The year's best Internet-only joints.
The stoner anthem sped up for the clubs is a concoction that works better than it sounds. Listening to the original, it's clear the Crookers brought the necessary energy to the song, but it's the kid named CuDi who puts a hazy, lazy sing-along on everyone's lips when it jams. The best argument for this song comes through the speakers.
Off the Very Best, the free Internet mixtape with the cute story (British producer Radioclit walks into a London furniture store, salesman/Malawian immigrant Mwamwaya convinces him to record music together), Dinosaur on the Ark is the perfect mix of earnests and humour. Other tracks on the tape immediately got more attention (see: reworking of Vampire Weekend and MIA), and are even more creative and funny. But this one is the only song that hits the right heartstrings. A lot of mixtapes are funny and creative, but when was the last time one was this emotional? Download the whole thing and choose a favourite.
Initially one might consider this handclap-happy joint a good backbeat to a joy-inspiring YouTube video (below), but after a few listens it's clear this under-my-radar Toronto band has a hit single on its hands. Even more exuberant than the video! Find a label, put it out! (Easier said than done, I realise, but you sense my enthusiasm.)
More of a leak than a downloadable single, but this thing had one of the best beats not on wax this year. Supposedly, it will be out with Jay's Blueprint 3. Until then, the Kanye West beat that will stick in your head for longer than you'd like is worth the illegal download.
French singer Soko has a knack for delicate songs with brutal lyrics. Last year, I heard I'll Kill Her and ROFLed. But on this one, humour drops down the cue for a tuneful, pretty song that retains its cleverness. She still throws in a reference to her Macbook, but the song is less of a novelty and one that proves her talent. Listen now or catch it on the soundtrack to Juno 2.
This is one of those joints that you need to hear several times before you can nod your head in agreement. Wayne, who pretty much left the Internet for the year, comes back to kill a verse on Zoe's mind-playing-tricks-on-me classic. But credit here goes to the boy Drumma Boy, who chopped up Wayne's out-of-tune auto-tune singing into one that fits the mood of the song perfectly.
Yes, those ridiculous Fall Out Boys have made it onto my best of list, but so does Roots rapper Black Thought and porn star Sasha Grey. Stump sings the hook and provides rhythm, sure, but it's Black Thought who comes through with the "grown-lady ass" lyric and Grey who backs it up in the video.
The song that kicks off The Mixtape About Nothing, Wale's Seinfeld-themed introduction into the rap world, is one of his most clever. Taking the bassline from Seinfeld's opening sequence (so it's not just a clever title), Wale sounds exasperated as he spits his observational humour. (Like the show, I guess?) The whole tape is worth a listen.
T-Pain may be the Auto-tune ringleader in retail music, but Ron Brownz owns that title on Internet. He's the only artist who uses the pitch-correcting devise the same humourous heights as Pain, and does it exclusively online (at least for now). He even gives interviews in Auto-tune.
Just a remix of a track available on his full length, but one too smooth not to be included here.