Blisspop staff writer Lu is reporting from Cape Town, South Africa
Track of the Year
KIDS SEE GHOSTS â€“ “Reborn”
When I saw Kanye and my favorite artist Kid Cudi are collaborating on an album together, â€˜over the moonâ€™ is a mere euphemism to describe my reaction. Even though both are considered Hip Hop artists, to tag their self-titled album KIDS SEE GHOSTS as Hip Hop is quite the insult since Rock, Electronica and shades of Blues are blended to deliver the audience with an eclectic listening experience. The Xth track on the album â€˜Rebornâ€™ is among the best in the album and definitely the track of the year by virtue of the candid emotions Kid Cudi expresses and Kanyeâ€™s heartfelt lyrics. Both of the artists had heavy troubles with mental health and eventually were able to get back into a better place, “Reborn” is an anthem for all those whoâ€™ve been struggling and at a better place thanks to their hardships. This is genuinely the most important song of 2018.
Album of the Year
MGMT â€“ Little Dark Age
Itâ€™s tough to say if this is really the album of the year, although it certainly is my favorite out of all the LPs I came across in 2018. The past MGMT record was atrocious and I could imagine many had mixed feelings of whatâ€™s to come. Luckily the lead single When You Die gave fans a glimmer of hope as the track was an absolute gem. In its entirety the song writing on Little Dark Age is something I havenâ€™t come across before. The lyrics were wildly abstract and many of the concepts for each song strayed away from mainstream narratives yet they were still relatable. This synth-pop beauty offers large, spacey textures on tracks like â€˜When youâ€™re Smallâ€™ and playful melodies on TSLAMP. Overall a wide spectrum of emotion can be experienced, but a large part of the reason itâ€™s on the list is because it has a sense of longevity. Months after its release, I am still playing it, and I can see myself still loving it in 10 years.
Artist of the Year
Throughout the whole year, this manâ€™s name has been on the tip of everybodyâ€™s lips, whether if itâ€™s for the better or the worse. Iâ€™m not the biggest Kanye fan, but I definitely will admit that his releases this year have been very impressive. And Iâ€™m not talking about his Xth album Ye, I mean his production on 5 different albums with Nas, Kid Cudi, Pusha T and Teyana Taylor. He is regarded as a â€˜Hip Hop/Soulâ€™ artist, although whatâ€™s also impressive is his involvement in producing one of the best Rock songs of the year titled â€˜Freeee (Ghost Town Pt. 2)â€™. There are other albums that were definitely better than all of Kanyeâ€™s works, but throughout this year, Ye certainly cemented his impact on the culture.
Label of the Year
Honestly I havenâ€™t been paying a lot of attention on labels this year. But if I were to pick my favorite label for 2018, it would be the French brand Roche Label. Their Waves Vol.2 project invites listeners to a different perception of electronic music, and showcases a wide range of French talent. From track number one all the way to track number 16, you can listen to the album without having to skip a track. The label was also involved in putting out a track that made a lot of noise on the internet, “Tadow” with FKJ and Masego. Other members of the label include Kartell, Crayon, Zimmer, Darius, and many more.
Favorite show of the year
Rocking the Daisies â€“ Cape Town, South Africa
As soon as Mura Masa was announced as one of the international acts, I knew I had to be there. And just when I though it couldnâ€™t get better, the whole Soulection crew came down. Rocking the Daisies is one of the most anticipated festivals in South Africa, and even though this yearâ€™s edition had some hiccups and gained some bad press, the festival still turned out to be one for the books. This yearâ€™s edition was quite different, as indie/rock didnâ€™t seem to be the main focus, but a new era that has ushered in producers/beatmakers, international rappers, and beat boxers has given them a wider platform in the festival. U.S. rapperâ€™s 6lack and Amine also performed during the festival. My favorite performances were by Mura Masa and the South African producer/singer Muzi as their sets electrified the audience in quite a special way compared to the other acts.
New Artsist of the Year
The moment I look forward to when Iâ€™m out at a nice place and having dinner with my friends is the moment I am going to have to get up and walk over to one of the waiters and request the name of the track that is playing. That is exactly how I came across Berlin based group Parcels. Their disco infused fun indie sound is infectious and can immediately put a smile on your face. The five piece band also managed to get the interest of the legendary Daft Punk, who went on to produce their debut single titled â€˜Overnightâ€™.