Now playing: “Pretty Thoughts” by Galimatias & Alina Baraz
As 2014 draws to a close, I’m not only in disbelief at how quickly it’s gone (or do I feel like this every year?), but also at how it’s been a year of change.The first half was hell, the second half a lot better. Now I’ve experienced my first term at uni, I realise how much I hated being at school. I struggled – there was no sense of freedom whatsoever, I wasn’t studying the subjects I liked, I was rubbish at working under time pressure. But coming to uni was the complete opposite. It’s corny but true that uni kind of gives you the opportunity to be yourself, and I feel more “myself” than I’ve ever been.
On another note, 2014 has been full of great album releases, ones that have helped me through the year. Here are my favourites (in brief – I mean, do I look like a music critic?):
“Liminal” by The Acid
The Acid seamlessly combines delicious electronic bass with a Radiohead-flavoured vocal tenderness whilst guitars float melancholically. It’s really nice to listen to if you’ve ever been interested in Brit electronic pioneers like The XX, James Blake and Thom Yorke’s other project Atoms for Peace.
“So Long, See You Tomorrow” by Bombay Bicycle Club
I think this is hands down Bombay’s best album – or at least their most experimental and flavourful. Their combination of sounds – a musical concoction of instrumentation, less reliance on guitars as they have done in previous albums, seem to cleverly weave in a homage world music, whilst still remaining to their melodic roots. A real treat to listen to – if you didn’t think you liked Bombay, listen to this and think again.
“The Unknown” by Dillon
One of my favourite albums to listen to, the album title is apt – Dillon is “unknown”, and the underlying theme behind this musical masterpiece does seem to explore the unknown. This is done through its composition; Dillon’s bare, fragile vocals, at first reminding me a little of Lykke Li’s, but still unique, paired with sparse instrumentation – piano chords appearing here and there, moody bass and electronica glitching in the distance…it’s minimal. The lyrics in each song tell me this music is for reflection and contemplation. Listen if you like James Blake (again, haha).
“Ultraviolence” by Lana Del Rey
Was very, very excited when I heard early this year that Lana would be releasing a new album. The title intrigued me; I had no idea what to expect. Ultraviolence is a gorgeous combination of soft rock, Del Rey’s GODDESS voice and the theme of money, corruption and power. It neglects the theatrical hip-hop glamour of Born To Die in exchange for something sadder. Del Rey portrays a disheartened seductress; her vocals are still as luscious as ever but they’re hushed. Ultraviolence is ethereal, dreamy and nostalgic, but dark undertones prowl throughout the album nevertheless.
“Tremors” by SOHN
The first track off of Tremors, “Tempest”, already has me looking forward to the rest of the album. SOHN’s smooth falsetto, along with an electronic feast of rhythms and synthetic melodies (hello, James Blake), subtle Auto-tune tweaking (hello, Bon Iver) comes together for a crisp and impressive production. The songs, which are actually memorable (thanks to the pop structure), create a serene atmosphere of cool. A masterful piece of work.
“No Mythologies To Follow” by MØ
I listen to this album religiously. It’s versatile glitchy electro-pop with guts, but elsewhere bluesy songs like “Never Wanna Know” show off MØ’s sultry vocal ability. Loaded with guitar riffs, ecstatic shouts and cheers, and siren-like harmonies, No Mytholigies To Follow is empowering, uplifting and full of sass – a “fuck you” to the “haters”.
I look forward to what 2015 has to come (like, I turn 20 years old :O), and I wish you a happy New Year!