2018’s Random List

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…

MOST LISTENED

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…

MOST POLISHED

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.

BEST GIG

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…

MOST LOVEABLE

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.

BIGGEST IMPACT

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.

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Dua Lipa – IDGAF (feat. Charli XCX, Zara Larsson, MØ, Alma)

Live: Dua Lipa at Brixton Academy

The force of Dua Lipa seems to be never ending right now. A packed Brixton Academy in London played host to one epic gig!

Dua Lipa x Gallant x Amy Winehouse – Tears Dry On Their Own

On what would be her 34th Birthday, Gallant and Dua Lipa have paid tribute to the iconic Amy Winehouse with a version of ‘Tears Dry On Their Own’.

Gallant | Dua Lipa | Amy Winehouse

Live: Dua Lipa + Off Bloom at Shepherd’s Bush Empire

Shepherd’s Bush was the place to be in London last night! Being one of the UK’s biggest pop exports of late, Dua Lipa put up an impressive gig to a sold-out crowd, with support from Danish indie-electro outfit Off Bloom.

2016’s Random List

What a year, eh. I was almost tempted to not write up a random list for 2016 on the count of me wanting it to end as soon as possible. But alas, in a year of many disasters, there were a few nice things to come up which made everything OK for a little while. It’s a condensed list this year, so here’s looking to an awesome 2017. Anyway…

The guy who made a song two years ahead of it’s time

ragz-originale

This song by UK talent Ragz Originale is basically a view of the future for me. It bounces between dark samples while keeping a gritty rawness. All the while still sounding slick. I see this sound taking off majorly in 2018.

The song most likely to turn you into an emotional wreck

daniel-caesar

I am not a huge fan of covers, however, when I stumbled across this Kanye West rework by Daniel Caesar I was an emotional mess. Stunning, beautiful, flawless… Everything that reminds you that the world can still be a beautiful place.

The boyband that got it right

hare-squead

Ireland. Home of the type of boyband that you love, and love to hate. Until this year. HARE SQUEAD are a bunch of kids crafting a sound that is on-point.

Most epic Scandi pop

smith thell

Smith & Thell have been on my radar for a really long time. This Swedish duo haven’t been afraid to change musical directions, and with the release of ‘Row’ this year I can’t think of any other Scandi act that has managed to come up with a song as intense and catchy as this one.

Most listened to song on my iTunes

dua lipa

I’ve surprised myself with this one. And I’ll be honest, I did consider leaving this category out for 2016, but f*ck it. For the second year, Dua Lipa is behind my most listened to song on my iTunes. This time it’s with ‘Hotter Than Hell’ – a pop banger through and through. It’s not edgy, nor does it push any boundaries. But it’s everything you want from a big pop sound, and that’s all I need to hear a song on loop.

Most likely to be huge in 2017

Rag’n’Bone Man

It’s been a while coming but I am finally excited to see that Rag’n’Bone Man is certain to be the biggest new act to hit the mainstream in 2017. Well deserved too.

Watch: Dua Lipa – Be The One (Live for BBC Music Sound Of 2016)

dua lipa

One of my favourite songs from 2015 gets a live working for BBC’s Sound of 2016.

Gutted to be missing her London show in Oslo, but you can still catch some other dates:
16.01.16 Bristol, Louisiana
17.01.16 Brighton, The Hope
26.01.16 Glasgow, O2 ABC
27.01.16 Manchester, Soup Kitchen
29.01.16 Birmingham, Sunflower Lounge
30.01.16 Nottingham, Stealth
02.02.16 London, Oslo Hackney

Dua Lipa

2015’s Random List

As has become tradition, here’s this year’s Random List. A collection of music highlights that have caught my attention in the last year. I spend the whole year featuring new and edgy stuff, so it’s nice to put up the last post of the year as a little fun. For previous years, head here.

Most Underrated Talent Of The Year

kwabs

Kwabs has been a dilemma in 2015. He’s so good, so talented, and the songs are so on-point. But he’s still not tapping the mainstream the way he deserves to be. Maybe it’ll change in the next twelve months.

Most Random Act To Pick Up Recognition In Sweden

mnek

Just before the world was introduced to MNEK’s work with Zara Larsson (one of pop’s biggest successes in 2015 in my view), Sweden took an unexpected liking to MNEK’s ‘The Rhythm’ to the point where the track picked up Gold sales. Which is nice since it hardly made impact in the UK. And let’s face it, Sweden knows good pop.

Most Played On My iTunes

dua lipa

Dua Lipa. Emerging from the same team behind Lana Del Rey only less of the weirdness. This is a fresh slice of pop.

Best Pop Banger That No One Will Hear

lucas nord

Lucas Nord’s work is already well noted through this record with Tove Lo, but this track that was released in November took me by surprise. It’s just SO GOOD.

Hottest Fans At A Gig

honne oval space london october 2015

HONNE are a staple on this blog. This year I managed to catch them live and not only was the gig sold out but it was packed with Abercrombie model look-a-likes. Fancy yourselves a hot boyfriend / girlfriend? Catch HONNE live…

Scandi Country Of The Year To Pull It’s Act Together

norwegian-flag-norway-surfing

Norway. What with Aurora (and that John Lewis advert), Astrid S and Loveless all making impact this year in some shape or form, Norway’s shown that it’s the country to watch in 2016.

Biggest Turnaround Moment

justin bieber purpose

Justin Bieber… Where did that come from? Seriously- everyone seems to be on Justin’s side this year with the release of ‘Purpose’ and the random pop gems that are contained within that record. Just goes to show that kid stars can make good as they grow.

Act Who Owned 2015

years and years

Years & Years, as predicted in last year’s Random List. More importantly though, these kids have shown that you can have a lead singer be out, gay and comfortable with himself and have no one care.

Act Who Will Own 2016

Jack Garratt

Jack Garratt. No one’s even pretending that Jack won’t take over the next twelve months. It’s great though; he’s showing off a new style of dark soul-pop that’s touching people in a way I wouldn’t have expected.