earthings! 2018: My ten favorites of the year

It’s our very last post for 2018, which means it’s time to reveal my ten favorite songs of the year – although chances are, if you’ve been reading this blog more religiously than most, or have a good idea of what I am into, then you’d have guessed some of the songs on this list. For this year, I decided not to have a massive reckoning some time from the beginning of December (too much pressure, that) but instead made up this list as the year went along. It didn’t make it easier: the tenth song (again, this list is in alphabetical order) was added just a few days ago, and that was a song I actually took off the list. I won’t tell you what that is… [NB]

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Review: The Future and the Past by Natalie Prass

The Future and the Past by Natalie PrassOn her eponymous debut album Natalie Prass forged a name for channeling a dated sound and making it timeless, thanks to her sharp songwriting and that indescribably alluring voice. She does the same on her follow-up, The Future and the Past, a record that was caught by forces propelling the present: she was compelled to scrap most of the album she was working on upon Donald Trump’s ascent to the presidency. Wisely she doesn’t go for the hot take – the most politically explicit of her songs aren’t really – and chose to go inward, fleshing out the romantic while keeping pressing matters in mind. Trading country for bombastic, slick soul pop continues to provide that timeless sheen, and while the shtick can run dry I couldn’t help but continue to tap my feet. And then the end comes, where she winds down to perhaps the highest point in the album: the sparse “Far From You”, clearly inspired by (and channeling) the late Karen Carpenter, pulling together the record’s disparate threads in grand, subtle fashion. The Future and the Past manages to not so much combine the urgent with the evergreen, but make the similarities very obvious. This one just works for me, and I can’t quite explain it. [NB]5/5