What an odd time to be alive.
10. Daya – Left Me Yet
We’ve been pretty hot and cold with Daya in the past but we really can’t deny a chorus like this. When that beat trots on through, she has us eating out of the palm of her hands. It really is a perfect chorus and it manages that without trying too hard.
9. Lil Nas X – Panini
Following up the second longest running number 1 in US history is never going to be an easy task. He already takes himself off the horse here and heads for grunge with a glossy pop track that descends into Nirvana. Strange but it may just work for him.
8. Zara Larsson – All The Time
About fucking time. Larsson promised great things with her last album and we expected her new music to be her superstar turn but so far the releases have been limp. All The Time turns that around. She’s ready to be a popstar now and she’s offered up an instantaneous melody that swells alongside Daft Punk-borrowed vocal manipulation.
7. Jessica Mauboy – Little Things
Jessica Mauboy is having an absolute moment right now. Vocally, she’s tapped into this golden pocket – no longer following pop trends but choosing what’s right for her voice. Little Things is a paper thin ballad with Mauboy at her most vulnerable. The vocal cracks at the end grab right for your heart.
6. Stormzy – Crown
Stormzy is gearing up to headline Glastonbury and he’s arming himself with tunes for it. Crown sees us back in introspective Stormz mode. He gives us a sung intro before launching into emotion-soaked bars. If Vossi Bop aligned with Big For Your Boots then this sides with Blinded By Your Grace.
5. 88-Keys – That’s Life (Feat. Mac Miller & Sia)
It’s pretty bittersweet to hear Mac Miller lamenting on life and death in his posthumous verse here. He’s full of light, love and wisdom and that’s emotional to hear in hindsight. Sia follows that with one of her most raw verses in a very long time. It’s nice to hear her bring some depth outside of the pop machine.
4. Stefflon Don – Phone Down (Feat. Lil Baby)
It’s time for Australia to get jealous because Stefflon Don has just dropped a jam that’s going to absolutely sizzle its way through the European summer. This is the most instantaneous song she’s ever delivered and has a real crack at taking her to the top of the charts.
3. Mark Ronson – True Blue (Feat. Angel Olsen)
Mark Ronson laced his new album Late Night Feelings with gigantic pop voices but it was Angel Olsen who came through with the shining moment. True Blue is an instant classic. It’s a clobbering, ‘80s-leaning track that feels dark but strangely elating. The guitars shimmer, the beat stomps and Olsen goes to the depths and heights of her vocal range. Stunning.
2. Hatchie – Secret
Hatchie’s debut album Keepsake is a real moment for Australian music and while there are so many highlights this is the one we keep returning to. Secret is a gorgeous, elongated piece of pop music that takes us to a dimly-lit prom dancefloor.
1. Caroline Polachek – Door
Caroline Polachek has really made us wait for her solo work post-Chairlift but it’s everything we want and more. It opens so many different doors, from the soulful organ to the experimental pop work, that it’s difficult to get you head around at first but once you get on Polachek’s level it’s glorious. She’s an exceptional songwriter who is able to play with form like no other.
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