Monday, January 7, 2019

Pop Candy Arcade: The Songs of 2018, Pt. 5 (101-135)

We've reached the end of the list, folks. Though I'd originally planned on allowing this to go up to 150, I managed to pare things down to a slightly neater (but admittedly much odder) 135. If you've missed all the links on Twitter, the Spotify link to the whole list is at the end of this post.

This year's extensive tweet documentation was a way - or at least an attempt - to offer up solid links and mentions of the artists and draw attention back their way. It was weird to tweet at so many celebrities and record labels (this is not something I do on social media), and it was weird to thread a conversation with that many tweets. While I'm not sure it was actually worth it given the ratio of tweets to actual responses, it was fun enough and now I'll get back to yelling about awards shows. Thanks for reading, and hope you discovered a new song or artist along the way.

101: "Girlfriend" / / Christine and the Queens: a pop-funk proclamation, "Girlfriend / Don't feel like a girlfriend / But lover / Damn, I'd be your lover."

 102: "Days of Dust" / / Molly Nilsson: Let's just take a quick stroll into the apocalypse, shall we?

103: "Drumatise" / / Prime Minister of Doom: Another one for the enigmatic Rime Minister AKA Traumprinz AKA DJ Healer AKA Prince of Denmark.

104: "Bad Boy" / / Red Velvet: Slow-groove k-pop on one of the most timeless of pop topics.

105: "Skipping School" / / Amen Dunes: A second track from Damon McMahon's spectacular 'Freedom' sees a glue-sniffing kid and raises him to mythic levels.

106: "Outer Space" / / John Maus: I like to imagine that we all have a sense of who this song is directed at, and that's part of why we start dancing.

107: "Disarray" / / Preoccupations: That riff, tho.

108: "It Makes You Forget (Itgehane)" / / Peggy Gou: A touch of tropicalia, a hefty portion of house, and an instant trip poolside.

109: "Oh the Drears" / / Happy Rhodes: An enigmatic artist resurfaces. Do you like Kate Bush? Have you heard of Happy?

110: "Ace" / / Noname ft. Smino + Saba: A Chicago artist continues to arrive, and trust me when I say it's damn hard to decide which track on Room 25 to put on a list like this.

111: "Anna Wintour" / / Azealia Banks: Runway ready. Banks' talent remains undeniable.

112: "Eighties With You" / / Rebekah: UK techno that's either inviting you in or jumping up to slap you, can't decide, but it's great.

 113: "Offence" / / Little Simz: A fight song from a force to reckoned with.

114: "My Queen is Harriet Tubman" / / Sons of Kemet: High-energy jazz that takes off sprinting and keeps up the pace for miles.

115: "Heat 2" / / Shinichi Atobe: Glassy, warm techno that bubbles and boils.

116: "Immaterial" / / SOPHIE: Coming at old pop with an 8-bit hammer, SOPHIE continues to rethink and imagine what bubble pop sounds like.

117: "In My View" / / Young Fathers : a dark, delirious whirlwind of a track.

118: "Overtime" / / Jessie Ware: A sleek track that reminds us Ware is one of the best house divas in the game.

119: "Roll (Burbank Funk)" / / The Internet: A song that arrived feeling like a once and future summer classic.

120: "softcoresoft is the softest" / / Machine Woman: Anastasia Vtorova continues to slay

121: "Incisors" / / Rrose: Like traveling through the belly of a monster.

 122: "Tha Ball" / / DonMonique: Why doesn't this have a video yet?

123: "Careless" / / Blawan: Alchemical techno that swerves like a swarm of killer bees. That makes sense, right? Look. I'm tired.

124: "Like Sugar" / / Chaka Khan: Chaka Khan blessed us with this banger in 2018 and it should be playing everywhere human beings go to have a good time.

125: "Skylarking" / / FACS: Rumbling, minimalist art rock that hits all the right notes.

126: "Feels Like Summer" / / Childish Gambino: Likely one of the more controversial picks on this list as we all know "This is America" was easily the best video of the year. This breezy song, though, was somehow everything.

127: "Short Court Style" / / Natalie Prass: A glitzy, disco-punctuated affirmation.

128: "Flyaway" / / Kero Kero Bonito: A work of grunge-touched dream pop working towards escape velocity.

129: "Hangout at the Gallows" / / Father John Misty: It's like someone tasked Radiohead with writing a new, late-era Beatles song

130: "Raw Silk Uncut Wood" / / Laurel Halo: Billowing ambient textures in a pristine frame.

131: "Just the Same" / / Empress Of: Lorely Rodriguez's sophomore album went more in the direction of full-pop introspection than many expected, and I'm 100% here for it.

132: "FUN!" / / Vince Staples: A slippery track that slaps even as it offers a subversive, deep commentary on its own consumption.

133: "Jeannie Becomes a Mom" / / Caroline Rose: A big, hook-filled song about some of the mundane horrors of adulthood.

134: "Love Me Right" / / Amber Mark: The only reason this wouldn't be on a best of list is because someone found it too perfect. A song that sounds, instantly, like it's always been with us (in the best way).

