8 Sharon van Etten: Remind Me Tomorrow

Considering neither The Manic Street Preachers or Lupe Fiasco were scheduled to release an album in 2019, I don’t think I was looking forward to any record this year as much as Ms Van Etten’s fifth. Her fourth, ‘Are We There’, was one of the three albums released in 2014 that were legitimate GOAT contenders and all kinda given my joint album of the year. It was such an amazingly accomplished and powerful record, one that moved the more eloquent reviewers to state that it was “an absolutely devastating Sturm und Drag bulldozer of emotion, a sharp piercing blade of hopeless heartache that is as heartbreaking and moving as any movie you’ve seen since ‘Toy Story 3“. I have to assume that Toy Story 3 was still totally a topical reference point when that prodigiously insightful yet dangerously sexually alluring reviewer wrote that. While I spend all of my time excruciatingly droning on about how artists/people should be constantly evolving and pushing their sound/personality forward, I often catch myself just hoping that artists responsible for my favourite things will just do those favourite things again! Hey, Jazz Cartier, why isn’t the new album just Red Alert ten times?? Hey, Tegan and/or Sara, why aren’t you just giving me Walking With A Ghost?? Lil Yachty!! Why are you… why are you… Why are you doing any of this…? I… I’m not sure what exactly I want from you… But do that, please. Do Minnesota again, that’ll cheer me up. Sharon van Etten! I can’t wait to see where you take your sound and evolve your music on this new album! But, having said that, please make it exactly the same record as ‘Are We There’! You can, I dunno, add a few trap beats to a couple of songs and have track eight heavily influenced by Hardware, but make sure that, at the base level, it’s exactly the same as ‘Are We There’!! Give me those exact feels! Reach into my bloodied chest and tear out all of those emotions like you did in 2015!!

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‘Remind Me Tomorrow’… isn’t that record. It’s an incredible reimagining of what weight, muscles and undeniable gall bladders* her songwriting can achieve. Synths blast all over the place like the sounds of invading forces damaging the outer wall of the claustrophobic shelter she’s built herself to evade the apocalyptic terror of her mind outside. The first line of the album is ‘Sitting at the bar I told you everything/You said “Holy shit, you almost died!” and the following songs act as almost a flashback, telling the listener exactly what these near fatal experiences were. It’s an amazing album. Look above, it’s the eighth best album of the year. It was considered for number one, but holy shit, you’re about to see how hotly contested that accolade is this year. Like I said, every top ten album is merely different levels of essential. Buy them all, you cheap fuck.

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9 Anna Calvi: Hunter

I wanna know if I can feel alive
I wanna know cause I’m an alpha
I divide and conquer

If you’re reading this, the language I tend to use would suggest that you speak English and maybe 说一点中文. You’re almost definitely British, perhaps American or European. Bizarrely enough, based on the people who read my blog, almost certainly not from Australasia. What’s up with that, Oceania? Don’t I get no love?

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Anyway, you’re more than likely, through sheer luck of birth, to have never had to put up with much dividing and conquering yourself. This time, right now, is actually the most peaceful time in human history. Now, for the first time ever, more people die from traffic accidents (because we’re useless drivers), obesity (because we’re fat bastards) and even suicide (because, as I’ve put it so bluntly before, there really is no fucking point) than die from human violence. Back when we we all lived all 27 years of our miserable life milking a the family duck or sifting through cow shit to find bits worth eating, 15% of all human deaths came through human violence, usually because of the endless war that we were all stuck in. In the 20th century, it was just 5%, as we still had two World Wars to get out of our system Now, it’s only about 1%. Alright, we don’t want to count our chickens too early, and I’m sure the 20th century was looking pretty rosie throughout a lot of 1918, all it takes is an Austrian Archduke being murdered in Syria or the Korean Peninsula and it could be World War 3 (luckily, Austrian Archdukes are quite rarely spotted in Syria and in either Korea). But, in the West at least, it may be Happy New Year (War is Over)!

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10 ANOHNI*: Hopelessness

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As a culture, we westerners are still not 100% ‘OK’ with transgendered people

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I mean, obviously: we’re not even close to 100% accepting homosexuality. We pat ourselves on the back every time a country legalises gay marriage, but it speaks volumes that every country bar Ireland didn’t dare put it to a vote, and you have to wonder how much bigger that 38% opposition would be if the people of Britain and America were polled

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