In the spirit of good (musical) cheer and (maybe over-)sharing, I’ve compiled a nice (with some delightfully naughty bits in the 1st and 3rd singles) (play)list of my most fave pop and electronic tracks of this past year. Hopefully at least some of the songs will jingle of your bells.
1. What We Wish We’d Said by SEPHA.
Yes, that title is a mouthful, but this avant-pop number is a cheekily droll morsel to chew on, filled with SEPHA.’s sly vocal delivery and a sporadic bouncing-ball beat. Its accompanying video is wickedly sexy and thought-provoking as an alternate take on gender and identity.
2. Work It by Madison
Electro-pop artist Madison (find her online with keyword ‘noiseofmadison’) rocks with on-fire singles that blaze with relevant themes about women’s equality and empowerment. It may sound serious, but Madison gets the (music) party started with vibrant, catchy, and dynamic tracks.
3. Flip by Dolores Haze
Named after the (in)famous character in Vladimir Nabokov’s classic novel Lolita, this Swedish trio mashes defiantly punky attitudes with cool and stark pop and electronic formats. On this track they mix noir electro-pop with a staccato hip-hop vocal delivery to refreshing effect.
4. Golden Moses – Pixel Grip
Snarkily fun band name aside, on this number the synth-pop band assuredly grab hold of both eager ears with a gritty, stark, and dark synthwave sound punctuated by brighter elements and graced with deceptively sweet female vocals.
5. Lust/Terror by WHOLE
There’s a whole lot to love on this duo’s (composed of Germans Alexander Leonard Donat (Vlimmer, Fir Cone Children) and Thomas Schemikau (Forced Movement)) recent electronic/industrial/ambient LP BIAS, including this ominous, yet airy darkwave earworm.
6. Everlastingly Yours by Piroshka
A dream-pop/indie rock fantasy come true, this new band is made up of Miki Berenyi of Lush, Moose of, ummm…, Moose, Mick Conroy of Modern English, and Justin Welch of Elastica. This sweeping and stellar symphonic pop number with bleak lyrics (from Moose) is the debut single from the act.
7. Bend the Night by Feel Freeze
On this trans-empowering ballad, the Danish electro-/synth-pop duo deliver a message of love and hope for individuals who don’t fit the cookie-cutter mold of the majority. Raymonde Gaunoux’s angelic vocals radiate with warm longing amid Mathias Vinther Lilholt’s luminescent synth waves.
8. Just A Game by Cathedrals
This downtempo (well, at its very beginning) symphonic pop single entrances with a slowly unfurling pace that eventually flowers with captivatingly operatic and emotionally vulnerable female vocals. Absolutely stunning.
9. A Broken Person’s Game by Primer
Similar in title to the previous song, but with thematic extension and stream-of-consciousness lyrics, this one flows with glowing synthwave diffusion and rich, deep, crestfallen vocals from singer-songwriter and producer Alyssa Midcalf (Parts).
10. When You Grow Up, Your Heart Dies by Gunship
Say it ain’t so, ‘cause we’re all getting older by the second… although maybe some of us don’t ever really ‘grow up’ and remain in a childhood dreamworld state that this outfit expertly encapsulates on their retro-‘80s synthwave compositions (and ‘80s films-collage videos) that enthrall.
Written by: Jen Dan