's certainly not a phrase I associate with the time despite surely having seen it written uncountable times every single day for 6 months. Anyway, here's this song with the central thesis of seizing that...moment, which no doubt would've paid off especially well if there were a metric that Middle Kids were the greatest at, but at least it's a nice touch stone if they never hit these heights again. It's a song that uses the classic trick of not really altering its general backing, just lifting it up for the key moments. They play around with little ideas throughout so it never really drifts into meandering territory. There are some moments even in the verses that stick out as memorable. Also 5 years and a blue tick later, Middle Kids still follow me on Twitter.

Past entries:
2016Edge Of Town#11
27. Charley - Arizona

Some songs have a habit of far surpassing expectations. I've made enough weekly charts to know that most songs that debut right at the bottom of my top 40 rarely scrape past the top 30, but the right circumstances can arrive for something to really go above and beyond. Enter "Arizona", yet another random Spotify discovery from an artist I'd never heard of who often has less Twitter followers than me (Charley has me beat by a factor of 10). Most weeks I listen to my entire chart on shuffle as my typical way to re-hear it. Often times I'd be done with it and "Arizona" was the song that just kept getting stuck in my head. There's something about the concept and tone I suppose. It's a lushly produced song that builds up to an abrupt hook of 'slap me and say that I'm fine' which in itself slaps you with how jarring it is. It's one of those strangely fascinating things in music where the best results don't necessarily come from tweaking a proven formula but doing something so unique to itself and hoping it works.
26. Sycco - Time's Up

Sycco makes unusual songs. The half dozen of them that I'm closely familiar with all have her blueprint on them, but also don't really follow any consistent rules. Very much a more aggressive approach to what I just wrote on the previous blurb. "Time's Up" is probably the biggest departure, as a song that barely pretends to have a chorus because it's too busy cramming in so many disparate ideas. It's this generation's "SICKO MODE" I guess. I love her absolutely aggressive abuse of vocoder too. More than enough has been said about its use & misuse, but this is one of those cases where it's clearly done for the purpose of unique effect.

Past entries:
2020Dribble#5
2021Weakness (with Alice Ivy)#79
25. bülow - Revolver

I'm never quite sure what I'll get from bülow, but I know that usually a couple of times a year, she'll make a song so catchy, most people probably don't listen to the lyrics. But they should, because it's not just about the pleasures of exercising the rights of the Second Amendment, but also the dangers of such a hedonistic lifestyle. In all seriousness though it really probably is the catchiest song she's ever put out. Don't really need to think too hard about it unless you're intent on making the ultimate 'I hardly know 'er' joke, in which case you have ample source material here.

Past entries:
2018You & Jennifer#36
2018SAD AND BORED (feat Duckwrth)#64
2019Get Stüpid#63
2019Sweet Little Lies#75
24. Little Simz - Introvert

An amusing quote I saw recently from Little Simz talks about how it felt for her to be releasing her album at the same time as Drake & Kanye West, to which she replied asking how they must feel to be releasing at the same time as her. It's the kind of bold confidence to admire, that shows in spades in this song despite the title. This is absolute mission statement music, a song that's not at all interested in coasting by. It's just absolutely huge.

Past entries:
2019Pink Youth (with Yuna)#1
2019Wounds (feat Chronixx)#7
2019Selfish (feat Cleo Sol)#30
2020might bang, might not#77
2021Woman (feat Cleo Sol)#82
23. KYE feat. Jerome Farah - Tuesday

This time, KYE actually does have less followers than me on Twitter, but she shouldn't because this is better than anything I've ever done. This song hit me immediately, so much so that it bypassed the very common 'first week debut below #40' that most songs on my chart usually run by. The only natural conclusion to make in how that happened is to say that it's something innate which I didn't realise until right now, which is that several melodic elements of this song's chorus scratch a similar itch to Madison Avenue's cover of "Reminiscing", which one hopes I can continue to bring up every year.
22. LAUREL - Wild Side

