This has been sitting in my drafts for about eleven days because when I did last month’s top ten, for some reason the tracks just would not fucking embed, and it took me literally an hour to get it ready to publish after I’d written it. I had like a mental block about it this month, my brain is way too tired. Anyways, these posts never seem to perform too well, but I’m gonna stick at doing them anyway because I think it’s a nice underline to each period. Shout out to Nicki Minaj who I dropped out at the last minute because that pesky Friendly Fires song wouldn’t get out of my head. I do think ‘Chun Li’ is a latent banger though… it’s really started to click for me lately.
10. FRIENDLY FIRES – ‘LOVE LIKE WAVES’
I wish the Friendly Fires comeback got even half as much of the attention the Arctic Monkeys one did, since ‘Love Like Waves’ is a lush paradise banger and the Arctic Monkeys album is one long mirror wank. If you like trop-pop but hate what it became, roll it back with Friendly Fires who were doing it long before the inescapable trend, and doing it with flair.
9. VANJESS – ‘ADDICTED’
Simultaneously sounding exactly like the SWV, TLC, Brownstone etc bangers of the 90s but also thoroughly modern and 2018, ‘Addicted’ is a slick R&B track with just a touch of hip hop swirled in to give it an edge. I want to love Chloe x Halle but it’s all a bit too nice for my taste. ‘Addicted’ gives me those same harmony driven melodies but with a bit of attitude, and I’m obsessed. Potentially a new fave.
8. ALICE – ‘GIRLS X BOYS’
That tier of faceless pop girl that churns out undeniable bops but you can’t distinguish one singer from another added alice to their ranks and while I was unconvinced at first, this song is a grower, for sure. The jerky, glitch hook is extremely catchy once you acclimatise to it and who doesn’t love a song about orgies? Like Madison Beer, Astrid S and Phoebe Ryan, my interest in this artist is going to fluctuate between single to single, but this is a good start.
7. EO – ‘GERMAN’
I have no idea why this song hasn’t popped off because I was obsessed with it as soon as I heard it, even though I know it’s derivative trash. EO is a tiny 16-years-old but this track is as confident as if it came from any number of his older, more accomplished peers. In that same Ramz wheelhouse, but it’s better than ‘Barking’, although it was apparently recorded on the same beat initially, and I will be playing it all summer.
6. KHALID, 6LACK & TY DOLLA $IGN – ‘OTW’
This track came up on shuffle the other day and I had an absolute moment because it’s just… so fucking good? That hook is so relentlessly catchy, so chill, so easy to sing along to. Perfect for the car, for the dancefloor, for the park, for taking a relaxing bath to – it works for every occasion, the little black dress of music. Khalid is the future, I’m telling you.
5. ZAYN – ‘LET ME’
Why is everyone sleeping on this absolutely gorgeous song? I told myself I wouldn’t let beautiful anxious Zayn’s inability to promote his own material get to me but ‘Let Me’ barely scraped the top twenty and meanwhile his embarrassing ex-band mate is on Live Lounge with Yxng Bane. Can we just pause for a second and think about how much I deserve a Zayn x Yxng Bane collaboration? I’m getting flustered just thinking about it. Anyway, consider this a reminder that ‘Let Me’ is a love song for the ages, better than anything Ed Sheeran has ever written, I hope Zayn won’t mind our first dance at our wedding being his own song.
4. SAWEETIE – ‘ICY GRL’ BAE MIX ft. KEHLANI
It feels like every time I blink lately, there’s a new Kehlani feature. This one is a remix of a viral hit from 2017 in which Saweetie freestyles over the beat from Khia’s iconic ‘My Neck, My Back’. Admittedly, the track relies heavily on you being into that song in the first place, but if you are it’s like muscle memory. The only real surprise is how fire Kehlani’s verse is like… who knew the good sis had bars like that?
3. JANELLE MONAE – ‘PYNK’ ft. GRIMES
Janelle Monáe’s ode to womanhood in all it’s many variations and forms might be the best track from her outstanding new album. The gentle, half-spoken verses riding on fingersnaps building into a scuzzier guitar based chorus makes it soft and strong concurrently, and it’s not difficult to imagine how it might sound playing loudly from the speakers of a car with all your best girls squashed in singing along (pretty fucking euphoric).
2. DRAKE – ‘NICE FOR WHAT’
Listen, I haven’t felt so instantly into a Drake song since as far back as ‘Fancy’, and that’s not to say he hasn’t had some excellent tracks in between, it’s just that magical alchemy between the beat and the flow and the topic of conversation on ‘Fancy’ is a rare thing. ‘Nice For What’ takes an iconic Lauryn Hill sample, chops it up with a Big Freedia excerpt and gives women the perfect track to curve wastemen to. It’s bombastic, and I love it.
1. ARIANA GRANDE – ‘NO TEARS LEFT TO CRY’
I feel like I have written extensively on this song, I’m not sure I have any new words to contribute regarding how stunningly well-written and produced it is, on how Ariana’s vocal transcends, or the exceptional rendering of that emotional state of being simultaneously broken but whole and new at the same time. It’s an outstanding pop song, an exquisite example of the genre, and a legacy building moment for Ariana.