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10 things I learnt from Robin Thicke’s ode to his estranged wife ‘Paula’

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Oh how the mighty have fallen. Last year, Robin Thicke was riding high on the charts with his ode to rape, Blurred Lines. This year, he’s gone through a separation, written an album about said separation and been smacked in the face by the hands of social media.

I sat through Paula (all fifteen tracks) and am now feeling understandably exhausted.

Still, I had time to reflect on what I learnt and how Paula will be feeling after this little gift turns up on her doorstep.

Paula didn’t appreciate the gesture of having her arse ripped in two

“I kept tryna tell you, you were pushing me too far” ‘Paula’ sings back to Thicke in Lock The Door. But he’s always hated “those Blurred Lines”. On Get Her Back he adds that he “should’ve held you stronger”.

On Give It 2 U from the last album he told Paula or one of the girls he was courting at the time that he has “a big dick for you”. Who’s the big dick now?

Robin Thicke made the album in a month

And it shows. Paula sounds like it was recorded in a lobby elevator. Its arrangements are bare-as-anything and the lyrics sound like his iPhone message thread with Paula. Apparently he hasn’t spoken to Paula in four months. What was he doing for the three months he wasn’t writing the album? This apparently:

Robin Thicke needs Paula to cure an STI

In Love Can Grow Back, Thicke insists that if Paula returns she’ll be “scratching and scratching his itch”. If we can offer any advice to Paula should she return, it’s do not scratch that itch. It should be treated by a medical professional.

Robin Thicke uses 9/11 as a metaphor

“I thought I was livin’ (YEAH!) / ‘Till I woke up to a siren / I thought I was over (YEAH!) / ‘Till I met those New York soldiers / They keep on working (keep on working) / They keep on fighting (keep on fighting) / America (America) / It’s time to wake up (Time to wake up).”

Please make this stop. Could this be a reference to 9/11 in a song that also features the line “Girls are pretty, streets are witty”?

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Sweet cherry pineapple black is a colour

Thicke says this is the colour of Paula’s “new new new new new new new nails” in Love Can Grow Back. I think it may look a little like this:

Paula smashed Robin’s guitar, hit him with golf clubs and still this album exists

Robin is either thicke or very forgiving. In Black Tar Cloud he tells the tale of what was surely his relationship’s last days. Paula swung his golf clubs at him, smashed his “ride” and broke his guitar. No doubt in an attempt to prevent this album from being made.

Robin hasn’t learnt anything

While he spends most of the album begging for Paula to come back, there’s glimpses of the old Thicke that pop up every now and then. In Something Bad he sings “I know you wanna fly so baby open up your wings / Then I’ll walk out with your legs shaking while you’re screaming, ‘Robin please!'” How could Paula leave such a sexual deviant? Well, he believes that he didn’t “spank” her enough.

Just quietly, I think she’s had quite enough of your spanking:

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Paula is the eiffel tower, the Northern lights and Mona Lisa

A woman of many talents, obviously. How could she manage a relationship when she’s three tourist attractions at once?

Paula was born when she was 21

More metaphorical brilliance from Mr. Thicke. According to Lock The Door, Paula was “born in Paris at the age of 21”. Her poor, poor mother, how did she push that thing out?

Paula’s probably not coming back but we wish she would

I’ve been doing a little reading on divorce and apparently one goes through a number of phases: denial, crazy behaviour, sadness and acceptance. Based on the lyrics throughout Paula, one would think Thicke is in the denial stage. That means that there could potentially be three more albums named after Paula. This isn’t The Blueprint or Tha Carter. No more sequels should be made and there is only one person that can prevent that. Paula, we’re looking at you. I’m sorry.

 

I won’t tell you the release date, but I’m sure you can stream it somewhere if you still feel the need.

 

How To Dress Well - The Great Escape 2013, Brighton | Photo by Howard Melnyczuk

How to Dress Well completes ‘What Is This Heart?’ video trilogy with ‘Childhood Faith in Love’

How To Dress Well - The Great Escape 2013, Brighton | Photo by Howard Melnyczuk

the interns were enamoured with How To Dress Well (AKA Tom Krell)’s album What is This Heart? at first listen, with it passing our Friday Night Lock-in with flying colours and Repeat Pleasure appearing in our Top 20 of 2014. We’ve also been closely following the visual accompaniments to the tracks and now Tom Krell has released the finale to his love-inspired video trilogy. Watch below for Childhood Faith in Love, following its predecessors, Repeat Pleasure and Face Again.

Part 1/3 – Repeat Pleasure 

Part 2/3 – Face Again 

Part 3/3 – Childhood Faith in Love 

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8 Songs by New Artists Under 21

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Following the news of Rafael Nadal’s WImbledon defeat to 19 year-old Australian Nick Kygrios overnight we thought we’d find the best eight tracks right now by artists under 21. Why? Because it seems at the moment, once you’ve reached 21 your life is over. These youngsters are impossibly talented and while these songs will delight they will also make you more unhappy than when Adele hit number one all around the world at the age of 21. Don’t even get us started on Lorde.

