FI_11Aug

First Impressions: Lana Del Rey, FKA twigs, JOY. + More

FI_11Aug

First Impressions is an interns roundtable review of songs on their first (or second) listen. Each week we review six new songs from the past week, each giving them a score out of five and awarding our pick of the week. This week we pick apart tracks by Lana Del Rey, James Vincent McMorrow, FKA twigs, JOY., Jamie Woon and Koreless

Lana Del Rey
High By The Beach

Ben Kyi: The most redeeming quality of what would be an otherwise pedestrian offering, are the bridge and verses of High By The Beach. The music and vocal delivery are at their best in these sections. However, this is undone due to the repetitive nature of the chorus, and somewhat shallow and contrived lyrics throughout. I have never understood the appeal of Lana Del Rey and to this day, I still don’t. 2

Alistair Rhodes: To me Lana Del Rey has completely flopped on this track. The chorus is repetitive and boring and with the words "All I wanna do is get high by the beach" appearing three times in one chorus in which there are 2 chorus' to this song, as soon as the second chorus starts I was ready to turn off my speakers. Lana has a strong voice but during verse one and two and the bridge it is very weak and lacking that oomph that this song desperately needs. High By The Beach is the single off her fourth studio album, I only hope the rest of the album is a lot better. 2

Sam Murphy: After hearing Honeymoon I was not expecting LDR to go back to the pop/hip-hop stylings of Born To Die but nothing she does is really ever predictable. If you’re not already a Lana fan then this is a terrible entry-point - it’s annoying and a little grating but I am a fan and I think this is quite frankly f***king brilliant. She doesn’t even sound like she’s lifting a finger, vocally, but she manages to sound like a total badass - “the truth is I never bought into your bullshit.” The chorus is also a total jam with its woozy synths and nursery rhyme melody.

Here’s the thing about Lana Del Rey. Everybody made such a point of pointing out that she was fake after Video Games. And then she released Ultraviolence and proved she could release a great album. And now she can pretty much do what she likes because she’s got her fanbase. This will easily be her biggest hit and even though I still can’t quite figure her out, she’s utterly compelling. 4.5 Sam's Pick

James Vincent McMorrow
How To Waste A Moment

[soundcloud width="750" height="200"]https://soundcloud.com/jvmcmorrow/how-to-waste-a-moment[/soundcloud]

Ben: Far from being a banger, How To Waste A Moment is one of James Vincent McMorrow’s more upbeat tracks. It also feels a bit more subtle than some of his past material, as the music isn’t entirely showing the emotional heft that McMorrow is often known for. Though, the lyrics are heavy and lush in content and detail as the title suggests, wasted moments. This great contrast aside, How To Waste A Moment is a good track, but doesn’t fully showcase McMorrow’s musical prowess or swoon inducing vocals that we all know he is capable of. 3

Alistair: On first listening to How To Waste A Moment I wasn't all that sure if I liked it or not. So I went back and listened to his previous songs such as We Don't Eat, Cavalier, Look Out and Higher Love in order to refamiliarize myself with James Vincent McMorrow's work. Just like all of those songs James is taking you on a journey and telling you a story that relates to certain aspects of not only his life but the listener's life as well. This is by far his most buoyant song to date. The more I listen to it the more and more I like it. 3

Sam: If anything, it’s really nice to hear James Vincent McMorrow expand his sound and put out something a little more immediate than Cavalier. This sounds optimistic, up-beat and perky which is a mode we haven’t heard from him yet. I can’t say it’s as intriguing as the last album but it’s a pleasant little track and there ain’t nothing wrong with that. 3.5

JOY.
About Us

[soundcloud width="750" height="200"]https://soundcloud.com/joy-aus/about-us-1[/soundcloud]

Ben: Olivia McCarthy’s latest offering About Us is a pleasant low key jam of the electronic variety. The airy delivery of the vocals sit nicely in the scheme of things, while programmed beats, flourishes of keys and a few bars of great guitar work easily get the tick of approval. McCarthy is currently on the rise and her creative output far surpasses her 17 years. Definitely one to watch in the near future. 3.5

