39 Ariana Grande: Sweetener

“Once I have you, I will never let you, never let you”

I feel quite sorry for Ariana Grande. ‘Sweetener’ is an absolutely brilliant album, and the jokes about my ‘TDE’ (Tiny Di… yeah, you got that joke, didn’t you?) would write themselves. It sees Grande finally locate an identity for herself, and honestly contains some of the best and most subtly experimental mainstream pop music released this year. I’m just going to use this review to talk about Hejjy again though. First ISIS, now this: poor girl just can’t catch a break.

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Buckle up!

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49 Ezra Furman: Transangelic Exodus

Earlier in the year, I went to the cinema with my brother Mizdow. In the 72 minutes of adverts beforehand, one advert obviously aimed at people with no taste included one with that terrible singer* with a hat. You know that one? With a hat? Yeah, that one.

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(*I don’t know he’s terrible, only that everything I’ve heard that has definitely been by him has been terrible. Never assume you’ll hate something. Also, as will soon become clear, I don’t really know who he is. I just know he exists and he does things)

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65 NYSE:%

I was never even aware of the existence of the ‘Vaporwave’ genre maybe as recently as six months ago. Vaporwave is electronic music that utilises 1980s mood music and smooth jazz via tropes and distorted samples, mainly to provide a satiric commentary of some of capitalism’s and consumer culture’s worst excesses. It’s different, it’s making a statement, it’s at once disgusting and thrilling, it sounds quite unlike anything else, and it jumped immediately to being one of My Favourite Things. It’s experimental, it’s abrasive, it’s self-aware, it’s challenging, it’s exciting. I love it. I’d be proud, honoured and- dare I say it- woke if I were to be considered one of the notable early adopters of the movement.

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Unfortunately, that’s unlikely to be happen, as vaporwave has existed since the early 2010s after emerging as a more ironic take on ‘Chillwave’ (another genre I was not aware of). Me being considered an early adopter of vaporwave because of the handful of shouts on this list (and there will be more) is like me naming Brian Eno on my 2014 list marking me out as an integral part of the early success of Roxy Music. Yes, I know Mojo Magazine made that claim in a 2017 cover story, but I’ve actually attempted to distance myself from that article many time in the past. Anyway, in August the guy who used to be in The Monkees claimed himself a fan of the genre, so now it’s officially over.

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