GRAMMYS 2019 Predictions: Beyoncé, Gambino and more eye the Big Four

As award season draws ever closer, it is once again that time to think about who will be a major player at music’s biggest night. Last year was one of complete unpredictability but with the expansion of the main four categories to 8 nominees instead of the usual five, it is slightly easier to take a stab at guessing who will be honoured at this year’s ceremony. Here are Alternatively Pop’s predictions for the 2019 Grammy Award Nominations:

ALBUM OF THE YEAR

the carters

Album of the Year is the biggest award of the night and arguably the least competitive this year. There seems to be no clear frontrunner with every contender being hampered by some aspect or another. The closest thing to a frontrunner is The Carters’ Everything is Love which received critical acclaim, although slightly less so than Beyoncé’s Lemonade and Jay-Z’s 4:44. The pair should be a lock for a nomination, with five nominations between them in just the last ten years. The biggest obstacle in the way of music’s reigning king and queen is that the album was not received well commercially, opening at number two behind 5 Seconds of Summer’s Youngblood, with 123,000 units of which only 70,000 were pure, marking a huge decline from both artists previous efforts. Given the Academy’s tendency to award big commercial hits such as Bruno Mars last year, Adele in 2017 and Taylor Swift in 2016, this could be one obstacle The Carter’s can’t clear. Speaking of Swift, she’s back in the ring for the first time since her Album of the Year win with 2014’s 1989. 2017’s reputation was a divisive piece of work but still garnered enough acclaim to grab a nomination. The album was a commercial powerhouse and it’s supporting tour was even more so and that should be enough to give her a lock and her fourth nomination, but given her recent win, don’t expect her to take home the award. Another commercial success is Drake’s Scorpion, which debuted to huge sales earlier this year and spawned three number one hits. Unfortunately for the rapper, the album received underwhelming reviews from critics. That combined with the recent report that 82% of the album’s total streams are made up of six of its twenty-five tracks, could be enough to deter a Drake win here, and in fact may be enough to knock him out of the top eight completely should the academy choose to go a more alternative route. Other contenders include Cardi B’s Invasion of Privacy and Ariana Grande’s Sweetener, with both artists coming off huge years. However, with IOP being Cardi’s debut and Grande’s upcoming follow-up Thank U, Next threatening to overshadow Sweetener, I can’t see either of them walking home with the award. Grammy favourite Sam Smith could be in with a chance with The Thrill of It All getting good reviews and decent commercial success, but would be an underwhelming winner given the inoffensive nature of the record and with neither huge sales or huge critical support to propel him to the front of the pack, he’s another nomination with no win. After a controversially male year last year, the Grammys will be looking to include a more female presence this year, which could be wonderful news for critical darlings Kacey Musgraves and Janelle Monae. Musgraves Golden Hour is her most critically adored album of her career and would also be a winner that would be supported by the industry and fans alike. Although not a huge commercial success, Musgraves did take home Album of the Year at the CMA’s, indicating strong industry support. Monae’s Dirty Computer has also been critically adored and given her veteran status in the industry and the comparisons to her late mentor Prince, Dirty Computer could be a dark horse in this race yet. Alongside the more traditional albums, soundtracks had a big year. The Greatest Showman was a runaway hit and should be a huge contender in the Motion Picture categories, while Black Panther offers the Academy to honour one of the most commercially and culturally significant movies in history.

Final Predictions: Everything is Love, reputation, Invasion of Privacy, Golden Hour, Scorpion, The Thrill of it All, Dirty Computer, Black Panther

 