Pretty crazy that Mitski named her upcoming album after LAUREL, but if she's putting out bangers like this I can understand. Absolutely top tier in the world of 'pop in every sense but chart positions'. It's kind of like a modern reskin of big '80s power pop, from which it feels like it's definitely getting some ideas from.
21. Kali Uchis feat. SZA - fue mejor

A fun peek behind the curtain is that I almost finished this entire list before realising I omitted this song. The dumb reason is because I hadn't noticed iTunes tagging it as 2020 so when I lazily copied over all the '2021' songs I missed this. Sorry to the #101 artist, I thought your position was locked too. If you want to get semantic about it, it is a 2020 song in that it was released as a solo track on Kali Uchis' album she released then (the same one that has "telepatia"). Regrettably I overlooked it and I must wonder if it maybe could've clicked if I did since this new version with SZA is close to being the same track anyway. The shame of me as someone who'd seen Kali Uchis tweet her frustration about how people don't even give her Spanish material a try. Really the lesson is that language is no barrier as mostly everything she does goes beyond it and this song is super easy to groove to even if I have no idea what she's singing.

Past entries (Kali Uchis):
2017See You Again (with Tyler, The Creator)#9
2018Just A Stranger (feat Steve Lacy)#21
2019Time (with Free Nationals)#83
201910% (with KAYTRANADA)#96

Past entries (SZA):
2017Drew Barrymore#86
20. Wolf Alice - Smile

Oh to be writing this blurb at the time I am writing this. Anyway check out this super cool band called Wolf Alice that you probably haven't heard of and definitely should hear about. They're definitely a band that has copped a share of cynicism for their cribbing of '90s tropes and aesthetics. My response to that has always been that while it's true to an extent, they still manage to do it with a unique approach to songwriting that makes it uniquely theirs. So while the edgy delivery and big cathartic chorus might evoke general nostalgia, I don't know any song that does exactly what this song does, and so I can only get what it gives directly from here. Anyway if every single person who whinged about the lack of guitars in the Hottest 100 voted for this it'd be #1 so shut up and walk the walk boomers.

Past entries:
2013She#32
2014Moaning Lisa Smile#16
2015Fluffy#9
2015Bros#100
2015Giant Peach#49
2017Planet Hunter#3
2017Don't Delete The Kisses#8
2021Feeling Myself#40
2021Play The Greatest Hits#75
19. Holly Humberstone - The Walls Are Way Too Thin

Anyone else have a funny relationship with "Every Breath You Take"? It's not really a song that I find gets properly scrutinised because everyone has to default to talking about the narrative tone which is one of those music facts that's just the wrong amount of widely known that everyone thinks they're breaking ground when they bring it up. I personally get a bit of bother out of the fact that "I'll Be Missing You", already not a song that I have positive feelings about, is a song that largely lives off of a stolen riff & melody which Sting sued over and now gets all of its royalties. An irony not lost that the riff itself was entirely written by Andy Summers who does not get his share. I've said this a bunch of times, you know that bit. The main thing about the song is that the riff really is special, but the song itself meanders too much, peaks way too early and makes for a relatively unsatisfying listen when all the good tricks are used up early. But still it's a good foundation that I hear in a lot of songs. "Titanium" by David Guetta is probably the most obvious example. "The Walls Are Way Too Thin" is another. I find myself interested in Holly's career futures because she's proven to be a captivating performer already thus far. Her signature style seems to result in packing excessive syllables into limited seconds of song time, which is distracting but kind of cute to see convention be askewed.
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18. 彩音 - Analogy

