You see that storm off in the distance? That’s Nicki Minaj, about to take over the internet with her latest release The Pink Print. The set’s new single, “Anaconda”, recently leaked and everyone already appears to have an opinion about the “Baby Got Back” sampling track. But before that track hit, she was already having herself quite the 2014, thanks to outstanding verses over “Boss Ass Bitch” and “Danny Glover”, as well as new cuts “Chi-Raq” and “Lookin’ Ass…”. Then came this past month, where features on new singles from Usher and Jessie J cemented her place in 2014’s pop culture landscape. Who else successfully maneuvered through the past 31 days? Check out my list of the month’s best songs after the jump, as well as my pick for album of the month.


1. Ariana Grande, “Break Free” (feat. Zedd)
2. FKA twigs, “Pendulum”
3. Foxygen, “How Can You Really”
4. Iceage, “The Lord’s Favorite”
5. Jessie J, Ariana Grande, & Nicki Minaj, “Bang Bang”
6. Juce, “Burning Up”
7. La Roux, “Tropical Chancer”
8. Lewis, “Don’t Stop It Now”
9. The New Pornographers, “War on the East Coast”
10. Perfume Genius, “Queen”
11. Rustie, “Attak” (feat. Danny Brown)
12. Spoon, “Inside Out”
13. Usher, “Good Kisser” (Disclosure Remix)
14. Usher, “She Came to Give It To You” (feat. Nicki Minaj)
15. Young Thug, Freddie Gibbs, & A$AP Ferg, “Old English”



Lewis, Romantic Times

It seems almost unfair for an album recorded nearly 30 years ago to be anointed the best album of July 2014, but after a lackluster month of album releases, Romantic Times is more than fitting. When L’Amour first made waves early this year, no one knew how exactly to frame the Lewis narrative. Was he a con-artist, capable of manipulating people into giving him jet-loads of money to finance his musical project, or was he a self-made millionaire who got his kicks recording music as a way to celebrate Christine Brinkley? It’s refreshing how there’s no ulterior motive for these releases, just the exciting proposition of unearthing decades-old relics and living in them as if they were freshly produced. But despite the way in which L’Amour and now Romantic Times found their way to large audiences, this music more than holds up to any amount of scrutiny. Lewis quivering, barely present vocals are bathed in washes of synth and strings, creating some breathtakingly ethereal music. There’s slight nods to current synth-pop auteurs such as Twin Shadow and Wild Nothing, proving the gap between present and past is as much as subconscious barrier we construct as it is a real thing. In this instant-reaction, instant-everything world we live in, the music of Lewis is the perfect antidote; subtle, unassuming, patient, worth every second.


Jungle, Jungle

La Roux, Trouble In Paradise

Shabazz Palaces, Lese Majesty

Sia, 1000 Forms of Fear


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