Alternative Pop

Top 25 songs in 2018

It’s this time a year again! December is closing in which also means that 2019 is just around the corner. This also means that I’m back with another top-list.

This time I’ve expanded the list with 5 spots, but it’s not the only news. I have now officially switched to Spotify as my main music streaming service. This means that it will be much easier to follow my playlists in the future (and you should do that if you want to keep up with the best music releases). I will leave some links to different playlists, so feel free to follow me there.

And now… I present the music year of  2018 in a compressed 25 songs-list:

25. Valee – Womp Womp (feat. Jeremih)
This song is guaranteed to make your shoulders move – in fact, it’s something that happens subconsciously at this point, so you won’t even notice it. Both Valee and Jeremih are on point with their flows, so just sit back and let this banger take over your body.

24. ROSALÍA – PIENSO EN TU MIRÁ – Cap.3: Celos
ROSALÍA came out with an album and somehow I heard of it. I’m really glad I did because it’s one of this years best. This song is the perfect representation of why it’s so good and you don’t even have to know Spanish to enjoy it.

23. Flatbush Zombies – Headstone
The ultimate hiphop song in 2018! If you catch all the references, you are officially, not only a part of the culture, but probably THE CULTURE ITSELF. The way they all smoothly incorporate all the references without making it corny deserves an award – well done!

22. Mitski – Nobody
Hey Mitski, I sincerely hope you found your honest kiss this year – and if it didn’t happen, I will gladly help you find it in 2019. Because NOBODY and I mean NOBODY should have NOBODY around. A simple song that goes deep into loneliness is very hard to pull off, but Mitski does it to perfection.

21. Ryan Hemsworth – Special Girl (feat. SK & Tomggg)
This song has grown so much on me and I’m not sure why. I was actually starting to get annoyed by all the afro-beat and Caribbean-vibe songs, but this has something special to it (probably because Ryan Hemsworth can’t do wrong with his producing). This is the first song I’m putting on when summer comes again – HELLO SUN, HELLO DRINKS, HELLO SPECIAL GIRL!

20. JMSN – Mind Playin’ Tricks
JMSN keeps evolving his sound with innovate new elements that he adds to his core sound and he just keeps getting better. Why he isn’t more popular is an enigma to me – but everything good doesn’t have to be popular, I guess? I’m really just glad he keeps delivering good music though.

19. Travis Scott – HOUSTONFORNICATION
Astroworld was one of the biggest releases this year and I must say Travis Scott delivered! So many good songs on that project, but ultimately I think HOUSTONFORNICATION is Travis Scott at his best. The rapping slowly increases in intensity as the song goes along and he just keeps going in. I guess he isn’t kidding when he says “I might need me some ventilation” in the chorus cause this is straight fire.

18. Anderson .Paak – Trippy (feat. J. Cole)
Everyone wants love. I just want Anderson .Paak to make a 15 minute version of this song where he keeps going in with that smooth talk. Even though this isn’t my favorite J. Cole feature this year (how can one man have so many good features in a year?), the song has some of the best production I’ve heard in a while and made it one of those songs that you enjoy having on repeat.

17. Chrome Sparks – All or Nothing (feat. Angelica Bess)
When I first heard this song, I instantly liked. But that was it. I liked it. I didn’t love it. I didn’t expect to love it. But when it got to 3:20, I knew this was something special. The melody with the horn in the background elevated the whole song and I couldn’t help myself listen to it again straight away, now being this much wiser about what this song is going to become.

16. Tash Sultana – Pink Moon
Tash came in on this song. The raw emotion in her voice coupled with the guitar makes it impossible not to sit back and take it all in. The guitar solo that comes in the end finishes off the song in the perfect way – add a little more power to this slower song and you got yourself one of the best songs of 2018.

15. Ravyn Lenae – Computer Luv (feat. Steve Lacy)
I’m a sucker for duets – especially when they are weird and quirky which this one definitely is. The song title describes perfectly what the song feels like while you are listening to it the first couple of time – is it real love for the song or is it just Computer Luv? For me the answer became obvious with time and there is a reason why it’s included in this list.

14. George The Poet – Follow the Leader (feat. Maverick Sabre & Jorja Smith)
This song sounds like it’s three parts put together – the beat, the verses and the chorus. Even though it doesn’t sound smoothly put together, there is still something that makes me want to come back and listen to the song. Many times. On max volume. Singing my lungs out. All while I’m enjoying the message of the song. That’s a good recipe for a great song.

