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The 10 Best Songs of 2020
Leaving posted an article in Throwback Thursday2020 may just be the worst year in living memory, but if there's one consolation in all of the chaos it is, as always, music. Although true concerts have been sorely missed in the madness of this year and many projects have faced significant delays while wide-scale lockdowns sweep the globe, that hasn't stopped certain artists from creating and releasing some masterpieces. Whether they're reflecting the mood of dread, isolation and fear prevalent in society or providing us an escape from the horrors of 2020, these ten songs have been the soundtrack of our year on PHF - and what a year it's been. 10. Little Mix - Holiday Submitted By: @Skinny Legend Despite their undeniable vocal prowess and incredible chemistry, Little Mix has always been a little underwhelming in my books when it comes to song choice. Their back catalogue is sprinkled with a couple of fun tracks ('Power' and 'No More Sad Songs' are both bangers), and the occasional brilliant ballad ('Secret Love Song' and their 'Falling' cover are incredible), but their singles are often cheapened by derivative production or boring rent-a-rappers. All that changed with 'Holiday', the second single from their last album as a four-piece Confetti. Leaning hard into the groups pop origins, the song served up a slice of fun, effortless, summery bubblegum pop that was just what the public needed to hear in 2020, filling a gap in the market that's been gaping open since the onslaught of R&B and indie artists in recent years. Little Mix might not look the same in a post-2020 world, but 'Holiday' will still go down as one of their best, most anthemic singles to date and a game-changer for the group. It's just a shame it didn't get as much attention as it deserved on the charts. 9. ionnalee - MACHINEE Submitted By: @coolaideonfire ionnalee had planned to tour North America in 2020 celebrating 10 years of iamamiwhoami (her audiovisual project launched in December 2009), but after these plans were postponed due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic things changed course. In quarantine she announced the KRONOLOGI playlist, a series of previously unreleased songs and alternate versions to be shared weekly as a soundtrack to our isolation, and true to her iamamiwhoami roots she also played two online concerts in the summer months. One was a lowkey affair filmed in the beautiful surroundings of her garden at home for Sweden's National Day celebrations and the other a highly produced event filmed on a remote Swedish island bearing similarities to IN CONCERT (an ambitious online concert streamed by iamamiwhoami in 2010). KONSERT featured guests such as Imogen Heap, TR/ST and Zola Jesus and culminated in the live premiere of ionnalee's latest single 'MACHINEE' - a brooding electronic number with industrial vibes and my highlight of the year. 8. Pale Waves - She's My Religion Submitted By: @blonde-rebellion Avril Lavigne has been my all-time favorite artist practically since birth. The early 2000s were filled with artists trying to emulate her signature pop-rock sound and punk attitude. Listening to the mainstream radio now, it may seem like that style is gone, but look no further than what the new indie girls are doing for some quality Avril-inspired bops. Artists like Snail Mail and Soccer Mommy have been outspoken about the influence Avril has had on their music, but one of the biggest Avril-influenced artists right now is British indie-pop band, Pale Waves. The second single off their upcoming sophomore album, (Who Am I?, due out in February), 'She’s My Religion' sounds like the best of Under My Skin-era Avril. The gothic pop/rock guitar-driven instrumental fits perfectly with Pale Waves’ signature confessional lyrics. The track is an authentic queer love song (made by actual LGBT artists!) with an insanely catchy chorus that features lyrics - “she’s cold, she’s dark, she’s cynical. She’s forever angry at the world” - that will make you say, "Ugh, she’s literally me". 'She’s My Religion' by Pale Waves is everything a pop-rock fan could want in the year 2020. 7. Given - Winter Story Submitted By: @Vixen Eyes I listened to this since October before watching the anime Given and after reading it's manga predecessor (same story events). I loved everything at first listen and not only that but the anime is my fave animation and fave series ever. The EP has five songs and three instrumental tracks (of the five previous songs). The part where the vocalist in the anime sings 'Winter Story' I C R I E D. No — I fucking S O B B E D. The lyrics are about the vocalist's ex boyfriend's suicide after they had a fight and his last words to his ex were, "Are you willing to die for me then?". Let THAT sink in. 6. Charli XCX - Party 4 U Submitted By: @jesuswasaloser Charli XCX announced on April 6 that she would be creating and conceiving an entire album during quarantine using only the resources she had in her LA home and the help of her fans to choose things such as artworks and lyrics. Six weeks later she released how i'm feeling now, one of her best pieces of work to date. The album was created specially for the time we all spent in quarantine and it has some amazing songs where the singer talks about her moments of love and loneliness, but one song in particular is just something else, and that song is 'party 4 u'. This song was already a fan favourite, since it had been played many times before by A. G. Cook in many of his sets, and fans would always ask Charli to release it officially - but as she said in an interview for Apple Music, "it had never felt right before now". It's a simple song, lyrically, that speaks about how Charli only throws a party for one special person, and she hopes that the person "comes through", and hopes that the person will stick by her side through the hard times too. It's a simplistic premise, but during lockdown, where we all had no other choice but to party by ourselves, the song took a whole new meaning. With simple lyrics and production, this song really was like a present for her fans. I know that when I look back at the time all spent locked inside, this album, and especially this song, will be the first thing I remember. And that's why I consider it one of the best songs, if not the best, from 2020. 