RECORD OF THE YEAR

gambino

Unlike Album of the Year, Record of the Year has a clear frontrunner. Childish Gambino’s ‘This is America’ is everything the academy could want. Massively successful and critically adored, it should be a slam-dunk. However, many would have said the same about Kendrick Lamar’s ‘Humble’ last year and he left without the award. If the Academy decides that ‘This is America’ is too politically charged for them to award, they could turn to equally popular efforts in Cardi B’s ‘I Like It’ and Drake’s ‘God’s Plan’ which provided each artist with huge hits this year. Neither have the critical support of ‘This Is America’ but neither were close to panned, being received similarly to last year’s winner ‘24k Magic’. Many are predicting that Maroon 5’s ‘Girl Like You’ could also be a contender for Cardi B, but given the unoriginality of that track, and the fact that there are other ways to award Cardi, I don’t see ‘Girl Like You’ giving the band it’s first main field nomination since their first and last with Best New Artist thirteen years ago. The Carters’ ‘Apesh*t’ should also be in with a shot of a nomination, but given its lack of commercial support and no major critical push, I would say nomination is all it will get. Beyoncé’s duet with Ed Sheeran on ‘Perfect’ could grab the pair a nod, but given the fact that Sheeran was completely shut out of the main field last year despite much buzz, I wouldn’t hold my breath. The pop field should produce a number of contenders – Ariana Grande’s ‘God is a Woman’ could be nominated, but given its slightly controversial nature, it probably won’t be enough for a win. Zedd’s ‘The Middle’ could be one that sneaks into that top eight with ease, along with Bebe Rexha’s ‘Meant to Be’ and Post Malone’s ‘Rockstar’. Finally, soundtracks could provide a number of potential nominees here as well. Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper’s ‘Shallow’ could be a dark horse here, particularly given that the pair will be running the song’s Oscar campaign simultaneously. The track was also released just as the eligibility period closed, so it’s fresh in the voter’s minds. Kendrick Lamar and SZA’s ‘All The Stars’ and Keala Settle’s ‘This is Me’ could also contend for those top eight spots.

Final Predictions: ‘This is America’, ‘I Like It’, ‘God’s Plan’,’Apesh*t’, ‘The Middle’, ‘All The Stars, ‘God is a Woman, ‘Meant To Be’

 

SONG OF THE YEAR

Delicate-Video

Song of the Year is an odd category this year. Like Album of the Year, there is no clear frontrunner but there are a number of tracks in contention for the award. Again ‘This Is America’, ‘Apesh*t, ‘The Middle’ and a variety of others from Record of the Year will contend here as well, but other tracks will most definitely break through. Breakout star Ella Mai could well be in the race with ‘Boo’d Up’ being a huge hit for her. While Record of the Year has favoured more R&B tracks in the past few years, Song of the Year has embraced other genres particularly pop. Maroon 5’s ‘Girls Like You’ could fare better here given its message and its mass appeal. Ariana Grande’s ‘No Tears Left To Cry’ could be a major player for a nomination, and even the award should the Academy decide that this is the year to anoint her. My only pause for concern is the mammoth success of her latest effort ‘Thank U, Next’, both commercially and critically, which could lead to the Academy regulating Grande to nominations or a win in the pop field, instead choosing to award her in the main field next year. Additionally, Grammy favourite Taylor Swift could be in the mix with ‘Delicate’. While she fell out of favour last year with the controversial ‘Look What You Made Me Do’, ‘Delicate’ has been critically acclaimed and was a big enough hit with the industry with massive radio play and holding strong on the hot 100 for 35 weeks. Although this isn’t the flashiest of entries, Swift has never won here despite being a three-time nominee in this category, and this could be the Academy’s chance to award one of this generation’s greatest songwriters. ‘This is Me’, ‘All The Stars’, and ‘Shallow’ could all be in with a shot here as well. Drake could also contend with ‘God’s Plan’ and even ‘Nice For What’. XXXTentacion could also be in with a chance at a posthumous nomination here with ‘SAD!’ and given his polarising career, it will be interesting to see if the Grammys are able to ignore him. Fringe contenders such as Kacey Musgraves (‘High Horse’), Sam Smith (‘Pray’), Demi Lovato (‘Sober’) and Dan + Shay (‘Tequila’) could also factor in if the Academy decides to snub some of the more heavy hitters.

Final Predictions: ‘This is America’, ‘No Tears Left To Cry’,’Boo’d Up’, ‘Nice For What’, ‘Delicate’, ‘The Middle’, ‘Shallow’, ‘Girls Like You’

 

BEST NEW ARTIST

Dua-Lipa-New-Rules

Best New Artist finds itself in the same situation as it always does. The rules are messy and poorly applied, leaving the top contenders out of the running after Cardi B, Post Malone and XXXTentacion were all deemed ineligible for the award. That leaves it as a two horse race between pop’s latest princess Dua Lipa and R&B breakout Ella Mai. Both have had monumental years, with a number of hits under each of their belts. Lipa would probably be my choice for the frontrunner but Mai is nipping at her heels. This award has often been the kiss of death for a number of artists, while a number of the world’s biggest stars have been nominated and not won in the past, so the pair may be wishing the other luck in the end. While Lipa and Mai are in a tight race for the award, there aren’t too many other locks for a nod. Juice Wrld could be their closest competition but I can’t see the Academy awarding him. There is often a country nominee and with eight nominees this year, a few will certainly be in contention. Luke Combs, Brett Young and Carly Pearce could all fill that slot or even take more than one spot. Troye Sivan, Hayley Kiyoko, Bebe Rexha, Marshmello and Billie Eilish will all be aiming to get into those pop slots, while niche artists H.E.R and Greta Van Fleet will also be hoping to garner genre bids.

