Rich and diverse, the music trends popular in 2018 showed their inclusive, post-genre colours.
It may not be the end of 2018 yet, but chances are that for the next couple of weeks you will be seeing a lot of the-end-of-the-year rankings and lists popping up in the magazines, blogs and your social media feeds. Personally, I don’t endorse this practice. “Hold with your judgments till the year ends!” screams the voice in my head. But taking in consideration that this is the last regular mixtape of 2018 as well as that pre-Christmas period is usually slow season for new releases, I better suck it up and try to do a stock take here. All I’ve got to say about 2018 is what a fine year it has been. With the volume of great music and few let downs, to narrow down the list of winner it would be a serious challenge. Conveniently enough (for me), the selection of music gathered (and hunted) since last mixtape somehow reflects the rest of the year.
Rich and diverse, the music trends popular in 2018 showed their inclusive, post-genre colours. A lot of noise has been made by young, angry bands digging out 80’s post rock sound (audiobooks, IDLES, SHAME, Dublin’s FONTAINES F.C. and PILLOW QUEENS). There has been a strong female presence especially in the indie - singer songstress area with badass women such as SNAIL MAIL, SOCCER MOMMY, COURTNEY BARNETT, SHARON VAN ETTEN, THE ORIELLES, PILLOW QUEENS, KISSISSIPI, and JESSICA PRATT rocked hard with sounds and words. But also great year for alternative pop royalty (CHRISTINE AND THE QUEENS, ROISIN MURPHY, ROBYN) and club ladies (PEGGY GOU, YAEJI). Using music as their platform KIDDY SMILES, YVES TUMOR, AH-MER-AS-SU, SOPHIE, HONEY DIJON, among other Queer artists, moved LGBTQ+ issues, stories and vision further into the spotlight. And a massive congratulations to ROSALIA, the Catalan artist, who became a global phenomenon with her modern take on flamenco tradition.
Another trend surfacing were well crafted, DIY pop songs which served as a quiet act of rebellion against the glossy pop music with sound bites for choruses ruling the radio waves. This category includes YELLOW DAYS, KURT VILE, LEISURE, PREP. R’N’B and soul revival continues for youngsters (DENITIA, AZAKEL, AMBER MARK, NIVL, JMSN, EMILY KING and JODIE ABACUS) bringing some seriously sultry, smooth delights.
The underground phenomenon of lo-fi house, which was started as “a youtube genre” by DJ’s and producers with ridiculously cheeky monikers (DJ SEINFELD, DJ WINDOWS XP, ROSS FROM FRIENDS), finally has been embraced by the mainstream with a steady stream of proper releases, remix commissions, festival and club appearances.
On top all that, 2018 has also been a year of big comebacks. MARIAH CAREY, ROBYN, THE SMASHING PUMPKINS, JEAN MICHEL JARRE, NENEH CHERRY, BRYAN FERRY, THOM YORKE, VANESSA PARADIS, THE ARCTIC MONKEYS, LANA DEL REY, and just last week GRIMES, gifted their loyal, ever hungry fans with new music. As well as that, some talented debutants entered the stage and the names such as SUPERHUMAN LIKE BRANDO, FONTAINES F.C, ALFIE TEMPLEMAN should get a mentioned along the big stars.
Finally, the Polish scene blossomed again, in what I personally consider one of the best years in music there (for more check out our “What’s That Sound, Poland?” mixtape.) As broad as NOSOWSKA’s surprising return with a shouty, hip-hopy electro on one end anf the moody, cinematic soundscapes presented by Messrs. MREŃCA and SPADELNIAK, on the other, 2018 in Poland music-wise, proved to be nothing other than robust and spectacular.
End of the year always brings the promise of the new and exciting releases next year. And the prospect of new albums by few of my favourite artists such as BEIRUT, TORO Y MOI and MAGGIE ROGERS makes my jump with joy.
That’s it for 2018, girls and boys! I will be back very soon with a special Christmas surprise. Until then, hold on to your (y)ear(s)!