some of these songs have been sitting in this playlist since august, so it's safe to say this is a long overdue post; not many of these songs are actually "new" but i love them all the same.
1. betty who
spotify tells me that i "starred" this song in the middle of september, but i remember the first time i heard it like it was yesterday. i went onto betty who's spotify page, wanting to listen to a particular song and instead stumbled upon mama say, specifically the more up tempo remix by scavenger hunt, and i probably listened to it a good ten times on repeat at full volume on my speakers. sometimes a song just appears out of nowhere and hits you hard in the chest for no particular reason, and this was one of them. i also love that the lyrics are a tribute to britney spears, and it's not left my headphones since that day in september.
2. louis tomlinson
literally the only new song in this post; everyone's favourite doncaster lad dropped his latest track, just like you, this week and i can't get enough. it's a mid-tempo pop bop that contrasts with his feelings about finding fame and living in the spotlight, and though i'm still waiting for him to drop a proper Club Banger, this will suffice for now.
3. zedd and liam payne
speaking of Club Bangers, get low is a definite contender. i first heard it playing on the radio on my way to an ardorous 7am shift not too long ago, and though i didn't love it when it was first released, something in me shifted and i found myself playing it on repeat while i waited for my shift to start. with its thumping bassline and stupidly catchy chorus, it's probably not what you'd be listening to sitting in a deserted shopping centre - probably better suited to a sweaty club at 2am after three tequilas - at 6:30am, but at least it woke me up; who needs coffee?
4. the killers
i've been really struggling to think of any albums - with the exception of the heartbreaking melodrama, sugary-sweet pop perfection found on number 1 angel and harry styles' dramatic debut - that i've really loved this year (writing my end of year review will definitely be a challenge) and i feared the latest album from brandon and co. wouldn't thrill me either. after obsessing over lead single the man, which makes for an excellent walking-around-feeling-like-a-badass song, the first half of the album didn't excite me and i was all set to give up hope. but not for long; enter dreamy ballad some kind of love, the 80s-tinged out of my mind and foot-stomper the calling. these songs have been on constant rotation since, earning wonderful wonderful a spot on my list of favourite albums this year.
5. avicii and rita ora
another song i heard on the way to a 7am shift that i've been obsessed with ever since. i don't particularly care for rita ora - with the exception of this Absolute Banger - but her delicate vocal contrasts perfectly with avicii's signature sound on lonely together. it's not the most groundbreaking song, lyrically rehashing the typical i-know-this-person-is-bad-but-i'm-going-to-sleep-with-them-anyway trope, but i've lost count of how many times i've played it recently.
6. lady gaga
not too long ago i watched the long-awaited documentary, gaga: five foot two and i was Not Okay. i've loved lady gaga ever since i first heard just dance one night in 2008, and i still tear up thinking about seeing her live two years later as part of the fame monster tour. however, after the release of born this way i felt somewhat disconnected from her. i'm not ashamed to say that i loved artpop and still listen to it semi-regularly, but i really couldn't get on board with cheek to cheek - a jazz-themed collaboration with tony bennett - and the country sound that came to define 2016's joanne. so when i pressed play on this documentary i didn't know what to expect, though fans and critics alike said it promised a more in depth look at her personal life.
that was exactly what we got, and i found myself in tears at various points; watching her cry in pain as she got treatment for fibromyalgia, listening to her talk about the dark side of fame and how it exploits vulnerable women like marilyn monroe, and playing joanne for her father and grandmother. it was hearing it in this context, played through a crappy iphone speaker in a small apartment, that made me fall in love with it, the simple arrangement allowing gaga's powerful vocals to take centre stage. overall i'm still not thrilled with the album and am eagerly anticipating her next release, which if the cure is anything to go by, will see her return to her pop roots, but i'm glad i could still find a connection with an artist i loved so much as a teenager while watching the documentary.
7. bebe rexha
for the most part, bebe rexha's latest EP was a disappointment, but one song, (not) the one, stood out and like the betty who track above, i listened to it so many times i was nearly word perfect by the end of the day, and on rare occasions when i leave the house it's the only thing i want to listen to. while most of the EP takes on a more R&B influence, this is pure pop and i hope that when she finally releases a full length album it contains more of that.
8. aly & aj
i think i've unintentionally saved the best till last. a shimmering slice of 80s perfection, the latest release from ex-disney stars and their first since the iconic potential break up song in 2007 (i feel very very old), take me is definitely one of my favourite songs this year, born out of AJ's frustration with dating apps and the fact that "there was never any follow-through", something most of us who've ever had a conversation for longer than two minutes on tinder/her/okcupid can relate to. they also released an excellent video with that luminous, petra collins-eqsue feel to it. the soft, feminine visuals contrast with a gory story line that sees them donning vampire teeth and taking a bite out of their lovers. it looks slightly like a bad B-movie, but honestly i'm here for it.
p.s. i couldn't not include harry styles' cover of the chain by fleetwood mac that he performed in the radio one live lounge last month, and his rendition of girl crush, recorded for a spotify session. i also got tickets to see bryan ferry next april - the week after seeing harry for the second time - and if i thought lorde was emotional, i honestly don't know how i'll survive hearing songs by roxy music live.
this week's playlist is here.