Wednesday, 9 December 2015

Top 115 Songs of 2015, #50 - 41

Tkay Maidza, JOY, Drake + ALTA.

by Kimberly Anne

Never gonna be your princess
Just another girl in the room.

I had a heated conversation with a friend after seeing Taylor Swift live recently, which involved them saying that in their opinion, Ms Swift was the most talented pop singer in the world today. I like Tay Tay, but I couldn’t agree, because the trouble with that kind of statement is exactly this; Kimberly Anne. Here's her example of pure pop perfection, a perfect beat, a relatable theme, a singalong tune sung by a lady who clearly has a beautifully strong voice. Given another set of circumstances, with this kind of pop perfection, Kimberly Anne could be in Taylor Swift’s position and we’d all be hashtagging kimkim followed by squadgoals instead of taytay and squadgoals, or something like that. So I’m going to be completely honest and say that of all the pop music released this year, it wasn’t Adele or Taylor or Goulding or Gomez that released my fave pop tune, even though they all released good songs. For me, it was this one. And this one is proof that pop isn’t just for giant stadiums and instagram followers, sometimes it’s just for the sake of pop. And Kimberly Anne does pop very, very, very well. (Jo Michelmore) 

When Jo reviewed 'Bury It There' earlier in the year, I'm pretty sure she pointed out that it was going to be one of the year's best pop releases. I don't think anyone would want to argue with that. Not only because it's obviously correct, but why would you want to mess with Jo? She will mess you up, likely wearing stylish boots, and you could have prevented this by just admitting what everyone knows... that 'Bury It There' is one of the best pop releases of 2015. It's got the 'underdog done good' story that speaks to a universal audience and it's so beautifully performed by one of our favourite, emerging UK acts. Ms Kimberly Anne might not have been the princess of some a-hole, but she's won herself a special place in our hearts and we can't wait to hear more. (Matt Bond)


You could take it or leave it
Or I'll keep it...

One time, I saw WAAX drinking beer at The Elephant Hotel in Brisbane. It was awesome. Alright, it was during BIGSOUND so all of the bands are out and about during the two showcase nights. All of them. Unfortunately I didn't get to see WAAX doing their thing on stage, which was a massive shame because 'I For An Eye' would have been a festival highlight. It's confident, demanding of your attention and packs a mighty punch. The same could be said of WAAX. With a brash, no-nonsense and totally Brisbane sound going for them, combined with one of our favourite new fronts in Maz DeVita, you can definitely count us as members of the WAAX fan club. Which will need some sort of name, right? The Waaxies? The Cerumens? Let's just go with Waaxies. The other one is pretty gross. (Matt Bond)

Clearly I’m biased, but I love it when such great bands emerge from my hometown. It gives me hope for the future of my little city, that maybe it’s not quite as boring as I think it is when I’m searching for entertainment on an average dull Saturday night. Maybe I’m biased but I feel like the peculiarity and anger of ‘I For An Eye’ is perfectly Brisbane, the angst of those guitars exactly how one feels here on an average dull Saturday night. Frontwoman Marie DeVita is everything a rock frontwoman should be, her take no prisoners approach dramatically supported by her bandmates. I could be biased, but you only have to listen once to know why. Any guaranteed-to-be-dull Saturday night, when I’m driving the mean streets of my little city looking for entertainment, it might be right there in the speakers of my car. (Jo Michelmore)

by JOY.

I could of made you better
I'm sorry I couldn't change the weather.

I know that I have mentioned this before, but I actually can’t help myself this time, because once you get yourself in a comment loop, you just can’t stop can you? The comments on JOY’s youtube account for the clip to ‘Weather’ involve words like “pretty intense”, “magical” and “massive”, but my favourites are much more wordy than that; “yooo can we do a joint?” and “the emotion man, holy shit” which probably indicate that those comments may not have been written in a completely sober state. Regardless, all of the comments seem to reflect the same feeling, which is mine too; it is rather beautiful, this little track. Matt and I saw JOY at BIGSOUND earlier this year and her potential then was enormous. Here’s hoping next time I see her it’s on a larger stage with a little better mix of sound, because songs like this deserve the attention of many. (Jo Michelmore)

If there's one thing the world can never have enough of, it's JOY. Yeah, like the feeling... but the Brisbane based artist too. While her nom de plume focuses on only one, her music will give you ALL of the feels. As our totally sober YouTube friend points out above, 'Weather' is packed full of emotion. JOY, real name Olivia McCarthy, produces serene beats that circle around her deeply effecting vocals. It all works together to create the feeling of a powerful storm brewing, appropriate given the name of the song. And how about that video? That's some intense stuff right there. JOY looks to be gearing up for an even bigger 2016 and I can't wait to hear what she comes up with next. (Matt Bond)

#47. PAUL
by Girl Band

Again, again
She's a gent, give her a call, my daughter, Paul.

