Happy New Year everyone, I hope you had a great break over Christmas and have entered 2019 feeling refreshed and ready to smash all of your goals. I apologise profusely for this post as I’m about to hit you right in your ears with a load of Christmas songs that you’re probably sick of, however, I do have some great festive tracks to share with you that go under the radar each year, and the chances are that you haven’t heard them before, so bear with me. Overall, December was quite a slow month for new releases, and after having one new music Friday this year already, it seems that most artists and labels have waited for the new year to make the most impact with amazing new music. January’s playlist rundown promises to be one of my best yet and I can’t wait to share it with you, but first, let’s explore what December had to offer.
Roses – Benny Blanco, Juice WRLD & Brendon Urie
I was a huge fan of Benny Blanco’s Eastside with Halsey and Khalid, and I was really excited to see he has worked with my all time favourite, Brendon Urie, as well as Juice WRLD who broke through last year with Lucid Dreams. If you’re expecting another Eastside, think again. Roses is much more like Lucid Dreams and if I listened to it without knowing Benny Blanco’s involvement, I would have labelled this at Juice WRLD’s own. I totally respect Benny for this as there are a lot of producers who collaborate with artists these days who don’t take the featured artist’s usual style into consideration, whereas Benny has definitely written this song for, if not with, Juice WRLD with his fans and genre in mind. I absolutely love it when Brendon features on RnB and rap tracks (Molly by Lil Dicky is another amazing track with his vocals), as he adds another element to the genre without taking away from it too much or even attempting to rap himself. I can see this one staying on my playlists for a few months yet.
December – Neck Deep
It’s not a December playlist without this song. It has almost become more of a staple for me than Santa Tell Me and All I Want For Christmas Is You. This is one of the first songs I listened to when I really started to appreciate and love Neck Deep a few years ago. To me, pop punk had become too pop, relying too heavily on electronic sounds rather than the guitars and bass lines synonymous with bands like New Found Glory and early A Day To Remember, but Neck Deep was part of the wave which has seen pop punk go back to its roots alongside bands like State Champs and Real Friends. December is the perfect example of an acoustic pop punk song and is one of the band’s most emotional songs in their back catalogue. They also did a full band version of the song with Mark Hoppus from Blink 182 called December (again), which is just as emotional but heavier and closer to the band’s usual sound, and is also a staple in every December playlist I have made and will make in the future.
Stopped Believing In Santa – MNEK
I love MNEK and I feel he doesn’t get anywhere near as much recognition as he deserves, either as a songwriter or a singer. The song falls into the realm of sad Christmas breakup songs, but I still couldn’t stop playing it on repeat throughout the month. It’s rare that vintage RnB vibes like these are featured in British artists’ music these days, but Stopped Believing In Santa would not be out of place in the late 90’s / early 00’s RnB scene. I was surprised at the lack of new Christmas songs in my Release Radar and on New Music Friday playlists throughout December, and as far as I am aware this is one of only a handful of new Christmas-based songs that got released this year, however, I would not be disappointed is this was the only one. I am disappointed that this song did not get much airplay this year and I don’t even think it charted; I hope next year it gets picked up and becomes a classic, because it is such as beautiful song and truly deserves it.
Strong Enough – Cher
I can’t remember if I mentioned it during Blogmas, but I got tickets to see Cher in October and I don’t think I’ve ever been this excited for anything ever. I have adored Cher since I was around 3 years old and fist heard Believe. Ever since, I have basically worshipped her and vowed to myself that one day I would see her live, even if that meant travelling to the US, so when she announced her world tour was coming to Manchester Arena this year, I cried a little bit (I get overly emotional in December). Strong Enough is one of my favourite songs in her back catalogue and it helped me through a few rough patched in December, reminding me that I am a bad bitch and I am strong enough to do anything I want to. I cannot believe I will be hearing it live in just a few months’ time, and I will definitely be covering it on here for you all.
Hark! The Herald Angels Sing – Busted
I was a huge Busted fan when I was younger, and I have no idea how this one has slipped my knowledge until 2018. Released as a B-side to Crashed The Wedding, this classic Christmas song has been turned on its head and given a rock pop makeover. To me, this is the closest Buster ever got to being pop punk (which they are commonly labelled), and the song even has nods to the likes of the Beach Boys with their harmonies. I was incredibly thrown off by the first minute or so of the song, where Charlie sings to a backing piano (rather well I must add) before launching into guitars and drums in true Busted style. I’m actually really looking forward to hearing the new album as I feel the band are going to go back to their roots rather than the electro-pop sound they explored during the Night Driver era, early on in the reunion.
January’s playlist is already full of feel good tracks and instant classics; I can’t wait to share it with you in February! Is there anything I should be listening to in 2019? Who are your favourite artists who I have missed?