Alistair: Wow is my first impression of Olivia McCarthy’s latest tune and boy is it a TUNE! Her latest single About Us ticks all the right boxes. Her whispering vocals, the small amount of guitar meshed in with the electronically produced beat is outstanding. The only downfall to this song is that it seems to end quite abruptly. To think that this Brisbane producer/singer songwriter is only 17 years old and is about to drop her own self produced EP Ode later this month is unbelievable. Keep an eye out for this rising star. 4.5 Alistair's pick

Sam: JOY. set such a high standard from the first tracks he released but she just continues to get better and a lot of that is that she’s really elongating her voice and tapping into its smokey textures. About Us is her best track to date, I think. It’s so subtle and downplayed but it still manages to be captivating. Usually those gentle guitar strums would make something sound sleepy but here they’re atmospheric and warm. And I haven’t even spoken about the lyrics yet - they’re deep, heartfelt and honest. It’s hard to tick all those boxes and sound eloquent too but she manages. 4

FKA twigs
Figure 8

[soundcloud width="750" height="200"]https://soundcloud.com/alex-ia-5/fka-twigs-figure-8-zane-lowe-beats1-premiere-interview[/soundcloud]

Ben: Figure 8 is the second taster from forthcoming EP Melissa, and it boldly reaffirms why FKA Twigs is such a driving force in the wide field of electronica. The track’s production is off the charts, with so many dark, weird and wonderful nuances creeping into the mix. Twigs’ vocals are an absolute treat to process and display her trademark R&B sensibilities delivered with an experimental tilt. Figure 8 is an unpredictable and exciting new track from an artist that is at present, going from strength to strength. 4.5 Ben’s Pick

Alistair: Upon listening to Figure 8 it wasn't at all what I expected to be hearing. I love the darkness and left field vibe I get from this song. The second single to come out of the FKA twigs camp which will feature on her latest EP Melissa truly cements herself as a pioneer within the indietronica scene. This dark and beautiful song really showcases FKA's immense production talents. There is so much happening in this song and it all just works and flows into each other ever so well. Her vocals are absolutely sublime. Three years in the industry and it doesn't seem like FKA twigs can do any wrong. 4.5

Sam: I’m of the opinion that twigs is one of the best musicians of our generation so it’s pretty hard to give her a well-rounded critique. What I love about her is that she’s so focussed on every facet of her craft and that includes talking about her music. The interview with Zane Lowe below is so well-expressed and honest - it doesn’t feel like there’s a detachment at all between the artist speaking and singing.

Figure 8 was phenomenal when I heard it live and she effortlessly carries that energy across to the studio recording. One of her greatest production techniques is the way she plays with balance. It constantly feels like the weight of the beat is shifting - it’s very off-putting but also gives the track an intriguing sense of movement. Brilliant. Again. 4.5

Jamie Woon
Sharpness

[soundcloud width="750" height="200"]https://soundcloud.com/woon/sharpness[/soundcloud]

Ben: Four years since Woon’s debut Mirrorwriting dropped and we finally have some new material from the Brit. Sharpness moves along at a nice pace and makes great use of clean beats, a catchy bass line, and Woon’s smooth and soft vocals. This track is the epitome of low key R&B. It doesn’t break a whole lot of boundaries, but it is still a pleasure to listen to. 3

Alistair: The song's title Sharpness really sums up this song. It is sharp and tightly produced. Woon's beautiful voice coincides  with a very catchy beat really gets your head bobbing. It's the type of song you'd listen to whilst chilling around a fire with your mates and having a bit of a sing along to. You can really get lost in this song. 3.5

Sam: It’s quality not quantity for Jamie Woon and that’s a very rare thing. He’s really shaken off all the pressure around releasing a sophomore record and taken his time. It’s a good move because Sharpness is great. It’s really subtly funky and never shoves itself in your face. He just sits back in the beat and let’s his vocals flow effortlessly. He feels like a real, old-school soul singer and that’s really cool to hear in 2015. 4

Koreless
TT

Ben: Plenty of deep bass, interesting voice samples and a great build over the first half of electronic producer Koreless’ new cut TT isn’t enough to save it from a slightly underwhelming finish. Unfortunately, the aforementioned build doesn’t amount to much at all. The samples begin to grate after a while and TT ends up teetering away and eventually stagnating over the last minute and a half.  2.5

