Best Music Videos of 2018

2018 was another great year for music videos. Here are my favourites from the past 12 months (In alphabetical order)

Anderson Paak – Bubblin

A funny, well directed video set to the stand-out track from Anderson’s ‘Oxnard’ album shows what could happen if you find a broken cash machine.

Ariana Grande – God Is A Woman

Ariana’s ‘Sweetener’ was one of the best pop albums of the year, and the video for ‘God Is A Woman’ is one of the most visually stunning of the year.

Ariana Grande – No Tears Left To Cry

The video for ‘No Tears’ encapsulates the carefree message of the song perfectly, and helped to set the mood for Ariana’s comeback.

A$AP Rocky – A$AP Forever

The video for A$AP Forever is full of simple, but effective visual effects that pair with the Moby sampling track perfectly.

Billie Eilish – When The Party’s Over

Another example of simple but effective is this video for Billie Eilish’s ‘When the Party’s Over’ – with the black goop providing stunning imagery.

Blossoms – There’s A Reason Why (I Never Returned Your Calls)

The Stockport lads bring ‘A Hard Day’s Night’ esque antics to Japan in this video, and crack out some great dance moves along the way.

Charli XCX & Troye Sivan – 1999

Charli and Troye take it back in this funny 90’s homage backed with one of the catchiest pop tracks of the year.

Childish Gambino – This Is America

One of the most instantly iconic videos of the year, ‘This is America’ is Donald Glover at his best.

Christine and The Queens – Girlfriend

Christine is back with this slick, well directed video with an effortless looking dance routine.

Father John Misty – Mr.Tillman

Mr.Tillman himself stars in this surreal, hilarious video for the best track from his latest album.

Gorillaz – Humility

A fun, summery video starring Jack Black perfectly fits the happy, inspirational ‘Humility’.

The Internet – Roll (Burbank Funk)

A simple, but well shot, smooth and groovy video for ‘Roll (Burbank Funk) fits it perfectly.

Janelle Monae – Make Me Feel

One of the best videos by a mile this year, Janelle at her best is bursting with creativity and talent.

Kali Uchis – After The Storm ft. Tyler, The Creator

A brilliantly creative, bizarre video starring Kali and Tyler makes the great ‘After The Storm’ even more memorable.

Kero Kero Bonito – Only Acting

Kero Kero Bonito usually have really creative videos, and this is no different, with its home video quality adding to the concept.

Little Simz – Offence

This snappy, nicely shot video for ‘Offence’ really captures Simz’ personality, and fits the song perfectly.

The Orielles – Blue Suitcase (Disco Wrist)

Northern Soul dancing aplenty in the video to one of the Grooviest tracks of the year™

Panic! At The Disco – High Hopes

Brendon Urie walks up a Skyscraper.

Troye Sivan – Dance To This ft. Ariana Grande

Troye and Ariana bring great outfits and show off their chemistry to this simple but lovely video.

Twenty One Pilots – Jumpsuit

A song as dramatic and tense as Jumpsuit already sounded like it was should a movie, and this video brings that level of production to it.

Tyler, The Creator ft. Kali Uchis – See You Again

Tyler and Kali strike again with a visually stunning video for ‘See You Again’.

The 1975- It’s Not Living (If It’s Not With You)

This is basically Matty starring in a short film, and shows just how creative the 1975 are being at the moment.

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The 25 Best of Albums 2018

25. Hayley Kiyoko – Expectations

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The debut album from Hayley was one of the strongest pop releases of the year – with consistently good tracks and a really coherent, flowing tracklist and clean, shimmery production.

24. Spring King – A Better Life

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Sadly now confirmed to be the last Spring King album, A Better Life is more of what made their first record great but with amped up production and more variety and experience in the songwriting, making for a great indie-rock record.

23. Chvrches – Love Is Dead

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Now on their 3rd album, Chvrches returned with their poppiest album yet, showing they can still knock out some really strong synth-pop bangers with strong melodies and catchy hooks.

22. Courtney Barnett – Tell Me How You Really FeelImage result for courtney barnett - tell me how you really feel

Courtney again proves herself to be one of the best singer-songwriters in the world (definitely the best in Australia) with this album, with witty poignant tracks and great guitar hooks abundant.

21. Panic! At The Disco – Pray For The Wicked

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Brendon Urie and co returned with an album full of massive hits with a big band flavour; brass and strings aplenty make this album feel like the biggest production they have ever had. The album almost sounds like a greatest hits collection with the amount of big singles on show.

