Songs of the Year – Part 2 | 29 June 2018

45rpm’s top tracks from the second three months of the year… but who comes out on top?

Here we are. Half way through another vibrant, weird, amazing year in the world of popular (and occasionally not-so-popular) music. Following in the grand tradition established a whole three months ago with 45rpm’s Songs of the Year Part 1 entry, I’ve taken the opportunity to reflect on the last few months, compiling my own personal highlights.

As before, I’ve taken the 20 tracks from previous blog entries that – when I’m not scouring the internet for new music – still get listened to, still get me excited and, every now and then, make me shed a little tear or two.

But, of course, no-one’s perfect and I’ve also included six tracks that I haven’t previously featured in my entries and, frankly, I was bonkers not to do so.

There’s a 45rpm Songs of the Year | Part 2 Spotify Playlist if you’d like to listen to only the below tracks in order of my preference. Alternately, as always, you can find every track featured this year in the normal 45 Revolutions per Minute Spotify Playlist (including this week’s five newbies).

And so, without further ado, in typically tease-y reverse order, here is my countdown to my top 25 tracks from April to June 2018:

26. Gabriel Garzón-Montano: ‘Golden Wings’

In a Nutshell:
Super-percussive, super cool, super catchy funk-n-soul from the newest French-Colombian (via New York) poster boy from Stones Throw records.

It feels like it makes sense to open up my Q2 review with a new track and this one would most definitely be the Charm Offensive on this week’s list.

***

25. NVDES: ‘Anything Goes’

In a Nutshell:
Weird and funny and, OK, a little bit sexy (but only a little bit); almost exactly like actual nudity… or should I say, NVDITY? As I said in my review at the time, as much as a song ever can do, Anything Goes sounds like how it feels to get your willy out and pogo around the room like a mental person.

Not entirely put off? Read the full review of Anything Goes by NVDES from my 18 May entry.

***

24. Ben Howard: ‘Nica Libres at Dusk

In a Nutshell:
In a complete change of tone from the above, the lyrics to Nica Libres at Dusk read like a meditation on death and the meaning of life, all beautifully backed up by the sort of dense, earthy soundscape we’ve come to expect from Devon’s finest.

Want to read more? Find the full review of Nica Libres at Dusk by Ben Howard from my 8 June entry.

***

23. Lawrence: ‘Try’

In a Nutshell:
The brother/sister duo from Manhatten outdo themselves with another classy slow-jam that builds to a climax of Where it Started From-sized proportions.

Aroused? Read the full review of Try by Lawrence from my 1 June entry.

***

22. KNIGHTSTOWN: ‘Figurines’

In a Nutshell:
The second of my new entries this week (and the ‘Peaceful Protest’ choice, if you will) comes from the slightly enigmatic figure of Michael Aston, also known as KNIGHTSTOWN. Didn’t originally feature on an entry because that’s basically all I can find out about him.

I’m just enchanted by Figurines – a pensive, beautiful requiem which combines electronica with the sorts of harmonies usually reserved for choral music. Stunning.

***

21. Halestorm: ‘Uncomfortable’

In a Nutshell:
Visceral vitriol that proves women can do metal just as well as the men.

All fired up? Read the full review of Uncomfortable by Halestorm from my 8 June entry.

***

20. Rafiq Bhatia: ‘Before Our Eyes’

In a Nutshell:
Genre-bending brilliance from Son Lux’s ever-indefinable guitar player with a genuinely powerful political message.

Want to know more? Read the full review of Before Our Eyes by Rafiq Bhatia from my 27 April blog entry.

***

19. Family of the Year: ‘Let Her Go’

In a Nutshell:
Masterful melodies from the band that bought you Hero. “I need a little more love, I need a little more time” begs singer, Joseph Keefe in Let Her Go. Take all the time you need, mate. I could listen to this stuff all day.

Need a little more? Read the full review of Let Her Go by Family of the Year from my 25 May blog entry.

