Tag: Lizzo

The A List – the best 10 new music tracks around right now

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The A List is back for 2019. Every week you’ll find here the 10 records I’m enjoying the most right now, in a – very unofficial – chart. 2019 has started strongly; the top three tracks here are all incredibly impressive and it was very hard to pick a favourite from them.

1. Billie Eilish – WHEN I WAS OLDER 

Thursday’s Track of the Day and our first number one of 2019, WHEN I WAS OLDER is full of eery distorted vocals and minimalistic electronic production that combine to create a haunting tone that is really hard to shake off.

2. Goldie, James Davidson, Subjective – Rift Valley 

Tuesday’s Track of the Day, Rift Valley is a track that is best played in the dark. It’s like you’re dreaming after smoking pot. Everything feels captivating yet entirely elusive.

3. Lana Del Rey – hope is a dangerous thing for a woman like me to have – but I have it 

I have an ongoing suspicion that all of Lana Del Rey’s melodies are variations of Chris Isaak’s Wicked Game. That being said, anticipation is high for her forthcoming album Norman Fucking Rockwell and I liked both 2018 singles, Venice Bitch and Mariners Apartment Complex. However hope is a (etc – wayyyy too long to write out again) feels like one of her most accomplished songs. Lyrically this is a profoundly moving five minutes; from self-doubt to abuse to isolation, any song that has Sylvia Plath at its core will undoubtedly veer from weirdness to unimaginable suffering.

4. Sam Smith, Normani – Dancing With A Stranger 

A devastatingly simple pop track full of regrets. Sam Smith does heartbreaks better than almost anyone, and the simple production on Dancing with a Stranger leaves the listener to drown in the guilt and misplaced anger of a rebound one night stand.

5. Chaka Khan – Hello Happiness 

The first Track of the Day of 2019, Hello Happiness is a burst of energy, with a bass line straight from the 70s, electro vibes that belong in the 80s and a vocal performance that is positively timeless.

6. Lizzo – Juice 

Lizzo has some swag, and having made last year’s Astral Penguins Top 50 with the massive Boys, Juice is yet another banger from the Minneapolis songstress. Super sweet production with shimmering guitars brings to mind Duran Duran era pop, and the chorus is totally infectious.

7. D’Angelo – Unshaken 

With his first release since 2014, D’Angelo returns with the brooding and hypnotic Unshaken. Written for the Red Dead Redemption 2 soundtrack, Unshaken certainly conjures up the feelings of a western with its sparse production and solitary feel, and D’Angelo’s vocals sound superb in this lower range.

8. Lauren Jauregui – More Than That 

The second former Fifth Harmony member to appear in this week’s A List, More Than That is a short slice of a slick r’n’b full of assertive lyrics and lilting melodies.

9. Catfish and the Bottlemen – Longshot 

I’ve been a fan of CatB since they came onto the scene in c. 2014. I wasn’t a massive fan of 2016’s The Ride but Longshot sounds like a good return to form. Produced by Jacknife Lee (R.E.M., the Killers, U2), Longshot has a distinctly British optimism running through it, almost like they can’t believe something has succeeded.

10. PEZNT – Freedom 

Croatian dance duo PEZNT describe themselves as “something like Village People but more village rather than people”, which is pretty baffling. What isn’t baffling is their new single Freedom, which is a straight up, uncomplicated, hands-in-the-air dance track.

 

 

Top 50 songs of 2018 – 40 to 31

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  1. Nils Frahm – My Friend the Forest

The recording of My Friend the Forest leaves you holding your breathe. So close and intimate, you can hear the movements of the piano parts in addition to the melody it is creating. It’s a very moving and personal recording that leaves you feeling connected, as if you’re part of the performance and the magic it creates.

 

  1. Bryde – To Be Brave

To Be Brave starts with a fragility that makes you sit up and take notice. The soft guitar and tender vocals feel delicate and hushed, and the chorus ends with the lyrics “No one needs to notice that there’sonly silence holding this”. And yet, the song gets louder. Whatever is being masked through bravery is becoming increasingly difficult to contain.

 

  1. Editors – Hellelujah (So Low)

Sometimes you’ve just got to turn up the volume, rock and repent. This is Editors as we’ve never heard them before, and it sounds fantastic. Written after a visit to an Oxfam refugee camp, you can hear the mortality and remorsefulness scattered throughout the track.

 

  1. Miljon – What Does It Take

What Does It Take beautifully suits wintery cold weather and dark evenings. With a touch of the XX underpinning the track, there’s a real beauty in its repetition and luscious tones, but there’s also a sense of difficult emotions not too far from the surface.

 

  1. Lizzo – Boys

It took five years but finally we have the riposte to Blurred Lines that the world needed. Funky, inclusive and catchy as hell, Boys is just a cracking good tune that sounds timeless and will be filling dancefloors for years.

 

  1. Black Belt Eagle Scout – Soft Stud

Black Belt Eagle Scout’s Mother of My Children was one of my favourite albums of the year. Soft Stud is the opening track and is full of pain and lust, a tale of feeling rejected in an open relationship. The real beauty of Soft Stud isn’t the lyrics though, it’s the emotions you feel through the guitar as it elevates the track into something truly spiritual.

 

  1. Django Django – Marble Skies

Django Django consistently produce excellent and provocative electro pop and Marble Skies is one of their best. Immensely catchy, the first track from the album of the same name sets a relentless pace. Marble Skies feels like we’re in a high-speed chase, there’s plenty of fun to be had but chaos is never far away.

 

  1. The Decemberists – Severed

I’m a sucker for synth pop and when you throw in the menace that The Decemberists bring to Severed I’m unable to resist. Written as an exploration of Donald Trump’s public voice, Severed certainly feels like the soundtrack for the end of the world.

 

  1. HAELOS – Buried in the Sand

HAELOS are a band with huge promise, and one I tip for festival headliner status in the future. Buried in the Sand is their first track back after a couple of years away and although less immediate than a lot of their work on debut album – Full Circle – I’ve grown to love it. It has a swagger running throughout, and feels like a real statement from the band about how they are ready to make their next step up.

 

  1. Florence + The Machine – Big God

I was a big fan of Florence’s new album High As Hope as I felt it showed real progression in song writing and was less reliant on Welch’s voice hitting magnificent highs to make the record stand out. Big God is a perfect example; it sounds like a Shirley Bassey backing track with all sorts of drama and peril threatened by the opening piano notes. Yet the vocals remain beautifully grounded and intimate; eschewing the need to set off into the stratosphere and making the record all the more satisfying for its lack of predictability.