5. Melanie C - Who I Am Submitted By: @Whoknowsmehere I loved this song from the first time I heard it. I tend to gravitate towards songs where the message is one that hits me right in the feels. And this song is no exception to that. The message of her no longer worrying about what others think about what she has to say - or, who she is - that is exactly how I feel about myself. She is telling people - this is who I am. Accept me or don't, I don't care. I am going to be me regardless of what others say. I love the music that goes along with the song as well. Excellent arrangement. Very easy to listen to, and still be able to pay attention to the message behind the lyrics. Melanie C came back with an amazing overall album in my opinion. 4. BLACKPINK - Lovesick Girls Submitted By: @Capsule On October 2, 2020, BLACKPINK released the third single from their then-upcoming debut full-length album after four years as a group. The track is the first in the group's history to be co-written by members Jennie and Jisoo, as well as being co-produced by Jennie. The song, although being an overall pop banger, has obvious influences from country, folk and EDM. The song details the feelings of pain and heartbreak after a break up, feeling like you're "born to be alone," but also "still looking for love". It's a subject that can relate to a lot of people - we have all experienced some sort of heartbreak and felt like we would be alone forever. The topic has been done to death, yet the group somehow managed to bring a fresh perspective to the table...that is TALENT. The song was well-received worldwide, and also helped the group to break various records through their album promotion. The single won 6 music show awards during its promotion, including three consecutive wins on Inkigayo, which lead to them receiving the Triple Crown award on that show. With help from this single, the group's album became the highest-charting album by an all-female group in the United States since 2008's Welcome to the Dollhouse by Danity Kane. BLACKPINK have proven this year that that they are still a force to be reckoned with in the K-Pop industry and that they don't plan on stopping their domination any time soon. 3. Dua Lipa - Break My Heart Submitted By: @365MM ‘Sophomore slump’? Not a chance! Back in the oh-so-innocent, pre-pandemic era, Dua Lipa was finally releasing her second album, Future Nostalgia. Great new singles had been dropping over the last few months. Sounded promising. Maybe pick it up when it comes out, I thought. Old news now, but then everything was turned on its head. Crazy times. Seemed like there was only constant; “Break My Heart” was the bop everyone was loving at the same time! It really is an amazing combination of a killer dance beat (acknowledged as similar to INXS’ "Need You Tonight"), sublime vocals, and unbelievably catchy lyrics. Great production too, but personally the writing here edges out. It might be a pop song, but the story here is a very mature. An exploration of vulnerability with heartbreak and strength of wisdom out of unsuccessful relationships while still needing to risk it all again in the pursuit of love. I think we’ve all been there. I just wish we could own it as well as Dua. Arguably the best track on an album that proves to be both ridiculously consistent and infinitely playable. No wonder it broke into the tops of so many charts (including entered at number 6 on the UK Singles and peaking at 13 on the US Billboard Hot 100). Perfect dance-pop! And the video? The colors, the set movement, THAT DANCE? In this year with virtually no live concerts, “Break My Heart” was the performance we needed and deserved. Easily top 20 of 2020. 2. Lady Gaga & Ariana Grande - Rain On Me Submitted By: @Skinny Legend Released at the height of COVID-19 lockdowns across the world in May of 2020, 'Rain On Me' was the forerunner quarantine anthem of the year from the moment of its release, even if it was penned months in advance. The self-empowerment lyrics gained new meaning after the struggles that many faced in 2020, with the concept of embracing darkness and pain harkening back to Gaga's 'Marry the Night' days in a beautiful reminder of how to make it through hard times. It further helps that the song is one of Gaga's most rambunctious and high energy in recent years, making it perfect for many late-night lonesome shower disco's that took place over the year. 'Rain On Me' is an important reminder than not only does everyone go through similar struggles, but that these struggles are a lot harder to face when you can celebrate them as the important life-defining moments they are. 1. Kylie Minogue - Say Something Submitted By: @Cypher Released during the middle of the year and well into the global lockdown, Kylie Minogue dazzled the world with a shimmering, anthemic disco pop track. The song took on a life of its own during the pandemic with the line, "Can we all be as one again?". It would mark the beginning of her Disco era, propelling her to the #1 position in the UK, beating out Little Mix's Confetti (who she also voiced support for). With the album having 55 000 chart sales (the biggest opening week of the year), Minogue became the first female artist to score a #1 on the UK Official Albums Chart in five consecutive decades. Minogue has undeniable talent, name recognition, and a vocal prowess to appeal to multiple generations. If you love catchy bass lines and callbacks from the '70s, the song and album are definitely going to be contenders for your own year-end list! Did your favourite track of 2020 make the list? Sound off in the comments below! And from everyone at PHF, Happy New Years - fingers crossed things can only get better from here on out.
