Top 30 Songs for January 23-29, 2022

The poignant and beautiful “Crutch” by Band of Horses takes over the top spot on my latest Weekly Top 30. It’s their first song to ever top a Billboard chart, recently spending two weeks at #1 on the Adult Alternative Chart. It was a tough decision knocking dwi’s wonderful song “Good Friend” down to #2, as I still love it so much. Finally entering the top 10 are three great songs – Solar Eyes’ “I See the Sun”, Apollo Junction’s “Two Car Family”, and a million rich daughters’ “Left Behind”. Debuting this week are Elvis Costello & the Imposters’ “Magnificent Hurt” and Adele’s “Oh My God”. It took a while for “Magnificent Hurt” to grow on me, because I can sometimes be a real idiot when it comes to music (as well as many other things, unfortunately). But after reading two recent posts about the song and Costello’s new album by fellow blogger Christian’s Music Musings, I finally realized what a terrific song it is. 

The video for “Crutch” is odd but sweet, and features lots of cute cats, so please watch.

  1. CRUTCH – Band of Horses (2)
  2. GOOD FRIEND – dwi (1)
  3. TIME IN DISGUISE – Kings of Leon (4)
  4. I DON’T LIVE HERE ANYMORE – The War on Drugs feat. Lucius (3)
  5. STARTS WITH YOU – Shimmer Johnson (6)
  6. THE TIPPING POINT – Tears for Fears (7)
  7. I SEE THE SUN – Solar Eyes (11)
  8. LOVE LOVE LOVE – My Morning Jacket (5)
  9. TWO CAR FAMILY – Apollo Junction (12)
  10. LEFT BEHIND – a million rich daughters (13)
  11. I DON’T WANNA TALK (I JUST WANNA DANCE) – Glass Animals (9)
  12. SMILE – Wolf Alice (14)
  13. JOURNEYMAN’S BALLET – Sam Rappaport (15)
  14. U&ME – alt-J (16)
  15. ONE AND THE SAME – Future Theory (17)
  16. THE HARDEST CUT – Spoon (19)
  17. WAKE ME UP – Foals (18)
  18. BEGGIN’ – Måneskin (8)
  19. UNTIL I COME HOME – Two Feet & grandson (20)
  20. CHAPSTICK – COIN (21)
  21. HEAD IN THE CLOUDS – Thunder Fox (22)
  22. THE OUTSIDE – twenty øne piløts (23)
  23. LOVE IN OCTOBER – Ships Have Sailed (10)
  24. THE ONLY HEARTBREAKER – Mitski (25)
  25. INDUSTRY BABY – Lil Nas X featuring Jack Harlow (28)
  26. JUST LIKE ALWAYS – Oli Barton & the Movement & Maella (29)
  27. REDCHURCH STREET BLUES – Philip Morgan Lewis (30)
  28. MAGNIFICENT HURT – Elvis Costello & The Imposters (N)
  29. DON’T BRING ME DOWN – Two Feet (24)
  30. OH MY GOD – Adele (N)

Top 30 Songs for January 16-22, 2022

I just can’t get enough of those exuberant jangly guitars, driving beats and soaring vocals on the marvelous “Good Friend” by Canadian artist dwi, and it remains my favorite song for a second week. Closing in at #2 is “Crutch” by Band of Horses, and climbing four spots to #4 is the beautiful “Time in Disguise” by Kings of Leon. It’s not doing particularly well on the Alternative charts, which is perplexing to me, especially given that “Bandit” was the top song of 2021 on the Adult Alternative Airplay chart. The ebullient dance-pop tune “Starts With You” by L.A.-based singer-songwriter Shimmer Johnson climbs three spots to #6, and Tears for Fears’ “The Tipping Point” also climbs three spots to #7.

Three songs debut on this week’s chart: Though it’s been out for over three months, “INDUSTRY BABY” by Lil Nas X featuring Jack Harlow finally enters my chart at #28. Bringing up the rear are new songs by two of my favorite acts from London, England – “Just Like Always” by Oli Barton & the Movement and Maella, and “Redchurch Street Blues” by Philip Morgan Lewis, which enter at #29 & #30, respectively.

