Alternative r&b

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!


Tabby – prequel

I have to admit, I’m a sucker for music reaction videos. It’s pretty obvious that I love music and watching others react to music that I listen to and know about, is like some kind of drug to me – It makes me go through the emotions of listening for the first time again.

I first heard/saw Tabby when I was watching a Big Quint reaction video and there he was, just chilling in the suggestion section. I remember it being the reaction to Blonde (still one of my favorite albums of all time) and I just knew I had to watch all of this guy’s videos. He was entertaining (his editing is on point), he was analytical and he seemed to enjoy a lot of the same music that I did – everything I was looking for in a music reactor.

So I’ve followed him on YouTube for quite a while, but I was still surprised when he announced that he would drop his own mixtape called White Trash. And after listening to it, it didn’t really do anything for me. I expected worse actually, so in that sense it surprised me in a good way (I really liked the song Rufus), but in the end the project felt flat as a whole.

One thing I will say though, is that his project is still competing with music released by artists that have millions of dollars behind them, while Tabby only had 42 dollars to make this (obviously I don’t know anything about how much he spend to make it, but I like to imagine it being 42 dollars). He obviously knows this, and I find it inspiring that he still made it and released it. It’s not easy to put yourself out there, cause you are opening yourself up to criticism.

That was a long intro for what I actually wanted to say. He released a new single from his upcoming project peachfuzz! and this is it. This is the one! This sound is what I hope that peachfuzz! will mostly be like. The chorus is really addicting and the verse is pretty good. The melody is definitely what makes me love this song – and Tabby’s voice sounds better than ever.

Seeing his improvement and achievement with this song makes me certain that he will deliver with peachfuzz! – I’m rooting for him!

Please take a listen for yourself and I know you will be as hyped for the new project as I just became (and watch the video as well – it’s pretty cool).

Other streaming services:
All Streaming Services

 

Anderson .Paak – ‘Til It’s Over

More of this, please? I know it’s been a while since this song came out, but I have to share it with everyone that maybe skipped it the first time around (Why would you ever skip an Andersoon .Paak song though?).

The song reminded me on why I became a huge fan of Andersoon .Paak in the first place. His voice has the perfect combination of being raspy and soft at the same time – I honestly can’t think of anyone that even come close to his sound. He has truly found his own lane and wow! – what a lane to have carved for yourself!

I saw Anderson .Paak (and The Free Nationals) live two times, two years ago. It has, hands down, been two of the greatest concerts I have ever been to. He is a true performer because he performs the truth (kinda corny, I know). What I actually mean, is that his presence on stage is so authentic that it has an mesmerizing way of making you step into his world. The world you step into is colorful, honest, but most of all so enjoyable that you don’t ever want to return to your own world which now seems all dull and boring.

When you’re listening to his music, it gives you the exact same feeling. This song teleported me right back to the concerts, and I just surrendered to Anderson Paak, his voice and his world. I believe a good artist makes you listen, but a great artist makes you feel – Anderson Paak is definitely in the latter category.

I hope there is a good balance of upbeat, chill and ‘in-your-feelings’-music on his upcoming project (dropping this summer, maybe?). No matter what, I know that it’s going to be an instant favorite.

Vancouver Sleep Clinic – Ayahuasca

Not too long ago, Vancouver Sleep Clinic released a short six song EP called Therapy Phase 01. I’ve never heard any of his music before, but it was in the recommended section for me on Google Play Music – so naturally, I had to listen to it.

The first two songs were both really good and I was just enjoying my morning while listening to it. But then the second track finished. And Ayahuasca started playing.

I still didn’t take further notice to the song as I was looking at my phone (social media). It was the perfect background music for scrolling through my Instagram when the music suddenly started to slow down (even slower than it already was). The vocals disappeared, the guitar disappeared, the beat disappeared – but not completely. The song just transitioned into a different sound – “Oh, a beat switch” I thought and I started to pay attention to the song now.

Soon after, I had forgotten about whatever I was doing before as the song slowly began to add different elements and sounds to the beat. The vocals came back with a distorted layer to them, and I was so intrigued by now that I had forgotten about space and time (Okay, a bit exaggerated, perhaps, but something like that) and the song kept on adding layers of sound on the ongoing beat – And then suddenly: silence.

4 seconds of complete silence – and the beat dropped again with added drums. I was in awe – I honestly didn’t know how to react to this. The song kept going – I kept listening. Some humming began and a bit later, the beat transitioned back into the guitar and keyboard as the sole instruments playing in the background while a high-pitch and a low-pitch vocal started singning simultaneously and the song slowly starts to fade out.

As soon as the song finished, I paused it.

I had to take a second to understand and take in everything I had just experienced. I looked at how long the song was – 8 minutes and 28 seconds. I realised that I hadn’t thought about anything outside of this moment. The song went by so fast – but at the same time, I was having this moment and it felt like a lifetime. I looked at the song name and everything just clicked:

Ayahuasca


TL;DR: Just listen to the song!

 

 

 

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!

 

Choker – El Dorado

It’s been a while since I posted anything, but I’m currently very busy doing my master thesis in Corporate Communication. This means that I won’t have time to update with new music as much as I would like to – BUT it also means that when I hear something really good, I can’t help myself but to write a piece on it.

I will admit I am kind of late to the party with this one – Choker’s album was released back in May and I can figure why. The dreamy and sweet space sound fits so much better for spring/summer time than autumn, but this doesn’t make me appreciate the work any less. The whole album is still really good and could perhaps become one of my favorites this year! – I’ll need to listen to it for a bit longer before I jump to any conclusions, though.