Alistair: Koreless has released this latest record TT via Young Turks, now Young Turks very rarely seems to disappoint but with this record I'm left wondering. I'm getting a progressive electronica vibe from TT and I had high hopes for this track but it just seemed to let me down. The constant building up for nothing left me forever waiting for something to happen. The track should have finished at the 4:45 minute mark as the last 45 seconds is an absolute waste of time that leaves a sour taste in my mouth. 1.5

Sam: Everything Young Turks touch turns to gold so the fact that they’ve release this already has me sold really. Putting that bias aside though it’s actually one of the stronger electronic tracks I’ve heard this year. That vocal sample is really frantic and off-putting yet you never feel as if it’s all too much. The synth that kicks in gradually settles everything and turns into something quite relaxing in the end. Koreless is an absolute master at beat-less music - he builds and builds and builds until you’re sitting on the edge of your seat. 4

Now time for your vote:
[poll id="50"]

Top 20 Songs of 2014 (So Far)


TOP202

2014 has been full of highlights so far. Kimye finally married, Solange threw a punch at Jay ZLana Del Rey found favour with the critics and Kylie Minogue joined The Voice. Yep, 2014 is making memories one-by-one and to celebrate we’ve put together our Top 20 Songs of the year to date. Call it a soundtrack to the trials and tribulations of months passed and a cheers to the months ahead.

Together we sat down, fought, laughed and cried over our favourite songs of the year. What is immediately apparent is that 2014 has been a year for new artists. Four of our top five artists only released their debut this year and three of the Top 20 are yet to release an album. While many of us had to forego personal favourites in the name of democracy, we’ve attached them for the aural pleasure on the next page.

Scroll below and read our spiel about how each song appeased our little ears in the first half of 2014 or head right to the bottom for our custom-made Top 20 Soundcloud playlist.

 

PharrellEOFYS

20 Pharrell - Hunter

Of all the songs we could have pulled from Pharrell’s 2014 release Girl, why did we pick Hunter? This song makes you want to hit the town on a Saturday night. In the signature Pharrell Williams style, it offers up a slow blues and catchy swagger brimming with confidence. From the moment we all heard this track, we were hooked.That infectious guitar line that has been stamped across Pharrell’s tracks since Get Lucky is in its purest form here. It’s a song for those on the prowl- stalking around, chest puffed, Saturday Night Fever style.

Lizzie

stvincentEOFYS19 St Vincent - Digital Witness

A pop song centred around brass. St. Vincent has never been one to follow trends and yet again she’s carved a masterpiece from the oddest of stones. Digital Witness is an extension of the chapter started between her and David Byrne but introduces a new-found attitude that permeates her self-titled album. Upon the album’s release, Annie Clarke said “I wanted to make a party record you could play at a funeral”. Digital Witness is an apparent critique of people’s need to document everything rather than experience. She told Under The Radar “I wrote a will not too long ago, and in it I wrote 'When I die, I want you to scatter my ashes in the Internet”. No doubt this song will accompany that.

Sam

jamesvincent18 James Vincent McMorrow - Gold

James Vincent McMorrow’s Post Tropical was one of the more surprising releases of the year. After a pretty mundane debut, Post Tropical was a spectacular melting pot of genres from hip-hop to folk and pop. Gold is the centrepiece of that album. The brass instrumentation shines through amongst his flawless falsetto. The staccato in the second chorus rings like a military-call leading the song into a powerful crescendo. Stunning.

Bianca

RobynEOFYS17 Röyksopp + Robyn - Do It Again  

Everyone knows the feeling. The wines flow, the music throbs and bed doesn’t beckon until sunlight. The aftermath is never fun yet it never deters. Do It Again is the perfect anthem for early-morning club dwellers. It’s got a thumping bass-line, lush synths and an uber-melodic bridge that couldn’t be by anyone else but Robyn. The Swedes are yet to screw anything up, ever, so three of them together could only mean good things. The lyrics are almost pain-stakingly obvious but such is the song’s charm. It worked for Daft Punk (One More Time) and it works again here. No need to think about when the drop is. Like a valiant host, Robyn tells you and then unleashes a mighty chorus. The marriage between pop and electronica has never been more glorious.