XXYYXX- Zygote

XXYYXX is not necessarily a new artist anymore, the American producer has been making releasing beats for over two years, however, he’s still impossibly young. At 18 years of age, XXYYXX has amassed a Soundcloud following of 165,000 and already toured Australia with Laneway Festival. Zygote is his Mary J. Blige-sampling track released today. It’s an unrelenting, tempo-raiser inspired by future RnB. Another notch on XXYYXX’s belt.

[soundcloud]https://soundcloud.com/xxyyxx/zygote[/soundcloud]

Madbliss- Crash

It’s enough that this Californian producer is only 16, however, he’s also been producing beats for three years. Most of us couldn’t even work Garageband by that age let alone produce audible music. Crash is a smooth, laid-back that pumps along in no hurry. It’s such a self-assured effort for a sixteen year-old that shows incredible restraint and a feel for hidden melody.

[soundcloud]https://soundcloud.com/escents/crazh[/soundcloud]

Thomston- Motley Crue

Being only 16 and from New Zealand, Thomston was always going to draw comparisons to Lorde, however, with his new Argonaut EP he is forging his own identity. Motley Crue is a standout from that EP, and acts as a certain ode to youth. “Drive all night, sleep all day” he sings over a throbbing, dark beat joint by the odd handclap. It’s slightly dissatisfied and derranged like any teenage anthem should be.

[soundcloud]https://soundcloud.com/thomston/motley-crew[/soundcloud]

Tove Styrke- Even If I’m Loud It Doesn’t Mean I’m Talking To You

So many young artists try to act beyond their years, that’s why it’s so refreshing that Swedish artist Tove Styrke sounds every bit her 21 years. Even If I’m Loud It Doesn’t Mean I’m Talking To You is an obnoxious chant song that sounds sassy, youthful and rhythmic. She barely gets a breather in this three-minute runaway train that gets better with every listen.

K Stewart- Speechless

19 year-old K Stewart was the live vocalist for fellow youngsters Bondax, but has now broken out as a soloist. Her latest track, Speechless, was produced by Karma Kid and featured by Radio 1 presenter Annie Mac. It follows in the path ‘90s throwback RnB, as she runs through her vocal range like Mariah while having the restraint and fragility of Ashanti. There’s a huge future ahead for this Londonder.

[soundcloud]https://soundcloud.com/annie-mac-presents/fmm-k-stewart-speechless-produced-by-karma-kid[/soundcloud]

Little Simz

Little Simz is a 20 year old rapper from North London who is making a name for herself with her brash, aggressive raps laid upon smooth beats. Devour is off her latest EP E.D.G.E and is produced by acclaimed British producer Jakwob. There’s a certain Azealia Banks flavour to it without the feeling that she’s going to fly off the handle at any second. She’s sounds confident yet organic and totally committed to her craft.

Aleksander- Ultraviolence

Aleksander is an 18 year-old singer/songwriter from Brisbane who’s just released his debut EP, Mah, Jong, Jong! His look and sound channels bold male songwriters like Alex Turner, Jake Bugg and even Johnny Cash. A few weeks back he dropped a cover of Lana Del Rey’s Ultraviolence on his Soundcloud which showcases the very strength of his voice. To have a tone and presence such as his at the age of 18 is baffling.

[soundcloud]https://soundcloud.com/jublor/lana-del-rey-ultraviolence-cover[/soundcloud]

Darcy Baylis- How Can I Live?

Darcy Baylis is a 19 year old producer from Melbourne who’s already made a name for himself as electronic maestro Namine. He’s now ditched the moniker and is doing it under his own name. How Can I Love? is the most immediately melodic track he’s made yet. It’s underlined by a pulsating beat and peppered with ‘90s keys. It sounds like an anthem in its most minimal and stylistic form.

[soundcloud]https://soundcloud.com/darcybaylis/how-can-i-live[/soundcloud]

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Baauer comes back with a ‘Clang’

bauuerBrooklyn-based Baauer, famous for bringing us the international sensation, Harlem Shake, has returned with a new track, Clang. Although it probably doesn’t have meme-triggering ability like its predecessor, its experimental, Bollywood-inspired qualities are enough to keep you interested. Clang features samples of German artist Buedi Siebert which is discussed in the ‘making of’ sound clip below.

[soundcloud]https://soundcloud.com/baauer/clang[/soundcloud]

[soundcloud]https://soundcloud.com/baauer/the-making-of-clang[/soundcloud]

 

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Nashville pop-trio, LANY, release ‘BRB’ and ‘ILYSB’

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We featured Nashville group LANY as one of our Five Artists You Need To Hear in June. Back then we were enamoured by their tunes Hot Lights and Walk Away. Now it seems they are set to continue what is a becoming a perfect pop streak, releasing two new songs, BRB and ILYSB. It’s clear from the titles that these one’s are only for the cool kids that are down with dem SMS acronyms, which we hope most of you are. As far as the tunes go, it’s more melodic, warm synth-work from LANY. ILYSB is the most upbeat of the two, lead by a tempo-pumping handclap while BRB takes cues from late night RnB jams. They already sound more polished and self-assured than on their debut set, further proving that LANY may be one of the heroes of the second half of 2014.