You know how people ask those questions about “where were you when…?” which usually involve world changing events of the past? I don’t have a great memory for those kinds of things, but if you were to ask me where I was the very first time I heard of the band called Girl Band, I could tell you exactly. A Sunday morning in August. Sitting at my dining table, with a plate of toast in front of me, a coffee in hand and a Facebook message from Matt saying “I sat for a couple of minutes in silence and then couldn't stop laughing. I think I love this”. It only took a few minutes on my phone for me to love it too, because there’s really no other way to take it. It’s bass heavy Irish punk, which is kind of adorable in the first place but you pair it with that clip and, well, that’s when magic happens, boys and girls. I know nothing else of Girl Band, I don’t know who Paul is and I’m actually not sure I’ll ever hear of any of them again, but I’ll always be thankful for that clip and that Sunday morning in August. (Jo Michelmore)

'Paul' is a song that makes me feel incredibly (and equally) anxious and excited. When I first heard it, I felt almost uncomfortable, but I couldn't look away from the absolutely trippy video. The further I got into the song, the more it just seemed to take over. And it's not a short song, so by the time it's finished it's hooked its claws in pretty deep. Back to the video... how good is it? Terrifying, but good. Which is just Girl Band and 'Paul' to a tee. I think I've repeated the same thing several different times in the space of four sentences. So I'll do it again... 'Paul' is like the best horror trip you'll ever go on in your life. You'll have no idea what's going on, but you won't be able to make it stop. You'll look back on what's transpired and think, "that was amazing". The process will repeat over and over again. Um... thanks, Girl Band. (Matt Bond)

by Big Smoke

Oh you know you've got me falling to my knees...

I don’t know how they do it, but Big Smoke always have this way of taking me places far away from where I am, to much more exotic landscapes and scenery than the laptop that’s sitting in front of my face. When they appeared back in the 100s of our countdown, I was at a pub in some rural outpost across this big land of ours and now, with ‘Lately’ I seem to have landed in a world of ever changing beats and tempos, a hard driving bass and a twangy guitar reminiscent of the greatest country numbers, without being sad or really lonely, maybe just a little curt. There’s probably still a bar involved, because all the greatest tales of not being able to live without someone’s love generally involve drowning oneself in a beverage or two or twenty, but maybe Adrian’s voice is more than enough really. He’s certainly got that heartbreak thing down right with his strains of “can’t love without your love, lately baby”. Another incredible track from one of our country’s finest. (Jo Michelmore)


Lately, I've been having bad dreams
Heavy, that is how my heart is.

MKO SUN manage to top themselves with each and every release. Which means the expectations we're putting on them are pretty crazy. Those expectations clearly mean little to Hannah Macklin and Co. as they effortlessly smash them to pieces. 'Michiko' only continued MKO SUN's winning streak, with Macklin's voice as striking as ever and featuring innovative beats you will fall deeply for. There's only love for MKO SUN and I don't see that ever changing. Please get totally famous soon so the whole world can share in this goodness. (Matt Bond)

Another one to add to the list of great songs MKO SUN has released this year, this three piece from my hometown describe themselves as abstract r+b, but I’d probably throw a little pop and a little electronica in there as well. And I’d have to mention the outstanding voice of Hannah Macklin’s, because she always seems to have a knack for strength and softness and knowing when to use them both in every song. No idea what or where ‘Michiko’ is, but if this song is any indication, I wouldn’t mind finding out and visiting. ASAP. Please. (Jo Michelmore) 

by Jamie xx ft. Romy

You go to loud places to find someone who
Will take you higher than I took you.

 Let’s talk about this from the beginning, in order to remove any further confusion. Or maybe add to it. Jamie XX is very, very talented, but there’s no coincidence that his name is Jamie XX and his band’s name is The xx. There’s a theme that runs through all of his music, and especially so when he uses the talents of his bands vocalist; Romy Madley Croft. I don’t really know while this isn’t The xx but you know, whatever. It’s good. Like The xx are. I digress. A little more layering than anything his other band can put together, ‘Loud Places’ reaches high upon high, with that gospel sounding choir clapping like you wouldn’t believe and Romy doing her glorious thing and stretching those vocal chords all over it. A glorious song by one very talented guy, but here’s hoping The xx will be back sooner than later. (Jo Michelmore)