  1. GOOD FRIEND – dwi (1)
  2. CRUTCH – Band of Horses (3)
  3. I DON’T LIVE HERE ANYMORE – The War on Drugs featuring Lucius (2)
  4. TIME IN DISGUISE – Kings of Leon (8)
  5. LOVE LOVE LOVE – My Morning Jacket (4)
  6. STARTS WITH YOU – Shimmer Johnson (9)
  7. THE TIPPING POINT – Tears for Fears (10)
  8. BEGGIN’ – Måneskin (5)
  9. I DON’T WANNA TALK (I JUST WANNA DANCE) – Glass Animals (6)
  10. LOVE IN OCTOBER – Ships Have Sailed (7)
  11. I SEE THE SUN – Solar Eyes (12)
  12. TWO CAR FAMILY – Apollo Junction (13)
  13. LEFT BEHIND – a million rich daughters (14)
  14. SMILE – Wolf Alice (15)
  15. JOURNEYMAN’S BALLET – Sam Rappaport (17)
  16. U&ME – alt-J (18)
  17. ONE AND THE SAME – Future Theory (19)
  18. WAKE ME UP – Foals (20)
  19. THE HARDEST CUT – Spoon (22)
  20. UNTIL I COME HOME – Two Feet & grandson (23)
  21. CHAPSTICK – COIN (24)
  22. HEAD IN THE CLOUDS – Thunder Fox (25)
  23. THE OUTSIDE – twenty øne piløts (26)
  24. DON’T BRING ME DOWN – Two Feet (11)
  25. THE ONLY HEARTBREAKER – Mitski (30)
  26. JUSTIFIED – Kacey Musgraves (16)
  27. KALEIDOSCOPE – Soda Cracker Jesus (21)
  28. INDUSTRY BABY – Lil Nas X featuring Jack Harlow (N)
  29. JUST LIKE ALWAYS – Oli Barton & the Movement & Maella (N)
  30. REDCHURCH STREET BLUES – Philip Morgan Lewis (N)

Top 30 Songs for January 9-15, 2022

I’m thrilled to place the lively but poignant song “Good Friend” by Canadian artist dwi at #1 on this week’s Top 30. The music project of insanely creative and talented Vancouver-based singer-songwriter Dwight Abell, dwi was one of my favorite new music discoveries of 2021, and his brilliant debut album Mild Fantasy Violence is among my favorite releases of the year (read my review here). “Good Friend” is about discovering after the fact that a friend had been going through some hard times, and wishing you’d known more at the time so you could have helped them through it. I love the song’s infectious hard-driving melody, colorful guitar work and dwi’s expressive vocals lamenting about his shortcomings as a friend: “Had I known you were broken inside. Had I known you were empty inside. If I was a good friend, I’d a known better. If I was a good friend, I’d have done better./ I’m done with the drugs, but there’s still some left inside.”

In other chart developments, “Crutch” by Band of Horses jumps four spots to #3, Tears for Fears’ “The Tipping Point” enters the top 10, and Mitski debuts with “The Only Heartbreaker”, her first-ever appearance on my Weekly Top 30 chart.

  1. GOOD FRIEND – dwi (2)
  2. I DON’T LIVE HERE ANYMORE – The War on Drugs featuring Lucius (1)
  3. CRUTCH – Band of Horses (7)
  4. LOVE LOVE LOVE – My Morning Jacket (4)
  5. BEGGIN’ – Måneskin (3)
  6. I DON’T WANNA TALK (I JUST WANNA DANCE) – Glass Animals (6)
  7. LOVE IN OCTOBER – Ships Have Sailed (8)
  8. TIME IN DISGUISE – Kings of Leon (9)
  9. STARTS WITH YOU – Shimmer Johnson (10)
  10. THE TIPPING POINT – Tears for Fears (12)
  11. DON’T BRING ME DOWN – Two Feet (5)
  12. I SEE THE SUN – Solar Eyes (13)
  13. TWO CAR FAMILY – Apollo Junction (14)
  14. LEFT BEHIND – a million rich daughters (15)
  15. SMILE – Wolf Alice (16)
  16. JUSTIFIED – Kacey Musgraves (11)
  17. JOURNEYMAN’S BALLET – Sam Rappaport (19)
  18. U&ME – alt-J (20)
  19. ONE AND THE SAME – Future Theory (21)
  20. WAKE ME UP – Foals (22)
  21. KALEIDOSCOPE – Soda Cracker Jesus (18)
  22. THE HARDEST CUT – Spoon (25)
  23. UNTIL I COME HOME – Two Feet & grandson (27)
  24. CHAPSTICK – COIN (28)
  25. HEAD IN THE CLOUDS – Thunder Fox (29)
  26. THE OUTSIDE – twenty øne piløts (30)
  27. ALL TOO WELL (10 Minute Version) – Taylor Swift (17)
  28. SURVIVOR – Nathaniel Rateliff & the Night Sweats (23)
  29. EASY ON ME – Adele (24)
  30. THE ONLY HEARTBREAKER – Mitski (N)