Sam

PorterrobinsonEOFYS16 Porter Robinson - Lionhearted

Crowned ‘The Hottest Record in the World Right Now,’ by BBC Radio 1’s Zane Lowe, Lionhearted, offers up something completely different to Porter’s usual heavy EDM thumpers. For those who call themselves die-hard Porter Robinson fans, you may not warm to the new sonic territory he is breaking. However, the interns felt that as one of our “Rebels of EDM", this incredibly talented 21-year old has stepped up to the plate as an exciting artist to watch in 2014. His hotly-anticipated Worlds album is set to be released on August 12, until then, this electro house anthem teamed with Swedish indie-pop band Urbane Cone, offers up a reborn sound peppered with playful melodies, atmospheric vocals and a dancey sentiment.

- Lizzie

glassanimalsEOFYS15 Glass Animals - Gooey

The Alt-J of 2014 had something more to offer- an RnB-inspired swagger that reached under the skin and slid along with its icky lyrics.The title of the track is perhaps the most pertinent depiction of its slippery melody. The mention of perfume, pooh bear and peanut butter further contribute to making this song the most slinky piece of matter since flubber.

Bianca

EOFYS_JessieWare14 Jessie Ware - Tough Love

While Devotion was brilliant, the question was always what Jessie Ware would do next. It turns out all she needed to make was the subtlest of changes. In Tough Love, she reaches for the heights of her vocal range taking us to territory she's never explored before. With the help of Two Inch Punch and Benny Blanco, she's delivered a song that ebbs and flows with the most subtle of dynamics. The flurry of synths that greet the second chorus are the perfect climax to a song that could've easily flatlined without the right care.

- Sam

sia13 Sia - Chandelier

Beyond having one of the most brilliant visual marketing campaigns this year, Chandelier is an absolute tune. The RnB-tinted verses suggest that Sia had the intention of writing a hit for Rihanna but the chorus crushes that belief. There ain’t no way Rihanna could scale the vocal heights that Sia hits in the chorus' main hook. It’s a song to drink to, a sequel to R.Kelly’s I Believe I Can Fly and a statement that cements Sia as one of the best pop writers in the game. As far as a pop song goes, that’s three ticks.

Bianca

LANAEOFYS12 Lana Del Rey - West Coast (Zhu Remix)

No one has polarized the interns’ opinions more than Lana Del Rey - as an artist, as performer and as a person. However, on the eve of Del Rey’s new album, Zhu slapped down this baby with impeccable timing, doing her work justice and much, much more. The signature Del Rey nostalgia is replaced with the punchy thump of percussion, killer chopped vocals and effortless hypnotic 3am house energy. While the song remains sultry, oozing sex, sex and more sex – it brings about an overwhelming power to make you want to dance uncontrollably in a club.

Lizzie

chromeoEOFYS11 Chromeo - Old 45s

C’mon, how could you not enjoy this song. It’s catchy, evocative, totally nostalgic for an era we had absolutely nothing to do with and just a good old bundle of fun. I dare you NOT to dance to this baby.

Hannah

zedzdead10 Zeds Dead - Lost You (feat. Twin Shadow)

In our ‘First Impressions’ back in May, we struggled to say a nice thing about this track. look how the turntables have turned. Canadian bass producers Zeds Dead have snuck into our Top 10 with their track Lost You, a nifty collaboration with Twin Shadow and D’Angelo Lacy. This Mad Decent release is just another example of how versatile and ambitious their catalogue of music has become. With the rubbery sound and colourful trippy video to compliment this house anthem, directed by Grandson & Son, prepare to be taken on a psychedelic trip of sonic creativity.

Lizzie

howtodresswell29 How To Dress Well - Repeat Pleasure

It's true- RnB has been revitalised in a big way. The issue with that is the genre quickly gets crowded with mediocrity. That's why Tom Krell's Repeat Pleasure is such a triumph. His falsetto is flawless while the songs subtle guitar and light-as-a-feather beat allow the melody to be the hero. It's a touch of Ashanti with a little bit of Baby Face and a hint of Mariah. He keeps it tasteful by putting his own nuanced touches on it. The name doesn't lie. This one has truly been a repeat pleasure.

Sam

jamirxx8 Jamie xx - Sleep Sound

This is a hazy pink sunset dancing on a darkening ocean just as much as it is first light come morning. It’s with you for the long haul and will see you the whole night through. That vocal sample and RnB edge is an absolute killer combination. Everything Jamie xx touches is pure gold and this is no different.