Final Predictions: Dua Lipa, Ella Mai, Juice Wrld, Luke Combs, Troye Sivan, Great Van Fleet, Carly Pearce, Bebe Rexha

Nominations for the 61st Annual GRAMMY Awards will be announced in all 84 categories on Wednesday, Dec. 5, 2018.

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#20GAYTEEN: 5 LGBT Artists who are KILLING it in 2018

With 2018 almost over,  its safe to say Gay Culture seems to have gotten its grip on every aspect of the entertainment. From the domination of TV with RuPaul’s Drag Race and Queer Eye being huge hits and Cinema with Love, Simon and Call Me by Your Name being critically adored, LGBT influence is everywhere this year. However, it is music where LGBT individuals seem to be truly thriving. In what is being called #20GAYTEEN, here are 5 LGBT artists that are killing it right now.

Hayley Kiyoko

Hayley

Affectionately known as Lesbian Jesus, Kiyoko is having the 20gayteen she deserves. With the release of her debut album Expectations, which reached the top 40 in the UK, and  Ireland, and the top 20 in the US, and Australia, Kiyoko has become the breakout star of the year. Kiyoko has been nominated for a number of awards this year, even taking home an MTV VMA for ‘Push Artist of the Year’. Kiyoko also performed across the globe including at Coachella music festival alongside artists like Beyoncé, Cardi B and The Weeknd, and alongside Taylor Swift at Gillette Stadium as part of her Reputation Stadium Tour, which marked Kiyoko’s first stadium performance. In addition, Kiyoko embarked on her Expectations tour, which took the star across America, Canada and Europe.

Troye Sivan

Troye

One of music’s most established LGBT artists, Sivan has had a triumphant year. He released his sophomore album, Bloom, which was received with critical acclaim as well as reaching the top 10 in a number of countries, including the top 5 in the U.S. and Australia. The album’s lead single ‘My, My, My!’ reached the top spot on Billboard’s Dance Songs Chart, as well as the top 40 in the U.K., Ireland and Australia. The album’s fourth single ‘Dance To This’ featured one of music’s biggest names Ariana Grande and reached the top 5 of the U.S. iTunes chart. Sivan also performed alongside Taylor Swift on her Reputation Stadium Tour, performing ‘My, My, My!’ to a 59,000 strong crowd, as well as revealing the release date of Bloom. Sivan also contributed to a number of film soundtracks, including Love, Simon and Boy Erased, the latter in which he also stars alongside Academy Award winners Nicole Kidman and Russel Crowe.

Janelle Monáe

Janelle Monae

Although a veteran of the music industry, Janelle Monáe’s 2018 has been one of her most successful and authentic years yet, seeing the release of her third studio album, Dirty Computer. For the album, Monáe discarded the alter-ego of Cindi Mayweather which she had adopted for her previous releases. The album saw Monáe discuss more personal themes including her sexual orientation, which she revealed to be pansexual in a 2018 interview with Rolling Stone. The album was critically lauded, receiving a number of five-star reviews from various publications. Many critics compared her work to the work of music legend Prince, with whom Monáe has worked with in the early stages of the album’s production before his passing. The album reached the top 10 in the U.S., the U.K., Ireland, and Canada, as well as the top 20 in Australia, Belgium, the Netherlands, New Zealand and Switzerland.

SOPHIE

sophie

Scottish producer Sophie had a major breakout year. Her debut album Oil of Every Pearl’s Insides was released through Sophie’s own label MSMSMSM. The release was met with critical acclaim from a number of major outlets including Pitchfork, Rolling Stone and NME. The album also debuted in the top 10 of the U.K. Dance Albums chart and the top 20 of the U.S. Independent Albums Chart and the U.S. Dance/Electronic Albums Chart. Sophie also worked with a variety of pop artists throughout the year, including frequent collaborator Charli XCX on her tracks ‘No Angel’ and ‘Girl’s Night Out’. It was also revealed that Sophie has a yet to be released track with Lady Gaga for her next upcoming album.

