Tracks of 2016 – No. 10 – 1

There are a number of artists that almost made this list, including Black Mountain, Rihanna, Warpaint, Pumarosa and Sunflower Bean (to name a few). Ultimately, however, these are my musical highlights of the year…

10. Michael Kiwanuka – Love & Hate

From his brilliant second album, Kiwanuka’s ‘Love & Hate’ is a soulful, emotive and moving piece of music. Its many components, not to mention that great guitar solo, work together beautifully to create a truly stunning track.

9. Shura – What’s It Gonna Be?

2016 has been a great year for Shura as she finally got the attention she deserves with the release of her debut album Nothing’s Real. ‘What’s It Gonna Be?’ is one of her best – upbeat with hugely relatable lyrics, plus it has a brilliant John Hughes inspired music video.

8. The 1975 – Somebody Else

The 1975’s second album I Like It When You Sleep… has some great tracks, but this is definitely a standout. I’m a sucker for synths, especially when they sound like this – perfect late-night, post-breakup state of confusion listening.

7. Leif Erikson – Real Stuff

I stumbled across this track by accident and was instantly hooked. It’s a timeless indie rock song and is hard to believe it’s by a band that only debuted music last year.

6. Formation – Drugs

Formation’s new releases never disappoint, but this one really is something special. Fusing their unique mix of punk and electronic elements, it’s like a drug for your ear drums. Gritty, edgy and cool – I honestly can’t get enough.

5. Metronomy – Old Skool

‘Old Skool’ is a track that manages to simultaneously sound completely funky and delicious, but also slightly disturbing – and I love it. This dichotomy is wonderfully realised in the music video starring a suitably bonkers Sharon Horgan.

4. NZCA Lines – Two Hearts

‘Two Hearts’ is one of the most irresistible songs I’ve heard all year. It’s futuristic disco sound is so energetic and powerful, I feel like I’m in a hypnotic state when I listen to it (in the best possible way).

3. Tegan and Sara – U-Turn

Tegan and Sara’s 8th album Love You to Death is a brilliant pop album, full of ridiculously catchy songs stuffed with 80s nostalgia. ‘U-Turn’ is my personal highlight – a gem of a pop song that I have found myself constantly playing on repeat.

2. David Bowie – Lazarus

On 1st January this year I chose ‘Lazarus’ as my Track of the Week. When I first heard this track I was struck by its lyrics and jazz influences but when Bowie’s death was announced just over a week later, the song took on a whole new meaning. Listening to it now, it is still just as beautiful as the first time I heard it, but even more tragic and poignant.

  1. Christine and the Queens – Tilted

Discovering Christine and the Queens’ music has been one of my highlights of 2016 and it all started with this song. With its unique bilingual lyrics, ‘Tilted’ is an anthem for embracing your true self and is pop music at its best. The music video and choreographed live performances of ‘Tilted’ also add to the sparkle of the song.

 

 

Tracks of 2015 – No. 10-1

So, after twenty tracks ranging from rock, synth pop and everything in between, it is now time to reveal my top 10 tracks of this year. I fell in love with each of these tracks on the first listen, many within a few seconds. It was therefore pretty clear to me what was going to be included in this top 10, although ordering them is always a challenge. However, I must say, my number 1 was always certain.

10. Kendrick Lamar – King Kunta

Lamar has described ‘King Kunta’ as “plain energy” and a song about the importance for standing up for what you believe in. This sentiment, as well as that contagious energy and blend of musical styles, is why it has to be one of the best tracks released this year.

9. Chvrches – Clearest Blue

The release of Every Open Eye this year saw Chvrches take their sound to a whole new level of cleaner and explosive hits. Although the album is full of great tracks, ‘Clearest Blue’ takes its place in this list mainly because of the incredibly awesome release in the second half of the song.

8. Courtney Barnett- Nobody Really Cares If You Don’t Go To The Party

Witty, compelling and down to earth, Barnett’s album Sometimes I Sit and Think, and Sometimes I Just Sit is an instant classic and one of my favourites of the year. Her lyrics are an often hilarious, but also poignant, social commentary and each song is beautiful. I chose ‘Nobody Really Cares If You Don’t Go To The Party’ for my top 10 because I think it perfectly encapsulates Barnett’s indie credentials, the fun side to her music and her often hugely relatable lyrics. ‘I wanna go out, but I wanna stay home’ is also pretty much my student days in a lyric.

