High Fives 2016 – Anna Elizabeth Laube

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We’re big fans of Anna Elizabeth Laube here at Riot Towers, so we were delighted that she was able to make a contribution to this year’s High Fives. Her album “Tree” deserved every on of the five stars it received. We were even more pleased that she did something that no featured artist has done before; she opted for five favourite videos. Here we go:

Beyoncé – Hold Up

I didn’t really understand Beyoncé-mania until her last record, Beyoncé, when the genius finally hit me. I covered her song “XO” (as did John Mayer, a version I also really like) on my most recent record, Tree. Beyoncé is a masterpiece of an album, as is Lemonade. This video for “Hold Up” sums up the contradictions implicit in this album. Playful, rageful, knowing, confused, lighthearted, heavy. Feelings. It’s gorgeous, sexy, powerful.

Maggie Rogers – Alaska

The music and images in this video are unique, fresh, inspirational. Maggie Rogers was propelled to fame by a Pharrell masterclass, but her talent and merit is all her own.

Michael Kiwanuka – Black Man In A White World

I first heard Michael Kiwanuka in a Starbucks on State St. in Madison, WI, one cold winter afternoon. This new video is disorienting, important, timely, thought-provoking.

Lady Gaga – Million Reasons

I don’t love this video as much as the rest of the ones on this list, but I love the song. One of the best new songs this year. I’m sure we’ll have an official video out soon, but for now this live performance will suffice. (Unfortunately, the video Anna chose has been blocked in the UK for copyright reasons, so here’s the official video).

Danny Denial – Sell Me Out

I moved to Seattle this year and am happy to report the music scene is alive and well. This song and video are by local pop-punk artist Danny Denial. Raw, real, precocious.