Seeing as it’s the end of the year and reminiscing is a popular thing to do at this time, Girls That Gig did a quick whip-around to see what our writers’ favourite albums of this year were. Here were just a few that we came up with:
Released in November this year, Italian singer-songwriter Giulia Tudisco’s debut five-track EP Like Water is a beautiful yet brief insight into the mind of a talented and promising artist. Blending acoustic guitar and emotions that practically drip from the vocals, Like Water’s soulful storytelling is dramatic yet refined, leaving nothing behind in its delivery. First single ‘I Don’t Know’ is a reflective take on conscience and identity, with an accompanying film noir backing music video that is equally as mesmerising as it is poignant. Don’t let this one pass you by; Giulia has big things in her to come
Released toward the end of this year, Molly Burch’s second album First Flower immediately punches and sears. The Austin-based singer carries the vulnerability from her previous record as she croons and pleads, yet she balances this with a firm sense of empowerment. The album seems to document a growth, or blossoming, from her last: she is more assertive and more likely to call out your shit, like in her brash feminist statement ‘To the Boys’. Her vocals, which are punchier this time round, attest this.
Though sometimes a little garish, First Flower is also pretty delicate. It is, in fact, the slower, more intricate moments that steal the show. Her ballads ooze sheer longing—both swoon-worthy and heart-sinking in equal measures— as her smoky vocals drape around a moody, tropical rhythm section. Guitars whine and drums slowly patter, underpinning a dreamy, strong and intrinsically feminine offering.
Eight years since her last album release, Robyn’s Honey reconfirmed the Swedish star’s place on the pop scene. With a heavier electronic feel, the album is decidedly experimental and leaps between styles, tempos and vocal styles: often within a single song. Title track (and recent single) ‘Honey’ is a sexy and smooth blend of powerful vocals and the album’s stand out number, although I have a real soft spot for ‘Send To Robin Immediately’ and the slowly building current that pulls you beneath the surface. ‘Missing U’ is lyrically the most compatible with Robyn’s previous hits, but even these have considerably more complex underpinnings than songs such as ‘Dancing on my Own’ and ‘Call Your Girlfriend’; as Robyn has grown, her music has grown with her and Honey exemplifies this cool new side.
The album that I was most anticipating this year was Tirzah’s debut LP Devotion. The South London singer is an enigma, not giving out interviews very frequently and often shy when performing. My friend told me that when he saw her live, she performed the whole set crouched behind the stage, only popping up very briefly before retreating behind timid smiles.
Devotion is an absolute triumph of lo-fi production and gorgeous vocals. From the entrancing lead single ‘Gladly’ to slowly looping beauty ‘Affection’, the album showcases Tirzah’s range and depth. It is a far cry away from the dancefloor-ready production of her earlier work, particularly felt in songs like ‘I’m Not Dancing’ and ‘Make It Up’, but this is a comfort, showing she’s certainly not a one-trick pony and has longevity beyond the fickle trends of the rave kids.
Featured photo of Tirzah by Clare Shilland