Years & Years

 

years and years

U.K. band Years & Years have had a tremendous 2018. The three-piece released their concept album Palo Santo to critical acclaim, receiving five-star reviews from NME and DIY. The album reached the top 5 in the U.K, and the top 10 in Ireland, as well as the number one spot on the U.S. Billboard Dance/Electronic Albums Chart. In addition, the album’s lead single, ‘Sanctify’, reached the top 40 in the U.K. and Scotland as well as on the U.S. Dance/Electronic Charts.  The album’s second single. ‘If You’re Over Me’ had even more success, reaching the top 10 in the U.K. (where it is certified Gold), Ireland and Scotland , as well as the top 20 on the U.S. Dance/Electronic Charts. The band has embarked on their Palo Santo Tour, which will see them perform across the U.S., Europe and Asia.

Alternatively Pop’s Top 15 Albums of 2017

2017 gave birth to wonderful comebacks, marvelous debuts and brilliant follow-ups, marking one of the strongest years (creatively that is) for pop music. Here are our picks for the top 15 albums this year.

  1. Melodrama – Lorde

melodramaAn immaculate culmination of synths and sorrow, Lorde left only destruction in her wake upon her return to the music industry. An unprecedented triumph, Melodrama ranks among the greatest pop albums since music’s conception and proves that the artist behind it isn’t quite the one-trick pony some thought she was.

 

  1. Reputation – Taylor Swift

taylor coverWhilst her contemporary, Lorde, took a more experimental approach on melodrama, Swift ventured further into the mainstream (with a sprinkle of her own experimentation), and produced the polished and perfected pop that glittered on every second of every track on reputation. A departure from the demure crafted synth-pop of 1989. Swift stretched the very boundaries of pop music, and did so to a great degree of success.

 

  1. Waves – Rachel Platten

wavesA perfect example of an artist maturing into they’re sound. Platten’s Waves delivered on all the potential that its predecessor Wildfire promised. Combining a more vulnerable and sincere approach to the album’s lyrics and a slicker dance-pop production, Waves wipes away the façade and pushes Platten out from behind the clichéd power slogans that were one too many on Wildfire and shows her off for the force of nature that she truly is.

 

  1. Harry Styles – Harry Styles

harryA cohesive and risky debut rooted in soft and indie rock was not the solo project many expected when Styles began curating following the announcement of his band’s hiatus. However, it is what he created and he truly displayed every bit of talent he had. A record full of interesting tracks with different yet cohesive production makes for a wonderful debut.

 

  1. Rainbow – Kesha

rainbowBoth Lorde and Swift may have made strong comebacks in 2017, but it was the reinvention of Kesha that made for a truly pleasant surprise. Following a very public legal battle, the star returned to her comfort zone – the recording studio – and made a record that, while flawed, displayed her extensive capabilities to dabble in various genres and uncanny ability to write from unique perspectives.

 

  1. What Do You Think About The Car? – Declan McKenna

declan mckennaIn a year of marvellous debuts, McKenna seized the opportunity to capture the views of his generation. Discussing a variety of subjects that plague millennials, McKenna put those issues to an indie rock soundtrack fabulously.

 

  1. Lust For Life – Lana Del Rey

alt pop lanaAs always, Del Rey produced an album full of vintage, wistful and melancholic gorgeousness. While the first half of the album has its let downs, the second half is home to some of Del Rey’s best work to date.

 

 

 

  1. Dua Lipa – Dua Lipa

Dua_Lipa_(album)A tour de force of pop magic that ranges from slower acoustic to tropical club anthems – such as the insatiable ‘New Rules’ – Dua Lipa affirmed that she is the next big power in pop music and she is here to stay.

 

 

  1. Ride – Loreen

Loreen_-_Ride_CoverMoving from her prior EDM driven releases to a more mid-tempo electro-alternative sound in a seamless fashion, Loreen’s Ride gave a darker and mature look at the star’s already unique sound and vocals, bring about one of the year’s best alternative releases.

 

 

  1. Places – Lea Michele

Lea_Michele_-_Places_(Official_Album_Cover)Places is like listening to someone slipping into their old favourite jumper after spending the entire day in an uncomfortable gown. Michele never truly sounded comfortable on her debut (except for the stunning ‘If You Say So’) but that discomfort disintegrates as she steps into her Broadway shoes and her comfort zone on the masterful traditional pop of her sophomore effort.