***

18. Deafheaven: ‘Honeycomb’

In a Nutshell:
Every time I listen to this, I’m wowed by he sheer scope and ambition of this amazing track. Whether you’re a fan of (or even are able to stand) Black Metal or not, please, please please listen to the outro, which is one of the most gorgeous sections of instrumental music I’ve heard in years.

Interested by the intro? Read the full review of Honeycomb by Deafheaven from my 27 April entry.

***

17. Tropical Fuck Storm: ‘Rubber Bullies’

In a Nutshell:
Rubber Bullies combines mescaline-soaked sinister blues-rock chops with crashing drums and chanted, shamanic background vocals. And the band’s name is pretty eye-catching too. It’s not big and it’s not clever but it is heavy as hell and pretty bloody funny at times too.

Tickled your fancy? Read the full review of Rubber Bullies by Tropical Fuck Storm from my 20 April blog entry.

***

16. Hop Along: ‘Prior Things’

In a Nutshell:
Singer Frances Quinlan’s vocal acrobatics continue over a backdrop that feels, for the first time, like more ‘groove’ than grunge.

What to read more? Read the full review of Prior Things by Hop Along from my 13 April blog entry.

***

15. Anderson .Paak: ‘Bubblin’

In a Nutshell:
Trap beats mix with a wild strings section that whirls and swoops like a Tasmanian Devil all while .Paak’s lyrics details his transition from homelessness to commercial success.

What to read more? Read the full review of Bubblin by Anderson .Paak from my 25 May blog entry.

***

14. Dampa: ‘Crises’

In a Nutshell:
A song I basically likened to a ‘finger up the bottom’. Need I say more?

Dare to read on? Catch the full review of Crises by Dampa from my 25 May blog entry.

***

13. State Lines: Novo Amor

In a Nutshell:
Another previously un-reviewed track (though eagle-eared fans will remember I did link to it from my review of Aquilo’s Who Are You) State Lines sees Bon Iver-style vocals soar over a track that builds to a strings and brass-drenched crescendo. Awesome.

***

12. Skindred: ‘That’s My Jam’

In a Nutshell:
Simply the best summer jam you’re going to hear this year, backed up by one of the weirdest videos!

Not scared off? Read the full review of That’s My Jam by Skindred from my 4 May blog entry.

***

11. Helena Deland: ‘There Are a Thousand’

In a Nutshell:
A magical carpet ride through a prime slice of Deland’s self-styled ‘sincere pop’ genre.

Can I show you the world? Read the full review of There Are A Thousand by Helena Deland from my 27 April blog entry.

***

10. Sofiane Saidi feat. Mazalda: ‘La Classe Fi Las Vegas’

In a Nutshell:
By some distance, the most bonkers of all the new cuts, La Classe Fi Las Vegas manages to meld together traditional Algerian Rai music and down-and-dirty disco-funk (or ‘oriental glam’ as Saidi, himself, somewhat confusingly calls it).

Definitely this quarter’s Guerilla Warfare choice!

***

09. Jason Mraz: ‘Have It All’

In a Nutshell:
When one tentatively decides to listen to a Jason Mraz track, one does so with the knowledge that you are going to have to allow for a side-serving of cheese of such epic proportions that even Mickey Mouse himself might describe it as “a bit rich”.

And so it is with Have It All. Another newbie, on first listen it might sound like all the same old hippy, saccharine bullshit I’ve had to pretend not to like for years from this dickhead. But, on further reflection, it does have one of the sweetest, most heart-warming tributes to his children that you could ever wish to hear. As a Dad, myself, this is unfair tactics from Mraz as he’s clearly identified my Achille’s heel and is relentlessly going for it with his mature, heart-felt lyrics about the ‘infinite possible ways to love’ his child. And so it is that I’ve fallen in love a little bit with this track. The bastard.

