Monday, 17 December 2018

This Year's 20 Top Tracks - A Playlist for 2018 (part 1 of 2)

Hello all.

I, once again, interrupt the seemingly never-ending review of German motorcycling fun for an end-of-year special. It's around this time (well, usually between Christmas and New Year) that the TV, radio and practically every other media outlet is getting all nostalgic about events that have unfolded in the past year. Jumping on that particular bandwagon, my addition to the oeuvre is this: my top musical listenings of the past 12 months.

Now, there's an important thing to note here. Not all of these tracks actually came out in 2018. This is a chart of what I have been listening too, normally because it's good and new to me. Some of the following are therefore a bit older. However, they are still good. I promise. So without further "Freddy Adu," here are the hits in countdown fashion (may not be hits).

20. Fake ID - Riton feat. Kah-Lo

Got to start with a tune from this year (that's 'tune' with a variable vowel length). Also, got to love the pared back beats and general vocals/lyrics. One for playing in a van. Not sure why. I was tempted to go with Riton/Kah-Lo's earlier "Money," because it's probably had equal playtime this year and has a real Summer vibe. But it was released in 2017, so I went for Fake ID.

19. Vingt sur Vingt - Kacem Wapalek

This is very gentle and melodic hip-hop. Real chill-out shizzle. You've got to love Kacem's lyrical flow and the nigh-on Elysian (again, super-pared back) very-slightly-cut-up classical track in the back. We almost went to see "ce mec" Kacem in Lyon earlier this year, but it didn't quite happen in the end. It's not from 2018, but very few of these songs are. I'm generally a bit slow.

18.  Girls - Joey Purp feat. Chance the Rapper

First of all, this song is hilarious: from the knowing backbeat incorporating random noises to the tongue-in-cheek lyrics. Again, it's pretty lo-fi, which is interesting. Simple drums, simple beats, vocal-led. That's what I seem to like this year. Also, the video is a joy. I generally don't know music videos any more, but this one verges on the surreal.

17. Only Getting Younger - Elliphant feat. Skrillex

Finally, something a little more upbeat. Also contains swearing and dirty, dirty noise. Good old Skrillex. When you want unconscionable post-hardcore dubstep, Skrillex is generally a good go-to. He also does a surprisingly good job at soundtracking kids' films (see Wreck-it Ralph for more details). Again, a bit older than this year, but not to me so literally qualifies.

16. Shotgun - George Ezra

I'm not sure I should like this. I'm not even 100% certain that I do like this. It's sort of everything that I lament about chart music but... it is catchy. Also, there was an end-of-stage-highlights closing credits for the Tour de France this summer where they had done a frankly excellent job in making the music fit the montage. Geraint Thomas was having the ride of his life, the sun was shining, people were celebrating cycling and the great outdoors rather than donning gilets jaunes and setting light to parked cars. It was a simpler time. So, yeah, not sure if I like it really, but it definitely makes me feel something. That's what we should be aiming for, right? Oh, and it's from 2018 too, which is a plus point.

15. 1492 - Counting Crows

Following the above contemporary music, here is something a bit older. I'm not sure where it came from, why I wasn't aware of it earlier or even what it all means, but ooo-eee it's a track alright. Driving drums and guitar, building excitement, singing, it's got it all. At one stage Adam Duritz channels Dave Grohl ("I am the king of everything, I am the king of nothing"). It's a rollicking good rock track. Also love the semi-euphoric, unintentionally-perfect harmonising towards the end. Yes. I don't care that it's ten years old. Yes.

14. Thirteen - Johnny Cash

If the last one was old, then this is ancient. Johnny Cash has been dead since practically the start of the millenium. Back then Will Smith was vaguely regarded as a musical artist. Anyhow, this is a great cover. I think there's some phrase about "being able to sing the phone book and it sounding great" and that sort of applies to Johnny Cash, although I'm not sure "sing" is the right verb. I've also recently got into his version of "Hurt" by Nine Inch Nails, but the original is better (well, the original (quiet) version is my favourite, but you get my drift). Anywho, this is exactly the sort of song where you can pretty much ignore Danzig and accept that Cash nailed it.

13. Taki Taki - DJ Snake et al

This is a song from 2018 which I like. I'm not proud of it. I do like saying "taki taki" though. Who doesn't? It makes me think of FC Barcelona and the Spanish national team when they were unstoppable around 2008-onwards. That was technically tiki-taka, but that's association for you. In terms of the music, it's got a pretty Latin vibe and plenty of Spanish lyrics which definitely influence that whole feeling. Apparently it also falls into the musical genre of moombahton, which sounds like some sort of multi-player online game featuring Thai currency.

12.  The Louvre - Lorde

Not quite 2018, but 2017's pretty close. Also, I was probably busy/asleep when it came out. It's all a bit The XX-y, and you have to love the "boom boom boom" part followed by some heavy, thundercloud-type bass. It's standard Lorde understated and atmospheric. It's probably the bass I like most. Good. I also liked the "Supercut" track and "Green Light" off the same album, most likely in that order.

11. Yoga - Janelle Monae feat. Jidenna

OK, so if you've read any of this blog, you may remember when we went to Paris to see Janelle Monae. It was good. This wasn't actually a stand-out track at the time (I'd give that to Cold War or Django Jane) but it has settled nicely into my list of regularly-repeated tunes. It's funky. Apparently it's the second best song of 2015 (according to Time) after, wait for it, Years & Years by King. Clearly a slow year for music ("I dreamed you dreamed of me calling out my name" I know it's a dance track but WHAT?!?) Back to "Yoga" though, that's genuinely good, regardless of what Time think.

Part 1 over...

So that's enough of that for the time being. Tune in soon for the continuation of do you remember now that's what I call this year's best top of the pops countdown playlist of 2018 special! It's going to be explosively unpredictable...


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