The M&M Report: “A Star is Born”

Image result for a star is bornDevin and I are far from the shallow now.

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The 2017 Billboard Year-End Hot 100, Ranked in 100% Subjective Order

Lamar

The Billboard Hot 100 in 2017 was filled with mainstream and underground hip-hop, emergent Latin pop that straddles language, and sadness. I’ve been listening.

Just like last year, I took valuable time out of my life to rank every song on the year-end Billboard Hot 100 in order of my preference. There is nothing definitive or objective on this list, and I often felt no need to explain my choices. Some things speak for themselves.

I disqualified the following songs because I hadn’t heard them enough to make a “fair” “judgment”: Ayo & Teo’s “Rolex”; YFN Lucci’s “Everyday We Lit”; Blackbear’s “Do Re Mi”; and XXXTentacion’s “Look At Me!”

I disqualified the following songs because I associated them more with 2016, or because they appeared on my ranking last year: The Chainsmokers’ “Closer” feat. Halsey; The Weeknd’s “Starboy” and “I Feel It Coming,” both feat. Daft Punk; Ariana Grande’s “Side to Side” feat. Nicki Minaj; DJ Snake feat. Justin Bieber’s “Let Me Love You”; D.R.A.M.’s “Broccoli” feat. Lil Yachty; Hailee Steinfeld & Zedd’s “Starving” feat. Grey; Shawn Mendes’s “Treat You Better”; Justin Timberlake’s “Can’t Stop the Feeling!”; Twenty One Pilots’ “Heathens”; and Rae Sremmurd’s “Black Beatles” feat. Gucci Mane.

Without further ado…

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The Billboard Year-End Hot 100, Ranked in 100% Subjective Order

Rihanna.jpg

I took valuable time out of my life to rank every song on the 2016 year-end Billboard Hot 100 in order of my preference. There is nothing definitive or objective on this list, and I often felt no need to explain my choices. Some things speak for themselves.

I hadn’t heard “Never Be Like You” by Flume feat. Kai, “Antidote” by Travis Scott, “Wicked” by Future and “Middle” by DJ Snake feat. Bipolar Sunshine enough to consider them for this list. I don’t feel too bad about it.

I disqualified the following songs because I associated them more with 2015: “Sorry” by Justin Bieber; “Hotline Bling” by Drake; “The Hills” by The Weeknd; “Jumpman” by Drake & Future; “679” by Fetty Wap feat. Remy Boyz; “Here” by Alessia Cara; “What Do You Mean?” by Justin Bieber; “Same Old Love” by Selena Gomez; “Can’t Feel My Face” by The Weeknd; “Wildest Dreams” by Taylor Swift; “Lean On” by Major Lazer & DJ Snake feat. MO; “Watch Me (Whip/Nae Nae)” by Silento; “See You Again” by Wiz Khalifa and “Perfect” by One Direction.

Without further ado:

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Things I Loved This Year: Pop Stars Behind the Curtain

Each day this month (assuming I don’t get busy or bored!), I’ll reflect on a tiny sliver of pop culture that I enjoyed or appreciated this year — scenes, shots, gestures, verses, sights, sounds, moments. Today: three of the year’s most influential artists who stayed silent at just the right moments.

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Three of the biggest stars on the planet — Rihanna, Kanye West and Beyonce — released three of the most popular and acclaimed albums of 2016 in the first few months of the year. At least one of them is virtually certain to earn a Grammy nomination for Album of the Year tomorrow. In all three cases, only a few weeks’ notice and a few confusing bits of teaser information preceded the unveiling of these sprawling works of art, which spanned musicals genres and technological platforms.

The surprise nature of pop stars’ latest artistic statements no longer carries the electric charge of spontaneity that accompanied the release of 2013’s Beyonce. We’ve come to expect the unexpected. What’s more notable, to me, is how little we’ve heard from the artists behind these works about their approach to creating them. Beyonce has granted a grand total of zero interviews about their creative processes this year — no magazine spreads, no newspaper features, no television spotlights. Silence. West, meanwhile, afforded a few minutes of his time to a phone call with Vanity Fair’s Dirk Standen, during which he exclusively discussed the intent behind his lightning-rod music video for “Famous.” And Rihanna talked to Vogue for its April cover, saying a fair amount while revealing almost nothing of substance.

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The M&M Report Predicts the 2016 Emmys

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It’s safe to assume that Veep will be among the winners at tonight’s presentation of the 68th Primetime Emmy Awards. But who will join them? Below, my podcast partner Devin Mitchell and I offer our predictions, which range from bold to conservative, optimistic to resigned.

We’ll regroup on a new episode of The M&M Report later this week to discuss takeaways from the ceremony and the outcomes of our predictions. Subscribe to the podcast in advance!

(Note: Devin and I wrote these predictions separately and combined them into a single post. We differ a lot!)

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The M&M Report: Devin Returns

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Devin’s back! And so is the M&M Report, with a wide-ranging discussion that frequently touches on pop culture subjects.


Don’t forget, you can now subscribe to our podcast on iTunes and download the feed directly into the podcast app of your choice. New episodes should show up on your feed immediately. Subscribe away!

Timecodes for this episode:

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Grammys 2014: A Review and Three Great Performances

Pharrell

In the immediate aftermath of this year’s Grammy Awards, I churned out a 750-word review for The Eagle. I don’t have much more to say – awards shows like this one are best enjoyed and debated as they happen and immediately afterward – but I want to spotlight three great performances that are worth checking out even if you didn’t see the entire show.

First, a snippet of my review: “Last night’s Grammys proved that some things do change. Robots can win Album of the Year. Thirty-three couples can get married in a hasty ceremony officiated by Queen Latifah. A 17-year-old New Zealander with curly hair and a sultry voice can win Song of the Year for a tune that critiques the very establishment that provided her with the award. The 2014 Grammy Awards were rarely boring, but they were often baffling.”

Read on for three catchup-worthy performances.

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