Hannah

littledragon27 Little Dragon - Pretty Girls

When I first heard Frank Ocean’s Lost last yearI was certain, and let’s be honest, I am still certain, he’d written it exclusively for me. While I don’t have “double D, big full breasts,” I do have a tendency to get “lost in the thrill of it all” and trains and I just don’t get on. Similarly, when I first heard Pretty Girls, it spoke directly to the escapist in me and perfectly crystalised that vulnerable, quivering moment before you grab the bare essentials, cut all ties and dare to run without looking back for fear of getting stuck.

Hannah

laroux6 La Roux - Uptight Downtown

The song that made us all realise we’d actually missed this loveable red head. Uptight Downtown is La Roux saying “Yeah I’ve been gone five years, but a pop song is a pop song and I write a damn good pop song”. Throughout, she strategically places bits and pieces that lure you straight to the dancefloor- the lyric “move, move, move”, the carnivale synth and the Bowie-like guitar riff. A 70s-tinged, spot of brilliance.

- Bianca

chromesparks5 Chrome Sparks - Goddess

This song elicits such a strong visceral response. It’s otherworldly in its ability to capture every inch of your mind, body and spirit and take you, full throttle on an intergalactic journey to destinations unknown, before nursing you gently back to earth. It’s rich, dynamic and full of texture and stardust twinkle.

Hannah

chetfaker4 Chet Faker - 1998

This song is everything we’ve come to know and love from our bearded mate, Chet Faker; undeniably smooth and incredibly sexy. I get a little more “swagger” in my walk every time shuffle pulls this gem out... And by shuffle I really mean it’s on repeat. It’s got the right amount of pulse and bounce to keep you moving the whole way home. And that brief moment where you think he’s finally done wondering why you’re no longer “in a circle” before coming back for round two? WOW.

- Hannah

EOFYS_Caribou3 Caribou - Can't Do Without You

We really cannot do without you in our top three Caribou. This track was an instant hit with the interns. Described as the “ninja song” - a song where you think you’ve heard all there is to hear and then all of a sudden (WHAM!), you are hit with a new crystalline layer of sounds. The killer vocal sample kicks, a quiet motif of synth and drums, and an epic crescendo that swells up in the final minute, Can’t Do Without You, leaves you with a climatic eargasm.

- Lizzie

EOFYS_BANKS

2 BANKS - Drowning

Without an album to her name, BANKS' is the success story of 2014. From Waiting Game to Goddess to Brain, she's fired out brooding brilliance one after another. Drowning is the standout release from her so far. The lyrics are cold ("you try to hide I can see that you don't need me") yet the skittering vocal samples and the depths of  BANKS' vocals are warm and encapsulating. As far as new artists go, you don't get many so confident and self-assured in the early moments of their career. What a class act.

Sam

Jungle3
1 Jungle - Busy Earnin'

Before embarking on the strenuous journey of the Top 20, the interns knew that it would take something special to earn the top spot of the best song of (half) the year. So what was it about this newly-established UK band that inspired us to make this song our work motto? Mantra, if you will?

This track has something for everyone; polished hip-hop, a touch of dance and a hell of a lotta funk. Its underlying message of ‘busy earnin’’ has an almost dark undertone, evoking the mundanity of life while gloriously juxtaposing this thought with a disco dancefloor-inspired celebration of soul - it’s the Heigh Ho! Heigh Ho! It’s off to work we go of the modern age. You may “never have things for a normal life” and think that “all your time is used, busy earnin’” but you’ve just got to keep on truckin’, keep moving forward. And this track has the ability to inspire you to do just that; get up, move, keep going through the motions of life. The lyrics mirror the monotonous reality of eating, sleeping, working, and repeating (the grown-up version of Eat, Sleep, Rave, Repeat) but, with the assistance of a funky bassline, rhythmic falsetto and shining synths, it shows that it ain’t all that bad and sometimes all you need to do is live life to the fullest and, most importantly, get on that dancefloor and shake dat booty.