Top 30 Songs for January 2-8, 2022

Happy New Year! For my first Weekly Top 30 of 2022, The War on Drugs hold the top spot for a second week with “I Don’t Live Here Anymore”, featuring backing vocals by Lucius. Climbing three spots to #2 is “Good Friend”, one of the many wonderful songs from the brilliant album Mild Fantasy Violence by Canadian artist dwi. Entering the top 10 this week are “Crutch” by Band of Horses and “Time in Disguise” by Kings of Leon, and the lone debut is “The Outside” by twenty øne piløts.

  1. I DON’T LIVE HERE ANYMORE – The War on Drugs featuring Lucius (1)
  2. GOOD FRIEND – dwi (5)
  3. BEGGIN’ – Måneskin (2)
  4. LOVE LOVE LOVE – My Morning Jacket (4)
  5. DON’T BRING ME DOWN – Two Feet (3)
  6. I DON’T WANNA TALK (I JUST WANNA DANCE) – Glass Animals (6)
  7. CRUTCH – Band of Horses (12)
  8. LOVE IN OCTOBER – Ships Have Sailed (7)
  9. TIME IN DISGUISE – Kings of Leon (11)
  10. STARTS WITH YOU – Shimmer Johnson (10)
  11. JUSTIFIED – Kacey Musgraves (9)
  12. THE TIPPING POINT – Tears for Fears (15)
  13. I SEE THE SUN – Solar Eyes (17)
  14. TWO CAR FAMILY – Apollo Junction (18)
  15. LEFT BEHIND – a million rich daughters (19)
  16. SMILE – Wolf Alice (20)
  17. ALL TOO WELL (10 Minute Version) – Taylor Swift (8)
  18. KALEIDOSCOPE – Soda Cracker Jesus (21)
  19. JOURNEYMAN’S BALLET – Sam Rappaport (22)
  20. U&ME – alt-J (23)
  21. ONE AND THE SAME – Future Theory (24)
  22. WAKE ME UP – Foals (25)
  23. SURVIVOR – Nathaniel Rateliff & the Night Sweats (13)
  24. EASY ON ME – Adele (14)
  25. THE HARDEST CUT – Spoon (26)
  26. REARVIEW – G. Samedi (16)
  27. UNTIL I COME HOME – Two Feet & grandson (27)
  28. CHAPSTICK – COIN (29)
  29. HEAD IN THE CLOUDS – Thunder Fox (30)
  30. THE OUTSIDE – twenty øne piløts (N)

Top 30 Songs for December 26, 2021-January 1, 2022

The War on Drugs take over the top spot on my final Weekly Top 30 of 2021 with their bittersweet “I Don’t Live Here Anymore”, featuring beautiful backing vocals by indie pop band Lucius. Canadian-born and now L.A.-based singer-songwriter Shimmer Johnson enters the top 10 with her lively dance-pop song “Starts With You”, and debuting this week are “Chapstick” by Nashville pop-rock band COIN, and the delightfully funky “Head in the Clouds” by Sydney, Australian band Thunder Fox.

