Saturday, 29 December 2018

2018: year in review

somehow another year is drawing to a close, but rather than dwell on all the depressing things that have happened, or make half arsed resolutions about how 2019 will be the year i finally Get My Life Together , i'm trying simply to live in The Moment and just see what happens. 

if there's two things i've learnt in 2018, it's this: firstly, trust your instincts. if you feel like something is wrong, it probably is, and though i'm trying not to beat myself up about how i could/should have done things better, i would have saved myself a hell of a lot of heartache if i'd paid closer attention to those Bad Feelings when they first surfaced. 

secondly, as i said earlier, i'm trying to be more ~present~ and not put so much pressure on myself to achieve everything i want before the age of 25. i've talked about this several times in the last few months, so my conclusion is that attempting to plan every aspect of your life is a futile exercise, and i must admit i do feel slightly more relaxed now i've taken some of the pressure off. 

now for the music. 

i wanted to do things slightly different this year, so rather than recap albums i've already talked about, i'm going to focus on a couple of artists who haven't had quite as much attention on my blog. 

it all started with number 1 angel and pop 2, which i discussed at length in my review of last year's albums, but nearly twelve months on and these mixtapes are still having a major impact on the artists i've been listening to recently.

i've dubbed their music Weird Pop, as it's not something you'd hear on the (god awful) top 40, but still retains some of that classic radio-friendly sound. 

allie x

i've been a fan the canadian singer since she first released bitch and prime, but her latest EP super sunset might just be her best work yet. in this excellent interview, she discusses how she wanted every track to have A Moment, staggering the rollout over six months to allow fans to appreciate each one (i also appreciated her realisation that "there’s more to life than fame and success" and how she's taking more care of herself, something i really needed to hear). much like charli, ariana and the 1975, she's experimenting with a more unconventional method of releasing music and it's one i found far more enjoyable as every song was worthy of its own release. 

though not a Concept Album as such, each track explores her life living in LA over the last five years, and little things in particular hit me hard as she details her anxieties about trivial everyday things as well as her desire to be someone. other highlights include focus and science, two touching odes to a relationship, as well as girl of the year, her critique of the fickle music industry. 

leland 

he's a frequent collaborator of troye sivan - who we'll talk about later - and it shows in electro-pop masterpieces mattress and middle of a heartbreak. though it was only released in november, the latter quickly became my second most played song on itunes (though my my my! is still sitting in the top spot nearly a year after its release) with its stupidly catchy chorus. he's also worked with allie x, and i love nothing more than seeing all my favourite artists interact on twitter; hopefully more collaborations will follow in the coming year. 

jesse saint john 

another mainstay in my top 25 playlist, the california native has blessed us with bop after bop, including MOVE, what do u like and my favourite fake it, which calls out our obsession with social media, as we're going through the motion of emotion. it's a feeling i'm all too familiar with as i spend hours scrolling through instagram with little emotional connection to the posts i'm liking. however, he's been teasing new music on the platform that i'm eagerly awaiting in 2019. 

charli xcx

of course i couldn't not include the woman who started it all. in 2018 she finally blessed us with studio versions of fan favourites focus and no angel, as well as the party-ready girls night out and comedown track 5 in the morning. she also had her first chart hit in what feels like forever, as the super-nostalgic banger 1999 (featuring troye sivan!) reached number 13 earlier this month; i even heard it on the radio last week. however despite all these releases, fans have been hounding her for a full length album for months, so even though 1999 didn't reach the top ten, maybe she'll still answer our prayers, or failing that, a studio version of taxi

dorian electra

like so many pop lovers, i was first made aware of dorian electra when their vocals appeared on femmebot from pop 2, and the gender-defying star has been releasing bops consistently ever since. this year gave us career boy, VIP (a Club Banger in the making) and man to man, which received a flurry of praise for tackling the issue of toxic masculinity

slayyyter

i mentioned slayyyter in a post back in october, after paper magazine did an interview with her and i got hooked on her bubblegum pop; highlights include platform shoes, i'm high and BFF. since then, she's made it onto the fader's top 100 thanks to a collaboration between that kid and her long time producer ayesha erotica, who recently announced her intention to stop making music, so whether she'll continue to work with slayyyter remains to be seen. 

slayyyter herself is now so famous on stan twitter that she has her own update account, which reported on the interactions she's had with dorian electra, and if anything good comes out of 2019 i'm hoping it will be a collaboration between the two.  

kim petras 

though there's been some controversy about her work with notorious producer dr. luke, kim petras has released a plethora of bops throughout the year to riotous acclaim. after the explosive revelations following the #metoo movement, i've felt conflicted about continuing to listen to her music - something these articles explores in more detail - but songs like heart to break, all the time, close your eyes, turn off the light and her cheat codes collaboration feeling of falling have all been on heavy rotation during 2018. 

boy sim

another latecomer to my spotify playlists, i discovered boy sim - who opened for charli xcx and dorian electra at their femmebot fantasy party in dallas this october - a few weeks ago and his EP pink noise has been on repeat ever since. as much as i love ~conventional~ pop music, this was the first time i've felt really excited about an album in months. picking a favourite is hard, as every track is exceptional, but criminal, get u 2 dance and fadedhis collaboration with slayyyter (!) - have been my most played. i also love his singles wanna be and animals, as well as the more ~moody~ tracks, luv2u and over u, which are perfect to listen to at 2am when i'm In My Feelings. 

troye sivan

of course i saved the best till last. to say troye sivan has had a good year would be an understatement. ever since my my my! was released back in january, it's been my favourite song and music video and i've lost track of how many times i've watched it/screamed along at the top of my voice. i also got tickets to see him in february and can barely contain my excitement at the thought of finally hearing it live. the album bloom followed in august and though only ten tracks long, explored the highs and lows of navigating life as a Twenty Something. from the euphoric title track bloom and infectiously catchy lucky strike to the slightly more subdued plum, all the way down to the sombre lilt of postcard and the devastatingly beautiful animal and the good side, no emotion was left untouched. it was also revolutionary for its open exploration of gay relationships, and i can only hope more pop stars will follow suit. with the future of the album supposedly looking bleak, bloom proves that quality beats quantity every time. 

honourable mentions:

kindness is the new rock and roll - peace
love is dead - CHVRCHES 
palo santo - years & years 
mamma mia! here we go again (no shame)
peer pressure - l devine 
make my bed - king princess 
ten years - aly & aj 
call my life - blair st. clair
my mind makes noises - pale waves (my most played artist of 2018)
a brief inquiry into online relationships - the 1975 

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