Bianca

 

[soundcloud]https://soundcloud.com/the-in-terns/sets/the-interns-top-20-songs-of[/soundcloud]

Head to page 2 for our individual Top 10s

Individual Top 10s

BIANCA:

[soundcloud]https://soundcloud.com/the-in-terns/sets/biancas-eofys-top-10[/soundcloud]

SAM:

[soundcloud]https://soundcloud.com/the-in-terns/sets/sams-top-10-of-2014-so-far[/soundcloud]

LIZZIE:

[soundcloud]https://soundcloud.com/the-in-terns/sets/lizzies-top-10-of-2014-so-far[/soundcloud]

HANNAH:

[soundcloud]https://soundcloud.com/the-in-terns/sets/hannahs-top-10-of-2014[/soundcloud]

Pages: 1 2

Top20_2

Top 20 Songs of 2014 (So Far)

2014 has been full of highlights so far. Kimye finally married, Solange threw a punch at Jay ZLana Del Rey found favour with the critics and Kylie Minogue joined The Voice. Yep, 2014 is making memories one-by-one and to celebrate we’ve put together our Top 20 Songs of the year to date. Call it a soundtrack to the trials and tribulations of months passed and a cheers to the months ahead.

Together we sat down, fought, laughed and cried over our favourite songs of the year. What is immediately apparent is that 2014 has been a year for new artists. Four of our top five artists only released their debut this year and three of the Top 20 are yet to release an album. While many of us had to forego personal favourites in the name of democracy, we’ve attached them for the aural pleasure on the next page.

Hover over the images below and click to scroll down and read our spiel about how each song appeased our little ears in the first half of 2014 or head to the very bottom for our custom-made Top 20 Soundcloud playlist.

PharrellEOFYS

20 Pharrell - Hunter

Of all the songs we could have pulled from Pharrell’s 2014 release Girl, why did we pick Hunter? This song makes you want to hit the town on a Saturday night. In the signature Pharrell Williams style, it offers up a slow blues and catchy swagger brimming with confidence. From the moment we all heard this track, we were hooked.That infectious guitar line that has been stamped across Pharrell’s tracks since Get Lucky is in its purest form here. It’s a song for those on the prowl- stalking around, chest puffed, Saturday Night Fever style.

Lizzie

stvincentEOFYS19 St Vincent - Digital Witness

A pop song centred around brass. St. Vincent has never been one to follow trends and yet again she’s carved a masterpiece from the oddest of stones. Digital Witness is an extension of the chapter started between her and David Byrne but introduces a new-found attitude that permeates her self-titled album. Upon the album’s release, Annie Clarke said “I wanted to make a party record you could play at a funeral”. Digital Witness is an apparent critique of people’s need to document everything rather than experience. She told Under The Radar “I wrote a will not too long ago, and in it I wrote 'When I die, I want you to scatter my ashes in the Internet”. No doubt this song will accompany that.

- Sam

jamesvincent18 James Vincent McMorrow - Gold

James Vincent McMorrow’s Post Tropical was one of the more surprising releases of the year. After a pretty mundane debut, Post Tropical was a spectacular melting pot of genres from hip-hop to folk and pop. Gold is the centrepiece of that album. The brass instrumentation shines through amongst his flawless falsetto. The staccato in the second chorus rings like a military-call leading the song into a powerful crescendo. Stunning.

- Bianca

RobynEOFYS17 Röyksopp + Robyn - Do It Again  

Everyone knows the feeling. The wines flow, the music throbs and bed doesn’t beckon until sunlight. The aftermath is never fun yet it never deters. Do It Again is the perfect anthem for early-morning club dwellers. It’s got a thumping bass-line, lush synths and an uber-melodic bridge that couldn’t be by anyone else but Robyn. The Swedes are yet to screw anything up, ever, so three of them together could only mean good things. The lyrics are almost pain-stakingly obvious but such is the song’s charm. It worked for Daft Punk (One More Time) and it works again here. No need to think about when the drop is. Like a valiant host, Robyn tells you and then unleashes a mighty chorus. The marriage between pop and electronica has never been more glorious.

- Sam

PorterrobinsonEOFYS16 Porter Robinson - Lionhearted

Crowned ‘The Hottest Record in the World Right Now,’ by BBC Radio 1’s Zane LoweLionhearted, offers up something completely different to Porter’s usual heavy EDM thumpers. For those who call themselves die-hard Porter Robinson fans, you may not warm to the new sonic territory he is breaking. However, the interns felt that as one of our “Rebels of EDM", this incredibly talented 21-year old has stepped up to the plate as an exciting artist to watch in 2014. His hotly-anticipated Worlds album is set to be released on August 12, until then, this electro house anthem teamed with Swedish indie-pop band Urbane Cone, offers up a reborn sound peppered with playful melodies, atmospheric vocals and a dancey sentiment.

