Our highlight from Yanya’s Miss Universe is a pop song through and through. Verses propped up with warped synth stabs and choruses rich with melody and overdriven guitars. Yanya is able to tackle mental fortitude and fragile masculinity in a nuanced, thoughtful way while adhering to the pop verse-chorus-verse-chorus formula.
Devastating. Intimate. Revealing.
Mile High feat. Travis Scott & Metro Boomin’
A tune to live inside.
Park Hye Jin & Baltra
Ahead Of Time
“Now I’m so glad you’re here,” sings Korean singer Park Hye Jin and the heart, it melts in the club.
Work (Soulwax remix)
If you saw a Nialler9 DJ set this year, you heard this one.
Singling out one song from Solange’s album When I Get Home is tough as the album’s mood hangs together across 19 tracks that are smudged together like a hazy reverie. While the album works best as a whole, ‘Stay Flo’ is one of the few tracks on the album that works for a single play and that I’ve come back to for that reason on its own.
Don’t Know How To Keep Loving You
A beautiful cut from Julia Jacklin’s excellent second album Crushing, ‘Don’t Know How To Keep Loving You’ is a delicately unfolding, guitar-led summation of knowing you need to leave a relationship. Jacklin’s delivery is submerged in quiet turmoil and sincerity and siphons audience empathy by the bucketload.
This moody, wailing guitar jam is the sound of a band at their creative peak. The best guitar solo of the year follows Adrienne Lenker’s impassioned crackling vocals delivered as if her life depends on it.
Sibambaneni / Raise Up
Euphoric and uplifting, Kindness’ ‘Raise Up’ is an invigorating gospel outing that centres around jazzy pianos, a driving beat and very sweet messaging. More like a jam session between friends than a straight-forward single, listening to ‘Raise Up’ always makes the day a little bit brighter. Pair it with Something Like A War album intro ‘Sibambaneni’ for full emotional life.
U (Man Like)
A standout track from Justin Vernon’s i,i. ‘U (Man Like)’ is an arm around the shoulder held aloft by a stunning piano sound carrying a sweet gospel harmony. Bruce Hornsby, Jen Wassner, Elsa Jensen and Moses Sumney add backing vocals, as does an actual honest to goodness choir.
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Of course, there’s a Spotify playlist: