There’s a bit of an ode to synth-powered music this week!
10. Destroyer – The Birthday Massacre
Missing 90s New Wave? Then say yes to dark carefully constructed synthrock, which is consistently brilliant, released by The Birthday Massacre. ‘Destroyer’, from their latest album ‘Superstition’ is a prime example of the band in their element. And if you want more, there are eight whole albums for you to enjoy. My favourites? ‘Red Stars’, ‘To Die For’, ‘Horror Show’, and ‘Looking Glass’, to name a few!
9. Nail – Zola Jesus
Zola Jesus’ Baroque synthpop makes me think of barren, windswept moors for some reason. Perhaps its the bleak, ethereal atmosphere created by her music – its full of layered vocals and choice moments of sparse production that are truly evocative. The album that I pulled the track from, ‘Taiga’, is also worth a listen.
8. Til It’s Gone – Yelawolf
One of my favourite rappers, Eminem prodigy ‘Yelawolf’ uses stereotypes of white Southern Americans to his advantage, creating comedic or soulful homages to his homeland with a versatile, impressive flow. This latest release has a fitting country vibe.
7. Shadow of Death – Ab-Soul (feat. Jay Rock, Kendrick Lamar & Schoolboy Q)
Kendrick’s muted vocals in the chorus, paired with an instrumental that gives off a 70s vibe, really makes me long for the summer sun. Listen closely however, the lyrics artfully paint a picture of the darker side of LA beneath the optimistic melody.
6. Big Eyes – Lana Del Ray
Written as the main theme for Tim Burton’s latest movie, also titled ‘Big Eyes’, there’s something very Thomas Newman-esque about the opening piano notes to this song. But that’s definitely a good thing, only serving to accentuate the haunting aspects of Del Rey’s voice in this gorgeous ballad. I actually think this is better than a lot of the tracks on her latest album Ultraviolence.
5. MELANCHOLIA – RITUALZ
I can see why RITUALZ named their album ‘OUTWORLD MUSIC I & II’, their music is beautiful ‘blackened techno’, that must, must, must be played loud, in near-darkness, to do it true justice.
4. Ocean Death – Baths
Barely decipherable vocals and a thudding beat, intertwined with industrial crackles and patters that sound like rainfall, create this gloomy, minimalistic track.
3. Fxxk Boyz Get Money – FEMM
Fart East Mention Mannequins, a Japanese concept duo who pose as ‘living dolls’ on a mission, make a striking case for abandoning the quest for (heterosexual) love, in the name of earning tons of cash.
2. Toxic (2014 Version) Britney Spears
Imagine if Britney had released Toxic for the first time this year? This is very likely what it would have sounded like, and I love it. The more melancholic, reflective production suits lyrics that describe a dangerous, heartbreaker, down to the ground.
1. Brooklyn Nights – Lady Gaga
This song doesn’t always put me in the best mood – it brings back memories of somebody I used to care deeply for. But that doesn’t take away the fact that this is a great synthrock ballad, proving Gaga is a great lyricist in terms of telling emotional, emphatic stories about her own past. I wish I could hear this one sung live.