 

  1. Nervous System – Julia Michaels

268x0wAlthough it is technically an EP, Nervous System is one of pop’s best songwriters make her grand entrance into the singing side of her industry. A fabulous collection of modern mainstream pop that, while not overly unique, is fantastically executed.

 

 

  1. Younger Now – Miley Cyrus

MileyA beautiful but bumpy return to her country roots, Younger Now brought about some of Cyrus’ best work and worst work alike. Tracks like ‘Malibu’ and ‘I Would Die For You’ mark some of the most mature and intentional work of Cyrus’ career and made for an enjoyable listen despite its shortcomings.

 

  1. Ctrl – SZA

1200x630bbA masterclass in modern R&B, Sza explored themes of femininity, what it means to be young and all the issues that come with that with commanding lyrics and breath-taking production that displays a grasp and willingness to push the boundaries of R&B that is beyond her years.

 

 

  1. American Teen – Khalid

1200x630bb (1)Another album based in R&B, American Teen pushes the boundaries of the genre in the exact opposite direction that SZA went in and does it just as wonderfully. Khalid embraces the mainstream influences of pop music while remaining firmly rooted in R&B with brilliance and conviction.

 

  1. Gemini – Macklemore

220px-Macklemore_GeminiA mixed album that feels more uneven than the other 14 albums on this list, Gemini is held together by its brightest moments and the spirit of the artist behind. Every track and every moment, good or bad, feels genuine and earned and necessary and that, is the brilliance of the album.

 

 

 

Alternatively Pop’s Top 20 Songs of 2017

We count down our picks for the top 10 tracks of 2017

2017 was an… interesting year. Albeit not the best year in other areas, at least the music was good, even great in some cases. We were blessed with some brilliant songs this year. These are (subjective to opinion) the best of those.

  1. Praying – Kesha

Simultaneously, a piercing battle cry and heart-breaking anthem of pain, Kesha’s first release in almost five years came as nothing less than a triumph.  A stunning return to the industry and a musical 180, ‘Praying’ was the perfect encapsulation of the hurt and rage that the Trump-era has brought upon the world, as well as the personal turmoil of the voice that brought the track to life.

2. Bad Liar – Selena Gomez

Selena Gomez is not the first name that is on the tip of everyone’s tongue when it comes to experimental pop songs. However, Gomez’s ‘Bad Liar’ was an immaculate pop song that stopped critics in their tracks with its simplistic production paired with Gomez’s sensual and breathy vocals. Written over the bassline of the Talking Heads’ ‘Psycho Killer’, Gomez put herself well and truly on the map with this one.

3. Green Light – Lorde

A champion of everything weirdly brilliant, Lorde knocked everything she had done out of the water when she returned with ‘Green Light’. Marvellously rousing, ‘Green Light’ is like a jigsaw put together incorrectly but fitting perfectly all the same. Mismatched song writing over a flawlessly building pop beat, Lorde made sure her return was as perfect as it could be.

4. Look What You Made Me Do – Taylor Swift

Although it’s follow-up ‘…Ready For It?’ is sonically superior, it is ‘Look What You Made Me Do’ that truly shows off the brilliance of its creator. Arguably the most divisive song of the year, ‘Look What You Made Me Do’ was the comeback heard on every corner of the globe, and only in the wake of its flickering and savage arrival, could one appreciate the genius behind it. From the choice to make the pre-chorus build to nothing to the risk of interpolating Right Said Fred’s ‘I’m Too Sexy’, Swift made sure her return came singed with the rage and anger only pop’s most hated person could muster.

5. The Kids Don’t Wanna Come Home – Declan Mckenna

On ‘The Kids Don’t Wanna Come Home’, Mckenna perfectly captured what it is to be tethering on the line between youth and adulthood in a world where so much is so unsure. The raw vocal of Mckenna paired with the pondering almost conversational lyrics make for an impeccable indie-rock track that sounds like stepping into someone’s thoughts.

6. City Lights – Blanche

The Eurovision song contest is assured to give you two things – camp over the top performances and awkward instances of countries giving their neighbour points. However, every year, there is some songs that stand out among their sub-par competitors. Belgium’s entry to the 2017 contest was one of those rare shining diamonds. An impeccably crafted pop song, ‘City Lights’ relies on its simplicity, in both production and vocals to truly make it epic and god, does it succeed.

