15 Rina Sawayama: RINA

Just Preparatory Superstar

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(…) 

This placing is perhaps a little too high for Ms. Sawayama: her debut EP probably doesn’t actually have the fifteenth greatest collection of songs of 2017. Based on solely the actual musical merits it would still feature highly on Necessary Evil 2017, don’t get me wrong. Though perhaps it’d be awkwardly bumping body parts in the crowded economy section with the likes of Andrew Bird and Ghostpoet, rather than clinking champagne glasses in first class as she spreads her legs and guffaws with Lupe Fiasco over Moses Sumney‘s droll anecdote.

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But if you think pop music is 100% about the music then you’re an indefensibly dull person. Great pop music isn’t just about great music: that’s definitely a large part of it, of course, perhaps even as much as 53%, but there are so many other factors involved.

It’s those other factors, those elusive forty seven percenters, that Rina Sawayama knocks comprehensively out of the park

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18 Charli XCX: No.1 Angel

Celestial Incompetence

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Remember when I said that EMA was definitely the coolest person in the world? Then maybe you’ll also remember my boring and boorish balderdash about how important it is to always change your mind? Maybe you’ve read the former entry, but not the latter, so consider me an outrageous hypocrite? Perhaps you’ve read the latter but not the former, and will let the upcoming comment slide by without comment? Most probably, you’ve read neither, and are currently just massively confused by this ridiculously overinflated introduction? Don’t worry, the subeditor will remove this paragraph in the edit

Charli XCX is definitely the coolest person in the world. She’s a pop artist who knows exactly how a pop artist should look, act and sound. She writes some of the most perfect pop of the 21st century (occasionally leaving her songs unattended and letting lesser artists pilfer them), but also pop that sounds like it should exist in the 21st century.  She manages to subvert pop’s tropes and expectations with every song, while never once paying the genre anything less than the upmost respect. Even more cooly, she’s smart enough to know that such a mammoth task of pop revolution through disruption could never be a one person job. So she’s always eager to use her records as presentations of some of the best and more outlandish ‘pop’ from the genre’s less appreciated corners. On this ‘mixtape’ alone we’re introduced to notable names that might have otherwise passed us by, Starrah, Raye, the unGoogleable … My attention was first brought to the fascinating story of Uffie, and I was at one point even considered the Cuppcake album for NE2017 (but… wow… I mean, I’m no prude, but… does she kiss he gimp with that mouth??)

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(and here’s proof of how much I love her)

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21 EMA: Exile in the Outer Ring

The Rejection of Comprehensive Reviews

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Well, two out of three ain’t bad (I turned 34 after the song was released)

I’m not going to be able to give the next handful of albums the usual insightful and in depth  investigation that by this point you’ve come accustomed to.

You see, my previous entry intensely debating the artistic choices made on St Vincent‘s recent album was just so emotionally draining, that I worry that if I shake have head over my keyboard there simply won’t be enough viscous creativity juice left to pour out over my next few reviews.

Regardless: here is Emalina McFunnel Armitage with her third solo album. It’s brilliant, for many of the reasons I pointed out in my 2014 reaction to her previous record.

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