- Lizzie

glassanimalsEOFYS15 Glass Animals - Gooey

The Alt-J of 2014 had something more to offer- an RnB-inspired swagger that reached under the skin and slid along with its icky lyrics.The title of the track is perhaps the most pertinent depiction of its slippery melody. The mention of perfume, pooh bear and peanut butter further contribute to making this song the most slinky piece of matter since flubber.

- Bianca

EOFYS_JessieWare14 Jessie Ware - Tough Love

While Devotion was brilliant, the question was always what Jessie Ware would do next. It turns out all she needed to make was the subtlest of changes. In Tough Love, she reaches for the heights of her vocal range taking us to territory she's never explored before. With the help of Two Inch Punch and Benny Blanco, she's delivered a song that ebbs and flows with the most subtle of dynamics. The flurry of synths that greet the second chorus are the perfect climax to a song that could've easily flatlined without the right care.

- Sam

sia13 Sia - Chandelier

Beyond having one of the most brilliant visual marketing campaigns this year, Chandelier is an absolute tune. The RnB-tinted verses suggest that Sia had the intention of writing a hit for Rihanna but the chorus crushes that belief. There ain’t no way Rihanna could scale the vocal heights that Sia hits in the chorus' main hook. It’s a song to drink to, a sequel to R.Kelly’s I Believe I Can Fly and a statement that cements Sia as one of the best pop writers in the game. As far as a pop song goes, that’s three ticks.

- Bianca

LANAEOFYS12 Lana Del Rey - West Coast (Zhu Remix)

No one has polarized the interns’ opinions more than Lana Del Rey - as an artist, as performer and as a person. However, on the eve of Del Rey’s new album, Zhu slapped down this baby with impeccable timing, doing her work justice and much, much more. The signature Del Rey nostalgia is replaced with the punchy thump of percussion, killer chopped vocals and effortless hypnotic 3am house energy. While the song remains sultry, oozing sex, sex and more sex – it brings about an overwhelming power to make you want to dance uncontrollably in a club.

- Lizzie

chromeoEOFYS11 Chromeo - Old 45s

C’mon, how could you not enjoy this song. It’s catchy, evocative, totally nostalgic for an era we had absolutely nothing to do with and just a good old bundle of fun. I dare you NOT to dance to this baby.

- Hannah

zedzdead10 Zeds Dead - Lost You (feat. Twin Shadow)

In our ‘First Impressions’ back in May, we struggled to say a nice thing about this track. look how the turntables have turned. Canadian bass producers Zeds Dead have snuck into our Top 10 with their track Lost You, a nifty collaboration with Twin Shadow and D’Angelo Lacy. This Mad Decent release is just another example of how versatile and ambitious their catalogue of music has become. With the rubbery sound and colourful trippy video to compliment this house anthem, directed by Grandson & Son, prepare to be taken on a psychedelic trip of sonic creativity.

- Lizzie

howtodresswell29 How To Dress Well - Repeat Pleasure

It's true- RnB has been revitalised in a big way. The issue with that is the genre quickly gets crowded with mediocrity. That's why Tom Krell's Repeat Pleasure is such a triumph. His falsetto is flawless while the songs subtle guitar and light-as-a-feather beat allow the melody to be the hero. It's a touch of Ashanti with a little bit of Baby Face and a hint of Mariah. He keeps it tasteful by putting his own nuanced touches on it. The name doesn't lie. This one has truly been a repeat pleasure.

- Sam

jamirxx8 Jamie xx - Sleep Sound

This is a hazy pink sunset dancing on a darkening ocean just as much as it is first light breaking come morning. It’s with you for the long haul and will see you the whole night through. That vocal sample and RnB edge is an absolute killer combination. Everything Jamie xx touches is pure gold and this is no different.

- Hannah

littledragon27 Little Dragon - Pretty Girls

When I first heard Frank Ocean’s Lost last year, I was certain, and let’s be honest, I am still certain, he’d written it exclusively for me. While I don’t have “double D, big full breasts,” I do have a tendency to get “lost in the thrill of it all” and trains and I just don’t get on. Similarly, when I first heard Pretty Girls, it spoke directly to the escapist in me and perfectly crystalised that vulnerable, quivering moment before you grab the bare essentials, cut all ties and dare to run without looking back for fear of getting stuck.

