10 Songs on Repeat:
1. I Troldskog Faren Vild by Ulver (1994)- This Norwegian band is about as genre-defying as they come, working in genres as far-ranging as black metal and synth-pop. However, I am featuring the opener from their 1994 black metal debut Bergtatt, a surprisingly accessible affair that is an excellent place for anyone looking to get into the difficult genre to start.
2. I Don’t Me Anymore by Oneohtrix Point Never (2020)- This prolific electronic artist’s latest LP is, in my opinion, one of his best, and beautifully dreamy tracks such as I Don’t Love Me Anymore really do make it a worthwhile listen.
3. Rawnald Gregory Erickson the Second by STFKR (2008)- Another track given a second life by a Tik Tok trend, I have never thought too highly of this 2000s indie-pop band; however, the ridiculously catchy Rawnald Gregory Erickson the Second is an undeniable classic.
4. I Want it I need it (Death Heated) by Death Grips (2011)- Built around Pink Floyd samples (in particular Interstellar Overdrive and Astronomy Domine), this satirical song about a despicable man looking to get a quick fix of sex and drugs might just be my favourite Death Grips tune.
5. Heart Cooks Brain by Modest Mouse (1997)- The latest band to become an obsession of mine, Modest Mouse are a criminally underrated act in indie rock, with their 1997 record The Lonesome Crowded West best one of the best releases of the genre. The album’s biggest track, Heart Cooks Brain, is a delicate and melancholy number off the album that has a slight hip-hop flavour to it.
6. Gronlandic Edit by of Montreal (2007)- This sugar-sweet indie-pop number is irresistible in every which way. From the funky bass to the humorous lyrics and the Beach Boys inspired vocal melodies, it is simply one of the most fun songs I have listened to in a while.
7. Kill V. Main by Grimes (2015)- Found on the Canadian art-pop star’s mainstream breakthrough Art Angels, this rock infused-banger is Grimes at her best, giving us a song that is adventurous, catchy and unapologetically weird.
8. Teardrop by Massive Attack (1998)- This trip-hop classic is instantly recognisable from its iconic drum-line, and it is a classic for very good reason.
9. Describe by Perfume Genius (2020)- Looking back at some of my previous posts, I was shocked to see that I hadn’t featured that many tracks from Perfume Genius’s Set My Heart on Fire Immediately. So, I’ve decided to through in the soaring Describe, a song that perfectly marries the worlds of shoegaze, country and ambient music.
10. Can’t Get You Out of My Head (2001)- Whilst some might call it an offensively invasive earworm, I call this one of the best pieces of dance-pop every recorded.
Magic Oneohtrix Point Never by Oneohtrix Point Never- 9.1/10:
An album that drew me in from the beginning and kept on rewarding me again and again, Oneohtrix Point Never starts off the decade with what I think is one of his best releases yet. Balancing a sense of experimental adventurousness and accessible familiarity, Magic is a great marriage between the looping electronica Lopatin has built his career on as well as elements of neo-psychedelia and even a hint of vapourware. Lopatin has obviously turned heads in the music industry as well, attracting names as notable as the Weeknd to this project. And for an album that is primarily built upon instrumentals and choppy vocal samples, Magic is surprisingly emotional, feeling deeply personal to Lopatin himself and covering the emotional spectrum from uplifting joy, to deep melancholy and even longing nostalgia. It really is an experience of an album that needs to be listened to back-to-front to be fully understood. Can’t recommend you check out this album enough, and I think it will likely go down as my favourite electronic release of the year.
Best track- I Don’t Love Me Anymore
Positions by Ariana Grande- 5.0/10:
I am not too sure how I am supposed to describe this album. The word disappointing does come to mind. After I was pleasantly surprised by the quality of last year’s thank u, next, it felt like Ariana was on a solid run of form and really stamping her mark as pop’s number one vocalist right now. Which is why positions is so disappointing. Vocally, Grande is solid as usual. The production is professional, and some of the lyrics are humorously cheeky as well. But the album as a whole is just simply… boring. Few of the tracks have a distinct personality, each more or less sounding like the one that came before it. The songs that do try and do something unique standout, but they are few and far between. It seems like Ariana Grande and her team of producers ran out of ideas on positions, leaving an album that severely lacks the charm I know the pop star possesses.
