Looking back I realise that in 2018 I have moved so much over to streaming that I bought no downloads and only actually bought one music CD – The Deconstruction by Eels. That still sits on a shelf with the shrink wrap on as I had to buy it to get presale tickets for their tour. Well worth it as it was one one of the gigs of the year. Eels are no strangers to my end of year lists over the years, but this may be ‘their’ highest placing yet.
#6 is from Aussie ingenue Amy Shark. Her debut album this year “Love Monster” has stormed the Australian charts and award seasons, having just won best album, best pop release, best female release and best producer at this year’s ARIA’s (Aussie Brit Awards). I think there will be an entire generation of people born between 1997 and 2002 (now roughly 16-21) who will see the album’s songs of love and loss as the soundtrack to their first significant romances (perhaps, as Fleetwood Mac’s “Rumours” was for me). As a lyricist she has a catchy way of capturing the interesting and incidental vignettes of current or lost relationships. For example, a snatch from her song “Don’t Turn Around”:
You just never know
We might dance slow
At somebody’s wedding that we used to know
At a picture show, at a funeral
You’re two rows behind me and it’s hard to not turn around
(Bringing up the past starts a real big fire)
(Make a girl fly like a bird on a wire)
As the awards attest, there have been numerous hit singles from the album. While “All Loved Up”, a collaboration with Taylor Swift’s producer Jack Antonoff, is probably the biggest seller, my favourite and #6 on this festive list is the duet she sings with Mark Hoppus of Blink-182, “Psycho”
(Sadly no video just a lyric presentation).
My number 6 is from the middle of three EP’s released this year by this Dublin quintet. Fizzing post-punk intensity, married with the Irish traits of strong tunes and rich lyricism; with this track containing my favourite lyrics of the year:
” A sell-out is someone who becomes a hypocrite in the name of money
An idiot is someone who lets their education do all of the thinking
A phony is someone who demands respect for the principles they affect
A dilettante is someone who can’t tell the difference between fashion and style”
#6 Fontaines DC, ‘Chequeless Reckless’
I’ve always had a penchant for electronic music, and the impact that Nils Frahm has had this year has already been noted. This next artist complements Frahm well, although his electronic music, certainly in his latest album “Singularity”, is much more dance-oriented. I could quite easily have gone for the title track but in the end plumped for the one below, and I’ve also gone for the shortened version, rather than the 10 minute version on the album – which I also heartily recommend.