Monday, December 10, 2018

Favorite Songs of 2018 (Part Three)

Happy holidays and m(ariah)erry C(arey)hristmas, everyone. It is not only time for us all to get holly, jolly, merry, and bright, but also time for us to compile all of the tracks that made this year a bit more enjoyable. For reference, one musical act is allowed to have only one track on the countdown. Below is the third set of songs in the countdown; click the links to see part one and part two, and check back for the rest of my list in the coming days.

15. "I Want You" by MØ

"I Want You" is a double-underlined pop gem that bleeds an overwhelming emotional exuberance over a new love. MØ is so exuberant, in fact, that she falls uncontrollable: "I want you, and every single thing you do makes me want to put my phone down, burn this fucking house down," she sings, delivering a killer chorus with a jagged voice, unable to cut clean down the center. Her rasp adds texture over the synthesized geysers that spout beneath her, making for one of this year's most interesting sounding pop anthems.

14. "Short Court Style" by Natalie Prass

On "Short Court Style," Natalie Prass melds spurts of tight-knit harmonies, a subdued lounge backbone, and a quaint pop melody into an infectious, genre-exempt number. By cross-breeding the thick harmonies of the 1950s and the slinky production of the 1970s, it listens as a timeless, stock-build love song. Much of Prass' sophomore record is a modest protest record, but this track sidesteps the sociopolitical climate to celebrate love, which is tested by the small things but prevails through it all.

13. "Lower the Tone" by Rae Morris

Rae Morris may have delivered the most polite suggestion of mutually desired sexual advances to come from pop music... like, ever. Her digitized voice tiptoes – then dances – across the track as a minimalist beat skitters beneath her: "Shower me with kisses. The way your breath against my skin makes the hair of the back of my neck stand tall... feel like I’ve not felt before now," she oozes through a haunting harmony before a ringing synth line breaks into the soundscape.

12. "We Appreciate Power" by Grimes feat. HANA

On her last studio record, Grimes showed a new interest in more organic means of music production – namely, with the guitar. And now, she has given us "We Appreciate Power," a heavy electric upgrade that makes "Flesh Without Blood" sound as if it was made with a crummy secondhand guitar bought from Craigslist. Although it's perhaps more reliant on HANA than Grimes for the lead single to Grimes' record, it's still a kick-ass track about... transhumanism? (A certain irritating billionaire is shook.) Go ahead: Dance, scream, and praise the world's most powerful computer.

11. "Science" by Allie X

Now three albums deep into a career, Allie X finally feels like a bona fide, all-caps pop star. The starry synthesizers and warbling vocals on “Science” convey her after hours, lit only by the street lamps as she cruises with her well-worn stereo blaring. The track's most fulfilling moments – the "We just kno-oh-oh-oh-oh-oh-ow how" and "windows ro-oh-oh-oh-oh-oh-oll down" runs in the chorus – spark a fire in the dusky soundscape and concrete "Science" as a new career highlight for Allie X.

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