Best track: my hair
Featuring Ty Dolla $ign by Ty Dolla $ign- 4.7/10:
Featuring Ty Dolla $ign gets off the mark with a flying start. The first six tracks are genuinely great. If this was just a six-track EP, it would be one of the best of the year. But unfortunately for Ty, there are another nineteen tracks that follow, and he pulls out all his tricks in this opening section. Featuring Ty Dollar $ign quickly deteriorates into another bland, lifeless pop-rap album, only really picking up again on the final track. But it is far too little too late by that stage. Ty’s rapping is nothing to get excited about, ripping off Travis Scott at every turn. I will say I like the fact that Ty is self-aware enough to call the album what it is, having built his entire career up until this stage on some decent features on several big projects. But to me, it is clear the rapper does not stand-up as a good solo act, with this over-bloated full-length LP offering the briefest of glimpses of greatness only to enter the endless sea of faceless pop-rap releases that come out just about every week these days.
Best track: Track 6
This Week’s Feature- Great EPs That Have Come Out in 2020:
EPs (short for extended plays) are often an overlooked form of music. Shorter than albums, they often serve to simply tease the listener into anticipating more music from the given artist. And for that reason, I don’t include them in my quick reviews, as it is hard to compare the two forms of presenting music. So, to make for this, let me tell you about my favourite EPs so far this year.
Wicked City by Jockstrap:
This British experimental pop duo’s latest EP is an adventurous mix of genres as variable as hip-hop, hyper-pop and electronica. Spearheaded by singer Georgie Ellery’s whimsical vocals (and her lyrics that range from lovesick to downright absurdist) and supported by Taylor Skye’s diverse instrumentals, it is one of the most unique pop releases this year.
UNLOCKED by Denzel Curry and Benny Beats:
This team-up between one of hip-hop’s best rappers around and one of its most prolific producers is a wonderfully joyous celebration of traditional underground rap and modern internet culture. Owing a lot to the likes of Madlib and MF DOOM, UNLOCKED still sees Denzel and Benny retain a unique identity, with the two coming together with some explosive chemistry.
Last Year Was Weird, Vol 2 by Tkay Maidza:
Probably my favourite EP this year, this Australian rapper’s comeback is packed back to front with bangers, bops and downright excellent pop-rap tunes. A surprisingly diverse collection of tracks, Tkay effortlessly flows between genres such as trap and neo-soul like she was born to it, making Last Year Was Weird, Vol 2 not only one of the best EPs this year but the best collection of songs in general.
Vergangenheitsbewältigung (Crater Speak) by Slauson Malone:
2019’s A Quiet Farewell was one of the year’s best experimental hip-hop releases, really pushing the genre to its limits. And Slauson Malone has once again impressed me with his work on Vergangenheitsbewältigung. Building on the producer/rapper’s signature smoky, disjointed sound but choosing to also flex his singer-songwriter chops, this EP is a gorgeous and meditative piece of music that should not be overlooked in the wider hip-hop community.
POST HUMAN: SURVIVAL HORROR by Bring Me the Horizon:
After isolating many fans with last year’s pop-leaning amo, the British alternative metal super-stars return back to their roots on SURVIVAL HORROR. And what can I say other than its probably their best ever collection of songs. It plays out like a corny yet fun action movie, filled with massive special effects and crowd-pleasing spectacles that one simply can’t help but love. They even managed to convince me to like a feature from one of my least favourite artists right now in YUNGBLOOD (oh, and let’s not forget to mention that awesome BABYMETAL feature as well). It is simply a great alternative metal EP that strikes all the right notes in a genre that is often times written off as being cheesy and over-done.