• Mark Mathews

The Best Tunes of 2018 (in my opinion)

Updated: Oct 16, 2019

Fuck me sideways, it's been tiiiimmmmmeeee bruv! I've not written this blog for about 6 months I think! I'd say it is partially down to the new record that comes out next year, because that has seriously taken up a lot of my time but also it's a little bit down to laziness and not really having the inclination to write anything. I mean, I used to force myself and when I did that, nine times out of ten those posts were crap.

Alas, somehow or other we have almost made it to the curtain falling on yet another year. 2018 has been a topsy turvey one for me, but all that's for another blog before 2019 kicks in!

For now, it's that time again where I chat about my musical picks of 2018!

Now, in past yearly round ups I have focused on the 'Best albums of the year', but to be honest 2018 has been, for me at least, the first real taste of the rapid death of the album. Single songs reign King.

I, personally will always love and prefer a good collection of songs, as the album format is what I was brought up on. And of course, there are still complete albums being made, particularly coming from the old guard like Noely G, Weller, Macca et al. But 2018 has felt a little bit sporadic and scatter gun for me personally and I've found myself loving individual tunes more than actual albums and EP's for the most part.

Soooooooooo, this year I am doing The Best Tunes of 2018 and if you don't like it, well, write me a stern email, DM, snapchat (easy on the dick pics) whatever.

So, here we go, in no particular order, here are, The Best Tunes of 2018 (in my opinion):

Sam Fender - That Sound

I don't think I really need to say it, but frankly this geezer is surely going to own 2019. His output thus far has been utterly sublime, he recently (and rightly so) won the Brit Awards Critics Choice award and his website logo is that of a Newcastle Brown Ale label - a delicious drink (Yes it is haters! Pop along to Wetherspoons and order one and come back to me if you don't believe me!) that quite frankly is ignored in the same way a ranting mad man on the tube gets ignored - Oh, you see him. You see him out of the corner of your eye. But you'll be fucked if you go anywhere near him. You're certainly not going to put you mouth on him and drink his juice...OK the analogy falls down towards the end but you dig what I'm saying.

Anyway, back to music. That Sound, by Mr Fender has that early to mid eighties, Madchester sound to it that just makes me fall in love with music all over again. The bagginess to the drums, the reverberating guitar lines and Sam's fucking BEAUTIFUL vocal melodies make this his best track to date. Get involved.

Boygenius - Stay Down

Ok, most of you regulars, friends and social media followers will know I am slightly in awe/love with Phoebe Bridgers. Ok, there is no slightly about it. I love her damn it! I love everything she does and I want to somehow make music and build a sweet, sweet life with her on the coast of California. So, you know, a normal amount of love for a stranger I've never met. Although I did literally bump into her when I saw her perform earlier this year in Islington, so you know, that's a start.

Anyway, stop asking me about Phoebe Bridgers for christ sake! I'm talking about the Folk, supergroup that Bridgers created with two other brilliant female singer-songwriters, Julien Baker and Lucy Dacus. They are of course, BoyGenius!

BoyGenius released a wonderful, heartfelt (Obvs, being them three!) six track EP seemingly just for the shits and giggs of it all. They are all friends and respect each others careers and they thought, "fuck it, why not?" It's not quite clear if anything more will be made by them, with a strong chance that this was a one off, but who knows.

Alas, Stay Down is a real stand out track from the collection, a song that sees Baker take the lead vocal role and Bridgers and Dacus providing heavenly backing vocals. The meld of voices is what makes this group so infectious and beautiful, which is not surprising when you are dealing with some of the best folk vocal talents going at the moment, and this song really celebrates that. Wonderful.

Marlowe (L'Orange & Solemn Brigham) - Lost Arts

The award for innovative beats and sounds of the year simply has to go to the North Carolina duo L'Orange & Solemn Brigham, from Marlowe. I know we're not doing albums, but shit the bed, this album is soaked with clever lyrics, bombastic beats and with just enough of a retro framework to make it instantly accessible without it being trite, plagiarised or cliché. It's bloody amazing and Lost Arts is a beautiful flagship song to back up that point. Ooooosssshhh!

DMA's - For Now

It's quite amazing what a diet of Oasis, The Stone Roses and Happy Mondays can bring out in a group of lads, but DMA's are the most quintessential British band around at the moment...and they're from bloody Australia, mate!

Yeah, their second album has that Charlatans/Mondays/Roses mix that we have DEFINITELY heard a million times before but it's got real charm and it's a comfortable sound that is really likeable. There's even a slight La's feel to it, which can never be a bad thing.

I have to admit to slightly preferring their first album to this years follow up, and I do think they are currently in serious danger of being known as,'That band that covers cheesy pop songs', regardless of them being really fucking good! But all that said, there are some great tunes and I struggled to decide between For Now and, In the Air, for this list, but settled on the immediacy and electric album opener, For Now which has the lyric "If I am nothing, you are no-one". LOVE that.

Laurel - Life Worth Living

I was given Laurel's debut album, Dogviolet, from someone I know at a record label with the message, 'I think you'll like this, Mark'. And you know what? She was right for the most part. There are some flashes of excellence on the record, but it didn't completely and utterly take me. That said, the opening track, Life Worth Living, I think is a great low-fi Indie album opener and a bit of an ear worm that has me going back to it more often than not.

Gerry Cinnamon - Sometimes

I might be wrong here, but I don't think since The Proclaimers we've heard an act singing in such a strong Scottish accent as Mr Gerry Cinnamon, but by God is it good. An act that seems to have come out of nowhere (though this is often not the case and there is a lot of fucking work that goes on behind the scenes!) and has been a revelation in the fact he has no label, no management, no marketing team and yet has been on a huge arena tour with the likes of The Courteeners and has really smashed the back end out of 2018 with no lube and no condom.

The guy has loads of great tracks, he's done some amazing covers (check out the Catfish & The Bottlemen cover he does!) but his single, Sometimes, is so fucking catchy and has such a great melody I think this has to be the track of choice. It's a sparse track of guitar vocals, drum machine and bass, but it just works perfectly and again is a damn fine ear worm that is hard to shake off. Chop out a line and listen to his words!

AJR (feat. Rivers Cuomo) - Sober Up

I've decided to end this list on a track that will split the audience massively, because frankly I just want to achieve what Brexit has done to the UK and feel the glory of turning swathes of people against each other. Mwahahahahahahah!

Ahem. So, I've gone for Sober Up, by AJR featuring Rivers Cuomo.

I make no bones about me liking catchy, pop tracks. I just bloody LOVE big choruses (It's the Irish in me I think, that wants a fucking good sing song and eight pints of the black stuff). Now this IS the BEST of 2018, and I'd say that Sober Up is the best, catchy pop track of the year. So it is well in it's rights to be included. So feck you!

I don't particularly believe in the idea of guilty pleasures - If it's a pleasure then fuck it, it works for you and thus is good. No guilt needed. This track is just that. I mean AJR knew to enlist, arguably, one of the greatest pop song writers of a generation in Rivers Cuomo - That man understands pop sensibilities, such as hooks, choruses and catchiness, as much as Buddy Holly ever did. Fact.

So, yeah. Suck on this bitches. Sober Up, one of the Best Songs of 2018 (In my opinion)!

Thanks for reading and hopefully I have infuriated some and also made others happy. Feel free to spread the debate over my social channels and let me know who you'd swap out and with whom as I'd genuinely like to know. I can't possibly have listened to everything in 2018 and there could be a fucking gem that I NEED in my life!

Love you all, speak real soon, yeah?! xxxx

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