Jan 18

The Freaky Trigger Readers’ Poll 2017: #30-#21

FT11 comments • 782 views

heroHullo! I’m Hero, the naughty hedgehog mascot of the 2017 World Athletics Championships. You thought I was mute, didn’t you, just because I was holding up all those Bangface-style signs? In fact I was merely SILENCED by the authorities. Unable to accept my wacky brand of slapstick humour and terrified that I would reveal the TRUTH about the Olympic stadium, they turned off the microphone I stole from Iwan Thomas just as I was getting to the juicy bits. The scandal came out eventually so now I’m free to say whatever I like! The MAN will feel the sharp end of my barbs now! I’ll make them wish they never used the Benny Hill music over all my highlight reels!

Thanks Hero. Maybe there’s a good alternative theme for you in this batch?

30. Slowdive – “Star Roving”

JANG JANG JANG. I got my first ever guitar pedal for xmas (I’ve had effects boxes before but nothing you could activate by stomping on with yr foot) and I am a little worried that it was a portent foretelling the major influx of INDIE in the poll this year. Anyway shoegaze is apparently back and Slowdive are indeed looking down at their pedals wondering which one to press next.

29. Blanck Mass – “Rhesus Negative”

What a racket. This is what my parents think ‘the youth’ are listening to while hanging around in shopping centres. I haven’t the heart to tell them.

28. Lil Uzi Vert – “XO Tour Lif3”

Not exactly a celebration of glamorous/outrageous backstage antics – instead Lil has stumbled into a low budget horror movie, where all his mates have been offed in the pre-credit sequence.

27. St Vincent – “New York”

I can’t imagine that cabbage candle smells very nice.

26. Wolf Alice – “Don’t Delete The Kisses”

Well I applaud their commitment to not forking out for a taxi. A sugar-sweet rush of teenage emotions, both up and down.

25. The Magnetic Fields – “’83: Foxx and I”

Do YOU ever dream of being in Soft Cell and going on Top of the Pops? Well, to get there, firstly you’ll have to play to 4 people in the Dublin Castle, and they’ll all be folks from the other bands on the bill minus those who went out for chips. Secondly.. no, I think that’s it. Good luck!

24. St Vincent – “Los Ageless”

Another brightly coloured video, but this time with a devastating (and catchy) chorus.

23. Clean Bandit & Marina & The Diamonds – “Disconnect”

Here’s the sporting montage music, as promised! This falls into the ‘People Who Got Injured At The Olympics But A Competitor Helped Them Round The Track, It Is The True Meaning of Sportsmanship’ category. It feels very 2012: I half expect Labrinth to rock up for the middle 8.

22. MUNA – “I Know A Place”

Like if La Roux had less grating voice and a better haircut (but worse trousers).

21. Cardi B – “Bodak Yellow”

Cracking slice of rap braggadocio that should probably be avoided if you work on a submarine radar station. I was completely unaware of Cardi B’s Instagram fame when first heard this (on a Sunday afternoon at a very pleasant middle-class picnic), but I have since signed up to The Gram myself and regularly post pictures of the cat.

#20-11 coming soon!


  1. 1
    Rory on 11 Jan 2018 #

    I’d only heard one or two of these tracks before (“Los Ageless” and maybe LUV), so here’s a string of initial responses…

    Slowdive – Ride were my shoegaze of choice, but this is a fun throwback.

    Blanck Mass – I’m gettin’ too old for this shoutyness.

    Lil Uzi Vert – Think I heard this in the car once when my son turned on Radio 1. Blended into the background a bit.

    St Vincent – “New York” – I hate getting all Tipper Gore on this, but I can’t share it with both my kids until at least (quick mental calculation) 2026, which is a drag.

    Wolf Alice – My band of November 2016, when I discovered their first album via the appearance of “Silk” in the T2 trailer, but I haven’t properly listened to the follow-up yet. On the strength of this, I’ll get on that right now.

    The Magnetic Fields – Fun, but with so many great 1982-83 tracks to spend time with, I’m not sure I need it.

    St Vincent again – Good track. Thank you for not singing about motherfuckers. Mother child-milkers are much more kid-friendly.