Dua Lipa - Future Nostalgia (Mixed Edition)
Ice Prince posted a topic in Recording StudioDOWNLOAD Hi again! This time I decided to make a different type of project than those I usually do (fanmade albums). This time I went on to create a non-stop version of Dua Lipa's latest album Future Nostalgia, so it can be played like a DJ set, without pauses between the tracks. I think the outcome is pretty cool! So if any of you are interested in this type of albums, well, you can grab it above in the link I provided. These files are mastered for iTunes. Enjoy! xx P.S. I have a corrected version for Kim Petras' Turn Off the Light, which original release has small but perceptible pauses between each song. I fixed that issue and might upload it later as well!
Dua Lipa Nabs James Bond Theme SongIn news that will disappoint James Bond fans everywhere, it was revealed today that the most overrated artist of the millenium Dua Lipa has recorded the theme song for the latest entry in the popular series. Although the 25th installment of the franchise starring Daniel Craig has yet to even start filming, it seems that director Danny Boyle has gotten a head start on the music for the film, most likely so that composers can begin fleshing out how it will interact with the rest of the soundtrack. And to general surprise, it turns out that the UK's latest export Dua Lipa has taken on the role of belting out the highly regarded theme song. The news was inadvertently revealed by Years & Years member Mikey Goldsworthy, who let it slip in an interview with BBC Radio 5. Speaking of the coveted placement, he stated, "I thought they'd ask us to do the theme song, but alas, I think it's Dua Lipa doing it." After being questioned if he had exclusively revealed the news, he replied "Am I not supposed to say that? That's what I've heard. I feel bad now, maybe I've ruined everything. Well hopefully, then we can do it!" As most will know, the list of singers who've contributed tracks to the series is hugely impressive, and spans from legends such as Madonna and Paul McCartney to lesser known cult acts such as Sheryl Crow and Garbage. In recent years, however, the Bond team has come under fire for some of it's musical decisions. While Adele's 'Skyfall' was generally well received, tracks such as Jack White and Alicia Keys' 'Another Way To Die' and Sam Smith's 'Writing's on the Wall' have been criticised by many for not living up to the high standards set by previous musicians. These criticisms come amidst news that several high profile artists have had their themes for the series discarded. Amy Winehouse was set to record a theme song with Mark Ronson before her legal troubles made it impossible; Shirley Bassey, who remains the only artist to have recorded more than one theme for the series, had her Quantum of Solace cut 'No Good About Goodbye' scrapped; Radiohead's Spectre demo was similarly shunned; and Lady Gaga and Elton John's rumoured duet for the series failed to eventuate. With all that said, we have to wonder why producers would rub salt in the wound choosing Dua Lipa as a candidate. Lipa is best known for her sleeper hit 'New Rules', and although she has a decent voice her lack of stage presence and versatility makes us question how she's going to be able to pull off the kind of belter that Bond requires. Given that Lana Del Rey is out somewhere in Hollywood with nothing to do but wait for her current sugar daddy to drop dead, we have to question why she wasn't called to the table. Your thoughts?
The 17 Best Singles of 2017
Leaving posted an article in Throwback ThursdayIt's hard to believe it, but 2017 is already coming to an end - and what a year it's been. Between endless headlines of political incompetencies, tragic natural disasters and groundbreaking exposés of sexual abuse, one thing has, like always, remained our constant comfort and saviour - music. Pop in 2017 has been a pretty varied affair, although the running theme has been the odd fusion we predicted last year of country music, tropical beats and EDM drops. It's those undercurrents that birthed some of the most annoying, repetitious songs of the year - 'Despacito', 'Shape Of You' and 'Meant To Be', we're calling you all out - but it's the same sounds that created some of the catchiest, most powerful and most groundbreaking tracks of the year too. In previous years we've run this list as a dictatorship, with the editors telling you our opinions on the best tracks of the year with no external advice sought. This year, we decided to branch out into a democracy by inviting some of our favourite members to submit their songs of the year, limiting our input to just the ordering of each song in a (semi-)ranked list. We hope you enjoy our collection of songs, and that you ring in the New Year's with joy, love, safety and most importantly, lots of music. 17. Lana Del Rey - Tomorrow Never Came (Feat. Sean Ono Lennon) Submitted by @Countess Lana Del Rey's Lust For Life was a marked departure from her debut album Born To Die not just in name, but also in intent; the album was less about Del Rey's own personal demons and more about the demons facing our society in 2017. But that's not to say that the album is impersonal, and 'Tomorrow Never Came' is a stunning example of that. The lyrics are typical Lana, lamenting a lost love through a simple metaphor - "I waited for you in the spot you said to wait/In the city on the park bench in the middle of the pouring rain/You said to meet me out there tomorrow, but tomorrow never came" - but the production is more gentle, hopeful and soft than Lana has explored in her albums before. The song is made all the more heartbreaking due to the song's feature of Sean Ono Lennon, who - as you might have guessed - is the son of Yoko Ono, who famously frequents the memorial to her late husband John Lennon in Central Park as much as she can. The Beatles may never be able to get back together, but if