135. "A$AP Forever" / / A$AP Rocky ft. Moby: Easily the best - and most unexpected - use of sampling this past year. A track that breathes new life into an already great song while redefining its whole context.

Friday, January 4, 2019

Pop Candy Arcade: The Songs of 2018, Pt. 4 (76-100)

76: "Send to Robin Immediately" / / Robyn: Let's enter NYE with a block of pure pop, shall we? Beginning with a 2nd dose of Robyn, this propulsive track to catch you in your feelings.

77: "Body" / / Glowie: This is a hit. This is a bop.

78: "Party for One" / / Carly Rae Jepsen: We're all waiting for the next album, but this one massive song a year is working out ok, too

 79: "Cherry" / / Rina Sawayama: Sawayama continues to big giant, glossy tracks that find and isolate the art in aughts pop while reimagining it for the current moment.

80: "thank u, next" / / Ariana Grande: An instantly iconic sentiment, a phrase to guide everyone into 2019.

81: "Suspirium" / / Thom Yorke: Hi. I'm a film nerd making a music list. Did you think this WOULDN'T make the cut? Please.

82: "All the Stars" / / Kendrick Lamar + SZA: And on that movie note, this has every right to a jam of the year title and I do not know what's going on with its absence from so many year-end lists.

83: "Be Released" / / Virginia Wing: A hymn for the New Year, "Tell me: where do you go from here?"

84: "The Floating World (& All Its Pleasures)" / / Loidis: A "microhouse" sprawl that clicks and ticks away into a mood.

85: "Glory" / / Gazelle Twin: This song (and album) probably would have scared the shit out of me when I was a kid. It FEELS dangerous, anxious, and a bit grotesque. So, yeah, I'm into it.

86: "Taste in Movies" / / Mr Twin Sister: quietly decadent jazzy-pop with a chorus I'm here for.

87: "Millersdale" / / William Doyle: A solo debut with psychedelic touches and an explosive ascent.

88: "Foundation" / / Public Practice: A promising song from a NY band taking its foundational influences and beginning to tear them down.

89: "Urras" / / Beta Librae: As satisfying a build as it gets.

90: "After Dark" / / International Teachers of Pop: A master class in how to make a playfully killer single

91: "Tranz" / / Gorillaz: The kind of song you make note of on the first listen to the album and then immediately isolate to listen to 20 times in a row, pop you fall into.

92: "Cicada" / / La Luz: Cinematic and dreamy surf-rock, effortlessly cool

93: "Indies or Paradise" / / Anna Calvi: A second track from Hunter because, I told you, this album is aces, is everything

94: "Bombs Away" / / Charlotte Gainsbourg: Our girl returns with a continuation of a subtly baroque synth sprechgesang that just plain works

95: "Evan Finds the Third Room" / / Khruangbin: Endless funk.

96: "Gothenburg" / / Audiobooks: A second track from the Audiobooks, one that speaks to the range of their project, a sound like a totally different band.

97: "Hold That Thought" / / The Brian Jonestown Massacre: If you - for some reason - haven't checked in w/ the BJM lately, do yourself a big favor and listen to Something Else.

98: "Sports" / / Viagra Boys: A song about the simple things

99: "Do You Know" / / Tirzah: Gently looping experimental pop music that deconstructs the love song effortlessly

100: "El Portal Pt. II" / / Anthony Naples: Waves and waves and waves and waves and waves [No, the list isn't done yet]

Wednesday, January 2, 2019

Pop Candy Arcade: The Songs of 2018, Pt. 3 (51-75)

51: "Helix" / / Kelly Moran: It never sounded like this when I played piano, an experiment that glitters in every way

52: "Warrior Dance" / / Idris Ackamoor and the Pyramids: How about some cosmic jazz with your weekend afternoon?

53: "Salt in the Wound" / / boygenius: A perfect, seamless collaboration from Lucy Dacus, Phoebe Bridgers, and Julien Baker.

54: "One of the Girls" / / Otha: I know almost nothing about Otha, other than that this song kills. It is a bop.

55: "Transition 2" / / Joy O + Ben Vince: A train barreling across the floor, a hypnotic beat.

56: "XYZ" / / Flasher: My favorite representative from an album that feels fully-formed, comfortably lived-in, and yet totally new and refreshing all at once

57: "Charcoal Baby" / / Blood Orange: There are very few working artists who can take difficult topics/complicated concepts and shape them into something as beautiful as Dev Hynes can.

58: "Swimming Pool" / / Anna Calvi: A massively seductive song from an artist who has mastered the deft shift from quiet to high drama. Transportive, and probably not the only track from Hunter that will be appearing here.

59: "Open Road" / / Exploded View: From one deeply cinematic track to another, this is a dream state.

60: "Sleep" / / Hatchie: This song is an explosion of dream pop glitter over an 80s prom scene, and dear god I am here for it

61: "Oom Sha La La" / / Haley Heynderickx: I flashed back to the experience of 1st hearing Courtney Barnett a few years back, not only bc of the garden image, but bc of the super smart writing and approach to a mounting anxiety

62: "Hot Salt" / / Audiobooks: This is a duo that inspires automatic fascination and I am maybe obsessed with Evangeline Ling's off-kilter vocals.

