Posts Tagged ‘Bastille’

It’s pretty certain most us would like to put 2017 behind us, and move forward to the (hopefully) better and brighter 2018. Musically speaking, 2017 was a decent year, so let’s celebrate all it had to offer (Note: once again, these are solely my opinions, and as usual I didn’t listen to every single record that was released this year.)

Best Rap Album: DAMN. by Kendrick Lamar

I’ll be honest: I didn’t fully get the “hype” behind Lamar until this album came out. It wins because Lamar’s lyrics are smart, honest, and he’s actually saying something. Plus, the album as a whole is a solid mix of rhymes, dope beats, and a whole lotta love.

Guiltiest Pleasure: “There’s Nothin’ Holding Me Back” by Shawn Mendes

He’s so plain and vanilla; boring and unoriginal. Yet this songs makes me dance, and I just can’t help it.

Worst Collaboration: “Something Just Like This” Coldplay + The Chainsmokers

Coldplay has been dead to me for some time now. The minute they shed everything that made them them, I cut the cord. The Chainsmokers were never on my good list, because there’s nothing good about them. This is a musical abomination on so many levels.

Best Collaboration – “I Know You” by Craig David feat. Bastille

David’s smooth vocals against Bastille’s rock operatic ones; David’s R&B sound, with Bastille’s rock-electronic vibe. Mash it all together and what you get is beautiful music. Not to mention: Craig David is back!

Best Latin Collaboration: “Mi Gente” by J Balvin, Willy William feat. Beyoncé

The original of this infectious track has over 1.4 billion views on YouTube alone. Add Queen Bey into the mix and it’s completely unstoppable.

Most Surprising Track: “Rockstar” Post Malone feat. 21 Savage

At first glance, Post Malone leaves nothing to be desired. That should teach me to judge a book by its cover. Although he screams drug addict trailer trash, with nasty grills and hair that hasn’t been washed in months, his music is actually pretty good (I can’t believe I just admitted that.)

Most Disappointing Track: “Walk on Water” by Eminem feat. Beyoncé

This wins this category because in spite of its huge potential, it falls flat. The content of Em’s flow is pretty good, but his delivery is lazy, slurry and sounds a little too much like Macklemore (sorry Em!) Bey’s chorus makes the track listenable, but otherwise, it’s a bit of a snoozefest (I can’t believe I just admitted that.)

Best Indie Track: “Nobody Else Will be There” by The National

It’s moody, dark, and puts your stomach in knots. Everything a National song is supposed to be.

Worst Indie Track: “Feel It Still” by Portugal. The Man

It’s so catchy that it very quickly becomes too catchy, which automatically makes it intolerable. It’s just trying too hard.

Best Club Track: “Unforgettable” by French Montana feat. Swae Lee

I dare you not to bust a move right now.

Best R&B Track: “Skywalker” by Miguel feat. Travis Scott

One of the best tracks off Miguel’s release War & Leisure, it shows off his velvety vocals, a sick beat, and also appeared on HBO’s smash hit Insecure.

Best New Artist: Amy Shark

Delicate vocals full of vulnerability and soul, Australia’s Shark is a singer-songwriter who has managed to dominate radio waves, in spite of the fact she’s only ever released a 6-track EP. Look out for her in 2018.

Worst New Artist: Cardi B

There are just so many things about Cardi B that, despite my best efforts, I just can’t.

Best Track from an Ex-Member of One Direction: “Sign of the Times” by Harry Styles

This track wins mostly because the sound is just more to my liking. A little more rock ‘n roll, a little edgier. Niall’s offering was too cheesy boy band pop; Zayn’s was too over the top and all over the place.

Worst Track from an Ex-Member of One Direction: “Strip That Down” by Liam Payne feat. Quavo 

Payne just isn’t vocally strong enough to be a solo act. Everything about this screams someone who’s a little too keen on changing his image. Newsflash, Liam: it’s not working.

Best TV Soundtrack: Big Little Lies

It has everything from Leon Bridges, to Alabama Shakes, to Martha Wainwright. Oh, and this killer theme song.

Best Movie Soundtrack: Atomic Blonde

Question: what’s better than watching a stiletto-wearing Charlize Theron kick ass to the sound of new wave/rock/pop/punk 80s music? Answer: nothing.

Best Canadian Album: Everything Now by Arcade Fire

I will agree that Arcade Fire is definitely an acquired taste. But once you get into them, there’s something unique about the way they make music and put it all together, that sets them apart. This wasn’t their best album, but a solid one nonetheless.

Best Comeback: N.E.R.D.

It’s been 7 years since N.E.R.D. released an album, and 16 years (!) since their anthem “Rock Star” was released. This year’s No One Ever Really Dies is such a force, both musically and lyrically; there’s nothing out there that sounds anything like it. Bravo.

Worst Comeback: Theory of  a Deadman

Technically ToaD put out an album in 2014, but let’s be honest – it’s been at least 12 years since they released anything anyone heard, and, frankly, it should’ve stayed that way. They are, and have always been a poor man’s Nickelback.

Most Underrated Artist: Billie Eilish

Ms. Eilish released her debut EP, Don’t Smile at Me, this summer. At only 15 years old (!), she blew me away.

Most Overrated Artist: Ed Sheeran

Look, I know it’s easy to come down hard on Sheeran, but it’s just as hard not to. His music is formulaic, his vocals aren’t anything special, and he’s a ginger. Somehow, he’s heralded as the best of the best, and his smugness exacerbates with each accolade. I will never understand his appeal.

Best Cover Song: “Bitter Sweet Symphony” by London Grammar 

The key to a good cover song is to maintain the integrity of the song, while putting your own spin on it. London Grammar has done exactly this with The Verve’s 1997 classic. Grammar stripped it down, and made it more haunting. As far as covers go, it’s perfection. Not to mention, lead singer Hannah Reid kills it on vocals.