this song proves anything it's that their spirit lives on. 16. Steps - Scared of the Dark Submitted by @coolaideonfire UK pop superstars Steps returned in 2017 to celebrate their 20th anniversary and kicked things off with comeback single 'Scared Of The Dark', their first released since 2012's poorly received holiday album Light Up The World. The single commands the listener's attention immediately with a dramatic string introduction before Faye and Claire, arguably the groups strongest singers, take on its brooding first verse. You'd be forgiven for mistaking the single as a middling ballad at first, but the chorus signals a change in direction as the song explodes into the unashamed brand of pop the band were popular for the first time they entered the charts back in the late 90s. "Scared Of The Dark" should serve as a masterclass for any nostalgic act aiming to stage a comeback so many years after their initial success. The song is clearly cut from the same cloth as the band's biggest hits, and should please any Steps fan (or any fan of 90s pop for that matter), but it doesn't sound dated at all. This is a slice of pop heaven from an equally well produced and pop-heavy album, Tears On The Dancefloor. 15. K.I.D - Elevator Submitted by @Caolicolor 'Elevator' transcended every normcore stan Twitter gay who slept on K.I.D for the past three years into an instant stan. With it's heavy paced, dark, and atmospheric sound, it's a great getting ready to fuck song worth listening to. 14. Kelly Clarkson - Love So Soft Submitted by @Ruthless Love Since September 4, 2002, Kelly Clarkson has been a staple in the music industry. She became the winner of the inaugural season of the now-defunct Fox reality competition series, American Idol (which returns March 2018 on ABC), and has since become one of the most forceful performers in today's generation. Since winning, she signed an immediate deal between 19 Recordings, RCA and S Records and released her debut album, Thankful (2003). Following her debut release and still under her Idol contract (which later became solely associated with RCA), she gave us six additional albums: Breakaway (2004); My December (2007); All I Ever Wanted (2009); Stronger (2011); Wrapped in Red (2013) and Piece by Piece (2015), as well as a greatest hits compilation in 2012. In 2016, Clarkson announced the end of her partnership with RCA, citing the relationship as an "arranged marriage," and signed a deal with Warner Music's Atlantic Records. Under this deal, Clarkson promised us a "soul-influenced" album. And, in 2017, she gave us just that. Meaning of Life marks the first release from Clarkson free from her Idol deal and showcases the singer at her strongest and most secure. The album's first single, 'Love So Soft' proved a departure for Clarkson. Known for giving us angst-driven pop rock songs, 'Love So Soft' is drenched as a soulful R&B track, matched with superior vocals and a confidence that only Clarkson could maintain. It's safe to say that fifteen years after being named our American Idol that Clarkson is still the Idol of our hearts and of the music industry. She is proving to us that she is no longer accepting the idea of conforming to what society and the industry believes a modern day pop star should look, sound and maintain herself as, and is instead doing what she feels is right: being Kelly Clarkson. 13. Katy Perry - Tsunami Submitted by @BlackoutZone Katy's latest record may or may not be a musical masterpiece consisting of "woke" (as she likes to describe them) pop songs and original, groundbreaking, multi-genre efforts, but either way there is one significant track that stands out not only from the rest of the album, but the whole musical scene of 2017. 'Tsunami' is about Katy's magnificent sexual experience with her lover. She compares their love to swimming in open waters and his sexual power hitting her like a tsunami. The track is really well written and Katy totally nails the ocean theme with her beautiful lyrical references, such as: "Anchor in me, and get lost at sea/The world's your oyster/I am the pearl/Open waters/Sink into me slowly." The production is simply marvellous! Mike Will Made It channels typical Tame Impala synths mixed with his usual style and it works perfectly. The dreamy instrumental is building, progressing and flowing like an ocean wave which makes the track delicate yet very haunting. When Lady Gaga announced her collaboration with Kevin Parker, the leader of Tame Impala, which later gave birth to her lead single 'Perfect Illusion', this track is exactly what I expected it to be. Mike recently shared the demo instrumental to the song, and it's interesting to see how the track changed in its production states and hear all the sounds lost under Katy's voice in the final product. 'Tsunami' is undoubtedly my song of the year and Katy's best effort to date, sadly it will probably remain unnoticed by the general public and Grammy committee as I can't see it being released as a single or getting any real success... 12. Aly & AJ - I Know Submitted by @Kim Craig Going into 2017, who'd have known it would finally be the year best friends and sister duo, Aly & AJ, would get their shit together and release an appetiser sized EP, Ten Years, marking the rebirth of their long lost musical career since 2007's Insomniatic. The sister duo returned with a viciously infectious 80's synth pop sound which left heads around the globe bald. My song of the year, I Know, included on this EP release, talks about friendship and the commitment everyone is capable of giving to those in need. With distorted echoes and a fluttering backbeat, I Know offers the best and most valuable piece of music the duo has released since, well, ever. With a full LP due out by Summer 2018, Aly & AJ should be on everybody's radar because they're back to slay. 11. Kesha - Rainbow Submitted by @Ari The past three years have seen a very public and