Tuesday, 12 December 2017

Song Of The Year 2017: 7. Ingrid - 1234

Here's a nice niche one for you. The only explanation for how I found this track is that it must have been on Sweden's NMF playlist at the time and to be quite honest, thank God it was. '1234' has received next to no promo otherwise which is pretty poor form from Ingrid and her team given how great this single is.

'1234' was penned by four (as far as I can tell) relatively unknown Swedish writers including Swedish Disney star, Linnéa källström. And it encapsulates everything one could want from an extremely fun Nordic pop song. Where Swedish pop females are concerned, bar Tove Styrke and Tove Lo (stay tuned), they haven't had the greatest year which begs the question why an artist like Ingrid wasn't pushed a little further. It actually sounds like a poppier/more bubblegum amalgamation of some of Tove Styrke's tracks.

'1234' came out just after Samantha Urbani's song of the same title finally made its way to digital stores/streaming services and it was at that point I thought, surely it can't get better than this. Ingrid proved me wrong.The chorus absolutely slams. Has anything ever been more sing-along-able than counting? No. It literally hasn't. Everybody can count and almost everybody can also count in English. Other than that I'm not honestly sure what the lyrics are all about... getting someone who fancies you to dance? Regardless, I'd quite like for this to be played at my funeral. Thank you very much.

Song Of The Year 2017: 8. James Vickery - Alone

Well, would you look at that. If it isn't great guy James Vickery with the second track from his debut EP Complexion. James sent me 'Alone' before its release and since I haven't spoken about it I thought I would share my reaction to said song. It was as follows: "Very INTO IT, the intro/outro is my fave bit. This hook is very good. Not even a chorus is it, just like one line over and over, it works. Songs without choruses really fucking me up this year." The other song I really liked that doesn't really have a chorus is Jakil's 'Every Time We Talk' which was genuinely pipped to the post by the tracks that did make this list.

'Alone' is produced by my favourite producer and in my opinion the UK's best producer (and also very long time WIIHAMB favourite), Maths Time Joy. This track is tight. It's that whole "whitespace" thing, when you're designing something. Less is more. And that really plays out well for 'Alone'. The first minute or so of this track is so minimalistic and it works effortlessly. In fact, let's discuss exactly what happens at 02:02 of 'Alone'. This is by far the greatest moment of this song and honestly it was exactly what I wanted from James Vickery post-'Epiphany' and 'Lately'. Everything drops out and then that vocal, the vocal we were all waiting for, slams back in. Glorious.

Another important, but niche, thing to note is that none of the tracks that Vickery has put out over the last year are longer than three minutes and twenty seconds which is truly the most optimal. People who don't take durations seriously aren't the types of people you should take seriously about music and that's the bottom line of this situation.

James has just announced his second London headline show. Tickets on Dice here. Come have a beer.

Monday, 11 December 2017

Song Of The Year 2017: 9. George FitzGerald - Burns

I started working at Domino Records sister company Double Six Rights this year. If you didn't know that, you know now. The Double Six roster is expansive, but the in-house Domino roster is pretty eclectic too. I'd say I've probably been fairly dismissive of Domino releases this year but I've started making more of an effort to listen to everything we put out. It's actually probably this song, that I have round the office been referring to as "the greatest song of all time", that spurred that.

I'll tell you exactly why I fell in love with 'Burns' so quickly. It's simple. It's that sample. Chopped and sampled vocals are by far my favourite thing in electronic music and to pull it off in such a clean manner is something I really admire. The vocal sample here is taken from a track by label mates Little Cub. Ten years or so ago I first heard Burial's 'Archangel'; I'd never heard (or realised I'd heard) sampling like it before and it genuinely changed my life. My outlook on music as a whole was completely flipped on its head and anything that calls back to that moment gets a yes from me.

What really sets 'Burns' apart, though, is FitzGerald's ability to build such an intense atmosphere in the space of four minutes starting out with a really short and basic sample. The escalation is so gradual and effortless that it's easy to not even notice the other elements bubbling under the surface until you're completely encapsulated in the midst of it all as the percussion kick in. I'm not one for sentimentality or sitting in dark rooms with nothing but my thoughts, but if I was, I'd be using 'Burns' to soundtrack just that. This is a masterpiece and a masterclass in how to do electronic music right.