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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2017’s Random List

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, SigridDagny, 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.

Best Hair

ALMA! Finnish talent has never been so exciting! The hair’s even got it’s own (amazing) song.

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…

Best Gig

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.

Most Played On My iTunes

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.

 

 

 

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.

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.

2014’s Random List

Another year of music comes to an end, and with it comes the annual Random List. I’ve listened to the good, the bad, and everything in between. As usual, Alfitude bucks the trend with blog ‘best of’ posts to come up with a random list of highlights from the past twelve months. For previous years, check this out.

Biggest Trend Of The Year

This was the year that the male duo made a comeback like no other, with acts like HONNE, CHPLN and Whilk & Misky all making considerable impact.

chpln

Best Use Of Drugs In Lyrics

The bulk of Tove Lo’s album involves songs about love, misunderstanding or heartbreak. All three of which are better understood via narcotics and general misdemeanours through her lyrics. In all fairness though, it’s done so well that it all seems to make sense in the end.

tove lo

Best Song That Should Have Done Better

Becky Hill didn’t take off as well as I had hoped this year. This song, penned by Alfitude favourite MNEK, really should have been heard by more people. It’s a sexy piece of pop.

becky hill

Best Use of Primary-School Instruments

This track from Made In Heights was perfectly ‘on-trend’ this year while still managing to sound super cute through using a bunch of sounds you probably haven’t heard since you were at school.

Made In Heights

Most Epic Gig Of The Year

This was a tough one, but in retrospect, it has to be seeing Rag’N’Bone Man in London back in July. Big man, big voice, and an immense sound. I really hope 2015 is his year. Speaking of gigs, follow the Alfitude Instagram for pictures, if you like.

rag n bone man london

Funkiest Scandi Act Of The Year

Danish Scarlet Pleasure have long been a favourite of mine, and 2014 saw the release of an EP which I’ve listened to far more than I’d like to admit.

scarlet pleasure

Happiest Yet Moodiest Song Of The Year

This song from T.O.L.D is one of my favourites this year. Only because it’s such a headf**k to listen to. It’s sad and dreary, but it’s happy and uplifting at the same time. It’s confusing and beautiful. Kinda like life. Deep…

TOLD SINGER

Most Exciting Major Debut

Seinabo Sey. I can’t fault anything this new soul powerhouse is doing right now.

seinabo sey

Best Song To Make Babies To

Huntar managed to come up with the sexiest song of the year (in my reckoning, anyway).

huntar

Hottest Scandi Act

Swede Snoh Aalegra made a big impact both across Eurpoean and American blogs this year with her unique mix of RnB and soul.

Snoh Aalegra

One To Watch

I’m 99% certain that Years & Years will be 2015’s biggest newbie. It’s as good as British pop gets right now.

years and years

2013’s Random List

It’s that time of year again when I get to look back over the last twelve months and put up the obligatory ‘best of’ post that music blogs love to feature so much.

As usual I’ll aim to pick out tracks and artists that many other websites may have looked over, as well as some of the more obvious milestones. Let me know what you think of my choices. After all, it’s you guys who keep me so motivated to keep hunting for new music all the time. Before I start, check out previous random lists here!

Most definitive song of the year

lorde royals single cover

Lorde – ‘Royals’. There’s something mildly terrifying about this teen talent, and her ability to sum up her youth in a standard pop track. This will be a classic for decades to come, it’s just so different to any of the big hits that have come out so far in the last few years.

Too cool for school

MDNGHT

MDNGHT – Not many have heard of this Mancunian collective but if anything, I am confident they will pick up buzz over the next year.

Biggest Scandinavian talent

Kim Cesarion

Kim Cesarion – This Swedish talent has already taken Scandinavia by storm. I saw him play a showcase in London over the summer and it was as close to pop perfection as you could get. You could be surprised for seeing me not put Icona Pop under this category; but you know, they’ve been around for a good while longer.

Cutest act

broods

Broods – This duo set the blog world on fire after releasing just one track blending indie and electro seamlessly. And on a completely shallow note, how cute!