serious legal battle between Kesha Rose and her former producer and manager Dr. Luke over years of alleged sexual assault. After losing her case last year and being denied a retrial, Kesha forged onwards by releasing the massively critically acclaimed album Rainbow on the 11th of August. My favourite song of 2017 has to be the title track off that album. The song begins with a key description of tough times and feelings which are clearly straight from Kesha's heart (she wrote this song all by herself). The song then swiftly moves into an upbeat movement about the good times and how life can and will get better. The live orchestra in the studio along with the background vocals that harmonise with the chorus give it a massively joyful and warm feeling which by the end of it is sure to leave you with a strong buzzing sense inside. In a year where a lot of truths have come out in the industry thanks to the powerful #MeToo movement, I think Kesha gives us a much needed reminder in 'Rainbow' that "in every tunnel, there's always a light at the other end". 10. Miley Cyrus - Malibu Submitted by @Whoknowsmehere After much consideration and re-listening to many songs over the last couple of days, I have come to the conclusion that the one song that just seems to stick with me is be 'Malibu' by Miley Cyrus. It was a tough choice for me between 'Malibu', Shania Twain's 'Life's About To Get Good', Camila Cabello's 'Havana' and Rita Ora's 'Anywhere'. When I first heard 'Malibu' I was not all that thrilled about it to be honest. However, after listening to it numerous times it really grew on me. I think what did it for me was the simplicity of the song and yet how catchy it was. I do not know exactly what message she was trying to get through with the song - we each get different things from it - but what I took away from it is how much she has grown as a person and an artist, and that she may have finally figured out who or what she wants to be. I have to be honest though: if this is the new Miley, a part of me will miss the old Miley. She sure had the entertainment factor down to a science. 9. Odd Eye Circle - LOONATIC Submitted by @nanapop99 While the majority of people don't listen to K-Pop, I've been a fan of this genre for a few years now and I don't think I've been this hooked on a girl group debut since 2NE1. LOONA has a really unique concept which consists of debuting a new member every month with a solo song: for now the label has revealed ten members out of the full twelve (for those who want to hear more, here's a solo song which I really love). The full group has yet to debut but Odd Eye Circle is the second sub-unit of LOONA and it consists of three members. 'LOONATIC' is technically not a single off their EP but it's definitely the song that got me into this group. The moment I listened to it for the first time, I knew that it would be my favourite! It has a very unique sound that I've personally never heard in any other songs and it's also very catchy. The lyrics are kinda difficult to hear and understand but the instrumental is really what's best: it has a really dreamy feel to it that I love. The track was originally released in Korean but they later released an English version as a gift for international fans which you can listen to above. 8. Rita Ora - Your Song Submitted by @Dayfid 'Your Song' is the lead single from Rita Ora's second album which may actually get released and promoted! It's written by Ed Sheeran who provides background vocals and Steve Mac who also produced the track. The best part is that driving intro synth or whatever that thing is with those background snaps that loop throughout the song without getting boring. The song was performed and promoted literally anywhere. It's been performed live 9+ times and has become Rita's most promoted body of work besides her own actual body (along with an acoustic performance uploaded to YouTube with that random writer). Slay, Rita Oral! 7. Kesha - Learn To Let Go Submitted by @Joe "Your past only has as much effect on your future as you want it to." - Kesha, Huffington Post. My song of the year is the one that made me feel the most emotion upon first hearing it. On July 2nd, Kesha released 'Praying', her triumphant return to music. But it’s what she followed up with that truly took my breath away. Kesha has said that 'Learn To Let Go' played a big part in Rainbow as a whole and was one of the first songs written for the album. I vividly remember waking up to the song and music video being released. I immediately broke down crying. I felt like Kesha had written the song just for me. I related to every line. She refers to the bitterness she’s held onto and that there’s this voice that’s always telling her that she isn’t strong, that’s it’s her fault. When in fact, you choose to play the victim or to be the survivor. It’s so easy to give others advice, but to follow it yourself? Not many "practice what they preach" and I’ll admit to this. This song helped me let go of the pain and the hatred I held towards myself for far to long. Back to Kesha...The music video is a collection of home movies and shots of Kesha dancing in a forest. I took the music video as Kesha reclaiming her innocence. Reclaiming who she once was. She dropped the dollar sign and came back better and more real than ever. This song is a testament to just that: accept the shit, accept that it doesn’t define you, accept that you are yourself at the end of the day, and let yourself move on. 6. Selena Gomez - Bad Liar Submitted by @Fetish My song of the year is, by a long shot, 'Bad Liar' by Selena Gomez. With 'Bad Liar', Selena introduced a new image, sound and style to her music and bought an alternative twist to her mostly bubblegum-pop centred discography by sampling one of the best bands of all time, Talking Heads. The song was a huge step for Selena, showing both the general public and her diehard fans that she could explore new