We combed through the saving grace moments of 2019's biggest disappointments.
2019 has been an odd year for music.
Lil Nas X and Billie Eilish continue to dominate the radio landscape with their unique marketing and overall absurdities. As a result, 2019 has been a year for redefining the parameters of musical creativity and what it takes to make a successful record. Perhaps, as a result, a lot of this year's most anticipated releases ended up flopping. While some of these releases were merely lackluster, others were just plain bad. Of course, it's important to note that not every bad project was without its high points. So to pay homage to the biggest flops of the year, here are some of the best songs off of 2019's worst albums.
Lil Pump’s “Butterfly Doors”
While Harvard Dropout was one of 2019's most highly anticipated albums, it flopped because, as many predicted, it turns out Lil Pump is just not that talented. From priding himself on being illiterate to talking about blowing two million at Tootsies, this album is just truly absurd. Even so, Pump's forte is crafting catchy fraternity anthems. “Butterfly Doors" has enough versatility to get your head bobbing, and it doesn't contain nearly as many dumb metaphors as the other 15 tracks.
- Ranking: Every Weezer Album from Worst to Best | Consequence of ... ›
- 10 Worst Albums of 2018 - YouTube ›
- List of music considered the worst - Wikipedia ›
- Pitchfork's 25 Worst Albums of 2019 - Album of The Year ›
- Worst Albums of 2019 (so far) - Rate Your Music ›
- The 25 Worst Albums of 2019 - Album of The Year ›
The rocker celebrates his 45th birthday today
Jack White almost became a priest.
But then again, did he? The iconic rocker has regularly beguiled the press. "I'd got accepted to a seminary in Wisconsin," he told 60 Minutes Mike Wallace back in 2005 in what seemed like a moment of genuine candor. "At the last second, I thought, 'I'll just go to public school."
Whether you believe that story or not, the blues-rock polymath, who turns 45 today, has led an undeniably punk life and crafted some of the most sacred rock music in history. Two decades after The White Stripes' self-titled debut, Jack White has remained purposefully slippery with the public. He told publications that he and Meg White, his then-wife and White Stripes-cohort, were the youngest of ten siblings and claimed that his label, Third Man Records, used to be a candy company, among other outlandish claims.
Dodge & Burn by The Dead Weather<span style="display:block;position:relative;padding-top:56.25%;" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="59052057d58747fe96735fc4bb4c2b46"><iframe lazy-loadable="true" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/98oMvKF-78Y?rel=0" width="100%" height="auto" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" style="position:absolute;top:0;left:0;width:100%;height:100%;"></iframe></span><p>Cocked and loaded, The Dead Weather's 2015 effort, <em>Dodge and Burn,</em> finds the band at their most calamitous. "I got a bloodhound tooth hanging like a dagger," Kills vocalist Alison Mosshart cackles on "Let Me Through" with distorted hisses. With White on drums, The Dead Weather is White at his most implacable. </p><p>When he announced no touring would be done in support of <em>Dodge & Burn</em>, the implication was that TDW was formed as a sort of catharsis for White, somewhere to put all the rock-and-roll tar that he's built up over the years. The Captain Beefhart inspired super-group all but detonated on <em>Dodge & Burn</em>, with their slinky grunge guitars and feral growls all sounding extra crunchy.</p><p>The band reflects on the inevitable apocalypse with a bombastic snap that gladly welcomes violence and destruction ("Open Up") and rolls their eyes at anyone who threatens to ruin their demolition, even if its Jesus himself ("Buzzkill(er)." <em>Dodge & Burn</em> is reserved exclusively for those who need to let off a little steam...or start a bar fight.<br></p>
Consolers of the Lonely by The Raconteurs<span style="display:block;position:relative;padding-top:56.25%;" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="a8ba051ea61ebd21775ad6dc743cd0b3"><iframe lazy-loadable="true" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/7lL1CW140FQ?rel=0" width="100%" height="auto" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" style="position:absolute;top:0;left:0;width:100%;height:100%;"></iframe></span><p>Before Beyonce's surprise album redefined the marketing of new releases, The Raconteurs rushed the arrival of 2008's <em>Consolers of the Lonely</em>, all but upending press coverage and flipping mass media the bird in the process. Announced and released within a week, <em>Consoler's</em> remains one of The Raconteur's grittiest records. </p><p><em>Broken Boy Soldier's</em> light-hearted buoyancy was nowhere to be seen. "Haven't seen the sun in a week, my skin is getting pale," calls out Brendan Banson before cackling guitars snap the necks of anyone who has a problem with it on Consoler's intro. </p><p>Jack White is dripping in manic swagger as The Raconteur's co-frontman. He makes the big hooks sound comfortable and casual as if he's jamming with some friends in his garage. He morphs the country twang of "Top Yourself" into a crude, braggadocious declaration of anti-love, ("How you gonna get that deep, when your daddy ain't around here to do it to you?") and uses bright, uplifting horns on "Many Shades of Black" to affirm to the same lover that their tumultuous relationship was destined to end, so it's okay. </p><p>It's all so petty and punk, with White at times bordering on deranged, but it's what adds to The Racounter's unsettling charm. They refuse to be your favorite rock band.</p>