Something I've seen pop up more often lately with TV shows is how they're affected by the way we consume them. How some shows are more, or less bingeworthy. It's of course relevant in the streaming market when a lot of shows are consumed this way, a realised market trend which has resulted in a lot of shows being premiered this way. This is in stark contrast to the past when TV schedules dictated a once a week format as the only way to consume the content, and potentially the shows were written to facilitate this. Status quo shows work well because you can easily drop out and in, and miss heaps of episodes without feeling like you need a primer for things to make sense. Episodic content with throughline plots are a bit different, requiring either the audience to pay undivided attention to the inner workings of the plot, or requiring the show to dumb itself down excessively with constant refreshers. That's not as bad as it sounds until you try binging a show like that and realise how much filler is recapping stuff you just saw 5 minutes ago. This is a lengthy train of thought so I'll continue it in episodic format in a later blurb. Anyway, "Analogy" was the opening theme to the second season of the new Higurashi When They Cry anime series. Ayane is just about in every episode of both seasons because of her extensive soundtrack work (some episodes for whatever reason skip the title or ending sequence). And oh boy you better believe it's another one of these songs. Something that always sticks out to me is the sequencing in the song to match the intro, the bit where it slows down near the start segues really nicely into an animated sequence, and it keeps doing more transitions the rest of the way. As always I had to wait about a month after the first episode came out until the full song was released online, and as always, this trojan horse secretly contained another dubstep breakdown. Undecided if it's the most ridiculous one or not, but for all intents and purposes, it's definitely taking it in a different direction.

Past entries:
2020God's syndrome#36
2020Frustration#89
2021Resonant fragments#77
17. Ngaiire - Him

Something I mentioned a few weeks back is the anxiety of an artist hitting #1 on your chart when you think to yourself if it's really better than the song by the same artist that missed that mark. I'm not gonna hedge bets just yet as I think this is early days and we often tend to grow fonder of music once it's aged a little bit. Also two very hard songs to compare because they have a completely different vibe. "Once" bounces around with to epitomise chill, but "Him" is commanding, dramatic. A great vocal showcase for sure, where the chorus just launches it into the stratosphere. Also it's a song that presents a paradox where it would be hard to say that it has a distinct, identifying title, but it's also hard to go 10 seconds through the song without hearing said title, and this is definitely not just something I discovered when putting it in a Sporcle quiz last year.

Past entries:
2015Once#22
16. Julien Baker - Hardline

What's interesting with this song is that I've been able to use it to remind myself when I last saw my psychiatrist. This is where it feels like it's getting heavy but it's not. I just distinctly remember for it being one of the few times I significantly went outside and I was listening to my chart playlist at the time. It might have also been the same day I thought I might have caught COVID because I just so happened to touch the door of and nearly enter the building that I'd later learn was currently housing WA's only known non-quarantined case at the time. But in any case, through my shitty earbuds, that was the listen when the song really clicked for me propelling it towards the top of my chart. It's the ideal form of a Julien Baker song that really reaches for the heartstrings and rips them to shreds.

Past entries:
2017Appointments#69
15. Wet with Blood Orange - Bound

I remember hearing and somewhat liking a couple of Wet's songs many years ago and not really thinking much of it. I also remember at one point afterwards seeing them be critically savaged to an extent which kind of reminded me of some ugly interactions I'd had in the past. Like, the idea that this music that is so thoroughly avoidable and obscure, yet apparently derives absolute rage from someone else. In truth I still don't really get it but you NTs are weird I guess. Anyway years later after waiting for another chance to be bland, I hear this and it just hits the spot. Sometimes you don't require any level of complexity to get there, with this song's very short, scattered vocal melodies. But don't just take my word for it. We know definitively that this song is so great because there IS a "Bound 2".
14. Slayyyter - Cowboys