7. Sign of the Times – Harry Styles

God only knew what the hiatus of the world’s biggest boyband would bring about and while his bandmates went in reasonably predictable routes, Harry Styles shed his mainstream cocoon and dove head first into the world of rock. A sweeping soft rock ballad that Bowie would have been proud of, Styles showed exactly what he was capable and flexed his creative muscles to their full extent for what may well have been first time in years.

8. Love – Lana Del Rey

On the lead single from her fourth full length, Del Rey returned to the vintage greatness of tracks such as ‘Young and Beautiful’. ‘Love’ arrived wrapped in a bow and dripping with Hollywood glamour to deliver an awe-inspiringly cinematic testament to the beauty of young love in a way that only the voice of Del Rey can conjure.

9. Disco Tits – Tove Lo

A sexually charged club anthem, ‘Disco Tits’ held nothing back as Tove Lo bared it all. The EDM tinged dance-pop pounds and bounces unapologetically and lets it all hang out – literally. The song draws on disco as well as more modern influences and explores a care free attitude and approach to the world – and its fabulous.

10. Feel It Still – Portugal. The Man

A retro track from a little known alternative band is an odd thing to find within the top 40, never mind the top 10, and yet that’s exactly where Portugal. The Man found themselves this year with ‘Feel It Still’. This funky hit harkens back to 60’s groove in both production and lyrically, resulting in an impossible to ignore earworm.

11. Love is Alive – Lea Michele

Michele truly created something special with the release of ‘Love is Alive’. A stunning broadwayesque power ballad that reaches to the skies and fabulously showcases the vocal talent of Michele, the track perfectly captures the essence of the star who created it.

12. Watch – Billie Eilish

Speaking of talent, this fifteen-year-old singer-songwriter is one of the best things to emerge in music in 2017. Perfectly capturing the dramatic nature of teenage love and over the top feelings that come along with it, Eilish displays a masterful touch on this pop masterpiece that throbs as though it is a recording of the broken heart that inspired it.

13. Lost Without You – Freya Ridings

In a similar vein to Blanche’s ‘City Lights’, Riding’s heart-breaking ballad thrives on its simplicity. Reduced to merely a piano and the gut-wrenching voice of Ridings, ‘Lost Without You’ displays the brilliance in the less is more mantra as its quietest moments are in fact, its loudest.

14. The Cure – Lady Gaga

After the dramatic departure from pop that Joanne took, Gaga returned to her comfort zone with this track. Debuted during her Coachella set, The Cure is a flawlessly fashioned radio hit with a chorus that is undeniably addictive and annoyingly irresistible.

15. Uh Huh – Julia Michaels

One of pop’s most prolific songwriters, Michaels had one of the best breakouts of the year with her hit ‘Issues’. However, it is its follow-up ‘Uh Huh’ that impeccably shows off her genius as a pop mastermind. With a guitar instrumental backing up the verses, it is the drop right into the chorus that makes this one of those unskippable ones that sneaks into very corner of your brain.

16. ’71 Charger – Loreen

Rooted in alternative music, ‘’71 Charger’ broke new ground for the Swedish hit maker. The track draws heavily on minimalistic beats and production, showcasing the voice of Loreen, who makes the bold choice to match and double down on her minimalistic production, with an equally minimalistic but mystifying vocal performance that can only be described as brilliant.

17. Drew Barrymore – SZA

I always believed that Drew Barrymore was the superior Charlie’s Angel and thankfully, R&B’s newest prodigy agrees. SZA cites Barrymore as an inspiration as she played the roles that SZA herself identified with such as the girl who couldn’t get the guy and the track perfectly captures that as SZA asks her lover is she is enough for him.

18. Waking Up Slow – Gabrielle Aplin

A brilliant and overlooked talent, Aplin has developed and coined a unique sound since her debut English Rain. ‘Waking Up Slow’ is fabulous new-age synth driven dance track that is alight with euphoria as bright as the sun.

19. I Know – Aly & AJ

From the pop royalty that brought us the legendary track that is ‘Potential Break-up Song’, Aly & AJ continued to deliver on their potential a decade after their last release. The track was yet another notch in the marvellous year that experimental female pop music has had. A dream pop song that has its head in the clouds and its production in 80s synth pop, ‘I Know’ plays like candy floss and vintage shops.

