I’ve recently started listening to the radio a lot more. Usually I listen to Spotify and podcasts all the time, but my phone ran out of juice a few weeks ago so I put on radio one instead. Specifically, Greg James anthems (which is followed by Clara Amfo who is a bop magnet).
The anthems show is, to quote the Radio One website, “Big anthems and tunes you haven’t heard in ages”. Every track on the show I first listened to was a banger, and lots of the tracks were songs I still listen to regularly now (shout out to Rihanna and TI), but the ones that I’d not heard for years and years were especially cool, because they gave me a gut punch of nostalgia.
It’s that kind of nostalgia that weirdly you can only get from things you don’t especially care about. Do you know what I mean? When there’s a record from a specific period of your life that you heard all the time on the radio or in the club, or you had a friend who loved it so they played it a lot, but then it slipped off your radar, so now it can only exist in your mind, in that specific time capsule from one specific time of your life.
Anyway, I was thinking: what tracks might have that effect in the future? I don’t know if this list is going to make it into my starred playlist on Spotify (which I listen to a lot because I am lazy) but I know that if not, they’ll be the tracks that take me straight back to August 2020.
Taylor Swift – Cardigan
You didn’t think I was going to make a list about music of this summer without mentioning Taylor Swift, surely? Her record, Folklore, which was released only sixteen hours after it was announced (we love a surprise album) has already broken multiple streaming records and made number one in the Billboard charts immediately.
Typically for Taylor Swift, her record is not just sonically sublime, but it is full of narrative, character arcs, clues and intersecting plotlines which add a special layer of interest and excitement for superfans. The track you have to hear is of course Cardigan. But, the whole record is excellent.
Beyoncé – Black is King
The OG surprise record releaser, Beyoncé, also put out an updated record recently: ‘The Lion King: The Gift’. It was accompanied with the visual conceptual album; Black is King. Released only on Disney+ (remember she voiced Nala), BiK is another gorgeous, artistic, sparkling, vibrating visual album from the queen of aesthetics.
BiK is even deeper and more multifaceted than Beyoncé’s previous records, there are voices and images to follow and delve into throughout. Beyoncé recites Warsan Shires poetry, drawing and binding two threads of black culture together, she invites artists like Moonchild Sanelly to share her platform, shining her light on African performers and refocusing herself and her ancestry in the context of Africanness.
Flyte – Losing You
Flyte don’t have a new album yet, though we’re all waiting with bated breath having heard the mini ep White Roses, but, they have blessed us with the presence of a new track. ‘Losing You’ is a Beatles-y, Bon Iver-y, lo-fi, vintage-feeling break up song which is the perfect soundtrack to sunbathing in long grass and grainy Instagram filters. The video, directed by BAFTA winner Mark Jenkin, encapsulates the flickering retro-ness of the track and the moody heartbreak narrative will resonate with anyone who is feeling brooding and dramatic.
Billie Eilish – My Future
Similarly melancholic, though completely different stylistically, Billie Eilish has released her first new music since her bond theme, ‘No Time to Die’. ‘My Future’ is Eilish’s first quarantine song and it is thoughtful, delicate and hopeful, despite the minor keys and undulating melody. It’s not exactly a beach party track, but it is a walking home alone at dusk track. Pleasingly adolescent in a serious, reflective, honest way that will feel like a return for older listeners and it will feel like having your mind read for younger ones.