[soundcloud]https://soundcloud.com/thisislany/ilysb[/soundcloud]

[soundcloud]https://soundcloud.com/thisislany/brb[/soundcloud]

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City Spotlight: Stockholm, Sweden

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City spotlight is a new bi-weekly feature where the interns go behind a particular city looking to uncover its musical trends and cool hangs.  This week we’re taking a trip to the pop kingdom of Stockholm, Sweden. 

It’s common knowledge that Sweden is a purveyor of all things perfect. Known for ABBA, meatballs and Ikea, predominantly, Sweden and in particular its capital city has become almost a metaphorical pleasantville. Behind the beautiful harbour and historic buildings, there’s a music scene that has gone from strength-to-strength in the passed decade. It’s trademark genre is undoubtedly pop with artists like Robyn, Fever Ray and Lykke Li all hailing from the country. What’s most impressive is that the Swedish mainstream is largely accepting of a more left-of-centre brand of pop. As such, Stockholm is playing host to a number of up and coming pop and electronic artists, with well-curated record labels and interesting venues with more to offer than most cities. Take a trip with us through Stockholm, as we take a look at the most exciting venues, artists and record labels in the city of Stockholm right now.

Click below to explore the various facets of Stockholm’s music scene. 

VENUES artists labels

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First Impressions 30 June

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Lust at first sight is all the rage in this week’s First Impressions. This week features a steamy collection of songs moving from the club to the bedroom. We move from The Weeknd‘s bedroom, to Shabazz Palace‘s kitchen and to the club with Jamie xx. This week we play the fly on the wall.

Jhene Aiko- To Love & Die

Sam: It’s difficult to be straight-up impressed with this one because Aiko’s charm is so effortless. Major throwbacks to Ashanti and I’m completely ok with that given that I’ve spent the last decade clinging onto Murder Inc.’s back catalogue. The bridge before the third chorus delivers straight-up attitude. 4

Hannah: Doing Rihanna better than RiRi herself and brimming with a serious injection early 2000 RnB, this is a sound I’m totally ok with. 3.5

Lizzie: Ooft just like slicing hot butter, this song melts me. I’d like to slip into something more comfortable, pour myself a bath and be serenaded by Aiko’s sweet tones. 3.5

Bianca: A silky-smooth RnB gem that’s bringing flashbacks of a much simpler time when hair was accessorised with butterflies and couches were made of poppable plastic. My head bounce increased ten-fold at the fervent 56-second mark. 3.5

[soundcloud]https://soundcloud.com/jumpoffhiphop/jhene-aiko-to-love-die-feat-cocaine-80s[/soundcloud]

Jamie xx- All Under One Roof Raving

Sam: It’s winter in England, everyone’s checked their coats at the cloakroom and is now surviving off each other’s body heat in a club in East London. It’s also 4am. Jamie xx just gets this one so right. It’s such a vivid homage to rave culture in London with nuanced additions like those British vocal samples. The beat? Sparse brilliance. Hannah, if you don’t like this, I’ll eat my hat, literally. 4.5

Hannah: As much as I’d like to see you eat your snapback Samos, Jamie xx and steel drums? Just 5. Just 5. 5 Hannah’s Pick

Lizzie: Very interesting. 4.5 from Sam & a 5 from Hannah? I was almost ready to pack it in and give up on this track but then the 4 minute mark crept up and made much more sense. Thank god – I didn’t want to ever hate him. 3.5

Bianca: Jamie xx has just transported me to an underground, tin-walled club in London. Between the hectic cockney-accented vocal samples and the always-welcome steel drums, I am in love. TUNEEEEEE. 5 Bianca’s Pick

FKA Twigs- Two Weeks

Sam: How can I put it more eloquently than Twigs herself? I can’t but I’ll try given it’s the nature of First Impressions. Two Weeks is such a dignified take on something that is often delivered in such a trashy way: sex. Her voice builds intensity and then lets it all go with a detour into her higher register. All the while, the beat just shudders in the background with the bass working the track into a steamy climax. Absolute, experimental perfection. Show me something more impressive than this, this year. 5 Sam’s Pick

Hannah: This is quivering perfection. A score of pure staccato moments vibrate and bounce below FKA Twigs insane vocals. At once Aaliyah and Mariah at her best, this song knows exactly what it wants, and how to tease and toy with you until it gets it. I have a feeling FKA Twigs has even more to give, but she ain’t gonna give it up easily. 4

Lizzie: What a cheeky lady – the moment I thought I could pass this song on to my Mum for some light listening, she brings out “motherfucker” in the most majestically elegant way. I am hypnotised by her tomfoolery. 4.5 Lizzie’s Pick

Bianca: Had this been released just a week earlier than it did, I’d have no doubt it would feature in the top 10 section of our Top 20 Songs of 2014. The way she so eloquently slips in a few ‘fucks’ and ‘mother fuckers’ into this piece of art makes me think this song could slide its way onto commercial radio without the ACMA blinking an eye. 4

The Weeknd- Often

Sam: And if Twigs deals with it in a dignified manner, then The Weeknd does the opposite. The Weeknd has gone from being one of the pioneers of modern RnB to being sleazier than R.Kelly. “Make that pussy pop and do it how I want it?” Really? The track is slick but he’s just too much for me. 2

Lizzie: “I can make your pussy rain often?” What would your mother say!? I feel like I want to give him a slap on the wrist and send him to his bedroom without ice-cream. Such a beautiful voice but such a dirty mind. 3