    Clean Bandit & Marina & The Diamonds – Harmless.

    Muna – Mostly harmless.

    Cardi B – Did you know that there are only 7,100 cheetahs left in the wild, and that 85% of cheetah cubs trafficked out of Africa in the past decade have died on the journey? Depressing, eh.

  2. 2
    Tom on 11 Jan 2018 #

    I think I voted for the poptastic “Rhesus Negative” and possibly “Los Ageless”, since that was my favourite of the SV tracks even though I disapproved of the mumbly fade-out.

  3. 3
    Mark M on 11 Jan 2018 #

    Voted for: none

    New to me:
    Slowdive – it’s a bit lively for them, isn’t it? Then the vocals arrive… I lived through this nonsense the first time round, lurking at the back of the Duchess Of York in Leeds: nostalgia for it = 0.

    Blanck Mass: Uh, right, so…

    The Magnetic Fields: After all these years, I’m still no closer to the appeal.

    Clean Bandit/Marina: I guess considering who’s involved, it’s much, much less bad than I anticipated.

    Muna: Not feeling it.

    Not new to me:
    Saint Vincent: I like New York, not so keen on Los Ageless.

    Wolf Alice: Like this one. Don’t think I’d heard Wolf Alice before this year, absolutely didn’t imagine that some of the time they would sound like Life Without Buildings.

    Cardi B: Nope.

    Genuinely couldn’t tell whether I’d heard it before or not: Lil Uzi Vert

  4. 4
    Shucks Mahoney on 11 Jan 2018 #

    I voted for Bodak Yellow, New York (really couldn’t get into Los Ageless, that title was a little too on the nose) and forgot to vote for Muna, so happy to see them all here. That Marina/Clean Bandit things is so anemic I feel like I need some Floradix now.

  5. 5
    cryptopian on 11 Jan 2018 #

    Ha, this gets both ends of my ballot in.

    – Blanck Mass: Number one! It’s Tom’s fault this is here, because I probably wouldn’t have picked it up on my own. It’s got detailed mixing and melodic intrigue, but most importantly it’s an furious banger. I need to try this on a running playlist, so I can break all my records.

    – MUNA: Just made it at #20. I like synthy dance beats, and I have a weakness for warm comfort blanket lyrics.

    Lil Uzi Vert: Not a good year for people who didn’t like trap. Of the ones that hit mainstream, this is probably my favourite just for feeling like there was some emotions there.

    – St Vincent: I had a few tracks from MASSEDUCTION on my 2017 playlist but didn’t vote for any. File under “artists I need to look into more.”

    – Slowdive: This I like. Jangly ethereal guitars are always an easy winner with me so might have to look into more of this

    – Clean Bandit: The reason I loved Rather Be was that European producers hadn’t been plugging away at this incredibly samey song structure for the last two years before 2013. All the same phrasing, tempo, production layering and song structures really grated in the first half of this year. There was one Clean Bandit song I kind of liked, but we’ll see if it turns up!

  6. 6
    dollymix on 11 Jan 2018 #

    Voted for: MUNA.

    Thoughts on the others:
    Slowdive – shoegaze is only interesting to me when it’s hook-filled (a la Loveless or Giant Steps) or constantly full of surprises (a la A Sunny Day In Glasgow). This is neither – I really don’t need to hear these four chords a hundred times in a row.
    Blanck Mass – I’m theoretically interested in this group but rarely want to keep listening after a few minutes. This is alright but I wish it was dialed back a little, though maybe that’s entirely missing the point.
    Lil Uzi Vert – pretty good.
    St. Vincent, “New York” – after three albums I loved, I found this one a huge disappointment – cluttered production that flatters neither her voice nor her guitar playing, and really dull songwriting. Maybe I resent that she seems to be focusing more on lyrics/concept than music, or maybe I just really dislike Jack Antonoff (didn’t enjoy the Lorde or Taylor Swift albums much either). This is one of the better tracks but the bouncing I-IV chords on the “only motherfucker” line don’t work at all and the orchestration in the chorus is a mess.
    Wolf Alice – good!
    Magnetic Fields – enjoyable, though it partly makes me want to listen to Ultravox instead. I’m glad when the guitar comes in because that makes it sound less like a novelty record.
    St. Vincent, “Los Ageless” – this reminds me a bit of “Digital Witness” off her last album, but there’s no personality, the bouncing horns have been replaced by plodding synth bass, and the chorus uses that really tired descending chord sequence. At least there’s some guitar noise to provide some interest.
    Clean Bandit/Marina – Marina’s vocals are always great, and this is no exception, but I think it would be better with a sparse arrangement that shows them off (a la “Happy”) This arrangement wants a massive chorus that never comes. The vocal harmonies at the end are nice though.
    Cardi B – it’s got personality but not much else that interests me, aside from the interesting stress pattern in the triplet section.

