Tag: Music

Track of the day: Billie Eilish – WHEN I WAS OLDER

logomakr_1u1juc

Billie Eilish – WHEN I WAS OLDER

Billie Eilish is one of the most exciting young pop artists on the planet. Ever since I heard the fantastically morbid Bellache in 2017 I’ve been captivated by her records, and she rarely disappoints. Her 2018 releases were pretty much all excellent in different ways; be it the menacing you should see me in a crown or the heartbreaking when the party’s over, which was always going to feature in my top 50 of 2018.

Now she’s back with WHEN I WAS OLDER, a song inspired by Alfonso Cuaron’s 2018 film Roma. And with it, she unsurprisingly retains her kite-mark standard for excellence.

With its eery distorted vocals and minimalistic electronic production, it has a haunting tone that is really hard to shake off.

Eilish is due to play the main stage at the Leeds and Reading festivals later this year and if her output remains at this quality, it’s not difficult to envision her being one of – if not the – biggest pop stars in the world very soon.

Top 50 Songs of 2018 – the top 10

LogoMakr_3klJ7k

  1. Orbital – Tiny Foldable Cities

Listening to Tiny Foldable Cities feels like you’ve turned into Superman. Soaring high in the sky and rapidly gliding amongst the clouds, you watch the world below as you zoom on by.

 

  1. Azealia Banks – Anna Wintour

My most listened to song of 2018 is the dancefloor destroyer Anna Wintour. From the beats to the vocals, everything sounds fresh and catchy. Originally meant to feature Mel B (of Spice Girls fame) and Nicki Minaj, instead Azealia Banks undertakes all the singing, rapping and slaying duties herself. If this song doesn’t make you strut, you aren’t living.

 

  1. Ben Howard – Nica Libres At Dusk

The opening track of Noonday Dream is an evocative and tender track filled with sadness and longing. There are hints of the idyllic Caribbean beach that is dreamt about within the lyrics, but Nica Libres At Dusk feels much colder and wind-swept, more Bournemouth in autumn than Barbados at the height of summer.

 

  1. Let’s Eat Grandma – Hot Pink

Let’s Eat Grandma are one of the most intriguing acts in British music. I first saw them in 2016 and their girlish charm mixed with gothic pop was captivating. Hot Pink is anything but girlish; a monstrous statement about the strength of women, backed up by production that sounds like the end of the world.

 

  1. SOHN – Nil

Nil is a brutally honest song. “Tell me if I’m not mistaken, but you’re not in love, am I right?”, SOHN sings without judgement or malice. Nil is the end; sadness and pain swirls all around and the voice falters only slightly. This is the laying to rest of a relationship, and it is absolutely heart-breaking.

 

  1. Robyn – Honey

Honey feels you’re dreaming but haven’t slept for days. Sensual, pulsating and entirely hypnotic, it’s the kind of track that makes you check your pulse to make sure it’s all real. Every element of Honey is perfect; from the rumbling synths and subtle addition of samba drumming to the bewitching hi-hats, Honey is a four-minute transcendence into something more meaningful.

 

  1. Jon Hopkins – Emerald Rush

It may be because Emerald Rush reminds me of Hans Zimmer’s amazing Interstellar soundtrack, but no earthly settling feels big enough to imagine Emerald Rush. It plays out like a giant intergalactic battle, with black holes and exploding planets. It’s a magnificent and evocative piece of music, and I bet it sounds massive on a dancefloor.

 

  1. Plastic Mermaids – 1996

The unusual relationships between humans and technology has become an increasingly discussed topic. Whether it be the threat of AI, the overdependence on technology or romantic relationships (for example the 2014 Spike Jonze film, Her), there’s a fascination about how technology can affect us, physically and emotionally. In 1996, Plastic Mermaids give their own spectacular contribution to this discussion, full of upgrades, digital funerals and provocative lyrics, all set to one of the catchiest and least predictable pop songs this year. And if that wasn’t enough, they also made what I think was the best video of the year. I can’t wait for next year’s album and London tour date.

 

  1. Rae Morris – Rose Garden

Rae Morris has been making solid records for a while, but nothing prepared me for the massive step up in her song writing craft that is Rose Garden. Written about a friend who is suffering with a long-term illness – and Morris’s own frustrations at being unable to help – Rose Garden is a tour de force of outstanding production and beautiful melodies that peaks with an almost heavenly bridge. Morris has said that this song reflects a direction she’d like to explore in her future work, and if she can match this quality then we’re in for something special.

 

  1. The Twilight Sad – I/m Not Here [Missing Face]

From the opening notes the claustrophobic tone of I/m Not Here imposes itself. The sense of bitter end is everywhere and relief eludes us. The end of a relationship, the sadness, distrust and blame whirls around, and James Graham’s Scottish lilt gives real meaning to every word. The isolation is obvious from the opening lytrics, “you’re too close for comfort, you’re too close to comfort me.” The piano tries to give some light – some space – but there’s just no way it can win here. This is a stupendous song; one that rewards continual listens and the best work yet from a fantastic band.

 

Top 50 Songs of 2018 – 20 to 11

LogoMakr_3klJ7k

  1. Ski Lift – Get Some Sleep

Missouri-based two-piece Ski Lift are not exactly prolific. The How Seriously You Take Yourself EP was their first release since 2011 and Get Some Sleep was the opening track. This track is like a dream, with a hypnotic beat effortlessly motioning the song along. “I made up a therapist to work through my problems, we talk in the mirror like an old De Niro film” is where we start the song, and it only gets more inward from there.