  1. I DON’T LIVE HERE ANYMORE – The War on Drugs featuring Lucius (2)
  2. BEGGIN’ – Måneskin (1)
  3. DON’T BRING ME DOWN – Two Feet (3)
  4. LOVE LOVE LOVE – My Morning Jacket (5)
  5. GOOD FRIEND – dwi (8)
  6. I DON’T WANNA TALK (I JUST WANNA DANCE) – Glass Animals (4)
  7. LOVE IN OCTOBER – Ships Have Sailed (7)
  8. ALL TOO WELL (10 Minute Version) – Taylor Swift (6)
  9. JUSTIFIED – Kacey Musgraves (9)
  10. STARTS WITH YOU – Shimmer Johnson (12)
  11. TIME IN DISGUISE – Kings of Leon (13)
  12. CRUTCH – Band of Horses (15)
  13. SURVIVOR – Nathaniel Rateliff & the Night Sweats (11)
  14. EASY ON ME – Adele (10)
  15. THE TIPPING POINT – Tears For Fears (16)
  16. REARVIEW – G. Samedi (14)
  17. I SEE THE SUN – Solar Eyes (19)
  18. TWO CAR FAMILY – Apollo Junction (20)
  19. LEFT BEHIND – a million rich daughters (21)
  20. SMILE – Wolf Alice (17)
  21. KALEIDOSCOPE – Soda Cracker Jesus (23)
  22. JOURNEYMAN’S BALLET – Sam Rappaport (24)
  23. U&ME – alt-J (25)
  24. ONE AND THE SAME – Future Theory (26)
  25. WAKE ME UP – Foals (27)
  26. THE HARDEST CUT – Spoon (29)
  27. UNTIL I COME HOME – Two Feet & grandson (30)
  28. NEVER LOOKED BACK – The Zangwills (18)
  29. CHAPSTICK – COIN (N)
  30. HEAD IN THE CLOUDS – Thunder Fox (N)

Top 30 Songs for December 19-25, 2021

Sexy-beautiful Italian rockers Måneskin remain in the top spot for a second week with “Beggin'”, while the War on Drugs’ “I Don’t Live Here Anymore”, featuring Lucius, closes in at #2. Otherwise, all the songs in last week’s top 10 remain in that rarefied group, with a bit of shuffling around of positions here and there. As we approach the end of 2021, two new songs debut this week: “The Hardest Cut” by veteran art-rock band Spoon, and “Until I Come Home”, a wonderful collaborative single by Two Feet and grandson.

  1. BEGGIN’ – Måneskin (1)
  2. I DON’T LIVE HERE ANYMORE – The War on Drugs ft. Lucius (3)
  3. DON’T BRING ME DOWN – Two Feet (2)
  4. I DON’T WANNA TALK (I JUST WANNA DANCE) – Glass Animals (4)
  5. LOVE LOVE LOVE – My Morning Jacket (6)
  6. ALL TOO WELL (10 Minute Version) – Taylor Swift (7)
  7. LOVE IN OCTOBER – Ships Have Sailed (9)
  8. GOOD FRIEND – dwi (10)
  9. JUSTIFIED – Kacey Musgraves (8)
  10. EASY ON ME – Adele (5)
  11. SURVIVOR – Nathaniel Rateliff & the Night Sweats (11)
  12. STARTS WITH YOU – Shimmer Johnson (14)
  13. TIME IN DISGUISE – Kings of Leon (15)
  14. REARVIEW – G. Samedi (16)
  15. CRUTCH – Band of Horses (19)
  16. THE TIPPING POINT – Tears For Fears (18)
  17. SMILE – Wolf Alice (17)
  18. NEVER LOOKED BACK – The Zangwills (12)
  19. I SEE THE SUN – Solar Eyes (22)
  20. TWO CAR FAMILY – Apollo Junction (23)
  21. LEFT BEHIND – a million rich daughters (24)
  22. TAKE THE L – Roadkeeper (13) 20th week on list
  23. KALEIDOSCOPE – Soda Cracker Jesus (25)
  24. JOURNEYMAN’S BALLET – Sam Rappaport (26)
  25. U&ME – alt-J (27)
  26. ONE AND THE SAME – Future Theory (28)
  27. WAKE ME UP – Foals (30)
  28. MINE FOREVER – Lord Huron (21)
  29. THE HARDEST CUT – Spoon (N)
  30. UNTIL I COME HOME – Two Feet & grandson (N)

