No Baudelaire, Just Glitter Lust

Goldfrapp’s ongoing project of reissuing their albums on vinyl has given me a good chance to revisit those records (all of which I have obsessed over to some degree) and write about them a second time, if only to see how time has treated the music, and to gauge my own visceral reaction to it […]

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The Best Tracks of 2019, #3

3. Bille Eilish, “Bad Guy” As predicted – and orchestrated, skeptics will say – Billie Eilish absolutely blew the hell up in 2019, and when the 17 year-old released her debut album When We Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go? in March, the first song to grab listeners by the throat was the murky, confrontational […]

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The Best Albums of 2019, #6

6. Jenny Hval, The Practice of Love (Sacred Bones) For an artist as daring and non-traditional as Jenny Hval, to see her tackling a theme as banal as love is enough to make one do a double-take. She even addressed the seeming incongruity in a press release. “Love as a theme in art has been […]

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The Best Tracks of 2019, #6

6. FKA twigs, “Sad Day” Of course the one track on FKA twigs’ stupendous second full-length album that won me over the most was the one that is most indebted to Kate Bush. As soon as the track’s clattering beats come in underneath her plaintive singing (Skrillex was a co-producer) it echoes side two of […]

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The Best Tracks of 2019, #7

7. Jenny Hval, “Ashes to Ashes” Jenny Hval’s music keeps getting increasingly more hook-oriented, but don’t think that comes at the expense for her often lofty lyrical concepts. “Ashes to Ashes” is indeed one of the catchiest tracks Hval has ever written, as its gently pulsating dance arrangement underscores the pretty chorus. Delve a little […]

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The Best Tracks of 2019, #8

8. Carly Rae Jepsen, “Now That I Found You” On a terrific album that saw Carly Rae broadening her sound a little more, “Now That I Found You” was the one big, instant classic CRJ track. The arrangement falls right in her wheelhouse: tentative and sweet verses build to a chorus of euphoria and fireworks, […]

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The Best Tracks of 2019, #10

10. Tove Lo, “Sweettalk My Heart” I could have chosen a much edgier Tove Lo track from 2019 to single out, but as the months have gone by, “Sweettalk My Heart” has grown on me tremendously. It’s a unique song in that its melody and sensibility is a lot lighter and brighter than anything she’s […]

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The Best Tracks of 2019, #13

13. Ashley O, “On a Roll” I have no idea what Black Mirror is, but I could not escape the news that Miley Cyrus played a pop singer on the tv show. Normally I wouldn’t care, but what hooked me in, along with everyone else, was the fact that her fictional character sings a completely […]

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The Best Albums of 2019, #14

14. Tove Lo, Sunshine Kitty (Universal) It’s been great fun hearing Tove Lo evolve as an artist over the past decade. The highly conceptual Queen of the Clouds remains a near-classic debut, while Lady Wood and Blue Lips headed into considerably darker territory. The sad aspect of sour relationships, which Tove always showed a great […]

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The Best Tracks of 2019, #14

14. Charli XCX w/ Christine & the Queens, “Gone” Charli XCX’s hotly anticipated album Charli was a mild disappointment, but “Gone”, her collaboration with Héloïse Letissier, was one of a handful of inspired moments. A sublime marriage of Charli’s futuristic take on pop music and Christine & the Queens’ much funkier sound, “Gone” sees both […]

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The Best Albums of 2019, #20

20. Carly Rae Jepsen, Dedicated (604) At one point four years ago I was locked in a pretty darn intense discussion about Carly Rae Jepsen, insisting that Emotion was an indisputable classic pop album. At the time it felt like I was talking to a brick wall, but as this decade comes to a close, […]

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The Best Albums of 2018, #2

2. Christine and the Queens, Chris (Because) Back in 2015, I was at the Osheaga fest in Montreal and went to check out a new artist called Christine and the Queens on one of the side stages. Because she was French and had achieved some trans-Atlantic success in Quebec, she drew a sizable crowd, and […]

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The Best Albums of 2018, #4

4. Robyn, Honey (Konichiwa) In the eight years between her last two albums, pop music felt empty without Robyn. Her metamorphosis from teenaged Max Martin-produced pop star to trend-setting auteur is the stuff of legend, and you’d be hard pressed to find another artist who equals her in terms of vision. She has always been […]

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The Best Tracks of 2018, #5

5. Christine & the Queens, “Girlfriend” In one audacious three and a half-minute track Héloïse Letissier, as her alterego Chris, obliterates any and all gender norms on the stupendous “Girlfriend”. Atop an ebullient arrangement that’s equal parts New Jack, Michael Jackson, and Janet Jackson (lotsa jacks) Chris is the sexual aggressor, full of desire but […]

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