#40 muna marketa irglova
Contemporary music doesn’t seem to be very much about Beauty (capital letter intended). It’s about self-expression or differentiation or intellectualism or pain or flashiness or experimenting, but rarely about beauty plain and simple.
Czech artist Marketa Irglova, as a response to that, seems like one of those people who enter the recording studio with the main goal of doing something that is precisely beautiful. And that can be ok, too.
Listen to: The Leading Bird
#39 i remember everything rivulets
The 90s sound of this record makes me overwhelmed with nostalgia. Its melancholic acoustic ballads, in fact, could be the soundtrack of a random episode of Buffy, Veronica Mars or any other tv series I was obsessed with in my teenage years.
Listen to: Into the Night
#38 aftermath hundreds
An acceptable compromise between electronic and acoustic stuff makes Aftermath the most enjoyable pop record by a German band that I’ve heard in a while. A pleasant surprise.
Listen to: Ten Headed Beast
#37 se vedo te arisa
Half of this record is beautiful and modern and the other half cheesy and outdated, almost annoying. A schizophrenic work in search of an identity; a work that, for all these reasons, might very well be representative of what Arisa is as an artist and – ultimately – as a person.
Listen to: Se vedo te
#36 allergic to water ani difranco
I had decided to save this spot for either Beck’s Morning Phase or Ani DiFranco, ’cause they’re both people who know exceptionally well how to age, artistically speaking.
I opted for Ani because her work has meant a lot to me, but also because it’s just completely fascinating seeing THE angry girl per excellence coping with the mildness of her feelings in such an inspiring way. It’s something that some of her female colleagues (one above all: Tori Amos) have been struggling with relentlessly in the past two decades and that should be praised about Ani.
This doesn’t necessarily mean that the record resonates with me 100%: after all I’m still in an age in which I feel (too) much.
#35 let’s go extinct fanfarlo
Movies like Gravity or Interstellar are good evidence of the fact that space is cool again and more than welcome to be featured in this decade’s art works. Let’s go extinct – with its nerdy, poetic, beautifully arranged songs – can probably be considered Fanfarlo’s 2 cents on the matter.
Listen to: Let’s go extinct
#34 made in london noemi
X-Factor alumni Noemi “flees” to London and gives birth to her most interesting and mature record to date. The future of this Italian pop star looks fucking bright.
Listen to: Tutto l’oro del mondo
#33 mirrors the sky lyla foy
I don’t usually like records with such a polished production and Lyla Foy’s Mirrors the sky is a notable exception. Its songs are intimate, “smoky”, simple enough and ultimately heartfelt. A quiet but remarkable debut.
Listen to: Honeymoon
#32 my favourite faded fantasy damien rice
I always feel like Damien Rice doesn’t have a very distinctive persona. That is partly due to the fact that he rarely makes the news (at least outside of Ireland) and partly because when he does make the news it’s for strange stuff like a weird, unexpected duet with Tori Amos or for producing the record of Mélanie Laurent.
His music, on the other hand, has been incredibly consistent, being made almost entirely by soft, acoustic love ballads with the danger – let’s face it – of making him repetitive and boring.
The only thing I can say about My favourite faded fantasy is: danger escaped.
Listen to: I don’t want to change you
#31 …and star power foxygen
Contradiction (and self-contradiction) bugged me all my life. I had the strong desire to live in a world made of linear paths and coherent people, and every time reality proved this wrong I ended up either angry or hurt.
At age 30 it’s still hard to cope with that, but at the same time I can see something refreshing, educational and at times necessary in changing direction and do something that defies structure, time and expectations.
There is a lot to like in this record.
Listen to: Cosmic Vibrations