My most listened to albums of 2018

2018 didn’t do it for me with album premieres. Sweetener by Grande was too experimental, Liberation by Aguilera lacked direction and annoyed me with fillers… I spent the beginning of the year listening to Lorde’s Melodrama from the year before over and over again, which felt like trying to squeeze out the last bits of ketchup from an empty bottle – desperate. I like having my big album of the moment and talk about it to all my friends, like, exaggerating its artistic excellence. Most of my favourite artists did not release any new music this year, which led me on a journey of nostalgia and rediscovering. Yet again, I found comfort in things that sound familiar.

Random Access Memories by Daft Punk

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It feels like this album came out such a long time ago. Back in the day, I couldn’t care less about Daft Punk and their Grammy award-winning record, that is nothing but an amazing mixture of robotic electro sounds(lots of vocoder) with an iconic style of disco and funk. Back then, I only knew Get Lucky, which I fairly liked, but couldn’t see brilliant production, smart references, and craft behind it. Nile Rodgers, king of disco(le freak, c’est chic!), Pharrell, Giorgio Moroder, all of these legendary people without whom music wouldn’t be what it is today, participated in this project. The instrumentation on this record is everything you could dream of, synths, strings, juicy bass lines… Giorgio by Moroder, which includes a monologue by Giorgio Moroder himself is a tribute not only to the musician, but also many different music genres. 9-minute long masterpiece is a perfect track to listen to if you’re curious what to expect from this Grammy-winning piece of proper music. My other favourites include  The Game of Love, Within, Instant Crush, Doin’ it Right. 

Baby One More Time by Britney Spears

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I’ve been a massive Britney fan since, funny enough, her mental breakdown in 2007. I was 11 years old at the time and she was being talked about on every TV show and gossip website at the time. This year one of my dreams finally came true, as I managed to see her performing in Glasgow during her European tour. Despite the infamous playback (over)use and quite a modest production of the tour I still had an absolute blast watching Britney’s show. As Princess of Pop announces her new Vegas residency, her debut album filled with bangers turns 20. Everyone knows Baby One More Time, Crazy or Born to make you happy. I personally adore this album for its old-school production(times before EDM took over pop music production) and Britney’s vocal. This collection of songs includes the most of her natural vocals and effort you can get from any of her records.

No Shame by Lily Allen

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Lily Allen has been in the center of tabloid attention in the UK for over a decade now. She started her music career with a reggae and ska inspired pop album Alright, Still in 2006. Her most successful work to date is a brutally honest, lyrically savage album It’s not me, it’s you from 2009, including anthems like The Fear, Not Fair or Fuck You. It doesn’t matter if she sings about stereotypes, her boyfriend being shit in bed or dad who wasn’t there when she needed him, her delicate voice always does it for us! Personally, I could listen to her singing out Netflix’s terms of service and still pay money for it. No Shame is her newest record, that despite not slaying the charts includes some proper Lily Allen style bangers. My personal favourites are the album-opening Come On Then (Yeah, I’m a bad mother, I’m a bad wife, you saw it on the socials, you read it online…”), vulnerable Lost my mind, marriage inspired and Mark Ronson produced ballad Family Man and Apples, sampling the melody from a brilliant song “K” by the band called Cigarettes After Sex.

PS. Don’t forget to check out Lily’s new no.1 bestselling book “My Thoughts Exactly”. One of the best reads of the year for sure.

Bloom by Troye Sivan

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Troye is on fire right now. All the gays went crazy after he released the title track from this album, which unapologetically, is about bottoming. I personally think it’s one of the best artistically-directed clips of the last few years. With amazing fashion, Troye invites us to his garden, filled with true pop anthems. Taylor Swift invited him to perform on stage with her during Reputation Stadium Tour, where they performed his song My My My. Have we all gone Troye-crazy? I hope so! My favourite tracks are the title one, together with Seventeen and Postcard.

Back to Black by Amy Winehouse

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Back to Black is the best heartbreak record ever made. Period.

When you combine one of the most charismatic voices of our generation and jazz inspired melodies with smart songwriting and production from Mark Ronson himself, it’s hard not to get a brilliant thing out of it. The iconic album was inspired by Amy’s first break-up with husband Blake Filder-Civil. Til this day, there are books and documentaries being released almost every year, just to get a little bit from that gold mine that Back to Black has become over the years. As Amy would say herself: what kind of fuckery is this?

For you I was the flame
Love is a losing game
Five story fire as you came
Love is losing game
One I wished, I never played
Oh, what a mess we made
And now the final frame
Love is a losing game
Played out by the band
Love is a losing hand
More than I could stand
Love is a losing hand

A closer look at the style of Amy Winehouse

“I don’t think I’m going to be at all famous. I don’t think I could handle it. I’d probably go mad, d’you know I mean? I would go mad.”  Said Amy Winehouse in one of her early interviews. Yesterday would have been her 35th birthday.

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Music stars of numerous genres often appear in fashion magazines. Their outfits are analyzed from head to toe, with almost every single public appearance being a collaboration with a particular designer. The case of Amy Winehouse was different for several reasons. It’s obvious that the number of scandals, tabloid headlines, and digital trash that was thrown all over her was too big for anyone to care about anything else. The tragic day-by-day drama of a girl that loved too much overshadowed not only music but other aspects of that unique career as well.

Brought up in a simple household in North London, Amy remained humble til the end, despite the fortune that happened to credit her bank accounts later on. It didn’t really change her behaviour or style. Charmingly outspoken Jewish jazz princess always loved her dreamy vintage dresses, pencil skirts, big belts, polo shirts and… “fuck me pumps”, obviously.

“I just love beautiful girls” she once said, asked about her choices when it comes to personal style. Known for hair bigger than my future, often accompanied by a colorful hairband, and amount of black eyeliner and mascara that would last you a year without a problem. Her clothing style – most times described as “pin-up” or just “vintage”, without any deeper interpretation. It’s obvious Amy loved this whole Americana, pin-up girl game, but we need to remember – she was a British girl, oh yeah, she was! Winehouse loved her tacky animal prints from time to time, extra large golden earrings, cropped jackets. I can picture her outside some pub in Stoke Newington in a leopard jacket and red denim skirt. Smoking a Marlboro Red of course.

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Amy Winehouse performing at the Brit Awards, picture from Vogue.co.uk

She didn’t seem to care about the label, but the overall presentation and final effect. She was a perfect curator of her personal style. In 2010 Winehouse collaborated with Fred Perry and created her very own fashion line. Sometimes seen on stage in a gorgeous black Dolce and Gabbana retro dress, sometimes in just a cigarette fit jeans and a Fred Perry polo shirt – Amy created a style that later became an inspiration for other artists like Duffy or Lana Del Rey.

Few years after her death, The Jewish Museum of London organized an exhibition of Amy’s belongings – from books to clothes. The polka-dot chiffon dress from Back to Black album cover wasn’t there, as it got sold for over 40 grand on an auction… But other Amy-looking polka dot dresses were. Together with some gorgeous Fendi heels(pumps, as she would often say) and leopard print denim shorts.

Happy birthday Amy!

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Amy Winehouse wearing Dolce And Gabbana during her Grammy Awards 2008 performance in London. Picture from Vogue.co.uk