13. Mick Jenkins – Understood
I’m having a hard time understanding why Mick Jenkins isn’t considered one of the best rappers alive. The writing, the wordplay, the flow – everything’s there to create the perfect song you can vibe to. Give this man his credits!

12. Lupe Fiasco – Stack That Cheese (feat. Nikki Jean)
Go get that cheese, and not cheese like the mouse cheese or that getting embarrassed saying stuff at the house cheese, rather that cheese as in the green cheese, hopefully not that never-to-be-seen cheese. Okay – if you got that reference, you’ve probably already heard this song and Lupe’s new album. If not then you don’t prioritize right in life – it’s as simple as that!

11. The Weeknd – Call Out My Name
The Weeknd needs no introduction – and I’ve already covered this song in a post, so check it out here – there was no way I wasn’t going to include this.

And from here on, we enter the realms of the top ten! It will be a dangerous journey so invite your friends to join you by sharing the post and read it out loud with each other or something(?)

10. KIDS SEE GHOSTS – Cudi Montage
Ghosts are only visible to children according to Kid Cudi and Kanye West. This is quite the statement, but despite the name which sounds like a 2000’s alternative rock group that you only ever saw play at your local bar (I’m kidding, I like the name), this song has everything to offer. Cudi and Kanye give you their best performances in a while, and Kanye’s verse is the best he has delivered in a while. If you want to read an even further description of why I love this song check it out
here.

9. Etherwood – You’re Missing Life
It’s been a while since I listened to Drum ‘n’ Bass on the regular. When I saw Etherwood released a new album, I had to check it out though – and there it was; I instantly fell in love with this song. It just touches on something basic in me. I know it sounds cheesy (all about stacking that cheese though), but don’t ever miss out on life – something I feel like Etherwood perfectly captured in this song. Obviously, the title helped me reach that conclusion, but there is something magical this song has going for itself. Something that keeps me listening and reflecting about my life – something deeper. I like that.

8. SAINt JHN – God Bless the Internet
I have been following SAINt JHN for at while now and was really excited about the release of his album Collection One. It didn’t disappoint – in fact, it became one of my favorite releases with a lot of good as well as different songs on it. His sense of melody is close to that of Drake’s (I know, that’s quite the statement) and his cadence just makes his voice stand out compared to a lot of similar artists. The song is the perfect night vibe song – sit back, relax and most importantly, enjoy!

7. Jenny Wilson – IT HURTS
Jenny Wilson is an artist from Sweden that made my favorite alternative pop song this year. The thematic approach in the song (and album) isn’t the typical pop stuff though. She deals with her experience of being raped. It’s crazy to go through the experience with her when you know what happened and I applaud her courage of doing it in a way where she shares the whole experience with the world – not a pleasant listen, but an important one!

6. Mac Miller – 2009
To be honest, I can’t add a lot to the conversation about the death of Mac Miller. I already made a post on this song
here. Now – more than 3 months after the fact I still feel sad thinking about it. So young, so much more to give. This song is on it’s way to become my favorite song of his with so many lines that stands out as something I can truly resonate with. May he forever rest in peace.

5. Leon Bridges – Shy
If you need something to touch your soul, you listen to Leon Bridges. It’s that simple. This man has all of the gifts when it comes to that – and Shy is a no exception to that. The chorus is my favorite this year and I can’t help but sing along whenever I listen to it. The song is just so damn enjoyable that I have really been listening to it a lot which is the reason it sneaks in my top five this year.

4. DROELOE – Many Words
This is a song that really surprised me (DROELOE again – looking at you
TOP 2017 list). The melody and voices during the ‘chorus’ is definitely the best part of the song and it never fails to put a huge smile on my face every time I hear it. The song kicks up a notch towards the end as well and it just makes a great song that 100 % will get stuck in your mind for the longest time. I find myself humming it even when I haven’t listened to it in a while, only because the melody is something that’s a part of the fundamental human experience (maybe that’s a small exaggeration, but it’s definitely feels like it).

