It’s End-of-Year Best Of list season, baby! Truly the most joyous part of the year, when all your favorite websites as well as the ones you detest roll out click-baiting content assigning numbered rankings to inherently unrankable art. God, I love it. Genuinely, I think there are few ways of finding out about new albums to listen to that are more reliable than just picking things blindly from end-of-year coverage. My two favs from this past week are Gorilla vs. Bear and Stereogum’s album lists, and they are both extremely true to form.
Tommy Cash: “X-RAY”
Maybe you’re already familiar with Estonian dancer/rapper/singer Tommy Cash from his appearance last December on Charli XCX’s masterpiece Pop 2. Or from his striking trove of collaborative music videos; he’s won Music Video of the year at the Estonian Music Awards both of the past two years. If not, now’s a good time to catch up. His latest album ¥€$ came out last Friday and it is a damn flurry. Produced by a team including several talents from PC Music, it delivers on the promises of earlier releases: pop/trap/vocal trance from a dude with a thin mustache.
“X-RAY” capitalizes on producer Danny L Harle’s ’90s roller skating rink trance euphoria maximalism and features another gorgeous, tremendous entry in Cash’s growing line of music video collaborations with director Anna-Lisa Himma. (It turns out you weren’t the only person who watched Wild Wild Country this year.) As with most other things Tommy (and Danny) have released, the line between sincerity and comedy seems a bit poked at here. But what I keep coming down to with this kind of stuff: Regardless of the underlying intent involved in the song’s creation, is the happiness I get from hearing it any less real?
Men I Trust: “Say, Can You Hear”
Finally! Finally, an album announcement for Canadian dreamboats Men I Trust’s next record. Oncle Jazz will arrive in February, the band says, and with that news we have a new single as well. “Say, Can You Hear” is thoroughly felt, threadbare in its openness, honest but still sung at a near whisper. It’s pre-broken in, and like many of the other things they released in the past two years, it seems inevitable that I’ll return to it many times. Bonus points for the video, which answers the question: “Are we still amped on David Lynch in December 2018?”
Mark Ronson feat. Miley Cyrus: “Nothing Breaks Like a Heart”
This one has a secret alternate title: “Mark Ronson and Miley Cyrus Shoot Their Shot to Try to Get on the 2019 CMAs.” The thing is? It kind of rules. Voting ‘yea’ for a Cyrus single feels like one of the hotter takes published in this column to date, but I dig this song. It’s midtempo, not particularly adventurous but still vaguely cinematic. It’s in the sweet spot of country for non-country radio [approx. 10% country] and Jamie xx has a production credit on the track, which is a fun thing to listen for. Plus, since it’s a single from the forthcoming Ronson album, there’s no need to worry about letting this get my hopes up about the next Miley album being good (we know how that one tends to deliver).