20. MGMT – Little Dark Age

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The title track was one of the best songs to come out of 2017, and the rest of the album followed suit; quirky synth-pop tunes with lots of character and great melodies make this one of the catchiest albums of the year, and the relatable and relevant lyrics make it a great project, and revitalised MGMT.

19. Father John Misty – God’s Favourite Customer

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Following on from last year’s Pure Comedy was always going to be difficult, and while GFC doesn’t quite match up to the conceptual heights of the last album, this is still a brilliant collection of moody, witty tracks with the likes of Mr.Tillman showing Josh’s songwriting at its very best.

18. Brockhampton – iridescence 

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One of the strongest rap albums of the year, iridescence shows that Brockhampton are here to stay and really aren’t messing around. A varied but still coherent project that showcases all of the members of the best boyband on the planet.

17. Nick J D Hodgson – Tell Your Friends

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The debut solo project from Ex-Kaiser Chief Nick is a brilliant first effort with a selection of tracks that showcase just how good of a songwriter he is, with tracks like ‘Tomorrow I Love You’ sounding like it could have been a hit in any of the past few decades.

16. Twenty One Pilots – Trench

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Coming through with their strongest album yet both lyrically and sonically, Top have made a really thematically strong, coherent pop/rock/rap album and have perfected the sound that they have carved out for themselves over the past few years.

15. David Byrne – American Utopia

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With American Utopia, David Byrne has proved that he is as on the ball as he ever was, with hard hitting relevant themes matched to catchy, funky tracks full of his trademark wit and charm such as ‘Everybody’s Coming To My House’ and ‘Dog’s Mind’.

14. Let’s Eat Grandma – I’m All Ears 

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Electro Duo Let’s Eat Grandma have really come through on their second album with a brilliantly produced project full of expansive, erratic but focused electronic pop songs. ‘Falling Into Me’ is an album highlight, it being an amazing progressive banger.

13. The 1975 – A Brief Inquiry Into Online Relationships

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A really varied, well produced album with a multitude of influences used to deliver clever and relevant social commentary about the state of the world with references to mental health, immigration and social media is the best project from Matty Healy and co so far by far, and it’s great.

12. Ariana Grande – Sweetener 

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Ariana really showed just how good she can be on Sweetener. The singles dropped from the album were consistently bettering the last, and the album did not dissapoint with amazing production from Pharrell on tracks like ‘R.E.M’ and those singles like ‘God is a Woman’ and ‘No Tears Left To Cry’ showcasing her amazing vocals and just general talent.

11. Pale Waves – My Mind Makes Noises

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Manchester goth-pop group Pale Waves have had one of the fastest rises in indie in recent years, and their debut album is testament to why they have shot up. Great, catchy songs with hard-hitting honest lyrics and 80’s inspired production and melodies that still manage to sound modern and cutting edge are bound to gain popularity. And it’s well deserved.

10. Gorillaz – The Now Now

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Much more focused than 2017’s ‘Humanz’ album, ‘The Now Now’ is the best Gorillaz project in a long time, with tracks like ‘Tranz’ and ‘Hollywood’ (which has a great feature from Snoop Dogg) showing Damon can still write a great pop banger, and ‘Souk Eye’ being one of the most beautiful songs he has ever written.

9. Anderson. Paak -Oxnard

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A really smooth, catchy funky album from Andy here is a late entry into this list, but with glistening tracks like ‘Tints’ with Kendrick and the amazing flows and production shown on tracks like ‘Who R U?’ means this is Anderson’s finest album so far, and one of the best of the year.

8.Christine & The Queens – Chris

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What difficult second album? Chris levelled up with a collection of sleekly produced groovy pop tunes that built upon the themes of her debut in every way, becoming more confident and explicit while still maintaining that charm that drew everyone to her in the first place.

7. The Orielles – Silver Dollar Moment

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Perhaps the grooviest album of the year, Silver Dollar Moment is full of great, funky tracks with great story-telling lyrics and a real sense of fun throughout. ’48 Percent’ is one of the happiest, catchiest tracks of the year, and ‘Blue Suitcase (Disco Wrist)’ has potentially the best bassline. Nice.

6. Arctic Monkeys – Tranquility Base Hotel & Casino

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I’m so glad they decided to go off on one on their latest album, because it really worked. Alex took the Arctic Monkeys to the moon, with a concept album about a Hotel and Casino that proves that sometimes being as outlandish as possible does work. He did what he wanted, and it showed just how brilliant he can be.

