This is another one of my end of year lists that I’m doing. The first was a Top 20 K-Pop songs, the next will be a list of albums I’ve been listening to a lot this year. Like with my K-Pop songs list, all songs on this list must have been released this year, as well as being limited to one entry per artist/group. They will also be in no particular order.
1. Carly Rae Jepsen- “Fever”
“Fever” is a track that gets in your head and stays there, but you don’t really get very mad at it. It opens with a fantastic beat that sounds like it could have come directly from a Casio. It’s great for people like me who want to listen to nothing but 80’s new wave and synth pop. Plus lyrically, it feels pretty dang realistic for someone who doesn’t have the best of luck with relationships (hi).
2. Tonight Alive- “Human Interaction”
I discovered Tonight Alive back in 2011-2012. The first song I heard by them was the track “Amelia” and I haven’t looked back since. I was more excited to see them live than I was about Mayday Parade (the headliners). “Human Interaction” is the lead single off of their third album Limitless, and was released as a single last October. This album has a far more different vibe than their previous two, being far more synth-sounding and introspective lyrically. It doesn’t mean that they completely ditch their pop punk roots, but with “Human Interaction” you can tell that Jenna and the boys were drawing less inspiration from the pop punk side, and more from the spiritual elements of their own lives.
3. DNCE- “Truthfully”
I was not looking forward to the idea that Joe Jonas was going to be a part of my life musically again when I heard that he had a band (I always liked Nick more tbh). But the more I listened to what DNCE were putting out, the more I started digging it. So I gave their debut album a listen through one morning while I was getting ready for school, and I fell in love with this song. While I may not fully relate to this song lyrically, I relate enough for this song to have staked a spot in my most played playlist. I love the kind of laid back acoustic vibes in combination with the kind of rawness of Joe’s voice, especially towards the end.
4. James Arthur- “Say You Won’t Let Go”
I love James Arthur with a passion I almost only ever reserve for sleep and Harry Potter. I nearly always had his first album on repeat when he first released it. Then he vanished from the scene sometime after it’s release and I wondered where he went but assumed that he had good reasons for his disappearance. So when I found out that he released a new album and there was a whole new 17 songs for me to listen to on repeat for hours (which I did). But this song is the reason I even found out about this new material. Not to mention it’s just so gosh dang pretty.
5. dodie- “Sick of Losing Soulmates”
If you haven’t heard of Dodie Clark, I suggest you go check her the fuck out. She is just the most adorable little YouTuber I’ve ever seen. Not to mention her original songs and covers are just incredible (a personal favourite is the song “She”). This is the single off of her first EP and is just so gosh dang pretty, yet kinda heart-wrenching at the same freaking time. I think I had this song on repeat for nearly 4 hours, and not once did I get sick of it.
6. DEAN FUJIOKA- “HISTORY MAKER”
This is the opening theme for the anime Yuri!! on Ice. I didn’t start watching the anime until it was about 9 episodes in and I nearly cried at how much I freaking loved it. My mom started getting really frustrated with how much I was talking about a gay, Japanese, figure skating, cartoon. But through my need to see this anime came the discovery of one of the most uplifting songs I have ever heard. Rachel Platten’s “Fight Song” is great, but nothing makes want to achieve my dreams more than the opening theme of an incredibly gay (incredibly well animated) anime.
7. Bridgit Mendler- “Do You Miss Me at All”
I have a fondness for Disney stars. Mostly just because a majority of my childhood was dominated by family channel. Which was the name for the Disney channel in Canada. So I tend to still listen to Disney stars whether or not I’m actually interested in them. The thing about Bridgit is that I genuinely end up liking a majority of the stuff she puts out. She falls into this kind of trippy, hazy sound with lyrics that kind of scream to my emotionally repressed soul.
8. Far East Movement- “Freal Luv ft. Tinashe & Chanyeol”
I hadn’t really listened to Far East Movement since they released “Like a G6”. So I was a touch surprised and baffled at the discovery that they were still releasing music. The reason I heard about it is because of Chanyeol who is featured on the song and is a rapper in the K-Pop group EXO. So because I enjoy listening to Chanyeol do his thing and Tinashe is always a selling point, I gave this song a listen. And it reminded me of absolutely nothing like “Like a G6”. I enjoyed this song because of the catchy hook sung by Tinashe, I liked it because of the rapping that Chanyeol did. And I liked it because of the incredible beats and work of the guys of Far East Movement.