sounds and pull them off both brilliantly and effortlessly. The stripped back production and mid-tempo flow of the song accentuates her voice, allowing her to capitalize on her infamously restricted vocal ability; while the lyrics - handled by Julia Michaels, Justin Tranter and Selena herself - are genius, featuring bizarre lines like, "But just like the battle of Troy, there's nothing subtle here." There's also no ignoring the amazing music video which paired with the song, in which Selena plays numerous characters, crafting a fun and interesting storyline while giving the song a whole other meaning. There's no denying that this was easily the catchiest song released this year, and although it was ignored by the Grammy's...It was definitely receiving attention elsewhere, as the song is now Selena's most acclaimed piece of work. 5. Dua Lipa - New Rules Submitted by @Countess I can't lie: before 2017, I had no idea what the hype over Dua Lipa was about or why Kendall Jenner with voice lessons was getting so much online buzz just for looking pretty and having one decent song (her breakthrough sleeper hit 'Be The One'). But then 'New Rules' came along, and everything changed. Backed by a unique production, the song is one of the best examples of the countdown chorus previously attempted by Brooke Candy and Sia and Beyoncé, and it's structured to pop perfection. The only thing that could have made it better is the music video, which with it's instantly Instagrammable scenes of flamingos by the pool and girl power hairbrushing immediately raised the song to memeable status. This one will be hard for Lipa to beat. 4. Lana Del Rey - Love Submitted by @Speedy "I made my first four albums for me, but this one is for my fans and about where I hope we are all headed." That's how Lana Del Rey introduced her latest album Lust For Life, and we couldn't wait to listen to the fan-devoted record. The first introduction to what seemed a new era of Del Rey's approach to music was the lead single 'Love' (initially called 'Young & In Love'), a dreamy song about the new generation of "kids" (as Del Rey calls them in the song) that are mesmerised by the past while surrounded by the future. The only thing that ties them is that feeling of dressing up just to go nowhere because they're "young and in love" - a total shift of perspective for Lana when it comes to the feelings she invests in her songs. There's no characterisation or melodrama here: just a direct approach to a basic human feeling, and a girl with a big bright smile and flowers in her hair, singing happily on the moon, because "it's enough to be young and in love with life". 3. Lorde - Green Light Submitted by @Countess Lorde took a break after the release of her 2013 breakthrough album Pure Heroine, and her absence was sorely obvious to some in the pop music world. But when she returned with the resounding 'Green Light' this year, it made the four year wait completely worth it. The perfect comeback single, 'Green Light' begins with a series of bizzarely personal, vulnerable lyrics such as "I know about what you did and I wanna scream the truth/She thinks you love the beach, you're such a damn liar". The build is up gradual, but it makes that explosive moment when the chorus first drops all the more glorious. Channeling the likes of Coldplay and Florence + The Machine, 'Green Light' is a slice of euphoric pop perfection which sees Lorde dancing through the sadness of a breakup, and it's orchestrated to perfection. If you've been looking for a new workout song, I think you might have found one. 2. Kesha - Woman Submitted by @victorxcx The last few years have been a crazy journey for Kesha, and as fans we naturally wondered how all these events would influence the sound of her third studio album (the first without Dr. Luke’s production). 'Praying', the first single, is for sure an epic song and a triumphant return; but 'Woman' is the bop that we were all waiting for, and the song that shows that while Kesha has grown a lot she still has that sassy attitude that made us fall in love with her back in the Animal days. Given her background, I'd guess that the meaning of 'Woman' is even more powerful than we can imagine just listening to it on the radio or at the clubs. After all the ups and downs, Kesha is stronger and more independent than ever and I’m definitely here for it. The production is pretty amazing as well: I love how laid-back it is, and my favorite part is the laugh before the second chorus and how it evolves to the flawless bridge. 'Woman' was also confirmed as the second official single from Rainbow so I'm hoping it will get the success it deserves (I’ll be definitely streaming and watching the music video all year long!). 1. Rita Ora - Anywhere Submitted by @Cypher A gem from 2017's pop catalogue, Rita Ora sings about finding gem locations "a million miles from LA" with a cherished friend. The beauty of the track is that the subjects referred to could very well be about non-romantic friends. With the world having been through a year of turmoil and natural disasters, this song gives the hope of freedom to the listener for 3 minutes and 42 seconds. The glitched vocals in the chorus give free-range interpretation and emotional fluidity for people seeking a temporary space away from reality. Without having to take a physical vacation, this song takes the listener on a ride through a journey of "fun, a little less fun", and "crowds of empty faces." Running through the woods of Estonia, climbing to a peak in the Alps, roaming the streets of New York, or swimming with sharks off the coast of Cape Town, South Africa, this song has the potential to forever bring you back to those locations long after the trip is over. Take a listen to the song and let your mind roam free. What was your favourite song of 2017? Let us know in the comments below! And for a trip down memory lane, check out the best songs of 2016 and 2015.
