Here are my favorite tracks from October 2019. I will not be trading these pieces of sonic candy for ANYTHING. Nope, not even Junior Mints.
1. Gang Starr – “Bad Name”
I don’t understand how Gang Starr is releasing new music, and not just because 50% of the group was lost forever when Guru succumbed to cancer in 2010. Rap has evolved and splintered in so many ways since the duo’s mid-’90s peak. Yet when the serpentine rasp of an unearthed Guru verse finds the pocket of DJ Premier’s rumbling, trumpet-flecked beat, “Bad Name” feels impossibly, thrillingly alive.
2. Caribou – “Home”
You know you’re doing something right in life when the return of a daily routine is cause for celebration.
3. Neil Young & Crazy Horse – “Eternity”
On Neil Young’s new LP, which seethes with environmental outrage, this sweet, ramshackle love song is the eye of the storm – an effective reminder of all we have to lose.
4. Pusha T – “Succession (Remix)”
Pusha T sounds completely at ease rapping over the theme to HBO’s white-collar depravity drama Succession. And of course he does – he’s our poet laureate of dirty deals.
5. Kim Petras – “Close Your Eyes”
EDM Elvira realness.
6. Sudan Archives – “Glorious”
Violin-fueled R&B is not something I knew I needed.
7. Danny Brown – “Combat”
Danny Brown might be the most versatile rapper working. He’s got a voice that could drown out a marching band, but here he is, gently cracking wise over a muted trumpet loop: “I don’t give a fuck / I could talk a cat off the back of a fish truck.”
8. Coldplay – “Arabesque”
Based on this advance track from its impending double album, Coldplay is getting back to doing what they do best – writing catchy, atmospheric songs that shamelessly, earnestly embrace us. Don’t we all need a hug these days?
9. Ghetto Sage – “Haagen Dazs”
A memo to Chance & Kanye: Chicago has left you behind. Ghetto Sage is the second dynamic Windy City rap crew to make this list in 2019, and they’ve got the heady slam poetry of Noname to anchor this ice cream-metaphor-laden jam: “Looking at Ben and Jerry / Hope one of my n—-s coming through.”
10. Wiki – “Fee Fi Fo Fum”
As sitars burble under the surface, this self-proclaimed New York giant casually raps about sipping Arnold Palmer. Damn, does it go down easy.
11. Bask – “Three White Feet”
Celebrate the early darkness of late fall by cranking this – a beautiful, billowing cold front of progressive Southern metal.