9.Niall Horan- “This Town”
I was a huge Directioner in my tail years of middle school, but very quickly fell out of love with them, finding things that I liked far better. So when I found out that Zayn had left and the group was going on hiatus, I didn’t care all that much. So it actually took me a little while after this song’s release to even hear it. Not that it bothered me very much. But when I finally got around to listening to this song, I remembered why I actually liked Niall more than the other boys in the group. I like his more laid back feel. I like how Irish he sounds when he’s singing. I like the fact that frankly his voice isn’t nearly as grating upon my ears as Harry Styles’ voice. I just really like Niall and his guitar.
10. Little Mix- “Shoutout to My Ex”
These girls are my third X Factor UK alum on the list. Which I think just proves the fact that they can pull and promote great talent (except Louis Walsh). These girls may have had their struggles on the show (not making it as soloists, being forced to figure out group dynamics in less than a week, a name change,etc.,etc.), but they managed to overcome them to do phenomenally well on the show, then have a great career afterwards. This track they debuted on the X Factor, and is off of their album Glory Days. It’s a fantastic song to say “F*** you!”, to your dickwad of an ex. And that is precisely why I love it.
11. MGK- “Bad Things ft. Camila Cabello”
I have always had an enjoyment of rap music, but only ever in small doses, and only by a very select group of people. MGK on the other hand, I could listen to all day, and I don’t think I’d ever get tired of him. As time has gone on, he seems to me to be getting more and more mainstream, which I think is fantastic. I want everyone to be able to listen to his talent. This song is not nearly as ‘risqué’, as some of his other tracks, but if we’re being real, it doesn’t matter. As long as his talent gets shared, who gives a fuck?
12. The 1975- “The Sound”
I love The 1975. I still listen to their debut album on repeat (deluxe version of course). So I was stoked at the release of this one. I like the kind of bubbly build up of the intro, and the very D.I.Y synth vibes of the entire song. Plus guitar solos.Lyrically this song is kind of creepy and stalkery, but when has that ever stopped a song being great? (I’m looking at you “Every Breath You Take”).
13. Panic! at the Disco- “LA Devotee”
It has been nearly 12 years since I first heard “I Write Sins Not Tragedies”, and my love for Panic! has ebbed and flowed over the years. But the kind of acid trip gone wrong feel of this album and in particular this song, really appeals to me. I think it’s because of the whole morbidly magical lyrics that I really just love this song.
14. The Summer Set- “Change Your Mind”
Lyrically this song emulates everything that I want to be as a human. I want to be ethereal and punk rock and the type of person that makes people nervous to talk to me. And the fact that it’s set to this kind of fast pace, happy synth sound, just makes me think that this is the kind of song that might play as I’m approached by the lead male in some 80’s teen movie. And that is precisely what I want this song to be on the soundtrack of my life.
15. Beyoncé- “Formation”
It’s Beyoncé. It’s “Formation”. It’s Lemonade. Enough said.
16. Ariana Grande- “Into You”
This was essentially the song of the summer for me. I listened to it constantly, because whilst Ariana may not have the best voice in the world, she knows how to really work and own the one she’s got. And I think this song is one that highlights that perfectly. Not to mention, lyrically, it’s pretty damn relatable.
17. Shura- “What’s It Gonna Be?”
I discovered Shura last year, through their song “Touch”. This is a far more bubbly sounding song. Lyrically, it’s in a similar vein as “Touch”. And I like the fact that the songs that they release are accompanied by really cool videos. It’s just really fun to kind of sit there and either contemplate your feelings about the lyrics, or just let loose and dance around like an idiot to the beat.
18. JoJo- “FAB.”
JoJo slamming the haters. And all whilst sitting there being a bad bitch. I was probably going to try and include her on this list, no matter what because, well, hey, it’s freaking JOJO!
19. Dami Im- “Sound of Silence”
I was really quite upset that Dami did not win Eurovision with this song. It’s a great song. And frankly I don’t want to piss off more people by saying stuff about the winning song. I will just leave this song here for your enjoyment.
20. Janet Devlin- “The Outernet Song”
The last and final X Factor alum. She was I think one of my absolute favourite ever contestants, just for the sheer fact that she was just so dang cute. All shy and messy, and frankly acting like a completely starstruck 16 year old girl. Which you know she was. Her adorable and quirky personality carries over to her solo work. It’s particularly apparent in this song, from the title, to the way that the message and lyrics are delivered to the listener.
Honorable Mentions. These are from no particular year:
The Dandy Warhols- “Bohemian Like You”
Hayley Kiyoko- “Girls Like Girls”
Ryn Weaver- “Runaway”
Janet Devlin- “Suantraí Meisciúil”
Lucy Spraggan- “Last Night (Beer Fear)”
Neil Hilborn- “Clatter”
Hope you enjoyed.