Top 30 Songs for December 12-18, 2021

One of the hottest acts to burst onto the global music scene in 2021 has been Italian rock band Måneskin. Though they’ve been around since 2016, it was their win this past May of the 2021 Eurovision Song Contest for their song “ZITTI E BUONI” that catapulted the exciting and sexy band into superstardom. That song entered my Weekly Top 30 in mid-June, and they’ve remained on my chart every single week since with a run of singles – “ZITTI E BUONI”, “I WANNA BE YOUR SLAVE” and “Beggin'”. “Beggin'”, their fiery remake of the 1967 Four Seasons song, takes over the #1 spot this week, dethroning Two Feet’s “Don’t Bring Me Down” after a four-week run. “Beggin'” was a top 20 hit for the Four Seasons, and was reimagined 40 years later by Norwegian hip-hop duo Madcon, who had a #1 hit with it in several European countries. As I write this, Måneskin’s version has been #1 on the Billboard Alternative Airplay chart for 10 weeks.

In other chart developments, the War on Drugs climb to #3 with their beautiful “I Don’t Live Here Anymore”, featuring added vocals by Lucius. Entering the top 10 are “Love in October” by the immensely talented L.A. duo Ships Have Sailed, and “Good Friend” by Canadian artist dwi, whose marvelous album Mild Fantasy Violence I reviewed in October. The lone debut this week is “Wake Me Up” by British band Foals, currently one of my top 10 favorite bands in the world.

  1. BEGGIN’ – Måneskin (4)
  2. DON’T BRING ME DOWN – Two Feet (1)
  3. I DON’T LIVE HERE ANYMORE – The War on Drugs featuring Lucius (5)
  4. I DON’T WANNA TALK (I JUST WANNA DANCE) – Glass Animals (3)
  5. EASY ON ME – Adele (2)
  6. LOVE LOVE LOVE – My Morning Jacket (6)
  7. ALL TOO WELL (10 Minute Version) – Taylor Swift (7)
  8. JUSTIFIED – Kacey Musgraves (10)
  9. LOVE IN OCTOBER – Ships Have Sailed (11)
  10. GOOD FRIEND – dwi (12)
  11. SURVIVOR – Nathaniel Rateliff & the Night Sweats (13)
  12. NEVER LOOKED BACK – The Zangwills (8)
  13. TAKE THE L – Roadkeeper (9)
  14. STARTS WITH YOU – Shimmer Johnson (16)
  15. TIME IN DISGUISE – Kings of Leon (17)
  16. REARVIEW – G. Samedi (18)
  17. SMILE – Wolf Alice (19)
  18. THE TIPPING POINT – Tears For Fears (20)
  19. CRUTCH – Band of Horses (21)
  20. CAN YOU HANDLE MY LOVE?? – WALK THE MOON (14)
  21. MINE FOREVER – Lord Huron (15)
  22. I SEE THE SUN – Solar Eyes (24)
  23. TWO CAR FAMILY – Apollo Junction (25)
  24. LEFT BEHIND – a million rich daughters (26)
  25. KALEIDOSCOPE – Soda Cracker Jesus (27)
  26. JOURNEYMAN’S BALLET – Sam Rappaport (28)
  27. U&ME – alt-J (29)
  28. ONE AND THE SAME – Future Theory (30)
  29. COLORADO – Milky Chance (22)
  30. WAKE ME UP – Foals (N)

Top 30 Songs for December 5-11, 2021

Not a lot of changes from last week’s chart, with the top four songs remaining in place. “Don’t Bring Me Down” by my favorite artist Two Feet is #1 for a fourth week, while Adele’s “Easy On Me” is #2 for a third week. Entering the top 10 are Taylor Swift’s “All Too Well (10 Minute Version)”, which jumps 12 spots from #19 to #7 (the song fell from #1 to #4 on the Billboard Hot 100), and Kacey Musgraves’ “Justified”, which nods at #10. The two new debut songs this week are both by British bands: “U&ME” by alt-J, which enters at #29, and “One and the Same” by Future Theory, which enters at #30.