Catchiest track

nonono

NONONO – ‘Pumping Blood’. NONONO have had as epic a year as they could get. This Scandinavian trio have made one of the biggest impacts in terms of exports from the region, thanks in large to this track.

Biggest #fail that should have been a #win

Mutya Keisha Siobhan

MKS (a.k.a Mutya Keisha Siobhan, a.k.a The Origibabes) – This should have been their big comeback. And on paper, there’s no reason why it tanked so hard. They picked a shit-hot producer while managing to prove that they could still hold harmonies like no other girl group. But I guess the song was probably too ‘out-there’ to have made a loud enough impact. Still, there is a silver lining for these guys later on in this post…

2014’s new ‘Lana’

fe singer

Fe – She could be as popular as original Lana Del Rey. I predict Fe to catch some more buzz in 2014. She has a genuine, beautiful talent which is well worth a listen.

Wildest cat in town

lion babe

Lion Babe – Literally, this lady goes for the ‘wild’ theme. Which is OK, since she does a great job of it. On a serious note though, what a sound!

Most trademark hipster Scandi sound

POSTILJONEN

Postiljonen – Make no mistake, being introduced to his band has been one of my highlights this year. Their sound is pure perfection in my view and when I caught them live at the Ja Ja Ja Festival in London earlier this year it was probably a highlight for me gig-wise. This re-working of a Whitney Houston classic is amazing.

Biggest bang(erz)

miley cyrus stop

Miley Cyrus – Love or hate her, you just can’t deny that this little lady has been all over the place. She knows she’s not changing the world with her songs. So what else can she do? She’ll just have fun with it. And there’s a charming likeability in that. I mean, look at this post – she’s sandwiched between one of the edgiest acts of the year (Postiljonen, above), and one of the best songs of the year (Sailor & I, below). Two categories she’ll probably never be in, ever, but she’s still spreading herself on here. And that’s ok…

Most epic track

sailor & i

Sailor & I – ‘Tough Love’. A real heart-stopper of a track that’s nothing short of stunning.

Most feel-good

join the riot

Join The Riot – Again, another Scandi act makes it on this list. Nothing but good cheeky pop from this group.

Quirkiest act 

manou

Manou – This lady is one of my big ‘ones to watch’. I can’t describe her sound. Quirky, I guess. So good though.

Best slice of Norwegian rap

Lars Vaular

Lars Vaular – ‘Legender’. It’s one of those songs that sounds pretty dark, but still manages to sound easy enough to enjoy. Even if you’re not Norwegian.

Best trooper

aiden

Aiden Grimshaw – Following on from making one of the best and least brought pop records from a major label in 2012, this year saw the guy ditch his surname and now go under the moniker AIDEN.

Most unexpected throwback to Motown

MØ

– ‘Never Wanna Know’. One of Denmark’s hippest newcomers came up with this track back in Autumn and it was adorable.

Best gig

Mutya Keisha Siobhan London Live Scala August 2013 a

MKS (a.k.a Mutya Keisha Siobhan, a.k.a The Origibabes) – They might not have had the comeback record of the year, but the ladies definitely pulled off THE comeback gig of the year at London’s Scala. No video on YouTube could relay the experience properly though.

Most listened to song on my iTunes

The Amplifetes

The Amplifetes – ‘You Want It’. You might not like this song, but it’s the most listened to track of the year on my iTunes. Something about it speaks to me.

One to watch

mnek

MNEK – It seems like a lifetime ago since I featured MNEK but he now finally seems to be on the edge of breaking through. Already long-listed on the BBC Sound of 2014, whatever happens over the next months will be pretty special for this kid.

2012’s Random List

I started the Random List last year, and it was pretty fun for me to do so I figured I’d carry the tradition on for another year. So here, I present to you the winners of some random, and not so random, categories that have come out of 2012.

Biggest debut to come out of nowhere

miriam bryant

Miriam Bryant. This category also covers best track of the year too, I guess (which I’m sharing with Beatrice Eli, below). I still remember reading the email introducing to her. I really didn’t expect to hear what I did. It picked up with other blogs too. In terms of debut releases, this really is as big as they come.

