Thursday, 3 January 2019

This Year's 20 Top Tracks - A Playlist for 2018 (part 2 of 2) feat. Classic Memes

Welcome back to this, the tepidly-anticipated conclusion to my year's most-played mixtape of madness. It's the top ten people! In line with recent attempts to finish an assignment in the wrong number of days, this one now approaches the subject with memetics in mind or, more specifically, classic macro-image memes. Sound fun? No, you're right it doesn't. But prepare for surprise because it (vaguely) is. If nothing else, it contains pictures. Everyone like pictures. So, cease all activities thou art engaged in, for the hour of "hammer" is upon us.

10. Pills - St. Vincent

Technically Masseduction was released at the end of 2017 but, taking in to accoubt my general slow uptake of things, it totally qualifies. Also, the album's up for awards in 2019, so must be vaguely relevant. The thing with "Pills" is it's horribly catchy. Really, really catchy. Like air-borne diseases. Then, towards the end it goes all complete-change-of-pace like the piano part of "Layla" but less epic. Still a little bit epic. 

Hide the pain Harold
Hide the pain Harold

9. Beautifully Unconventional - Wolf Alice

Not really sure where this one came from. However, it's pretty pared-back and simple. It's also only about two minutes long. Reminds me entirely of The Asteriods Galaxy Tour - Golden Age, which you might remember from a Heineken advert years ago, or at least some of their other songs. Not too complex. I want to say that John Peel would like it, although I'm not entirely sure why. Also not sure why living and breathing is unconventional. Apparently it is. Still good.

Condescending Wonka

8. Fine Day - Keanu Silva

This came on the radio and I was like "I love this song, I've not heard this in years." Yet, it apparently came out in 2018. This suggests to me that it is a remix of some previous incarnation. Internet searches throw up literally tons of stuff, but it seems Opus III were rocking this in the mid-90s. That, in turn, came from a quite-frankly frightening a cappella song called "It's a fine day" by Jane from 1983. Seriously, she makes me see dead people. The Keanu Silva version is the best. It has more sound. Also, it markedly does not contain the line "we will have salad."


7. Bedford - Too Many Zooz

Yaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaassssssss! If you like baritone saxophone, trumpet and The King of Sludge, you are going to like this. We saw them play Brise Glace, Annecy in November, so that's very 2018-y. It was awesome. Not entirely sure how people play brass instruments and dance. It pure instruMentalism. Bedford is an easy choice, although the "Car Alarm" track they do is also amazing fun. It's all so high tempo. The one shame is that, towards the end of their set, they did a number with a drum machine making a filthy bass noise, and I can't find anything of the like on the internet-web. That was a tune. Big dirty noise and horns. Boom.

Brace Yourself

6. I-E-A-I-A-I-O - System of a Down

All the songs that sample the Knight Rider theme tune are awesome. Granted I can only name this and the bhangra one by Punjabi MC from back in the day, but still holds true. System of a Down are excellent. Yes, it took me far too long to find this track. Yes, I'm generally way behind the curve, or even completely unaware that the curve exists, but this is a tune. One flag, flaggy but one.

Batman Slap

5. Foundations - Kate Nash

So this track was a late, late entry. Which makes little sense because it's quite old. We started watching GLOW recently, which I'm still not convinced was a worthwhile idea, but we continue. However, it incidentally has Kate Nash in it, who is a musician that neither of us really knew. As far as I can tell, this is her stand-out hit. I discovered this two days before 2019 and have played it lots since then. I reckon it does what "Marlene on the Wall" or even "Gone 'til November" do, which is start sparse and keep adding instruments with every verse, keeping a catchy/easily-singable/naturally-rhythmical chorus which drives on the narrative. You then end up singing along. It also has an element of pathos in the ultimate crescendo. I think it's good and emotive. Others disagree. I will continue to play it ad nauseum until I'm bored.

Distracted Boyfriend

4. Sticks n' Stones - Jamie T

Actually follows a similar formula to "Foundations" above. Furthermore it's also really old and no-one understands that I missed it first time around. I was probably busy. This may be my most-played track of 2018, just 'cause I stick it on repeat a lot and try to figure out how it works. It's kind of nostalgic too, even though I only found out about it this year. Weird, non?

Bad luck Brian

3. Thrift Shop - Macklemore and Lewis

Yeah, there aren't a lot of 2018 tracks in this top ten. I don't care. This has such a nice loop and hook. I'm not sure I, or anyone else, should really like Macklemore and Lewis, but it's so easy too. Just a fun, play it loud, going-out, party-type track. Oddly, puts me in mind of "Be Faithful" by Fatman Scoop and Rizzle Kicks; not a lot, but a bit. Better though.

Obi Wan Kenobi

2. DNA - Kendrick Lamar

The backing track off this is amazing. I can't think of a song that starts so instantly awesome and it's all down to that backbeat that's deep, low and full of delicious hip-hop tradition. Also, it's lyrically incessant, piling it on until its thick and rich. Like a cake containing fudge, dark chocolate and liqueur. Then, just as you think you're getting to the end, it kicks-off in a minimalist way. Great track. Great album. Sometimes you just need this.

Archaic Rap

1. Oh Hector - NIKO IS, Thirstin Howl III and Colours of the Culture

#1, or ##1 (hastag number 1). Party track! To be played loud. Found this in a really round-about way. Was looking into seeing Dub FX, then saw a video of him with Talib Kweli on a bus going around SXSW with Niko IS who absolutely killed it. That put me onto this track, and I never looked back. Got some Brazilian samba (I think, not good at musical classification) in the background, and some language-flipping going on. Also, kind-of old-school thing going on. It's amazing. Don't know why I'm trying to explain it, or any of these songs to be fair. Listen to them. You will be enriched. Absolute banger.

Left Exit 12 Off Ramp

That's it. Finished. Not much to add. Perhaps I'll give some "special mentions to tracks that didn't quite make the list, obituaries-style (ie slow and black and white). "Wasting My Young Years" - London Grammar. "Trogdor" - Strong Bad. "23" - Jimmy Eat World. The Bacao Rhythm and Steel Band - PIMP. "Kill Yourself" - Bo Burnham."Habits (Stay High)" - Tove Lo. "No Roots" - Alice Merton.

That will do. That's what I listened to a lot in 2018. Also, the memes may have been fun. I've tried to maintain thematic fidelity even if they're not that funny. 

Happy New 2019 everyone!

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