As the new year draws closer, we’ve decided to take a look the music that’s gotten us to where we are today. So in an effort to broaden our musical horizons and our understanding of contemporary artists, we’re counting down 2012 by counting up from 1952, taking a look at a handful of songs from a different year every day until January 1st. You can find the full list here. Today we’re heading back to 2008!
Lil Wayne – “A Milli”
You gotta appreciate how deep some producers will dig for a sample. Bangladesh took that “a milli” vocal from a ’92 Fatboy Slim remix of A Tribe Called Quest’s “I Left My Wallet in El Segundo.” Just three syllables stripped from the Phife Dawg line “A milli billi billi bum” and an ultra sparse drum track give Weezy enough groundwork to show he’s a goblin amongst goons. Wayne goes hard enough on “A Milli” to make good on all the hype around Tha Carter III, setting himself a place at the table of rap royalty while he’s at it.
No Age – “Eraser”
No Age distil themselves into two modes: blissful buildup and hellfire realized. It’s kind of like a mushroom trip: After sitting through two minutes of the ambling, jangly stuff — attuned to every small change in your churning stomach while you wait for something to happen — it finally catches, and you get hit upside the head full bore. Suddenly, the duo race to break their cymbals and guitar strings. The video shows this trajectory perfectly, three false starts before the real party lets loose.
Fucked Up – “Son the Father”
Fucked Up’s Polaris Prize-winning The Chemistry of Common Life opens with “Son the Father” — a growling epic that, according to Pink Eyes, tackles the history of humankind. But the song manages an even taller task, bridging the growing gap between alt rock and hardcore punk. Suddenly, both sides seem like a friendlier place.
Beyoncé – “Single Ladies (Put a Ring on it)”
Beyoncé’s bouncy club track poaches the rhythm from a double dutch routine, and just like the playground chants that accompany those skip-rope games, B.’s vocals are high-octane and a touch saucy. It’s also nice to hear a pop voice unabetted by auto-tune — a crutch to so many through the mid-to-late ’00s. And let’s not let the lyrics go unmentioned; while it’s not the hardest kernel of feminsim, “Single Ladies” is quite the fetching anthem of female empowerment.
Fuck Buttons – “Sweet Love for Planet Earth”
The Bristol noise duo lead a treacherous climb that explores the territory of the sublime. As those twinkling keys drown more deeply in that razor-edged white noise, the tension between beauty and terror tightens. And then, that grizzly voice cuts in. Is it screaming in panic or in ecstasy?