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December 2017

The Third Annual WSH (Not Very) Highly Scientific Ranking of the Year's Best Songs, Day Two

And we’re back.

Happy Holidays, good people. I guess this is an actual gimmick now? Themed lists are fairly easy to do as one-offs, and I’d assume there’s always some excitement to try doing it again. “Third annual” sounds really official, I think. Besides, we all know the internets are clamoring for another year’s edition … maybe.

No guests this year — just me. (Here’s your chance to tiptoe out the back door.) Per the title, this year’s piece will be far less “scientific” than the first two. I’m way too behind on music to pretend like I’m some sort of expert this year, so consider this a list of my personal favorites. I mean, I think I know a little bit about song construction and stuff, so I’d hope nobody sees this and finds me completely insane for some of these choices. As always, I take this project as seriously as I (think I) should, and I’d love to get your feedback on my picks and even see your “best songs” lists, as well.

Let’s get it going. Top-five songs this week. Top-five albums next week. Hope y’all enjoy.


4. "Meditation (feat. Jazmine Sullivan & KAYTRANADA)"  GoldLink

GoldLink isn’t actually talking to anyone on “Meditation,” right?

Wait, let me rephrase. He’s talking to a young lady, but not really. Most guys (and probably ladies, too) know exactly what’s happening here: our young protagonist made eye contact with the most beautiful woman in the room, and now he’s clueless on what to do next.

Don’t believe me? Read the first verse — it’s a list of stuff not to say to someone during your first conversation. We’re hearing the ramblings of a man terrified to shoot his shot; if telling a woman you’d like to beat up her ex-boyfriend and have a daughter with her within the first 30 seconds of meeting has gotten you far before, more power to you, I suppose? I don’t see that as a winning play, but what do I know?

“Meditation” was bound to be sonically amazing — it features one of the greatest voices of our generation (which Jazmine Sullivan absolutely is) and a criminally underrated producer in KAYTRANADA — but the song truly owes its brilliance to the empathy factor. At What Cost resonates with me for reasons I may or may not enumerate during next week's "best albums" conversation, but "Meditation" exists as a pensive, contemplative moment on an otherwise belligerent album. I completely feel his pain, and I’m one-hundred percent certain I’m not alone. I’ve always been jealous of the folks confident enough to pursue the person they’ve been eyeing. These pre-conversations often lead nowhere, the hypothetical back-and-forth the only dialogue we have the courage to initiate. Maybe she’ll come over to you? Maybe, if you keep talking to yourself, you’ll find the requisite confidence to let her know you’re interested? You overthink in fear of embarrassing yourself, only to miss out altogether. It’s never not depressing in the moment, but you convince yourself of next time. And one of those next time’s, you’ll actually say something, and it won’t be embarrassing.

But this time, watching her from across the room will have to do. “Meditation” is good for you. Literally and figuratively.