As close as we'd get to new music from The xx this year, 'Loud Places' was the most hauntingly moving track on Jamie xx's In Colour. That shouldn't be a surprise with the addition of Romy Madley-Croft on vocals. Hauntingly moving/beautiful is kinda her thing. As an added bonus, 'Loud Places' makes you want to dance in a way that most tracks from The xx could not. You know, because your heart is usually breaking or you're reflecting on life. Ok, enough about The xx. It's just hard not to bring them up when here you've got this amazing song that's been brought to you by two members of The xx. I can't stop writing it. The xx. Enough. The xx. We're done here. The xx. I'm pretty desperate to hear a new album from The xx in 2016. The xx. (Matt Bond) 

#43. MOVES

Hurry up and make your move.

With 115 songs to write about, you'll have to forgive me for repeating myself a couple of times. I've already said a couple of times that I don't get the magical radio playlist makers in Australia. Because a song like 'Moves' is made for the radio, to be heard by and loved by a huge audience. It's supposed to achieve a huge level of popularity and have unnecessary remixes playing in the clubs. It's supposed to inspire the creations of future artists. Sure, it's nothing new for one of the best songs of the year to not get the play it deserves. That doesn't mean it's not time for that to change. 'Moves' is without question one of the best songs of the year. Duh. It's here in a best songs of 2015 countdown. Hannah Lesser and Julius Dowson make quirky cool, with creative beats that will have you coming back again and again. And you can't tell me that 'Moves' doesn't have the best use of an elephant's trumpet since Missy Elliott's 'Work It'. I'm hoping to hear a lot more from ALTA very soon. Knowing already that it will be quality stuff, I'm also hoping they start getting the attention they truly do deserve. (Matt Bond)   

by Drake

You used to call me on my cellphone
Late night when you need my love.

I'm not going to pretend I'm Drake's biggest fan. A song here and there of his has been responsible for fleeting moments of musical distraction. That one with Rihanna, maybe? Yeah. That was alright. While I'm still not fully on team Drake, I can't deny the impact he had in 2015 with 'Hotline Bling'. I've enjoyed the song almost as much as I've enjoyed the countless gifs and vines and whatever the new way of sharing stupid little videos is called. I'm hip to the technology talk. What I'm not, is as good at the dancing as Drake... doing his little... jig... to the song. Fella's got some moves. I can't keep up this ridiculous charade. The dancing is a joke. But the song? The song's pretty great. (Matt Bond)

The greatest thing about ‘Hotline Bling’ becoming as commercially popular as it has is not that mid-tempo beat that makes it one of those songs that circles your mind and it’s not the almost muted nature of its rhythms or Drake’s  intense way of saying those apparently captivating words “you used to you used to” but the best thing about his new found popularity is the concept of someone who knows nothing else about Drake googling his back catalogue and finding his perhaps not as commercially viable previously released songs. It could also be the amount of memes, gifs and other things the kids do made post release of that video, because really, that was what that clip was made for.  If nothing else, it sure made for some of my fave dance moves of the year. There’s still hope for me making a career in dance if Drake does that. Thanks Drake. More unintentional hilarity again next year please. (Jo Michelmore)

#41. GHOST
by Tkay Maidza

They're heading for me, they don't know a truth from a lie.

Like Emma Louise before her, here’s another late year release that had to replace someone else on this list once we’d compiled it, because there was no way we were leaving this one out. Sorry Bieber*, you didn't make it. I used to be one who didn’t have much faith in Australian hip hop. There was one name that changed all of that for me. Tkay. Ghost is glorious, the hooks addictive, that voice of Tkay’s shining above all, it’s a supposedly all-star line up on this one but we all know Ms Maidza is the real star…and what is that Matt says the kids say? Slaying? Is that what she does? Whatever they call it, it’s awesome. *It wasn't Beiber who got pushed off the list. (Jo Michelmore)

Tkay Maidza shows no signs of slowing down on the world domination front. After wowing us with hit after hit the past couple of years, Maidza ends 2015 with the release of another absolute banger. 'Ghost' shows just how far the Adelaide rapper has come in a relatively short time. Fresh and sophisticated productions from Baauer, What So Not and George Maple surround the energetic and rapid delivery of rhymes from Australia's finest rap export. We're also treated to more of Tkay's sweet vocal tones in the chorus, which you WILL sing along to. Tkay continues to do what Tkay does best. Slay. (Matt Bond)

There's only four posts left to go! Where does the time go? No, seriously... why is it going so fast? Don't stray too far, we'll be back tomorrow with #40 - #31!

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