10 Midyear Favorites

10. “Harry” – Macseal

So there was this song last year called “Caitlyn” by this band called JANK that I really liked. The band balanced humor with super serious jangly guitars, creating this three-movement emo masterpiece that stood out in a crowded field of grief. Anyway, “Harry” sounds a lot like “Caitlyn.”

9. “I’m The One” – DJ Khaled, Justin Bieber, Quavo, Chance the Rapper, Lil Wayne

I fully support Justin Bieber replacing Chris Brown as the industry’s hook-maestro, just as I fully embrace Khaled’s cartoonish positivity, Quavo’s rise to the chart-topping elite, and Wayne’s semi-functional retirement tour. But Chance’s verse drives the song, integrating Chicago’s finest MC into the mainstream without dropping any of the charm. Plus, he rhymes “coochie melt” with “Gucci belt” like it was nothing.

8. “Stay Happy” – Broken Social Scene

I’ve thought about this for a while, and I can’t think of a reason why Broken Social Scene has remained this good for this long.

7. “The Fall of Home” – Los Campesinos!

Perhaps I had to choose a song from my favorite band’s most recent record, or maybe because I, too, left my hometown for somewhere new this year (okay it’s the same town, different neighborhood, though). But “The Fall of Home’s” brilliance lies in its delicacy, a trait the band hadn’t the maturity to pull off until just recently.

6. “Gold” – Brockhampton

Let’s not pretend that LA hip-hop heroes Brockhampton represent anything more than potential at this point. But if “Gold” indicates anything, it’s a staggeringly high ceiling for even the non-Kevin Abstract members of the group.

5. “HUMBLE” – Kendrick Lamar

Sometimes I like to imagine Kendrick Lamar returning to the studio for the first time after releasing the greatest album in a generation and wondering what in the world to do next.

4. “Witness” – Benjamin Booker, Mavis Staples

Rarely does a plea for social justice sound this timeless. “Witness” would’ve been a hit record in the 50s, 70s, 90s, and hopefully will be today.

3. “Creature Comfort” – Arcade Fire

After an underwhelming past few singles, Canada’s finest returns with a jam that reaffirms Regine Chassagne as the world’s best backup singer, Win Butler as the world’s tallest rock star, and Arcade Fire as the biggest band in the galaxy.

2. “Mary” – Big Thief

Adrianne Lenker’s cadence on “Mary” could haunt the most hardened of woodsmen, raining forest melancholy from the band’s Brooklyn habitat.

1. “XO TOUR Llif3” – Lil Uzi Vert

Could it have been any other?