It's not often I have strong associations with the first time I hear a song, mostly because I'm generally sitting here doing nothing of note and also most stuff grows on me slowly. This one is a slight exception because like RedHook last year, I was playing Rocket League. This one is particularly noteworthy as it was a new season and I was doing my unranked placement matches, where you play 10 games to determine what rank you get plopped in at. They generally put you where you were last season as a basis and it's better described as having an invisible rank and an exaggerated ELO point system for the time being. Meaning that winning or losing during placements affects your rank a lot more than it usually does. 10 games also are enough to weed out moments of dumb luck and making sure everyone is where they belong. At least it is in theory, but when it came to my 2v2 placement matches, by the most ridiculous stroke of continuous luck and probably being carried by the right teammates at the right time, I won all 10 games. This put me, a typically Diamond II player whose dexterity is well below average in that rank, all the way up to Champ II, 3 grades higher and completely, utterly out of my league. I constantly had to explain to people that even I was aware I had no business being in these games as I continually tanked before settling back around Diamond II/III where I stayed for the rest of the season. Bizarrely at the time I'm writing this, I've actually gotten back up to Champ II through the regular grind and though I still don't think I deserve it, I've won my first 2 matches since getting there. Anyway the whole point of this spiel is that amidst the climax of my 10 placement game streak, that's when I heard "Cowboys" and it's entirely possible I'd have a negative association with it if I had happened to lose a game while it was playing (and there were some close calls). It was also a strange case in general because I often find with artists like Slayyyter that I can't help but feel like a vagrant. In particular because I know people who are much bigger fans and so there's always a moment of hesitation that if I profess interest in a new song, it'll be met with (perhaps unspoken) glares of 'Really? THAT'S the one you like?!' Or alternatively 'Of course THAT'S the one you like', if it so blatantly plays into my biases. That was alleviated though when I found the song was generally quite popular so I didn't feel as weird about it. As to whether or not it plays into my biases, I'm not certain. It's definitely on brand for me to like the rougher guitars here, but really it's just one piece of a very nice tapestry. I love that Slayyyer's pop sensibility still shines through in such an aggressively rough sounding track, and of course, actually putting a gunshot into the song and not just the video unlike that coward Donald Glover.

Past entries:
2018Alone#26
13. Cat & Calmell - dramatic

Another song I could unquestionably say that for a while was my favourite song of 2021. There aren't many songs that more succinctly cover Roxette's thesis statement of favouring a chorus over boring us. Even when it's over for the first time, part of the instrumental stays in place so you're not so drastically taken out of it. For sure they knew they were onto a winner as long as your definition of a winner doesn't include a mandatory Hottest 100 placement.
12. Spellling - Little Deer

I am very pro-ACI as a concept which might come as a surprise to you. It can serve as a fun way for me to pretend that the music I like is relevant and has some stakes but at the same time it's also the best way to get me to like or appreciate music that I'd otherwise either brush by or never encounter. So basically I have to thank my ACI brethren for this one as it's unclear if I'd hear this otherwise or not, or for that matter if I'd have as much stake in it if my eventual discovery of Spellling like most people would've been Anthony Fantano. One of those situations where the semantics behind credible music opinions are a little more nuanced than liking music because it's cool. I think in these terms having a more unique entry point into something makes it feel more personal and you have better attachment to it. This song is just pure class though. It's easy to focus on the theatrics but what really makes it connect is the sense of balance and control. Everything's working in tandem to keep you engaged and invested. I think in saying that though you could probably seamlessly make an instrumental version of this song that retains most of the appeal. After all, the brass section is working overtime to match Spellling's gravitas.

Past entries:
2021Revolution#36
2021Always#59

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11. Gretta Ray - Care Less

I always feel a bit weird for liking this song so much because it's seen as a bit of a light, less serious note to close the album on. I guess it depends on how much prominence you put on the definitely more jokey parts of the song in the spoken word bits. Not to mention also one of those rare cases where she's allowed to say 'f**k'. I think though even under this tone, the songwriting shines quite nicely. Like in general just the idea of dissing an ex as an admission of self-failure is a nice touch, but it's hard to forget when it's done by the cumbersome in theory idea of rhyming 'praises' with 'phase, guess'. It's quite a diss, when you think about it.

