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Albums of the Year 2021: PinkPantheress - to hell with it | reviews, news & interviews

Albums of the Year 2021: PinkPantheress - to hell with it

Albums of the Year 2021: PinkPantheress - to hell with it

The most essential 18 minutes of music of 2021

In 2021 TikTok became the most visited website in the entire world. Spending too much time on TikTok is probably bad for all sorts of geopolitical, ethical and spiritual reasons. But if you want to understand how we listen to and discover music in 2021 - it is the most important place to navigate.

The app is not just a tool for record labels and artists to push new singles. It’s also become a space where music from the past is constantly being repurposed in bizarre and fascinating ways. For example, this year a Fleetwood Mac song re-entered the charts and became a Zoomer hit thanks to a guy on a longboard, and there has been an entire challenge based on listening to the cult Glaswegian band Life Without Buildings. It’s easy to look at TikTok with scepticism (which, fair enough), but there is something unique in how it’s helping young people find music from the past and make their own. It is exactly at this cultural intersection of the past and present which PinkPantheress exists, whose album (technically mixtape) to hell with it is arguably the best of the year.

For those who missed it, PinkPantheress began releasing songs on TikTok only this year and quickly became omnipresent on the app. Recording in her uni halls during Zoom lectures, she’s developed her own style of lo-fi bedroom pop using throwback garage and 2-step beats - reintroducing a palette of sounds that for some feels completely new and for others, sorely missed.

It is my album of the year because it is art which captures the zeitgeist. It feels indebted to a pandemic culture of isolation and being online, of TikTok, Zoom and malaise. However it channels this into pop music which, unlike anything else this year, feels genuinely exciting. Her production is lively and detailed, and her songs are filled with the obsession and angst of all the best pop. Her short songs make our collectively short attention spans into a virtue because at merely 18 minutes, PinkPantheress makes an artistic statement that most artists take careers to refine.

Another artist who similarly captured the zeitgeist, albeit in a more traditional way, was Lana Del Rey. Her sixth album Chemtrails Over the Country Club is her best. The American poetess laureate stripped back her song writing to its most refined and beautiful yet. Tirzah’s Colourgrade, Dean Blunt’s BLACK METAL 2, Bladee’s The Fool and Emma-Jean Thackray’s stellar debut Yellow were all albums that I kept coming back to this year as well. But before I could start tinkering with an album of the year list, Chief Keef released 4NEM, a headspinningly good rap album which pushes the Chicago legends most avant-garde tendencies in all the right directions.

Two More Essential Albums of 2021:

MIKE – Disco!

Loraine James – Reflection

Musical Experience of the Year:

Manchester Camerata Presents: The Music of Arthur Russell, Phillip Glass and Julius Eastman @ Gorton Monastery, Manchester.

Track of the Year:

Sweet Joey Vermouth - My Blue Shell

Her production is lively and detailed and her songs are filled with the obsession and angst of all the best pop.


Editor Rating: 
Average: 5 (1 vote)

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yes, tx for putting me onto this its great.

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