7. The Weeknd – Can’t Feel My Face

‘Can’t Feel My Face’ was one of those refreshing songs that dominated the mainstream but genuinely deserved to do so. It is one of the most perfect pop songs for a long time. A pure jam, it’s like a modern day incarnation of Thriller-era Michael Jackson and I’m not ashamed to say I love it.

6. Foals – What Went Down

‘What Went Down’ is such a massive track. It’s explosive, full of fire and just blasts into your eardrums with full, god-like force. It’s awesome. I was torn between featuring this track or ‘London Thunder’, but this steals it because of its insane energy.

5. Everything Everything – No Reptiles

Get to Heaven is a beautiful but also deeply dark album and ‘No Reptiles’ is a clear example of this darkness. Its lyric, ‘It’s alright to feel like a fat child in a pushchair/Old enough to run’ makes it worthy of the top 10 alone, but ultimately it is the way the track builds into this oddly optimistic and conflicting sound that really makes it one of my top tracks of this year.

4. Tame Impala – Cause I’m A Man

‘Cause I’m A Man’ is a ridiculously smooth and psychedelic tune and it has this beautiful hypnotic and calming effect that I haven’t been able to get enough of. It’s absolutely gorgeous. Currents certainly didn’t disappoint as an album but, personally, I don’t think that any of the other tracks quite matched this for its genius creation of pure, chilled out bliss.

3. Pumarosa – Priestess

I am so thankful that I found this song online because it is one of the most entrancing songs I have ever listened to. An incredibly impressive debut single, Pumarosa’s slow-burning 7 minute piece of heaven builds into pure musical ecstasy. You cannot help but be totally absorbed by it. And, did I mention, it’s their debut release?

2. Wolf Alice – Your Loves Whore

Wolf Alice dominated my year in music with the release of ‘Giant Peach’ early on in the year and the steady build up to debut album My Love Is Cool, which I have been listening to almost non-stop since its June release. For me, ‘Your Loves Whore’ is one of their best tracks, with its fusion of softness and vulnerability built into a truly defiant and bold sound.

 

And now we reach number 1 in my countdown of the top tracks of 2015. It’s been a really fantastic year for music but there was only ever one song worthy of the title of my number 1 track of the year. It is, of course, the brilliant Shura.

1. Shura – White Light

At the risk of sounding dramatic, I honestly find it difficult to effectively put across how much I love Shura’s music and how much I adore this song. By the time it was released, I had already become obsessed with her sound and remember clearly that June day, sitting in anticipation with my eyes closed and headphones on as I listened to all 7 minutes of ‘White Light’ for the first time. As soon as I finished listening, I immediately hit replay and the song has been a constant feature in my eardrums ever since. It is a paradox of 80s inspired synth and groove with futuristic sounds and if I ever asked someone to write a song that perfectly suited my taste in music, I’m pretty sure it would sound exactly like this masterpiece.

 

So, there you have it! My top 10 tracks of 2015. I hope you have enjoyed the countdown and, as always, I’d love to know your thoughts so feel free to comment below. Let’s hope 2016 brings even more wonderful tunes to our ears.

Happy New Year everyone and thanks for reading!

Tracks of 2015 – No. 20-11

20. Sleater-Kinney – Surface Envy

From their eighth album No Cities To Love, ‘Surface Envy’ is a brilliantly fired-up and roaring track. That intro, those lioness vocals…I love everything about this track.

19. Blossoms – Charlemagne

‘Charlemagne’ is full of classic indie sounds and is unbelievably catchy. It is indie pop/rock at its finest and shows that Blossoms are definitely a band to watch out for in 2016.

18. Florence + The Machine – Delilah

How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful reminded everyone of the incredible force of Florence, which was confirmed during her stunning live shows. ‘Delilah’ is arguably one of her best tracks yet and a definite highlight of this year.

17. Grimes – Realiti

Initially just released as a demo earlier this year, Grimes later decided to include ‘Realiti’ on her album Art Angels. Personally, I think I prefer the more raw demo version, but either way this is just great, dynamic pop.

