It was the work of bedroom-studio conspirators, of songwriters confronting their traumas and aspirations, of old hands challenging themselves and newcomers determined to warp accepted boundaries: artists working to please themselves at a time when gatekeepers can easily be bypassed. The weird outsider became a popular girl in The songs of Billie Eilish, 17, are death-haunted and depressive, by turns arrogant and anxious, mocking and desperate. Quiet moments are shattered by creepy sound effects or loud intrusions, while her breathy vocals — hushed enough for A. The show-tune shapeliness of her melodies is often a sardonic frame for grim sentiments, to be faced with a ballooning bass line and a self-conscious smirk. Her songs are decisively personal, detailing struggles with racism, faith, desire and her own self-sabotage, while the music is gleefully experimental, playing with sounds and structures and taking chances just because she can. Carlos Santana revved up his band with grooves adapted from Africa and the Caribbean , jamming live in the studio. The debut album by the songwriter, singer, violinist and producer Sudan Archives born Brittney Parks carries the potential of her homemade EPs even further. Loops of her beats and her raw violin lines are still the core of her music, but collaborating producers add new possibilities: wilder counterpoint, psychedelic hazes, orchestral cushioning.
From pop comebacks to international acts finding crossover success to gorgeous ballads and irresistible dancefloor bait, was quite the year. Here are the songs we couldn't stop playing this year. Think the vulnerable voice of Nina Simone waxing poetic about the ills of millennial dating.
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You know why? Also, " best music videos " is a somewhat valuable search phrase that, over the course of an entire year, pays off with loads of clicks and, probably, some passive revenue from Google ads. But that's a side of the business I don't deal with, so perhaps I should shut my mouth and make content. Everyone lives to serve the algorithms now, so get on board or get off the internet! While the nature of online video production and consumption may have changed, what's stayed the same is plenty of artists and directors continue to collaborate on music videos that deserve your attention. Here are the finest the medium has to offer, so check back regularly or every day, just make sure you close and reopen your browser! In it for the music? Check out the best songs of , the best albums of , and the big albums that will drop in Want more recommendations? Director: Daniel Russell Release date: August 22 Why it's great: It's important to pay respects to a great artist when she pays respects to herself.
The fact that The Highwomen even exists is impressive. They make that statement over an unabashedly pretty melody, going in and out of duets and harmonies with seamless, generous sweetness. Carly Rae Jepsen has built a cult following on the power of her brand of pure, heart-on-your-sleeve pop. Her widely-praised third album was even nakedly called Emotion. Bandana , the widely acclaimed album from rapper Freddie Gibbs and producer Madlib, was forged in trying circumstances: Gibbs says he wrote most of the record in an Austrian jail while awaiting his eventual acquittal from sexual assault charges. And that something is a propulsive, infectious disco sensibility. With a retro-sounding melody that resonates across generational tastes, the song has already become a dancefloor mainstay.