 

  1. Jono Ma & Dreams – Can’t Stop My Dreaming (Of You)

Can’t Stop My Dreaming (Of You) was one of my most listened to tracks of 2018, in large part because it is such a rewarding listen. There’s so many levels to the track, and you find yourself following different snippets of percussion or melody on every listen.

 

  1. Billie Eilish – when the party’s over

I don’t think there’s a more exciting artist in the world right now. Billie Eilish has delivered so many intriguing tracks over the past eighteen months, and when the party’s over is the most heart-breaking of the lot.

 

  1. Ray BLK – Run Run

Ray BLK delivers harrowing tales of South London with one of the catchiest tracks of the year. Reflecting her real life observations and strong social conscience, Run Run is the kind of the song that would have been a huge hit in the late eighties. The video is also incredibly powerful

 

  1. The 1975 – Love It If We Made It

Comparisons to Sign ‘O’ The Times, Rockin’ in the Free World and We Didn’t Start The Fire put Love It If We Made It in some esteemed company. Only time will tell if it merits such loftiness, but there’s no doubt that this is a hugely impressive piece of work from the 1975. Alongside its provocative lyrics and all-round catchiness, the thing that’s really lingered from Love It If We Made It is the optimism that somehow shines through its gutter topics.

 

  1. Kacey Musgraves – High Horse

Does anyone do sass better than Kacey Musgraves? High Horse is a big change in style for Kacey but she sounds superb delivering her brilliant put-down lyrics over a disco-infused backing track.

 

  1. Alex Metric, Ten Ven – Nebula

Nebula is a throwback dance track, all eighties synths and big-build ups. Great music doesn’t have to be complicated, here Alex Metric and Ten Ven keep it simple with an absolutely gigantic dancefloor filler.

 

  1. H O N E Y M O A N – </3

South African five-piece H O N E Y M O A N (yes, that is annoying to type) tell the modern tale of breaking up over text and the awkwardness of finding out your former partner is in fact gay. Scuzzy guitars and catchy melodies, top work all round.

 

  1. Cardi B – Get Up 10

I liked Cardi B’s Invasion of Privacy way more than I was expecting, and Get Up 10 was for me the standout track. It combines her personal history with a suitable amount of swagger, soaring from its gentle start into an absolute banger.

 

  1. FRANKIIE – Dream Reader

Vancouver-based four-piece FRANKIIE give us one-part Stevie Nicks and two parts Pumarosa with the ethereal Dream Reader. It’s a beautifully simple slice of indie pop that hints at a very bright future.

Top 50 Songs of 2018 – 30 to 21

LogoMakr_3klJ7k

  1. Bicep – Opal (Four Tet Remix)

Four Tet remixes aren’t generally known for simplifying records, but with Opal he’s given the track a more accessible beat and brought the melody front and centre. It sounds great and has had me bopping my head along for nine months now.

 

  1. Billie Marten – Mice

Yorkshire singer Billie Marten provided the year’s most beautifully aimless and introspective track. Mice fills the senses with countryside; it transports you to rural settings far away from towns and cities. It’s such an internal track, you can feel the frustration and lethargy in both the music and the vocals.

 

  1. Art School Girlfriend – Distance (Blank)

Art School Girlfriend’s Into The Blue Hour was one of my favourite EPs of the year and Distance (Blank) was the second track on the EP. Full of electronic rumblings, introspection and claustrophobia, Distance (Blank) is a hugely impressive outing from the singer from North Wales.

 

  1. Robyn – Missing U

What a comeback single. Missing U sounded instantly fresh and yet familiar, reminding everyone how good she really is. Somehow combining optimism with crushing sadness, Missing U merely whet the appetite for music fans around the world in anticipation for – in my opinion – was the album of the year.

 

  1. SG Lewis, AlunaGeorge – Hurting

A straight up banger dripping in lust from the Lewis and AlunaGeorge combination. “Hurting for your body,Hurting for your body and your soul, You really got me searching, Begging for a way to make me whole” Aluna Francis pines over the beautifully simple electronics.

 

  1. GoGo Penguin – Raven

The inclusion of GoGo Penguins necessitates me eating a bit of humble pie. I completely hated their 2014 v2.0 album, and was very surprised when George – who previously wrote for Astral Penguins – recommended their latest work to me. “The piano sounds like Sister Bliss” he said, and indeed it does. Raven borders on being a dance track, and has a beautiful mixture of space and urgency.

 

  1. Billie Eilish, Khalid – lovely

The somewhat ironically titled lovely combines two of the most brilliant and exciting voices in music right now. Full of sadness, despair and tenderness, the sparse production simply allows the two vocalists to sing their sad tale.

 

  1. Black Futures – Trance

Trance is an orgy of rage. Sounding something like the end of the world, the track feels relentless. Every time you get a brief respite from the onslaught of the guitars and drums, you know it isn’t going to last, so just enjoy the chaos. The last two minutes or so of this track are probably the best I’ve heard all year.

 

  1. ZAYN – Sour Diesel

Sour Diesel sounds like INXS. Sensual vocals, sparse drums and catchy hooks, it has all the hallmarks that made Michael Hutchence and co such massive superstars in the 1980s. Nothing any of the former One Direction boys have done has come close to the pop perfection that is Sour Diesel.

 

  1. Travis Scott – SICKO MODE

I was very underwhelmed by Astroworld, Scott’s hugely successful 2018 album, but there’s absolutely nothing on SICKO MODE that I don’t love. A three-part masterpiece, it’s a triumph of hip hop production and shows that the genre keeps finding ways to push itself to the forefront of music.