because i know my blog’s audience has been limited as yet and i’m not gonna expect people to go back through all my posts (although if you did that would be ace) i’m just gonna do a quick catch up round of songs that i reckon are worthy of your listening time and expose just how white i am in my heart of hearts when it comes to music.
my plan was that i was gonna do my ten favourite songs of the year so far (that haven’t had massive commercial popularity, or maybe they did i don’t really keep track of the charts anymore??) but then i couldn’t narrow it down further than 27, which only racks up 90 minutes of listening, which really isn’t thaaaaat much and y’know, skip the ones you don’t like!
oh and i made a spotify playlist for easy listening along which you can find by clicking on any of the words in this sentence!or just see the little embed below ↓ ↓ ↓
1000 beasts + janet grogan – lord (it’s ok)
i’m kicking it off slow, and that’s only because i’m doing this alphabetically and as we all know numbers come before letters in the alphabet, vis a vis the very ethereal and soaring balladry of lord (it’s ok) by 1000 beasts feat. the very lovely vocals of janet grogan. i almost wrote this off the first time i heard it, but there was something in the chorus that stuck with me and a month later i couldn’t stop playing that hook in my internal brain speakers.
anais – nina
nina is a homage to the late great nina simone who is sampled speaking at the very beginning of the song, and then it slides into something very uplifting and glorious. again, wasn’t sure about this one but the mood of it just grabbed me one day and i had this on loop for hours. it’s got a very similar vibe to lord (it’s ok) and I love it.
bulow – you & jennifer
this is working out much more smoothly than i expected in terms of transition. you & jennifer is another sort of uplifting, breezy track, a bit more pop-y than the first two and that hook “you and jennifer/i know that you’re out with her/go pretend that your just friends/i’ll pretend that i’m not hurt/ i know all the shit i heard/ you can take these bitter words/fuck you and jennifer/go fucking make love to her” is delivered in such a gloriously unforgiving ‘you’re an asshole’ way that i hope whoever this song is about is quivering in fear of some heavy karma coming their way.
dan owen – what is a man
if you like white guys with guitars doing upbeat music (which i’m apologetically going to warn you will come up a few more times) then this might be fore you! yeah it’s full of cliché sounding lyrics, like maybe a primary school kid could write it (sorry dan, i still love you) and i’m probably full of bias because i’ve seen him twice with a third time coming on the way later this year, but this is just happy and uplifting and i promise i’ll try to stop using that word in my reviews. when i saw him the first two times this was a very sombre sounding song (dan is a very angsty boy) so it was a nice surprise to hear it turn into such a cheerful anthem.
eleni foureira – fuego
if you watched eurovision you should probably be aware of this unapologetic anthem, but then again it was the last one performed in the running so maybe you stopped paying attention by that point and were just waiting for the scores. i didn’t care much for this when i heard it the first time around but there were so many memes about it on twitter it was crazy and i don’t like to be left out of the party, so i listened to it a couple more times and thank the lord because this goes off. iconic.
emily burns – cheat
cheat is more or less the only song i’ve talked about since it came out, so if you listen to any of these recommendations then please please make it this one, it’s the best pop song i’ve heard all year. i don’t like to rank music because i prefer all you can eat buffets to committing to choices on a set menu, but this is unmissable. it’s like a beacon of sound which is so relevant and plays on all the currents tenets of pop, but then melodically it makes choices that sound like they would obvious but feel surprising and different.
george ezra – get away
i love george ezra, he’s just the nicest boy and i truly in my heart believe that in 20 years he’ll be the artist for whom i have the fondest memories and will force upon any children i may have. shotgun and paradise both did pretty well chart wise, (they were imo the best two from his album), but the 11 song affair was pretty much one big holiday of sound and get away is one of the happier events, so listen to it if you haven’t already.
glades – not about you
this came out at the same time as cheat by emily burns and this and longer than i thought, which features further down the list, were in a joyous little sound bubble playlist that kept my spirits at a 10/10 for days and days. glades are an aussie band that i don’t think got much if any promo over here, and not about you is a really nice meta anti-narcissism (can you really make a piece of art and have it not be about you even if it’s calling out someone being narcissistic?) pop song.
grace cater – silhouette
taking it down a little is grace carter. she’s one of my favourite new vocalists of the year because she’s just so pure and beautiful and reminds me a tiny bit of adele in all the little vocal inflections she does. so far a lot of her songs have been heavy in the realm of balladry, silhouette sounds like she wrote a melody, wrote a slightly cliché poem over the top and recorded it which I should hate but its just kinda great. this is beaut.
hayley kiyoko – curious
there’s been a lot of quote unquote political controversy about bisexual representative music (see: girls by rita ora et el.) that i’m not going try and get involved in, and hayley kiyoko was among the more vocal since curious is a true bonafide bisexual anthem and easily one of the best pop songs of the year (i’ll only say that a few more times i promise) so if you haven’t heard it, go check it outttt.
james bay – in my head
i loved james bay version one, but 2.0 was a bit more of a question mark. the album was… fine, but not much stood out *except* the glorious in my head. it’s pretty much the perfect end of credits songs for a rom com, y’know when you’re leaving the cinema after the happy gooey ending and you’re mood is at an 11/10.
