So this is Christmas and what have we done?
Spotify may have taken some of the fun out of choosing five songs I played on repeat until my ears bled but I still think it’s essential you know. So, without further ado, here they are, my five songs of the year!!!! (not necessarilly from 2019)
Phoebe Bridgers – Motion Sickness
A great big sad fuck you. My ears pricked up when I first heard “I faked it every time(!)” and then when the rest of the song kicked in twas/am stunned at the biographical nature of the lyrics and their poetic clinicalness. The best despiction of being in an abusive relationship I’ve heard (“I hate you for waht you did/and I miss you like a little kid”) with impeccable production. Usually listen to this ten times in a row and have a little cry.
The Beths – Great No One
The best band with the worst name. The hooks though – so many hooks – and what sounds like an impossible one for the chorus. Bright insanely catchy melodies with sadsack lyrics, all I could want in the world. “Least worthy reason to cry on a Thursday evening” MWAH!
Sandy (Alex G) – Cow
Best band with worst album cover. What does it mean? I don’t know. But the harmonies when he tells me I’m a big old cow are beautiful.
Diet Cig – Maid of The Mist
I love Diet Cig. I’ve managed to get precisely no people into them. Some people’s comments were “this is awful” and “I would have liked this when I was younger”. Ok, it’s like a teen movie (or at least an early twenties movie) in the best possible way. The Maid of The Mist is very unromantic, by the way. You wear ponchos and there’s lots of people.
Aldous Harding – The Barrel
I heard this song on 6music and went “I like this song… does my taste now suck?” but then I figured a stopped clock is right twice a day, right? Wonderfully weird. The barrel, the barrel.
Continuing our review of the year of our lord 2k17, here is a lovingly assembled playlist of songs which got me through what we can all agree was a pretty rough year. Not necessarily songs released this year, just anything which became a firm fixture on the virtual turntable at some point or other. In fact, as ever, I’m precisely 18 months behind the times so a bunch of these songs are actually from 2016. Finger, meet pulse.
Enjoy responsibly! x
As ever, there have been certain songs that I’ve listened to over and over again.
As ever, this has annoyed anyone sharing a car with me.
As ever, none of these were released anywhere near 2017*.
*yes listening to all 50 p4k albums of 2016 didn’t touch the sides.
Liz Phair – Hot White Cum
So you can blame Spotify’s “play more tracks like these” feature for this one. I had been repeatedly listening to Exile In Guyville (“Fuck and Run” could be on this list) and when it finished this came on. I’d heard that Liz Phair, after a certain point is terrible.
This is after that certain point. This is unbelievably crude (of course), half written (“la la la what my body has seen” ), crappily arranged (that harmonica solo).
But… But… But…
It’s catchy as hell. It’s funny. I find it refreshingly open and honest about sex (even if it’s a joke?). And as you will see from this list, it’s from a female perspective. I made me feel happy. Never stop, Liz, never stop.
The Cranberries – Linger
You know a song is good when it seemingly drives you to a break down and makes you quit work. Or maybe I shouldn’t be able to read young adult books and listen to songs about young heartbreak.
I’ve been listening to Fluxblog’s “year surveys” (check em out) and discovered I still had the old music snob in me. This came on and I thought, God this is cheesy… but I like it? Better listen again. And again. And record a sea shanty version…
The song’s arrangement is almost perfect – described by Max as “the sound of a million A an R guys rubbing their hands together”. The lyrics are beautifully vague in the verse (can you even remember them?) and clear in the chorus giving us a sense of mystery and universality. It’s just great.
See also : Dreams
Mazzy Star – Fade Into You
Another song that must’ve been a hard sell. Beautiful woman sings song that just aches.
Things I love about this song: I could play it; The drum beat is just a hit on the one; I’m still not sure what the lyrics are; It’s in 6/8, which as everyone knows, is the best time signature.
Funnily enough, I got into by it being on the soundtrack to a film I hated (American Honey) and going “hey I know that!”. I’d heard it a million times before but never clocked it. Strange I never knew.
The dB’s – Black And White
Another fluxblog find. Sometimes you just need 3 minutes of powerpop in your life. The whole thing is excitement and not a wasted second. It sounds like an American band playing Flying Nun.
All dickheady break up songs should sound like this.
There is only one other good DBs song – Amplifier – don’t bother with the rest.
Madonna – Material Girl
When this came on the 1984 mix, I was kinda blown away. A song I’d heard a million times before but the arrangement was just perfect. EVERYTHING in this song is a hook – the lyrics, the guitar, even the little “dings” on the weird drum synth every so often. Seriously, one of the main “riffs” in this song is played on either a stylophone (or a guitar made to sound like one) AND it’s actually pretty quiet in the mix. Ballsy.
Every timed I listened to it I questioned the sincerity of the song. Did she mean it? It was the 80s – Madonna is really rich…. Also it’s got something that seems essential for me to really love a song: filler lyrics! “Only boys who save their pennies make my rainy day”. hmmmm…
I was a little disappointed to find out Madge didn’t write this song but that was taken away somewhat by finding out Nile Rodgers produced it. Nile Rodgers, pop genius.
Songs that coulda been on the list
Had I ever heard of them before: yes, she beat up Jay-Z and was on a Lonely Island album.
Reductive First Impression: it was fine. I’ve listened to it twice. Nothing stood out apart from the spoken word bits. I fell asleep the second time through. A solid “fine” from me for Pitchfork’s best album of the turbulent time that was last year.
Will I listen to it again: no.
Had I ever heard of them before: yeah, of course, listened to all his other albums. Max has a Frank Ocean tshirt.
Reductive First Impression: it was fine. I didn’t really see anything that pushes it apart from the crowd. Kind of Rn Hop.
Will I listen to it again: no.
Had I ever heard of them before: yes, yes of course and I heard all about this albums back story and release as a video and…
Reductive First Impression: too hard to listen to. Not on youtube, not on spotify. I’m sure it’s fine and I’ll like some bits of it and hate some bits of it and maybe be troubled by some of it – like the rest of Beyonce’s career.
Will I listen to it again: I’m guessing no as I’ve never listened to a Beyonce album.
Had I ever heard of them before: prettttty sure I had. wuzza wuzza.
Reductive First Impression: I listened to to this quite a lot way back in ought six. Lots of saxophone. Pretty good for a swansong from Zavid I thought.
Will I listen to it again: yes but honestly I’m still exploring The Chameleon of Pop’s Golden Years so may be a while.
Had I ever heard of them before: I do not live under a rock.
Reductive First Impression: last year I feel in love with “My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy” so my opinion on Kanye changed. let’s see how this fairs.
There’s clearly some *really* great moments in this album but there’s also a lot that sounds like “hip hop irca 2016” to my untrained ears.
I miss the old Kanye.
Will I listen to it again: Only if I ever get bored with My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy.
Had I ever heard of them before: Yep.
Reductive First Impression: wasn’t sure about this. It sounded I dunno too smooth. The further on it goes the better it gets. It’s kinda old skool?
Then I lose interest again. It gets smooth.
So I like some of it but then don’t liek the rest! It’s a mixtape!
Will I listen to it again: nup.
Had I ever heard of them before: Hell yes
Reductive First Impression: great album. Enjoyed it loads when it came out. Busta Rhymes is great guesting. Thumbs up.
Will I listen to it again: yep.