The Five Most Anticipated Albums of 2017
Leaving posted an article in New Music MondayIt's a new year in pop music, and already artists are gearing up for their 2017 releases. While we can never be 100% sure what's around the corner nowadays (we can thank Beyoncé and her surprise release strategy for that), we do already have some idea of how the next twelve months in music will play out if all goes according to plan - and from what we can tell, this year will be an even bigger year than the last when it comes to amazing new releases. Check out all you have to look forward to down below! Allie X - CollXtion II The release of Allie X's second EP, CollXtion II, has been a long and convoluted one thanks largely to an ill-advised plan to get fans involved in the creative process. Taking to Spotify, Allie announced her ɄNSOLVED initiative, in which she would post early demos and acoustic versions of her songs so that her fans to vote on which would make the ultimate album cut: we got singles 'Too Much To Dream', 'All The Rage', 'Casanova', 'Old Habits Die Hard' and 'That's So Us' that way. But fans preferred to be involved in other capacities, leaking dozens of songs that potentially have a place on the album in the radio silence that followed each single release. There's definitely enough material out there to make this EP an LP, but it remains to be seen if the project will ever be completed at all. Charli XCX - TBA Charli XCX had ambitious plans for 2016, hoping to release an EP, an album and a mixtape all in the same calendar year; although at the end of the day we only got the EP, the genre-defying Vroom Vroom project. The EP debuted a new sound XCX had masterminded with Tumblr It Girl and PC Music producer SOPHIE, a clash of 90s pop, J-Pop and trip-hop beats which was further showcased in her live performances for tracks like 'Girls Night Out', 'No Angel' and 'Bounce'. So far, though, the only sound we have of the album is the lead single 'After the Afterparty', which stepped away from the alternative sound she had been exploring for a pure bubblegum pop fantasy. Hopefully XCX will manage to tread the line between label desire and personal creativity successfully. Dua Lipa - Dua Lipa Since the release of her debut single ‘New Love’ back in August of last year and the blow up of her breakthrough track 'Be The One', Dua Lipa has captured the hearts of pop fans who prefer a little more substance from their tunes. Although she’s released six more singles and several collaborations since then, Dua’s album has been pushed back majorly from September of last year to February of this year as she focuses on breaking into the US market, so we’re still not sure if she has the chops to pull off a full-length album. Time will tell if she has what it takes! Fergie - Double Dutchess Fergie's second album has been a long time coming since the release of her first solo album, The Dutchess, back in 2006. We've had several false starts so far - from 2014's moderate R&B hit 'L.A. Love (La La)' to last year's hard-hitting hip-hop hit 'M.I.L.F. $' to the recently released reggae-inspired 'Life Goes On' - but from what we can tell Fergie has more than enough tracks for the album and photoshoots and music videos already handled, so a release seems imminent. Her first album was marked by it's variety, and we can expect more of the same here, with a range of collaborators from will.i.am to Mike Will Made It to Dr. Luke to Nicki Minaj all expected to contribute. Iggy Azalea - Digital Distortion Iggy Azalea may not be the most popular girl on the Internet these days, but if nothing else the girl knows how to write a fun tune. Her second album, the interestingly named Digital Distortion, was due for release last year but has been retuned since the commercial failure of the lead single ‘Team’, which only managed a position of #42 on the Billboard Hot 100. Despite that, other tracks (including the promo single 'Azillion' and leaked tracks 'Sexy' and 'Savior') have been confirmed for the album, along with registered titles such as 'Middle Man' and 'I Got That Boom Boom'. Since then, she's headed back into the studio to work with the likes of Zedd and Verse Simmonds on new tracks which are apparently inspired by her newfound sense of freedom and fun as a single woman. Hopefully she'll be able to recapture the magic of 'Fancy'. Katy Perry - TBA Katy Perry’s fourth studio album has been teased mercilessly, with multiple leaks of snippets, the stellar leaked song ‘Witness’ and stand-alone single ‘Rise’ all hinting at possible directions the project might take. If ‘Rise’ and her new nose ring are anything to go by, Katy might be aiming for a more dark-pop sound this time around; although with Max Martin, Savan Kotecha and Shellback all still in the mix for her recording sessions you can expect some more radio-friendly hits like ‘California Girls’ on the way as well. Kesha - TBA Kesha’s long-awaited third studio album was also on last years list of the most anticipated albums of the year, which should be some indication of how long fans have longed for this album. Back then, there was a single called 'Lover' released with Spookey Ruben, along with rumours of a lead single called 'Child of the Moon' which had a "Stevie Nicks-witchy vibe"; although lately Kesha's been working with a country music band called Yeast Infection. Thanks to the lawsuit between her and her accused rapist Dr. Luke which has been dominating most of her life in recent years, the album has been continuously delayed; but Kesha has apparently submitted over twenty two songs to her label for consideration and Sony itself has issued a statement saying that they “hope to share exciting new music with Kesha’s fans soon”. Take that with a grain of salt. Major Lazer - Music Is the Weapon Aside from a few bops that were released in the form of singles, Major Lazer's last album Peace Is the Mission was a bit disappointing in terms of tracklisting, featuring only eight tracks of which about four of them were listenable. Thankfully, the supergroup seems to be taking their time for their sophomore release, and they've already lined up a veritable whos who of pop music for collaborators. The album is set to feature vocals from Justin Bieber, MØ, Ariana Grande, Sia, Nicki Minaj, PARTYNEXTDOOR, Gwen Stefani, Iggy Azalea, Konshens, Benny Blanco, Tinashe, The Weeknd, Travis $cott, Bonnie McKee and Camila Cabello, just to name the works that have already been announced. Do we sense the album of the year coming soon? Rihanna - TBA (#R9) Rihanna’s #R9, the unofficial title fans have already given her upcoming album, seems to have been in the works since at least when the