Past entries:
2016Drive#1
2017Towers#28
2018Time#65
2021The Brink#31
2021Human#60
2021Bigger Than Me#67
10. Let's Eat Grandma - Hall of Mirrors

This is basically a redux on what I said about Ngaiire except this time it's with a song that I never even put on my chart. It makes me want to neg on this song for being less representative of that off the wall creativity that they had on their last album, where this gets by on sheer dominating presence instead. Suffice to say I was a little bummed out when I realised that the first two singles were actually the *longest* two songs on this album. But in all fairness, the song does what it's going for very well, constantly pounding you with delightful synths. You've heard of the wall of sound, now get ready for the whole omniverse of sound.

Past entries:
2018Snakes & Ladders#17
2018Hot Pink#89
9. tiffi - vivienne

It's probably not worth even bothering with New Music Friday at the end of December, but I did it anyway and actually maybe it was worth bothering. It's really interesting just how much small ideas & elements can elevate what might otherwise just breeze past me. On the surface, this is dime-a-dozen borderline algorithm pop, maybe it still is. I just find myself absolutely captivated by the delivery on this. It feels fitting of a song about regret and misery, but instead it's just the sweetest declaration of friendship put to music until maybe that song Let's Eat Grandma released 2 weeks later. Either way it's the kind of thing that gets to me because of how much I've always valued and treasured friendship as much as I have trouble expressing it. Basically if you've gotten this far into the thread and you're still reading this, you're probably awesome.
8. Wolf Alice - The Last Man On Earth

This is definitely one of those big hyped up moments I'd been waiting on for years. One of those rare 'I must hear this the moment it premieres and hope it to live up to all of the expectations. I find more than anything else, these sorts of instant premieres have you scrutinising every moment of the song, counting down the minutes remaining to see whether or not a really killer moment still has time to be slotted in. In a way that doesn't at all sound like a compliment, I remember thinking the song was way longer than it is the first time I heard it, since it does take a while to get going. So it ends up fairly interesting with just how many mood swings it goes through.

Past entries:
2013She#32
2014Moaning Lisa Smile#16
2015Fluffy#9
2015Bros#100
2015Giant Peach#49
2017Planet Hunter#3
2017Don't Delete The Kisses#8
2021Smile#20
2021Feeling Myself#40
2021Play The Greatest Hits#75
7. Eluera - Petty

In some respects this becomes the most interesting portion of the list for me when I'm making it. Because I've made enough of these to get a vague idea of where everything's gonna land but it's this uncertain lower top 10 section that turns up the most interesting. It's like the meeting point of 'This is a big deal and the differences in positions are significant' vs 'I have spent all year pondering about the very top end and that's probably not gonna shift around as much'. So you get cases like this song which I would describe as landing much higher than I might have expected and yet I couldn't justify putting it lower anyway. I suppose for a lot of favourites at the start of the year, this has aged very strongly. Also for sure one of the least known, as it wasn't really picked up for triple j rotation like her previous single "Moderation" (and in all fairness, it'd still be obscure even if they did. But in any case it's just an exceedingly good job of what it's going for that still sounds fresh 9 months later. Obviously the only thing that's dated about it is the dial-up tone.
6. Karnivool - All It Takes

There's the obvious elephant in the room about two songs in this top 10. This and "vivienne". I think it's pretty obvious but if I have to spell it out, it's that both songs use the word 'naivety'. This is only a personal concern as many would know me as an egregious user of 'naiveté'. Oh and both of them were released in December which made it take just that little bit longer to make this list because that's difficult to get accustomed to especially when they're projected to land fairly high on this list. Yet, in all reality, this is technically the first of all of these songs I ever heard (if you don't count "Army Of Me"), since I saw Karnivool play it live late in 2020. In fact you can find videos online of the song being played over 5 years ago and it mostly retains that general form today. The general feeling I've gotten is that they've had trouble following up "Asymmetry" due to the mixed reception the album received, where the complexities in arrangement, depending on who you ask, were probably getting in the way of actually making good songs. Personally it's my favourite Karnivool album to listen to front to back but it's hard to deny that "Sound Awake" has a lot more hits on it. This does feel like a return to that album from my absolute amateur ears so it'll be interesting to see what else they have up the pipeline if anything. A very welcome return if nothing else.