Get Behind Me Satan by The White Stripes<span style="display:block;position:relative;padding-top:56.25%;" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="42a95cacb5b448443b5dcfaee6f342ff"><iframe lazy-loadable="true" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/Hrcum8DHDpo?rel=0" width="100%" height="auto" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" style="position:absolute;top:0;left:0;width:100%;height:100%;"></iframe></span><p>While highly contested, <em>Get Behind Me Satan</em> is The White Stripes boldest album, taking the blues-rock sounds of <em>Elephant </em>and <em>De Stijl </em>that brought them national fame and throwing it to the wolves in favor of oddball piano arrangements, acoustic guitars, and many marimbas. It finds White spiraling into despair, with quirky tracks like "White Moon" and "Little Ghost" sounding like a real-time emotional breakdown, the latter's narrator performing obscure tasks like "dancing" with "the wall" as he falls in love with a ghost only he can see.</p><p>While the record left critics confused, it's jarring sound redefined The White Stripes' identity. Known for their hard-hitting arena rock, <em>Get Behind Me Satan</em> blew open the door for what came after. They were no longer confined to anything and were free to create whatever they pleased. It was inherently a move that was super rock and roll.<br></p>
Lazaretto by Jack White<span style="display:block;position:relative;padding-top:56.25%;" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="8c43c41a2df22aba84ac16ddf5c1d9b5"><iframe lazy-loadable="true" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/qI-95cTMeLM?rel=0" width="100%" height="auto" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" style="position:absolute;top:0;left:0;width:100%;height:100%;"></iframe></span><p><em>Lazaretto</em> is Jack White as his most relentless. Each song on his magnetic sophomore work is a show of force. While Meg White's absence is notable and at times the album borders on Jack White just flexing his guitar chops, each song is full of intricacies that tumble into each other, redefining what's possible under the "blues-rock" moniker. It's inherently busy, with tracks like "High Ball Stepper" descending into chaos with its screams, crisp guitars, organs, and banjo slowly closing in on you–but <em>Lazaretto </em>found White pushing himself endlessly. What was he truly capable of when alone in a room with other bold musicians? The answer was: a lot. </p><p>The cover-art finds White sitting elegantly on a stone throne decorated by angels, a casual flex by White, who believed himself to be a tour-de-force, otherworldly musician, unconfined to the creative restrictions of the mortal world. It was a bold claim that only Jack White could make.</p>
New tracks from Valerie June, Kevin Abstract, Norah Jones, AURORA, and more.
Each one of this week's best new songs is a miniature revelation in itself, trippy enough to open your mind to new worlds.
For the record, the creator of this list has never taken acid; but these songs are what she imagines it would feel like, and truly, who needs drugs when you have songs like these? Transcendence, peace, revelations, a feeling of interconnectedness, swirly imagery—it's all here for your listening pleasure.
1. Drinker: Wave
Bicoastal NY/LA duo Aaron Mendelsohn and Ariel Loh (aka Drinker) have gifted the world with a gorgeous piece of pop psychedelia in the form of their new single, "Wave," released on Wednesday. The haunting track starts slow and ethereal, building up to a climactic tower of synths punctuated by bell-like guitar tones. A slow burn that's rewarding the whole way through, it's the kind of song meant for lying on a dock at sunset, sifting through memories and feeling the first hints of evening chill. Lyrically, it's a testament to the strangeness of time—the way it continues to move forward, but the past always seems to surge into the present. "Who is this? I'm stuck inside a wave," goes the refrain, a line that could be about dissociation, or fear of the future, or déja vu. "I feel like we've been here before," sings Mendelsohn, "but it wasn't you that I was here with." Hypnotic in its spaciousness, disconcerting in its dissociative leanings, this is an immersive sonic experience that bodes well for the duo's upcoming EP release on May 3.