5. Kero Kero Bonito – Time n Place

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Changing your sound after a breakout album will always be risky, but KKB made the right choice here on ‘Time n Place’, building on their original sound added even more layers to their personality, and matching the clever, upbeat tracks that tell great little stories with the more complicated production really makes this album stand out from their previous.

 

4. Teleman – Family Of Aliens

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At this point I just expect Teleman to be great, and thankfully they were. Bettering themselves yet again with their best album so far, ‘Family of Aliens’ is an album full of grooves and great melodies with really thoughtful lyrics full of heart that really get better with each listen. ‘Cactus’ is an absolute banger too.

3. Janelle Monae – Dirty Computer

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As soon as I heard ‘Make Me Feel’ from this album, I knew that Janelle was going to release one of the best projects of the year, and I was right, with ‘Dirty Computer’ being her strongest to date. The run of tracks from ‘Django Jane’ to ‘I Like That’ is incredible.

2. Kali Uchis – Isolation

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‘Isolation’ is Kali’s debut full studio album and in my opinion no other debut has shown as much promise. A cohesive, flowing album full of varied, lively tracks with great vocal performances and featured producers make ‘Isolation’ one of the strongest albums of the year.

1. The Good, The Bad & The Queen – Merrie Land 

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‘Merrie Land’ was the album that hit closest to home for me this year with its messages and themes; pairing that with the consistently brilliant songwriting from Damon Albarn and the great musicianship from the likes of Paul Simonon and Tony Allen, this album couldn’t have come at a better time.

 

 

 

 

Ralph Breaks The Internet Movie Review

Product placement with heart takes centre stage in this Disney sequel.

The original Wreck-It Ralph was a heartfelt tribute to the world of gaming with really vibrant worlds bursting with colour and lovable characters, both new and those well known from the past. The sequel goes digital, losing some of that character in the process but still managing to get it right most of the time.

In this movie, Ralph and Vanellope have to travel to the internet in order to get a new steering wheel for Vanellope’s game in the arcade, Sugar Rush. The new characters that the duo encounter in the world wide web are well fleshed out and very likeable, especially the sleek racer ‘Shank’ voiced by Gal Gadot, and head of BuzzzTube, ‘Yesss’ who is voiced by Taraji P Henson, who both really add to the movie and avoid stereotypes that easily could have been forced upon their characters.

There are a LOT of real life internet sites and apps in this movie. Upon first glance it may seem like pure product placement and advertising, with a barrage of well known names and apps hitting you when you are first shown the internet. However, they are all handled with humour and the use of these real sites such as eBay really do make it seem as if they are in the internet, and there are a lot of visual jokes and puns to be made too.

The much talked about section in the trailer where Vanellope encounters all of the Disney princesses does live up to the hype, and is a great moment in the movie.

Overall, Ralph Breaks The Internet is a fun, nice looking movie with lovable characters and some genuine messages about friendship even if it doesn’t have the heart or the excitement of the original.

67%

Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse Movie Review

‘Into The Spider-Verse’ is straight-up the best superhero movie I have seen in a long time; it’s a frantic, beautiful breath of fresh air.

The latest Marvel & Sony release is a fully animated affair that follows Miles Morales and his journey to become Spider-Man. However, it is immediately apparent that this is no ordinary origin story; this is by no means another movie you already feel you have seen time and time again.  This time, Spider-Man isn’t the only Spider-Person around to fight evil. 

Big baldy Kingpin sets off a large collider under the city, which messes with the fabric of the universe, bringing together a wild and varied bunch of Spideys together. When these iterations such as Spider-Gwen and Peni Parker interact on-screen, the writing really shines alongside the great voice acting from the likes of Hailee Steinfeld, Nicolas Cage and John Mulaney. Shameik Moore is great throughout as Miles, and a perfect pick.

I learnt that this movie came from the team behind The Lego Movie & Lego Batman after I had watched it, and it made complete sense, with the way everyone interacts and the self-referential humour really mirroring that of the blocky worlds, and that’s not a bad thing at all.  The screening I was in had the whole cinema laughing out loud at parts.

Seeing Miles gradually transform into a fully fledged Spider-Man, and his chemistry with the other spiders especially Gwen and Peter is a real joy and the movie does a brilliant job of getting you invested in the characters and making them believable in the space of one film, with every person in Peter’s family and inner circle seeming really fleshed out.

The animation in Spider-Verse is astounding, with every single scene being filled with detail and eye-popping colour, but at the same time it is never overwhelming, which is no mean feat considering the sheer amount of content crammed into locations like Miles’ bedroom and New York City. The visual style really makes it feel like you are watching a comic book come to life, with snappy, precise shots that all really flow into one another, but it never really feels like you are watching an animated movie due to the depth of world building that has been put into this project. There are more than one properly breath-taking shots here. 

