A little look at my top 4 most played songs in 2011 + a couple of honourable mentions. A trip down memory lane and quick discourse into the sorts of song that got rinsed over the past six(ish) years.
What were your most played songs from that year?
Drake – Trust Issues
Plays: 289 times
Date downloaded: 11/06/2011
Last played: 13/03/2017
Subsequently this is my most played song of all time which clearly speaks volumes. It’s not even my favourite Drake song, but it’s definitely one of his most memorable. I first listened to it on my ones, and couldn’t get over the composition of the track. With the ghost of ‘I’m On One‘ running rampant throughout, this H-Town influenced freebie is one of Drizzy’s most Drake songs and one of 40s most expertly assembled beats. The next (and the next 16) time I listened to this song was with two of my closest dons in the summer holidays between first and second year of uni. We were truly addicted. The song has sweet cake singing Drake, Houstatlantavegas hot’spitta Drake and The Lord Noah Shebib on production duties. What else were we supposed to do with our summer?
The Weeknd – The Party and the After Party
Date downloaded: 24/03/2011
Last played: 04/04/2017
Now onto my favourite song of this year and my favourite Weeknd song to date – nothing has come close so don’t @ me. There is nothing more satisfying than a two part song, just ask Drizzy, The Dream, Erykah Badu etc etc. Starting off slightly uptempo with smooth and considered lyrics about party antics, and accompanied with a cleverly selected sample by Beach House (Master of None, if you’re interested) the ‘Party’ is the perfect after eight to the ever filling Wicked Game. We move into ‘the After Party’ when the mood shifts and the tempo changes – along with the intention of the track. If the Party is an after eight, then the After Party is a 2am snack. Quotable lyrics and a mood reflecting drum laden beat make The Party and the After Party one of my favourite songs ever! It’s the duality of the song that makes it so moreish, and you listen over and over to see if there is something that you missed the first time you listened to the first part, or the fifth time you heard the second party and did he actually say they ‘never ever got her blowjob’?. In 2011, the Weeknd established himself as a genre of music, part-defined by the sex, drugs and relationships with women he so openly discusses in this and the rest of the Trilogy.
The Weeknd – Coming Down
Date downloaded: 24/03/2011
Last played: 04/04/2017
The perfect sequel to a near perfect song, Coming Down is the Scottie Pippen to The Party and the After Party’s Michael Jordan – an exceptional complimentary piece that can exist just as effectively on its own. With the dust settled and the party over, Abel expresses his longing and yearning for his main squeeze and present lover. Coming Down has exactly the same message as the connotations of the phrase itself. Slow moving and hypnotic, this is ooolllll’ Weeknd at his best. Unsurprisingly I listened to this at the same time as The Party and the After Party, more often than not, so it’s hard to think about them in silo but this may be the Weeknd song that I find myself lost in the most. It takes me back to university days, hungover and feeling sorry for myself, needy and couchlocked. All I would ever want was the person I was seeing/girlfriend at the time to restore me. And therein lays my relationship with this particular duo of songs. They’re, to me, a reflection of myself at university to one extent or another which would explain why I’m still listening to it 6 years on. Nostalgia is greatest feeling.
A$AP Rocky – Wassup
Date downloaded: 23/12/2011
Last played: 17/03/2017
A late edition in the year, and one that I listened to mostly in 2012, Wassup was an Xmas gift come early. Off of his first official mixtape Live.Love.A$AP, Wassup was the song on the project that I was instantly drawn towards. I had already forged a relationship with Clams Casino’s music earlier that year, with his project Instrumentals, so it was a pleasant surprise hearing him on an up-and-coming artists mixtape. Slow and grungy, mixed with Rocky’s Houston influenced flow and delivery result in a compelling story depicting a snapshot into the life of the Harlem, NY, native. I remember first listening to this on my own and thinking that Rocky was definitely going to become a star in the hip-hop world. He had an authentic charisma and polarising personality, which he permeated through his lyrics and a flow that we hadn’t heard delivered so effortlessly since Bone Thugs, with a distinct Southern Rap, lean sippin, Xanny poppin’ influence. And it’s safe to say I was right. Two billboard albums later, along with many magazine cover spots and an expansive catalogue of side projects the leader of the A$AP Mob has positioned himself as a tastemaker for the culture and it all started, for me anyway, with this song.
Kendrick Lamar – Ab-Souls Outro feat. Ab-Soul
Date downloaded: 01/07/2011
Last played: 22/07/2016
Right at the end of Kendrick’s debut album, Section.80, lays this sonic masterpiece. This Terrace Martin produced outro is the perfect crescendo to the topic heavy first offering of Kung-fu Kenny. It also served as an opportunity to hear his label mate Ab-Soul, which seemed to be an organic selection given the nature of the topics discussed in this track. Ab uses this platform to expertly round-off and conclude the concepts and ideas discussed throughout Section.80 in a succinct package, before Kendrick signs off with one of his infamously profound spoken-word pieces simplifying the album as just his opinion on many things discussed – money, clothes, hoes, God and history. Above all else, though, the production of this song is the feature that resonates with me the most. I’d already been a fan of Terrance Martin after I heard a track he did with Wiz Khalifa – Roll Up – so much like my happiness with Clams and Rocky, it was refreshing to hear two West Coast artists styles compliment one another so harmoniously.
Frank Ocean – Novacane
Date downloaded: 24/03/2011
Last played: 21/04/2017
Of all of the songs that I have featured on this list, and that I’m likely to feature on any list beyond this, Novacane will always be the song that I remember listening to for the first time most vividly. Walking home from University on a Friday afternoon, sun beaming and spring air gently caressing my Adidas Originals windbreaker. Having downloaded both House of Balloons and Nostalgia/Ultra the night before, my iPod Classic made the conscious decision to shuffle to this, before, unheard song. The beat wasn’t similar to anything that I had ever heard, and the choice of lyrics and unique delivery were a welcomed bonus. I played on and fell more and more in love with the song, subsequently playing it about 15 more times in that day alone – repeated it on the rest of the walk home. 10 times through my shitty laptop speakers when I got home. A couple times at pre-drinks that night. And a couple times before bed. I was addicted to this song, and Frank Ocean’s sound; apt given the title and the content of this now classic single. Frank has gone on to uphold superstar status, with a cult and mass following, but this song is where many of our journeys with Frank began and serves as a reminder of the quality of his early work.
The Internet – Web of Me
Date downloaded: 21/12/2011
Last played: 08/03/2015
Last but not least, Web of Me by The Internet. Another case of ‘where it all began’ and another song from an artist’s debut album – Purple Naked Ladies – this was the first song by The Internet that I remember becoming attached to. There was Cocaine, and Love Song-1 that I heard before this, but Web of Me was a different type of contribution. Eery throughout the verses and clearer in the hooks, Syd demonstrates a pure state of ambivalence – being sorta infatuated with a girl, but being aware that an eventual or resulting relationship wouldn’t end well. A position familiar to most. It’s always hard for me to grasp how it took The Internet as long as they did to come to prominence as they’ve always made music that anyone and everyone can enjoy. It was clear that although they were all, at one time, members of OFWGKTA, that they were more interested in making their own gradual impact on RnB , Hip-Hop and Contemporary music, not looking to hang off of success of the LA supergroup. Fast forward to 2017 and The Internet have toured the U.S. and Europe, Syd seems like a standard feature on everyones albums and the group is still reeling off their critical acclaimed and Grammy nominated 2015 album Ego Death. Their trajectory is clearly heading upward and collection of songs increasing, but Web of Me is a quick look at where it all began.