2. Valerie June: Little Wing
Valerie June - Little Wing www.youtube.com
Valerie June has returned with a cover of Jimi Hendrix's "Little Wing," and it's absolutely breathtaking. Mystical and pure, raw and electric, it's a compilation of whirling guitars, whistling strings, distant organs, and eventually a horn section to drive it all home. June sounds a bit like Stevie Nicks, but perhaps even more weather-worn, her voice is ageless, meant for staticky radios. She proved her songwriting abilities on 2017's The Order of Time, but this cover is a testament to her aptitude as an arranger and a conveyer of raw emotion. In a way, it seems to come straight from a timeless dimension where there are only peace and starlight, and yet, at the same time, it cuts through to the core of something distinctly of this world, some pain known only to humankind. If you listen to one song this week, listen to this one.
3. Novo Amor: I Make Sparks
Novo Amor - I Make Sparks (official audio) www.youtube.com
Nobody is better at making soupy lullabies than Novo Amor, but he's made a particularly beautiful one with "I Make Sparks," a title that—despite its swaggering implications—moves beyond the realm of woodsy folk. Ideal for the ending frames of a film, the song is a miniature vacation in itself. Light strings cast flickering lights over Amor's frail, breathy vocals, and though his voice never grows to anything more than a whisper, the music swells and grows throughout, reaching a satisfyingly disorienting conclusion.
4. Aurora: The Seed
AURORA - The Seed www.youtube.com
For a slightly more energized but equally intense listening experience, AURORA's newest release, "The Seed," will do the trick. It sounds perfect for, say, the finale of a show like Game of Thrones—hopeful and dramatic, full of rhythmic humming and intense violins, designed for scenes of armies charging over snowy hills.
In essence, this is a song about environmental destruction—one of many, certainly, as we approach the end times. "When the last tree has fallen and the rivers are poisoned, you cannot eat money, oh no," she sings. Ominous, indeed; maybe avoid this if you're actually going to take acid because it could potentially send you on a bad trip.
5. Kevin Abstract: Georgia
Kevin Abstract - Georgia (ARIZONA baby) www.youtube.com
Kevin Abstract announced his newest project, ARIZONA baby, in a cryptic Instagram post a few days ago. But the first single, "Georgia," is transparent and honest, a welcome return to Abstract's distinct solo work. On this song, he draws lyrical inspiration from the old classic "Georgia On My Mind" and spins it into a web of bells, swirling electric guitar, and gritty basslines. At heart, it's a love song, a tribute to the free-fall of true emotion, communicated through rapidly panned vocals and electronic vocal effects layered over a slow beat. Abstract is a master of his craft, and with the release of ARIZONA baby, he's continued his tradition of making some of the best atmospheric rap out there. (For better or worse, it was produced by Jack Antonoff, which may explain its sonic similarities to Lana Del Rey's "Venice Bitch"—the high-pitched synth is definitely the same—but that's another story).
6. Norah Jones: A Song With No Name
A Song With No Name www.youtube.com
This song is the sonic embodiment of a tall glass of water, a breath of fresh air, a drive upstate in the midst of a New York City summer, a comedown after a wild night. In classic Norah tradition, it's easy on the ears and heart, just ambiguous enough to feel applicable to almost any kind of subdued situation, but has enough nuance to merit multiple listens. Striking lyrics cut harshly against soft acoustic guitar and not much else—"If I had a gun, if I had a knife, if I had your love if I was your wife," she sings, as gentle piano twinkles in the background.
Special Mention: LSD
LSD - It's Time (Official Audio) ft. Sia, Diplo, Labrinth www.youtube.com
This list wouldn't be complete without mentioning LSD, the project of Sia, Diplo, and Labrinth, whose debut LP dropped this Friday. But unless you have a taste for poorly crafted, shamelessly algorithmic, and lyrically embarrassing pop music, spare yourself the pain and skip this one.
Eden Arielle Gordon is a writer and musician from New York City. Follow her on Twitter @edenarielmusic.
POP⚡DUST | Read More...
- The Best New Music This Week | Complex ›
- 55 Best Songs of 2018 - Biggest New Music Hits of the Year ›
- Pitchfork's Best New Music on Spotify ›
- Best New Music | KCRW ›
- Best New Music — April 5, 2019 ›
- Best New Albums | Pitchfork ›
- New Music Friday on Spotify ›
- New Music This Week - YouTube ›
- 20 Best Songs of 2019 So Far - Top New Music to Listen to in 2019 ›
- NewMusicBox | NewMusicBox ›
- New Music USA ›
- New Music | Consequence of Sound ›
- Best New Music | Pitchfork ›
- New Music: Latest Music Releases, Albums, Songs, & Music Videos ›
- New Music | Rap-Up ›
- New Music : NPR ›