Undoubtedly one of Norway’s biggest pop exports in recent years (she’s amassed over 2 billion streams to date), Astrid S has released new album ‘Leave It Beautiful‘ today, and each song is a shimmering slice of perfected synth pop (just like ‘Hits Different’, which is one of my personal favourites).
I think I speak on behalf of a lot of people around the world when I say that this year was messy. I don’t know about you, but for me, nothing seemed to be straightforward over the last twelve months. So this year’s Random List should be interesting…
Astrid S – Emotion. I have surprised with myself on this one. Since it’s release a couple of months ago it’s had 110 plays. I like the idea that the song balances between a retro and kitsch vibe and spins it into a more current twist with a soulful edge. Then there was the (bonkers) performance of the song on Norway’s equivalent of the Brits which gave it another fresh take…
This has been the year for Troye Sivan. We started 2018 with this understated pop banger and the hits came through over the next twelve months. Managing to balance commercial pop with the slickest delivery, I really can’t wait to see what’s next for this kid.
I haven’t had the time to go out as much in 2018 but if there’s one gig that’s stuck with me then it has to be Daniel Adams-Ray (also known as ‘Human’ and one half of ‘Snook’) earlier this month. He’s unheard of outside of Scandinavia since most of his hits are in Swedish, but he is one of the reasons why I fell in love with Scandi music as a kid. In a venue almost entirely full of Swedish millennials in east London, his setlist spanned his entire career and more than anything made me realise that: A – I am weird, and B – that Swedes still push pop’s boundaries pretty hard.
MOST UNDERRATED K-POP BANGER
(G)I-DLE – HANN. In what’s been K-Pop’s breakthrough year, this one song didn’t get as much love as I think it should have. I know it’s been viewed 38-million times on YouTube, but that’s barely anything for the genre these days. Anyway – it’s a strong pop track with a strong essence of melancholy that you wouldn’t expect from K-Pop.
BIGGEST SUCCESS STORY
TEN Music Group. For those of you who aren’t too familiar with Swedish pop, TEN is the powerhouse behind Zara Larsson (and damn, what a huge year she’s had). Take a look at their other roster of artists because I genuinely believe they are the new wave of Scandinavian talent… Keep an eye on Felix Sandman‘s unique vibe in particular…
Jeremy Zucker. While still relatively unknown, I have nothing but total love for this talent. Give the track above a spin, it’s really quite special.
Female Soloists! This was the year we saw talents like Dua Lipa, Ariana Grande, Zara Larsson, Rosalia, Robyn make a huge impact. Not only through the release of consistent hits, but also through reminding us that we can all be strong even through turbulent times that make us vulnerable.
MOST DESERVING OF A BIG BREAK
Grace Carter. While Grace has been put on the longlist for BBC’s Sound of 2019, I’m not sure how likely she is to win it in January 2019. I, however, would love to see her become a huge success over the next twelve months.
And that, friends, is the Random List for the year. I can’t wait to keep sharing new music with you, and as always, thank you for following the site!
For previous editions of The Random List, head here.
Another irresistible single from one of Norway’s finest, Astrid S.
I mean… Seriously… The stage production on this is MENTAL. So much love for Astrid S. The concept is simple – just use a green screen and dress some dancers in the same colour, but the effect is random as hell.
I might tip the boat and say something controversial but this has so far been my favourite song to come out of Norway in 2018. Probably the whole of Scandinavia maybe. Anyway, here’s the visuals.
Welcome back Astrid S! This is so damn good! It bounces between old-school Royksopp and Daft Punk. Am I the only one that feels that? Anyway… So good!
Now in it’s sixth edition (yep… I’ve been around that long), my Random List seems to be the most visited post on this blog every ear.
Due to life being hectic I haven’t had much time to reflect on the last twelve months much, but I feel that while people are claiming new music is losing it’s direction – well, it’s good to shake things up every so often.
I’ve found myself mostly being drawn to pop in 2017, although there was a lack of those ‘massive’ hit singles that we usually see in previous years. Nonetheless, credit given where it’s deserved…
Banger Of The Year
The older I get, the more I start to dig Justin Bieber. I don’t know why. It is what it is. I think this is one of the best radio hits of the year.
Trend Of The Year
Hot British guys who manage to blend RnB with soul and funk, each of them in a very unique and painfully cool way. You’ve got Zak Abel, SG Lewis, Tom Misch, Toulouse, Louis Mattrs, Jarreau Vandal… The list goes on. And actually, I am near obsessed with each of these guys.
Scandi Country To Have Perfected Pop
Norway (they managed this accolade back in 2015 as well). I mean it couldn’t be anywhere else this year. In the last year we’ve seen some excellent music from Astrid S, Sigrid, Dagny, dePresno, Smerz… The country even has it’s own museum dedicated to pop (it’s the cool building you see up there). That’s saying something. Check out my full list of Norwegian talent here.
Most Tear-Jerking Music Moment
Portugal’s Salvador Sobral winning Eurovision this year. Whatever you think of this TV show, the kid (who was struggling with heart problems) single handedly commanded a huge arena and a whole world to listen to this blissful and simple melody.
Best Track Not Sung In English
Cezinando’s ‘Håper du har plass’ is undoubtedly my most loved song of the year. Entirely in Norwegian (see, Norway getting another mention on the same List), this mellow hip hop sound mixed with some strings had me emotional all the way through. I still feel warm when I listen to it now. And it took his home country by storm too. Just look at the love from the crowd on this…
Jessie Reyez put on a very short set at London’s tiny Miranda venue back in May this year, and the buzz in the room was inspiring. Powerful vocals, intensely sharp lyrics and beautiful melodies.
Yep – Swedish music had to make an entry on this list somewhere. I honestly don’t know what the deal is with We The Kids aside from the fast that they released this great piece of Scandi pop earlier in the year, and that they came from the Tenacity label which is run by mega-important Swedish production company Ten. Believe it or not, this clocked up 170 plays on my iTunes since July so I really hope more comes in 2018!
Likely To Be Huge In 2018
This is a tricky one because there’s a few on my radar. I think a safe bet will be the UK’s Tom Walker. I’ve seen him live a few times this year and I honestly think he has great mainstream appeal.
But I also want to mention a Danish talent called Maximillian, who’s been on my radar for some time and I can’t fault any of his releases to date…
And there we have it! I hope you’re all as excited as I am about the next twelve months, and thank you for logging on and enjoying the music that I post – it gives me so much life!
For previous editions of The Random List, head here.