  7. 7
    flahr on 12 Jan 2018 #

    “Disconnect” was my #3. As with every Clean Bandit song I didn’t actually like it for the first few listens, but as with (almost) every Clean Bandit song it grew on me: I like Marina*’s voice and I like being miserable so A+


  8. 8
    Dave on 13 Jan 2018 #

    Someone else voted for “Disconnect”!! The arrangement/vocal mismatch as feature-not-bug is similar in concept (not in sound) to Lauryn Hills’ “Lose Myself,” and has a similar multiplier for me.

  9. 9
    speedwell54 on 13 Jan 2018 #

    Hmmm – still none of my top 20 in so far but….

    Slowdive- yes, ok, but all a bit 1995 sub James/Charlatans, on a double cd indie compilation disc 2 track 18.

    Blanck Mass yes- ok, but didn’t Battles release a better version of this and call it “Atlas” ten years ago? It does eventually goes to another place, but after a few listens can’t really get into it.

    Lil Uzi Vert- nmcot

    St Vincent- New York – yeah! I do like this. I got her last album and played it lots despite her intakes of breath. Should give this one a punt I think.

    Wolf Alice- yes, this is cute. I thought they were a bit more of a rock band.

    Magnetic Fields -no
    St Vincent -yes

    Clean Bandit -yes – Surprisingly passed me by, considering the airplay of their other stuff.
    MUNA -yes, good, anthemic.

    Cardi B -No No. I heard this when it started doing well in America and was pleased it didn’t do very well over here. I quite like the music and the overall sound but the lyric and tone turn me right off. Age thing no doubt.

    Will I get any of my 20 in this next 20…?

  10. 10
    LucaZM on 15 Jan 2018 #

    Just one I voted for, but I like most of these.

    Star Roving: I’ve never gotten into shoegaze. This is pleasant enough while it floats by without demanding much attention.
    Rhesus Negative: I always have trouble finding things to say about instrumental music, but I really like this. I sounds perfect for putting on my headphones while I pick something up in the supermarket.
    XO Tour Llif3: I don’t listen to a lot of hip-hop but this definitely stands out against all the trap going on. This is very good in a lot of ways – the production’s sparkles, the pause in “afraid to – die”, the chorus slipping into incoherence, and I’m sure there’s a lot more things I’m not picking up on. I didn’t vote for this, but I might have if I had payed I bit more attention sooner.
    New York: Love this. Solid balladry.
    Don’t Delete The Kisses: The right side of rambly.
    ’83 Foxx and I: 50 Songs Memoir was the album this year I was always meaning to finish. 50 is a bit too much. But I still get the feeling this must work better as an album track, where the nostalgia fits a bigger purpose.
    Los Ageless: I loves MASSEDUCTION and was torn between voting for this one or New York. It won mainly for the great chorus. Very high on my list.
    Disconnect: This wins points for not sounding like every other Clean Bandit song, but the chorus leaves me cold.
    I Know A Place: I don’t get the love for this. It’s a perfectly nice synthpop, but I can’t really engage with it outside an intellectual “the importance of queer spaces” level, and can’t imagine playing it at a party , nevermind dancing to it. I’d take La Roux’s shoutiness anytime.
    Bodak Yellow: Don’t get this either. The production feels like any other trap and the rap just feels middle of the road.

  11. 11
    johnsonc016 on 15 Jan 2018 #

    This is one of the best articles I have come across. Keep up the good work. Tubemate

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