I make no secret of how awesome I think Zara Larsson is – she’s established herself as a Swedish pop powerhouse in an exceptionally short space of time. This release was produced by Mike Sabath and features a melodic verse from Young Thug.
After what feels like a lifetime, Tom Walker has finally released his debut album, ‘What A Time To Be Alive’ and it’s been worth the wait. It even includes a duet with Swedish pop starlet Zara Larsson.
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.
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 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
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. 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’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 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
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 & 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. 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.
If you haven’t heard of Zara Larsson then you will in time. She’s already huge in Scandinavia and this teaming with Alfitude favourite MNEK is a great combination. Looking forward to hearing some remixes.