Hannah: If the last couple of weeks have been all about disco fever, this week is about thumping, pulsing, quivering, teasing and down right sexy slow jams. I’m totally ok to be used and abused by this latest offering from The Weeknd. 3

Bianca: Umbrella sales have just gone down dramatically. 1

[soundcloud]https://soundcloud.com/theweekndxo/the-weeknd-often[/soundcloud]

Shabazz Palace- #CAKE

Sam: In Shabazz Palace’s world you can have the cake and eat it too. It’s such a psychedelic, woozy take on the hip-hop genre that almost skews your immediate view for four minutes. I love the middle-eastern influences and the melodic change-ups that waterfall back into that M.I.A-like beat. 4

Lizzie: I hate it. But I do crave cake for some reason. 0.5

Hannah:I don’t think this cake is gluten-free. I’m out. 1.5

Bianca: This cake did not rise. 0.5

Calvin Harris- C.U.B.A

Sam: Let it be known, I find Calvin Harris more unbearable than a world without cronuts, but I’m going to challenge myself to be positive about this. I like that he’s detoured from slick, pop-based EDM, to deliver what is a banging big room-track. It builds well with assaulting if not slightly-predictable synths and it drops like a mutha-f***ker. My only issue? I hate it. 2

Lizzie:

Simple Recipe for an EDM song:

3 parts equal serving Heavy bass and crash

3 parts unrecognizable twangy sound

1 part moment which makes you nostalgic about those fun times in Summer

300 minutes of build up to the drop

2 parts “Drop”

1 part realising that this song is like every other EDM song

C’mon Calvin I love you man, but it’s an Invention Test and your recipe is just so pedestrian. 2

Hannah: Picture this. The sun is setting over Coachella 2014, Calvin Harris has just walked on stage to a 45,000-strong crowd and just as that first jarring note reigns out over a sea of sweaty EDM heads, you realise Little Dragon is also walking out on a stage somewhere else and would have been a far better option. Through the sea of meat, there is no escape and for the next hour not only will you be subjected to aural torture but you will forever have to live with the knowledge you, for whatever brain-fart of a reason, chose Calvin over Little Dragon. I just can’t even go there. 0.5

Bianca: I feel like I have to dance otherwise someone is going to shoot me. 2

[soundcloud]https://soundcloud.com/calvinharris/calvin-harris-cuba[/soundcloud]

 

Top 20 Songs of 2014 (So Far)


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2014 has been full of highlights so far. Kimye finally married, Solange threw a punch at Jay ZLana Del Rey found favour with the critics and Kylie Minogue joined The Voice. Yep, 2014 is making memories one-by-one and to celebrate we’ve put together our Top 20 Songs of the year to date. Call it a soundtrack to the trials and tribulations of months passed and a cheers to the months ahead.

Together we sat down, fought, laughed and cried over our favourite songs of the year. What is immediately apparent is that 2014 has been a year for new artists. Four of our top five artists only released their debut this year and three of the Top 20 are yet to release an album. While many of us had to forego personal favourites in the name of democracy, we’ve attached them for the aural pleasure on the next page.

Scroll below and read our spiel about how each song appeased our little ears in the first half of 2014 or head right to the bottom for our custom-made Top 20 Soundcloud playlist.

 

PharrellEOFYS

20 Pharrell – Hunter

Of all the songs we could have pulled from Pharrell’s 2014 release Girl, why did we pick Hunter? This song makes you want to hit the town on a Saturday night. In the signature Pharrell Williams style, it offers up a slow blues and catchy swagger brimming with confidence. From the moment we all heard this track, we were hooked.That infectious guitar line that has been stamped across Pharrell’s tracks since Get Lucky is in its purest form here. It’s a song for those on the prowl- stalking around, chest puffed, Saturday Night Fever style.

– Lizzie

stvincentEOFYS19 St Vincent – Digital Witness

A pop song centred around brass. St. Vincent has never been one to follow trends and yet again she’s carved a masterpiece from the oddest of stones. Digital Witness is an extension of the chapter started between her and David Byrne but introduces a new-found attitude that permeates her self-titled album. Upon the album’s release, Annie Clarke said “I wanted to make a party record you could play at a funeral”. Digital Witness is an apparent critique of people’s need to document everything rather than experience. She told Under The Radar “I wrote a will not too long ago, and in it I wrote ‘When I die, I want you to scatter my ashes in the Internet”. No doubt this song will accompany that.

– Sam

jamesvincent18 James Vincent McMorrow – Gold

James Vincent McMorrow’s Post Tropical was one of the more surprising releases of the year. After a pretty mundane debut, Post Tropical was a spectacular melting pot of genres from hip-hop to folk and pop. Gold is the centrepiece of that album. The brass instrumentation shines through amongst his flawless falsetto. The staccato in the second chorus rings like a military-call leading the song into a powerful crescendo. Stunning.

