It’s the final day of the year, and here is my final countdown, too.
Music is practically as essential to me as oxygen, an ever-present part of my life that I am grateful for each and every day. For me, the ability to create and appreciate music is one of the most significant aspects of being human that separates us from all other species on the planet. We are the luckiest of creatures.
So here they are, in no particular order, Blue Jai’s Top 5 Songs of 2018:
1. Superstar by IV League (AUS)
This is the kind of song that makes me feel alive every time I listen to it. There’s something about the guitar-driven sound of this Melbourne-based four piece that makes you want to move (dance on top of a bar even), to sing along at the top of your lungs (though props to you if you can match Bella Venutti’s vocals). Unearthed on Triple J a couple of years ago, these guys know garage rock and they do it damn well.
2. The Comedown was Real by Drapht (AUS)
Perth hip hop artist Drapht comes through with this sweet number that gets stuck in your head as much as it gets your toes tapping. There’s a lot to love about this track, not least the lyrics, which are pretty funny and reference everything from John Lennon and Yoko Ono to Tom Cruise’s couch-jumping episode on Oprah. This song never fails to bring a smile to my face.
3. All The Time by The Kooks (UK)
I don’t know how many hundred times I’ve listened to this song this year. Somehow it brings together disco with an eighties glam feel and makes something shiny and bright and as close to over the top as you can get without going over the edge. The Kooks have at least three fans in our household of four, and this song from their latest album “Let’s Go Sunshine” gets our vote.
4. Bubblin’ by Anderson .Paak (USA)
The story goes that when Anderson .Paak heard the hook that inspired this track it brought his mind straight to James Bond. In an interview he described Bubblin’ as “some black 007 action adventure high speed chase type of music”, and believe me he delivers just that. I haven’t included the video to this one as it’s not entirely kid friendly, but I can assure you it’s so OTT that it does the song justice. Even the zebra. Especially the zebra.
5. Fool’s Gold by Jack River
This is another song that’s been on high rotation at ours this year, along with a bunch of other tracks from Jack River’s debut album “Sugar Mountain”. I suspect you’d be hard pressed to find a person who couldn’t find one song on that album to like, but I have a soft spot for several of them. This is Aus Pop at it’s best, delivered by the woman who also had the chutzpah to curate the Electric Lady Festival and then turn it into an entire world, “a platform to amplify the strength of women in music, politics, science, sport and beyond.” We need more Jack River!
Honourable Mentions this year are perhaps too numerous to mention. Lana Del Ray’s Mariners Apartment Complex (USA) very nearly made the final cut, but five is five and Jack River snuck in instead.
I have to say that I loved a whole pile of homegrown Australian music in 2018, like Hatchie’s Bad Guy, Gretta Ray’s Radio Silence and Kira Puru’s Molotov, and I’m looking forward to delving deeper into Matt Corby’s, Tash Sultana’s and RÜFÜS DU SOL’s new albums over the summer. I suspect Ziggy Alberts, City Calm Down, Mallrat, Phantastic Ferniture and Baker Boy wil be getting a spin, too.
I’ve also enjoyed songs from elsewhere, like Jungle’s Heavy, California (UK), Grouplove’s Welcome to Your Life (USA), Aurora’s Queendom (Norway), Bill Ryder-Jones’ And Then There’s You, and Poppy Ackroyd’s beautiful instrumental piece Paper (both UK).
And just for fun here a my Top Five Throwbacks for 2018 — oldies but goodies I’ve been getting into again:
- Machu Picchu by The Strokes
- Country Grammar by Nelly
- She’s a Mystery to Me by Roy Orbison
- Bad Decisions by Two Door Cinema Club
- Revival by Deerhunter
So that’s a wrap for 2018, folks! Hit me with your top tunes…I’m sure to find something I love in the mix.
And all the best for a 2019 full of all the best that can be found in books, on screen and in music.
I’ll have to check these out. I’m so bad about paying attention to new music on my own, but I enjoy discovering new sounds through recommendations.
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There’s a heavy Australian bias — but I think that’s understandable?!