  1. DON’T BRING ME DOWN – Two Feet (1) 4th week at #1
  2. EASY ON ME – Adele (2)
  3. I DON’T WANNA TALK (I JUST WANNA DANCE) – Glass Animals (3)
  4. BEGGIN’ – Måneskin (4)
  5. I DON’T LIVE HERE ANYMORE – The War on Drugs ft. Lucius (7)
  6. LOVE LOVE LOVE – My Morning Jacket (8)
  7. ALL TOO WELL (10 Minute Version) – Taylor Swift (19)
  8. NEVER LOOKED BACK – The Zangwills (6)
  9. TAKE THE L – Roadkeeper (5)
  10. JUSTIFIED – Kacey Musgraves (12)
  11. LOVE IN OCTOBER – Ships Have Sailed (13)
  12. GOOD FRIEND – dwi (14)
  13. SURVIVOR – Nathaniel Rateliff & the Night Sweats (11)
  14. CAN YOU HANDLE MY LOVE?? – WALK THE MOON (9)
  15. MINE FOREVER – Lord Huron (10)
  16. STARTS WITH YOU – Shimmer Johnson (17)
  17. TIME IN DISGUISE – Kings of Leon (18)
  18. REARVIEW – G. Samedi (20)
  19. SMILE – Wolf Alice (21)
  20. THE TIPPING POINT – Tears For Fears (22)
  21. CRUTCH – Band of Horses (25)
  22. COLORADO – Milky Chance (15)
  23. WRECKED – Imagine Dragons (16)
  24. I SEE THE SUN – Solar Eyes (26)
  25. TWO CAR FAMILY – Apollo Junction (27)
  26. LEFT BEHIND – a million rich daughters (28)
  27. KALEIDOSCOPE – Soda Cracker Jesus (29)
  28. JOURNEYMAN’S BALLET – Sam Rappaport (30)
  29. U&ME – alt-J (N)
  30. ONE AND THE SAME – Future Theory (N)

Top 30 Songs for November 28-December 4, 2021

Two Feet maintains a firm grip on the #1 spot for a third week with his darkly beautiful and brooding “Don’t Bring Me Down”, while Adele’s poignant “Easy on Me” holds at #2 for a second week. Glass Animals climb two spots to third place with their buoyant “I Don’t Wanna Talk (I Just Wanna Dance)”, and My Morning Jacket’s “Love Love Love” enters the top 10 at #8.

As we enter the final month of 2021, a whopping six new songs (well, five new and one refashioned) debut this week. Taylor Swift’s epic 10 minute and 13 seconds long “All Too Well” – which debuted at #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 – enters my chart at #19 (I’m old school about music charts, and have a problem with songs debuting at #1). The five other new entries are “I See the Sun” by British psychedelic pop/rock band Solar Eyes, “Two Car Family” by British electro-rock band Apollo Junction, “Left Behind” by Chicago post-punk band a million rich daughters, “Kaleidoscope” by Tacoma psychedelic power pop artist Soda Cracker Jesus, and the enchanting “Journeyman’s Ballet” by Brooklyn singer-songwriter Sam Rappaport.

  1. DON’T BRING ME DOWN – Two Feet (1)
  2. EASY ON ME – Adele (2)
  3. I DON’T WANNA TALK (I JUST WANNA DANCE) – Glass Animals (5)
  4. BEGGIN’ – Måneskin (6)
  5. TAKE THE L – Roadkeeper (3)
  6. NEVER LOOKED BACK – The Zangwills (4)
  7. I DON’T LIVE HERE ANYMORE – The War on Drugs ft. Lucius (10)
  8. LOVE LOVE LOVE – My Morning Jacket (11)
  9. CAN YOU HANDLE MY LOVE?? – WALK THE MOON (8)
  10. MINE FOREVER – Lord Huron (7)
  11. SURVIVOR – Nathaniel Rateliff & the Night Sweats (9)
  12. JUSTIFIED – Kacey Musgraves (14)
  13. LOVE IN OCTOBER – Ships Have Sailed (15)
  14. GOOD FRIEND – dwi (16)
  15. COLORADO – Milky Chance (13)
  16. WRECKED – Imagine Dragons (12)
  17. STARTS WITH YOU – Shimmer Johnson (19)
  18. TIME IN DISGUISE – Kings of Leon (24)
  19. ALL TOO WELL (10 Minute Version) – Taylor Swift (N)
  20. REARVIEW – G. Samedi (23)
  21. SMILE – Wolf Alice (25)
  22. THE TIPPING POINT – Tears For Fears (26)
  23. BITTER TASTE – Billy Idol (17)
  24. TALK TO ME – Bealby Point (18)
  25. CRUTCH – Band of Horses (30)
  26. I SEE THE SUN – Solar Eyes (N)
  27. TWO CAR FAMILY – Apollo Junction (N)
  28. LEFT BEHIND – a million rich daughters (N)
  29. KALEIDOSCOPE – Soda Cracker Jesus (N)
  30. JOURNEYMAN’S BALLET – Sam Rappaport (N)