This isn’t just the best animated movie of the year, it’s one of the best outright. Into the Spider-Verse is charming, visually stunning, genuinely funny and emotionally gripping is not something I would expect from a movie starring John Mulaney as ‘Spider-Ham’, but they really manage it, in a stunning way. 

99%

The Grinch Movie Review

When I heard that Illumination, the company behind the Minions, were rebooting the Grinch I immediately rolled my eyes and thought ‘Here we go again.’ However, my eye roll was very premature. Because the new Grinch movie isn’t bad.

The voice cast were all great, with Pharrell as the narrator working really well, Kenan Thompson is perfect as the bubbly Bricklebaum and Benedict Cumberbatch puts in a bright, playful performance as the titular Grinch.  

Matching the aesthetics of the world of Dr.Seuss pretty well, the detail in the animation here is stunning at times, with grand winter scenes shining brightly, and it being especially impressive when you see all the details like the tiny bits of snow clinging to the Grinch’s fur. Max the dog is almost guaranteed to make you smile, and his personality really shines through with his amazing facial expressions.

This is a different way of telling the story of the Grinch, with a lot more backstory shown giving reason as to why he hates Christmas so much, and it is a lot more lighthearted and kid-friendly than other version, and those expecting another Jim Carey will be disappointed, but this is not entirely a bad thing as for the most part it is really enjoyable.

Perfect heartwarming family Christmas movie this year.

77%

The Good, The Bad & The Queen – Merrie Land review

It has been 11 years since the last album by The Good, The Bad & The Queen, and a lot has changed since then. Thankfully TGTB&TQ have not, and are as on the ball as they were back in 2007. 

Title track and opener ‘Merrie Land’ sets a haunting scene of a picturesque but broken Britain that is worth fighting for while at the same time asking if it’s worth the bother, with Albarn sounding already defeated.  ‘Gun To The Head’ is an album highlight for me, sounding like Parklife-era Blur mixed with Madness with its chanty chorus and oompa beat, but the melancholy undertone is still present despite the upbeat brass. 

‘The Last Man To Leave’ is one of the most inventive, intense and simply brilliant tracks on the album, and that Damon has ever done; Damon’s vocals sounding like a crazed preacher shouting about not wanting to leave and ‘liking the bed we’ve made to lie in’ while still carrying real, heartbreaking emotion.

The whole album plays out like a sad but hopeful love letter to the UK. The lyrics to ‘Nineteen Seventeen’ perhaps most directly hint at Brexit woes; ‘I see myself moving backwards in time today from a place we can’t remain … My heart is heavy because it looks just like my home.’ with other tracks referring to lines on maps and Windrush.

While this may seem a bit too in your face and preachy when written down, rest assured the whole project has that beautiful sad echo throughout it that only Damon at his best can bring, with his truly great songwriting helped come to life even further by the stellar line-up of Paul Simonon on Bass, Tony Allen on Drums and Simon Tong on guitar.

A few songs do sound very similar to each other and a bit one-note, with ‘The Great Fire’ being a bit of a low point for me, but these tracks are in the minority and the album still flows fairly well.

The themes in this album will hit home for those in the UK at the moment, but the messages of drifting apart and regret leave a lot to the imagination, and the meticulously crafted songs can be enjoyed by anyone. This is the perfect album for 2018.

98%

Slaughterhouse Rulez Movie Review

In Slaughterhouse Rulez, the private boarding school attended by ‘rough Yorkshire lad’ Donald Wallace, has been taken over by frackers, whose digging inadvertently cause a lot of trouble. The Headmaster, played by Michael Sheen leads a crew of military-esque prefects that will go to extreme lengths to follow his lead.

It’s a fun movie for the most part if not being really predictable and unoriginal in parts. When introducing the different houses within the school, they did the stereotypical Mean Girls esque pan around the room to show them all, but never reaching that level of humour.

There are a few great, funny scenes in the film, with the ensemble cast all working well together especially in the tenser moments with all of the kids putting in believable performances with Asa Butterfield being patricularly great alongside Pegg, Frost and Sheen all being on their usual great form. At some points the humour just doesn’t work and there are a few long stretches where the movie can’t decide what tone it wants to have and it just comes across a bit messy.

Slaughterhouse Rulez is enjoyable despite its flaws and still manages to be charming and funny in spots despite never quite living up to its cast.

Michael Sheen’s dog is good though.

65%