Best gig of the year

Woodkid Southbank Centre Queen Elizabeth Hall London November 2012

Woodkid featured in last year’s Random List, and a few weeks ago I had the privilege to catch him at London’s South Bank. Epic is an understatement for what I was exposed to.

Most upsetting

nicki minaj flo rida

This one’s a tie between Nicki Minaj and Flo Rida. Unnecessary cameos from both of these on what otherwise are pretty good pop tracks (like above) have led me to just really not like either one of these. I know that will upset a lot of people, but sorry. Enough.

Scariest but fiercest track from Scandinavia

beatrice eli

This one goes to Beatrice Eli, one of the standout artists of the year for me. I should also point out that this is my joint favourite track of the year, along with Miriam Bryant (above). It’s so hard to believe this is one of her first tracks. Can’t wait to hear new tracks!

Most exciting big-label signing

jetta

Jetta. Expect to hear more over the coming months from this lady.

Most underrated album of the year

noisettes contact album cover

The Noisettes. I already put up a post about this here, give it a read if you like. Sad really.

Biggest u-turn of the year

marina diamonds electra heart primadonna

Marina & The Diamonds. Actually, it’s not so much of a u-turn as an appreciation for her. Rarely do I moan about artists on this site, but Marina was behind one of my biggest whines back at the start of 2011. That post got me some pretty nasty feedback from some. This year though, her second attempt at ‘being bigger’ paid off when Primadonna was released and topped the charts. Good for her.

2011’s Random List

So everyone’s doing their lists for 2011. They’re fun to read but a nightmare to compile, so I thought I’d shake it up a bit with my list by using some really rather pointless categories.

2011’s Most Painfully Cool

Woodkid – This is one of those ‘hidden loves’ I have who I don’t really blog about because I want to enjoy for myself. Kinda selfish it sounds but it’s only because if I do blog about them I just won’t stop… Friendly Fires being an example. Anyway, anything Woodkid touches turns to gold.

2011’s Best Second Album

Friendly Fires – Pala. Second albums are so hard to get right but Friendly Fires had no trouble coming back with a piece of genius.

2011’s Best Album To Fall In Love To

Patrick Wolf – Lupercalia. Patrick Wolf has one of the most devoted set of followers for any musician that I know in the UK. I have a few records of his, but this is by far the standout album that he’s produced to date. Just because the story behind it is so simple- he fell in love. And the songs that feature are a pure joy to listen to.

2011’s Most Underrated Album

Alex Clare – Lateness Of The Hour. Produced by Diplo and mixing some really heart-stopping beats with a raw voice and big lyrics, it’s just stunning from start to finish. I really hope it picks up in 2012 because this record is just too good to not be heard.

2011’s Most Bittersweet Album

Amy Winehouse – Lionness. You may know that I am a huge fan of the late Winehouse. So when this was released last month I was stunned at how some of the songs which had already been released sounded so different when arranged the way Winehouse actually wanted. It’s a beautiful record, but I really hope her estate releases more.

2011’s Most Addictive Track

M83 – Midnight City. This track makes you feel like a kid running around in the dark pretending to be a space hero or something. It’s amazing.

2011’s Biggest Pisstake

Ed Sheeran – ‘+’. I know people love this kid to bits, but I physically wanted to snap his album in half when I brought it. It was without doubt one of the wettest, most boring pieces of music I’ve had to make myself listen to. Which is a shame because I was really excited about the talent. And they definitely went overboard with the ginger- an orange album and having that Harry Potter kid play him in a music video gets a bit sickly after a while.

2011’s Most Anticipated Debut

Penguin Prison – Penguin Prison. This chap’s been causing a stir on the blogs for a couple of years now and his debut album came out a few months back. Most of the songs have already been out, but there’s something about hearing them in full set that makes the ears very satisfied.

2011’s Most Welcome Return

Man Like Me. One of my favourite bands by a mile, purely because of the genius behind their sillyness, Man Like Me released some new material this year that got me a bit excited.

2011’s Most Interesting Lyric To Come Out Of A Rap

Childish Gambino – Freaks & Geeks: “An elephant never forgets, so my dick remembers everything”.