***

08. Gang Gang Dance: ‘J-TREE’

In a Nutshell:
THIS. This is the sort of track this blog was started for. It is everything I wanted to talk about in my reviews – a weird, sonically arresting track from a relatively unknown band that has a powerful message and an even more powerful emotional climax. I absolutely love the bones of this.

Want to put flesh on the bones? Read the full review of J-TREE by Gang Gang Dance from my 25 May blog entry.

***

07. Jamie Isaac: ‘(04:30) Idler / Sleep’

In a Nutshell:
I don’t really know what it is about this track but it’s insidious. It wanders into my head during the days and filters into my dreams while I sleep (which is kind of appropriate, given the songs subject matter). If you can’t imagine what I mean by de-constructed jazz, take a listen to (04:30) Idler / Sleep and enjoy while it haunts you too.

Enchanted? Read the full review of (04:30) Idler / Sleep by Jamie Isaac from my 1 June blog entry.

***

06. Kojey Radical feat. Mahalia and Swindle: Water

In a Nutshell:
Radical’s trademark angst is powerfully juxtaposed against the velvety tones of Mahalia and fellow collaborator Swindle’s majestic jazz-tinged production.

Want to find out what’s in the water? Read the full review of Water by Kojey Radical, Mahalia and Swindle from my 18 May blog entry.

***

05. Father John Misty: ‘Just Dumb Enough to Try’

In a Nutshell:
Into the top five and Just Dumb Enough to Try represents the final one of our tracks not previously featured on the blog.

It is one of the saddest lyrics you could wish to hear (sample: “I’m just dumb enough to try to keep you in my life a little while longer”) made even more so by the fact that this is an artist whom many of us were first introduced to as he was enraptured by his ‘honeybear’ writing songs of blissful love now clearly long-lost.

***

04. Disclosure feat. Fatoumata Diawara: ‘Ultimatum’

In a Nutshell:
Quite simply, the perfect blend of ‘dance’ music from ‘the West’ and from Africa. Glorious.

Got your dancing shoes on? Read the full review of Ultimatum by Disclosure and Fatoumata Diawara from my 25 May entry.

***

03. Parker Gispert: ‘Through the Canvas’

In a Nutshell:
A song that was written in the middle of a huge Nashville field and bears all the hall-marks of it’s environment, as I said in my review “Through the Canvas is a wonderful, sprawling collection of contradictions; a simple ballad that feels ambitious; the story of a humble man delivered by a bloke wearing a white women’s fur coat while being fawned over by two angels.”

Fancy a fawn of your own? Read the full review of Through the Canvas by Parker Gispert from my 4 May entry.

***

02. YUNGBLUD: ‘21st Century Liability’

In a Nutshell:
At a time when it’s proving particularly fashionable for some musicians to present themselves as a kind of educated social conscience speaking out against idiotic and brash political leaders, it’s kind of refreshing to hear someone who isn’t trying to be that; someone who’s happy giving a machine-gun, Tasmanian Devil take on the world… basically to hear someone shouting, “it’s all bollocks”.

Fancy getting to grips with more bollocks? Read the full review of 21st Century Liability by YUNGBLUD from my 11 May entry.

***

01. Childish Gambino: ‘This is America’

In a Nutshell:
And so to our winner; 45rpm’s no. 1 track reviewed in Q2 of 2018 – This is America by Childish Gambino.

Undoubtedly the single most talked-about song (and video – viewers of the above should be aware it contains sensitive subject matter) of the year so far.

However, while many believe it to be a political statement about the violence experienced by black people in America, my own analysis (purely based on the music rather than the visuals) ended up presenting a far more optimistic take.

Interested in finding out more? Read the full review of This is America by Childish Gambino from my 11 May entry.

***

THE OUTRO

If you like what you hear (or even if you don’t), feel free to engage in dialogue with me @45rpm_Reviews on Twitter.

Next week, normal service is resumed when I’ll be returning with five more selections for your consideration. Until then, thank you for coming and go in peace.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.