It was hard for me to pick out a song from the project – I could tell right away that it would be hard, because the whole album flows in a way that almost make you feel bad for listening to a song on its own. It’s not very often I get this feeling from an album, but it witness to how beautiful the album is. The songs are great on their own – but in the context of the album, they are much more touching.

The reason that I did end up choosing El Dorado is simple – It’s one of the most accessible songs on the project. The songs in general don’t have simple structures – this very much reminds me of Frank Ocean (The comparison had to come at one point), but this couldn’t be a bigger compliment. As some may know, Frank Ocean is perhaps my favorite artist (right now at least) and when I read about this comparison, I just had to check Choker out – and it definitely played out better than I ever anticipated.

Choker will be really interesting to follow – what will he do next? He pretty much made this album all by himself – and if this is what he can come up with on his own, I can’t imagine what he can do if he starts collaborating with other greats artists in the industry (Please keep this non-structural format in your songs, though).

Other streaming services:
Google Play Music
YouTube
Soundcloud

Majid Jordan – My Imagination (feat. DVSN)

I hope everyone is ready for the fall to be taken over by OVO. Both DVSN and Majid Jordan have albums coming out in October – the 14th and 28th respectively and Roy Woods should be dropping his album Say Less as well.

My Imagination was just released as an upcoming single and I have to say it’s one of the best songs Majid Jordan has released. I have to say that I haven’t been the biggest Majid Jordan fan, whereas I love DVSN – but this song combines the best of the two worlds. It’s an upbeat track, but at its core it’s still a sad love song that would be great as one of the last songs being played at the club. And in that way it kinda reminds me of a more upbeat Passionfruit.

When I imagined a Majid Jordan and DVSN song, this it what it would sound like. In that regard, they don’t bring anything new to the table, but that isn’t a bad thing. They both did their thing and they made a really good song that I really like. If the album is of this quality, I can see myself becoming a bigger fan of Majid Jordan than I was before.

Give this one a listen and be prepared to add a new song to your playlist!

Other streaming services:
Google Play Music
YouTube

Moses Sumney – Don’t Bother Calling

Google Play Music has done it again. I was just recommended the new album by Moses Sumney called Aromanticism and I guess me listening to Daniel Caesar’s new album has everything to do with it (I just found out, that Moses Sumney did the vocals to a Flume track called Weekend, which is an awesome track that you should check out as well).

I didn’t expect to like this spacy jazzy soul as much as I do, but it really resonates with me for a reason. It’s the perfect music to put on a sunday evening when there isn’t much to do other than chill and relax on the sofa or in your bed.

The dreamy vibes I get from this album is like putting a piece of candy in your mouth, and as soon as it touches your tongue, it just melts and leaves your mouth full of different sweet flavors.

And the song I have chosen is the perfect representation of this. Moses’ voice is a godsend and the falsetto gives of the candy-vibes, but it’s done in a mature way, so I never feel like it becomes too much. If you like Daniel Caesar or Childish Gambino’s song, Flight of the Navigator, you will definitely like this release.

Other streaming services:
Google Play Music
YouTube

Knox Fortune – No Dancing

Some of you may recognize the name Knox Fortune if you ever listened to Chance The Rapper’s mixtape, Coloring Book. The song was such a happy dance track that you couldn’t possibly sit still.

This time Knox Fortune switches it up a bit. The song is called No Dancing, but I would argue that the song has quite the opposite effect on me. I definitely feel like moving while listening to the song, but only in the last half when the beat hits cause the lyrics tells a totally different story – I love how the song gives off both vibes at the same time.

So if I had to describe the song (and I’m doing just that), I will have to say that it’s a sad dance track (JUKE). One you put on when the party is over and you suddenly remember that special someone you aren’t in touch with anymore. Your body will be moving even with all the tears dripping from your cheeks – so happy Friday to all you sad-dancing people and be sure to check out the rest of Knox Fortune’s album, Paradise (there are happy tracks on there as well).

Other streaming services:
Google Play Music
YouTube
Soundcloud

Corbin – Giving Up

After a great summer, I’m finally back and ready to make new posts (I know my last post said the same thing basically). Throughout the summer, I haven’t really been motivated or inspired to make new music posts, even though a lot of great music has been released.

This also means that there will be some changes to the structure of the blog. I’ll retire “Nostalgic Monday” for now, but will perhaps return to it later sometime. As a whole, I’ll try to make less restrictions on my self as I it demotivates more than it does good. I can’t guarantee how many post there will be a week, but I’ll try to make as many as I can! And I’ll just take this moment to welcome myself back: HELLO ARIJAN, WELCOME BACK!

With the small update out of the way, let’s get to what really matters – The music!

The summer is pretty much over in Denmark (Did it even start ever?) and therefore it is a given that I show you the best autumn/fall music. With the leaves falling off, and the love-season being over, it’s time to once again shut yourself inside a room with some blankets and put on some moody music. And Corbin will deliver exactly that with his new album, Mourn.

I’ve been listening to the album on repeat ever since he released it, and I can’t recommend it enough if you are looking for some dark/sad vibes to listen to. The whole album is produced by one of my favorite producers, Shlohmo and D33J. If you are familiar with Shlohmo’s previous work, you will feel right at home in the production as it sounds very similar to his Dark Red album.

The two of them created the perfect sound that matches Corbin’s raw sounding voice and even though the result of this combination has a somewhat dark vibe to it, the whole sound just draws you in to this universe that you don’t want to leave once you’re already there.

The three of them are currently on tour, so if you live in the US, I advice you to go check out their show if you like the music.

Other streaming services:
Google Play Music
Soundcloud