Past entries:
2003L1fel1ke#23
2005Themata#4
2005Shutterspeed#21
2005Roquefort#35
2007The Only Way#11
2009Set Fire To The Hive#7
2009All I Know#27
2009Goliath#35
2009Simple Boy#52
2013A.M. War#33
2013We Are#41
2013The Refusal#72
2013Alpha Omega#85
5. 彩音 - Irregular Entropy

As I was saying, writers and producers in TV have the challenging task of trying to accommodate for two different types of viewing experiences they can't always control, and hope to meet the different expectations of both of them. In the case of Higurashi When They Cry Gou, the episodes were released once a week, 'Higurashi Thursdays' we called it even though it was past midnight by the time it got released here. I think the show was definitely geared to weekly watches, as you'd get fairly light reminders of what happened last week, what might happen next week etc. It was never really a problem and initially I was having a good time with it. Tragically though it fell short in the long run. Part of it was what felt like a lot of misleading promises about future plot developments that never really came through. It was billed as a sequel which is technically true but that meant a lot of promotional material suggesting things taking place in the future (perhaps the late '80s rather than 1983 when most of it takes place, so with an older cast). You get a little bit of it, but part of Higurashi's gimmick has always been its inexplicable Groundhog Day time loop, where it feels like you're seeing alternate interpretations of vaguely the same events over and over again, but it's not really the same. There's a good reason for that outside of it being a more interesting read/watch but that's not important. The main point is that much of Gou takes place once again in this same time loop, but with sometimes drastically different outcomes, seemingly to take fans by surprise. It was definitely interesting at first. The other main gimmick of the story is that it's more or less a murder mystery. Peaceful village life makes way for violent massacres seemingly by will of causality and it's up to the cast and primarily the reader to work out what's going on. The first half of the story are the question arcs, which build up the mystery, and the second half are the answer arcs, which retell somewhat similar stories to the question arcs but with a flipped perspective to lucidify it. For instance there are a set of twins in the story which might have you second guessing who is who in a few cases but then you'll have the entire story retold through one of their perspectives, making you realise you entirely misinterpreted what was going on. The second last arc reveals the true culprit and the last arc defeats them, it's a complete story in my mind. This new anime arc introduces the notion of a new culprit, one who acts much differently to their predecessor but every bit as dangerous. There was a lot of speculation about it but I think most people were pretty certain of it, and indeed it was pretty quickly confirmed in the story anyway. So the big problem about the anime was the second season, Sotsu. While When They Cry is known for intricate mysteries that reveal themselves gradually to be so much more than you ever expected (a bit like Outer Wilds actually), it felt like this anime series was resting solely on this one shocking revelation. So much of this second season is a condensing of the first season, perpetually retelling the same story except you get to watch the culprit in action. Occasionally there's some interesting insight into their process as well as overcoming logistic issues, but so much of it can be summed up as 'yep, they're the one who did that, makes sense', which is stretched across almost the entire season in a way that's not at all satisfying. To go back to the episodic format, you could say that I did experience it the best way because you saw so much get repeated that there was no need to try and remember everything that happened, you were gonna see it again anyway. I can't imagine what it's like for someone who binged both seasons in a day or two. This is to say nothing of the lacklustre character motivations which feel really forced and not especially rational, where you're extremely suspending disbelief in many instances. I love Higurashi still but I cannot at all recommend this deeply unsatisfying adaptation. At least we got another dubstep banger though.