– Bianca

RobynEOFYS17 Röyksopp + Robyn – Do It Again  

Everyone knows the feeling. The wines flow, the music throbs and bed doesn’t beckon until sunlight. The aftermath is never fun yet it never deters. Do It Again is the perfect anthem for early-morning club dwellers. It’s got a thumping bass-line, lush synths and an uber-melodic bridge that couldn’t be by anyone else but Robyn. The Swedes are yet to screw anything up, ever, so three of them together could only mean good things. The lyrics are almost pain-stakingly obvious but such is the song’s charm. It worked for Daft Punk (One More Time) and it works again here. No need to think about when the drop is. Like a valiant host, Robyn tells you and then unleashes a mighty chorus. The marriage between pop and electronica has never been more glorious.

– Sam

PorterrobinsonEOFYS16 Porter Robinson – Lionhearted

Crowned ‘The Hottest Record in the World Right Now,’ by BBC Radio 1’s Zane Lowe, Lionhearted, offers up something completely different to Porter’s usual heavy EDM thumpers. For those who call themselves die-hard Porter Robinson fans, you may not warm to the new sonic territory he is breaking. However, the interns felt that as one of our “Rebels of EDM“, this incredibly talented 21-year old has stepped up to the plate as an exciting artist to watch in 2014. His hotly-anticipated Worlds album is set to be released on August 12, until then, this electro house anthem teamed with Swedish indie-pop band Urbane Cone, offers up a reborn sound peppered with playful melodies, atmospheric vocals and a dancey sentiment.

– Lizzie

glassanimalsEOFYS15 Glass Animals – Gooey

The Alt-J of 2014 had something more to offer- an RnB-inspired swagger that reached under the skin and slid along with its icky lyrics.The title of the track is perhaps the most pertinent depiction of its slippery melody. The mention of perfume, pooh bear and peanut butter further contribute to making this song the most slinky piece of matter since flubber.

– Bianca

EOFYS_JessieWare14 Jessie Ware – Tough Love

While Devotion was brilliant, the question was always what Jessie Ware would do next. It turns out all she needed to make was the subtlest of changes. In Tough Love, she reaches for the heights of her vocal range taking us to territory she’s never explored before. With the help of Two Inch Punch and Benny Blanco, she’s delivered a song that ebbs and flows with the most subtle of dynamics. The flurry of synths that greet the second chorus are the perfect climax to a song that could’ve easily flatlined without the right care.

 Sam

sia13 Sia – Chandelier

Beyond having one of the most brilliant visual marketing campaigns this year, Chandelier is an absolute tune. The RnB-tinted verses suggest that Sia had the intention of writing a hit for Rihanna but the chorus crushes that belief. There ain’t no way Rihanna could scale the vocal heights that Sia hits in the chorus’ main hook. It’s a song to drink to, a sequel to R.Kelly’s I Believe I Can Fly and a statement that cements Sia as one of the best pop writers in the game. As far as a pop song goes, that’s three ticks.

– Bianca

LANAEOFYS12 Lana Del Rey – West Coast (Zhu Remix)

No one has polarized the interns’ opinions more than Lana Del Rey – as an artist, as performer and as a person. However, on the eve of Del Rey’s new album, Zhu slapped down this baby with impeccable timing, doing her work justice and much, much more. The signature Del Rey nostalgia is replaced with the punchy thump of percussion, killer chopped vocals and effortless hypnotic 3am house energy. While the song remains sultry, oozing sex, sex and more sex – it brings about an overwhelming power to make you want to dance uncontrollably in a club.

– Lizzie

chromeoEOFYS11 Chromeo – Old 45s

C’mon, how could you not enjoy this song. It’s catchy, evocative, totally nostalgic for an era we had absolutely nothing to do with and just a good old bundle of fun. I dare you NOT to dance to this baby.

– Hannah

zedzdead10 Zeds Dead – Lost You (feat. Twin Shadow)

In our ‘First Impressions’ back in May, we struggled to say a nice thing about this track. look how the turntables have turned. Canadian bass producers Zeds Dead have snuck into our Top 10 with their track Lost You, a nifty collaboration with Twin Shadow and D’Angelo Lacy. This Mad Decent release is just another example of how versatile and ambitious their catalogue of music has become. With the rubbery sound and colourful trippy video to compliment this house anthem, directed by Grandson & Son, prepare to be taken on a psychedelic trip of sonic creativity.

– Lizzie

howtodresswell29 How To Dress Well – Repeat Pleasure

It’s true- RnB has been revitalised in a big way. The issue with that is the genre quickly gets crowded with mediocrity. That’s why Tom Krell‘s Repeat Pleasure is such a triumph. His falsetto is flawless while the songs subtle guitar and light-as-a-feather beat allow the melody to be the hero. It’s a touch of Ashanti with a little bit of Baby Face and a hint of Mariah. He keeps it tasteful by putting his own nuanced touches on it. The name doesn’t lie. This one has truly been a repeat pleasure.

– Sam

jamirxx8 Jamie xx – Sleep Sound

This is a hazy pink sunset dancing on a darkening ocean just as much as it is first light come morning. It’s with you for the long haul and will see you the whole night through. That vocal sample and RnB edge is an absolute killer combination. Everything Jamie xx touches is pure gold and this is no different.