3. Saba – BUSY / SIRENS
This is a song that does everything an introspective song should do. After listening to it, I can feel Saba’s struggles within myself – because a part of me can relate to having a ‘busy’ day. I think every person has days where they feel off and don’t feel like interacting with the world. This can be triggered by certain people or big life events, but what if you get this every day and it doesn’t get triggered by anything cause it’s just always there? Depression is a tough thing to describe to others that hasn’t experienced it first hand, but I think Saba gets his point across fairly well. His life and the context in which he experiences all this stuff is something far away from my reality, but there’s a touching point still. We are capable of feeling the same – and this song gave me chills the first time I listened to it. Damn Saba, what a story!

2. Sabrina Claudio – Messages From Her
I don’t even know what to say about this song. Perhaps I should start by saying that it’s the most beautiful song of 2018 without a doubt. Sabrina touches upon the (in my opinion) most important thing in the world – listening to the core of yourself. If you aren’t doing what you’re supposed to be doing, or you feel like you have let yourself down, find that inner voice. It will always guide you in the right direction – if you just take the time to listen. The message along with what can only be described as an angelic voice as well as the guitar that lays the fundamental for it all, this song is something very special. And you don’t have to listen to the song for more than the first 20 seconds to know that – this will automatically become one of your favorite songs as well.

1. 6lack – Pretty Little Fears (feat. J. Cole)
My favorite song of the year couldn’t have been anything other than this godly combo of 6lack and J. Cole. The minimalist beat fits both of their styles really well and 6lack’s song-writing is well-thought out and his voice gives it the edge it needs. WITH THAT BEING SAID THOUGH, the actual reason why this song tops the list is J. Cole’s verse. What a verse. Wow. I’m stunned every time I hear it. The flow is anything I’ve heard from Cole before and the song-writing takes it to another level. A beautiful message to this one person that’s his wife, his lover as well as his best friends all at the same time – A life partner. How can he even do that? I would have payed a lot of money to have been there whenever he wrote that verse:
“Before I had you this shit was fantasy
You plant a seed to grow some roots, a branch and leaves
Becomes a tree of life until our nights are filled”

The way he delivers these lines is exactly why this song had to be my number 1 this year. So if you haven’t listened to the song yet, I honestly don’t know what you are waiting for. CHECK IT OUT NOW!

And this concludes it – my top 25 list of 2018.
As always, I feel like this year has been exceptional when it comes to music (despite some tragic deaths – RIP) and we should be thankful to be in a position where it’s this easy to listen to all this great music.

As I mentioned in the beginning of the post, I have switched to Spotify which makes it a lot easier for you to follow when I add new music (if you have Spotify of course). I encourage you to follow me as I will add music to my playlists far more often than I post here. I have made the top 25 list as a playlist on Spotify – so you can easily click that play button!

If you want the compact nominees list as well as the full 2018 list, I will add the Spotify links to those AND most importantly the new, upcoming 2019 playlist:

The whole 2018 playlist: HERE
The compact 2018 nominees playlist: HERE
The upcoming 2019 playlist: HERE

I wish everyone a great holiday as well as the best in the new year!


SOPHIE – Is It Cold In the Water?

OIL OF EVERY PEARL’S UN-INSIDES

This is the title of SOPHIE’s new album. As some of you have already guessed from the title alone, this album is weird. Very weird. Or should I rather say… interesting.

I love the experience you have when you listen to this album from beginning to end. The whole emotional spectrum is active during the listen, and it’s actually difficult to listen to some of the songs. The beats are so unusual that it’s  impossible to react properly to it – I’m in awe as well as disgusted by some of the songs. This is what SOPHIE does best. The album challenges the way you think about music, and that is a big reason why this album does something for me. It challenges the way I think about music – WOW!

I realize that the above passage was about the album rather than the song. I don’t care anymore. SOPHIE doesn’t seem to care about tradtional music structure, so why should I care?

There is some order to all the chaos, and the reason I chose Is It Cold In the Water as the song I wanted to put forward, is because it perfectly captures some of this order during chaos. In the end, it all comes down to the build up. The build up in this song is flat out amazing. I felt blueballed throughout the whole song – I just wanted the beat to drop so hard in the end that it would put every EDM song to shame. But it didn’t happen.

It didn’t give me the satisfaction of ecstacy – and I respect the song a hell of a lot more for that. If you want to experience this right, you should listen to the album from start to end.

The answer to the song title is a perfect answer to your listening experience of this album – it’s chilling!

Other streaming services:
Google Play Music
Apple Music
YouTube
Soundcloud

The Weeknd – Call Out My Name

My Dear Melancholy, a surprise EP from The Weeknd just dropped today!

