Top tracks of 2018 #1 – Childish Gambino, Idles & BC Camplight

Richard

I suspect we will only be able to make sense of the unprecedented times we are living in when they are firmly in the rear view mirror. Most music artists either don’t know how to tackle current issues or don’t want to. Music does indeed play a role in lifting us out of bad times and quite a few of my choices this year have reflected that desire. However, after only a few listens / views to ‘This Is America’ this summer, there was little doubt in my mind it is an historic piece of music. With over 447 million YouTube views since release it is easily the most ‘successful’ of any track I have posted across the last six years.

I’ve been a follower of Donald Glover’s work since he left the role of Troy in the US comedy Community to ‘pursue other projects’, a statement that may have been viewed sceptically at the time. Given those projects include three best selling albums, the hit series Atlanta and Lando Calrissian, he certainly has done better than Chevvy Chase, the other early Community departure, but therein lies a whole other story.

So, along with Andy, Roy and Ian’s choices below, that wraps things up for another year. Thanks to my fellow travellers for keeping this Christmas tradition alive: we will see you hopefully in the summer for one of our themed playlist projects.

Ian

No surprise, ‘This Is America’ is also my #1. Little more to add to Richard’s comments other than to note that the video is from regular (“Atlanta”/Childish Gambino) collaborator Japanese-American filmaker Hiro Murai. The video includes clever call outs to the Jim Crow character (and the related racist segregation policies), visual metaphors touching on various aspects of #BlackLivesMatter and the specific image of a church choir attacked with an assault rifle, the release unleashed a much needed debate on the various social and civil rights problems that continue to afflict America. We will still be talking about this song and video for many years to come.

Andy

My number one is a track that has already been featured in the run-down

– by Richard, I believe. As he’s already mentioned, it’s about a Ukraninian immigrant and friend of the band. So, not too much to add except to say, in a year when this country’s relationship with Europe has rarely been out of the news, I feel as though it’s a particular poignant and worthy chart-topper. The chorus takes me back 40 years to another uncertain time when lyrics like this were more commonplace…

Fear leads to panic, panic leads to pain

Pain leads to anger, anger leads to hate

Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, ah, ah, ah, ah

Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, ah, ah, ah, ah

Right, I’ll leave you to tut under your breath as we head off into 2019. Merry Christmas to one and all!

Roy

There are tracks I like , many that I don’t or just pass me by leaving no impression at all; its very rare these days to hear something that just stops me dead in my tracks in a “wtf was that” moment. My #1 for 2018 did exactly that and continues to do so. A quite astonishing, innovative and unclassifiable track from an album about deportation – in this particular case a US citizen, being deported from Manchester. The album ‘Deportation blues’ is a weird amalgam of PiL, The Fall and Krautrock; with this Clock DVA mets the Eels with Pat Benatar-like backing vocals as the outstanding track. #1 BC Camplight ‘I’m Desperate’

6 thoughts on “Top tracks of 2018 #1 – Childish Gambino, Idles & BC Camplight

  1. No surprise, this is also my #1. Little more to add to Richard’s comments other than to note that the video is from regular (“Atlanta”/Childish Gambino) collaborator Japanese-American filmaker Hiro Murai. The video includes clever call outs to the Jim Crow character (and the related racist segregation policies), visual metaphors touching on various aspects of #BlackLivesMatter and the specific image of a church choir attacked with an assault rifle, the release unleashed a much needed debate on the various social and civil rights problems that continue to afflict America. We will still be talking about this song and video for many years to come.

    1. No surprise that Childish Gambino appears as a #1, seems to be the ‘go to’ popular choice. A eeally great video and Donald Glover is obviously a very fine actor; however the track is not particularly original being a rip-off of Jase Harley’s ‘American Pharaoh’. Totally disagree that artists are not tackling current issues, 2018 has seen a significant outpouring of pinpoint, agit-prop and social commentary across genres; quite a few included in this countdown. As a great example, this arrived too late to include in my 20 but is by degrees lyrically and sonically superior to ‘This Is America’

      1. To clarify when referring to artists not tackling the current crises I guess I really meant major artists. That may be because issues like Brexit and globalisation do not divide along usual left/right or social class lines so with the US and UK split into entrenched camps, artists may be unwilling to alienate potentially half of their fans…

  2. My number one is a track that has already been featured in the run-down
    – by Richard, I believe. As he’s already mentioned, it’s about a Ukraninian immigrant and friend of the band. So, not too much to add except to say, in a year when this country’s relationship with Europe has rarely been out of the news, I feel as though it’s a particular poignant and worthy chart-topper. The chorus takes me back 40 years to another uncertain time when lyrics like this were more commonplace…

    Fear leads to panic, panic leads to pain
    Pain leads to anger, anger leads to hate
    Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, ah, ah, ah, ah
    Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, ah, ah, ah, ah

    Right, I’ll leave you to tut under your breath as we head off into 2019. Merry Christmas to one and all!

  3. There are tracks I like , many that I don’t or just pass me by leaving no impression at all; its very rare these days to hear something that just stops me dead in my tracks in a “wtf was that” moment. My #1 for 2018 did exactly that and continues to do so. A quite astonishing, innovative and unclassifiable track from an album about deportation – in this particular case a US citizen, being deported from Manchester. The album ‘Deportation blues’ is a weird amalgam of PiL, The Fall and Krautrock; with this Clock DVA mets the Eels with Pat Benatar-like backing vocals as the outstanding track. #1 BC Camplight ‘I’m Desperate’

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