– Hannah

littledragon27 Little Dragon – Pretty Girls

When I first heard Frank Ocean’s Lost last yearI was certain, and let’s be honest, I am still certain, he’d written it exclusively for me. While I don’t have “double D, big full breasts,” I do have a tendency to get “lost in the thrill of it all” and trains and I just don’t get on. Similarly, when I first heard Pretty Girls, it spoke directly to the escapist in me and perfectly crystalised that vulnerable, quivering moment before you grab the bare essentials, cut all ties and dare to run without looking back for fear of getting stuck.

– Hannah

laroux6 La Roux – Uptight Downtown

The song that made us all realise we’d actually missed this loveable red head. Uptight Downtown is La Roux saying “Yeah I’ve been gone five years, but a pop song is a pop song and I write a damn good pop song”. Throughout, she strategically places bits and pieces that lure you straight to the dancefloor- the lyric “move, move, move”, the carnivale synth and the Bowie-like guitar riff. A 70s-tinged, spot of brilliance.

 Bianca

chromesparks5 Chrome Sparks – Goddess

This song elicits such a strong visceral response. It’s otherworldly in its ability to capture every inch of your mind, body and spirit and take you, full throttle on an intergalactic journey to destinations unknown, before nursing you gently back to earth. It’s rich, dynamic and full of texture and stardust twinkle.

– Hannah

chetfaker4 Chet Faker – 1998

This song is everything we’ve come to know and love from our bearded mate, Chet Faker; undeniably smooth and incredibly sexy. I get a little more “swagger” in my walk every time shuffle pulls this gem out… And by shuffle I really mean it’s on repeat. It’s got the right amount of pulse and bounce to keep you moving the whole way home. And that brief moment where you think he’s finally done wondering why you’re no longer “in a circle” before coming back for round two? WOW.

 Hannah

EOFYS_Caribou3 Caribou – Can’t Do Without You

We really cannot do without you in our top three Caribou. This track was an instant hit with the interns. Described as the “ninja song” – a song where you think you’ve heard all there is to hear and then all of a sudden (WHAM!), you are hit with a new crystalline layer of sounds. The killer vocal sample kicks, a quiet motif of synth and drums, and an epic crescendo that swells up in the final minute, Can’t Do Without You, leaves you with a climatic eargasm.

 Lizzie

EOFYS_BANKS

2 BANKS – Drowning

Without an album to her name, BANKS‘ is the success story of 2014. From Waiting Game to Goddess to Brain, she’s fired out brooding brilliance one after another. Drowning is the standout release from her so far. The lyrics are cold (“you try to hide I can see that you don’t need me”) yet the skittering vocal samples and the depths of  BANKS’ vocals are warm and encapsulating. As far as new artists go, you don’t get many so confident and self-assured in the early moments of their career. What a class act.

– Sam

Jungle3
1 Jungle – Busy Earnin’

Before embarking on the strenuous journey of the Top 20, the interns knew that it would take something special to earn the top spot of the best song of (half) the year. So what was it about this newly-established UK band that inspired us to make this song our work motto? Mantra, if you will?

This track has something for everyone; polished hip-hop, a touch of dance and a hell of a lotta funk. Its underlying message of ‘busy earnin’’ has an almost dark undertone, evoking the mundanity of life while gloriously juxtaposing this thought with a disco dancefloor-inspired celebration of soul – it’s the Heigh Ho! Heigh Ho! It’s off to work we go of the modern age. You may “never have things for a normal life” and think that “all your time is used, busy earnin’” but you’ve just got to keep on truckin’, keep moving forward. And this track has the ability to inspire you to do just that; get up, move, keep going through the motions of life. The lyrics mirror the monotonous reality of eating, sleeping, working, and repeating (the grown-up version of Eat, Sleep, Rave, Repeat) but, with the assistance of a funky bassline, rhythmic falsetto and shining synths, it shows that it ain’t all that bad and sometimes all you need to do is live life to the fullest and, most importantly, get on that dancefloor and shake dat booty.

– Bianca

 

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Head to page 2 for our individual Top 10s

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Top20_2

Top 20 Songs of 2014 (So Far)

2014 has been full of highlights so far. Kimye finally married, Solange threw a punch at Jay ZLana Del Rey found favour with the critics and Kylie Minogue joined The Voice. Yep, 2014 is making memories one-by-one and to celebrate we’ve put together our Top 20 Songs of the year to date. Call it a soundtrack to the trials and tribulations of months passed and a cheers to the months ahead.

Together we sat down, fought, laughed and cried over our favourite songs of the year. What is immediately apparent is that 2014 has been a year for new artists. Four of our top five artists only released their debut this year and three of the Top 20 are yet to release an album. While many of us had to forego personal favourites in the name of democracy, we’ve attached them for the aural pleasure on the next page.

Hover over the images below and click to scroll down and read our spiel about how each song appeased our little ears in the first half of 2014 or head to the very bottom for our custom-made Top 20 Soundcloud playlist.

PharrellEOFYS

20 Pharrell – Hunter

Of all the songs we could have pulled from Pharrell’s 2014 release Girl, why did we pick Hunter? This song makes you want to hit the town on a Saturday night. In the signature Pharrell Williams style, it offers up a slow blues and catchy swagger brimming with confidence. From the moment we all heard this track, we were hooked.That infectious guitar line that has been stamped across Pharrell’s tracks since Get Lucky is in its purest form here. It’s a song for those on the prowl- stalking around, chest puffed, Saturday Night Fever style.