Bajan popstar dashed fans hopes for an ANTI re-relase by confirming she was instead working on something new. Despite this, Rih’s gone uncharacteristically quiet about the release and her planned collaborators, which suggests it might be further away than we originally thought. With upcoming roles in Bates Motel and Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets, however, we know Rihanna will still manage to keep herself busy in 2017. Tove Lo - TBA (Lady Wood Part 2) Tove Lo’s latest album, the inventively titled Lady Wood, was released this year to positive reception - its lead single ‘Cool Girl’ made it to our list of the top ten best songs of 2016, and the album itself made the cut as well - so it’s no surprise that she’ll be moving forward with plans to release a sequel to the album, which according to her has already been finished. Lady Wood was split into two parts - ‘Fairy Dust’ and ‘Fire Fade’ - and we can expect more of the same with this one, which will apparently be split into 'Light Beams' and 'Pitch Black'. Our only concern is one of variety - Tove’s already covered the highs and lows of love and drug addiction with her last album, and we’re not really sure where she’s going to go with this one. Still, given how talented of a songwriter she is (Tove has written songs for stars like Hilary Duff, Ellie Goulding and Girls Aloud), we’re pretty positive she’ll make it work somehow. Nelly Furtado - The Ride Nelly Furtado's been almost completely absent from the popular charts since the release of 2007's groundbreaking Loose, the album which spawned singles such as 'Maneater' and 'Promiscuous' and which made her a household name. Despite that, she's still been quietly releasing songs which range from the Spanish-language 'Manos Al Aire' to the hip-hop inspired 'Big Hoops' to last years collaboration with Blood Orange, 'Hadron Collider'. She's set to make a comeback this March with her album The Ride, which seems to harness a new experimental sound thanks to a partnership with producer John Congleton. The lead single 'Pipe Dreams' is already out: check it out here for a sample of the project. Zara Larsson - TBA When she's not talking about how much she hates men, Zara Larsson can occasionally release some pretty good pop songs: and hard as it is to believe given her age, she's released plenty of them, with a debut album and several EPs already under her belt. She's set to make her international debut this year with her new album, which already has the hits 'Lush Life', 'Never Forget You' 'Ain't My Fault' and 'I Would Like' to back it up. Apparently there's only one more single to go before the albums released, so you can expect this one to pop up on our radars pretty soon. And there's more... Also coming this year are albums from Bonnie McKee (the project may or may not be connected to her recent 'Stars In Your Heart' single, which was recorded several years ago), Kanye West (Turbo Grafx 16, which was announced as soon as work on his last album wrapped up but which has been put on pause as he recovers from his well publicised mental breakdown last year), Kiiara (her first full length album, led by single 'Dopamine'), Melanie Martinez (her yet to be titled second album which has already been completed), Rita Ora (her long-awaited second album) and Terror Jr (their first, which may feature songs 'Trippin' and 'heartbreaks'. Plus, they may not have been officially confirmed yet, but we've been dropped hints by artists like Aly & AJ, Kylie Minogue, Lana Del Rey and Nicki Minaj that new music from them is imminent. Which album are you most looking forward to in 2017? Let us know your thoughts down below?
Dua Lipa: The Voice In Your Head
Leaving posted an article in New Music MondayYou may not have heard Dua Lipa's name, but you almost definitely know her songs. With a deep, husky tone that sounds like a less pained Amy Winehouse or a grown up Gabriella Cilmi, Lipa's voice seems custom-made for radio, which explains why her songs have been blowing up all over the airwaves for the past year. And with each single launching her further and further into pop super-stardom, we think it's probably a good idea for everyone to listen back to all her previous single releases and get used to the voice that will likely be in our heads for years to come. Lipa's debut single was the stomping electro-ballad 'New Love', a foray into dark-pop that would define the sound of all her future releases. Produced by Emile Haynie (best known for his fusion of R&B, blue eyed soul and pop on Lana Del Rey's Born To Die album), the track created buzz online but failed to make any impact on the charts. It wasn't until the follow-up single, 'Be the One', that a major label push allowed Lipa to chart internationally, hitting #1 in Belgium, Poland and Slovakia and charting highly throughout Europe, New Zealand and Australia. Using her debut single's formula of spare synth instrumentation, repetitive chorus, and pounding bass, Lipa slurs her way through the song like a drunk Adele, hitting the higher notes with an emotional strain that's perfect to scream at the clubs. 'Last Dance', the next track to be given single treatment, ups the tempo even more with a dance-floor ready beat and a distorted vocal in the post chorus worthy of Major Lazer themselves. But surprisingly, the track emulated 'New Love' in it's failure to chart. Perhaps it was just making way for 'Hotter Than Hell', which will by all accounts be Lipa's breakthrough. "He calls me the devil/I make him wanna sin," she murmurs seductively over a pulsating bassline before leaping into her most radio friendly chorus yet. With it's lighter production and a video that seems to be completely formed from a selection of Tumblr gif sets, it's no surprise that the single has charted at #15 in the UK, making it her first entry on the chart. She may not have too many songs yet, but for a girl of only 20 years old Lipa has already made a huge impact with her somewhat limited output. All four songs are set to be released on Lipa's much-anticipated and often pushed back self-titled debut album due out in February of next year; while the English born, Albanian heritage star will spend the remainder of this year touring throughout England and Europe. And while it's yet to be seen if she has enough strong material to support an entire album's worth of bops, the consistency and steadiness in her releases seems to indicate that she's found her own style, even without a full length project to back it up. What do you think of Lipa? Does she have what it takes to be the next big thing in pop or is she just more of the same? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!