1. Kanye West - "Blood On The Leaves" Songs of the Year (2013) by Rock Genius Editors 159

Photo Credit: MTV

Producer Genius‘ best produced song of 2013 and my best overall song of the year. Yeezy stays winning on all fronts with the Genius crew. Kanye West gets my number one spot (on a Rock list) because he not only broke barriers, he did something that would be likened to suicide in the industry today. Not only did he barely promote his album “Yeezus”, dude didn’t even have it finished until he brought it to Rick Rubin 3 weeks before the release date for the finishing touches. After the grandiose ride that was My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy showcasing West’s mastery of his craft, he once again likened himself to a student under Rubin’s mastery of minimalism, and thus we have the dark disgusting hangover that samples a church choir and EDM all in the same song (just not this one) that is Yeezus. Alright, enough of my rant on Yeezus, you need to check yourself if you have yet to realize that this album is an unprecedented masterpiece that people will be talking about for years to come.

Blood On The Leaves is the centerpiece of Yeezus, you can check out Producer Genius' bomb breakdown of the tracks production here, but I want to talk about the song overall. I think it’s the horns, I think it’s just those blaring horns sampled from TNGHT’s “R U Ready” that get me, or maybe the fact that Yeezy took a song about disturbing lynchings and turned it into a banger / ode to a relationship torn apart by infidelity, by God, it’s insanity. The picture painted gets wickedly more vivid with every bar:

Now you sittin' courtside, wifey on the other side
Gotta keep ‘em separated, I call that apartheid
Then she said she impregnated, that’s the night your heart died
Then you gotta go and tell your girl and report that
Main reason cause your pastor said you can’t abort that
Now your driver say that new Benz you can’t afford that
All that cocaine on the table you can’t snort that
That going to that owing money that the court got
All in on that alimony, uh, yeah-yeah, she got you homie
'til death but do your part, unholy matrimony

And that picture ladies and gentlemen is what gives this track my #1 spot. I have nothing to say but bravo Mr. West, there is no ceiling for what you can achieve and you’ve done more than enough to prove that.

Yes, yes you are.

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Wvmble Songs of the Year (2013) by Rock Genius Editors 159

When Spinelli approached me about contributing my Top 10 Songs of 2013 for the Rock Genius year-end list I got so hyped; of course my biggest problem was narrowing down the tracks! I chose from a pool of about 50 total songs. I decided to go half rock / half rap because it wouldn’t really be a “best of” if we made it genre specific, plus, the Genius fam is all about annotating all of… well… everything. Below are a few honorable mentions that didn’t quite make the cut. Be sure to check them out as well.

Honorable Mentions

Blood Orange — “You’re Not Good Enough"
Flatbush Zombies — "My Team, SUPREME"
Phoenix — "Oblique City"
Pusha T ft. Future — "Pain"
A$AP Rocky — "Angels”

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Using five dollar words while praising his integrity Styrofoam Plates by Death Cab For Cutie

Five dollar words is a fancy way of saying big, hard to pronounce words, often when speaking in front of others in order to be “impressive” many will use words that typically aren’t used in their vocabulary, they’ll try to make themselves sound smarter than they really are from a selfish perspective and try to make the topic (in this case the dead father) seem like more than he really is by using a lavish, polished vocabulary.

In essence, this could be called a more expensive / nicer version of someone’s two-cents.

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You can deck out a lie in a suit but I won't buy it Styrofoam Plates by Death Cab For Cutie

At funerals the deceased are often dressed up in suits or very nice clothing as if to look presentable for a sort of “welcoming” into their new afterlife abode. The narrator claims that no matter what you dress up his father in it will all still be a sham because his father doesn’t even deserve the thought. He refuses to even entertain the idea of his father being a man who deserves that heavenly welcome or ever being of worth.

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This city is my home, construction noise all day long
And gutter punks are bumming change
We Laugh Indoors by Death Cab For Cutie

DCFC’s “The Photo Album” was recorded at Hall of Justice Studios in Seattle, WA (Death Cab for Cutie’s hometown.)

Hall of Justice Studios is actually owned by Death Cab for Cutie’s very own Chris Walla who provided guitars and production for the album.

Construction noise all day long could be referring to the huge construction boom of 2000 that occurred in Seattle. The Fourth and Madison Building (formerly the IDX Tower) was completed in 2002, relatively shortly after the album’s release.

And gutter punks are bumming change

Sadly, as with most large cities, there are often people around bumming change or panhandling in order to make money. As of 2000 there were at least 6,900 people with no sort of home.

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So I breed thicker skin and let my lustrous coat fill in
And I'll never admit that I loved you Guinevere
We Laugh Indoors by Death Cab For Cutie

Guinevere was the Queen consort of King Arthur. In folklore, Guinevere is said to have had a love affair with Arthur’s chief knight, Sir Lancelot.

The singer will never admit his love for his Guinevere (possibly an alias for a forbidden lover) due to her relationship with someone. Perhaps she has been committing adultery with the songwriter but in order to protect her he will never admit he loves her.

Instead he grows thicker skin that he can show off to the world as a lustrous coat that catches the eye so the world will not catch the truth of the love between the songwriter and Guinevere. It will be their secret forever despite the pain that it causes the songwriter to see his love with the man she’s with, he ultimately grows thicker skin to avoid the pain.

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Give me a second chance
Just let go of the past
Seconds by Ghost Loft

Somehow he’s wronged her in the past and he’s asking for the chance to make it all right. Wrongdoing on both sides of the relationship is a common thing in another one of Ghost Loft’s songs: Slowdowntime

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According to an article yesterday in billboard.biz, the NMPA has sent take-down notices to every site on the list. Rap Genius Put On Notice by Byron Crawford

Yeah, here’s the article.

HOWEVER

According to Billboard’s article, Ilan Zechory (one of the founders of Rap Genius) said the following:

Rap Genius Co-Founder Ilan Zechory said his New York company had not heard from the NMPA, “but we can’t wait to have a conversation with them about how all writers can participate in and benefit from the Rap Genius knowledge project.”

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One chick's skirt Rap Genius Put On Notice by Byron Crawford

Crawford resorts to cheap shots at RG’s very own Nicole Otero a.k.a. Notero, the person who actually gets artists on board with the whole RG thing.

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Told Billboard that they shouldn't have to obtain licenses to post song lyrics, because Rap Genius annotates song lyrics, Rap Genius Put On Notice by Byron Crawford

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