Past entries:
2020God's syndrome#36
2020Frustration#89
2021Analogy#18
2021Resonant fragments#77
4. Moaning Lisa - Cold Water

The funny thing with music is that you never know what's gonna impress your ears. It's why it's so weird when talking about music to describe the elements because you can do it identically for a song that you have the fondest feelings for, as well as one that does nothing for you. I think about this a lot with "Cold Water" because it appeals on a very baseline level without a whole lot of complexity. There are several guitar lines going through here but the main one that sticks in your head is basically just 4 chords played 4 times, but what can I say it just works. I didn't listen to many albums in 2021 but of those, I found a lot to like in Moaning Lisa's debut. "Cold Water" probably singlehandedly pushed me onto it, and the interesting thing about it is that this is actually another Quite Old song, that they've been playing live for at least 4 years now.

Past entries:
2018Carrie (I Want A Girl)#8
2018Comfortable#75
3. Spellling - Boys at School

Probably should've sent it to #1 but anyway. I'll also just get the obvious joke out of the way that this song suggests an unreliable narrator somewhere as its central statement is at odds with the opening lyric of Hot Chip's "Boy From School". I have no idea how this gets decided to be a single other than hedging on the accurate fact that everyone will think it is a very good song that shouldn't be tucked away as a deep cut. It really did stick out to me the first time I heard the album with only one track of knowledge prior to that. I always sound like a dork when I say it but the song's message really strikes with me. The notion that the oppressive nature of schooling, both from your peers and instructors has you unable to really find who you are until afterwards. Certainly for me it was a week to week struggle where my introversion often probably hurt me more than it helped me. But it's through getting past that time that I've gotten a lot happier in my life. I feel like I have a unique perspective that gives me something to say that isn't 'I don't like this' (I like to think that I'm optimistic to a fault in many ways but you'd be surprised at how much I used to whinge about everything). It's powerful and carried through with all of the gravitas. It goes without saying that everything about the song is just incredible to listen to.

Past entries:
2021Little Deer#12
2021Revolution#36
2021Always#59
2. CHVRCHES feat. Robert Smith - How Not To Drown

Between this and "BLOOD RAVE", who knew what I was really needing in 2021 was a Linkin Park revival? That's probably not putting it quite accurately but I do think this hits a lot of the same appeal with how they choose to fill the bombast. Alternatively this is the new and improved "Hysteria" by Muse, which is a big compliment coming from me. Though in saying all that, maybe the real rap rock comparison is "Epic" by Faith No More because when has there been a more iconic, relaxing coda to a song that's otherwise so in your face? Very 'come for the dynamite hook, stay for the beautiful arrangement. I have to start to wonder if CHVRCHES could well be just about my favourite 2010s band because they hit the bullseye so often that it can hardly be considered a fluke. Robert Smith of course remains untouchable 4+ decades on.

Past entries (CHVRCHES):
2012The Mother We Share#10
2013Gun#6
2013Lies#71
2015Playing Dead#44
2015Clearest Blue#63
2015Keep You On My Side#72
2018Get Out#94
2019Death Stranding#12
2021California#78

Past entries (Robert Smith):
2010Not In Love (with Crystal Castles)#40
1. Gretta Ray - Readymade