20. Lost in Your Light – Dua Lipa

Another breakout star of 2017, Lipa’s ‘New Rules’ was absolutely everywhere as it dominated airwaves, its predecessor was equally worthy of adoration. A catchy hook, peppy beat and interesting feature from Miguel makes for an all-around dance-pop banger that was, sadly, ignored.

Listen to all the tracks on this list on Spotify here

Why calling Taylor Swift a Nazi is doing more harm than good

Swift’s return to music has resulted in a witch hunt against her.

Pop stars have always been the subject of intense debate and speculation. It merely comes with the territory and the bigger a star you are, the wilder said debate and speculation is. Case and point – Ms. Taylor Swift. A country bumpkin turned pop royalty, Swift has reached a peak of fame unprecedented prior to the world of social media. With that territory comes the aforementioned debate and speculation , with Swift’s personal life being tabloid magazine’s IV drip since her sophomore album Fearless propelled her to super stardom almost a decade ago. However, as promotion ramps up for her sixth effort Reputation and its lead single ‘Look What You Made Me Do’ (my review of which can be read here) the discussion surrounding Swift has entered a darker and relatively untouched domain – her politics.

This was to be suspected, given the fact we live in a much more unsettled and political world than when Swift last released. That combined with the fact that Swift very rarely comments on the subject resulted in the perfect headline for writers desperate for retweets and the ability to deem themselves ‘woke’. They came in a rush, declaring Swift a ‘Trump-supporter’ and ‘the poster girl for Nazism’, and Twitter ate them up with the feverish desire of a starved child. The articles accuse Swift of capitalising on the ‘Scary Black Man’ narrative in her feud with Kanye West, and not backing Hillary Clinton due to her being a racist and homophobic bigot, of which there is no evidence.

These articles, and the enthusiasm with which they were received, perfectly reflects society’s incessant desire to deem a successful women corrupt and monstrous (conveniently similar to Clinton e-mail scandal just before the election), even if the reasoning has been entirely manifested within the mind of Buzzfeed’s finest. These so called think pieces find their logic in blowing prior events in Swift’s past way out of proportion and distorting them to fit whatever narrative the article attempts to sell,  ignoring any legitimate reasoning to call Swift out.

The lack of evidence in this witch trail against Swift is incredible. Swift never attempted to portray Kanye West as a ‘Scary Black Man’, the media did. Following the events of the 2009 VMA’s, instead of demonizing and continuing the narrative which the media had assigned, Swift publically forgave West on the track ‘Innocent’ and then again when they made up at the 2015 Grammy awards. However, the pair fell out again after she approved the line of West’s track ‘Famous’, ‘I think me and Taylor might still have sex’ before being blindsided and enraged by the line that follows in which West raps ‘I made that bitch famous’. The narrative, however, was twisted against Swift with the media portraying that Swift had approved both lines despite Swift’s consistent statement denying knowing the latter line and the video West’s wife released proving her statements correct.

However, journalists continue to use Swift’s anger over West claiming her career as his making as evidence that she is a racist who supports Trump-like beliefs when the only one of the two who has ever openly supported Trump politics is West himself. This makes no sense until one remembers that the point of this articles is to portray their author as ‘woke’ intersectional feminists when in actual fact they are not. They are merely opportunists who blindly ignore facts in an effort to fit the narrative that fans on twitter want to read. They are amoral, going against all the beliefs of feminism to support a man who has openly supported Trump, and been publically misogynistic and got away scot free, leaving an incredibly successful woman to take the accusations of being both.

If there is any take away from reading this particular posting, let it be this – Taylor Swift is not a Nazi. She is not a racist. She is not a homophobe. And every time that some random verified person on twitter says otherwise it is a slap in the face to the friends and fans of swift who do not fit the blonde, white, republican stereotype that the media has portrayed as the only people who could ever love Taylor Swift. It is a slap in the face to the black girl who spent hours making a costume to wear to a concert in hopes of gaining access to one Swift’s free meet and greets. It is a slap in the face to gay boy who sat alone on a Saturday night listening to ‘Mean’ on repeat in hopes one day he could accept who he was. It is a slap in the face to the Swift’s friends who are everything from black to gay to Jewish. It is a slap in the face to a woman who has built an empire based on writing about her feelings and done so without losing her love and care for those who support her. These articles simultaneously attack a woman based on nothing but malice and berate her for playing the victim without even giving a second thought as to why she does so. Perhaps, if these so-called journalists thought for a second they would realise that Swift no longer plays the victim. Swift has become the victim and the discourse surrounding her politics is to blame.