63: "Black Box No Cops" / / Fit of Body: Ryan Parks seems to pioneering Skate House as a genre, and I'm here for it.

64: "Nice For What" / / Drake: There's been a lot of Drake drama this year, but I make no apologies: this song remains a good time.

65: "50 Euro to Break Boost" / / Skee Mask: Hello. Sometimes it's very hard to describe electronic music. This is one of those times. It's a placid surface, a horizon, a good sound?

66: "Freak 4 the Kick" / / Sink Ya Teeth: Flawless production on a dance track that sounds like an instant classic, like a thing you've always needed.

67: "The Gift" / / Wand: Shimmering guitars build to a feverish swell, everyone wins.

68: "Catalyst" / / Tess Roby: Big, sweeping, elegiac synth-pop that's positively haunting.

69: "Touchscreen Navigation" / / Rae Sremmurd: I have developed a giant soft spot for Swae Lee that I can't begin to explain. I'd put "Guatemala" on here too, which I love, but it's a little too close to last year's "Unforgettable" so, this.

70: "Dr. My-Ho" / / New Optimism: Cibo Matto's Miho Hatori picks up a solo project that is what you want it to be: big, eclectic, experimental pop.

71: "Dormant" / / Borusiade: The best kind of uncompromising doom. A big mood.

72: "Controller" / / Channel Tres: This is actually the one true song of the summer.

73: "Nont for Sale" / / Sudan Archives: and the 2018 award for best use of a violin goes to...

74: "Love in the Time of Lexapro" / / Oneohtrix Point Never: I'll take the full sonic anesthesia plz, thanks.

75: "Signs" / / Holy Motors: A four minutes swoon.

Sunday, December 30, 2018

Pop Candy Arcade: The Songs of 2018, Pt. 2 (26-50)

26: "L-Over" / / U.S. Girls: Meg Remy's swagger sells this song about cryptic endings, and it's pretty likely you'll see U.S. Girls on this list more than once

27: "Licking An Orchid" / / Yves Tumor ft. James K.: A song that manages to be bodied and uncanny simultaneously, magic

28: "Fake I.D." / / Riton + Kah-Lo: A bop, plain and simple.

29: "Mother Maybe" / / Kadhja Bonet: A gorgeous, summer breeze of a track punctuated with bursts of anxiety

30:"1999" / / Charli XCX + Troye Sivan: Pure Eurodance, 90s nostalgia that's catchy as hell and perfect for a living room dance party

 31: "Destroyer" / / Lala Lala: A song that goes from very good to great in the quick, upwards jolt of the chorus.

32: "Je Vulesse" / / Nu Guinea: For me, this is the sonic equivalent of an anti-depressant. In love in seconds

33: "QUE NO SALGA LA LUNA - Cap.2: Boda" / / Rosalía: High drama, hypnotic flamenco, and the arrival of an artist, fully formed.

34: "Kong" / / Neneh Cherry: A protest song with gorgeous vocals and a bassline that's pure 🔥🔥🔥

35: "Over and Out" / / Nine Inch Nails: There are points at which Bad Witch sounds like an industrial Blackstar, which is high praise from me, but it's the whirling escalation of the closing track that proved one of the

36: "Somebody Else" / / Fatima: Modern soul over chopped-up samples, a battle between coarse and smooth

37: "We Are Going Nowhere" / / DJ Healer: The release games and rarity of these albums pisses me off a bit, but this record needs to be recognized.

38: "The Ghost Ship" / / Farao: Eccentric electro-pop that pulses, sparkles, and spirits you away

39: "Drunk in LA" / / Beach House: Every Beach House song is a dream of some kind, and this one is pure sensation.

40: "You Should Believe" / / Kuniyuki Takahashi: A hypnotic soundscape, a long trip.

41: "I Like It" / / Cardi B, Bad Bunny + J Balvin: You can try to resist this song of the summer, but why would you? It's just a delight.

42: "Total Football" / / Parquet Courts: This band has become a mainstay on this list over the years, each song is its own clear reason why.

43: "Powerhouse" / / planningtorock: I was thrilled to see Jam Rostron return this year. "Powerhouse" is art-pop that feels simultaneously epic and intimate.

44: "Burning With You" / / Woo York: a dark, impeccably made run from one of my absolute favorite electronic albums of the year. I don't know why they aren't on every damn list.

45: "APESHIT" / / The Carters: The song is an absolute banger, and the Louvre video is instantly iconic. I don't know that we can even appreciate how significant this was just yet.

46: "Work It" / / Marie Davidson: If you don't immediately feel it, find a way to hear it on a dance floor, then we'll talk.

47: "Girl of the Year" / / Allie X: Allie X has been on this list before, and it's only a matter of time before she's as big as she deserves to be.

48: "Samaritans" / / IDLES: a growling, punk dismantling of toxic masculinity with a gut punch.

49: "KidultHood" / / Chelsea Reject: A beautifully conceived song from a voice you should know.

50: "Take It All" / / Helena Deland: Slow-burn intensity that feels nearly ritualistic, from the "Series of Songs" run that finds Deland on a tear.
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