There's a tweet I made back in March last year (so, at the start of the "The Thrill" era). What I said is that Gretta Ray's new b-side is stealthily really good, owing to the fact that I nearly didn't bother listening to it. I can't remember exactly, but I think I only added it after listening to "Bigger Than Me" on my own playlist, and for that matter, possibly only because it had been a slow week for me and I was hunting for new music more than usual. To make my usual comparison point, let's look at the longest streaks in Jeopardy! history. In Matt Amodio's first game, he had a solid start with thanks in part to picking up the first Daily Double. In the second round both of his opponents would find them early on and generally keep him locked out for nearly half of the round. He was at this point trailing in 3rd place with $7400, while the returning champion had $18200. There was $22000 left to be claimed on the board which is plenty but only if you're able to get them. He then goes on a tear, nailing 3 bottom row clues in a row to eventually catch up, but the defending champion is also making ground and ties the game back up with just 2 clues on the board. He then misses one of them giving the lead back to Matt who doesn't buzz in, and the round ends after that (they don't always get time to do all the clues, it's a thing) so he retains only the smallest lead going into the final clue. They both get it right so with usual game theory in mind, you expect that the result was entirely dependent on holding the most money to wager there. So it was a lucky first win but then he won 38 games all up. A few months later, there was a strong 5 day champion who had just broken the record for the most amount of money won on a debut appearance (a game I'm really looking forward to watching). He had mostly dominated every game he played but in his 6th game he had an opponent who was just as formidable, only somewhat held off due to a big all-in wager late in the game. As fate would turn out, his spotty record in the Final would be his undoing, and he'd drop behind his opponent Amy Schneider who would go on to win even more games. Lastly, back in 2004, some Mormon software engineer named Ken Jennings played his first game. He played reasonably well until some misses near the end allowed his opponents to catch up a bit. He has a narrow lead into Final so he has to bet big to cover an all-in bet from 2nd place. 2nd place of course knows this and thus makes a small wager, allowing her to win even if she gets it wrong, so long as Ken also does. The final clue is about the Sydney Olympics, and specifically about Marion Jones and the many medals she won that year. Ken just puts down her surname, which is a common convention in trivia although in normal play, Jeopardy! will ask you to be more specific when it's clear that there's more than one relevant party it applies to. So you can't say 'Who is President Johnson?' as a way to double your chances of being correct on a guess, and in general, saying 'Who is Smith?' to just fluke a common surname probably won't work either. They can't do this in the Final round though because you finish your answer well before it's ruled on. Suffice to say, it's lucky for him that Liesel Jones probably wasn't considered relevant enough for this because seemingly after some judging deliberation the surname-only response was deemed acceptable and he was allowed to play the next game. And the next 73 games after that. As well as being crowned the Greatest Of All Time, and not to mention currently co-hosting the show. If the judges had just been a little more unforgiving on that day, no one would even remember him in the annuls of the show's history...which incidentally are mostly publicly available on a website that was started up because of his record breaking reign. So to spin it back to Gretta Ray, it's just so fascinating to me thinking of how these monumental, game-changing things can be so close to never happening. Heck for me, I might not have ever explored visual novels if not for seeing and replying to one tweet 5 years ago, which I only saw because of a video that someone linked to me after playing the Everybody Edits level I made with anton. I might not have played Furi if not for one very generous seller of a PC that my brother spotted online 5 years ago. I might never have gotten hooked on Jeopardy! if not for both Ultimate Chicken Horse and also the renowned trivia expert who overthought a Final Jeopardy! question about Dracula, allowing a dude called Buzzy to win 9 games instead of 1 which Netflix put up to watch at some point. Oh and maybe I never would've found this website if it weren't linked on the ARIA Charts Wikipedia article, and I might never have gotten interested so much in finding them if I didn't happen to overhear that Cut Copy & Gyroscope had gone to #1. DESTINY IS A FUNNY THING.

Suffice to say, listening to "Readymade" was one of the better decisions I made in 2021. It didn't take long to realise I was onto something special and it's honestly been a comfort blanket for much of the year. The song is largely autobiographical, but Gretta just has a tone of re-assurance, like she's reminding me that everything going to be alright, even if she's directing it at herself. She does it in her classic unique way, which is why I've at least multiple times had to Google 'define tenebrous'. Either way though, when have I ever not been one to proudly get thrilled about music written about the love of music. Yes I am here to declare like no one else would that "Readymade" is the next "Come On Eileen", the next "Brimful Of Asha" or what have you. It speaks to why we're all here. Through dizzying highs, tenebrous lows and creamy middles, it's the love of music that unites us. This is a song that absolutely soars and I cannot compliment it high enough. Maybe if I said I think it's her best song, that might do it.

Past entries:
2016Drive#1
2017Towers#28
2018Time#65
2021Care Less#11
2021The Brink#31
2021Human#60
2021Bigger Than Me#67


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