I did not expect this at all, but what a welcome surprise! When you are as talented as The Weeknd, it’s really hard to do wrong musically and this EP is an excellent example of this. There are only six songs on the EP, but they all hold their own especially if you are a fan of The Weeknd’s earlier material (The mixtapes/Trilogy, Kiss Land).

The opening song quickly became my favorite after the first couple of listens as it has everything I love about The Weekend – A slow tempo, dark sounding beat Abel singing out his frustration and pain over the breakup with Selena Gomez. This theme is a reccuring one throughout the whole EP, but on Call Out My Name, he truly goes all-out and it feels like an one-to-one “transfemotion” [Transfer Emotion] which is a pretty remarkable feat! (There is an ACTUAL description for this phenomenon though: Emotional Contagion)

I will always be a bit biased towards The Weeknd’s older stuff as I absolutely loved House of Balloons, Thursday, and Echoes of Silence and listened to the mixtapes way too much back in the day. Because of this, everytime Abel does anything that even resembles this sound, I can’t help it but love it. This song (and EP) is everything I hoped for and more!

 

Enter Shikari – Live Outside (edit)

It’s crazy how far Enter Shikari has come ever since I heard their first album, Take To The Skies. On Friday, their new album Spark will be out and from the sound of it they have gone into a new direction once again.

Enter Shikari has always played around with different genres and a mixing of sounds – it’s one of my favorite things about them. You never know what to expect. But that’s not completely true. They definitely do have a particular sound to them – that’s why this song is both a completely new, experimenting track as well as a familiar Enter Shikari sound. I can’t image how hard it must be for bands to experiment and try different stuff, while keeping the core of your band intact – but I feel Enter Shikari manages just that!

Even if it is a bit more pop-influenced than their previous releases, I definitely welcome this change and I can’t wait to hear the other songs.

Other streaming services:
Google Play Music
YouTube

 

Cigarettes After Sex – John Wayne

I listened to this song all day last Thursday – I listened to the album after reading a review on Soundvenue, a danish website that writes about music, movies, fashion and other current trends. And I can only agree with the review – It’s a really good album!

I was just laying in my bed listening to the album a couple of times – and suddenly, while this song was playing, something just clicked! The whole song just made sense in a different way and I actually ended up putting it on repeat for way too long.

It felt like the song captured me in a dreamy wave that carried me along in a slow and steady motion – not too slow, not too fast – a perfect middleground that’s usually really hard to capture in a song. The vocals fit the dreamy vibe perfectly and you get attached to the vibe in a weird way that makes you relate to the story in the song.

I was definitely surprised by the whole album and this song in particular. The band name (and album name) perfectly captures the whole vibe of the album so I would recommend to listen to this if you just want to relax in your bed with your eyes closed.

Other streaming services:
Google Play Music
Youtube

Frank Ocean – Lens

I know, I know.. I’m a bit late with the song, but I have to post it. It’s Frank blessing our poor souls with track after track in 2017!

I don’t think anyone expected this would happen after waiting 4 years from Channel Orange for Endless/Blonde, but I’m so happy that we get these tracks – there is even going rumors about that he will release Endless as an album with all new featured tracks (which definitely could be a real thing now that Slide On Me released with a Young Thug feature), let’s hope so!

The song itself is classic Frank. Pouring his emotions out with a beautiful and chill instrumental going on in the background – sonically, it’s a mixture between Blonde and Endless with the added autotune on his voice and the ending is like something straight out of Endless.

Other streaming services:
Google Play Music

Lana Del Rey – Lust For Life (Feat. The Weeknd)

Lana Del Rey’s new album is coming out soon and a single with The Weeknd dropped not long ago!

I never knew how much I wanted a collab with these two until now. Their voices go together like bread and butter – it’s just so smooth! The beat isn’t anything extraordinary, but with these two you don’t need an overpowering beat as long as it compliments their sound – and it does work on that level – their voices are the star of the show, just like it should be!

This make me really excited for Lana’s new project!

Other streaming services:
Google Play Music
Youtube

Charli XCX – Dreamer

Today I’m posting a low key banger by Charli XCX! She just released a new project that’s actually pretty good if you are into PC music.

I’ve never listened to any of her music before (except for Boom Clap which I didn’t care for) but if Number 1 Angel is representative of her music, I will have to check some of her older music out as well.

Spotify