Song of the Day #3,566: ‘Pray For Me’ – The Weeknd & Kendrick Lamar

The movie soundtrack game isn’t a high-volume business. Currently the #3 album on Billboard’s soundtrack chart is Moana, in its 71st week.

But a handful of recent films have produced soundtracks worth at least a cursory listen.

The current big dog (or cat, I should say) is the Black Panther soundtrack, curated by Kendrick Lamar, who also appears on many of its tracks.

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Song of the Day #3,505: ‘DNA’ – Kendrick Lamar

Lorde’s ‘Green Light’ lands at #4 in the Village Voice Pazz & Jop poll, giving women artists three of the top four spots. Kendrick Lamar’s ‘DNA’ rounds out the top five, giving him the best showing in a top ten that is split between men who rap and women who pop (plus Cardi B, a woman who raps).

I kind of get the praise for this song, though it by no means wins me over to the Kendrick Lamar cult. It’s more interesting lyrically and musically than anything else of his I’ve heard.

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Song of the Day #3,503: ‘HUMBLE’ – Kendrick Lamar

If the Academy Awards can be held in March, I can post about 2017 at least through February, right?

Over the next two weeks, I will take my annual dive into the Village Voice Pazz & Jop poll — now in its 45th year. This ranked list of the year’s best albums and singles is, according to famed critic Robert Christgau, “America’s most comprehensive survey of ‘rock critic’ taste.”

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Song of the Day #3,066: ‘Don’t Wanna Know’ – Maroon 5 feat. Kendrick Lamar

maroon_5Maroon 5 have become one of the more reliable hit-makers in pop music today, good for at least one memorable jam per year. Over the past five years, they’ve delivered ‘Moves Like Jagger,’ ‘Payphone,’ ‘One More Night,’ ‘Daylight,’ ‘Maps,’ ‘Animals,’ ‘Sugar’ and 2015’s ‘This Summer.’

‘Don’t Wanna Know is their first 2016 single and its just harmless and catchy enough to make some Billboard waves. This week it’s at #10, right above D.R.A.M.’s horrific ‘Broccoli.’

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Song of the Day #2,749: ‘Alright’ – Kendrick Lamar

Kendrick LamarThe Weeknd’s ‘Can’t Feel My Face’ takes the #3 spot in Village Voice’s Pazz & Jop poll. No argument there. I had it at #4 on my own list.

At #4 is another track from Kendrick Lamar’s To Pimp a Butterfly. This one is ‘Alright,’ a song that became an unofficial anthem for the Black Lives Matter movement, as it touches on the issue of police shooting black men.

The song has a Do the Right Thing vibe, both because of its subject matter and the use of horns juxtaposed with hip-hop beats.

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Song of the Day #2,748: ‘King Kunta’ – Kendrick Lamar

Kendrick LamarI know it’s the first day of February, but I’m still looking back at 2015. I ran down my own favorite songs of last year, so now I’ll give the critics their say.

Each year, the Village Voice asks nearly 500 music critics to list their ten favorite albums and singles and all of that data is crunched to arrive at a consensus master list, known as the Pazz & Jop poll.

I’ve covered the top vote-getters for a few years now, and for the next two weeks I’ll once again feature the singles that topped the poll.

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Song of the Day #2,386: ‘Never Catch Me’ – Flying Lotus (feat. Kendrick Lamar)

flying_lotusSpots six through ten on Village Voice’s Pazz & Jop poll are all filled with songs I’ve written about on the blog already. That tells me I’ve done a pretty good job this year of getting to the tracks that wound up dominating both the critical and commercial landscapes.

Those songs are, in order, ILoveMakonnen’s ‘Tuesday,’ Sia’s ‘Chandelier,’ Charli XCX’s ‘Boom Clap,’ Beyonce’s ‘*** Flawless‘ and DJ Snake’s ‘Turn Down For What.’ Two of those songs showed up in my own top 20.

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