– Lizzie

stvincentEOFYS19 St Vincent – Digital Witness

A pop song centred around brass. St. Vincent has never been one to follow trends and yet again she’s carved a masterpiece from the oddest of stones. Digital Witness is an extension of the chapter started between her and David Byrne but introduces a new-found attitude that permeates her self-titled album. Upon the album’s release, Annie Clarke said “I wanted to make a party record you could play at a funeral”. Digital Witness is an apparent critique of people’s need to document everything rather than experience. She told Under The Radar “I wrote a will not too long ago, and in it I wrote ‘When I die, I want you to scatter my ashes in the Internet”. No doubt this song will accompany that.

Sam

jamesvincent18 James Vincent McMorrow – Gold

James Vincent McMorrow’s Post Tropical was one of the more surprising releases of the year. After a pretty mundane debut, Post Tropical was a spectacular melting pot of genres from hip-hop to folk and pop. Gold is the centrepiece of that album. The brass instrumentation shines through amongst his flawless falsetto. The staccato in the second chorus rings like a military-call leading the song into a powerful crescendo. Stunning.

Bianca

RobynEOFYS17 Röyksopp + Robyn – Do It Again  

Everyone knows the feeling. The wines flow, the music throbs and bed doesn’t beckon until sunlight. The aftermath is never fun yet it never deters. Do It Again is the perfect anthem for early-morning club dwellers. It’s got a thumping bass-line, lush synths and an uber-melodic bridge that couldn’t be by anyone else but Robyn. The Swedes are yet to screw anything up, ever, so three of them together could only mean good things. The lyrics are almost pain-stakingly obvious but such is the song’s charm. It worked for Daft Punk (One More Time) and it works again here. No need to think about when the drop is. Like a valiant host, Robyn tells you and then unleashes a mighty chorus. The marriage between pop and electronica has never been more glorious.

Sam

PorterrobinsonEOFYS16 Porter Robinson – Lionhearted

Crowned ‘The Hottest Record in the World Right Now,’ by BBC Radio 1’s Zane LoweLionhearted, offers up something completely different to Porter’s usual heavy EDM thumpers. For those who call themselves die-hard Porter Robinson fans, you may not warm to the new sonic territory he is breaking. However, the interns felt that as one of our “Rebels of EDM“, this incredibly talented 21-year old has stepped up to the plate as an exciting artist to watch in 2014. His hotly-anticipated Worlds album is set to be released on August 12, until then, this electro house anthem teamed with Swedish indie-pop band Urbane Cone, offers up a reborn sound peppered with playful melodies, atmospheric vocals and a dancey sentiment.

– Lizzie

glassanimalsEOFYS15 Glass Animals – Gooey

The Alt-J of 2014 had something more to offer- an RnB-inspired swagger that reached under the skin and slid along with its icky lyrics.The title of the track is perhaps the most pertinent depiction of its slippery melody. The mention of perfume, pooh bear and peanut butter further contribute to making this song the most slinky piece of matter since flubber.

Bianca

EOFYS_JessieWare14 Jessie Ware – Tough Love

While Devotion was brilliant, the question was always what Jessie Ware would do next. It turns out all she needed to make was the subtlest of changes. In Tough Love, she reaches for the heights of her vocal range taking us to territory she’s never explored before. With the help of Two Inch Punch and Benny Blanco, she’s delivered a song that ebbs and flows with the most subtle of dynamics. The flurry of synths that greet the second chorus are the perfect climax to a song that could’ve easily flatlined without the right care.

 Sam

sia13 Sia – Chandelier

Beyond having one of the most brilliant visual marketing campaigns this year, Chandelier is an absolute tune. The RnB-tinted verses suggest that Sia had the intention of writing a hit for Rihanna but the chorus crushes that belief. There ain’t no way Rihanna could scale the vocal heights that Sia hits in the chorus’ main hook. It’s a song to drink to, a sequel to R.Kelly’s I Believe I Can Fly and a statement that cements Sia as one of the best pop writers in the game. As far as a pop song goes, that’s three ticks.

Bianca

LANAEOFYS12 Lana Del Rey – West Coast (Zhu Remix)

No one has polarized the interns’ opinions more than Lana Del Rey – as an artist, as performer and as a person. However, on the eve of Del Rey’s new album, Zhu slapped down this baby with impeccable timing, doing her work justice and much, much more. The signature Del Rey nostalgia is replaced with the punchy thump of percussion, killer chopped vocals and effortless hypnotic 3am house energy. While the song remains sultry, oozing sex, sex and more sex – it brings about an overwhelming power to make you want to dance uncontrollably in a club.

Lizzie

chromeoEOFYS11 Chromeo – Old 45s

C’mon, how could you not enjoy this song. It’s catchy, evocative, totally nostalgic for an era we had absolutely nothing to do with and just a good old bundle of fun. I dare you NOT to dance to this baby.