16. Erik Hassle – No Words

One of the most infectious songs you will hear, possibly ever, it is actually a crime that this song got so little airplay or attention. The ultimate feel good song, I had this on repeat for the whole of summer.

15. Fickle Friends – Velvet

I have long been a fan of Fickle Friends’ indie/synth-pop sound and I think this track, featured on their first EP, is them at their best .(And as it’s there, you really should listen to the whole EP!)

14. Carly Rae Jepsen – Run Away With Me

2015 was the year Jepsen really proved herself. Showing she was more than a one hit wonder, her album Emotion was full of beautifully crafted and intelligent pop. ‘Run Away With Me’ is her best song yet, and the video is adorable.

13. Little Comets – Don’t Fool Yourself

This really is just a wonderful song, pure and simple. It’s a heavenly indie track that gets better with every listen and I just love it. It’s also another example of a track that deserved more attention.

12. Hot Chip – Huarache Lights

This is an incredible song. The first time I heard it I was amazed by how it just keeps changing, building, layering and getting better and better. I still have the same reaction every time I hear it.

11. Ghostpoet – Sorry My Love, It’s You Not Me (feat. Lucy Rose)

I love this song so much and I’ll never tire of listening to it. It is so beautiful in its simplicity and Lucy Rose’s vocals add an extra layer of charm.

Keep posted for my Top 10! To be revealed very soon…

Tracks of 2015 – No. 30-21

As we come up to the new year, we all find ourselves looking back on the events, culture and memories that have made up our year, both good and bad. I like to take the time to do my own reflection on the music released in the past year and the songs that have shaped it for me. I have therefore collated my 30 tracks of the year, which will be published in three installments. It has taken me hours upon hours to narrow down this list to just 30 songs and to then place them in a countdown, especially as the enjoyment of music is so dependent on mood. But, without further ado, here are my favourite tracks from this year, counting down from number 30 to 21.

30. Robyn & La Bagatelle Magique ft. Maluca – Love Is Free

Back in the summer, Robyn’s work with the late Christian Falk was released. Lead single ‘Love Is Free’ is a ridiculously catchy song all about letting go and I had it on repeat for most of June.

29. Bob Moses – Talk

Canadian electronica duo Bob Moses’ slick and moody track ‘Talk’ grabbed me on the first listen. Its deep, melancholic sound is just beautifully addictive. It’s a real stand out track.

28. Laura Marling – False Hope

‘False Hope’, released in February, is an example of Marling’s departure from her more traditional folk sound with her fifth album Short Movie. It is a gorgeous song bubbling with hints of losing control and I love it.

27. Warpaint – No Way Out

Also released in February, Warpaint’s ‘No Way Out’ is a track you just fall in love with straight away. The dreamy vocals are as irresistible as ever and the pacing of it is just gorgeous. (There is also a 7 minute version which is well worth listening to).

26. Daughter – Doing the Right Thing

‘Doing The Right Thing’ is one of those songs that you can’t get distracted from while listening to it. The first single from Daughter’s forthcoming second album, it is an incredibly moving and atmospheric song that you just have to allow to take over you.

25. Everything Everything – Distant Past

Although, admittedly, I wasn’t sold on my first listen, this song has since become one of my favourite songs this year, especially since seeing it live. It is bonkers, unique and catchy and shows why Everything Everything are one of the most exciting bands around right now.

24. The Wombats – Greek Tragedy

This song became a staple of my final year at university and every time I think I’ve gone off it, I fall in love with it all over again. It’s pure indie magic. (Warning – the music video is very messed up, seriously).

23. Bully – Trying

Grungy and raw, Bully’s debut album Feels Like was one of my highlights of the year. Alicia Bognanno’s voice is so ferocious and their track ‘Trying’ is one of my favourite examples of their nostalgic, powerful sound.

22. Alessia Cara – Here

The ultimate wallflower anthem, ‘Here’ is smart, astute and captivating. It is a phenomenal debut single, released when Cara was just 18, and is a perfect example of how a song can be a time capsule.

21. Beck – Dreams

The ultimate musical chameleon, Beck’s psychedelic ‘Dreams’ was my ultimate song of the summer. It’s one of those songs that just keeps giving – go to the 3 minute mark and you’ll know what I mean.

To be continued….