- Hannah

laroux6 La Roux - Uptight Downtown

The song that made us all realise we’d actually missed this loveable red head. Uptight Downtown is La Roux saying “Yeah I’ve been gone five years, but a pop song is a pop song and I write a damn good pop song”. Throughout, she strategically places bits and pieces that lure you straight to the dancefloor- the lyric “move, move, move”, the carnivale synth and the Bowie-like guitar riff. A 70s-tinged, spot of brilliance.

- Bianca

chromesparks5 Chrome Sparks - Goddess

This song elicits such a strong visceral response. It’s otherworldly in its ability to capture every inch of your mind, body and spirit and take you, full throttle on an intergalactic journey to destinations unknown, before nursing you gently back to earth. It’s rich, dynamic and full of texture and stardust twinkle.

- Hannah

chetfaker4 Chet Faker - 1998

This song is everything we’ve come to know and love from our bearded mate, Chet Faker; undeniably smooth and incredibly sexy. I get a little more “swagger” in my walk every time shuffle pulls this gem out... And by shuffle I really mean it’s on repeat. It’s got the right amount of pulse and bounce to keep you moving the whole way home. And that brief moment where you think he’s finally done wondering why you’re no longer “in a circle” before coming back for round two? WOW.

- Hannah

EOFYS_Caribou3 Caribou - Can't Do Without You

We really cannot do without you in our top three Caribou. This track was an instant hit with the interns. Described as the “ninja song” - a song where you think you’ve heard all there is to hear and then all of a sudden (WHAM!), you are hit with a new crystalline layer of sounds. The killer vocal sample kicks, a quiet motif of synth and drums, and an epic crescendo that swells up in the final minute, Can’t Do Without You, leaves you with a climatic eargasm.

- Lizzie

EOFYS_BANKS

2 BANKS - Drowning

Without an album to her name, BANKS' is the success story of 2014. From Waiting Game to Goddess to Brain, she's fired out brooding brilliance one after another. Drowning is the standout release from her so far. The lyrics are cold ("you try to hide I can see that you don't need me") yet the skittering vocal samples and the depths of  BANKS' vocals are warm and encapsulating. As far as new artists go, you don't get many so confident and self-assured in the early moments of their career. What a class act.

- Sam

Jungle3
1 Jungle - Busy Earnin'

Before embarking on the strenuous journey of the Top 20, the interns knew that it would take something special to earn the top spot of the best song of (half) the year. So what was it about this newly-established UK band that inspired us to make this song our work motto? Mantra, if you will?

This track has something for everyone; polished hip-hop, a touch of dance and a hell of a lotta funk. Its underlying message of ‘busy earnin’’ has an almost dark undertone, evoking the mundanity of life while gloriously juxtaposing this thought with a disco dancefloor-inspired celebration of soul - it’s the Heigh Ho! Heigh Ho! It’s off to work we go of the modern age. You may “never have things for a normal life” and think that “all your time is used, busy earnin’” but you’ve just got to keep on truckin’, keep moving forward. And this track has the ability to inspire you to do just that; get up, move, keep going through the motions of life. The lyrics mirror the monotonous reality of eating, sleeping, working, and repeating (the grown-up version of Eat, Sleep, Rave, Repeat) but, with the assistance of a funky bassline, rhythmic falsetto and shining synths, it shows that it ain’t all that bad and sometimes all you need to do is live life to the fullest and, most importantly, get on that dancefloor and shake dat booty.

- Bianca

Head to page 2 for our individual Top 10s

[soundcloud]https://soundcloud.com/the-in-terns/sets/the-interns-top-20-songs-of[/soundcloud]

 

Individual Top 10s

BIANCA:

[soundcloud]https://soundcloud.com/the-in-terns/sets/biancas-eofys-top-10[/soundcloud]

SAM:

[soundcloud]https://soundcloud.com/the-in-terns/sets/sams-top-10-of-2014-so-far[/soundcloud]

LIZZIE:

[soundcloud]https://soundcloud.com/the-in-terns/sets/lizzies-top-10-of-2014-so-far[/soundcloud]

HANNAH:

[soundcloud]https://soundcloud.com/the-in-terns/sets/hannahs-top-10-of-2014[/soundcloud]

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