These are 9 of the songs I kept coming back to in January of 2018. They’re in no particular order and most likely not released that month. This is a snapshot of the songs I liked in January that are worth listening to.
Breakfast Muff – “R U A Feminist”
Twee/indiepop was one of my earliest genre deep dives. In 2009 I just became obsessed with all things twee. I wanted to live in the 90s, I wanted to hear C86 on cassette. Entirely informed by the internet, I was twee as fuck. My obsession with that genre still shines through in a lot of my listening now–I still binge-listen to Tullycraft’s hits every couple of years. “R U A Feminist” by Breakfast Muff brings all those warm feelings back, and the song has a nice dash of defiant aesthetic and a crazy tempo that makes it a favorite.
Charli XCX – “Track 10”
As predicted, I loved Charli XCX’s POP2 mixtape. There are a number of highlights on this one: “Unlock It,” “I Got It”, and “Lucky” are among my faves, and “Track 10” is the peak for me. It’s the mixtape’s most pure expression of that PC Music feeling that I’ll never get enough of.
Tica Douglas – “Death Comes in Three”
I discovered this song through one of those 2017 music in review pieces that flood the internet every winter, and I could not be more grateful for those articles when I listen to this song. Tica Douglas’s album immediately clicked with me, and “Death Comes in Three” is endlessly listenable for me. I love her voice, and the guitar line that propels the whole song forward just feels good to listen to.
Superorganism – “Nobody Cares”
Superorganism gives me strong Architecture in Helsinki vibes. And I love it! Lots of musicians working together to produce twee-ish tunes is something I can get behind. “Nobody Cares” is the probably my favorite of theirs so far, but “Everybody Wants to be Famous” is right up there with it for me. I find it hard to write about the music–it’s just fun in a way that defies explanation.
Katie Ellen – “Proposal”
I almost put Katie Ellen’s “TV Dreams” on my 2017 faves list. To be honest, I don’t know why I didn’t–the song has lived on my playlist for nearly 9 months and it’s not going anywhere. Somehow I only listened to the rest of the album in the last month or so, and “Proposal” jumped out as another joyous listen. Besides a simple little guitar strum, Katie’s voice is basically all there is to this song and it’s phenomenal.
Closer – “Hardly Art”
The back-to-back drop of “Gift Shop” and “Hardly Art” on Closer’s album is just incredible. I love this hardcore shit. The scream-shout vocals with the dissonant and minor-key instrumental make “Hardly Art” absolutely great. Reminds me a bit of the best of Cursive.
Anna McClellan – “Heart of Hearts”
This is one of those songs I loved right away. I’m still exploring Anna McClellan’s output right now, but I can already report “Heart of Hearts” is top notch. There’s a playful feeling to the backing piano that gets turned upside down at the crescendo when McClellan sings, “we all feel the weight of a system that is rigged.” God, I love it.
Lucy Dacus – “Night Shift”
I liked a couple Lucy Dacus tracks from her last album (especially “I Don’t Wanna Be Funny Anymore”) and it seems like she’s gonna be upping the ante on this new album. I lovelovelove her vocals climbing from quiet & subdued to loud & defiant as she repeats the chorus and the nearly-howling vocals a minute out from the end of the song.
Marching Church – “Christmas on Earth”
The defiant divorcee is a narrative that comes through so well in Marching Church’s words. There’s a cheerfulness to the horns and piano–and maybe the expectations of a Christmas song–that’s masterfully countermanded in the narration. This might be my new favorite Christmas song I’d listen to out of season (thereby supplanting Hayes Carll’s “Grateful for Christmas”).
Afterword: I’m inclined to turn this in to a recurring format here. It’s a good way to go through a few and write about a few songs at once, rather than writing a new post for every song I fall in love with.