Hannah

zedzdead10 Zeds Dead – Lost You (feat. Twin Shadow)

In our ‘First Impressions’ back in May, we struggled to say a nice thing about this track. look how the turntables have turned. Canadian bass producers Zeds Dead have snuck into our Top 10 with their track Lost You, a nifty collaboration with Twin Shadow and D’Angelo Lacy. This Mad Decent release is just another example of how versatile and ambitious their catalogue of music has become. With the rubbery sound and colourful trippy video to compliment this house anthem, directed by Grandson & Son, prepare to be taken on a psychedelic trip of sonic creativity.

Lizzie

howtodresswell29 How To Dress Well – Repeat Pleasure

It’s true- RnB has been revitalised in a big way. The issue with that is the genre quickly gets crowded with mediocrity. That’s why Tom Krell‘s Repeat Pleasure is such a triumph. His falsetto is flawless while the songs subtle guitar and light-as-a-feather beat allow the melody to be the hero. It’s a touch of Ashanti with a little bit of Baby Face and a hint of Mariah. He keeps it tasteful by putting his own nuanced touches on it. The name doesn’t lie. This one has truly been a repeat pleasure.

Sam

jamirxx8 Jamie xx – Sleep Sound

This is a hazy pink sunset dancing on a darkening ocean just as much as it is first light breaking come morning. It’s with you for the long haul and will see you the whole night through. That vocal sample and RnB edge is an absolute killer combination. Everything Jamie xx touches is pure gold and this is no different.

Hannah

littledragon27 Little Dragon – Pretty Girls

When I first heard Frank Ocean’s Lost last year, I was certain, and let’s be honest, I am still certain, he’d written it exclusively for me. While I don’t have “double D, big full breasts,” I do have a tendency to get “lost in the thrill of it all” and trains and I just don’t get on. Similarly, when I first heard Pretty Girls, it spoke directly to the escapist in me and perfectly crystalised that vulnerable, quivering moment before you grab the bare essentials, cut all ties and dare to run without looking back for fear of getting stuck.

Hannah

laroux6 La Roux – Uptight Downtown

The song that made us all realise we’d actually missed this loveable red head. Uptight Downtown is La Roux saying “Yeah I’ve been gone five years, but a pop song is a pop song and I write a damn good pop song”. Throughout, she strategically places bits and pieces that lure you straight to the dancefloor- the lyric “move, move, move”, the carnivale synth and the Bowie-like guitar riff. A 70s-tinged, spot of brilliance.

Bianca

chromesparks5 Chrome Sparks – Goddess

This song elicits such a strong visceral response. It’s otherworldly in its ability to capture every inch of your mind, body and spirit and take you, full throttle on an intergalactic journey to destinations unknown, before nursing you gently back to earth. It’s rich, dynamic and full of texture and stardust twinkle.

Hannah

chetfaker4 Chet Faker – 1998

This song is everything we’ve come to know and love from our bearded mate, Chet Faker; undeniably smooth and incredibly sexy. I get a little more “swagger” in my walk every time shuffle pulls this gem out… And by shuffle I really mean it’s on repeat. It’s got the right amount of pulse and bounce to keep you moving the whole way home. And that brief moment where you think he’s finally done wondering why you’re no longer “in a circle” before coming back for round two? WOW.

Hannah

EOFYS_Caribou3 Caribou – Can’t Do Without You

We really cannot do without you in our top three Caribou. This track was an instant hit with the interns. Described as the “ninja song” – a song where you think you’ve heard all there is to hear and then all of a sudden (WHAM!), you are hit with a new crystalline layer of sounds. The killer vocal sample kicks, a quiet motif of synth and drums, and an epic crescendo that swells up in the final minute, Can’t Do Without You, leaves you with a climatic eargasm.

Lizzie

EOFYS_BANKS

2 BANKS – Drowning

Without an album to her name, BANKS‘ is the success story of 2014. From Waiting Game to Goddess to Brain, she’s fired out brooding brilliance one after another. Drowning is the standout release from her so far. The lyrics are cold (“you try to hide I can see that you don’t need me”) yet the skittering vocal samples and the depths of  BANKS’ vocals are warm and encapsulating. As far as new artists go, you don’t get many so confident and self-assured in the early moments of their career. What a class act.

Sam

Jungle3
1 Jungle – Busy Earnin’

Before embarking on the strenuous journey of the Top 20, the interns knew that it would take something special to earn the top spot of the best song of (half) the year. So what was it about this newly-established UK band that inspired us to make this song our work motto? Mantra, if you will?

This track has something for everyone; polished hip-hop, a touch of dance and a hell of a lotta funk. Its underlying message of ‘busy earnin’’ has an almost dark undertone, evoking the mundanity of life while gloriously juxtaposing this thought with a disco dancefloor-inspired celebration of soul – it’s the Heigh Ho! Heigh Ho! It’s off to work we go of the modern age. You may “never have things for a normal life” and think that “all your time is used, busy earnin’” but you’ve just got to keep on truckin’, keep moving forward. And this track has the ability to inspire you to do just that; get up, move, keep going through the motions of life. The lyrics mirror the monotonous reality of eating, sleeping, working, and repeating (the grown-up version of Eat, Sleep, Rave, Repeat) but, with the assistance of a funky bassline, rhythmic falsetto and shining synths, it shows that it ain’t all that bad and sometimes all you need to do is live life to the fullest and, most importantly, get on that dancefloor and shake dat booty.

Bianca

Head to page 2 for our individual Top 10s

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