SAM RAPPAPORT – Single Review: “Journeyman’s Ballet”

Sam Rappaport is an engaging, tousle-haired singer-songwriter based in Brooklyn, New York, and he’s just released a wonderful new single “Journeyman’s Ballet“. It’s his second single as a solo artist, following the release this past February of his debut single “Till the Morning Comes”. Sam is also a founding member of Brooklyn indie R&B/blues rock band Gooseberry, who’ve released a number of terrific singles over the past couple of years.

Growing up in the San Fernando Valley of Southern California, Sam began playing piano at the tender age of five, however, he never considered himself good enough to be a “musician”. Throughout his youth and well into his years at Vassar College, basketball was his first love. But as he told NYS MUSIC earlier this year for their article about his debut single: “I held onto the NBA dreams as long as I could, but once I hit college it was pretty clear that those dreams were out of reach. Still, I spent the first three years of college thinking that I’d end up overseas playing in some Euro league. I remember finishing a practice my senior year, running to the bathroom, heaving all the liquid in my body into a trash can, and thinking–I don’t want to do this anymore. So I quit.

After college, Sam worked at a variety of jobs, including as a case manager at a welfare office, a reporter for local newspapers and a bartender at a Sichuan restaurant. But through it all, he never lost his passion for music. He settled for a few years in Chicago, where he played keyboards for R&B singer Brandon James, then relocated to Brooklyn, where he honed his music skills by playing at open mics, house parties and comedy shows. Through those performances, as well as his live shows with Gooseberry – not to mention both his and Gooseberry’s fine music releases – he’s garnered a growing base of loyal fans and followers. I was amazed by the outpouring of love and support for Sam and his single on Instagram today.

“Journeyman’s Ballet” was written and sung by Sam, who also played piano. The remaining instruments were played by Daniel Alvarez and Jordan Dunn-Pilz of the band Toledo, who also produced the track. Mastering was done by Mike Kalajian of Rogue Planet Mastering. The song has a pleasing jazzy soft-rock vibe reminiscent of late 70s/early 80s Steely Dan. Sam’s sparkling piano keys are nicely complemented by Daniel and Jordan’s lilting guitar notes and gentle percussion that enhance, rather than overpower, allowing his lovely piano to really shine. Sam’s smooth, understated vocals are soothing and lovely, and perfectly suited to the song’s languid melody.

About the song’s title, Sam explained it’s “about the dance of someone who is avoidant, always on the move, always looking to escape, to outrun the monsters within. This dance does welcome isolation.” The lyrics speak to those operating under the delusion that they can escape their problems or outrun their personal demons, hoping for a desired outcome simply by changing jobs, romantic partners or where they live, without directly addressing their inherent issues first. (I hate to admit that I’ve been guilty of this myself more than once.) In the song’s chorus, he ponders “Who are we for the mile we walk alone? Who are we when the lies become our home? Who are we when the night turns day, and the monsters still remain.

For the song’s video, Sam enlisted the help of Cassandra Angelini-Vazquez, who dressed him in a tutu and filmed him at Coney Island. Unfortunately, the video won’t be ready for several more days, so for now we’ll have to settle for this audio and a still of Sam standing in New York Bay.

Sam’s music may be found on: SpotifyApple MusicYouTubeAmazonBandcamp