janelle monaé – make me feel
justice for janelle monae. i know this song had some uk exposure because i heard it on commercial radio when i was in the car, but having a quick google this reached the heady heights of number 74 on the charts. get in the bin all of you who didn’t make this happen, or make it happen now please. this is the bisexual anthem that you need even though you didn’t think you needed it. it’s sexy, it makes you wanna dance, it’s basically a prince song, the video is a good time and if i had more than two thumbs they would be going up for this song.
julia michaels – are you
julia michaels has reportedly been responsible for the sound that has been governing most chart-successful pop songs of the past few years, and as much as it kills me to finally admit it to myself i bloody love it. are you was on the soundtrack for the 50 shades freed movie, marking it as what i can imagine was the only good thing about the film. it’s fun and catchy and a nice melodic follow on from make me feel, so you’re welcome for this cohesive listening experience.
justin timberlake – sauce/morning light feat. alicia keys
if you were sensible you probably didn’t listen to man of the woods, aka justin timberlakes fatal misstep exposing himself as the whitest man alive. i listened to it in its entirety so i could review it and it wasn’t great *however* there were a couple of decent songs on there: sauce which is a very funky prince-eqsue track which should have been the lead single instead of the frankly awful filthy; and morning light which features alicia keys and is the perfect lazy sunday morning song for all you fans of lazy sunday mornings.
lewis capaldi – tough
white guy with a guitar alert!! his voice is so husky and he is a bit of a dork in real life and i like that kind of juxtaposition. tough is very commercially nice and my favourite thing he’s done since bruises and his voice is pretty fantastic. i’m thrilled that lewis capaldi released a second glasgow date today and that i could get ticket because i needed to spend more money on gigs that i don’t have. also he’s scottish so i stan.
loote + joe jonas – longer than i thought
this is just a good and dancy pop song and i love it. it doesn’t take a long time to get to the point, and i’m not even that mad about how the chorus is mostly just an edm breakdown. the vocals contrast nicely and it’s just a whole lotta fun.
kacey musgraves – high horse
high horse wins for the best/most delighting lyrics in a song i’ve paid attention to in 2018 and their delivery by musgraves is just so great. when she sings “giddy-up giddy-up” i’m crying because it’s so perfect. pop country crossover at its very finest.
kygo + imagine dragons – born to be yours
i like this almost entirely because dan reynolds’, aka mr imagine dragons, voice is probably one of my favourite voices in music. i was hesitant to enjoy this because combining their sound with edm doesn’t work in my head but the sound of his voice on the chorus when he sings “i know when it rains, oh, it pours/and i know i was born to be yours” was too pretty and won me over. still hoping for their acoustic version but until then!
mallrat – groceries
don’t let the name put you off, this is really lovely indie-pop. the chorus, maybe because of the gentle delivery, feels really relatable and pure: “and if you wanna get groceries/and if you wanna get close to me/just gimme some, gimme some, gimme some sign/i think that we’re supposed to be” and it makes me feel all warm and fuzzy and full of hope about things i didn’t realise i felt hopeless about.
mnek – tongue
when it came on i was a bit like hmmmm this is ok and then that chorus snuck up behind me and pounded me with a major league baseball power swing and shook me to my core. i feel seduced. happy 20-gayteen.
netta – toy
eurovision music is so flash in the pan and borderline jokes for people who aren’t in any way invested in it, and even thought this won i’ll bet you already moved on and forgot about it, so hold up rewind, lets go back to may time and remember this triumph and appreciate it in all its weird and wonderful glory. it’s so bizarre and sounds like a chicken gained sentiency and got a recording contract – a lot of the lyrics read like someone having a seizure – which is why it’s so brilliant, so put away your prejudices and wrap this back around your ears, it’s fucking glorious.
sam fender – friday fighting
sam fender is my boy and i have the photos, signature and the verbal contract that he’s going to go for a pint with me one day to prove it, but if you can get over that blatant bias then i urge you to listen to friday fighting which is pretty much an alt-rock song with some actual vocal talent attached. takes a wee bit to get to the chorus but when it does it delivers in spades. if you get the chance to see him live don’t pass it up, one of the best live vocalists i’ve ever heard.
shake shake go – come back to me
come back to me is a pop-folk anthem that is just a lot of fun. i must’ve played it 30 times since i first heard it, very uplifting and feel good and never fails to raise my spirits.
st. vincent – fast slow disco
if you liked the original 2010 version of dancing on my own by robyn and not that atrocious cover by calum scott then this is for you! it’s classic-sounding electronic disco and makes me wanna dance in my bedroom and lose myself just like lena dunham did in girls season 1 episode 3.
tom grennan – barbed wire
and finally, our last cheeky chappy white guy with a guitar tom grennan has yet another upflifting track for you! it’s jaunty and feel good and absolutely dripping in cringey cliché which makes it perfect for a family summer playlist and i’ve been listening to it way more than i should admit.
years & years – if you’re over me
ok, you probably have heard this one since it’s around the top of the charts right at this moment and is probably getting extra promo since their album just dropped, but i just love years & years a lot, they have a lot of memories attached to them and they’re just so great. if you’re over me is cute and fun and sad and happy and heartbreaking and uplifting a song for every occasion.