Worst Cover Song: “You Get What You Give” by Felix Cartal

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – if you’re going to cover a song, make sure it’s a song that’s worth covering. The New Radicals’ original from 1998, wasn’t a good song. It was mediocre at best. Then completely changing the sound from pop/rock to techno is an even worse decision.

Best Live Show: The xx

I’ve been to my fair share of concerts, and I can say without a doubt, The xx came out on top this year. Their music builds up so subtly, until it takes over and pulls at every emotion inside your body. The only option you have left is to dance off the emotional wreck you have become – it’s the best way to heal.

Worst Album: Reputation by Taylor Swift

Swift needs to take a chill pill. Her attempt at shedding her “good girl” image is so predictable, and so not working. No one believes her to be this villainous vixen (except maybe her millions of fans.) She tried to throw shade at the Kardashian-Wests, her music gets worse and worse with every album, and she needs to stop with the red lipstick.

Album of the Year: I See You by The xx

This album has the ability to make you feel things you never thought you could feel; it’ll make you hear things in ways you never thought possible; it’ll break your heart, sweep you off your feet; it’ll understand you like your best friend, and hurt you like your past love. All while making it impossible to resist dancing like no one’s watching.

Worst Song: “Take a Knee…My Ass” by Neal McCoy

This requires zero explanation.

Song of the Year: “Performance” by The xx

The first time I heard this song, it permeated through my skin, invaded my soul and sunk my heart; time actually stopped. The story it tells is one that resonates with us all, and its honesty is so real, it hurts. In a good way.


Wild World by Bastille

This UK electronic/rock/pop band first graced us with their presence on 2013’s Bad Blood. A solid debut album showcasing their versatility both musically and lyrically.Lead singer Dan Smith has this innate ability to choose words so carefully and precisely, the listener can’t help but see all his emotions; he paints such a vivid picture. Wild World only continues to showcase their incredible talent, and his voice is as infectious as ever.

Wild World highlights their capacity to depict all life’s situations honestly, using several instruments, exploring all sorts of genres, and uncovering different sounds. “Two Evils” and “An Act of Kindness,” are dark and haunting; “Fake It” and “The Anchor” lean towards pop music, “Way Beyond” echoes much more electronic stylings. They use their music to reach out and connect with an audience, and it’s impossible to turn a deaf ear after hearing what they have to say.

Wild World shows how much Bastille has grown over the last 3 years; how much more they can give, and how far they can go. They’ve managed to stay true to their unique sound, without boring their listeners – a feat only few bands can accomplish.

22, A Million by Bon Iver

Bon Iver (aka Justin Vernon) is already a legend in my books. He is one of those artists that can’t be stopped. He writes, produces, sings, does it all – and does it all so well. 22, A Million is set to be released on September 30th of this year, but I managed to get a copy in my hands and I just can’t shut it off.

This album is an experience. A subtle sensory overload, causing mass confusion of the senses, as they’re all ignited at the same time, pulling you in every direction. Your skin tingles, your ears perk up, your eyes want to close so you can fully absorb it all, and your mouth waters because you can taste it. It’s all over your body, then somehow sneaks its way into the pit of your stomach, leaving it both in knots and relieved at the same time.

Vernon’s voice is as ethereal as it gets, even angelic. At first the music just sounds like noise, but when you pay a little closer attention, it hits you – something pretty magical is going on, which just speaks to his ability as a producer (services he has lent to the likings of Kanye West.) His lyrics are esoteric, often revealing layers and layers of meaning and complexity with each listen. Each track has so many elements, so many components, that it takes listen after listen after listen, to truly understand what’s going on, and even then you’re unsure.

22, A Million is one of the (ie my) most anticipated albums this year, and thank goodness Bon Iver is still in the game, creating works of art – we really need it.

Back in November 2015, I began a blog series entitled “Classic Albums,” which took a look at albums you can’t listen to just once, no matter how hard you try. This time, it’s Bastille‘s turn with their 2013 debut album, Bad Blood.

This album was released only 3 years ago, so it may be presumptuous to already call it a classic, but there really is no other word for it. At first glance, it’s a bunch of songs about love, life, loss, relationships – the usual themes throughout most albums.

What makes it stand out though, is lead singer Dan Smith’s ability to put his internal thoughts and feelings into words. It’s like he’s sorting out his life through his music, and we get to jump in during his train of thought. He creates all kinds of images with his words, that when listening, you can’t help but caught up in it all.

Angry rock lyrics are surrounded by light-hearted pop sounds. Break-up tracks are more empowering than depressing. Love tracks are filled with such an eagerness and genuineness, that you often find yourself turning to mush. His perspective on relationships seems to come from a mature and hopeful place; a place where no matter what happens, life will go on.

The album comes off as a coming-of-age story; the ups and downs, the highs and lows and everything in between, which is why it’s such a successful album: it’s about life. He portrays these common emotions so accurately and perfectly that listeners completely understand, because they’ve been through the same experiences too.

Musically, it’s a mix of rock, indie and electronic. It’s common for different genres to blend into one another, and Bastille does a great job of balancing them all. The sounds are full of expression, emotion and imagination. Couple that with Smith’s incredibly distinctive voice, and you get some beautiful music.


I’ll admit I have a bit of a soft spot for this album: it was a true companion/muse while I wrote my first novel, Stan’s Jams. It was so inspiring and enabled me to make sense of my thoughts, and translate them onto paper/computer. It helped me find my way.

Once you throw on this album, you won’t be able to turn it off. It’s addictive, and colourful and captivating; you just won’t ever want that tingling feeling all over to go away.